It’s FOX’s turn! FOX is strangely confident in their existing lineup having picked up a grand total of only five new scripted series for the 2012 – 2013 season. So, this is going to be obviously a lot easier than the preview we did for NBC and this time, we’re just going to introduce them all in one piece.
Oh, and BTW, in case if you’re reading this in a couple of months and there’s no video, well, you can thank FOX for that. Y’see, normally we just download a video off of YouTube and upload it to our channel so we don’t have to worry about whether or not the host channel decides to pull it. Other networks don’t seem to mind when we give them free advertising for their shows, but FOX has a bug up their butt and every video we tried to upload was rejected due to copyright claims. So, we’ve been forced to use the embed links directly from FOX’s YouTube channel.
BEN AND KATE – What happens when an exuberant, irresponsible dreamer who always says “yes” moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? BEN AND KATE, a new single-camera young ensemble comedy, follows these odd-couple siblings as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life. KATE FOX (Dakota Johnson, “The Social Network”) followed the rules all her life…until she got pregnant in college and dropped out just shy of graduation. After the birth of her daughter, MADDIE (Maggie Jones, “We Bought a Zoo,” “Footloose”), Kate put her twenties on hold. Now working as a bar manager to make ends meet and maximize her time with five-year-old Maddie, she’s uber-prepared for every possible catastrophe – except for the arrival of her older brother, BEN FOX (Nat Faxon, “Bad Teacher”). Ben likes trouble a lot more than his sister does. His infectious energy makes you want to follow him into any number of bad ideas. He’ll totally screw up your life, but somehow, you’ll feel good about it. Where Kate is all about planning and preparing, Ben is big on spontaneity and out-of-the-box ideas. But don’t let the Velcro wallet fool you – he’ll probably be a millionaire someday. When Ben comes to crash on Kate’s couch for a few days, he finds a sad state of affairs. Kate’s surviving, but not living. Ben realizes that for the first time in their lives, Kate needs hishelp and he’s determined to bring some much-needed chaos into her overly stable world. He starts by offering to help look after Maddie so Kate can get back to experiencing her mid-twenties and makingmistakes, since the one real “mistake” she’s made turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. Always there to help with Ben’s crazy schemes is his partner-in-crime, TOMMY (newcomer Echo Kellum), who worships Ben like a hero and nurses a serious crush on Kate. Kate’s British best friend, BJ (Lucy Punch, “Bad Teacher”), is a cocktail waitress at the bar that Kate manages and an all-around hot mess who would do anything for Kate, even if her advice is often questionable and occasionally illegal. From writer/executive producer Dana Fox (NEW GIRL, “What Happens in Vegas”) and executive producer/director Jake Kasdan (NEW GIRL, “Bad Teacher”), BEN AND KATE is a heartwarming story of deeply mismatched siblings: a sister who needs to go for her dreams and a brother who needs to get his head out of the clouds.
Our Take: As we noted with NBC’s Next Caller, it’s never a good sign when you start your show description with, “What happens when ________ , ” but on the upside this show is noticeably Dane Cook-free. On the other upside, this show looks incredibly charming and really looks like it’s destined to be a big a hit for FOX. All of the sudden, FOX has seemed to have figured out comedies.
Chance of Renewal: Ben and Kate honestly looks at least as good as Raising Hope and New Girl which have both become big hits for FOX so we expect it should easily become a favorite and get renewed.
The Mindy Project – THE MINDY PROJECT is a new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producerand New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, desperately needs to break bad habits in her personal life. After all, how many doctors make inappropriate toasts at their ex-boyfriend’s wedding, nearly drown at the bottom of a stranger’s pool and get arrested for disorderly conduct just moments before having to deliver a baby? Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books – all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman…who can meet and date the perfect guy. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN and shares a practice with a few other doctors, none of whom make life any easier for her. JEREMY REED (British writer/comedian Ed Weeks) is the walking definition of total bad news. He not only shares a practice with Mindy, but sometimes her bed as well – despite her best efforts to resist. He is funny, self-absorbed and super sexy. In contrast, DANNY CASTELLANO (Chris Messina, “Damages”) is a hothead and guys’ guy who has a habit of stealing Mindy’s patients. Danny criticizes her for everything, including her struggling love life and her lack of professionalism – even though it’s obvious to everyone except Mindy that he secretly admires her work. His blue-collar childhood gives him a big chip on his shoulder, but he is a dedicated physician, which Mindy can’t stand to admit because he’s always getting on her case. Rounding out the office staff are the receptionists – BETSY PUTCH (Zoe Jarman, “Huge”), young, earnest and easily excitable, who thinks the world of Mindy and is always trying to impress her; and SHAUNA DICANIO (newcomer Dana DeLorenzo), a self-assured Jersey Girl who is indifferent to Mindy, always knows where the cool party is and carries a poorly concealed torch for Danny. Mindy is in constant communication with her beloved best friend from college, GWEN GRANDY (Anna Camp, “The Good Wife”), who also happens to be the governor’s daughter. Gwen is a hilarious, sometimes too-blunt friend, and secretly a former carefree party girl (which only Mindy seems to remember). Although Gwen is now happily married to a financial analyst, with a six-year-old daughter, this lawyer-turned-Pilates mom remains squarely in Mindy’s corner. As Mindy attempts to get her career off the ground and meet a guy who passes her red flag test (no drug habits, no skinny jeans and no secret families, among others), only time will tell if she gets her romantic comedy ending.
Our Take: Just when we think FOX has comedies figured out, they hit us with this. We’re not really sure what the big deal with Mindy Kaling is. She was funny on The Office but even that wore thin over the years and to be blunt, she’s kind of impossible to look at and we don’t mean that in a good way. So, that being said, we’re a little perplexed as to why anyone would think that she’s prime material to have her own series. As awful as Whitney is, Whitney Cummings is at least smoking hot and actually is quite funny. It makes sense that she would get her own show. This really doesn’t and not for nothing, this show doesn’t look completely horrible if you judge it exclusively on the merits of every other performance besides hers. She’s not just bland and again, difficult to look at, but she’s just playing the same Kelly Kapoor character that she played for eight years on The Office. Also, just from watching this clip, does it honestly look particularly original?
Chance of Renewal: If we were to judge The Mindy Project based on the merits of the performances of the supporting cast, we’d lean toward renewal but the problem is that if you don’t have a strong lead, your show is destined for failure. For crap’s sake, they’re dragging out Ed Helms in the pilot to give the show some credibility. That’s not very reassuring. Who’s next, Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson? So, despite the contrived popularity surrounding Mindy Kaling created by Hollywood, we don’t expect audiences will fall for it. We expect it to get a single season and that’s it.
The Mob Doctor – For most physicians, the Hippocratic oath is sacred. But for one Chicago doctor, who is indebted to the mafia, saving lives isn’t her only concern. THE MOB DOCTOR is a fast-paced medical drama featuring a brilliant young female cardiothoracic surgeon who is split between two distinct worlds as she juggles her promising medical career with her lifelong debt as a doctor to Chicago’s Southside mob. DR. GRACE DEVLIN (Jordana Spiro, “My Boys”) is a top resident at Chicago’s Roosevelt Medical Center. Smart and self-assured, she’s heralded as one of the country’s most promising young surgeons. But family ties keep her glued to her Southside roots. To pay off her brother’s life-threatening gambling debt, she makes a deal with the devil and agrees to work “off book” for the mafia men she once despised. During the day, Grace must deal with the emotionally compelling cases at Roosevelt Medical – a toddler in need of a heart transplant, an elderly man desperate to donate a lung to his sick wife, the mass chaos in the wake of a two-train collision on the ‘L.’ But in her other vastly different world, she must juggle an onslaught of mob-related demands, including operating in mob-sanctioned locations, removing bullets from dead bodies to hide incriminating evidence, saving a juiced-up race horse and covertly helping an aging mobster with his erectile dysfunction. All the while, Grace must keep her dual life a secret from everyone: her protective best friend, NURSE ROBERTA “RO” ANGELI (Floriana Lima, “Glory Daze”); her handsome, blue-blooded boyfriend, DR. BRETT ROBINSON (Zach Gilford, “Off The Map,” “Friday Night Lights”); her boss at Roosevelt Medical and Chief of Surgery, DR. STAFFORD WHITE (Zeljko Ivanek, “The Event,” “Damages”); her rival, DR. OLIVIA WATSON (Jaime Lee Kirchner, “Necessary Roughness,” “Mercy”); even her well-meaning screw-up brother, NATE (Jesse Lee Soffer, “As the World Turns”), and her overly dramatic mother, DANIELLA (Wendy Makkena, “NCIS”). The only one who knows the true scope of Grace’s activities is the man to whom Grace owes her debt: the charming and diabolical Southside mob boss CONSTANTINE ALEXANDER (William Forsythe, “Boardwalk Empire”), an oddly compassionate killer whose relationship with Grace is more than it seems. Recently released from prison, the former head of the Chicago mob looks to reclaim his place in the organization, with the help of his right-hand associate – and Grace’s ex-boyfriend – FRANCO (James Carpinello, “The Good Wife”). As Grace tries to heed the demands of these two conflicting worlds – not to mention the needs of her own slightly dysfunctional family – her moral center comes into direct conflict with the very immoral things she’s asked to do. But with nerves of steel and a tough-as-nails exterior, she somehow manages to make it all work – at least for now.
Our Take: Oh, how we really wanted to look forward to this show… then we got a minute into the trailer. This is just going to be stupid. It looks like an idiotic and cartoonish attempt to combine The Chicago Code and Prison Break. Let’s just dispense with the dopey premise right off the bat: the Mafia doesn’t kill people who owe them money because you can’t collect from a dead guy, ergo, there is no life-threatening gambling debt as described above. If you need a television reference for this, we refer you to how the Newark crew dealt with Danny Scatino’s (Robert Patrick) gambling debt in The Sopranos. And holy crap did they honestly just use the quote, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” While we’re at it, let’s quote some clichéd bits from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War because that hasn’t been done enough in film and television, either.
Chance of Renewal: Forget it. It’s a serial that’s lousy writing and dialogue is going to quickly make audiences lose interest. We expect a maximum of four episodes before FOX pulls the plug. Heck, this could be this season’s Lone Star but the difference will be that The Mob Doctor is going to suck.
The Following – The FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the “Scream” franchise). When notorious serial killer JOE CARROLL (James Purefoy, “Rome”) escapes from death row and embarks on a new killing spree, the FBI calls former agent RYAN HARDY (Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Bacon, “X-Men: First Class”) to consult on the case. Having since withdrawn from the public eye, Hardy was responsible for Carroll’s capture nine years ago, after Carroll murdered 14 female students on the Virginia college campus where he taught literature. Hardy is a walking textbook of all-things Carroll. He knows him better than anyone; he is perhaps Carroll’s only psychological and intellectual match. But the Ryan Hardy who broke the Carroll case years ago isn’t the same man today. Wounded both physically and mentally by his previous pursuit of this serial killer, it’s been a long time since Hardy has been in the field. This investigation is his redemption, his call to action. In contrast to nine years ago, Hardy isn’t calling the shots on this case. He works closely with an FBI team, which includes all-business and tough-as-nails JENNIFER MASON (Jeananne Goossen, “The Vow,” ALCATRAZ) and young, razor-sharp MIKE WESTON (Shawn Ashmore, “X-Men”).
The team considers Hardy to be more of a liability than an asset. But Hardy proves his worth when he uncovers that Carroll was covertly communicating with a network of killers in the outside world. It quickly becomes obvious that he has more planned than just a prison escape, and there’s no telling how many additional killers are out there. The FBI’s investigation leads Hardy to CLAIRE MATTHEWS (Natalie Zea, “Justified”), Carroll’s ex-wife and mother of the criminal’s 10-year-old son, JOEY (newcomer Kyle Catlett). Close during Hardy’s initial investigation, Hardy turns to Claire for insight into Carroll’s next move. The tension rises when Carroll’s accomplices kidnap his intended last victim from nine years ago. Hardy becomes ever more determined to end Carroll’s game when he realizes that this psychopath intends to finish what he started. The thriller will follow Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, masterminded by the devious Carroll, who dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his protagonist. The reinvigorated Hardy will get a second chance to capture Carroll, as he’s faced with not one but a cult of serial killers.
Our Take: Well, you had us at Kevin Bacon but this looks insanely good. There’s not a whole lot more to say on this one. This is feature film-quality stuff here as noted by the fantastic trailer below.
Chance of Renewal: Normally, we aren’t keen on serials that are mid-season replacements because they just have not historically done well on the major networks, however, this is a different story altogether. Not only does it have the Kevin Bacon star power, but it also has the amazing production values and let’s be completely honest, audiences do love their thrillers that revolve around serial killers. So, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that The Following will likely be picked up for a second season. We’re pretty sure that Kevin Reilly won’t have it any other way.
The Goodwin Games — Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when that will’s worth more than 20 million dollars, you can bet someone’s going to find a way to get the cash. From the executive producers of “How I Met Your Mother,” THE GOODWIN GAMES is a single-camera comedy that tells the story of three grown siblings who return home after their father’s death, and unexpectedly find themselves poised to inherit a vast fortune – if they adhere to their late father’s wishes. If any of the Goodwin kids feel like they deserve the money, then it’s HENRY (Scott Foley, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Felicity”), the eldest child and an overachieving surgeon. He sees himself as a role model for his less successful siblings – and reminds them every chance he gets. Returning home will force Henry to question the choices he’s made, especially as he reconnects with his first love and true soulmate, LUCINDA (Felisha Terrell, “Days of Our Lives”). Middle sibling CHLOE (Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”) was a child prodigy in math, and her unofficial role as “the smart one” of the family still sends Henry into fits of jealousy. But long ago, Chloe gave up academics in favor of being the popular girl. Now, through a series of hidden messages, her late father will lead Chloe back to her old love of numbers – and back to the person she’s meant to be. Of the three siblings, the youngest, JIMMY (Jake Lacy, “Better With You”), could use the inheritance the most. A small-time ex-con and dull-witted guitarist who’s deep in debt to a loan shark, Jimmy may be the family screw-up, but he has more heart than anyone. Like his siblings, Jimmy’s also returning to something in this town: his eight-year-old daughter. Pulling the strings from beyond the grave is the children’s late father, BENJAMIN (guest star Beau Bridges, “The Descendants”), a college math professor. Guilty over not parenting his kids better, Benjamin has left behind a series of unique challenges – administered by his estate attorney APRIL (newcomer Melissa Tang). Through these tasks, Benjamin hopes he can get his children to rediscover their true selves and learn the lessons he failed to instill in them while he was alive. Their potential reward? More than 20 million dollars – a fortune that they never knew their father had – and the chance to become the people their father wanted them to be. So let THE GOODWIN GAMES begin!
Our Take: Well, this is certainly a clever and unique little show, isn’t it? This looks surprisingly entertaining and it has kind of a My Name is Earl vibe to it… y’know… before it got stupid. We hate comedies, but this looks like fun.
Chance of Renewal: Sure, why not?