By Wes Smith
Major television networks begin their upfront listings this week, revealing their pickups and cancellations for next season. The Outlook: a solid year for Nerd TV.
FOX has once again entered the ring with a solid slate of Sci-Fi and comics-based programming, including a few new entries. Most of the popular holdovers are staying put, such as Gotham and Sleepy Hollow. Among the new pickups to create buzz at this year’s SDCC are Minority Report, based on the Spielberg film, drama The Frankenstein Code, and horror-comedy Scream Queens.
DC Comics also continued its surge into television through Vertigo imprints after Lucifer was picked up. Also coming as no surprise is the event-series return of The X-Files, slated for mid-season so far.
Not all shows made it through the season, however, Cult-thriller The Following was cancelled, as well as a surprise axe for The Mindy Project.
Typically frugal, CBS had little to change in its powerhouse of a schedule, with shows like The Big Bang Theory leaving little doubt to their pickups. The Eye did, however, pick up a few new shows in order to fill slots now vacant from series ending, such as multi-cam Two and a Half Men. Comedy Angel From Hell with Jane Lynch looks to fill that void.
Perhaps the largest pickups came from their drama department, with DC’s Supergirl leaving little doubt as to its series order after the buzz created online. Also joining the icon will be two film-to-television remakes: Limitless and Rush Hour.
The full schedule will be announced on Wednesday at CBS’ principal upfront announcements.
NBC’s announcements were regardless as a bloodbath on “Bloody Friday,” with almost no series making the cut to return. Instead, NBC is focusing heavily on events, sports (2016 is an Olympics year), and a slew of new programming.
Heroes Reborn is the most obvious pickup for nerd culture, with Zachary Levi’s return to the network already gaining steam among fans after a trailer premiered over the weekend. Blindspot promises intrigue as a woman covered in tattoos is discovered in Times Square. The pilot received huge buzz among industry circles.
The overhaul also resulted in DC Comic’s first loss of the season with Constantine. Producers at WBTV are looking at other networks to move the show, possibly bringing it into the fold with The Flash and Arrow, but no word has been given on a potential landing spot.
Marvel’s in-house network kept fairly quiet for the new season, with few surprises in store. Its flagship, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be returning, as well as Agent Carter. The newest S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff, however, was not picked up by the network after a too-crowded slate could not make room for another in the Marvel brand. The comic brand looks to be fine, however, after a package deal with Netflix that recently released Daredevil.
Castle was also renewed for an eight season, with Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter joining on as new showrunners.
The biggest news for fans, however, comes in the form of a single-camera mockumentary show. The Muppets was picked up by ABC for a television revival that focuses on the inside lives of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang.
Full schedule releases for ABC are set for Tuesday.
The CW looks to continue its growing perception as the go-to channel for nerd television with few changes needed in its cult-hit slate. In addition to renewals for tentpoles Arrow, The Flash and iZombie, DC Comics scored another win with hotly-anticipated Legends of Tomorrow, which will bring in several current and new faces from the DCTV Universe. Cordon also joins the drama list, about an epidemic that forces Atlanta into quarantine.
Among the only casualties for the network were The Messengers and Heart of Dixie. The full upfront presentation on Thursday may reveal more, including whether the network chooses to pick up Constantine after its axe from NBC.