It's a crazy week, and not just on television. We have the premieres of "Mistresses," "Graceland" and "The Fosters" and the returns of "Teen Wolf" and "Pretty Little Liars" (and those are just the ones that spring to mind), but Canada's three main networks -- City, Global and CTV (CBC's was a couple weeks ago) -- are holding their presentations for their upcoming fall schedules, announcing what new shows they'll air, which ones are returning to their respective networks and which ones they've swapped with the other networks. Wait, huh?
City was the first one out of the block this week, and while a few things stuck out in their lineup (acquiring "Nashville"; picking up spinoff "Once Upon A Time In Wonderland," even though "OUAT" remains on CTV; getting rid of "Person of Interest"; and Grammys, Grammys, Grammys!), it's obvious their main focus is bringing the funny.
"Staying true to our younger, urban-oriented audience, we continue to build City's world-class programming slate with the best new shows, returning proven hits and exciting event programming that are relevant to our viewers. This year's schedule is the strongest in network history," Malcolm Dunlop, Executive Vice-President of Programming & Operations, Rogers Media, said in a press release. A bold statement, that's for sure. Now let's see if he's right.
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"The Crazy Ones"
A single-camera, half-hour comedy set in the world of advertising, "The Crazy Ones" revolves around the dynamics between a father, played by Robin Williams, and his daughter, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
"The Bachelor Canada"
"The Bachelor Canada" is the Canadian version of the perennially successful "The Bachelor" franchise on City and OMNI Television. This nine-episode, original reality series will feature an all-Canadian cast including the host, bachelorettes and of course, the highly sought-after bachelor. Season 2 starts production in 2014.
New live-action, multi-camera comedy from Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild, the creatively outrageous team behind "Ted" and "Family Guy." "Dads" stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as two successful guys -- and childhood best friends -- whose lives get turned upside-down when their pain-in-the-neck patriarchs (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in.
"Back In The Game"
When Terry Gannon, a recently divorced single mother, temporarily moves in with her estranged father, a beer-swilling former baseball player, she reluctantly starts coaching her son's underdog little league team and is drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind.
"Package Deal" is the story of three overly close brothers and the woman who comes between them. Danny is the smart, good-looking, and successful lawyer brother; Sheldon is the stubborn, politically incorrect, and bossy salesman older brother; and Ryan is the sensitive, slightly metrosexual, and former house-husband brother. Sharing more than just a last name, they are overly involved in each other’s lives -- until Kim, a beautiful, smart, and funny woman, begins dating Danny and finally cuts his umbilical cord from his brothers.
In a new comedy from Chuck Lorre, Anna Faris plays Christy, a single mom whose newly found sobriety has given her the ability to see her life clearly -- and she does not like the view. Now, she must try to untangle years of reckless decisions in order to make a better life for her and her kids.
"Super Fun Night"
Starring popular Australian comedian Rebel Wilson, "Super Fun Night" is a new half-hour, single-camera comedy series that follows three nerdy female friends in their mid-to-late 20s on their "funcomfortable" quest to have fun every Friday night -- even if it kills them. Kimmie, Helen-Alice, and Marika have been best friends for 13 years, united by a love for warrior princesses, rock parties (with actual rocks), and fantasizing about one day having a boyfriend. Every Friday night they are "always together, always inside!" But after Kimmie is promoted at her law firm and invited to drinks by Richard, the cute new lawyer from London, she realizes the friends haven't been out since ... well, since prom.
"Storage Wars Canada"
"Storage Wars Canada" is a modern-day treasure hunt, as six professional buyers use their knowledge, expertise, and wit to bid on the contents of abandoned, repossessed, and forgotten storage containers. With mere minutes to scan the contents of a locker using only the beam of a flashlight, the high-stakes fun begins when the buyers have to out-bid each other for the locker, which could be full of trash -- or treasure.
Starring Eva Longoria, "Mother Up!" is an animated adult comedy series about a former street-smart -- but now disgraced -- big-city music executive-turned-suburban supermom with one catch: she is not a very good parent.
"Us & Them"
Based on the hugely popular and multiple-award-winning BBC 3 series Gavin & Stacey, "Us & Them" is an ensemble, single-camera comedy starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel, about a young couple whose path to happily-ever-after is complicated by the screwed-up circus of people closest to them.
Of all the notorious lawmen that have ever patrolled the violent Texas frontier, none are more storied than the Texas Rangers. But being the only female ranger in this elite squad isn't going to stop badass Molly Parker, who is committed to finding the truth and seeing justice served. While she's surrounded by law enforcement colleagues who want to see her fail, including Police Lieutenant Guillermo Salazar, the Rangers, led by Company Commander Luis Zea, have her back.
Based on the Dutch series "Overspel," "Betrayal" follows Sara and Jack, two lovers caught in an affair, and an impossible situation on opposite sides of a murder investigation. Photographer Sara Hadley and attorney Jack McAllister’s chance meeting leads to an instant and undeniable attraction.
"Once Upon A Time In Wonderland"
In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah-smoking caterpillar, and playing cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she's seen during this impossible adventure. Surely this troubled girl must be insane, and her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever -- the handsome and mysterious Cyrus.
From the Emmy Award-winning writers/producers of "Parks and Recreation," this single-camera comedy stars Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is an ensemble comedy about what happens when a detective who doesn't take anything seriously gets a new “by-the-book” boss who wants him to grow up and respect the badge.
Every day across the country, Americans imagine what it would be like to strike it rich. They dream of new houses, new cars, new everything. It could never happen to them -- but what if it did?
From writer/producer Rand Ravich comes this emotionally charged action thriller. It begins with a field trip for the students of Ballard High School, a place that educates the children of Washington, D.C.'s elite, top-of-their-industry CEOs, international diplomats, political power players, and even the president's son. But when their bus is ambushed on a secluded rural road, the teenagers and their chaperones are taken, igniting a national crisis.
"Enlisted" is an irreverent and heartfelt single-camera, family comedy set in the military. Starring Geoff Stults, the series follows three brothers and the group of misfits who surround them as they get reacquainted on a small Florida Army base.
"The Crazy Ones"
The biggest name of the funny bunch is Robin Williams, who headlines City's new comedy, "The Crazy Ones." Aside from the occasional guest stint ("Law & Order: SVU," "Wilfred" and "L.A. Doctors"), this is his first regular small-screen run since "Mork & Mindy." It also helps that his co-stars are Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy") and James Wolk ("Mad Men"), who plays Williams' right-hand man in the ad agency he runs. But how intimidating was it for Wolk to keep up with Williams? "He's such a generous actor and person, you don't feel anything but excitement and joy to go on a journey with him. I think the most genius thing about working alongside him is that he takes you with him. You never feel like he's just going and you're in a dangerous place, you always feel like you're doing a dance with him."
"The Project: Guatemala"
If it looks like a reality show and sounds like a reality show, then it must be a reality show, right? Well, kinda sorta. In the case of "Project: Guatemala," it's so much more. A group of privileged 20-somethings think they've been chosen to go on the adventure of a lifetime and soon learn they have been enlisted to give back and help a local Guatemalan charity. "I'm very proud it's Canadian. This is groundbreaking, it's something that's never been done before on TV." This looks like a definite winner (and I'm not being sarcastic).
"Super Fun Night"
Three female pals vow to trade in their stay-at-home ladies' nights for a party every Friday. Rebel Wilson ("Pitch Perfect"), who stars as Kimmie, is joined by Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira, "Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23") and Marika (Lauren Ash, "Lars And The Real Girl") as they brave New York City every week. "They're more social misfits, weirdos, they're not nerds," clarifies Ash. "It's the friendship that the three share and how much we love each other that sets us apart." A chick buddy comedy is an untapped market and this looks like it could stick.
"Storage Wars Canada"
The only thing different between "Storage Wars Canada" and "Storage Wars" is the cast, but boy, oh, boy, does the Canadian version boast quite the group. It's clear they're all pros when it comes to bidding on abandoned, repossessed and forgotten lockers, but what's even more evident is how much they truly can't stand one another. "Once the auction starts, there are no friends," said auctioneer Don Reinhart. And I'm pretty sure when the auctions are over, friendship still is the last thing on their minds. Roy Dirnbeck, a.k.a. The Instigator, lives up to his name and it seems he won't be getting a holiday card from "The Veterans," Cindy Hayden and Rick Coffill, or "The Knock Out," Ursula Stolf, anytime soon. Let the drama begin.
While Andy Samberg ("Saturday Night Live") and Andre Braugher ("Last Resort") are the stars of this comedy, it was bugging me where I knew the female lead from. I had to IMDB it to realize it was Adriana from "One Life to Live"! (I love when soap alums make it big, so it was a pleasant surprise.) While this could get annoying really fast (honestly, if this were real life, he would've been fired immediately), but if the writers don't make it too over-the-top, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" stands a good chance of surviving.
Speaking of soap opera alumni making it big, Eva Longoria is back, and her animated comedy "Mother Up!" premieres in the midseason. She voices a character who is nothing like her, which makes her that much more fun to play. "There's no female presence in animation, so to be able to play Rudi Wilson, who has a very male energy -- we like to call her the female Peter Griffin because she's inappropriate and misguided and selfish -- to be able to play that in animated form was awesome." Thankfully Longoria and Rudi are nothing alike. "It's nice to play someone who is totally different from me. She's narcissistic, she's selfish, everything roots from 'How does it best serve me?' She's a lot of fun." Watch out Peter, Homer Simpson and Stan Smith. It sounds like you're about to have some competition.
What began as a spring show, then moved to a summer premiere, then yet again switched from a summer sneak peek, will now debut this fall, which was a pleasant surprise for creator and executive producer Andrew Orenstein. "It's a nice vote of confidence, that they looked at our show and the U.S. shows they were buying and thought, 'Yeah, 'Package Deal' fits really nicely between 'How I Met Your Mother' and '2 Broke Girls.'" And after watching the first episode, I think City made a smart choice because 'Package Deal' really does fit in with the other established comedies in the lineup.
I don't particularly care for Seth MacFarlane's brand of comedy, so imagine my surprise when I learned he was the executive producer of the show I laughed most at. Led by Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green, and joined by Martin Mull and Peter Riegert, "Dads" reminds me a bit of "Partners" and "S#*! My Dad Says," with one exception -- it's actually funny.
Here's City's fall lineup (all times ET):
8 p.m. "How I Met Your Mother"
8:30 p.m. "Package Deal"
9 p.m. "2 Broke Girls"
9:30 p.m. "Mom"
10 p.m. "The Project: Guatemala"
8 p.m. "Dads"
8:30 p.m. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
9 p.m. "New Girl"
9:30 p.m. "The Mindy Project"
10 p.m. "Lucky 7"
8 p.m. "Revolution"
9 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "Super Fun Night"
10 p.m. "Nashville"
8 p.m. "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland"
9 p.m. "The Crazy Ones"
9:30 p.m. "Parks and Recreation"
10 p.m. "Scandal"
8 p.m. "The Carrie Diaries"
9 p.m. "Raising Hope"
9:30 p.m. "Enlisted"
10 p.m. "The Liquidator"
8 p.m. "The Project: Guatemala"
9 p.m. "Great Canadian Movies"
8 p.m. "Storage Wars Canada"
8:30 p.m. "Meet the Family"
9 p.m. "Revenge"
10 p.m. "Betrayal"
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