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The fall network upfronts arrive next week and with them, plenty of new shows. But what looks interesting? In the interest of time — yours — I've put together a list of the 20 most intriguing new series. Each one of these has been ordered, and will arrive on a network near you sometime next year or early 2015. And in no particular order, let's take it away!
Think: Ellie Kemper, escapes doomsday cult...starts life over in NYC
Reason to get excited: Ellie, plus Robert Carlock and Tina Fey produce..
Reason not to: No reason except NBC has been all-thumbs when it comes to comedies. Could it actually thumb up this one too?
"The Slap," NBC
Think: Family drama based on Aussie drama./..about a man who slaps some other family's kid and...from there it starts...
Reason to get excited: Jon Robin Baitz is writing, producing.
Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind except maybe the fact that the cast still seems undetermined.
Think: LA cop on the trail of the Manson murders...
Reason to get excited: Two, great title and...David Duchovny stars.
Reason not to: Period drama overkill, and the demise of "Mob City" still fresh...
"Emerald City," NBC
Think: "Land of Oz. Really. The whole thing. With Dorothy too.
Reason to get excited: Oz.
Reason not to: It's a modern-day "reimagining," whatever that could possibly be, and believed to be for 10 episodes only — part of the new trend in TV not to over-commit when you are not over-certain. Plus, sounds violent.
"Mr. Robinson," NBC
Think: Craig Robinson, single-camera, as musician turned music teacher
. Reason to get excited: Robinson, and Greg Daniels, re-teaming...
Reason not to: Pilot has apparently had a muddied, confused past — Daniels is reportedly no longer even attached. So who knows.
"State of Affairs," NBC
Think: Kat Heigl, CIA attache, counsels prez.
Reason to get excited: The return of Kat.
Reason not to: The return of Kat. Plus that cliched title which indicates cliched dialogue, and cliched situations. But let's not judge a book by a tiny corner of its cover, OK people?
Think: Rainn Wilson as cranky detective in Portland...
Reason to get excited: Wilson. Plus Hart Hanson of "Bones," who produces.
Reason not to: Nothing immediately obvious — unless Fox has a hard time adapting the Leif G.W. Persson books (though Hanson has experience in this realm...) But Wilson in crime drama? Could take some getting used to.
Think: Hip-hop family empire...
Reason to get excited: Well, Terence Howard stars, Lee Daniels exec produces and so does Danny Strong (who does not star.) Pedigree!
Reason not to: It almost sounds more like a movie than a series. But a lot of networks apparently wanted this, so...
Think: Remake of "Broadchurch."
Reason to get excited: Good cast, headed by David Tennant and Anna Gunn
. Reason not to: Fraught tradition of American remakes of famous British series.
Think: "Origin" story of "Batman"
Reason to get excited: Anything "Batman" related has to be good, right?
Reason not to: This really is more the origin story of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) which is interesting and important certainly, but...
Think: Ancient scroll stolen; master thief sprung from prison to find.
Reason to get excited: Don't think we've had an Egyptian — as in ancient — TV series in recent decades.
Reason not to: Fairly high concept. Will it be serious or ...camp...or just plain silly?
"Last Man on Earth," Fox
Think: Will Forte, must save human race. A comedy...
Reason to get excited: Forte, who was awfully good in "Nebraska," wasn't he?
Reason not to: It's midseason which means a bit of a wait.
Think: John Mulaney gets his own sitcom.
Reason to get excited: Martin Short also stars, as does another (like Mulaney) "SNL'er:" Nasim Pedrad.
Reason not to: Do comedies based on the single name of star ever work? (Oh, right, "Seinfeld." Never mind...)
Think: Zombie. Based on Chris Roberson/ Michael Allred comic book series, about med-student-turned zombie who eats brains,and then gains memories of brains, and then solves crimes....
Reason to get excited: I (heart) zombies. Plus Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero of "Veronica Mars" are writing.
Reason not to: Nothing comes immediately to my brain...Except of course possibly this: Eeeewwwwww
"The Whispers," ABC
Think: Alien force intent on destroying human race. Do NOT think classic '60s group of the same name...or recently canceled "The Neighbors."
Reason to get excited: Alien forces are always exciting,no? And Lily Rabe stars...
Reason not to: The aliens are (apparently) unseen — where's the fun in that?
"How to get Away with Murder," ABC
Think: Law prof and students, get entangled in a murder...
Reason to get excited: From Shondaland, who knows how to put the bubbles in soap; but biggest reason is star Viola Davis. And pretty good title too, no?
Reason not to: How many tricks does Shonda Rhymes have up her sleeve, anyway?
Think: Black family sitcom
Reason to get excited: Good cast (Anthony Anderson is headliner) and the concept seems to have promise (maybe because it's been done before), about cultural identity and assimilation.
Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind — ABC has done a good job of building new comedies (unlike NBC).
"Agent Carter," ABC
Think: Marvel, and "Captain America." This is about Peggy Carter — Hayley Atwell — set in '46.
Reason to get excited: Marvel has certainly kept things interesting at ABC, but Atwell makes this a probable keeper. She knows Peggy Carter better than anybody, after all.
Reason not to: "Agents of "SHEILD" also got a new season pickup this morning, but doesn't ABC — and Marvel — already have their hands full with this? After all, the first season was not the gang-buster they promised.
"American Crime," ABC
Think: Racially charged crime In California's Central Valley, with Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton
Reason to get excited: Sounds compelling, and not cheap crime procedural knock-off.
Reason not to: Also sounds like a monumental downer.
"Battle Creek," CBS
Think: Josh Duhamel, Dean Winters as cops in Battle Creek, Mi.
Reason to get excited: Vince Gilligan AND David Shore ("House") are producing this. Oh, and Mark Johnson.
Reason not to: Battle Creek? Wonderful city, of course. But a cop series? Set here? (Hey, why not.) Another question that occurred to me: The three showrunners are guys with their own visions and talents - Gilligan and Johnson have worked together (famously on a famous series) but Shore is pretty much been his own solo muse. How will they work together...and on what appears to be (superficial impression - we've seen nothing yet) on another procedural? At the very least, these questions will have interesting answers.