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Fox's New Fall 2013 Shows: First Clips, First Impressions
May 13, 2013  | By David Bianculli  | 3 comments

Fox announced its plans Monday for the 2013-14 TV season, and beyond. The biggest announcement: The return, a year from now, of a pared-down version of 24…

More so than its rival networks, Fox pushes a 12-month strategy, saving many of its biggest guns for midseason (including American Idol) and, for the coming year, planning new shows that will overlap from fall to winter, launch in spring, or even appear during the summer.

That’s why Fox actually stole the spotlight from its own upcoming fall plans by announcing that 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, would be returning next May not as a summer movie for theaters, but as a 12-hour limited series. No longer will the entire narrative unspool in “real time” — otherwise, Fox would have to change the show’s name to 12.

Instead, various scenes will jump ahead a bit, making it a slightly less distinctive a format than before — but by this point, Fox is betting that viewers will be so happy to have Jack back, they won’t care.

And as for which judges will return for the 2014 edition of American Idol — now that Randy Jackson has said he’s leaving, and Fox hasn’t confirmed that any of the others are staying — that may be a case of viewers caring very little at all. About the only way Idol could entice viewers to return in enough numbers to reverse its several-seasons slide would be to rehire Paula Abdul.


A year ago at this time, Fox announced only three new series for fall — only one of which, The Mindy Project, is returning for a sophomore year. For the 2013 fall season, Fox has three new sitcoms, one new reality series spinoff (with the working title Junior MasterChef), and two dramas.

On the drama side, one new series, Almost Human, won’t show up until late fall, when it takes the place of Bones Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. The other new drama, Sleepy Hollow, begins the fall season Mondays at 9 ET, meaning that Fox’s entire slate of new fall dramas take place on one night.

Almost Human is the latest TV project produced by J.J. Abrams, and stars Karl Urban (from Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness) as a human cop 35 years in the future, with Michael Ealy as his android partner. It’s a high-concept buddy-cop series, like Alien Nation, and is light and shiny enough to start out the evening for Fox. The teaser hints that Urban’s character is a bit like a futuristic Hawkeye from M*A*S*H — bad with authority, but great at his job.

The teaser looks interesting. Not stunning, but interesting:

Also on Mondays, Fox presents Sleepy Hollow, which places Ichabod Crane (played by British actor Tom Mison) in present-day upstate New York, helping to solve crimes. It sounds awful.

And based on the teaser, it may be just that. Apparently, this new series revolves around the supernatural — but that may be the only super thing about it. Here’s a taste:

On the comedy side, the heftiest-sounding project is Dads, a new sitcom selected to lead off Tuesday nights at 8 on Fox. It’s a live-action comedy from animation kingpin Seth MacFarlane, who proved with the hit movie Ted that he can produce live action just as confidently.

For Dads, he provides roles for two generations of likable guys: Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi for the younger crowd, and Martin Mull and Peter Riegert for the older folks. It’s a boomerang comedy with a difference: This time it’s not the kids who come back to disrupt lives. It’s the fathers.

You can see, and hear, the MacFarlane influence in the teaser, which has more than enough laughs to warrant an eager viewing of the full pilot. Nothing about it is subtle, but subtlety isn’t what Dads is going for. A sampler:

The new sitcom that follows Dads on Tuesdays is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which comes from Parks & Recreation collaborators Daniel J. Goor and Michael Schur. It stars Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live, Terry Crews from Everybody Hates Chris, and Andre Braugher, who last year was the star, briefly, of ABC’s Last Resort.

Now they’re all together to play an oddball group of New York detectives — a concept that worked great for Barney Miller, but not very well for many sitcoms since.

I’m surprised I like the first taste of this as much as I do. There’s something about Braugher playing straight man to Samberg that really seems to work. See for yourself:

Finally (because I don’t see the point in discussing or highlighting Junior MasterChef), there’s Enlisted. This sitcom, like Almost Human, won’t make an appearance until late fall, but that’s still early enough to warrant inclusion.

This 9:30 p.m. ET Friday series, once it shows up, stars Keith David as a sergeant who returns from Afghanistan to work with his brother at a Florida military base. It comes from Kevin Biegel, one of the writers and producers on Scrubs and Cougar Town, and… well, that’s about it. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this preview clip — and after seeing it, I didn’t want to look backward at it again, either. To me, it lacks the comic sophistication of, say, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which is about as mean as I can get. Judge for yourself:

And that’s about it for Fox… except for the midseason and later entries, which you can read about in Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's Bytes. But of the five shows whose sneak previews are shown here, which do you find most appealing?

And after all this time, how eager are you for the return of Jack Bauer — even at a rate that, in terms of hours per season, is 50 percent off?

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Aug 9, 2014   |  Reply
Mike F
I wonder why they made you take down the Seth McFarlane trailer. The Andy Samberg trailer looks like a worthy entry. Still disappointed that "Ben & Kate" did not make the cut. I thought it was a warm, witty, well written sit-com with a engaging cast that had the comedic chops (i.e., improvisational skills) to eventually build a critical audience mass. Maybe TBS should pick it up like they did with "Cougar Town".
May 25, 2013   |  Reply
Never watched "24" the first time around. Not likely to indulge this version.

Like Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, so "Almost Human" seems like an easy choice. (Gee, I guess "Common Law" won't be back, eh?)

Also like Andre Braugher, and while he couldn't rescue "Last Resort," perhaps he can balance the irritation that is Andy Samberg.

Nothing else of interest here.
May 14, 2013   |  Reply
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