You know the space at your local Barnes and Noble where the graphic-novel section bleeds into the young-adult section? This is the place where The CW lives. I like to imagine that the network has installed surveillance cameras in the spines of all those unsellable copies of Chris Ware’s Building Stories so its execs can spy on their target audience, see what their buying, and develop accordingly. The geeky, young, female-skewing weblet announced today that it will add three new dramas and reorganize its schedule to use existing successful franchises like Arrow and Supernatural to build hits and stronger nights.
The CW knows its brand and knows its audience and is committed to giving them more of what they like. Hence, despite lots of attitude, fresh faces, and cosmetic weirdness, The CW’s picks feel as risk-averse and unsurprising as those of its half-sibling, CBS. While the new shows technically belong to different genres, there is such a sameness to all of them. It’s like every show on The CW is actually a different subplot of the same swoony-romantic dark-fantasy soap opera that’s on every night, every hour – a sigh-fi Cloud Atlas. Which sounds kinda cool, actually.
A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals follows bloodsucker/werewolf hybrid Klaus (Joseph Morgan) as he moves from Mystic Falls to New Orleans, where underworld power games – and a not-yet born child, conceived with Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) – await. Joining him are siblings Elijah (Claire Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt). For the record, I have never seen an episode of True Blood Lite The Vampire Diaries. I am open to considering the possibility that I’ve been missing out on something decent: Morgan’s Klaus seems pretty damn compelling in this clip.
THE TOMORROW PEOPLE
From Greg Berlanti, who developed Arrow for the network, comes another superheroish epic starring an Amell (Robbie, cousin to Stephen), this one loosely based on a cult-classic British show from the 1970s. (Dig the trippy credits sequence.) The more likely comparison for The CW’s target audience will be to X-Men, Heroes, I Am Number Four, etc.: Kids everywhere start developing extraordinary abilities; various secret agencies, sinister or otherwise, take an obsessive interest in them. I am hoping the show can be as cool as its title and offbeat/imaginative as the original from whence it derived, and not just Generic Show About Super-Powered PYTs. The clip suggests a healthy special-effects budget and that Mark Pellegrino will be a compelling bad guy. I’m not sure it suggests much more than that.
Talented up-and-comer Adelaide Kane plays Mary, Queen of Scots in The CW’s most unusual new offering, an attempt at historical fiction. Call it: Tiny Tudors. The clip kinda lays there until the dude with the beard gets all spooky-intense. Meh.
THE 100 (midseason)
Newsflash! In the near future, we’re going to raze civilization with nuclear weapons, and about 100 years after that, the surviving members of humanity – living on space stations parked in deep space – will send about 100 juvenile delinquents, young adults and assorted others back to Earth to see it can be recolonized. The clip tries to capture your imagination with that moment in which the kids land, open the doors, and behold a planet that has been reclaimed by nature. But can they trust what looks like paradise? Dunno. Just like I don’t know if I can trust this new gloss on the post-apocalyptic genre to be any good.
An alien race known as the Atrians comes to Earth and spends the next decade interned in a camp. A smalltown high school becomes ground zero for a fraught attempt to integrate the ETs into human society. All of them are extremely attractive young people with interesting looking tattoos on their faces. Naturally, they are irrationally, ridiculously hated. But a Romeo and Juliet-style romance between an Atrian named Roman (Matt Lanter) and a human named Emery (Aimee Teegarden) blooms. Blah blah highly metaphorical cornball blah blah blah. Watch it work. Only on Sigh-Fi!