Teen TV: What Will They Be Watching This Fall
- May 18th, 2011
- 2 Comments
This week, the major TV networks got all dressed up to court advertisers at their upfront presentations. They casually announced several show cancellations — “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” “Hellcats,” “$#*! My Dad Says,” and many, many more — to make room for a whole new slate of shows debuting in the fall and winter. While some networks (ahem, CBS) have not-so-subtly hinted that they could care less about younger viewers, others are adding shows that might just win over the teen and college markets. Here’s the rundown on a few could-be hits…
“Smash” is a new musical series that tells the story of the writers, director, singers, dancers, and producers of a Broadway hit about Marilyn Monroe. Although the network denies it (of course), the show is trying to capture a little of that “Glee” magic that has teenagers tuning in and buying up singles on iTunes. The major differences between the shows are that “Smash” isn’t set in high school and, rather than covering hits, will feature original music. Like “A Chorus Line” a few decades ago, it shows the drama kids and “Gleeks” what they’re aspiring to, which sounds like a recipe for success, especially when you throw in Angelica Huston and “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee.
The Peacock is also offering up “Grimm,” a take on shape-shifters and fairy tales from the producers of “Buffy” and “Angel.” Think werewolves attacking girls in red hoodies. Grimm, a police officer investigating the attacks, just happens to be descended from the Grimm family who can see the shape-shifters for what they are. This one could go either way depending on how tired teens are of werewolves (or if they’re on Team Edward).
Not surprisingly, “Glee” was front and center in the network’s upfront, but what else does it have to offer teens and college students? Adding to the network’s “Animation Domination” (literally!) will be “Napoleon Dynamite,” based on the movie, which was kinda meh, and “Allen Gregory,” from and starring Jonah Hill, about a precocious little genius about to enter (gasp!) public elementary school. We think the latter has a better shot, but we’re a little biased against the former.
Were Fox execs wearing Sperry topsiders and Ray-Bans at the upfronts, because the net is definitely getting very hipster. “The New Girl” stars indie princess Zooey Deschanel, fresh from a breakup, moving in to a new apartment with a bunch of dudes. And she likes to sing (big surprise coming from half of She and Him). They all become friends as the guys help her get over her ex. Awww. The show has potential, but the premise could wear thin after a few episodes.
Of course FOX’s most talked about show is still Simon Cowell’s “X Factor.” And if you’ve seen “American Idol,” you pretty much know what to expect with this one.
ABC is struggling. When “Dancing with the Stars” is a network’s best show, boy is it struggling. But ABC is offering up a few shows in an attempt to snag the younger demographic.
“Once Upon A Time” is its take on the supernatural themes that are rampant in YA novels. The show is about residents of a small town who are really characters from fairy tales — you’ve got your evil queen, your Snow White, etc. — but they don’t realize they’re fairly tale characters. (When did TV shows about fairy tales become a trend?!) The show has some big names — Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison — but we don’t hold out much hope that this show will make it beyond one season.
“Revenge” is a drama (read “soap opera”) about a young girl avenging her father. Set in the Hamptons, it has a “Gossip Girl” feel, and even poached one of the cast members (Connor Paolo, a.k.a. Eric). Think beaches, bikinis, lavish parties, and luxury brands. This is another that could go either way depending on whether it can entice lapsed “Gossip Girl” viewers.
Perhaps the reason the network chooses not to focus on younger audiences is because it allows The CW, its joint venture with Warner Bros., to do so. CBS’s new slate of shows doesn’t look very appealing to teens and college students, but they’re sure to be excited about the shows The CW is launching.
“The Secret Circle,” about a coven of teenage witches in New Salem, is based on the book series from the same writer as “The Vampire Diaries.” Fans will find familiar struggles for power and love triangles in this series, which has to potential to become a guilty pleasure.
“H8er” is a celebreality show introducing celebs to their biggest detractors. We can only imagine the fireworks that ensue. The success of this show hinges on the draw of the celebs producers can convince to faceoff with their anti-fans.
The net is also debuting “Hart of Dixie” starring Rachel Bilson, who is reunited with “The O.C.” producer on this drama. The show is about a New York City doctor who inherits a practice in a small southern town. It might sound familiar, but we suspect most teens haven’t seen “Doc Hollywood.” We haven’t seen a trailer for this show, but we’re a wondering how well Bilson can pull of playing a doctor.
Stay tuned this fall for reviews of a few of these new shows from the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board…