FOX Picks Up Four New Pilots for 2011 – 2012: J.J. Abrams’, Alcatraz, Bones Spinoff, The Finder, Comedies The New Girl & I Hate My Teenage Daughter

There is ZERO coincidence at all that on May 10th, FOX announced that they had closed the deal to bring House back for an eighth season, that they also announces they were canceling all of their remaining shows that hadn’t already been picked up for renewal (Lie To MeHuman Target, The Chicago Code, Traffic Light, and Breaking In… although as we reported, the reports of BI‘s death may be premature).  It’s also not a coincidence that FOX announced that they were picking up four new pilots for Fall 2011 on the same day as well.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Alcatraz, from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. The crime drama revolving around Alcatraz and the team investigating the mysterious reappearance of its 1960s inhabitants in the present stars Lost‘s Jorge Garcia. The drama gained early buzz and a fan in Fox’s Peter Rice, according to sources, though some questioned whether the net had room for another mystery drama with Abrams’ Fringe already on the schedule.

The Finder, a Bones spinoff from sister studio 20th TV. The drama, which centers on a military-trained “finder” (Geoff Stults) who helps locate lost items or persons in the Florida Keys, recently rolled out to solid ratings as a back-door pilot. The project won high marks internally, particularly by those who wanted to find a way to continue the recently renewed Bones franchise once the long-running — and thus pricey — original ends.

The New Girl, a Zooey Deschanel comedy from 20th, will appear on Fox’s fall schedule. The single-camera series, which is believed to be a Kevin Reilly favorite, centers on a quirky female teacher who becomes roommates with three guys: a man-child, a player and a cynic.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter, a Jaime Pressly/Katie Finneran comedy from Warner Bros., is a go. The multicamera laugher centers on two women who have daughters like the girls who once picked on them in high school.

Deadline is reporting that the Ethan Hawke spy-thriller vehicle Exit Strategy is still in play for mid-season and may being held off for retooling.

Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin are executive producing the project, with Guggenheim co-executive producing.

Folks, don’t forget that the major network up-front advertising events begin TOMORROWMonday, May 16th and go on through Thursday.  This is the week that we will find out the fates of all this season’s shows that haven’t already been decided and we’ll also find out what new shows will be on the schedules for the 2011 – 2012 season. You can find out the schedules for all of the events, here.

Daybreakers (Film, 2010)

Two-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a researcher in the year 2019, in which an unknown plague has transformed the world’s population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human, or find a blood substitute before time runs out. However, a covert group of vampires makes a remarkable discovery, one which has the power to save the human race. – Lionsgate

60 out of 100

The immediate gut-reaction for a film like Daybreakers is, “Oh, great… yet another vampire film because that genre hasn’t been exploited enough over the past five years,” and to be honest, that was our reaction when we first saw trailers for this in late 2009.  The problem for Daybreakers and most likely the reason for its miserable box-office numbers ($51 million gross, foreign and domestic) is that’s also exactly how the producers marketed the film in some misguided attempt to hop on the bandwagon of the sucesses of the other popular vampire franchises such as Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.  That was a very bad marketing decision.

Daybreakers is a very original and unique twist on the vampire genre in that it’s not really a horror film at all.  It’s a classic Science Fiction story that not only deals with science as a backdrop, it also deals with the many “what if” and “how would you react” scenarios about the questions of exploitation of others for your own immortality.  How does a society preserve its humanity when mortality has been taken away?  As far as vampire films go, there is surprisingly little graphic violence until the very end of the film because, frankly, it’s really not necessary to progress the story.

Where the film ultimately suffers is that it is very short coming in at 1 hour 37 minutes.  For a science fiction story with such an original concept there is far too little exposition.  It not only leaves a lot of questions unanswered but it’s so quick that the audience doesn’t really have an opportunity to become emotionally attached to the characters or the plot.  The performances from DaFoe and Hawke and the rest of the cast are fine but you really don’t have any sense of a vested interest in any of these characters, and of course if the audience can’t relate to the characters they have no reason to really care about the story.  Interestingly enough, this promotional clip (that was not shown in the film) gives more of a back story for the plot than the entire film does.

Daybreakers, albeit not the best film, is an enjoyable film and worth your time if you like a unique Sci Fi story.   Netflix subscribers can watch it as part of their subscription through the Netflix streaming service.

Here’s the official Lionsgate trailer for Daybreakers.  This is not the thirty-second TV spot that leads you to believe that it’s just a another vampire/horror film.