At the Fox upfront: 'Glee'-full laughs, Spielberg crosses 'Battlestar Galactica' with 'Jurassic Park'
The cast of Glee got a work-out at Fox’s unveiling of its new fall and mid-season line-up. Jane Lynch, dressed in full Sue Sylvester track-suit with bullhorn regalia, began by introducing Fox exec Kevin Reilly, chiding his “local weatherman good looks.” And the kids sang Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” to close out the presentation.
In between, clips were shown from fall and mid-season shows. The standard disclaimer obtains: opinions solely based on clips; shows could get better or worse once entire episodes are seen.
Lonestar: Reilly called it “a modern-day Dallas” and it features a drawling Jon Voight as the head of “a multi-million-dollar corporation.” But the youth-demo draw will be James Wolk as a con-man who sets out to fleece Voight only to fall in love with his daughter (yay, Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki!). Could be soapy fun.
Raising Hope: A sitcom from producer Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) that looked a tad, a bit, a smidge, like Raising Arizona. A young, clueless single dad (Lucas Neff) tries to raise his baby daughter with the dubious help of his parents, amiable working-class lugs played to the hilt by Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt. I love both Plimpton and Dillahunt, and I laughed at the clip’s joke about Charles Manson. And I don’t laugh about Manson too often, do you?
Running Wilde: Apparently the folks who brought you Arrested Development took to heart the post-cancellation hindsight wisdom that AD lacked, er, heart. So their new sitcom is a love story, albeit a wacky one. Will Arnett is a doofy millionaire trying to woo an old girlfriend — Keri Russell playing a volunteer do-gooder. The premise is promising, and Arnett and Russell act as though they’re in a 1930s screwball comedy. Which we can only hope is the tone Running Wilde achieves.
The Good Guys: Bradley Whitford and Colin hanks as screw-up cops, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix. You can read my review of next week’s preview episode in the latest issue of EW. The promos invoke the Whitford character’s 1980s-style moustache so often, you’d think the ‘stache was the third co-star.
But it’s Fox’s mid-season shows that look most intriguing:
Ride-Along: From The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, a tough little police show set in Chicago with the superb Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) as its hero. Plus Jennifer Beals and Delroy Lindo, both being super-hard-boiled. I admit it: I’m a sucker for shows like this.
Terra Nova: No real clips of this were shown, but co-producer Stephen Spielberg beamed in to help describe a promising series about a future (“2149 A.D.”) in which Earth is over-populated, so a group of people are sent back in time to pioneer… what, exactly, I’m not sure: a new settlement where over-crowded future-people will want to go and take their chances with dinosaurs? Yes: There will be dinosaurs. It’s like Battlestar Galactica + Jurassic Park % Land of the Lost. Could be great; could be a folly.
Bottom line: With struggling series such as Lie To Me and Human Target on its fall schedule, Fox has some work to do. They also need to maybe move the fast-becoming-great Fringe and promote it a helluva lot more! Nary a mention was made of American Idol, perhaps because Reilly didn’t want wracked sobs to drown him out at the reminder that the once-unstoppable show will lose Simon Cowell next time around.