When Fox announced that they were dropping the standard pilot-season model of developing new TV shows; it earned them a great deal of attention from fans and critics. So when they unveiled their Fall 2014-2015 schedule, everyone's focus went straight to the slate of new shows premiering in the next few months — after all, they have to be good if Fox is willing to gamble on a brand new way of doing things. In certain cases, it seems like the gamble might just have paid off — you can't go wrong with Batman or British remakes, right? - but others seem like they'll only rub salt in the wound of recent cancellations.
We've run down all of Fox's upcoming series in order to predict which ones will live up to the hype and be worth your time come fall. Although sadly, none of them seem likely to fill the Enlisted-shaped hole in our hearts.
Gotham What It Is: DramaWhat It's About: Following Det. Jim Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department as they deal with the crime and corruption that plagues the city, and Gordon attempts to find Who's In It: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett-SmithWhat It Sounds Like: It's basically Batman, minus Batman himself. How Good Will It Be: Based on the first trailer for the show, it looks like it could be exciting and gritty, although tiny Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle do make us a bit wary. Still, it's got a talented cast on board, so if the show can keep the visuals and story interesting, it could be surprisingly good. How Long It Will Last: At least two seasons. Fox has thrown a lot of support behind Gotham, so they won't let it go easily.
UtopiaWhat It Is: Reality showWhat It's About: 15 people move to an isolated, undeveloped location for a year and attempt to build their own society from scratch. Who's In It: No word yet, but they have to be crazy if they're willing to sign up for this. What It Sounds Like: Big Brother meets Survivor, with a dash of Kid Nation. How Good Will It Be: It depends entirely on the cast, but our best bet is that it will either be outright terrible, or horrifically entertaining. How Long It Will Last: Unfortunately, it will probably run for ten years.
Red Band SocietyWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: A coming-of-age story set in the pediatric ward of a hospital that follows a group of patients as they grow, bond, and battle illnesses. Who's In It: Octavia Spencer, Griffin Gluck, Charlie Rowe, Dave Annable, Brian Bradley aka Astro, Ciara Bravo and Zoe LevinWhat It Sounds Like: One Tree Hill meets Grey's Anatomy, except only one person is in a coma. How Good Will It Be: Spencer is generally the best part of everything she does, but even she might not be enough to make the many elements of this show — comedy, drama, tear-jerking moments of triumph, general teenage drama, hospital administration — blend well together. How Long It Will Last: About a season. Even if it is good, it will probably struggle to find an audience.
GracepointWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: Based on the British series Broadchurch, it centers on a small town and the murder that upends the lives of all of its residents. Who's In It: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Michael Peña, Jacki Weaver, Kevin Zegers and Jessica LucasWhat It Sounds Like: It's literally just Broadchurch with Tennant doing an American accent. How Good Will It Be: A lot depends on how much they take from the original, but since that was such a good series and they've got a fantastic cast on board, things look good for Gracepoint. How Long It Will Last: At least three seasons, regardless of how closely it hews to the original.
Backstrom What It Is: Drama What It's About: A crime procedural about an obnoxious and offensive, but brilliant detective who is brought back from exile to run the special crimes unit. Who's In It: Rainn Wilson, Dennis Haysbert, Thomas Dekker, Beatrice Rosen and Kristoffer PolahaWhat It Sounds Like: Every other "rogue cop" procedural that's hit the air in the last few year, but with Dwight from The OfficeHow Good Will It Be: It has a pretty decent cast, but the premise is something we've seen before many times, with varying levels of success, so there's a lot against it. A lot is riding on Wilson, although it's his first real foray into drama, which also doesn't bode well. How Long It Will Last: Like almost every other crime procedural premiering this fall, it will probably be canceled within the year.
Mulaney What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: An aspiring stand-up comic gets a job writing jokes for a narcissistic comedian and game show host, which causes conflict between him and his two best friends and roommates. Who's In It: John Mulaney, Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith and Elliott GouldWhat It Sounds Like: Seinfeld meets New Girl, with a touch of 30 Rock How Good Will It Be: The cast is fantastic, but multi-cam sitcoms can be pretty hit or miss, and this one was dropped by NBC and then reworked before FOX picks it up. However, the combination of SNL alums and comic legends means this one will probably be one of your new favorite shows. How Long It Will Last: Sunday night at 9:30 is a tough slot, but we think this one will scrape its way to a second season.
EmpireWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: It follows Lucious Lyon, the head of a major hip hop record label and the ex-wife and family who are competing to take over the family business. Who's In It: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Gabourey Sidibe, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers and Kaitlin DoubledayWhat It Sounds Like: Hustle and Flow meets Nashville How Good Will It Be: Empire has a lot of big-name talent behind it - in addition to the Oscar-nominated cast, it was created by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong — but it seems like the kind of show that would fare better on cable, so it might end up being a little lackluster. How Long It Will Last: Well, Nashville got three seasons, so we're predicting Empire will get the same.
Hieroglyph What It Is: Drama What It's About: After he gets caught stealing a magic scroll, a thief is brought to work for the Pharaoh, only to discover that court might be more dangerous than prison. Who's In It: Max Brown, Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad, Caroline Ford and John Rhys-DaviesWhat It Sounds Like: Game of Thrones meets Sleepy Hollow, set in Ancient Egypt. How Good Will It Be: It's written by Travis Beacham, who wrote Pacific Rim, so it could turn out to be entertaining and campy. However, it's completely ridiculous-sounding, so the odds are against it. How Long It Will Last: Unless it manages to pull in a devoted audience like Sleepy Hollow, probably only one season.
Wayward Pines What It Is: Drama What It's About: An idyllic American town... that you can never leave. Who's In It: Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Tobey Jones, Juliette Lewis and Terrence HowardWhat It Sounds Like: The Stepford Wives meets The Twilight Zone How Good Will It Be: On the one hand, it's got an impressive A-List cast. On the other, it's executive-produced by M. Night Shamylan, so we're hoping it will be good, but expecting it to be terrible. How Long It Will Last: The Shamylan outrage will bring attention to it, resulting in it just barely earning a second season.
Bordertown What It Is: Animated sitcomWhat It's About: Set on a town that borders the US and Mexico, it follows two families as they navigate life, relationships and politics. Who's In It: Alex Borstein, Nicholas Gonzalez, Judah Friedlander, Missi Pyle and Efren RamirezWhat It Sounds Like: American Dad meets The Cleveland ShowHow Good Will It Be: The last time Seth MacFarlane made a show about racial and family dynamics, we got Dads, so we're not optimistic. How Long It Will Last: 5 years at a minimum
Last Man on Earth What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: After an apocalypse wipes out all of humanity except one man, he wanders the earth looking for other survivors. Who's In It: Will ForteWhat It Sounds Like: Zombieland, minus the other peopleHow Good Will It Be: Forte is hilarious, and his recent dramatic turn in Nebraska will probably serve him well, but it's hard to see how this concept will last longer than one episode. How Long It Will Last: It's a quirky comedy from an SNL alum that isn't Amy Poehler, Tina Fey or Jimmy Fallon. It'll get a year if we're lucky.
Weird LonersWhat It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: Four relationship-phobic weirdoes find each other living next door to one another in a New York apartment. Who's In It: Becky Newton, Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence and Meera KhumbhaniWhat It Sounds Like: New Girl meets Happy Endings, minus Damon Wayans Jr. How Good Will It Be: The cast is made up of actors who have primarily played the "best friend" role in comedies, so it could be the showcase they need to establish themselves as leading actors. However, the premise seems like a re-tread of most post-Friends comedies, with some forced "quirk," so we don't see things going well. How Long It Will Last: Three out of four actors were on shows that were cancelled relatively soon, so we'd be surprised if this one made it to a second season.
Fox began in 1986 as an attempt to establish a fourth network. It succeeded by taking gambles to distinguish itself from NBC, CBS, and ABC. Series like Married…with Children, 21 Jump Street, and The Tracy Ullman Show not only brought commercial success to the network but also defined television. The network continues to buck the system to this day. It’s gearing up for major changes that seem to be paying off.
Fox has always explored more risqué humor and often focuses on working class families. This began with Married…with Children, which opened the door to future critically acclaimed series like Malcolm in the Middle and Raising Hope. This eventually led to the success of ABC’s The Middle. 21 Jump Street led to the eventual development of the teen drama and nighttime soap with shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. The entire line-up of The CW can thank Fox.
Ullman’s comedy series was a sketch series centered around a comedian. Doesn’t that sound like a ton of Comedy Central series? It also spawned The Simpsons, one of the longest running series on television. Fox was also a driving force in creating animated series for adults. It has had major success with Family Guy, Futurama, and Bob’s Burgers.
Fox was also at the forefront of the reality television craze. It was probably one of the most overzealous with a ton of bizarre reality shows. Cops and When Animals Attack gave way to the ratings behemoth American Idol. There were also the low points of Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? But let’s be honest, is that show much different from The Bachelor? The network has prudently reined in their reality television in favor or more scripted series which is working.
The network’s current line-up of shows definitely breaks barriers. The network has not shied away from being diverse. The casts of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Sleepy Hollow are full of people of color playing against stereotype. Both shows have been wins for the network. Brooklyn Nine-Nine won a Golden Globe and Sleepy Hollow is boosting the network’s ratings. The network also gave Mindy Kaling her own sitcom. It’s is a big deal considering an Asian woman hasn’t headlined her own series since Margaret Cho, and TMP is the first American network sitcom to have an Indian-American woman as the series lead.
The network isn’t afraid to play with unique premises. On paper, Sleep Hollow seems like Ichabod Crane meets a sassy cop. But it’s so much more. Series lead Nicole Beharie plays an intelligent, sympathetic, female action hero and is in no way a sassy stereotype. Almost Human tackles the complicated premise of a procedural crime drama set in the future. Shows about the future have so much trouble. And yet, this series smartly blends its premise with the popular 1970s buddy cop genre to make a show that works.
Network chairman Kevin Reilly made headlines when he said the network would be opting out of pilot season. This is a pretty controversial move considering so much of Hollywood production and casting is built around pilot season. However, with original programming getting produced for cable networks and streaming sites like Amazon and Netflix, there’s an added pressure to make groundbreaking and entertaining television. So Fox is putting on their competition pants.
Fox’s upcoming series are no less risky. The network is planning a sitcom about stand-up comic John Mulaney. Gotham is a drama series about the characters from the Batman franchise, but features Bruce Wayne as a child. There is an American version of David Tennant’s detective series Broadchurch. There’s even Hieroglyph, a drama series about Ancient Egypt!? Talk about a wide net.
It seems like the network has no intentions of changing its penchant for taking chances. No network can guarantee a stronghold on ratings and Fox’s gambles do not always pay off (re: Dads). But the network’s many crazy chances have resulted in some major shifts in television and made Fox a major player in the ratings game.
Drake has called for the dismissal of a lawsuit over allegations he commissioned a one-off piece of jewellery and then made duplicates to hand out to his friends. The Started From the Bottom rapper was hit by a lawsuit last year (13) from bosses of the Baden Baden Inc. jewellery company, claiming he copied the design of a diamond and platinum pendant shaped like an owl they made for him in January last year (13).
Drake, who has long used an owl symbol as a logo, is said to have paid around $50,000 (£31,250) for the item. The lawsuit alleges he posted pictures of the duplicate gold pieces on his Instagram page last summer (13), according to TMZ.com.
Baden Baden bosses are suing for copyright infringement and demanding unspecified damages, and they also want Drake to hand over the alleged copies of the pendant.
However Drake is now urging for a dismissal of the suit, insisting the jeweller doesn't own the owl design since it is based on an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph, according to TMZ.com.