[Updated with new show info on 1/12/2016]
Ever since Fox announced its 2015-16 lineup, the Internet has been buzzing. Some of its upcoming shows look like complete slam dunks. Others still have “early cancellation” written all over them in bright red sharpie. Right now, Fox’s upcoming programming is residing in that wonderful world of potentiality, where everything is the next big hit and nothing is a bad idea. That of course goes away the second people see the pilot, but this is a time for speculation and early snap-judgement.
So first off, what already isn’t working: Rosewood, which premiered on September 23, already has a bottom-of-the-barrel 7% rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes. The network-written synopsis reads like a parody show it would have used in the end-credits of Forgetting Sarah Marhsall, setting the seen as we “meet Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Junior, the most brilliant private pathologist in Miami, who uses his wildly sophisticated autopsy lab, to perform for-hire autopsies to uncover clues that the Miami PD can’t see.” Rosewood also happens to be incredibly buff, handsome, and clever, so that’ll be fun, too?
The rest of the lineup Fox has coming through looks decidedly solid, led by a trio of sci-fi and fantasy shows with intriguing concepts.
1. Lucifer (premieres January 25, 2016)
We already have a full-length trailer for this one to set the scene. The devil himself has left Hell, choosing to give up on his life as the Prince of Darkness and live amongst humanity as an unassuming club owner. But other heavenly forces are at work, intent to return him down below to resume his role as evil incarnate. In the meantime, he teams up with a police officer to help solve the murder of a girl gunned down outside his establishment. It has just as much potential to be terrible as it does to be brilliant (think Sleepy Hollow, circa Season 1). That said, it has thousands of years of literature and mythology to draw from, while giving us a new angle at the fallen angel they call Lucifer Morningstar.
2. Minority Report (premiered September 21, 2015)
This one’s been in the works for awhile now, as a TV adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s hit movie of the same name from 2002. It’s set 10 years after the pre-crime unit has been shut down, with the pre-cogs trying to live normal lives as future-telling murder psychics. For the show, one of them teams up with a detective in Washington, D.C. as they attempt to decipher the bits and pieces of his visions to basically do what the Minority Report movie did, only with far fewer resources. Unfortunately, despite the initial positive hype, the show has failed to achieve significant ratings. As recently reported by The Wrap, 21st Century Fox head James Murdoch even called Minority Report a “disappointment” during the company’s recent earnings report. Cue the “pre-cogs-didn’t-see-that-one-coming” jokes.
3. The Grinder (premiered September 29, 2015)
Following his successful run on Park and Recreation, Rob Lowe has likely had no shortage of offers. For now though, he’s moving over to Fox for The Grinder, playing an actor coming off an eight-year run as a fictional big-shot lawyer. Now he’s off TV, and a celebrity to the real world. His role then inspires him to try and be a real lawyer, learning from his brother played by Fred Savage. Fox seems confident enough in it to push New Girl to 2016, so here’s hoping its trust hasn’t been misplaced. While freshman comedies are always difficult to get off the ground, The Grinder has received mostly positive reviews, and Fox recently bumped its season up from 13 to 22 episodes.
4. The X-Files (premiered January 24, 2016)
The X-Files are back, and fans are excited. After over a decade off the air, everyone’s favorite paranormal investigators slash FBI agents Mulder and Scully return. This new series will be run by its original creator Chris Carter and will bring back most of the original cast for the much-anticipated reboot. It’s not a full-on return though, with Fox opting instead for a six-episode miniseries. The prevailing theory is that each episode will act as a self-contained story, but whatever they end up doing will still be giving audiences exactly what they’ve wanted for years: more X-Files. [Update, 1/25/2016: Read our review of the first episode of the new miniseries here.]
5. Scream Queens (premiered September 22, 2015)
Ryan Murphy’s latest foray into horror takes us away from FX’s American Horror Story and onto network TV with Scream Queens. The official synopsis describes the show as “part black comedy, part slasher flick,” which may be why the critics at Rotten Tomatoes describe it as, “Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts.” However, Murphy has shown ability in the past to craft within the genre, so we’ll have to see how he does over the long term in a slightly more family-friendly environment (aka network television).
6. Second Chance (premiered January 13, 2016)
Continuing the theme of classic monsters from film and literature being re-imagined in modern day America, Fox brings us Second Chance (previously titled The Frankenstein Code and Lookinglass during production). It’s not quite Mary Shelley’s tale beat-for-beat, instead telling the story of a disgraced ex-sheriff being brought back from the dead in his younger body to solve the mystery of his death and save his son from the same people who offed him. There also appears to be some odd rule that requires him to return to some hibernation tank every 24-hours, but that isn’t really address explicitly in the teaser. Regardless, this could be either the best thing to hit Fox in years, or a horribly misguided trainwreck. [Update, 1/25/2016: After airing two episodes, Fox opted to move ‘Second Chance’ from the Wednesday night 9 p.m. slot, to the Friday 9 p.m. slot, which is generally considered a less desirable air time.]
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