At the Fox upfront: 'Glee'-full laughs, Spielberg crosses 'Battlestar Galactica' with 'Jurassic Park'

The cast of Glee got a work-out at Fox’s unveiling of its new fall and mid-season line-up. Jane Lynch, dressed in full Sue Sylvester track-suit with bullhorn regalia, began by introducing Fox exec Kevin Reilly, chiding his “local weatherman good looks.” And the kids sang Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” to close out the presentation.

In between, clips were shown from fall and mid-season shows. The standard disclaimer obtains: opinions solely based on clips; shows could get better or worse once entire episodes are seen.

Lonestar: Reilly called it “a modern-day Dallas” and it features a drawling Jon Voight as the head of “a multi-million-dollar corporation.” But the youth-demo draw will be James Wolk as a con-man who sets out to fleece Voight only to fall in love with his daughter (yay, Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki!). Could be soapy fun.

Raising Hope: A sitcom from producer Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) that looked a tad, a bit, a smidge, like Raising Arizona. A young, clueless single dad (Lucas Neff) tries to raise his baby daughter with the dubious help of his parents, amiable working-class lugs played to the hilt by Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt. I love both Plimpton and Dillahunt, and I laughed at the clip’s joke about Charles Manson. And I don’t laugh about Manson too often, do you?

Running Wilde: Apparently the folks who brought you Arrested Development took to heart the post-cancellation hindsight wisdom that AD lacked, er, heart. So their new sitcom is a love story, albeit a wacky one. Will Arnett is a doofy millionaire trying to woo an old girlfriend — Keri Russell playing a volunteer do-gooder. The premise is promising, and Arnett and Russell act as though they’re in a 1930s screwball comedy. Which we can only hope is the tone Running Wilde achieves.

The Good Guys: Bradley Whitford and Colin hanks as screw-up cops, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix. You can read my review of next week’s preview episode in the latest issue of EW. The promos invoke the Whitford character’s 1980s-style moustache so often, you’d think the ‘stache was the third co-star.

But it’s Fox’s mid-season shows that look most intriguing:

Ride-Along: From The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, a tough little police show set in Chicago with the superb Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) as its hero. Plus Jennifer Beals and Delroy Lindo, both being super-hard-boiled. I admit it: I’m a sucker for shows like this.

Terra Nova: No real clips of this were shown, but co-producer Stephen Spielberg beamed in to help describe a promising series about a future (“2149 A.D.”) in which Earth is over-populated, so a group of people are sent back in time to pioneer… what, exactly, I’m not sure: a new settlement where over-crowded future-people will want to go and take their chances with dinosaurs? Yes: There will be dinosaurs. It’s like Battlestar Galactica + Jurassic Park % Land of the Lost. Could be great; could be a folly.

Bottom line: With struggling series such as Lie To Me and Human Target on its fall schedule, Fox has some work to do. They also need to maybe move the fast-becoming-great Fringe and promote it a helluva lot more! Nary a mention was made of American Idol, perhaps because Reilly didn’t want wracked sobs to drown him out at the reminder that the once-unstoppable show will lose Simon Cowell next time around.

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Comments (30 total) Add your comment
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  • Alan of Montreal

    Martha Plimpton is playing a mom? now I’m really feeling old! And whatever happened to that animated sitcom that the Arrested Development folks were working on? Is that now defunct?

    • Alia

      Not just a mom… looks to me like she’s playing a grandma!

      • Elle

        I totally think she looks young enough to be the guy’s sister. She looks great.

    • Erik

      The AD sitcom you’re referring to, Sit Down Shut Up, already aired and has been canceled. You can catch re-runs on Comedy Central, where they just started airing.

    • Mac

      Jeez, that’s what I was thinking. I had to look her up on to see how old she was (4 yrs older than me!). She was in Goonies, right?

  • rb

    Raising Hope looks very charming

  • MaryJane

    Dinosaurs and spaceships, huh? OK, that sounds original. Now, what kind of scripts are they going to do? I hope it’s better than some of the other crap I’ve seen proposed for the new season.

    • Johnification

      Future people immigrating to the past…wasn’t that a South Park episode?

      • E

        “They’re taking our jerbs!” yes, it was, minus dinosaurs.

        Those shows actually look pretty decent. The cop show looks like a good replacement for 24.

  • Barry

    Ride-Along belongs on FX to play when Justified & Sons of Anarchy are on hiatus.

    • Amber

      Agreed! The trailer looks good but being on network will water it down.

  • Austin

    TOTALLY agree about Fringe! I was dangling on by strings all last year, the season finale kept me around, but this season has just gotten better and better. Sheesh, part 1 of this year’s finale was one of the coolest TV episodes I’ve ever seen. I know that somehow they’re going to top the World Trade Center shocker from last season, and I’m going to freak out.

    Fringe = my savior after Lost is gone.

  • kyle

    Rising Hope & Racing Wilde seem like good shows.

  • Kay

    Actually, Raising Hope looks pretty good. I will definately check that one out.

  • Dav

    Good Guys has me based solely on Bradley Whitford and the Burn Notice cred. I don’t even need to know what it’s about.

  • Jamie

    Ride-Along looks promising, but i don’t know if it will work on network tv.

  • Lorie

    The first 3 look promising.

    I loved James Wolk in his recent Hallmark movie, and I’m a big fan of Martha Plimpton, Will Arnett and Keri Russell.

    Thanks for posting these videos.

  • Mandi

    Surprised Shawn Ryan would leave the freedom of FX for a network show. No way he gets to do something as good as the Shield on a network. Otherwise, a couple things looked very decent. Lonestar? Not so much. Don’t think I could stand a story about a con-man like that.

    • Elle

      I think the character is too similar to Sawyer from Lost. Not very original.

  • E.

    Wow, Lonestar looks unusually ambitious and intriguing for a network show… Will definitely check it out. The comedies look pretty good, too.

  • Carrie

    Raising Hope looks pretty good, actually- Martha Plimpton looks spectacular and I adore her, so I’m in for at least the first three episodes.

  • Carrie

    And I’ll be checking out Running Wilde as well- Will Arnett deserves at least a few spots in my DVR.

  • m

    they DO need to promote Fringe more!! They failed to promote Arrested Development properly too, even after it won a myriad of awards.

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