Last season, FOX only picked up two new drama series: the hit thriller “The Following” which was launched midseason, and the instant bomb “The Mob Doctor” which was launched in the fall.
FOX has doubled that amount for the 2013-14 season, but once again they’ll only launch one show in the fall. That honor (or curse?) goes to imaginative looking reboot “Sleepy Hollow,” while J.J. Abrams’ “Almost Human” and Greg Kinnear vehicle “Rake” will be held for midseason and “Gang Related” will be slotted in later.
Here’s a rundown of the four new dramas FOX presented to advertisers at its 2013 upfront on May 13 at New York City’s Beacon Theater.
“Sleepy Hollow” (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET)
A slick and tantalizing re-imagining of the classic Washington Irving tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, from “Fringe” producers and “Star Trek Into Darkness” co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Tom Mison (HBO’s “Parade’s End”) stars as 18th Century soldier Crane who somehow winds up in the 21st Century under the watch of a small town police officer (Nicole Beharie of “Shame”). Given that FOX’s track record on high concept fantasy/sci-fi/action dramas contains far more flops than hits, we probably should be worried about this one. But the trailer is too much fun (beheadings! Revolutionary War flashbacks! banter! the Headless Horseman with a machine gun!), so we’re hoping the powers that be pull this off.
“Almost Human” (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, starting midseason)
FOX went all-in with the “Fringe” folks this season, also ordering a series from the team of J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and J.H. Wyman. This one is a buddy cop drama with a sci-fi twist, set in the not too distant future of 2048 when every LAPD officer is required to have a “synthetic” (a.k.a. robot) ridealong partner. A troubled cop (Karl Urban) is partnered with a troubled ‘bot (Michael Ealy) and the drama goes from there. Another shiny and intriguing hour that could also suffer the curse of the FOX high concept drama (recent casualties include “Terra Nova,” “Alcatraz” and “Touch”), but also looks promising enough to set itself apart.
“Rake” (Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, starting midseason)
Greg Kinnear makes his scripted series regular debut as the star of this quirky legal drama that looks like it wants to recapture a little of that “House” magic. Adapted from an Australian series of the same name, FOX may have found just the right lead in Kinnear to play a morally dubious womanizer/gambling addict/attorney. But other than a guest spot for Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”) as a killer cannibal, it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot fresh in this risque procedural. Success may depend on how far Kinnear can push the role.
“Gang Related” (TBD)
Finally, the odd drama out on FOX’s schedule (it literally doesn’t have a timeslot yet) is the sort of ambitious crime saga that might look more at home (and more promising) on cable. At least “Gang Related” feels more credible than “The Mob Doctor” and a little grittier than “The Chicago Code.” With a lower profile cast — save “Lost” Emmy winner Terry O’Quinn and hip-hop icon RZA — it makes sense that FOX is touting this one with the “from the writer of ‘The Fast and the Furious'” sales pitch. (For the record, that writer is Chris Morgan.)