Yesterday, Fox unveiled its full 2015-16 schedule, and now the network has unleashed a slew of previews for its upcoming fall and midseason slate, with trailers for Minority Report, Rosewood, Lucifer, The Frankenstein Code, Grandfathered and The Grinder.
Let’s do some first impressions, shall we?
Minority Report is without a doubt the most high-profile freshman drama Fox has going for it. Picking up 10 years after the events of the blockbuster film, it follows a pre-cog who partners with a haunted detective to solve crimes and search for his missing twin brother. The trailer is overstuffed and suffers from some pretty poor-looking acting, but if there’s any semblance of a good story here, Minority Report could surprise. There’s no getting away from how derivative it feels, though, and I’m feeling echoes of Almost Human reverberating through the preview.
I’m just not buying the kind of sunny optimism Rosewood seems to be selling, especially because this is a show about a guy who can’t seem to keep the grin off his face even when he’s looking at murder scenes. I get the setup and I get why Fox went for it, but it’s just not working for me in this preview. Morris Chestnut’s character doesn’t come off as believable, and his partner (Jania Lee Ortiz) doesn’t even come off as a character. This may be this fall’s Rake.
On the other hand, Lucifer, which isn’t arriving until midseason, seems like a tough sell but goes down easy thanks to Tom Ellis’ obvious relishing of every line. He’s playing the devil himself but doing it with a broad grin and a wink that’s undeniably appealing. The mix of comedic and dramatic elements doesn’t really come through in the trailer, but if Lucifer gets its tone right (playful but dark when it needs to be), it could definitely end up as one of the most enjoyable, or at least unique shows on the air this season.
The Frankenstein Code holds together better in its teaser than it does on paper, but the jury’s still out on whether audiences will want to see yet another ‘exceptionally gifted hero’ narrative. Rob Kazinsky isn’t as immediately likable as Ellis’ Lucifer, but the story at least seems to have some ambition. I’ll give the pilot a watch, at the very least.
John Stamos is a star, but Grandfathered really doesn’t deliver much in its trailer. This is a comedy and I didn’t laugh once. Though Josh Peck and Paget Brewster are a very sturdy pair of supports, the series will have to do a lot more than that trailer to warrant a watch.
The Grinder is coasting on the appeal of star Rob Lowe but doing it extremely effectively. The idea of him playing an out-of-his-depth, utterly clueless lawyer seems legitimately promising, based on this trailer, which offers enough ridiculous setups to convince me this series will be worth checking out. Though it’s not Parks and Recreation by a long shot, The Grinder is Lowe’s show through and through, and I’m completely on board with that.
All in all, it’s pretty infuriating to look out how thoroughly the crime procedural formula has settled in over at Fox. All four of the dramas use it, and none of them appear to be offering anything particularly exciting. Only Lucifer, which has its excellent comic-book source material to power it through any creative rough patches, feels like it could have serious legs. Rosewood‘s too self-consciously peppy, and it comes off as disingenuous, while Minority Report and The Frankenstein Code could get lost in their setups really quickly unless the writing and acting are very strong.
As for the comedies, The Grinder seems much more promising than Grandfathered, but Fox has a bad habit of not allowing its comedies to grow, and neither have the wide-reaching, built-in clout that would suggest huge premiere numbers. Here’s hoping that at least Rob Lowe can stick around past his first few episodes as The Grinder – he has a terrific ability to deepen characters with every subsequent episode in which he plays them.
Tell us, which, if any, of the Fox shows are you looking forward to? Sound off below.