New Sci-Fi TV Part 2: Krypton, Black Lightning, The Orville And More Upfront Pickups

By | May 19, 2017

The Upfronts — when TV networks unveil their schedules to advertisers — wraps up this week and we know pretty much all of the new show pickups at this point. I previously covered last week’s announcements, and this post covers the rest of the  and  pickups from the latest presentations (plus one Netflix title just announced). There were not that many from the broadcast networks this week, though still enough to keep genre fans interested. Not surprisingly, sci-fi averse CBS had no genre entries to announce, unless you want to count the comedy Me, Myself & I, which looks at a man’s life over a 50-year period from the 1990s to the 2040s (I did not include it below).

Note that the list below only includes shows with a firm pickup for 2017 or early 2018. There are several more development projects in the works, but I will cover those in the next This Week in Sci-Fi TVpost. The only two shows below that are currently set for a fall debut are The Gospel of Kevin and The Orville. Some of the cable entries could make it to schedule by year end while the remaining broadcast net shows will be looking at a mid-season bow.

9. Black Lightning

  • Network: The CW
  • Targeted Debut: 2017
  • Starring: Cress Williams
  • About: Based on the DC Comic character of the same name, this show follows a former superhero who has since become a teacher but is pulled back into his crime-fighting life.
  • Comments: Yet another DC character joins The CW’s line-up. I suggested previously that they introduce him in a Showcase-type series, and if he proves popular he can continue in his own show; otherwise, just roll him into one or more of the existing shows. That’s not happening (this one is allegedly not part of the Arrowverse), but it should still be worth a look.

8. The Crossing

  • Network: ABC
  • Targeted Debut: 2018
  • Starring: Steve Zahn, Natalie Martinez, Sandrine Holt
  • About: Refugees from a future war come to a small town in the present day seeking asylum.
  • Comments: Anybody else feel deja vu watching this trailer? The 4400 meets LostThe Returned has been resurrected? I will check it out, but it sure feels like they are drawing from a well that has already been drained.

7. The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance

  • Network: Netflix
  • Targeted Debut: 2018
  • Starring: TBD
  • About: This prequel series to Jim Henson’s 1982 fantasy classic The Dark Crystal takes place many years before the events of the original film and further explores the world he created.
  • Comments: Sign me up! This comes from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and it looks like it will employ the puppetry we saw in the original film, giving us a nice respite from all the CGI overload. There have been rumors for quite a while about a return to the world of Dark Crystal, and Netflix is finally making it happen!

6. The Gospel Of Kevin

  • Network: ABC
  • Targeted Debut: Fall 2017
  • Starring: Jason Ritter
  • About: A man’s life changes when a mysterious “celestial being” appears before him and gives him a mission to save the world.
  • Comments: This one looks like a more humorous (and cynical) take on Highway to Heaven or Touched by an Angel. May be worth a look, though.

5. Happy!

  • Network: Syfy
  • Targeted Debut: Late 2017 / Early 2018
  • Starring: Christopher Meloni, Bobby Moynihan
  • About: The life of a down-on-his-luck ex-cop changes when he finds himself followed by a perpetually happy blue-winged horse.
  • Comments: Uh, sure! OK, I never read the comic and this sounds really bizarre, but it is based on a Grant Morrison story, so maybe it has potential.

4. Krypton

'Krypton' [Credit: Warner Bros. TV]
‘Krypton’ [Credit: Warner Bros. TV]
  • Network: Syfy
  • Targeted Debut: Late 2017 / Early 2018
  • Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo
  • About: Set two generations before the destruction of Krypton (Oops! SPOILER ALERT), this show focuses on Superman’s grandfather as he fights for his family’s honor and to save his planet.
  • Comments: This sounds like it could be an epic series that explores the sci-fi roots of the Man of Steel. I have heard this one referred to as Superman meets Game of Thrones, and the trailer I have seen (it has not been released to the net, but you can find it with some digging) looks pretty good. This could be the next big thing if done right.

3. The Orville

  • Network: Fox
  • Targeted Debut: Fall 2017
  • Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon
  • About: This Galaxy Quest-type series from Seth MacFarlane (Family GuyTed) follows the crew of the “mid-level exploratory spaceship” The Orville as it sets off into the galaxy for mundane adventures in the 25th century.
  • Comments: Galaxy Quest was a ton of fun, but would it work as a weekly series, which is essentially what this will be? Amazon gave up on doing an actual GQ series, so maybe this show picks up the torch? I can say that the trailer is hilarious and I will definitely be tuning in to check this one out.

2. Purge

  • Network: Syfy / USA
  • Targeted Debut: 2018
  • Starring: TBD
  • About: This “companion series” to the feature film franchise will offer “an entirely new chapter in America’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness,” according to Purge creator James DeMonaco. “It will reveal to the fans what happens the other 364 days of the year and how that law affects people.”
  • Comments: Confession time: I’ve never seen the Purge movies, but I do have the first one on my near-term to do list. How well the concept will translate to a weekly series remains to be seen, but this one will get quite a push as it will air concurrently on Syfy and USA.

1. Reverie

  • Network: NBC
  • Targeted Debut: 2018
  • Starring: Dennis Haysbert, Jessica Lu, Sendhil Ramamurthy
  • About: A former hostage negotiator is brought in to help rescue people who have become lost in a virtual reality program.
  • Comments: There’s not a lot of information on this one beyond its tagline and no trailer has been released yet, but it certainly sounds like an interesting premise, and it is definitely different than most of the other genre entries out there. I will be looking forward to checking it out.

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