God I love a good tease. The tease is, in fact, often exponentially better than the actual product.
Give me a taste. Give me a hint. Give me just enough of a sense of what is possible, and let me fill in all the ugly details with my own excitable imagination, and my instinctive need to be optimistic about all creative endeavors will elevate said event into a different stratosphere of experiential quality.
I’m talking here about television. And movies. And lots of other things, really. But for now, let’s just stick with television.
The Daily Beast put out a gallery called Upfronts 2011. It’s a collection of more than 40 trailers and previews for new upcoming fall (or midseason) TV shows. Yes, that’s right. More than 40 new shows will debut this fall, but Daily Beast just focused on shows from The Big Five. Didn't even try to include TNT, USA, AMC, F/X, and so on and so forth, even though more than half the shows I've watched in the past year came from those four cable channels.
Think back to 1984, the year The Cosby Show debuted on NBC. It was the golden age of The Big Three. “Primetime” was considered 8 - 11 p.m. Three hours. Seven days a week. A grand total of 22 new shows debuted (according to my questionable math skills), including Murder, She Wrote, Punky Brewster, Highway to Heaven, Who’s the Boss and Miami Vice.
Almost 30 years later, the fall sees twice that number. And more shows than ever debut mid-season or even for late spring and summer launches. It’s fair to guess that three times the number of new shows are churned out annually compared to my misspent television youth.
But teasers and trailers make me happy! I can, for one brief shining stretch, try and digest all the great possibilities and potentials in these 40+ shows while doing my best to accept that I might only ever get to watch two or three of them! Below is my own quick take on the collection as compiled by The Daily Beast, but don’t hesitate to go to the link and take a look at the trailers for yourself! (I tried to ignore the mid-season stuff, even though some of those are really cool-looking too.)
Person of Interest: The brother of Christopher Nolan is the writer. Benjamin Linus from LOST is a central figure. J.J. Abrams is exec producer. I doubt it can totally wow me, but by God it deserves some attention. Teaser Excitement Level: B+
A Gifted Man: This reads like “Touched by an ER Angel.” I go for cheese, but I prefer a different kind. TEL: C
Unforgettable: My girls loved this book series called Cam Jansen. Someone took that idea and tried to mix it with CSI. I’m kinda played out on the detective gimmicks for a while. TEL: D+
Pan Am: This show should be called “Oh My Fucking God Why Did We Turn Down MAD MEN?!?” If this show had come out during the era of The Big Three, I might have been tempted. Too many good shows now. TEL: C+
Suburgatory (below): This could be good. Has a Freaks & Geeks vibe to it. I like smarmy oversmart teen-centric stuff. TEL: A-
Good Christian Belles: Another Desperate Housewives replacement attempt, but this has a Designing Women meets the 700 Club angle, and anytime the world of small-minded Christians gets mocked, I’m likely to give it a shot. TEL: B
The River: They’re trying to give it this LOST meets Anaconda but serious kind of feel. I really want to find this tempting, but it’s just not selling me. TEL: B-
Terra Nova: Holy cow how cool would it be if they could pull this off? A high-cost, cool-concept Stargate: Jurassic Park kind of show?? Sorry, the odds aren’t good, but the trailer is a lot of fun! TEL: B (It would be higher if I thought they could make it good.)
I Hate My Teenage Daugher (below): Yes, it’s because I’ll have two of them very soon, but not two that I’ll hate. Rather, this show just looks like a perfect kind of thing for my family to watch together. You know, the way Romans watched gladiators kill each other. As a perverse cautionary tale. I’m definitely gonna give this one a chance. TEL: A
Alcatraz: JJ Abrams, you had me at JJ. Another show I doubt will catch, but I’m willing to cross my fingers and wait for it to come out on DVD, because if it does indeed catch on, it’s the kind of show I’ll want to watch several in one sitting. TEL: B+
The Playboy Club: I like bunny outfits as much as the next fella, and several of these ladies are eye-poppingly adorable, but that’s just not enough to sell me. And if it’s trying to steal the vibe from MAD MEN, it won’t. TEL: B-
Grimm: ABC’s Once Upon a Time is mining a similar fairy tale vibe, but this is grittier and ickier and darker. More my speed, in other words. There’s about a hundred ways they can screw this up, but if it works, it could be a cool show. I’ll cross my fingers. TEL: B+
Up All Night: I swear to you, if they’d stopped this trailer after a minute, I’d be all about it, but the longer the trailer went, the less impressed I got. TEL: B-
Awake (below): Here’s a hint. If your friggin’ trailer can make me misty, it says (a) I’m off my frappin’ rocker and highly unstable, and (b) your show trailer gets my top grade, and I’m gonna DVR the hell out of you. This show is going to be good. I can just feel it in me weepy bones. It’s enough of an OMG gimmick to get me past my antipathy about gimmicky cop shows. TEL: A+
Nice Try, But No Cigar
- Once Upon A Time
- Revenge (Desperate Housewives meets Dirty Sexy Money)
- The New Girl
- Prime Suspect (even if I adore Maria Bello, it won’t go)
- Charlie’s Angels
- The 2-2
- Apartment 23
- How to Be a Gentleman
- Last Man Standing
- Man Up
- Work It