Development season is right now, and with the scripts picked to pilot about to be shot, the next best thing besides watching the finished product is reading them. As well as reviewing them. I’ll also venture a guess as to whether I think they’ll go to series or not (all of which is announced as usual at the Upfronts). So here goes.
On we go with The CW, also known as the tween network.
No comedies in development this season, although drama-wise, they still know their perfect demographic to the T. The goal is to pick a known genre/format/story that works elsewhere and then put the magic “teen” touch to it.
Awakening (Glenn Davis/William Laurin)
Logline: A dramatic series centering on two sisters on the verge of adulthood who find themselves on opposite sides of a zombie uprising. These zombies can hide their grotesque undead countenances behind beautiful, sexy exteriors.
With: Jewelle Blackman, Lucy Griffiths, Meredith Hagner, Brian Hallisay, McKean Rand, Titus Welliver
I knew it was going to be about zombies before having read the first page, but the way they are portrayed in the show definitely took me aback. As in: “Really? They’re going that way?”
If you haven’t guessed it by now, Awakening pretty much humanizes zombies to the max. And although this might seem plausible for vampires and werewolves on True Blood (who are, in some way, still human), it doesn’t quite work the same when we’re talking about corpses who shouldn’t really be talking, let alone having family discussion around the dinner table.
Beyond that initial “wait, what?” factor, the story itself kind of gets confusing with the vague attempt at creating a mythology (words like pre-dead vs. alive get thrown around a lot without making a clear distinction as to who is what). Though the most mind-boggling thing about the show is the fact that the zombies can morph in and out of human morph by will. Wait, what?
Bonus negative points for a midnight zombie dance cued up to the music of, you guessed it, Thriller.
But the big question for me going in was: what about Titus Welliver? Well fortunately, his character (The Hunter) is probably the only saving grace of this show. (Doesn’t mean I like him being on The CW)
Going to series? Yes. Zombies are the new vampires, right?
Cooper & Stone (Laurie Arent)
Logline: A dramatic series centering on a smart young female team of police detectives and best friends in a North Side Chicago precinct, who are as good at discussing fashion, music, pop culture and guys as they are solving homicides.
With: Alexandra Breckenridge, Vanessa Ferlito, David Ramsey, Riley Smith, Jenna Stern
Talk about a reach in a premise. Fortunately, Cooper & Stone totally embraces the ridiculousness of its story. Sadly, it’s not really entertaining.
Going to series? Maybe. The cop/procedural element might be a weird fit for The CW though.
Hart of Dixie (Leila Gerstein)
Logline: A dramatic series centering on a bright but quirky surgical resident with has a terrible bedside manner who winds up inheriting a general medical practice in a small Alabama town, after losing her best friend, her boyfriend, and her fellowship in one fell swoop. Now she must set aside her ambition to be a cardiothoracic surgeon to tend to the town’s eclectic and eccentric group of characters.
With: Wilson Bethel, Rachel Bilson, Jaime King, McKaley Miller, Scott Porter, Cress William, Nancy Travis
I went in expecting to hate it, I went out…kind of enjoying it?
This is definitely a more “mature” show than the rest of this slate. Think more of a WB show (Everwood, Dawson’s Creek, etc.). It’s obviously still a rom-com, which still fits with the CW motto, but it’s angling towards an older demo.
Going to series? Probably. The only reason the CW might be on the fence about it is that Privileged didn’t work for the network back in 2008/2009.
Heavenly (Richard Hathem)
Logline: A dramatic series centering on a committed young female attorney who teams with a man who has recently transformed from angel to human on a legal aid clinic, she saving clients’ skins while he saves their souls. As an angel, he never experienced feelings or emotions, and he’s dealing with this “awakening” – but was he really an angel at all, or just psychologically damaged?
With: Ben Aldridge, Lauren Cohan, Ryan Eggold, Elizabeth Ho
This is exactly what it sounds like. Touched by an Angel 2011. The corny dialogue does not help.
Will probably be universally panned once it goes out.
Going to series? Maybe. As a late April Fools prank.
The Secret Circle (Andrew Miller/Kevin Williamson)
Logline: A dramatic series based on the book trilogy by L.J. Smith, about a teenager, Cassie, who is forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England following her mother’s violent death. Despite her homesickness, she feels a strange kinship to a terrifying group of teens who seem to rule her school. Initiated into the coven of witches that’s controlled New Salem for hundreds of years, she’s drawn into the Secret Circle, a thrill that’s both intoxicating and deadly. But when she falls for a mysterious and intriguing guy, she must choose whether to resist temptation or risk dark forces to get what she wants.
With: Ashley Crow, Thomas Dekker, Gale Harold, Shelley Hennig, Natasha Henstridge, Louis Hunter, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Brittany Robertson, Phoebe Tonkin
If you’re thinking this show is really going to be a fantasy show, think again (it’s The CW after all). Secret Circle ends up being more of a high-school drama than anything else. It’s also less “powerful” than, say, Awakening, especially when you’re thinking of pairing it up with the Vampire Diaries.
Going to series? Yes. Kevin Williamson. Enough said.
Soon to come, FOX.