FOX's 2010-2011 shows, first impressions: Comedy is 'Running Wilde'
The network will use "Glee" to launch a pair of new comedies -- "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde" -- in the fall, and will slot another one ( "Mixed Signals") in at midseason. FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly says each show has "markers for something good," meaning that they have the potential to grow from what's in their pilots.
With the drama schedule relatively stable -- "House," "Bones" and "Fringe" will all be back in their current timeslots, while "Lie to Me" and "Human Target" will anchor two other nights -- FOX only picked up three shows. We'll discuss two of them below, but the third -- the Steven Spielberg-produced time-travel adventure "Terra Nova," had only talking heads (from Spielberg and exec producers Peter Chernin and Brannon Braga) and conceptual drawings to show. They looked pretty, but they're not enough on which to base any qualified opinion.
We do feel OK sharing our thoughts about the other new shows on FOX's schedule. Here goes:
"Raising Hope" (watch clips)
The series is about a young man ( Lucas Neff) who becomes a father to a baby named Hope and is utterly unprepared for the job -- and as such, we wish FOX had kept the show's original title, "Keep Hope Alive." The trailer made us chuckle a few times -- mostly at Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt, who play Neff's parents -- but its low-key vibe didn't really grab us. The full pilot may play better.
"Running Wilde" (watch clips)
We were pleasantly surprised by this one. Given that it stars Will Arnett, who co-created the series with his "Arrested Development" cohorts Mitch Hurwitz and Jim Vallely, we figured he'd be playing a clueless jerk in the Gob Bluth vein. His character -- a rich guy trying to buy the love of a long-ago crush ( Keri Russell) -- is clueless, sure, but he also came across as not a bad guy. He and Russell also seem to have pretty decent chemistry, so we're hopeful.
"Mixed Signals" (watch clips)
It's a ho-hum premise -- three guys ( David Denman, Kris Marshall and Nelson Franklin) who are in different relationship stages try to figure them out and maintain their friendship -- but it showed surprising signs of life in its trailer. Denman, best known as Pam's ex Roy from "The Office," is very watchable in his leading role, and the two women in the cast, Liza Lapira and Alexandra Breckenridge, hold their own with the guys.
"Bob's Burgers" (watch clips)
"Home Movies" co-creator Loren Bouchard is behind this midseason entry in FOX's Sunday animation lineup, about a struggling restaurant owner (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and his well-meaning but generally unhelpful family. Mild chuckles, but given our love for "Home Movies," we were expecting a little more.
"Lonestar" (watch clips)
We're intrigued by the premise: A con man ( James Wolk) lives a double life in Texas while running a long game on a wealthy family -- but finds that he kind of likes his fake life and wants to make it real. Wolk could be one of the breakout stars of the new season, and we like Adrianne Palicki (as one of his marks) and David Keith (as his mentor) quite a bit. If the show is going to succeed, though, it will have to build a foundation based on more than just Wolk's character keeping his secret.
"Ride-Along" (watch clips)
Given our love for "The Shield," we were predisposed to be interested in Shawn Ryan's new show -- and we didn't come away disappointed. Stars Jason Clarke, Jennifer Beals and Delroy Lindo are all commanding presences, and it looks like Ryan will make use of the show's Chicago locations just as well as he did with Los Angeles in "The Shield." We're eager for February to roll around.
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Photo credit: FOX