The new production and development year in television begins with several new series announcements (and an update on an old one), including series from two The Office alums, Denis Leary, the Wachowskis, and a reunion series between two former cast members of Beverly Hills 90210. Based on the descriptions given, which of the series below will you be more likely to watch?
1. Mr. Robinson — After initially not picking up Craig Robinson’s comedy pilot, Mr. Robinson, NBC has decided to order six episodes of the series, although The Office showrunner Greg Daniels — who oversaw the development of the pilot — will no longer be involved. The entire team behind the series has been retooled, though the premise remains the same: Robinson stars as a “journeyman musician who gets a job as a music teacher at a middle school. While teaching the kids everything from rock to the blues, he simultaneously learns how to put the school’s rules to the test.” Larenz Tate, Amanda Lund and Jean Smart were also in the pilot, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be with the series going forward (their contracts are being worked out). (Deadline)
2. Backstrom — Another The Office alum, Rainn Wilson, also received a 13-episode series order for Backstrom (not to be confused with Winnie the Pooh’s “Backson”) over on Fox. The series, from Hart Hanson (Bones) follows “Detective Everett Backstrom (Wilson), an offensive, irascible detective, as he tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior. Throughout the series, Backstrom leads his team, the Serious Crimes Unit, as they navigate Portland’s most sensitive cases.” (Deadline)
3. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll — Denis Leary is leaving the cop and fireman shows behind, as he’s set to star in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, a half-hour comedy that will air in the near future on FX. Leary stars as the “onetime lead singer of a critically beloved rock band that disbanded — on the day their debut album came out — thanks to Johnny’s substance abuse and bad behavior, like sleeping with his bandmates’ wives. Now 50 and washed up, he wants to get the band back together in the hopes of achieving the fame and glory they missed out on the first time.” The show will also feature original music from rock stars, a smattering of whom will also cameo in the series. The ears of the entire original lineup of Poison just perked up. (Vulture)
4. Mystery Girls — There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this series, which will air on ABC Family, except that it reunited Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210) in a desperate move to bank on some 90s nostalgia. The two will star as actresses popular for their roles as TV detectives, who are brought together to work on a real-life murder mystery. A fan and witness to the crime will only speak to the two actresses. So, a procedural? (The Star)
5. Sense8 — Finally, this is not a newly announced series, but TVLine finally has some information on the upcoming Netflix series, Sense8 from the Wachowskis. The series, which begins filming in June, will be ran by former Babylon 5 writer, J. Michael Straczynski.
Here’s the odd details, from TVline:
The sci-fi drama will focus on eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared — violent — vision. Each episode — shot in the UK, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, San Francisco and Chicago — will follow the characters’ separate stories, even as one entity tries to bring the octet together and another tries to kill them.
Among the regulars (as yet uncast) are: a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger. Perhaps most intriguing, though, are Jonas, an apparently magic African-American who appears to all of the “visionaries,” and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers.
It definitely has echoes of Cloud Atlas, and that’s not a bad thing.