Yidio Spring Television Guide - 10 Brand New Shows You'll Want to Check Out
When the ground begins to thaw every spring, the networks turn their thoughts to midseason replacements, filling space left behind by season finales of big shows and holes left by shortened series' with a new crop of young, promising small screen newbies.
While admittedly a lot of the Spring material isn't the networks' best and brightest, this is the season when gems like "The Simpsons," "All in the Family," and "The Jeffersons" have been born.
From Cee Lo and Xtina over on "The Voice," to a 1400's gansta series on Showtime ("The Borgias") to Howie Mandell's new flashmob show "Mobbed," there's a lot to look forward from springtime TV in 2011.
With that in mind, we bring you the Yidio Spring Television Guide, with 10 brand new shows you'll want to check out.
Show: "Body of Proof"
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 10:00 p.m. (Premiere March 29th)
About the show: “Body of Proof” mixes medical drama with police procedural as it follows Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany), a sassy medical examiner who helps the police crack cases. An accident in Hunt’s life takes her away from her calling as a neurosurgeon and lands her in her new position as a brilliant (if not a bit overqualified) medical examiner. The show also stars “Star Trek: Voyager” alum Jeri Ryan as Hunt’s chief.
Prospects: Early reviews of “Body of Proof” have been mixed. Those who enjoy witty banter from curmudgeonly characters (a la “House”) will get plenty of it from “Body of Proof.” However, the constant quips can be a bit much at times. The cast is promising, with appearances from funnymen Geoffrey Arend and Windell Middlebrooks, but the script will sometimes fall short. However, if you’re a fan of procedurals and want to see what it’s like when “Castle” and “CSI” have a love child, then check out “Body of Proof.”
Timeslot: Sundays, 9:00 p.m. (Premiere April 3rd)
About the show: Showtime’s new series “The Borgias” is being advertised as a show about “the original crime family” as a shot at HBO’s highly successful “The Sopranos.” The show centers on the Borgia family, who became a dynasty in Spain starting in the 1400’s. The family was a known patron of the arts, and had many members in high-ranking positions politically and in the clergy, including archbishops and popes. The family was also accused of countless crimes, including bribery, theft, rape, and murder. “The Borgias” will thus be a partly history and partly fictional account of a generation of the family.
Prospects: With the successes of shows like “Dexter” and “Shameless,” Showtime has proven itself to be a producer of some truly high-quality content. “The Borgias” should be no exception, especially considering that the show has two legendary actors in the cast: Jeremy Irons will play a leading role, and Derek Jacobi will appear in a supporting role. Think of “The Borgias” as “The Tudors” meets “The Sopranos” in Renaissance Spain. If that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what would.
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 9:00 p.m. (Premiere April 26th)
About the show: “The Voice” is an adaptation of the Dutch vocal competition show “The Voice of Holland,” brought over to America as NBC’s effort to compete with “American Idol.” How will it be different? First off, “The Voice” will feature four “coaches” instead of judges: the show hopes to help contestants improve along the way instead of just critiquing them. Secondly, “The Voice” will feature blind auditions—that is to say, the coaches will have their backs turned to the stage and will assess each singer based solely on his or her voice.
Prospects: “The Voice” is coming into the vocal competition game with a lot of confidence: in fact, the show will compete directly will “American Idol” by airing in the same time slot. NBC hopes to give “The Voice” the boost it needs to overcome this challenge by giving it a star-studded coaching panel, including Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. Not only are the four very famous, but they’re all talented musicians and should be able to fulfill their coaching duties. “The Voice” should be plenty entertaining, but it will still be tough to overcome “American Idol.”
Timeslot: Thursdays, 9:00 p.m. (Premiere March 31st)
About the show: Ever since there has been a YouTube, there have been flash mob videos. The idea is to organize a huge group of people to storm an area and put on an impromptu performance to the delight (and confusion) of those around them. Howie Mandel (“Deal or No Deal”) and FOX are trying to capture some of that flash mob magic with “Mobbed.” The new hour-long reality show will follow the preparations of a flash mob as they prepare to surprise the subject’s friend, fiancé, co-worker, etc. Marriage proposals and other big events will thus be accompanied by huge song-and-dance routines from hundreds of strangers.
Prospects: “Flash Mob” is a bit of a wild card. It certainly draws from some of the success of shows like “Secret Millionaire” or “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” which feature an hour of preparations for a big reveal at the end, plus classic hidden camera shows, with which Mandel is a pro. The show could gain some momentum from the “Glee” phenomenon as well, as these flash mobs will all be singing and dancing ones. But will the events at the end of the episode be powerful enough to keep people watching? We’ll have to see.
Timeslot: Fridays, 8:00 p.m. (Premiere April 1st)
About the show: CIA spooks are the good guys for once in this CBS dramedy. The show will follow the investigations of the Clandestine Admistration and Oversight Services (CAOS, get it?), a group of rogue CIA spies who uncover threats to national security. The show stars Freddy Rodriguez, Eric Close, James Murray and Tim Blake Nelson in the lading roles, with Christina Cole and Carmen Ejogo in the mix as well. “Chaos” will be stepping in as a mid-season replacement for “The Defenders.”
Prospects: The pilot episode of “Chaos” was directed by Brett Ratner, known for his work directing the “Rush Hour” movies and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Ratner is a big-time director for action films, so the pilot should turn out nicely. The cast is good as well, and CBS looks to be the right home for the show (though FOX might be better-known for this kind of fare). Mid-season replacement premieres aren’t always the best-quality work, but there are always exceptions…after all, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was a mid-season replacement, as were the animated successes “The Simpsons,” “Futurama” and “American Dad!”
"Game of Thrones"
Timeslot: Sundays, 9:00 p.m. (Premiere April 17th)
About the Show: A medieval fantasy show about the struggle for control after the king of a world similar to medieval England dies. Apparently this is par for the course because the king had to battle for that seat himself some time ago. Based on the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of novels. Creator/Executive Producer David Benioff ("The 25th Hour") describes it as "'The Sopranos' in Middle-earth," and HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo said the focus will be on the storytelling over the magic.
Prospects: Marginal. A show like this must be unbelievably expensive to produce, so HBO's going to have to go big or go home, and fantasy is a tough genre to sell to a major audience. It's telling that, in the wake of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, every studio in town was trying to get in the fantasy business, and almost none of them succeeded. Creatively speaking, David Benioff is a hit-or-miss writer, having penned two really good-to-great screenplays ("25th Hour" and "Brothers"), and a handful of regrettable ones ("Troy," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"), though his co-creator Dan Weiss has become a go-to guy for tough-to-crack nerd projects ("Halo," "Ender's Game").
Timeslot: Wednesdays, 10:00 p.m. (Premiere April 13th at 9:30 PM)
About the Show: Its initial hook is that a couple, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton), break up. Though Alex and Dave remains friends, their group of friends are left in an awkward position, wondering if they have to choose sides. One would imagine the show will find its own footing, beyond this initial premise, after a few episodes.
Prospects: Not feeling great about this one, unless the network really wants to make it happen. The fallout of the break-up sounds more than extreme - on the one hand, you have a girl dealing with long-suppressed feelings for Dave that come to light now that he's single, but on the other there's an openly gat friend worried that his friends breaking up will be more traumatizing than his parents' divorce. And Alex's sister and her husband, a seemingly stable couple, spiral out of control following the break-up. I've never seen anyone get this torn up when someone they know breaks up with their significant other, but maybe I'm just not living it up enough.
Timeslot: Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. (Premiere April 6th)
About the Show: Christian Slater stars as the head of a security firm that specializes in finding weak points in an institution's security. How do they do this? You guessed it - breaking in. The show also stars li'l Lex Luthor Michael Rosenbaum and one-time next-big-thing Odette Yustman, and was created by Seth Gordon (director of the great documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters") and Adam F. Goldberg (writer of the less-well-received "Fanboys").
Prospects: For a midseason show, pretty good. The series has tested very well, and Rosenbaum was promoted from a cameo in the pilot to series regular, so audiences will certainly have at least one dynamic character to hang onto. Add to that audience familiarity with Slater, a digestible half-hour format, and a great, simple concept, and it's right on its way. Midseason shows are tough to keep moving, but if Fox can push it, they could have another hit.
"The Paul Reiser Show"
Timeslot: Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. (Premiere April 14th)
About the Show: "Mad About You" and "My Two Dads" star Paul Reiser stars as himself, a well known actor who has been at home for a few years since his series went off the air. While he's trying to mind his business, a troupe of characters keep things interesting. There's a tall, crazy-haired wild man named Dramer, a neurotic bald-headed friend named Schmeorge and a quirky, funny female friend named B'laine. Not really, but it's hard to avoid drawing parallels.
Prospects: Can Paul Reiser be the next "Seinfeld" or a poor man's Larry David in a clean-enough-for-network-TV version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm?" Could be. Reiser can be a little bland for our tastes, but it's hard to argue with the guy's track record. While everyone may not have actually loved Raymond, they do seem to love Reiser. His TV roles have been limited only because the shows he's been involved in have all gone on to be long-term successes. His Jay Leno-like everyman comedic tastes tend to go over well in Peoria, and we'd bet on this series succeeding.
Network: Comedy Central
Timeslot: Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. (Premiere April 14th)
About the Show: "Workaholics" follows a crew of post-college buddies not quite living the dream, but having fun anyway by living together and working together as half-assed telemarketers. The show is an extension of a series of cheaply produced webisodes from comedy troupe Mail Order Comedy. Starring Blake Anderson, Anders Holm and Adam Devine, the series follows the group as they spend their days finding ways to avoid work and have as much fun as possible.
Prospects: As strange as it sounds, pretty good. We're about due for the next "Reno 911" and these guys are funny. This type of series is relatively cheap to produce, and with an existing following online, "Workaholics" may just stick around long enough to find an audience. Comedy Central has commited to 10 episodes, and we wouldn't be shocked if they stuck around for more. Besides, we have to admit that we have an almost bottomless appetite for movies (i.e. "Office Space," "Clockwatchers") and shows that involve sticking it to the man creatively, and "Workaholics" seems to fit the bill.
Body of Proof, Shark Tank, The Borgias, Chaos , The Paul Reiser Show, Breaking In, Happy Endings, Game of Thrones , Castle, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Sopranos, Dexter, Shameless, The Tudors, Deal or No Deal, Secret Millionaire, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition , 25th Hour, Troy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Halo, Office Space, Clockwatchers, Workaholics , Reno 911! , The Voice