Fox shows coming in Fall 2009

Fox Upfronts

Well, we’ve done NBC (although not completely, since they do ‘infronts’ rather than ‘upfronts’ – ie they dither). Now it’s time to look at what Fox has lined up for earthly pleasures this Fall/Autumn – as well as in the coming months and January.  

After the break: Brothers, The Cleveland Show, Glee, Human Target, Mental, Past Life, and Sons of Tucson, complete with videos.

Brothers
Half-hour comedy
BROTHERS Starring Michael Strahan (“FOX NFL Sunday”) and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (“Ed,” “Veronica’s Closet”), BROTHERS is a new half-hour comedy about a former NFL hot shot who learns that even though you can always go home again, the trip back might be tougher than you think.

MIKE TRAINOR (Strahan) seemingly has it all – he’s a good-looking, wealthy and recently retired NFL player living the high-life in New York City, but he’s about to get sidelined. When Mike gets a phone call from his MOM (CCH Pounder, “The Shield”) who orders him home to Houston, he quickly realizes the more his life has changed, the more his family has stayed the same.

His brother CHILL (Daryl “Chill” Mitchell), whose life was altered drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep his restaurant afloat with the help of his loudmouth associate, ROSCOE (Colton Dunn, “MADtv”). The dynamics between Mike and Chill are the same as when they were kids, and their sibling rivalry hasn’t lessened with age. If they can stop their bickering, put aside their differences and learn to be teammates, the brothers might just turn out to be each other’s biggest asset.

Wedged between Mike and Chill are their parents. Their father, whom everyone refers to as COACH (Carl Weathers, “Rocky”), is the local high school football coach and the conservative, opinionated alpha male of his clan. Coach thinks he runs the show, but really it’s Mom who calls the shots. Saucy, stern and a schemer, she is the mastermind of the family. And when she learns that Mike’s business manager took off with all his money, she orchestrates a plan to keep Mike in Houston, save Chill’s restaurant and bring the family back together under one roof again – all without anyone realizing what she’s up to.

Mom’s plan helps Mike realize that his family – however dysfunctional they may be – is the only family he’s got. And although he may not have a penny to his name, as long as he’s surrounded by people who love him, he’ll always be a rich man.

BROTHERS is created by Don Reo and produced by Tantamount Studios and Impact Zone Productions, Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz and Don Reo serve as executive producers. Ted Wass directed the pilot written by Don Reo.

Cast and credits
Michael Strahan (Mike)
Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (Chill)
CCH Pounder (Mom)
Carl Weathers (Coach)
Colton Dunn (Roscoe)

Executive Producers Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz, Don Reo

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: You should probably shoot yourself rather than watch it. No different from any other Fox sitcom in style, you will become a worse human being from exposure to it.

The Cleveland Show
Half-hour comedy
THE CLEVELAND SHOW is a new animated series that follows everyone’s favorite soft-spoken neighbor, CLEVELAND BROWN (Mike Henry), to his hometown in Virginia as he settles down with his high school sweetheart, her unruly kids and his own 14-year-old son, CLEVELAND JR. (Kevin Michael Richardson).

Many years ago, Cleveland was a high school student madly in love with a beautiful girl named DONNA (Sanaa Lathan). Much to his dismay, his love went unrequited, and Donna wound up marrying another man. Cleveland once told Donna he would always love her, and if this man ever done her wrong, he’d be there when she called. Well, this man done her wrong.

Donna’s husband ran off, leaving Donna with a teenage daughter and a young son. Now she’s open to Cleveland and has offered him another chance at love. Unattached after the Loretta-Quagmire debacle and true to his word, Cleveland joyously reunites with Donna, and he and Cleveland Jr. move to Virginia to join their new family.

Once in Virginia, there are a few surprises in store for Cleveland, including ROBERTA (Reagan Gomez-Preston), a rebellious new stepdaughter; RALLO (Henry), his new 5-year-old stepson who loves the ladies; and a collection of neighbors that includes a loudmouth redneck, LESTER (Richardson); a hipster wanna-be, HOLT (guest voice Jason Sudeikis); and a religious pair of talking bears, TIM (Seth MacFarlane) and his wife ARIANNA (guest voice Arianna Huffington).

THE CLEVELAND SHOW is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Seth MacFarlane, Rich Appel and Mike Henry are executive producers and co-creators of the series.

Cast and Credits
Mike Henry (Cleveland Brown, Rallo and others)
Sanaa Lathan (Donna Tubbs)
Reagan Gomez-Preston (Roberta Tubbs)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Lester and Cleveland Jr.)
Arianna Huffington (Arianna)
Jason Sudeikis (Holt)

Co-creators/Executive Producers: Seth MacFarlane, Rich Appel, Mike Henry

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: This one’s been around so long, it was in last year’s upfronts. Despite coming from the same stable as the ever-hilarious Family Guy, this one fails to make an impression, primarily because it doesn’t seem to have any funny characters. Well, the next-door neighbour bears weren’t bad, and how bizarre is it to have Arianna Huffington doing one of the voices? Other than that, this could be the first Seth MacFarlane true-flop.

Glee
One-hour dramedy (starts 19th May)glee (gle) n. 1. great merriment [syn: hilarity]; 2. malicious satisfaction [syn: gloat]

McKinley High School’s Glee Club used to be at the top of the show choir world, but years later, it has turned into a haven for misfits and social outcasts. But at McKinley, things for the Glee Club are about to change.

From Ryan Murphy, the creator of “Nip/Tuck,” comes GLEE, an uplifting comedy musical series with biting humor that features a soundtrack of hit music from past to present. The show follows an optimistic high school teacher as he tries to refuel his own passion for singing while reinventing the school’s glee club and challenging a group of ragtag performers to realize their star potential.

WILL SCHUESTER (Matthew Morrison), a young optimistic teacher, has offered to take on the Herculean task of restoring McKinley’s Glee Club to its former glory with the help of fellow teacher and germaphobe EMMA PILLSBURY (Jayma Mays). It’s a tall order when the brightest stars of the club include KURT (Chris Colfer), a nerdy soprano with a flair for the dramatic; MERCEDES (Amber Riley), a dynamic diva-in-training who refuses to sing back-up; ARTIE (Kevin McHale), a geeky guitarist who spends more time avoiding bullies than chasing girls; and TINA (Jenna Ushkowitz), an awkward girl who needs to suppress her stutter before she can take center stage.

Will’s only hope lies with two true talents: RACHEL BERRY (Lea Michele), a perfectionist firecracker who is convinced that show choir is her ticket to stardom; and FINN HUDSON (Cory Monteith), the popular high school quarterback with movie star looks and a Motown voice who must protect his reputation with his holier-than-thou girlfriend and head cheerleader, QUINN (Dianna Agron), and his arrogant football teammate, PUCK (Mark Salling).

Driven by his secret past, Will is determined to do whatever it takes to make Glee great again, even though everyone around him thinks he’s nuts. He’s out to prove them all wrong – from his tough-as-nails wife TERRI SCHUESTER (Jessalyn Gilsig) to McKinley’s scheming cheerleading coach SUE SYLVESTER (Jane Lynch) to an über-hip world that thinks jazz hands and sequined tuxedos litter the road to infamy rather than pave the way to Hollywood dreams.

Featuring a soundtrack of hit songs from past and present, GLEE is produced by Ryan Murphy Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan are co-creators of the series. Murphy, Falchuk and Dante Di Loreto serve as executive producers, while Ian Brennan and John Peter Kousakis serve as co-executive producers. Murphy directed the pilot.

Cast and credits
Dianna Agron (Quinn)
Chris Colfer (Kurt)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Terri Schuester)
Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester)
Jayma Mays (Emma Pillsbury)
Kevin McHale (Artie)
Lea Michele (Rachel Berry)
Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson)
Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester)
Amber Riley (Mercedes)
Mark Salling (Puck)
Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina)

Executive Producers: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Dante Di Loreto

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: Ooh. Moderately amusing, some slight promise. Not exactly my cup of tea, but could be good.

Human TargetOne-hour drama (starts January 2010)It takes a brave, selfless man to make himself a “human target” in order to save the lives of those in danger.

Based on the popular DC Comics comic book and graphic novel, HUMAN TARGET is a full-throttle action drama centered on CHRISTOPHER CHANCE (Mark Valley, FRINGE), a unique private contractor/security guard hired to protect.

Call him what you like, because for Chance, it’s about one thing only: saving his clients’ lives. When there is an unusual or imminent threat that can’t be solved through “normal” means of protection, Chance is hired to completely integrate himself into his clients’ lives – to become the human target. If you’re a corporate manager whose disgruntled employee has gone violently off the deep end, Chance is your new auditor. If you’re the president of a bank who’s been tipped off to a potential heist, Chance is your unassuming bank teller.

During each job, Chance, assisted by his business partner WINSTON (Chi McBride, “Pushing Daisies”) and hired gun GUERRERO (Jackie Earle Haley, “Watchmen”), puts himself directly in the line of fire as he races against time to save his client, while unraveling the truth behind the mission. With every new danger, Chance’s dark history will also unravel. Does anyone know who Christopher Chance really is, or what secrets lay buried in his past? What would make a man willingly become a HUMAN TARGET?

HUMAN TARGET is a production of Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Television. Jon Steinberg (“Jericho”), McG (“Terminator Salvation”), Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”) and Brad Kern (“Charmed”) serve as executive producers. Peter Johnson (“Chuck”) is a co-executive producer. West directed the pilot.

Cast and creditsMark Valley (Christopher Chance)
Jackie Earle Haley (Guerrero)
Chi McBride (Winston)

Executive Producers: Jon Steinberg, McG, Simon West, Brad Kern

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: Doesn’t look that special – in fact, it looks a bit dumb (okay, very dumb) – so I suspect it won’t last very long. But not the absolute drek I was expecting and enough action in it to sate most people’s adrenaline cravings.

Mental
One-hour drama (starts 26th May)
When DR. JACK GALLAGHER (Chris Vance, “Prison Break”), a dynamic and radically unorthodox psychiatrist, is named Director of Mental Health Services at a Los Angeles hospital, his unconventional style leads some of his new colleagues to believe he may be as unstable as his patients.

MENTAL is a medical drama that explores the complexities of the human mind as never before. To Jack, each case is a puzzle to be solved. Confronted with each patient’s crisis, including unknown, misunderstood, and even misdiagnosed conditions, Jack must plunge inside the mind of his patients long enough to uncover what might be the key to their long-term recovery, often times working against the clock and his patients’ wishes. Ever the rebel, Jack insists on getting to the root of his patients’ illnesses by exploring first who they are as human beings, but as he fights to help his patients quickly, he must often work within only a legal 72-hour hold to determine a diagnosis.

Jack must reconcile his effective, yet highly unconventional practices with his conservative boss, hospital administrator NORA SKOFF (Annabella Sciorra, “The Sopranos”), who puts her own reputation on the line by hiring him. Unfortunately, his colleagues remain resistant to his treatment methods, including dedicated psychiatrist DR. VERONICA HAYDEN-JONES (Jacqueline McKenzie, “The 4400”), who was passed over for Jack’s position, and DR. CARL BELLE (Derek Webster, “CSI: Miami”), a master politician with a polished exterior who is dedicated to Jack’s downfall.

As seen through the eyes of doctors and patients who, as Jack points out, have more in common than they’re willing to admit, the series also features a team of doctors and hospital staff who work closely together to delve into the mysteries, oddities and wonders of the human brain, including first-year resident DR. ARTURO SUAREZ (Nicholas Gonzalez, “Brothers and Sisters”), young and cocky, but good at his job, he actually gets a charge out of Jack’s techniques; DR. CHLOE ARTIS (Marisa Ramirez, “The Young and the Restless”), drop-dead gorgeous with an attitude and very strong opinions, she’s passing time in a residency she feels is beneath her until Jack opens her mind to the inspirational benefits of psychiatry; and MALCOLM DARIUS WASHINGTON (Edwin Hodge, “Invasion”), a nurse who pulled himself out of the impoverished neighborhood he grew up in to pursue his medical career.

Produced by Fox Television Studios and Fox International Channels, MENTAL is executive-produced by Deborah Joy LeVine (“Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “The Division”) and her brother and writing/producing partner, Dan Levine.

Cast and credits
Chris Vance (Dr. Jack Gallagher)
Annabella Sciorra (Nora Skoff)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Dr. Veronica Hayden-Jones)
Derek Webster (Dr. Carl Belle)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Dr. Arturo Suarez)
Marisa Ramirez (Dr. Chloe Artis)
Edwin Hodge (Malcolm Darius Washington)

Executive Producers: Deborah Joy LeVine, Dan Levine

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: Too obviously trying to be House/Lie To Me. Nice to have yet another British guy as the lead of a Fox show, and there’s at least some potential there, but judging by the description of the ensemble characters, we could have something rather more painful instead. One to keep an eye on though.

Past LifeOne-hour dramaHave you ever experienced déjà vu or met someone you thought seemed familiar? Do you believe in karma, fate or love at first sight?

From writer David Hudgins (“Friday Night Lights”), and inspired by the book “The Reincarnationist” by M.J. Rose, comes PAST LIFE, a new drama series about an unlikely pair of past-life detectives who investigate whether what is happening to you today is the result of who you were before.

DR. KATE MCGINN (Kelli Giddish, “All My Children”) is not your typical psychologist. Confident, outspoken and highly educated, she works at The Talmadge Center for Behavioral Health in New York City, a world-renowned institute dedicated to the study of the science of the soul. After experiencing a past-life regression in her 20s, Kate became a believer in reincarnation. Using regression therapy and her natural gift for reading people, Kate helps solve the mysteries of her troubled clients who suffer from present-day problems caused by past-life traumas. She believes there are levels of consciousness and explanations for human behavior that science can’t begin to explain. Accustomed to skeptics, but not bothered by them, Kate is an unapologetic believer and a force of nature who marches to the beat of her own drummer.

Her partner, PRICE WHATLEY (Nicholas Bishop, “Home and Away”), is a different story. A former NYPD homicide detective, pragmatic and cynical, Price is a damaged soul who constantly battles grief and guilt over the accidental death of his wife. Price feels that Kate, though not certifiable, certainly operates on the fringes of science. It’s a volatile relationship, but with Price’s solid detective skills, and Kate’s penchant for out-of-the-box thinking, together they make a formidable, if somewhat dysfunctional, team.

A fast-paced emotional thrill ride, each episode finds Price and Kate working with their colleagues to unravel a new mystery involving the past-lives of their clients. DR. MALACHI TALMADGE (Richard Schiff, “The West Wing”) is Kate’s mentor and the center’s namesake, an avuncular but gruff elder statesman who is a legend in the field of cognitive research. DR. RISHI KARNA (Ravi Patel, “Scrubs”) is the rookie of the group, a baby-faced therapist from Calcutta who loves bad American TV, Cuban jazz and driving everyone crazy.

Produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, PAST LIFE is executive-produced by David Hudgins and Lou Pitt. Hudgins also serves as writer. Deran Sarafian (HOUSE, “Lost”) directed the pilot.

Cast and credits
Kelli Giddish (Dr. Kate McGinn)
Nicholas Bishop (Price Whatley)
Richard Schiff (Dr. Malachi Talmadge)
Ravi Patel (Dr. Rishi Karna)

Executive Producers: David Hudgins, Lou Pitt

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: Not even the presence of Richard Schiff can prevent this from being absolutely appalling.

Sons of TucsonComedy
In the tradition of “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Bernie Mac Show,” SONS OF TUCSON is a family comedy about three brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison.

What begins as a business relationship evolves into something more complex and compelling: a family unlike any we’ve ever seen.

The three brothers find their dad-for-hire, RON SNUFFKIN (Tyler Labine, “Reaper”), at the local sporting good store. Ron will be forced to draw on a wide array of skills and a vast bag of tricks as he steps into the patriarch role to take care of the boys of the Gunderson family. ROBBY GUNDERSON (Davis Cleveland, “How I Met Your Mother”), 8, is a loose cannon who doesn’t take garbage from anyone; GARY GUNDERSON (Frank Dolce, “Doubt”), 11, is a bright and street-savvy leader who is every bit the con man his father is; and BRANDON GUNDERSON (Troy Gentile, “Entourage”), 13, is a gentle free spirit who goes along for the ride. MAGGIE MORALES (Natalie Martinez, “Saints & Sinners”), Robby’s second-grade teacher and the object of Ron’s affection, might just be the only stable figure in the lives of this quirky quartet.

While SONS OF TUCSON is grounded in the day-to-day challenges of a single-parent home, nothing in the Gunderson household is quite what it seems. An ongoing chess match between Ron and the boys will keep both parties on their toes, as neither side can afford to give up too much power or independence.

SONS OF TUCSON is directed by three-time Emmy Award-winner Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) and produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Justin Berfield, Jason Felts, Harvey Myman and Todd Holland serve as executive producers. Tommy Dewey and Greg Bratman wrote the pilot.

Cast and credits
Tyler Labine (Ron Snuffkin)
Davis Cleveland (Robby Gunderson)
Frank Dolce (Gary Gunderson)
Troy Gentile (Brandon Gunderson)
Natalie Martinez (Maggie Morales)

Executive Producers: Justin Berfield, Jason Felts, Harvey Myman, Todd Holland

Fox web site

Rob’s initial impression: Erm, no.

Overall impression: Nothing that really stands out here. Everything’s a bit derivative and average or just plain awful. Makes you wonder why they’d cancel the not desperately awful Sarah Connor in favour of some of these which clearly are going to be an offence to both God and man.

  • Overall I think Mental is the only one of these which even remotely interests me. I gave Cleveland a shot and pretty much lost interest as soon as the dialog started.

  • Overall I think Mental is the only one of these which even remotely interests me. I gave Cleveland a shot and pretty much lost interest as soon as the dialog started.

  • I don’t know how good of a show Human Target will be, but I really like the cast.

  • Jaradel

    Color me underwhelmed at this lineup. I’m no fan of ‘Family Guy’ anyway, so Cleveland was never going to interest me, but the rest… they all seem like they’re trying too hard to be the Next Big Thing, and failing miserably.
    Yes, even Sarah Connor was better than this lineup. At least TSCC had a backstory and a mythology that interested me, even if the story arcs dragged at times, and even if Cameron was a little too Mary Sue-ish.

  • MediumRob

    @Rev: Ditto, although even that looks a bit painful.
    @Nick: Ditto, too
    @Jaradel: They’re all trying to hard to be other Fox shows, really.

  • Marie

    I’ve got a horrible feeling I’m going to love “Glee”…

  • I think Glee could be my kind of show too (-: Though I love Family Guy (mainly for having a psychotic baby who hates his mother) will give Cleveland a miss on this recommendation….

  • MediumRob

    Potential Glee lovers might be interested in Joe’s more in-depth heads-up and there are more promos on YouTube

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