Redwood Falls Gazette
Columnist and author Melissa Crawley writes about what's hot on TV.
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About this blog
Melissa Crawley has a PhD in media studies from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her book: Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's \x34The West Wing\x34 was published in 2006. She has also published work online ...
TV Reviews
Melissa Crawley has a PhD in media studies from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her book: Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's The West Wing was published in 2006. She has also published work online at PopMatters and Flow as well as chapters in the edited collections: The American President in Popular Culture and The Great American Makeover. Her weekly syndicated television column, Stay Tuned, is part of GateHouse News Service. Follow her on Twitter @melissacrawley
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By smal3082
May 25, 2014 5:15 a.m.

It’s spring. Time to say goodbye to what I’m pretty sure was the longest winter in history and hello to the broadcast network upfronts. This is the meeting where the networks announce what new series they ordered, what current series they renewed and what shows won’t make it back to your screens. In anticipation of an interesting 2014-2015 season, here’s a brief rundown of the series that have been ordered on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
On ABC, “American Crime” focuses on how a racially charged murder and the trial that follows impacts the personal lives of the people involved while “How to Get Away with Murder” continues the legal theme by looking at a group of law students and their professor who get caught up in a murder plot. A man who goes from good guy next door to a suspect after finding the body of his neighbor’s young son is the focus of “Secrets and Lies.” Aliens invade on “The Whispers” and an immortal medical examiner tries to discover the reason for his long life on “Forever.” “Marvel’s Agent Carter” follows Peggy Carter who is an administrative assistance and secret agent working for Howard Stark in 1946. In the comedy category, there’s “Black-Ish” about an upper-middle class black father trying to raise his kids with a sense of cultural identity, “Galavant,” described as a “musical fairy tale,” romantic comedy “Manhattan Love Story” and “Selfie,” a loose take on “My Fair Lady” with Eliza as an internet sensation and Henry as the marketing guru who teaches her how to live offline.
CBS hopes to continue the success of the always popular CSI and NCIS franchise with the spin-offs: “CSI: Cyber” and “NCIS: New Orleans.” More crime features on “Stalker” while “Scorpion” follows tech nerds led by an “eccentric genius at Homeland Security.” The personal and professional challenges of a maverick female Secretary of State are the focus of “Madam Secretary.” If you need a laugh after all the procedurals, there’s “The McCarthy’s” about a large Irish-Catholic family in Boston and a re-boot of “The Odd Couple” starring Matthew Perry.
It’s more detectives on Fox with “Backstrom” and “Gotham.” The first centers on “The Office” alum Rainn Wilson as a self-destructive but committed lead detective in Portland while the second is the origin story of Commissioner James Gordon in his detective, pre-Batman days. The mystery of a young boy’s death and the town it impacts is the focus of “Gracepoint” while “Red Band Society” is an ensemble drama about a group of teenagers who meet as patients in a pediatric ward. “Empire” explores family drama in the context of a hip-hop empire. “Wayward Pines” follows Matt Dillon as a Secret Service Agent on a mission. “Hieroglyph” features a thief who deals with palace intrigue while serving the Pharoah. Fans of “Saturday Night Live’s” Will Forte will be pleased that he’ll be looking for laughs as the “Last Man on Earth,” while “Weird Loners” aims to find the comedy in the story of four people who form a bond while living in a townhouse in New York. In unscripted drama, there’s “Utopia,” a social experiment that puts 15 people in a remote, undeveloped area and challenges them to create a civilization.
The Russians are coming on NBC’s “Allegiance,” the story of a CIA analyst who learns that his parents are Russian spies re-enlisted by the Kremlin. The work life of another CIA analyst tasked with compiling the president’s daily briefing is the focus of “State of Affairs.” On the detective front, there’s con-man turned reluctant supernatural detective “Constantine,” and a female homicide detective balancing work and family in “The Mysteries of Laura.” David Duchovny is a police sergeant in LA in 1967 in “Aquarius.” “Emerald City” reimagines a scary Land of Oz and three strangers’ lives collide in “Odyssey.” With seven new comedies on order, NBC is banking on making you laugh. “A to Z,” is set in the world of an online dating company, “Bad Judge” stars Kate Walsh as a judge who misbehaves and “Mission Control” looks at what happens when a woman with opinions clashes with a macho astronaut in 1962. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” features a woman who runs away from a cult and starts life over in New York City while in another “new life” scenario, “Mr. Robinson” focuses on a musician who begins again as a middle school music teacher. A couple find out it’s not so easy being engaged in “Marry Me” and things get complicated on “One Big Happy” for a gay woman and a straight man who are best friends and decide to have a baby together.

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