The Fox Network is working on its strength this season, keeping their solid Sunday animation block intact, adding a couple of new male-oriented comedies to lead into their successful Tuesday night girly sitcoms, trying to launch a new drama or two, and still loving the competition reality genre that they do so well.
Monday nights at 9pm beginning in September will see the launch of the stylish fantasy police drama Sleepy Hollow, starring potential heartthrob Tom Mison (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Parade's End, Lost in Austen) as a mysteriously revived Ichabod Crane of Headless Horseman story fame. Created by the Kurtzman/Orci team who brought us Fringe and the new Star Trek movies, Sleepy Hollow dabbles in American Treasure territory with a plotline stuffed full of Revolutionary War strangeness including Freemasons and their ilk and moving on to Bible-y creepiness including that quartet of Apocalyptic Horseman -- of whom the also-revived Mr. Headless is a member -- and so on. We will see Ichabod in his 18th Century world via flashbacks to his life there with his wife Katrina, played by Katia Winter (Quinn's stripper girlfriend Katia on last season's Dexter), who is stuck between worlds and whose predicament is part of Ichabod's eerie mission. Ichabod is teamed up with modern-day detective Abbie Mills, played by Nicole Beharie (42, The Good Wife, Woman Thou Art Loosed), the perfect partner for the beleaguered time traveler since she has psychic gifts that could come in handy. Their boss at the police station is played by the always interesting Orlando Jones (Men in Trees, Rules of Engagement, Evolution, MAD TV). The extravagant underpinnings of Sleepy Hollow will either charm you or leave you cold, but perhaps with the same leap of faith it may have taken to embrace Lost in years past, Sleepy Hollow might be a helluva ride. (Does anybody remember another attempt by Fox to bring Ye Olde America to TV a few years back with New Amsterdam? That one worketh not.) Sleepy Hollow premieres Monday, September 16th at 9pm. Latest News: The debut of Sleepy Hollow was a ratings success.
Later this Fall, Fox will move out Bones (which goes to Friday nights) to welcome Almost Human, a futuristic police action adventure hour from J.J. Abrams (Star Trek reboot, Fringe, Lost, Revolution) & Company. J.J.'s Star Trek's Dr. McCoy Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings, Doom) stars as John, a catastrophically-injured police detective repaired with robotic parts who is reluctantly paired with an empathetic android played by Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell, Californication, The Good Wife, Flash Forward). Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under, I Shot Andy Warhol, The Conjuring) is the police captain who supports John in his transition, Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones, The Office British version) is the brainy technician who makes the technology work, Minka Kelly (Charlie's Angels, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Lee Daniels The Butler as Jackie Kennedy) is a detective specializing in the human mind, and Michael Irby (The Unit) is the skeptical colleague who fights John and his new partner all the way. Nobody doubts that J.J. Abrams knows how to make exciting and provocative movies and TV, so hopes are high for the debut in late Fall. Almost Human will premiere Mondays at 8pm.
Tuesday night brings two new comedies. At 8pm Fox introduces Dads starring Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Family Guy, Robot Chicken) and Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, My Name is Earl, Friends) as best friends video game inventors who both find their lives changing in amusing ways when their fathers move in with them. Green plays the flaky half of the duo while Ribisi is married with children. Martin Mull (Two and a Half Men, Arrested Development, The Ellen Show, Fernwood Tonight, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Roseanne) is Ribisi's sometimes successful entrepreneurial father, and Peter Riegert ( The Good Wife, One Tree Hill, Damages, The Sopranos, Crossing Delancy) is Green's negativity-spewing papa. Brenda Song (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Scandal, New Girl) plays a co-worker at the game company, and Tonita Castro (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Little Britain U.S.A.) is Green's empathetic housekeeper. Lots of negative early buzz on this for a disliked pilot with particular vitriol reserved for its racist jokes. Despite a good and capable cast things don't sound overly promising for Dads. Dads premieres Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm.
The outlook appears much brighter for Tuesday's 8:30pm comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Comedian Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and esteemed actor Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street, The Last Resort, House, M.D., Men of a Certain Age, The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson) head the cast in this NYC-set police comedy. Braugher is a newly-assigned by-the-book precinct captain and Samberg is the ringleader for a merry band of detectives who may not be regulation but get the job done. Co-starring are Melissa Fumero (Gossip Girl, One Life to Live), Terry Crews (Bridesmaids, Arrested Development, The Newsroom, Everybody Hates Chris), Joe Lo Truglio (Reno 911, Sons of Tucson, lots of web series), Stephanie Beatriz (Modern Family, The Closer), and actress-writer Chelsea Peretti (Parks and Recreation). The creators have credits including comedy hits 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and The Office, and the buzz is reporting that their talents have not been squandered. Brooklyn Nine-Nine showed up on lots of favorite pilots lists, and we're betting that this workplace comedy with a little law-and-order twist will be a hit. Brooklyn Nine-Nine premieres Tuesday, September 17th at 8:30pm.
The last new show for this Fall is Friday night's MasterChef Junior. It's exactly what it sounds like -- the often ferocious Gordon Ramsay is back, this time urging twenty four budding young chefs from 8 to 13 to achieve their best culinary creations in this popular competition format. Kids in kitchens...could be watchable. (This format has already worked in Britain and Australia, but those little kids have those wonderful accents so that already puts them ahead of the competitors here.) MasterChef Junior premieres Friday, September 27 at 8pm.
The rest of Fox's development slate won't be on display until mid-season. Their service comedy Enlisted was set to premiere in the Fall on Fridays after Raising Hope, but has been held back until January to gain momentum from promotion inside sports. More series on tap include Rake with Greg Kinnear as a charismatic bad-boy lawyer, Gang Related about a former Latino gang member who is now a cop, Surviving Jack based on a best-selling autobiography about the son of an oncologist and a lawyer and he still can't get a date, and Us and Them, starring Jason Ritter in the story of two unlikely people who fall in love despite the nutty bunch of friends and family around them.
We think Fox and audiences will be happy with Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Almost Human later this Fall.
Next up, NBC's Fall slate.