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May 20, 2012 - 11:27am

Upfronts 2012 (Part 4 of 5): Superheroes and serial killers to come to the CW

BY KAYLA UPADHYAYA

The CW

Every spring, the major television networks present their fall and midseason schedules to potential advertisers at their upfronts. Senior Arts Editor Kayla Upadhyaya takes a look at the new series coming to the CW.

At their upfronts this past week, the CW announced that they will be pushing most of their returning dramas back to October start dates, which may mean more waiting for a follow-through on that insane season finale of “The Vampire Diaries,” but it also means that there will be fewer small breaks along the way — an uninterrupted flow of story and action.

The CW may have broken my heart by canceling their teen-witchy thriller-drama “The Secret Circle,” but I’m still willing to give their upcoming new series a chance. But I’m warning you CW: You’re on the thinnest of ice, and that’s coming from a very loyal lover of your programming.

Previously on Upfronts 2012: A breakdown of the new shows from NBC, FOX and ABC.

“Arrow”

Quick Facts: Based on the tales of DC superhero Green Arrow, this action series follows wealthy playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell, “Hung”), who is presumed dead when a boat holding him, his girlfriend’s sister, his father, and a crew sinks in the ocean. Queen survives, teaching himself basic survival skills on a desolate island before being rescued and returning home to find that his family and friends have changed and moved on. But the skills Queen learned on the island come in handy when crimes in his city begin to rise. Katie Cassidy (“Gossip Girl”) also stars.

Reasons to Watch: Archers seem to be very in this year. And with a promising young cast and an interesting modern take on a fan-favorite superhero, “Arrow” could be a “Smallville” without Lana Lang … so, you know, better!

Cause for Concern: Hopefully the show will also avoid getting as complicated as “Smallville” did.

“Emily Owens, M.D.”

Quick Facts: From writer Jennie Synder Urman (“90210”) and producer Dan Jinks (“Pushing Daisies”) comes a medical drama about nerdy, awkward Emily Barnes (Mamie Gumer, “The Good Wife”) and her hospital internship, which turns out to be not all that different from the day-to-day drama of high school. The series also stars Justin Hartley (“Smallville”), Jack Coleman (“Heroes”) and Kelly McCreary (“White Collar”).

Reasons to Watch: Mamie Gumer was great on “The Good Wife” as manipulative, devious Nancy Crozier!

Cause for Concern: … but Emily Barnes seems way less fun and the show doesn’t have much going for it other than Justin Hartley’s bespectacled face.

“Beauty and the Beast”

Quick Facts: Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper of “Brothers and Sisters” bring a new drama based loosely on the 1980s CBS classic of the same name. This updated version of the tale follows a genetically altered Afghanistan war veteran who helps a police detective solve crimes. Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville”), Jay Ryan (“Go Girls”), Austin Basis (“Life Unexpected”), Max Brown (“The Tudors”) and Nicole Gale Anderson (“Make It or Break It”) star.

Reasons to Watch: Modern retellings of fairy tales can be buckets of fun … or complete disasters. The trailer is exciting-ish, ultimately falling flat due to the dumb voiceover and minimal acting abilities of …

Cause for Concern: Kristin Kreuk.

“The Carrie Diaries” (midseason)

Quick Facts: A prequel to the HBO series “Sex and the City,” this coming-of-age drama shows a rebellious, virgin high-school version of Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) who has just lost her mother. The pilot was written by Amy B. Harris, who was a writer and producer on “Sex and the City” and “Gossip Girl,” and the project is produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage of “Gossip Girl.”

Reasons to Watch: I was fully expecting to only watch this show to mock it, but the trailer pleasantly surprised me. And even though “Gossip Girl” has fallen way, way down in its recent seasons, I’m hoping the team makes “The Carrie Diaries” remind us of the “GG” glory days (approximately the first three seasons).

Cause for Concern: “Sex and the City” fans will likely be dismayed by some of the retconning done to Carrie’s past. Prequels can be dicey.

“Cult” (midseason)

Quick Facts: “Cult” is a psychological thriller created by Rockne S. O’Bannon (“Farscape”) that features a show-within-the-show, also called “Cult,” which could be linked to the recent deaths of fans of the show, fans who have become freakishly obsessed with the program and its main character Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper, “Heroes”). Blogger Jeff Sefton (Matthew Davis, “The Vampire Diaries”) joins a “Cult” production assistant (Jessica Lucas, “Melrose Place”) to try to uncover the mystery surrounding the too-loved show.

Reasons to Watch: “Cult” is up there with “The Following” on my most-anticipated list (what can I say, I love me some serial killers). Stellar cast, thrilling story, great hair.

Cause for Concern: It was hard enough for me to summarize the premise without confusing myself … naming a show the name of its show-within-a-show can make critics’ jobs a bit difficult.

Still to Come: CBS’s new programming lineup


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