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Spring 2012 Preview and Predictions: Fox

4 Jan

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Spring note:  It’s a lot harder to analyze midseason shows as there’s no collective marketing campaigns going on at one time, as many of the shows start dates are spread (or are even unannounced for some)  Still, we’ll take partially educated guesses.  Also, they’re a lot less likely to get partial pick ups, so maybe that trade off will make it easier)

Fox next.  While not CBS, Fox has been doing well lately, especially among the valued 18-49 demographic.  They’ll be debuting four shows this spring, including a spin-off, a movie port, and a couple of supernatural sci-fi efforts.

The Finder – 1/12

The Finder is a spin-off of Fox hit Bones, created by Bones’ creator Hart Hanson.  That’s really the most important detail here, but we’ll dig a bit further.  The spin-off will be taken from characters introduced in the sixth season of Bones specficailly for the purpose of spinning them off.  The main character, the titular Finder, is to be a House-like figure – eccentric, offensive, paranoid but brilliant and excessively competent.  His particular skill is well, finding things, anything, from people to places to things and he works out of his lawyer’s bar in Key West.

Verdict:  Renewed – I’m not sure what to think again here, but I’ll err with renewal on the Bones brand name.  It’s easy to overlook just how successful Bones has become for Fox, and if any of its magic could rub off on the spin off, Fox could really use a replacement for the likely soon to be departed House.

Alcatraz – 1/16

JJ Abrams executively produces this supernatural science fiction show about a few San Francisco detectives who realize that modern day crimes appear to be committed by people who were Alcrataz prisoners several decades ago.  The main character’s family worked in Alcatraz so she’s super interested, and comes up against a sinister government employee played by Sam Neill who tries to stymie the nascent investigation. The detectives bring in Alcatraz expert and all around nerd Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) to help out and learn that this conspiracy goes all the way to the top.  Well, it goes somewhere anyway.

Verdict:  Renewed – I realize I’m a sucker for all of these supernatural sci-fi premises.  The shows often don’t work, crumbling under their own weight either right away, or after a couple of seasons, but at the beginning they sound so interesting, novel, and full of potential.

Touch – 1/25

Kiefer Sutherland is back on Fox, this time as father of an autistic boy who has the power to predict future events (Knowing anyone?  Mercury Rising?).  Oh, and Sutherland’s wife and the boy’s mother died (same person) in 9/11 (seriously, what’s the statute of limitations on shows/movies/books in which 9/11 is a peripheral but IMPORTANT part).  Danny Glover co-stars as an expert on children who works with the boy.  The show is from Tim Kring who I’m still angry at deep in my bones for everything associated with Heroes.

Verdict:  12-  After what happened to Heroes, I have no faith in Kring.  Kiefer’s good, but the premise doesn’t wow me.

Napoleon Dynamite – 1/15

Based on the movie, Napoleon Dynamite will follow the adventures of the title character, along with his brother, his best friend Pedro, and others, all of whom will be voiced by the actors who played them in the film.  Presumably, the show will share the same sense of humor as the film which became a surprise hit, and part of the stable of required viewing for anyone who went to college when I did (See: Donnie Darko, Requiem for a Dream).  Personally, while there were certainly funny parts, I’ve always thought the movie was highly overrated, but I appear to have been outvoted on this.

Verdict:  Renewed –  I’m definitely 50/50 here.  It’s an established property and the movie probably appealed to many of the people who are fans of the Fox animation block.  Also, it’s got the same creative team, so that helps it not be a cheap knock off.  I have my doubts, but Fox could use a non-McFarlane non-Simpsons animated success in the mix.