Plenty of pilots don’t get picked up for an order, and plenty of pilots that make it to air don’t get past a first season, or even to midseason. The Blacklist is not one of those shows. There have been quite a few breakout series this year, and NBC is picking up their procedural-thriller for a full second season. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it stars James Spader as Raymond Reddington, a notorious international criminal who inexplicably turns himself in, and offers the FBI a blacklist of assassins, terrorists, and other baddies. His one request is working with profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), whose husband (Ryan Eggold) may not be the trusting, loving partner he appears to be. The conspiracy swirling around Reddington and Keen motives provides a constant thread, and the weekly crimes can be surprisingly dark (one episode this year had a guy releasing a chemical on a crowded subway car, which killed everyone including a kid). I don’t usually go for network shows, but The Blacklist is a surprisingly compelling watch, and I recommend you check it out.
Hit the jump for the press release. The Blacklist just had its fall finale and will return on January 13th.
One must wonder, instinctively, about a series which premieres in the graveyard Friday slot and uses a perpetually on-the-bubble series (Grimm) as its lead-in. Is NBC trying to bury Dracula? Though all magical beings are generally popular at the moment, vampires seem to be (for now, anyway), making room for witches. Regardless, if you’re going to make a show about a supernatural being, and it’s going to be based on a historical novel, then the best route these days in such a saturated market is to go full-on with the crazy (see: Sleepy Hollow). Unfortunately for Dracula, the show takes itself pretty seriously. Hit the jump for more.
Jessica Fletcher is returning to television. NBC is developing a reboot of the mystery series Murder, She Wrote, with Oscar-winning The Help actress Octavia Spencer set as the lead. The original murder mystery show ran for 12 seasons on CBS from 1984 to 1996, with Angela Lansbury playing an English teacher turned mystery writer who solved crimes. Deadline reports that the new series will be a “light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo,” with Desperate Housewives alum Alexandra Cunningham penning the script and executive producing alongside producer David Janollari.
Spencer will play a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who self-publishes her first mystery novel, with the logline as follows: “Set in a day where sensational headlines inundate the news, this woman’s avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.” Lansbury has been approached about being a part of the reboot, and the project has received a put-pilot commitment from NBC. Watch the opening credits from the original series after the jump.
NBC cancels the freshman drama Ironside after three episodes, along with the debut comedy Welcome to the Family. Ironside opened with a 1.3 rating for adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers, sliding to an average of a 1.1 in the demographic. Welcome to the Family ranked as NBC’s lowest in-season comedy debuts with a 1.2 rating, slipping to a 0.8 in its second week. In place of Ironside, NBC will air Dateline on Wednesday nights at 10pm throughout the rest of the year, along with holiday specials. Hit the jump for more on NBC’s upcoming schedule, including premiere dates for Community and Chicago P.D.
[Update: And Fox has now announced that it has picked up the new comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine for a full season, bringing the total number of episodes to 22. The show will also air in a comedy block alongside New Girl after the Super Bowl. Full press release after the jump.]
NBC has ordered a full season of the new drama series The Blacklist, which has been performing very well in the ratings since its debut two weeks ago. The show is led by an unsurprisingly charismatic performance from James Spader, and though the procedural aspect can prove to be a bit implausible at times, Spader’s presence and the central story have made the series an entertaining watch thus far. NBC has ordered an additional nine episodes to accompany the thirteen that are in the can, and Spader will have to juggle his schedule for the rest of the season with his titular villain role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which starts filming next March.
Additionally, Fox has ordered a 26th season of the animated series The Simpsons. Maybe now Guillermo del Toro can make good on his hopes to helm a full episode, since he recently created an opening credits gag that’s among the best of the series. Hit the jump to read the full press release from Fox.
NBC has enlisted a rather talented filmmaker to craft the visual style of the upcoming “Blackbeard” series Crossbones. From Luther creator Neil Cross, the new show stars John Malkovich as pirate Edward Teach aka Blackbeard and takes place in 1715 on the island New Providence, where thieves, outlaws, and miscreant sailors are the lay of the land. The network has enlisted 30 Days of Night and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse director David Slade to helm the first episode of Crossbones, which has already been ordered straight-to-series and is thus bypassing the pilot system. The show will premiere on NBC during midseason.
Slade has been doing some excellent work in television as of late, having directed multiple episodes of the first season of NBC’s excellent Hannibal, on which he is also an executive producer. Additionally, Slade is serving as executive producer and directing a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ron Moore’s new Syfy series Helix. On the feature side of things, Slade recently signed on to direct the psychological thriller The Widow.
NCB’s summer drama Camp may sound like a Ryan Murphy production, but it isn’t. It stars Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) as Mackenzie “Mac” Granger, the owner of the Little Otter Family Camp, located somewhere in the Midwest. The specifics of the camp itself are vague: who attends the camp, where it’s located, why some of the counselors are parents of the kids there and apparently don’t have jobs during the rest of the year, are all left unexplained. The intricacies of everyone’s sex lives, though, take up a lot of the premiere episode. NBC ordered the show straight to series last year — a bold move meaning they would not first see a pilot. This is key when watching the premiere episode, because one imagines if they had, some tweaks might have been made. Hit the jump to see whether to pack your bags or cancel your reservations.
Community just can’t catch a break. Between ratings issues, public feuds, the firing of creator Dan Harmon, the abrupt departure of Chevy Chase, and the recent re-hiring of Harmon, the NBC comedy has been through the wringer. Now, with the show’s mastermind back onboard as showrunner and a last minute reneweal from NBC for an upcoming fifth season, Community is being dealt another blow. Vulture reports that star Donald Glover has struck a deal with NBC and Sony Pictures Television that will see him appearing in only five of the upcoming thirteen episodes so that he can focus on his music career as Childish Gambino. Hit the jump for more.
NBC’s current “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” policy with new series is what has allowed something as inventive as Siberia to exist. Unfortunately, running it in the same timeslot as CBS’s Under the Dome, which had spectacular ratings last week, may seal its fate. Still, Siberia differentiates itself by aiming to be a combination of Lost, Survivor and The Blair Witch Project, masking its paranormal twists and frights in the guise of a reality show in a way that’s almost too realistic for its own good.
“Siberia,” the reality show-within-the-show, is of the survivalist variety. Fourteen strangers from all around the world are blindfolded and dropped into the Siberian wilderness and must fend for themselves. The game, which is mostly without rules, is about surviving the winter by any means necessary (the show starts out in what looks like late summer) to collect and share the eventual cash prize. The contestants are only allowed the clothes on their backs, as well as the shelter provided by two primitive cabins that are replicas of settlements from a century ago, though twists could appear at any time. Essentially: Hunger Games. Hit the jump for more.
Executive producer Mark Burnett’s miniseries The Bible was a massive ratings hit on the History Channel when it aired this past March, and now NBC hopes to replicate that success with a sequel series of sorts. THR reports that NBC has acquired the rights to A.D.: Beyond the Bible, another miniseries that Burnett will produce with his wife Roma Downey. The series will apparently have a much narrower focus than The Bible, as it centers on the events in the days after Jesus’ betrayal and death.
The miniseries—or “limited series” as some are dubbing it—has become a new network favorite in the wake of The Bible’s success, with FX getting in on the game with Fargo and the recently-announced Last of the Mohicans adaptation, and Fox planning a limited return for 24: Live Another Day. No word on when A.D.: Beyond the Bible might premiere, but the ratings-challenged NBC is likely hoping it comes to fruition sooner rather than later.
While it’s been a pretty regular occurrence over the past few years that the television shows on cable are far superior in nearly every way to those on network TV, one new show this past season renewed my faith that a compelling drama can still exist on one of the Big Four networks. Pushing Daises creator Bryan Fuller tackled familiar source material for the NBC series Hannibal, but the show progressed in such a way that it quickly became my most anticipated program to watch each week. Fuller and principal director David Slade crafted a wildly engrossing and moody take on the Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham relationship from Thomas Harris’ books, buoyed by masterful performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy.
While the series wrapped up its 12-episode first season last night with a stellar finale, fans are now eagerly looking forward to how the story progresses in season two. Fuller recently spoke quite frankly about where things will go in season two and beyond, even revealing at which point the Red Dragon storyline will kick in and his hopes to eventually tackle Silence of the Lambs. Hit the jump to read on. [Warning: spoilers for the season one finale follow]
NBC has announced premiere dates for its fall programming, which will kick off on September 23rd. Briefly:
- The James Spader-led new crime drama series The Blacklist will premiere on Monday, September 23rd at 10pm, followed by the two-hour season premiere of The Voice.
- The second season of Chicago Fire kicks off on Tuesday, September 24th at 10pm.
- Revolution’s second season begins on Wednesday, September 25th in its new timeslot of 8pm.
- The sixth season of the brilliant comedy series Parks and Recreation will kick off with a special hourlong episode on Thursday, September 26th at 8pm that takes place in London, followed by back-to-back episodes of the new comedy The Michael J. Fox Show at 9pm.
- The swell tear-inducing drama Parenthood begins its fifth season on Thursday, September 26th in its new 10pm timeslot (aka the “death knell” timeslot).
- Just in time for Halloween, the third season of Grimm begins on Friday, October 25th at 9pm, followed by the premiere of the new limited series Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers at 10pm.
- As previously reported, the Dan Harmon-led fifth season of Community will premiere midseason along with season two of Hannibal.
Hit the jump to read the full fall lineup, click here to watch trailers for the network’s new series, and click here to check out the full 2013-14 schedule.
Dan Harmon is going back to school. While the Community creator and former showrunner was fired following the conclusion of the NBC comedy’s third season, rumors have been swirling in recent weeks that Harmon had been asked to return to the series this year for the bubble show’s fifth season. Moses Port and David Guarascio—who replaced Harmon as the showrunners of season four to decidedly mixed results—opted not to come back for season five when NBC semi-surprisingly renewed the series for another season, and with Chevy Chase gone as well, the opportunity seemed ripe for Harmon to come back. Now Community fans have reason to rejoice, as Harmon has confirmed on Twitter that he is indeed returning to the series. Hit the jump for more.
Last week we saw a number of trailers and images for all of the networks’ new series that will debut this fall, but one was curiously left out: NBC’s Believe. The series’ trailer has now landed online, and the story centers on a wrongfully-imprisoned death row inmate who is broken out of jail in order to protect a young girl with powerful abilities. The pilot was written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who also executive produces the series alongside J.J. Abrams. Unsurprisingly this trailer makes Believe look very promising, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more from the show in the near future.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The series stars Johnny Sequoyah, Delroy Lindo, and Kyle MacLachlan. Believe will premiere on NBC midseason, so don’t expect it on the airwaves until sometime after the new year.
Bill Hader is leaving Saturday Night Live after eight wonderful seasons. In all those years, Hader’s signature recurring character Stefon somehow never grew tired. Hader and co-creator John Mulaney consistently kept the formula fresh, coming up with inspired club names, passwords, and characters for each new Weekend Update appearance.
In last night’s season finale—hosted by Ben Affleck, who also hosted when Stefon debuted—the writers of course had to bring back Stefon for a farewell appearance. It puts a nice button on the romantic tension between Stefon and Update host Seth Meyers, and in doing so, assembles all the crazy characters (most of them midgets) Stefon has mentioned in his guide to New York nightlife. Watch it after the jump.