Television upfronts week continues. More panel discussions! More weird Photshops of the casts of shows standing in front of ugly Photoshopped backdrops in some kind of mega-Photoshop nightmare that serve some mysterious purpose that civilians could not possibly understand. Is it supposed to promote the show somehow? Probably, but how does THAT work? Everyone looks like a plasticface in a child’s diorama, and no one DVR’s shows because of the cast photos. Whatever. We talked a little bit yesterday about what the new fall shows were going to be like but now we have new trailers from FOX and ABC, soooo:


Here’s the trailer for the Zooey Deschanel sitcom, New Girl:

Why is she talking like that? Also, this is one of those Hollywood situations where they try and convince you that an attractive woman is not particularly attractive and it is like, OK, right, sure, Hollywood, but also not so much. Like, how is this trailer three minutes long and none of those dudes tries to sleep with her? I call shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans, they are making an animated series based on Napoleon Dynamite?

Ugh. No comment.

Meanwhile, here is a preview of another new animated show starring Jonah Hill called Allen Gregory:

Let me guess what the pitch of this show was like. “You know Family Guy? Now imagine that the whole show was just about that fucking baby or whatever.” I’m just saying that super-precocious children forced to live the lives of actual children rings familiar. Maybe this cartoon about the baby in a suit will be great!

On the dramatic side of things, here is the trailer for the Steven Spielberg dinosaur drama Terra Nova:

Haha. Welcome to paradise, indeed. It’s like they say, if you want to make a dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare omelet, you’ve got to break a couple of DINOSAURS. This show looks promising enough, although I’m already plugging my ears up for the inevitable explanations of what the “butterfly effect” is and why it doesn’t apply in this case.

JJ Abrams’s Alcatraz trailer, you guys:

Whatever. What? A criminal from the 1840s running around San Francisco? I’m on the edge of my seat, I’m sure. “Why did they all disappear from that prison? I don’t know, let’s order some Mr. Clucks call the stupid Fringe police.”


There are a bunch of new sitcoms coming to ABC and each of them looks worse than the last! Like, even this one, Suburgatory, starring Cheryl Hines and Jeremy Sisto, both of whom are good at their job of acting, looks so bad!

Not interested in that? How about a new show from Tim Allen with anti-Obamacare jokes just kidding!

I mean, I’m not kidding, that is what this is, but I don’t think this is for us. Unfortunately, I’m sure it is for millions of others. Oh well! Besides, both Suburgatory and Last Man Standing are as nothing compared with WHATEVER THE HELL THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE:

Good grief. Does anyone have the number for the upfronts? Is it just 1-800-upfronts? Because we need to call it in and shut it down.

ABC’s dramatic stuff is a little bit better kind of I GUESS. There is the Mad Men rip-off, Pan Am:

Sure. Costumes! Wall-paneling! Life magazine! At least it’s more original and interesting than this reboot of Charlie’s Angels:

Hollywood knows that just because something is a franchise doesn’t mean you HAVE to reboot it constantly, right? Just kidding. They do not know that!

How about some spooky monsters on a boat or something?

Could go either way! The River could be the new Lost and could be the new The Event. (Also I am not actually sure that this could go either way. It looks like Ghost Ship. And it looks as cheap as Ghost Ship looked.)

Revenge is a prime-time soap opera for adults I guess.

I mean, of course it is. It’s called Revenge!

Huh. Well. So. Nothing looks that great! Classic TV upfront situation. You can see a few more previews here and here and here and here if you want, but I promise, it’s not going to get any better. Give me Justified or give me BOOKS.

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Comments (101)
  1. Zooey Deschanel pretty much guarantees that I’ll watch something at least once. I like to think I’m being pretty “up front” about that.

  2. This should be called “New Shows For Gabe To Recap” Week, yes you have to write about all what 50 of them, no sleep for Gabe ever

  3. If New Girl and Terra Nova were smart, they’d combine in order to make a Zooey D vehicle where she rides dinosaurs through Brooklyn, chasing down the bad guys who kidnapped her sexy roommates.

  4. Jurassic Parkatar starring fake Harry Potter and fake John Hamm looks pretty damn good.

    No Flash Forwardo

  5. “…here is the trailer for the Steven Spielberg dinosaur drama…”

    Soak that in for a second, people. Those words were tossed out there pretty casually.

  6. No joke, my dad loves Napoleon Dynamite, so he is going to be super excited about the cartoon.

    • That’s a good point, dads need entertainment too. Take my dad for example, and his love-hate obsession with Jackass where he pretends to hate it but then tried to tell me about something that happened in Jackass 2 and started laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe.

  7. I know you said ‘no comment’ Gabe, but allow me to comment on the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon. What a magnificent piece of shit.

  8. I tweeted this in the morning but it bears a repeat: When God closes an “According to Jim” he opens a “New Girl”.

  9. I watched the trailer for “The New Girl” and I basically thought it looked like a joke trailer? Like, if SNL decided to do a really subtle sketch about how shitty some TV shows are, they’d make this, with Deschanel as a special guest.
    I have no explanation for anyone making a show that obviously bad. What is she doing there? What is happening? HOW’D IT GET BURNED?

  10. I’m not sure if Cheryl Hines has children, but I consider her a MILF [/paradox]

  11. Does “Work It” take place in an alternate universe where “Tootsie” never happened and no one knows what transvestites are? Because I don’t want to live in that world.

  12. How did they convince the entire cast of Napoleon Dynamite to leave their lucrative movie careers? It must be a passion project since they all believe so strongly in the source material

  13. This is slightly off-topic. But with all this talk about how cable networks want to be broadcast networks, I thought it was interesting enough to bring up.

    Last month the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the USA Network, saying that Comcast loves it because it has an “asset value” of about $13.4 Billion. NBC is only worth $1.4 Billion.

    So USA is worth 9 times what NBC is worth? Can anyone explain that to me?

    • So I should buy stock in SVU reruns?

    • Let’s do it using sandwiches:

      NBC is producing a turd sandwich every single day, save for Thursday evenings when they break out the “fancy” ham, the various breads, bacon, some nice Italian cheese or whatever and they toast and deep fry that shit until everyone LOVES it; can’t get enough and they even start websites just TALKING about these sandwiches, but most people are so bored/”ugh!” with what they serve most of the time, they don’t bother to come back to the restaurant to give it a chance.

      Meanwhile, USA is Jimmy Johns – fast, effortless sandwiches that aren’t the best thing you’ve ever eaten, but enough that they’ve got repeat customers every day who want something simple that doesn’t cost a whole lot to make or reinvent the wheel.

      In that scenario, Jimmy Johns beats turd sandwich every day of the week and twice on weekends with Pirates of the Carribean marathons (“DAVY JONES! GIANT SQUID!”)

      • That does make sense. But then, if I’m a Comcast exec, and I just bought NBC Universal, I would only care about what happens on my more-valuable USA Network. And would consider shutting NBC down, in order to focus on creating another USA-type network.

        That’s slightly worrying, yes?

        • It IS worrying, but if there are no NBC-type networks, then USA won’t have any canceled network shows to run in syndication, thereby making a crap ton of money for just a little money down.

    • You know Housewives be loving Wings

    • Basically, asset value is the perceived value of the USA brand from now until continuing on indefinitely.

      Like lets say I have a script. That script is worth whatever I say it is. Or whatever analysts say it is. Movie studios have scripts and fully shot films that they just sit on because until those films are released they only have a perceived value, not an actual value. So the asset value of USA, with all it’s hit shows and brand loyalty (you know exactly the kind of show you’ll get when you turn on USA), is much higher than NBC where as brianfantana said below, you get one good night a week and the rest is just shit. And even that good night doesn’t compare to NCIS or American Idol or So You Think You Can Lose Weight or whatever.

      Does that make sense? Because that’s just my understanding and I could be totally wrong.

      • Also: Bruce Campbell

        And wrestling, which in terms of cable at least, is almost always number 1 or close to it on Monday Nights.

        Also, with NBC there is a bunch of affiliates and stuff, so a lot of stuff it does is local, while the USA channel is basically the same no matter where it gets sent to.

        Also, it was the network that brought us Duckman.

    • Psych is pretty fucking awesome. I think that’s essentially it.

    • I believe they are talking about net assets, so it doesn’t mean that USA is smaller than NBC, it means that NBC has more liabilities or losses than USA.

      This is not surprising because NBC shows bleed money, while USA shows, with their low production value and high ratings, must make money hand over fist.

      Thank you, this has been financegum,

  14. Suburgatory sounds like a Brokencyde opening act

  15. If we are going to talk about TV stuff, can we talk about Game of Thrones and how great it is? Horse decapitation! Inappropriate breastfeeding! Man-scaping! Eyeball stabbing! So great.

  16. yeah man. justified is a hot show.

  17. Betting pool on the first to be canceled? I’d say Napoleon Dynamite cartoon, but it’s on Fox, so it’ll probably last forever. Instead, I’m going with Pan Am.

  18. Having read the pilot script for Pan Am, I can safely say that it is more than a Mad Men rip off. I was prepared to hate it for that exact reason, but it actually turned out (the script any way) to be halfway decent.

  19. Wait, how can Damon Wayans Jr. be on Happy Endings but then also get a job on The New Girl? Does his character on Happy Endings die?

    Someone help!

  20. Where can I submit my resume to be President of Television?

  21. Cheyl Hines was more attractive in curb your enthusiasm

  22. I think a better rule for time travel than “The Butterfly Effect” is “Whatever Happened, Happened.” I get the idea behind The Butterfly Effect, but it doesn’t make sense because you are already affecting your surroundings (ie the past) by being there, so what does it matter if you step on a butterfly. In the grand scheme of things, it probably won’t matter.

    Alternately, maybe they are going back in time to take advantage of The Butterfly Effect, which doesn’t really make sense. This takes place almost 150 years in the future and we’re pretty much fine now, so I doubt the problem with their lives lies 85 million years ago.


    • I think the problem is just overpopulation, and they’re going back in time to colonize the same world when it was less populated. Obviously they didn’t give a lot of thought to the extinction event and stuff.

  23. I was not won over by the Terra Nova trailer because it looks dumb. Also I did not see my favorite dinosaur, the dimetrodon (aka the best dinosaur). Look, here’s one now!

  24. Gabe, can I submit “A Sound of Thunder” to the WMOAT? Also, “Terra Nova” is clearly based on the Bradbury short story that led to “A Sound of Thunder.”

    • I remember reading some sort of cinema magazine in January 2008 where Edward Burns was being interviewed to promote his brand new amazing movie ‘One Missed Call’, and he trash talked A Sound of Thunder, saying it was the worst mistake of his life and he was proud that he was now a part of a thrilling, suspenseful story such as One Missed Call.

      One Missed Call ended up being the worst reviewed movie of 2008.

  25. i am 12 and what is this

  26. Jeremy Sisto is playing a sitcom dad? I feel as old as Gabe.

  27. Terra Nova, more like Terra NOva, you feel me?

  28. Ok, I’m sold on Alcatraz.

    Also did you know that in the 1970s, members of the American Indian Movement occupied Alcatraz island for a year and a half demanding reparations for their treatment?

    And that is something no one ever talks about and I only found out after visiting San Francisco. Weird.

  29. How come all the ABC comedies seem like Disney shows with adults only casts? Oh right, because Disney owns ABC and every piece of crap that goes on there. I’m burying my head in the sand until The Wire comes back for a reunion season.

  30. I will watch Terra Nova and the monsters on ships because I like things with monsters, and also pretty islands with adventures, like Lost was supposed to be before it went crazy.

    I will also watch any Mad Men ripoffs, because Mad Men gets stalled ALL THE TIME and I need something to fill the void. Insert joke about Jon Hamm filling voids here.

  31. With the success of Modern Family and its positive representations of gay partners raising a child, we should definitely now return to the ol’ “straight guys cross-dressing because they want to bang women” routine!

  32. I know everyone loves zooey deschanel because she is the UNIVERSES favourite indie girl, i did too, but one day after unfortunatley stumbling into her twitter (the end of the internet) and also watching 500 days of barf i slowly began to categorize her as ‘stars that get too much credit for doing nothing/not doing what their doing very well”. After seeing the trailer for “The New Girl”, this feeling has only increased, as have the barfz.

    • UGH and every time I see her commercial for cotton (also, why are there commercials for cotton? “Excuse me, I’d like to see only your selection of clothes/housewares that are cotton. NO BLENDS”) my eyes fall out of my head. She’s made me irrationally angry ever since she made this face for the entire movie The Happening (The Happening for WMOAT!)

      BUT her mom was in Twin Peaks, so…



  34. Depressing line up. Especially Pan Am. The bad old days where men were men and women were SOL.

  35. I started double-fisting the upfront trailers to save time, and it was MILDLY interesting to see which one would hold my attention over the other, as I could only understand bits of dialogue as the two trailers played over each other.

    As soon as the “We’re not in Kansas anymore” Avatar guy showed up in Terra Nova to tell everyone they weren’t in Kansas anymore, I really just checked out completely.

  36. gabe you failed to include the trailer for I Hate My Teenage Daughter
    which is perhaps the 546th sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

    • Wow. That looks beyond awful.

      Judging by the title alone, I was on board. I thought it would be a Louis CK look at having kids, where the parents aren’t just gushing about how wonderful it is having kids.

      Instead, it depicts everything that is wrong with modern day parents – who want to be best friends with their kids instead of parents. They can’t all be Rory Gilmore (and even that was a far from perfect relationship).

      I know it’s just TV, but I hate seeing parents that are afraid of their kids. Hey, they are assholes because that is how you raised them. I know there are exceptions. Not every asshole had bad parents.

      If videogum had a “worst tv show of all time,” this would have to be a contender.

  37. Welp, alright then. I definitely want to watch none of these. Also, Dear Zooey – OHMYGOD do we ever GET IT. You sing. Ok? You sing. There. Happy? Now just STOP already.


  38. Really, Terra Nova? “Hope Plaza”? Not that I thought a show featuring time travel and dinosaurs was going to be subtle, but jeez.

  39. But, where is “Heat Vision & Jack”?

  40. Yeah, so, Zooey Deschanel now talks like Kermit the Frog?

  41. Oh man. I found an ad for flight attendants in a 1960s copy of Ebony Magazine and they really did weigh you!

    Oh – and the “must be single” requirement is just very hilarious in an old timey sexism way.

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