Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NY Upfronts: ABC's New Lineup

Twice a year, in LA, all the journos I know sit in on presentations an conduct interviews for all the new TV/ Cable shows headed our way. Once a year, those same networks get close enough to New Jersey that I can get in on the action. The presentations held as part of the New York Upfronts are probably more showy than those in LA, but then they are meant for advertisers who drop big money to have their products featured, and so a little zazz is expected. This week we'll take a look at the new shows headed your way, of course focusing on the geekiest among the bunch, but also including the occasional show with talent we love and/or film makers that would make us watch.

Yesterday, ABC took the stage at Lincoln Center. The show opened with a comedy bit where Jimmy Kimmel traded one liners with the President of ABC..posing as the president. I see what they did there. The height of this bit was a series of revelations on their shows, among them being "Dancing with the Stars...they aren't really stars. We picked them up at a bus station." As ABC got into the live portion of their presentation, they quickly made it clear that innovation was their primary concern. "Watch ABC" is their big push to bring digital programming, on demand, to every electronic device you've got on you at the moment. At the same time, they are continuing their push to combine social media with their shows to allow fans to do the leg work of spreading the word on their favorite shows weekly. ...And after all that talk about where the fine folks in the audience could spend their was onto the new programming.

First, a look at the schedule. I made a quick note of those shows my readers seem to follow the most..Castle Mondays at 10 - Agents of SHIELD (<~click for a preview of that!) Tuesdays at 8 - Once Upon a Time Thursdays at 8. New shows of interest include Back in the Game from the Cohen Brothers, which is sort of a Bad News Bears with a female lead and James Caan backing her up. Try to look past the overly enthusiastic voice over...there's some good stuff here...

Next we'll take a quick look at Super Fun Night, for those that love Rebel Wilson. The show boasts executive producer Conan O'Brien, so expect lots of "subtle" laughs. ~note sarcasm~ Rebel commented "For as long as I can remember, I've had two dreams. One is to have my own TV show in America, and the other is to marry Channing Tatum. Now 1 and a half of those things have come true. I haven't married Channing but I have touched his butt and found out where he lives." "This show is really the anti-Sex in the City in that when these three ladies eat at night, they're not..talking about...dick."

Still HERE?! Sorry..some people like that sort of thing and so, we cater to all. Next up is something waaaay more interesting: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. From the creators of Once Upon a Time, this show seems to share the core elements of Once in that the real world we know is colliding with the fanciful one, the story is possibly told out of sequence to allow for things to be revealed in bits and pieces here and there and LOVE is at the center of it all. Daaww. Wonderland has a Red Queen that shows WAAAAAY more cleavage than Once's evil queen (not that this is a competition...but...this is a competition), the creatures look top notch and there seems to be a bigger emphasis on ACTION! So you've got a sweet air over an intense story line and a somewhat dark overtone. Very nice mix. I'm betting this one will be an instant addiction. Check it out...

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: (Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET/PT)
In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice (Sophie Lowe) tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah smoking caterpillar and playing-cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she's seen during this impossible adventure. Surely this troubled girl must be insane, and her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever -- the handsome and mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). But deep down Alice knows this world is real, and just in the nick of time the sardonic Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the irrepressible White Rabbit (John Lithgow) arrive to save her from a doomed fate. Together the trio will take a tumble down the rabbit hole to this Wonderland where nothing is impossible.

"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" stars Sophie Lowe ("Beautiful Kate") as Alice, Michael Socha ("This Is England") as Knave of Hearts, Peter Gadiot ("The Forbidden Girl") as Cyrus, Emma Rigby ("Hollyoaks") as Queen of Hearts and John Lithgow ("3rd Rock from the Sun") as the voice of the White Rabbit.

"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz ("Once Upon a Time"), who serve as executive producers. Steve Perlman and Zack Estrin also serve as executive producers, and the pilot was directed by Ralph Hemecker. "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" is produced by ABC Studios.

Lastly, we'll take a look at Resurrection, the story of a boy returning from the dead...32 years later..and he hasn't aged a day. Expect lots of freaked out people trying to unravel the mystery and a top notch cast of actors to hold up the weight of the story. Looking forward to this one!

Resurrection: (Midseason)
The people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to return. An 8-year-old American boy (Landon Gimenez) wakes up alone in a rice paddy in a rural Chinese province with no idea how he got there. Details start to emerge when the boy, who calls himself Jacob, recalls that his hometown is Arcadia, and an Immigration agent, Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), takes him there. The home he claims as his own is occupied by an elderly couple, Harold (Kurtwood Smith) and Lucille Garland (Frances Fisher), who lost their son Jacob more than 30 years ago. While they look different, young Jacob recognizes them as his parents. Those closest to the family try to unravel this impossible mystery, including Sheriff Fred Garland (Matt Craven), whose wife Barbara drowned 30 years ago while trying to save Jacob. But this boy who claims to be the deceased Jacob knows secrets about his own death that no one else knows -- secrets that Fred's daughter, Gail (Devin Kelly), will begin to investigate and discover to be true.

"Resurrection" stars Omar Epps ("House") as Martin Bellamy, Matt Craven ("Crimson Tide," "A Few Good Men") as Fred, Devin Kelley ("Chernobyl Diaries," "The Chicago Code") as Gail, Frances Fisher ("Titanic") as Lucille, Kurtwood Smith ("That '70s Show") as Harold, Sam Hazeldine ("The Raven") as Abel, Samaire Armstrong ("Entourage," "The O.C.") as Elaine, Nicholas Gonzalez ("Off the Map") as Connor, Mark Hildreth ("Dragon Ball Z") as Tom and Landon Gimenez as Jacob.

Written by Aaron Zelman ("Damages," "The Killing"), "Resurrection" is executive-produced by Aaron Zelman, JoAnn Alfano, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jon Liebman, Brillstein Entertainment and Plan B. The pilot was directed by Charles McDougall. "Resurrection" is produced by ABC Studios.

Also on tap but with no accompanying video is The Quest and Toy Story of TERRRORRRR!!!
We were told The Quest incorporates elements we love about Lord of the Rings like Ogres and Trolls and a reality show. WILL THERE BE LARPING?!! PLEASE SAY THEY WILL BE FORCED TO LARP!!!! That, honestly, would be an instant watch for a lot of people. The most expensive LARP...ever. Here's the skinny...

The Quest: (Midseason)
"The Quest" is a new reality adventure that takes 12 lucky contestants on the journey of a lifetime when they enter the world of "Everealm." For "The Quest," the producer of the blockbuster movie franchise "The Lord of the Rings" has joined forces with the creators and producers of "The Amazing Race" to conjure a land of magic and malevolence, where mythical creatures lurk in the woods, agents of darkness stir in the shadows, and mystical beings infiltrate the keep. For 12 lucky souls, a fantastic world will come alive in a unique competition series where players will engage in epic challenges. Fantasy meets reality when one player emerges as a real-life hero.

"The Quest" is from executive producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri ("The Amazing Race," Profiles Television), executive producers Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming (Court Five), and executive producers Rob Eric and Michael Williams (Green Harbor Productions).

Seriously, the show is made by a dude named could you say no? Finally, we have a very special Toy Story we will be waiting for....probably as heatedly as we will be awaiting new Walking Dead in you needed another reason to think October is awesome...

Toy Story of Terror: (October 2013)
From Disney•Pixar comes a spooky new tale featuring all of the favorite characters from the "Toy Story" films. What starts out as a fun road trip for the "Toy Story" gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate in this "Toy Story of Terror."

The cast of "Toy Story of Terror" includes Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Carl Weathers as Combat Carl/Combat Carl Jr., Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and Kristen Schaal as Trixie.

"Toy Story of Terror" is produced by Galyn Susman and directed by Angus MacLane. The special, from Disney•Pixar, will premiere on ABC in October 2013.

Keep your eyeballs glued here for more coverage of the best stuff coming to your TV!

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