Upfront – Part Une

Upfronts is one of my favourite times in the TV year. It’s the time when we get to see clips and trailers for the new series’ debuting in the autumn or that’ll be airing mid-season. Here we can start to decide which one might become our favourite new show or which could be the next breakout hit. It’s an exciting time as a fresh crop of shows and talent are being announced and introduced.

However, it’s now that we learn which shows have been renewed and which have been cancelled (goodbye Secret Circle, screw you CW! *sniffs*) Just a few days ago the final Desperate Housewives episode aired and, while it may have run out a steam towards the end, it certainly had a great run. It came out in 2005 which was a great year for new shows and television in general. It was the year that we got Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and, the gone too soon, Veronica Mars – again, screw you CW!

It’ll be interesting to see what this year brings. If we’ve learnt anything from some of the shows that didn’t make it, it’s that being compared to shows from that era can perhaps be part of your downfall. Lots of new series’ have tried to be the next Lost with a big mystery element like the cancelled The Event. Then there’s GCB (previously known as Good Christian Bitches… and then Good Christian Belles and then GCB… Zzzzz, are you keeping up?) The soapy and sudsy GCB was marketed or suggested to be a Southern Desperate Housewives, but it never lived up to those standards and has been quickly axed from ABC’s schedule.

What I like about the two adverts for The Following and Revolution (I will discuss these in the next blog) is that they both look like movie trailers; much like the trailer for NBC’s ill-fated Awake* did last upfronts or for past shows such as Lost and Heroes. I find that exciting. People so often look down their nose at television as if it’s film’s less talented kid sister, but TV has come, and continues to come, a long way.

They can now do a lot of what we see in movies on TV and even better they can do things you don’t have time for in film. In a movie you spend maybe an hour and half with the characters (unless there’s a crappy sequel), but with a show you get to hang out with these people every week for an hour or a half, for weeks, months, years. Perhaps for 3 years or 7 or 10. You get to watch these people grow and change. Their relationships blossom or fall apart. Go on a journey with them. That is my favourite part of TV: being able to completely invest in the characters, their world, their friendships and relationships and watching all those things evolve over the years. That is something film just doesn’t really have the time to do to the same degree and that’s one thing that make’s TV really special.

Read Upfronts – Part Deux now.

*I loved last year’s movie quality trailer for NBC’s Awake and while I liked the show, and its lead Jason Isaacs, for me it never quite lived up to what was shown there. It’ll be interesting to see if my instincts are better this time and if these new shows deliver on what these clips promise.