Watch This, Not That: Best of the 2012 TV Upfronts — VIDEO

By Aly Semigran and Kelsea Stahler

Last Resort Cast ABC

Every year, the networks present all their new material in a series of events called the Upfronts, and every year we hungrily gobble up the newly released clips, chew them up and spit it out. (Think of us as your own personal Alicia Silverstone). What’s left are the series that hold little nuggets of promise. The ones that are still adorable little baby series that have the potential to grow up and live long healthy lives. sent two TV experts into Upfronts territory for a week, and they uncovered a few specimens of potential greatness. These are the new shows that deserve your attention. 

The Mindy Project

Consider this: All of your favorite Office episodes were written by Mindy Kaling. “Casino Night”? Yep. “The Dundies”? You betcha. The one where Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman grill? Abso-freaking-lutely. Kaling’s latest comedy The Mindy Project could have just as many classics on its horizon.

The Following

While TV may have one too many crime dramas, none of them have the key ingredient of Kevin Bacon. James Purfoy will play a serial killer who runs a creepy little serial killer cult that spreads death and sadness everywhere, with Bacon as your average ex-Federal Agent brought back into the field to destroy his old nemesis. And if anyone was born to be a nemesis, it’s Purefoy. These two could be fighting over a piece of bread like two scummy pigeons and we’d watch it.


This NBC series boasts some pretty serious backers in Jon Favreau and J.J. Abrams, so we should give it a shot for that reason alone. The stakes are a little high because the apocalyptic concept threatens to swallow the series before it can even get its sea legs, but it’s a novel one, so let’s not condemn it just yet. In the future, the world has lost all things technological. Militias and small bands of rebels are the only law, and Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad is leading the dark side. It may blow up in our faces, but if it’s as great as it wants to be, we’ll be upset if we missed the boat.

Last Resort

What’s better than submarines, governmental treachery, nuclear war and Scott Speedman? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Unless ABC royally screws up this submarine action drama in which the U.S. government is tries to kill a crew of their own sailors to facilitate a cover up, it promises to be nothing short of awesome. It’s got a little island action, some eye candy, and some serious hardware. No, you can’t set your DVR just yet, but you might want to put a note in your calendar.


NEXT: Friday Night Lights, we’ll never let go.Nashville

Connie Britton is going country again, y’all. The Friday Night Lights alum is returning to the small screen and heading to ABC after her turn on American Horror Story to play an aging country star struggling to keep her place in the spotlight as a young, sexy, and less talented newcomer (played by Hayden Panettiere) threatens to ruin her career completely. Yes, it sounds like the plot of Gwyneth Paltrow’s absurd drama Country Strong, but seriously, it’s Connie Britton in a country soap opera, y’all.

The CBS procedural with a twist: A contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes, Johnny Lee Miller plays an intuitive, but erratic detective, while Lucy Liu plays his wise, but weary sidekick. Sure, some of the dialogue sounds rather elementary (Watson) but we suspect this will be a huge hit thanks to its sexy leads and the fact that its a crime drama on CBS.

Political Animals 
Kudos to USA on this one! The cable network nabbed Oscar nominees Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Burstyn for this six-part political drama that simply screams inevitable Emmy nominations. With Weaver as a hard-as-nails politician whose family life has its fair share of controversy, this looks like it could be just as thrilling as biting as HBO’s The Network this summer.

This series may not please fans of the original comic thanks to its CW dressing, but it certainly takes the fledgling network into new, bolder territory. It’s bound to be a little steamy and melodramatic and the fact that a modern dude is running around with a Robin Hood getup might be a little hard to get used to, but just watch it and don’t tell your friends about it. It can be our little secret. 

Which new shows for the upcoming 2012-2013 season are you most excited for? Sound off in the comments section! 


Fox’s 2012 Upfronts

NBC Upfronts: Go Funny or Go Home

The Mindy Project Trailer: Could This Be The Next New Girl?