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First look at fall TV's trends and gambles

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Highest Concept

 

Lost godfather J.J. Abrams‘ latest sci-fi series, NBC’s Revolution, has a spectacular trailer (thanks to pilot director Jon Favreau) and a sky-high concept: It’s set 15 years after every electronic gadget stops working. Will ”It’s all going to turn off!” be the new ”We have to go back!”?

Good News/Bad News

 

 

NBC renews Community — but only for 13 episodes. Plus, it’s moving to Fridays and being paired with Whitney. Says NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, ”Most people in our industry think Friday is a graveyard, but we don’t believe that.” All those tombstones must be decorative, then!

Biggest Trend

 

 

Spooky conspiracies. ABC’s Zero Hour, Fox’s The Following, and The CW’s Cult have protagonists discovering deadly secret organizations. At least, that’s what the big networks want you to believe.

Best/Worst New Title

 

 

CBS’ Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary is tops. It’s not fancy, but it’s strong, simple, and evokes the voice of the famed detective. Worst: We wanted to nominate Mindy Kaling‘s ob-gyn sitcom, but Fox’s original title, It’s Messy, lasted less than 24 hours before it was wisely changed to the generic The Mindy Project. So now CBS’ cop series Golden Boy gets our vote.

Longest Wait

 

 

NBC’s returning comedies will be on in the fall, but you’ll have to hold out until midseason for Smash, which is being tweaked creatively by new showrunner Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl). NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke explains that the network didn’t want to ”put a gun to [Safran’s] head and say, ‘You gotta get going!”’ Though that does sound like a promising reality show.

Biggest Busts

 

 

Several talent-heavy pilots haven’t yet been picked up to series: NBC sitcoms starring Roseanne Barr (as a trailer-park owner) and Sarah Silverman (as a single looking for love); CBS’ half hour starring Martin Lawrence (as a cop); Fox’s show with Zachary Levi (as a young married man); and an ABC comedy starring Mandy Moore (as a newlywed).

 

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