As we speak, television networks are in the middle of “up front season.” That means the broadcast networks (and a few of their cable brethren) are showing off potential new shows to advertisers. The interest (or lack thereof) that Frito-Lay and General Motors show in these series will decide A) which ones go on the air in fall, and B) how much the networks are gonna charge to advertise on them. Weeding through the crop of possible new shows, there are a few that catch our eye.
“American Judy” (ABC)—Judy Greer is what you call a comic ringer. Every cameo she makes (be it “Arrested Development” or The Descendants) is enough to steal the spotlight from some very talented people. This sitcom—about a city gal who moves to the suburbs and encounters her husband’s weird family—sounds fairly standard. But if anyone can make it a winner, it’s Greer.
“Arrow” (The CW)—Despite some occasional epic silliness (Doomsday? Lana is a vampire? Jimmy Olsen isn’t Jimmy Olsen?), The CW did an entertaining job of turning Superboy into a weekly series. Now, DC Comics’ bow-wielding vigilante Green Arrow gets a gritty, twentysomething revamp.
“Elementary” (CBS)—We love the BBC’s modern take on Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, so why not let Johnny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) and Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels) give it a go?
“Friday Night Dinner” (NBC)—Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) and Allison Janney (“The West Wing”) star in this remake of a popular Britcom about Jewish parents who invite their adult children over for Shabbat dinner every Friday. “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” executive producer Greg Daniels is cooking it up.
“Gilded Lilys” (ABC)—We all went crazy for “Downton Abby,” and this may just be jumping that historical soap opera bandwagon. But the fancy setting (the first luxury hotel in 1895 NYC) and fine cast (“Torchwood” hunk John Barrowman, Gwyneth Paltrow mama Blythe Danner) make this a gotta-see.
“Last Resort” (ABC)—In the war-torn near-future, crewmen of a nuclear submarine refuse to fire its weapons. Naturally, they head to an island in the Pacific and declare themselves a sovereign nation (with nukes). “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell are behind the tense-sounding pilot.
“Revolution” (NBC)—TV is into postapocalyptic stuff this season. Here, Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”) and J.J. Abrams (“Lost”) team up for a tale of ordinary people trying to survive after electricity and all other forms of energy mysteriously vanish.
“The Selection” (The CW)—CW mashes-up “The Hunger Games” and “The Bachelor” for this drama about a young gal (Aimee Teegarden from “Friday Night Lights”) in a dystopian future chosen as a contestant on a TV reality competition. The winner gets to marry a rich prince.
“Untitled Kevin Williamson Project” (FOX)—Williamson (Scream, “Dawson’s Creek”) is responsible for this weekly thriller about a serial killer (James Purefoy, “Rome”) who escapes from jail and is pursued by the FBI agent who put him away (Kevin Bacon!). Making matters way worse, our villain has secretly trained an entire army of crazy serial killers.
“Untitled Mindy Kaling Project” (FOX)—Not only is Mindy Kaling one of the funniest people on “The Office,” she’s also written, directed and produced a lot of the episodes. Here, she gets her own sitcom, playing a Bridget Jones-ish OB/GYN.