Tuesday, January 31, 2012

JJ Abrams' Shelter Pilot Ordered

JJ Abrams just might have another show on the air next year to replace the Fringe whose ratings continue to find new lows. The CW orderd the drama Shelter from One Tree Hill's Mark Schwahn and produced through Abrams' Bad Robot production company. Deadline describes the show as "set at a historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries and romances of their own." The order is just for a pilot episode which is a way for CW executives to test the concept to see if they like it enough to order more episodes for next year's schedule.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Abrams Hopes for Fringe Season 5

Fringe Executive Producer J.J. Abrams tells TV Line that, "We remain hopeful that Fringe will be able to continue." This seems to indicate that Fox is at least willing to listen to the idea. Do not get your hopes up as Fox president Kevin Reilly (and one to make the decision) said that Fringe was losing the network money as it seems to find new rating lows each week. I think they only way Fox would renew the show is if the entire production costs are covered by Warner Bros. WB is the studio that makes the show might be willing to do that to hit that 100 episode milestone that will increase syndication possibilities worldwide. It seems show runner Jeff Pinkner is prepared for cancellation or renewal saying "Worst case scenario, if this were the last aired season of Fringe… we know what the end of this season is going to be and it can function as a series finale." The economics of TV today makes me think that syndication dollars are not enough to prevent cancellation.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

JJ Abrams Talks Alcatraz

Today at the Television Critics Association’s press tour to promote Alcatraz, the series executive producer talks about the series that will debut on January 16th on Fox. He revealed little about the show except to say "this show was designed as episodic with an overarching large mythology we get to over time."

He also briefly commented on the changing of show runners halfway through filming, essentially dismissing it, "[Elizabeth Sarnoff] helped the pilot get to a place that was extraordinary. "She didn’t feel like she was the right person to run the show" after creative changes were made.

The impression I get is Fox demanded the show have a villain (escaped convict) of the week format with the serialized (aka mythology part) de-emphasized. The mythology will be the reveal of how and why the inmates of Alcatraz were allowed to jump forward in time (and hopefully explain how they adjust to a new era at a fast rate). My thinking is the show's format will not be much different than The Mentalist with its mystery of the week and the occasional "mythology" of the Red John serial killer. Or if need another example of a more sci-fi bent, go with the show that created the episodic with serialized mythology format - The X-Files. JJ Abrams sales pitch for the show to TV viewers can be found here.