The CW is bringing up the rear as far as the 2017 network upfronts are concerned. The younger-skewing network is following the likes of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, which have all presented their new wares to advertisers, showing off what new comedies and dramas are coming to broadcast television. This year, the networks have presented a slew of new shows, with ABC and CBS offering a surprising amount of never-before-seen programming to their lineups. As usual, The CW is doing things a little differently, with only four new shows coming to the network this year – two in the fall with Valor and Dynasty, and two as midseason premieres in Black Lightning and Life Sentence.
Valor fulfills The CW’s president Mark Pedowitz’s wish for a military drama, and marks the network’s third attempt at bringing such content to the lineup. Meanwhile, the reboot of Dynasty is the next in a long line of re-imaginings of television properties for a new generation. The CW is aiming for the 90210 and The OC crowd with the show, making its pairing with the genre-straddling Riverdale on Wednesday nights a smart choice. Life Sentence is also a departure from the network’s superhero side of things, as the show centers on a young woman (played by Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale) who discovers she’s no longer dying of cancer and now has to live with the consequences of certain decisions she made when under the impression there was no tomorrow (sorry, charming but canceled CW show).
Take a look at the trailers below:
Valor certainly looks like something The CW hasn’t really attempted before. There are hints of Homeland and Courage Under Fire buried in the very long first look trailer, as the military drama strikes a similar chord in terms of its characters being forced to reconcile with decisions made while in combat overseas. Like Dynasty, there are some questions as to whether or not Valor will connect with the network’s younger-skewing audience — especially since it lacks star power of any kind — but its central mystery and various dramatic conflicts might be enough to keep viewers engaged.
Life Sentence, on the other hand, looks like it could be a charming hit for the network, as it has an interesting core premise but also a charming supporting cast that, from the look of the trailer, will offer the series plenty of story lines to explore as the series goes on and the initial conceit eventually moves into the background. Seeing that sort of future proofing in a trailer isn’t too common, so it might be a good thing that Life Sentence seems so aware its concept will only take the series so far.
In all, The CW has a fairly limited new crop of shows, which speaks to the success of its current lineup and the way the network seems to make midseason premieres work so well. Time will tell if any of the above shows will make it through their first seasons.
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