Though ABC put the kibosh on an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff, the network is moving full steam ahead with series orders for the 2015-16 season. Out of 25 pilots, ABC has handed out series commitments to six dramas and three comedies.
The Catch, The Family, Of Kings and Prophets, Quantico, Wicked City and an untitled hour-long previously called Boom are among the drama pickups. Meanwhile, comedies Dr. Ken, The Real O’Neals and a Muppets revival are also on the way. Another comedy commitment is expected today.
The pickups come on the heels of an unusually successful season for ABC, as validated by the network’s doling out of a whopping 22 renewals to shows both new and old. Diversity was the main event, with Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat and How to Get Away with Murder all emerging as critical and commercial hits.
Of course, given the success of Shonda Rhimes’ dramas Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, it only follows that one of ABC’s new series orders would go to a drama from the ABC Studios-based creator. The Catch will star Mireille Enos (The Killing) as a female forensic accountant who exposes fraud at her job, only to learn that her would-be fiance is on the cusp of defrauding her. It hails from writer Jennifer Schuur, who delivered some of the more disturbing episodes of NBC’s Hannibal, so expectations are high.
Meanwhile, Jenna Bans, who co-exec produced episodes of Shondaland series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, has scored a series order of her own with The Family (pictured above), about a politician (Joan Allen) whose long-believed-dead son comes back to life and is welcomed back into his home, only for questions of who he really is to emerge.
Of Kings and Prophets is a Biblical epic about a king whose path intersects with a resentful prophet and a young shepherd. Ray Winstone stars.
Most interesting out of the pickups is Quantico, which stars Dougray Scott (Hemlock Grove). It centers on a diverse crop of new recruits at the FBI base in Quantico. As their training gets under way, one of the recruits falls under suspicion of masterminding the most devastating attack on New York City since 9/11. The show is expected to work as an ensemble piece.
Anthology series Wicked City will tell a different case every season, drawing from the sordid criminal history of Los Angeles. This first season, which boasts Parenthood‘s Erika Christensen and American Horror Story‘s Taissa Farmiga, focuses on a murder case from 1982 centered on the rock and roll, cocaine-infused revelry of the Sunset Strip.
Finally, the untitled hour-long, hailing from Josh Pate and Rodes Fishburne, centers on two people who move to North Dakota after the biggest oil discovery in U.S. history, only to find themselves going up against a ruthless oil baron (Don Johnson). Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) stars.
Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory) and Bob Kushell (3rd Rock from the Sun) are pioneering a new, documentary-style Muppets show that will explore the personal lives and relationships of the Muppets, following them around even when they aren’t on set. Producers screened a cut of the pilot that was “incredibly well-received,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Real O’Neals is a modern family comedy about a seemingly perfect family that is shocked when their son (Noah Galvin) comes out of the closet. Though it’s difficult to adjust at first, the event signals a shift in the family dynamic, with everyone slowly becoming more comfortable being who they actually are. Tina Fey exec-produced, likely giving this one the bump of prestige it needed to convince ABC heads.
Ken Jeong may finally get his long-overdue breakout this fall with his own comedy, Dr. Ken. The Community actor plays a doctor who has his hands full with his job, wife and kids. Albert Tsai (Trophy Wife) co-stars. With the ordering of The Real O’Neals and Dr. Ken, ABC is further affirming its commitment to shows about diverse families, following the success of Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat.
One more comedy commitment is expected today, and I’ll update the article once that is announced. In the meantime, tell us, which of the above shows sounds the most interesting to you? I’m personally intrigued by Quantico, which could function as ABC’s answer to Homeland if it all comes together, and Dr. Ken, which will finally give Jeong a showcase after a long career of excellent supporting work.