The annual purging and ordering of broadcast TV series is upon us with the upfronts season. From now until next week, the major five networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and The CW) are deciding which pilots to pick up to series for this fall's schedule, or the 2019 midseason (and what not to pick up). Genre series are always part of the pile, and we've got a rundown of the shows that will, or might, be filling your DVRs in the near future.
The network known for breaking the hearts of sci-fans is going genre-light this year, with only one new series pickup.
An adaptation of Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy, the series will star Mark‐Paul Gosselaar as a federal agent who becomes the surrogate protector of a little girl chosen to be the test subject for a virus that could change the world.
The lowdown: In development over the last year by War for the Planet of the Apes’ Matt Reeves and Ridley Scott’s TV production company, the extra time will hopefully make for a win when it comes to this series. Cronin’s books are excellent reads and worthy of a serialized TV telling.
There’s a bit of déjà vu with NBC’s genre pickup selections, conjuring immediate thoughts of Lost and Medium.
Actress Harriet Dyer is a clairvoyant who helps a veteran LAPD detective and ex-FBI investigator solve outstanding cases that have remained unsolved. Her ability to see and talk to the dead means that she’s also getting asked for help from the other side.
The lowdown: Executive producer David Heyman, the guy who made all the Harry Potter films, gives this series a cred boost in regard to production value and how to handle supernatural elements in the real world. The question will be how much the series leans toward the procedural vs. the ghostly world.
A plane full of passengers disappears off the radar, only to return years later with everyone alive and unaware any time has passed at all. They now have to integrate back into their lives, which have moved on without them, and determine what happened to them. Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time) stars as a survivor who now has voices in his head.
The lowdown: Robert Zemeckis is executive-producing Manifest, which brings the series a cinematic sensibility. It just needs to distance itself from the path Lost already covered in terms of inscrutable airplane mysteries.
The CW has the most genre-heavy selection of pilots to choose from of all the networks.
Charmed (Ordered to Series)
Dubbed the “feminist reboot” of the popular WB series about three sisters who discover they are witches, this contemporary version will be set in a college town that attracts a lot of demons and world-ending threats.
The lowdown: The original Charmed ran for eight seasons and made its stars household names. It’s been 12 years since that version ended, so it’s likely been enough time to allow this reboot to be its own thing.
Legacies (Ordered to Series)
An official spinoff series from The Originals takes place in the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, and is centered on Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter Hope and Alaric Saltzman’s twins. The supernaturally inclined youngsters will realize their powers and on what side of good and evil they belong.
The lowdown: There's obviously no shortage of love from fans invested in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Essentially a continuation from The Originals finale, this series will be executive-produced by Julie Plec and feature some returning actors from the previous series.
Roswell (Ordered to Series)
The other big reboot is a contemporary take on the original idea of aliens walking among us. A young woman in Roswell, New Mexico, discovers her crush is actually an alien, and the government has been covering up that more are among us.
The lowdown: Executive-produced by The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec, this new Roswell boasts a Latina lead and parallel immigration stories (domestic and extraterrestrial) at its heart. But rest assured, the romance storylines will still be front and center.
Wayward Sisters (Not Ordered to Series)
After 13 seasons, Supernatural still hasn’t launched a successful spinoff series. They try once more around the character of Sheriff Jody Mills, who enlists a group of young women, orphaned by supernatural circumstances, into a demon-fighting force for good.
The lowdown: Created by the same executive producers now running Supernatural, this show can certainly stand on the shoulders of actress Kim Rhodes, but it’s unfortunate that a female EP isn’t steering this one, considering the mother show’s problems with sustainable female characters. A backdoor pilot earlier this season was also well received.
A beat cop survives an explosion that kills her successful detective brother. Not long after, his ghost appears to help her solve crimes, allowing them both to fulfill their destinies.
The lowdown: The ultimate sibling rivalry tale, the show’s success lies on the shoulders of the chemistry between brother and sister.
The End of the World as We Know It
Based on the book by Iva-Marie Palmer, the concept revolves around a prison spaceship crashing in the Valley of SoCal. Some of the worst aliens in the universe escape, and it's up to a space cop and Valley waitresses to hunt down the hiding fugitives.
The lowdown: Executive-produced by Rob Thomas (iZombie), his comedic sensibility is a perfect match for the weird logline and sensibility of this show.
God Friended Me
An atheist is "friended" by God on social media and unwittingly becomes a positive force of change for the world around him.
The lowdown: Executive-produced by Greg Berlanti (Supergirl), this is going to be a feel-good exploration of faith, technology, and science in action.
What shows look worthy to you?