The CW has had a really good year. Granted for a small netlet like this, goals are limited to “Don’t lose ground” and “Churn out at least one hit this season.” Check and check. Seven shows have been renewed already and suddenly there aren’t as many holes to fill. Yes, there are still holes, but those are still in the sparse summer viewing times. The regular season is getting stronger.
Last year, The CW had eight pilots and picked up five of them. Two have already been renewed for next year. This year, there are only six on the bill and once again none are comedies. One of them is such a sure thing, I’m stunned there isn’t a pickup announcement by now. The rest all have a common theme, sci-fi galore.
What we know is Supernatural, The Originals, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Reign, Whose Line Is It Anyway, and America’s Next Top Model are all coming back next year. What about the other shows?
- Beauty and The Beast is done. The ratings are so abysmal, it was just pulled with a “Winter Finale,” meaning the rest of the eps are slated for summer and/or Friday burn off. Don’t let the passionate fan base fool you, there’s no hope.
- The Carrie Diaries is likely not coming back either, despite the fact that it’s low ratings were on dead zone Fridays.
- Hart of Dixie has a chance, just because it does do well online and it is an ideal show for Fridays with it’s lighthearted nature. Another season will give it enough episodes for syndication too. However, many are predicting that it’s over.
- The Tomorrow People is moving to a new night to prove itself, which is going to be hard without Arrow’s lead in. If it pulls in numbers like the current Monday shows, it won’t make it until season two.
- Star-Crossed’s ratings are almost as bad as Beauty and The Beast’s. Almost. Unless the network likes it so much they think it’ll be a good summer show, it won’t last beyond it’s 13 episodes.
- The 100 has yet to premiere, but it’s being treated as a limited run series. If it is a big hit, chances are it will be back for another 13 episode mid-season run next year. Judging on the pilot alone, that could be possible.
With all that in mind, let’s take a good look at each of these pilots. Not a huge mixture of things, but what’s here offers some interesting ideas.
Done Deal, Work it into the Fall Schedule:
Premise: Watch the Arrow episodes “The Scientist” and “Three Ghosts.” You’ll see how it all begins. The series will pick up from there, with Barry Allen realizing that the accelerator accident has given him some extraordinary powers. Super speed type stuff.
Prognosis: This is listed as a spinoff of Arrow, but the network was so high on this show they cancelled the back door pilot to air during Arrow and gave the show it’s own hour. David Nutter has been brought in to direct the pilot, which 99.9 percent of the time means an instant pickup for a show. (He also directed the Arrow pilot, and even did Supernatural’s pilot back in 2005). Geoff Johns, the Chief Creative Officer at DC is an Executive Producer, as is Greg Berlanti. People are also liking Grant Gustin as the lead.
This is a very popular super hero for DC and one that they haven’t been able to do on the big screen. Given the success of DC franchises on TV, they have very, very big hopes for kick starting this franchise through the small screen and growing from there.
The OTHER spinoff:
Premise: About various mafia-esque monster families that unknowingly to humans run the underbelly of Chicago and are being tracked by a newly minted hunter who is trying to stop them.
Prognosis: This is a back-door pilot and will air as episode 20 for Supernatural. Despite it’s ties to it’s very successful parent franchise, this show is a risk. So far, reaction among the very loyal Supernatural fans has been lukewarm. The vague descriptions that have come out read more like a soap with monsters than the compelling horror story that Supernatural is (or was). So, other than sharing a name, this is very likely a different show even though it will probably share a lot of the monster lore started by Supernatural.
To be honest, when I heard the idea of Supernatural spinoff, I was hoping they would take a universe that already existed in the show and run with that. That’s why The Originals is a big hit. They have a very underutilized Misha Collins, who has proven with a fan following that he could be an effective leading man, and an angel story that could really run on its own (Angel Warrior anyone?) Instead, they go for West Side Story with monsters. I’m not saying Bloodlines is a bad premise, but it the spinoff chosen seems like an opportunity lost, to a fan anyway. They are going to have to work very, very hard to impress this fandom of super harsh critics.
If Bloodlines has one plus, the casting so far has been superb. Lucien Laviscount plays Ennis, the “newly minted” hunter, and Nathaniel Buzolic, aka Kol on The Vampire Diaries, is a real steal as David Hayden, a shapeshifter from one of the ruling families. Also in the cast are Danielle Savre (Margo Hayden), Sean Faris, Stephen Martines, and Melissa Roxburgh.
So what are Bloodlines’ chances? 50/50. This is a risk, but it’s not hopeless either.
The Other Pilots
Premise: A young CIA agent is recruited to infiltrate her recently discovered biological family, a wealthy and powerful Texas family with criminal connections all across the globe.
Prognosis: How did a Orci and Kurtzman project end up at The CW? Their fare is usually very high budget. This is from CBS Television Studios. At The CW, most of the shows, especially the successful ones, are from part owner Warner Brothers. The CW tries to throw the other parent studio a bone once in a while (Reign is the only CBS Studios renewal). With high profile producers like this, and the studio it’s coming from, it has a shot. The question is, how does a premise like this work in a sci-fi heavy network? They’re going to need a good companion for it, and so far nothing on the schedule fits.
Premise: The small screen take on the DC Comic about a med student turned zombie who takes a job at the coroner’s office to get access to the brains she needs to maintain her humanity. When she eats the brains she absorbs the memories, so to silence the voices in her head she works with homicide detectives to solve crimes.
Prognosis: The idea is awesome. It comes from Rob Thomas, aka of Veronica Mars fame. He’s on a hot streak right now. He’ll executive produce with his other partner of his famous show, Diane Ruggiero. To be honest, I think this has a better chance than Bloodlines.
Jane The Virgin
Premise: A good religious girl who due to a series of outrageous events is artificially inseminated.
Prognosis: Poor. I don’t see this one fitting on this network, unless it’s chosen for a summer run. It’s another one from CBS Television Studios, so I wonder if the net is only doing this one to fill a quota.
Premise: A mysterious object crashes down to earth, a group of seemingly unconnected strangers die from the energy pulse and awaken as angels of the coming apocalypse.
Prognosis: It’s interesting! Part of the problem though is there aren’t any big names tied to the project, either actor or producers. That’s not a deal breaker for The CW, but still recognition usually gets people watching. Also, angels of the apocalypse sounds a lot like Supernatural season five, but I’m sure this is their own take. If The CW is obligated to pick up a show from CBS Television Studios, this one would definitely fit with the rest of the schedule. I’d peg it for at least a midseason thing.
The Fantasy Schedule
The CW is a pretty easy network to start when building Fantasy schedules. They only have ten slots. Here’s the parameters:
– There are five successfully rated shows on The CW, The Originals, Supernatural, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, and Whose Line Is It Anyway? They all should be on different nights.
– Since The Flash is a sure thing, it’s being worked into the schedule too. Since this is a DC hero show, it’s meant to be an 8pm show.
– I’m predicting Hart of Dixie will be back for 13 final episodes to help out the Friday schedule. I’m not predicting renewal for any other shows, but I’m leaving The 100 off the table given it hasn’t premiered yet.
8 pm – The Flash
9 pm – Supernatural
Why??? When you have four successful scripted shows and four nights that need strong programming, then it’s pointless to keep two of your top rated shows together. Supernatural is the obvious choice to move. It’s been on three different nights in three seasons and the ratings improve with each move. The loyal fan base will follow it anywhere. On top of that, the show it’s paired with the last two years has done very well.
The Flash can only be paired with Arrow or Supernatural, and it must be on at 8 pm. Given the other 8 pm shows, Monday is the only night left. It’s my thought that DC wants its high powered franchises spread throughout the week not put together in one boffo hero night. The CW separated The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, so I see that trend continuing.
8 pm – The Originals
9 pm – Reign
The CW wants its hit shows to have an established night and time slot. Since Supernatural’s age and popularity means that an established night isn’t required, and The Originals does very well against it’s competition of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., NCIS and The Voice, it must stay where it is. Reign needs to be paired with something strong. Its ratings aren’t bad, but they’re not great either. The Originals just might have the right complimentary audience to help this show grow.
8 pm – Arrow
9 pm – New Show
Ha! I’m coping out. What new show? I know you’re thinking The Flash, but see my reasons above. Identity, The Messengers could work here, so could Supernatural: Bloodlines.
8 pm – The Vampire Diaries
9 pm – iZombie or New Show
The 9pm hour is a tough sell. Reign may have been renewed, but again it has half the ratings as it’s lead in. iZombie sounds like an ideal show to go with the hour. It’s female skewing, supernatural themed, but a zombie that solves crimes would do good on a Thursday! Supernatural: Bloodlines could work here as well if iZombie doesn’t cut it.
8 pm – Whose Line Is It Anyway/America’s Next Top Model
9 pm – Hart of Dixie (final 13 episodes), repeats
Friday is a death slot, sort of. Whose Line Is It Anyway repeats on Friday are doing better in the ratings than a lot of CW shows. I think if The CW keeps it here, they’ll have their winner! That leaves 9 pm for limited run shows, reruns, and special pet projects.
So, what’s your fantasy schedule? Any pilots (other than The Flash) excite you?