News Round-Up: Cancellations, Renewals, and New Shows 2014

This past week, the online magazines have been abuzz with the rumours and, eventually, confirmations of broadcasting networks making their final decisions as to cancelling or renewing existing shows and ordering pilots to series.

Scorecards that can help you keep track of your favourite shows

Up next are two posts that might help bring some order into the chaos of this week’s news cycle:

  1. Hollywood Reporter, Upfronts 2014: Complete Network Scorecard — a compilation of the five broadcast networks’ shows (ABC, CBS, The CW, NBC, FOX)
  2. TV.com, What’s Renewed, What’s Cancelled, and What’s Still In-Between (2014 Edition) — includes all major networks — lets you filter by network, letter, or status to find your favourites — if you have a tv.com login, you can vote on whether the decision pleases you or not

Shows previously reviewed on Crime and Relative Dimension in Space

Of course, there are some that directly affect my viewing and reviewing habits:

  • Sleepy Hollow, Elementary, and Hannibal have been renewed for a new season. With Sleepy Hollow, it’s been known for longer, same as for Elementary. For Hannibal, the decision to give Season 3 the green light was only made last week, although according to the Internet buzz, not giving the cannibal punning Dr Lecter another season would have been a huge mistake. Let’s see. Also, word has it that FOX is planning on extending Sleepy Hollow‘s second run into a 20-24 episode season.
  • Dracula and Almost Human have been cancelled. Now, as for Dracula, I am actually glad, I’m sure you were predicting that reaction. After the first season’s catastrophic attempts at decent female character writing and a credible American accent for Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, as well as disastrous plot development and narration, the count of the vampires has been forcibly laid to rest once more. I am neither surprised nor in mourning. The decision to prematurely retire Almost Human, however, does smart. I loved Michael Ealy as Dorian, and Karl Urban played a wonderful counterpart as Kennex. The two had chemistry, but I can’t say I’m too shocked that the show didn’t make it past the barrier. One, because FOX executives are dumb and, two, because the writing was sub-par and continuously misrepresenting and not serving the potential that this show had by virtue of its narrative set-up. The great questions that Sci-fi is predestined to ask, though perhaps not answer, were only alluded to in tiny increments, and the writers kept merely scratching the surface, remaining far behind what would have been actually possible. The supporting characters weren’t served well, either, and with Valerie Stahl and Kennex’s obvious thing for each other, the writers proved themselves incapable of not letting the boy meets girl trope doing their job for them. Even the relationship between John and Dorian was underwritten, which was a great pity.

New shows I’m curious about and that might make it to this blog

As I’m sure you’ve heard or read, ABC has decided to give a spin-off to, for the first time, a MARVEL leading lady: Peggy Carter, the woman who founded SHIELD and talent-spotted Captain America, is getting her own show, Marvel’s Agent Carter. Led by Hayley Atwell, I’m hoping the new show will take off faster and at a steeper curve than Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — who I gave up on after a few episodes, I must admit. They seemed to have trouble finding their footing, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around to wait, so I didn’t. But I’ve kept following them and the reviews online, and from what I’ve read, they deserve catching up. And, as others have already pointed out: even if it’s terrible, even if the writing isn’t as good as we’d want, even if the stories aren’t perfect — this is the audience’s chance to prove to networks that women’s stories work, and that they matter, and that getting them at all is like a Christmas fucking miracle. So, watch that. Criticise and second-guess assumptions, and point out the flaws, but watch it. This is important. We want a Black Widow stand-alone movie, we want a Wonder Woman movie (throwing some shade your way, DC). If this takes off, it could go a long way in terms of paving the path for those stories.

Both TV.com and EW/Inside TV report on shows coming to ABC and NBC that might be promising, but that might also remind you of some of the stuff we’ve already seen.

Depending on whether you can stand Katherine Heigl and leave that baggage of terrible rom com movies she made between 2008 and 2012 at the door, State of Affairs could actually work. Featuring a female president and personal drama, it might actually be a tolerable second cousin twice removed of The West WingOdyssey, starring Anna Friel (playing a US Army Sgt.) and Peter Facinelli (playing a corporate lawyer), whose characters become embroiled in a national security and intelligence fiasco and cover-up that threatens to tear their world apart, doesn’t have to be another Homeland. Here’s to hoping it has no aspirations to be one.

Doctor Who’s very own Karen Gillan and the beloved John Cho are embarking on a journey called Selfie, in which Karen plays a young woman who’s very messy public break-up documented in a video that goes viral leaves her humiliated, she hires a marketing professional (Cho) to help her get her life back on track. I’m not sure about that one — it could be completely terrible, at least tolerable, or actually funny. It’d be the first time that I’m reviewing self-announced comedy on this blog, so I’d at least like to give it a try.

American Crime will present us with a racially charged trial that will throw the lives of the people involved into disarray. I’m very curious as to how this narrative will turn out — the obvious (at least to me) first association is with the stand your ground legislation in the US, and the recent trial following the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin. Likely to raise intersectional issues (ethnicity, class, social capital), it’s got all the potential for a cutting commentary on what’s going on right this minute. Written by John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for 12 Years a Slave based on Solomon Northup’s memoirs.

This has been my take on the upfronts so far — what would you have liked to see renewed, and what shows, old or new, could you have done without?

(P.S.: I’ve also updated the broadcasting & reviewing schedule I keep accordingly.)

by Andrea Mareike Abel

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