Simon's "X Factor" leads the Fox fall slate (Ian Derry/Fox)It's almost not fair for Fox to hold its upfront presentation on the same day as NBC's. The difference between the networks is night and day, with Fox premiering a handful of huge, splashy new shows while boasting of its many existing hits and seven-years-at-number-one track record.
Meanwhile, NBC is trying to bounce back from a completely failed 2010 programming slate with an entirely new one and has only one certified ratings hit in "The Voice." So, even though quite a few of Fox's upcoming shows look abysmal, we really can't feel too sorry for the network. Let's take a look at what's ahead.
"The X Factor" (Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm ET)
Producers patched together the trailer for the long-awaited U.S. version of this show from the few days of auditions they've held so far. Despite copious dramatic music, Simon Cowell insults, and pyrotechnics, the show looked somewhat ... lackluster? Simon didn't have much to say about the strengths of the judges and hosts, other than constant reiterations of how attractive they are. When handed the microphone, Paula Abdul seemed confused and sputtered out a concise "I love you, Simon." Tell us again: Why is this woman back on television?
"I Hate My Teenage Daughter" (Wednesdays at 9:30pm ET)
This show is about two moms (Jaime Pressly and Katie Finnernan) who were unpopular growing up and are now facing off against their mean-girl teenage daughters. We wanted to like this show based solely on the cast, but man, this trailer is not good. It features a laugh track, over-the-top sitcom-ness, and inelegant jokes about insecure, petty, catty, shallow ladies.
"Allen Gregory" (Sundays at 8:30pm ET)
Sandwiched between "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," this animated Jonah Hill project is about a brilliant, highly successful child (voiced by Hill) who is forced to attend elementary school with his intellectually inferior peers. We didn't laugh much at the trailer, but we kind of like how wrong the show's humor is.
"Terra Nova" (Mondays at 8pm ET)
Our urge to snark at this crazy-hyped show is strong, but the newly retooled trailer Fox showed today looks absolutely gorgeous. It looks exactly like "Avatar," and Jason O'Mara is about as exciting as Sam Worthington, but maybe that won't matter with giant, slobbery dinosaurs chomping on everything.
"New Girl" (Tuesdays at 9pm ET)
This one's a half-hour sitcom about a quirky, manic girl (Zooey Deschanel) who moves in with three guys (who fall in love with her, natch) after experiencing a painful breakup. And look, either you think Zooey Deschanel is impossibly adorable, or she makes you want to puke. We're in the second camp, and considering that all the footage of her in this preview showcases her crying, laughing, laugh-crying, dancing, and singing constantly, we are totally avoiding this thing.
We're not "Bones" fans, but this spinoff looked fun. The cast -- Geoff Stults, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Saffron Burrows -- seems to have good chemistry, and the show takes a light, breezy approach to solving grisly murders that is pretty similar to the approach of USA Network shows. Considering the enormous ratings of USA shows, that similarity might be part of the strategy here.
Yes, this is an animated adaptation of the film, featuring all the original actors voicing the characters: My worst nightmare. Fox's entertainment president went on and on about the movie's cult status, and though that was certainly true at one time, who cares about "Napoleon Dynamite" anymore?
From J.J. Abrams, this thriller's premise is that all the prisoners who were relocated when Alcatraz closed in 1963 actually vanished into thin air, which was covered up by a vast conspiracy. Now the prisoners are popping up to commit heinous crimes in 2011. It sounds ridiculous on paper, but the trailer is really, really cool. Oh, and wonderful to see you again, Hurley.
This one starts later in midseason as a spring show, and it stars Mike O'Malley and Rachael Harris as a married couple and parents to ... kids of some kind. There was sparse footage shown, but who doesn't love those two?
"Little in Common"
Another spring show and a companion to "Family Album," this one stars Rob Corddry, Paula Marshall, and Kevin Hart, and it's about three middle-class suburban couples interacting over their children's sports teams. Didn't see much footage for this one, either, but Kevin Hart had a great line in one part. That's promising, isn't it?
A drama about a man (Kiefer Sutherland) with an autistic son who can see patterns in the world that lead to mass-casualty events. There was no promo yet, but despite that and our love of Kiefer, a few things bother us about this project already: (1) The words "from the mind of Tim Kring"; (2) Fox is proud to have secured the "Water for Elephants" director for the pilot, when that movie is unremittingly boring and painfully meandering; and (3) the way Fox's Kevin Reilly called the show "groundbreaking" about 73 times in the presentation, even though not a single second of it has been shot.
Seth MacFarlane's "The Flintstones"
As with everything he makes, we're sure this will earn a zillion dollars and amass huge numbers of passionate fans. But MacFarlane sold the thing to the audience by saying it would answer questions like "What's the animal version of the iPod?" Oh, finally the answer to that question. Coming your way in 2013, inquiring minds!
More from Television Without Pity:
- Summer TV Preview: New Shows
- Summer TV Preview: Returning Faves
- 'Real Housewives of Orange County': Behind-the-Scenes Drama
Which new Fox show looks best to you? Let us know in the comments.