Judging the Upfronts By Their Cover: Fox

Robert Kessler | May 13, 2014 - 5:15 pm

Fox had a bad year. Plain and simple. Of last year’s new shows, only Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine-Nine really amounted to anything. So this year, they’re making some changes. Plus they’ve got an Oscar winner coming to their airwaves. To save you some time, Celebuzz has judged which new shows you should give a shot, completely site unseen.

What’s it about?: Batman. More specifically, it’s an origin story for Commissioner Gordon, who’s investigating the deaths of a rich couple, while mentoring their son, a young Bruce Wayne.

Who’s involved?: This is going to be big for Ben McKenzie, who plays the young Gordon. There’s also Jada Pinkett Smith who Fox claims is playing a character not in the comic books, but it could also just be saying that to hide the ultimate reveal. She looks like a baddie, though.

When will it air?: Monday at 8:00 EST

The Verdict: Fox has already picked Gotham up with a full season order, so it’s confident about this one. There’s certainly a saturation of comic book material out there, but the world of Batman doesn’t seem to be one people tire of. Plus Gotham is probably one of the darker comic book cities, and should provide some good, gritty stories. You absolutely should check this out.

What’s it about?: Fox is hoping this will be another Survivor moment; the reality show that changes reality shows. Fifteen average people are selected to create a utopian society as we watch it come together over the course of a full year.

Who’s involved?: Producer of The Voice, John de Mol is producing. As for the cast, there will be the bitchy one, the bro, the old one, etc.

When will it air?: Tuesday at 8:00 EST

The Verdict: It’s pretty hard to predict the success of a reality show, especially since, with a show like this, a lot of the success depends on the cast. If there’s not at least some cohesion, I could see this becoming really grating, really fast. But it’s an interesting idea. A full year these people are isolated! A year! Can you imagine?

Red Band Society
What’s it about?: A group of teenagers living at Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles.

Who’s involved?: Octavia Spencer! Look at her, there she is! She plays the caregiver for these sick teens. Plus there’s our narrator, played by Griffin Gluck (Back in the Game), who’s also in a coma? And there’s a smattering of other sick teens.

When will it air?: Wednesday at 9:00 EST

The Verdict: I love you Octavia, but a dramedy about sick teenagers? I have no idea why Fox hasn’t released a trailer for this show yet, but it sounds like it’s going to have some tonal issues.

What’s it about?: Who killed Danny? This 10-episode miniseries is a remake of BBC America’s Broadchurch.

Who’s involved?: David Tennant plays one of the officers tasked with finding Danny’s killer, Tennant starred in Broadchurch as well. Plus we’ve got Anna Gunn as an officer with a personal connection to the homicide. Honestly this cast is packed with talent. We’ve got Michael Peña as well. Even Nick Nolte and Jacki Weaver pop up eventually.

When will it air?: Thursday at 9:00 EST

The Verdict: While there’s no chance it’ll be as twisted as last year’s Top of the Lake, this looks dark and suspenseful and is definitely worth watching.

What’s it about?: It’s not terribly hard to see why this has gotten some comparisons to Seinfeld, being about a stand-up comic and his friends who live in New York… plus it’s multi-cam. NBC passed on Mulaney last season, so now it’s on Fox.

Who’s involved?: Well there’s John Mulaney, of course, who used to write for SNL, in addition to having made his own name as a stand-up. Then there are his friends: Nasim Pedrad of SNL, Seaton Smith and Zack Pearlman. There is also his boss, played by Martin Short. Also Lorne Michaels is producing, as he always is.

When will it air?: Sunday at 9:30 EST

The Verdict: I’d absolutely give this a watch. John Mulaney is hilarious and this could be a hit. Though its placement on Sunday (with Brooklyn Nine-Nine) breaking up the traditional Animation Domination block is a bit puzzling.

Here is the complete fall schedule:

8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM

8:00-9:00 PM UTOPIA
9:00-9:30 PM NEW GIRL


8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM GRACEPOINT

9:00-10:00 PM UTOPIA

8:00-10:30 PM SPORTS

7:30-8:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM MULANEY