Entertainment Magazine

2012 Network Upfronts: Part VI: The Wrap-Up

Posted on the 17 May 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

With all of the traditional networks having weighed in on the Fall 2012 season, it’s worth taking a moment to sum up the implications for Critical Myth and genre fans as a whole.


The big news for genre fans on Mondays is the arrival of “Revolution”, the much-anticipated Abrams/Kripke collaboration. Unless you’re a “Castle”, “Bones”, or “Hawaii Five-O” fan, there’s just not much else on Monday nights, besides the stray comedy here or there. In that regard, Syfy was smart to move their original dramas to Mondays as counter-programming against reality dreck.


Tuesday night might as well not exist on the traditional networks, as far as genre fans are concerned. All the better, then, that cable networks like USA and TNT tend to schedule a lot of their semi-genre material on Tuesday (at least in the past). It also provides a nice “catch up” night for all the material that accumulates on the DVR through the weekend!


For genre fans, the night belongs to CW. Beyond a comedy here or there in the schedule, there’s literally nothing else to watch, unless cable networks take advantage and try to stake out Wednesday nights as well. But I have the feeling that many of us will be settling in on the CW for Wednesday evenings!


This is where things start to pile up a bit, but not as much as in previous years. For me, the highlights are “The Vampire Diaries” and “Person of Interest”. New shows like “Elementary” and “Last Resort” may end up on the DVR beside the usual comedies, but so far, these are not “must watch” shows. And this is not usually a night with heavy cable competition.


Thanks to a few key moves, this is also a less crowded night, though the cable schedule does factor into things a bit more. “Fringe” will dominate Fridays in the fall, with “Grimm” and “Nikita” also pulling their weight.


Saturdays belong to cable, by which I usually mean BBC America. Even there, the genre offerings are more sporadic than in recent years. Sunday is now one of the most crowded nights. “Once Upon a Time” is probably the headliner. “666 Park Avenue” looks interesting, and “The Good Wife” may not be genre, but it’s a heavy-hitter. Sunday night is also a huge night for cable, too, so there’s likely to be a mixture of must-watch and must-DVR. This is where those open Tuesday nights will come in handy!


The eternal wild-card…when and where will the mid-season shows drop into the schedule? But of the announced shows, only “Zero Hour” and “Cult” sound like they have the right genre flavor. Mid-season is often more about the year-round scheduling of the cable networks, which tends to throw off the balance. But even then, it looks like this might be one of the most evenly spread-out schedules in a very long time.

    Final Verdict

I always look at the traditional network slate and wonder if this is going to be one of those genre-lean years. While this is definitely one of the lightest seasons for genre shows, especially with the impending loss of “Fringe”, it has really come down to the cable networks and their embrace of genre and semi-genre programming. HBO, Showtime, and Starz are all delivering adult genre programming, and networks like AMC, Syfy, USA, and TNT always seem to have something to offer. This has thrown off the usual convention of when shows premiere and end, creating a year-round stream of original programming.

One other element that should be noted, and could play into future programming decisions, is the rising advent of alternative means of original content distribution: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Right now, little of that is genre-related, but how many genre shows seem to be up for consideration or resurrection on these platforms? Sooner or later, those outlets will become a source of content worthy of discussion.

For now, I think we can safely say that the 2012-2013 season looks very interesting. I look forward to seeing where it takes us!

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