2018 Upfronts: Needs More Queer (Except for The CW)

2018 Upfronts: Needs More Queer (Except for The CW)

Upfronts, as I mentioned before, are a time to check out what’s new and for advertisers to pitch their bucks. In the 2018 upfronts, as so far as the queer goes, I’m pretty underwhelmed with what I’ve seen.

Here we go, in order of their Upfront schedule.

NBC

I’m not sure what to make of their choices. First of all, they do technically have a new show in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but that isn’t quite what I meant when I was looking for pickups. The rest of their shows just look really normal. Here they are with links to their trailers:

  • Abby’s – A woman runs a whacky makeshift bar out of her house. Who wants to put a bet down that the season cliffhanger is she gets shut down by the officials? (Midseason)
  • The Enemy Within – The CIAs greatest traitor, serving life in prison, is needed to solve a crime. (Midseason)
  • Manifest – A plane vanishes for 5 year and lands like nothing happened. Shades of Lost?
  • New Amsterdam – Medical drama. The cuts on this trailer felt super jumpy, but they performed a C-Section in the paternity ward, so …
  • I Feel Bad – Sitcom about an overworked mom.
  • The Inbetween – A woman can communicate with the dead. If you think you’ve seen this concept before, you probably have. (Midseason)

I’m putting money on ‘queer of the week’ for New Amsterdam and at least one pregnant trans-man. Which I have doubts will be handled well. There’s also going to be a 10 episode miniseries in 2019, by the folks who brought us Downton Abbey, about 1880’s NYC.

Oh and don’t forget that Sarah Shahi’s Reverie will be on May 30th! We’ve seen the pilot and we like it, but there hasn’t been any queer yet.

Fox

There was a damn bloodbath at Fox this year, so they had a lot more holes to fill than normal. They chose to do this with white guys. Seriously. They still used images from Pitch (their baseball show that was canceled in 2017) and 24 (which… I forgot was even on, but also canceled) in their highlight real. Also their intro was all about Jamie Foxx jumping around and singing, which by all reports was hella awkward. Way to go, Fox.

  • The Cool Kids – Three old guys in a retirement home are challenged by the new girl, Vicky Lawrence. One of the guys is gay.
  • Last Man Standing – Picked up from ABC, canceled last year, starting Tim Allen. Not queer friendly. Or minority friendly. Or woman friendly ….
  • The Passage – The government plays with a virus. What could go wrong? Everything, in this character-driven pandemic drama staring Zac Morris– I mean Mark-Paul Gosselaar. It’s a bit of The Fugitive meets something by Michael Crichton.
  • Proven Innocent – Lawyer. Lawyering. Midseason. This is not weird, by the way. Fox has to deal with baseball, so they do a lot more midseason. Anyway, it’s a heartwarming thing. Feels more like an NBC show, to be honest.
  • Rel – A self made success’ life falls apart when his wife sleeps with his barber.

For what it’s worth, Fox optioned a show based on the book series ‘The Dime’ which features a lesbian cop. I don’t see it anywhere. I do see a new pilot-order for an unnamed series about a woman, her ex-husband, and her new wife. So we’ll see.

ABC/Freeform

They did both ABC and Freeform in their upfronts, which were the first I’ve been given access to watch. I was super super excited. Can you blame me?

Freeform

A quick note here, Freeform announced something that blew my mind:

More than half of our directors are female, LGBTQ, or people of color. 60% of our writers are LGBTQ or diverse. And every single one of our executive producers are women.

No wonder they’re quickly becoming my favourite channel. Okay! Time for the shows:

  • Besties – This is a coming-of-age relationship between two lifelong female best friends. (TBD)
  • Cloak & Dagger – I’ve already seen the first ep. I like where it’s going, but I didn’t see any queer.
  • The Perfectionists – It’s grownup Pretty Little Liars (and it’s a spinoff). It will have some queers. But Tracy has to watch it. Not it!

ABC

I got really excited when I saw The Kids Are Alright as a show… only to find out it’s a traditional Irish-Catholic family in the suburbs series. Should I tell them some of my best Irish-Catholic friends from Chicago were all queer as a three-dollar-bill? ABC has a lot of new shows, though!

  • A Million Little Things – A group of guys and their friendships. Bromance, not romance. This is ABC’s push to take on This is Us, and try and tear jerk. All about the fellows, no queer ladies.
  • The Fix – After an attorney goofs a big case, she retires. Then they call her back because they need her. No queerness spotted. (Midseason)
  • Grand Hotel – Based on the Spanish series of the same name. Big scandals and drama. There was some queer looking between some ladies, but I suspect it’ll be Conditional Queerness only. (Midseason)
  • The Kids are Alright – Not about lesbian moms, but an LA working class family in the 1970s. Do not expect any queerness.
  • The Rookie – Nathan Fillion is back, this time as a cop! The oldest rookie ever. This actually looked entertaining, and I will be upset if we don’t get at least one queer cop.
  • Schooled – a 1990’s period sitcom, spin-off of The Goldbergs. They had to rework the whole thing, so I’m not sure what to make of it. (Midseason)
  • Single Parents – Single … parents. Help each other get laid. Missed opportunity if they don’t make any of the parents queer.
  • Take Two – It’s like Remington Steele in a weird twist. A former star of a cop show shadows a private investigator as she vies for a potential comeback. Nothing was shown or mentioned at upfronts, so I think it may be DOA. (TBD)
  • Whiskey Cavalier– A tough but tender FBI agent (male) gets to work with a badass CIA operative (female) to run an interdepartmental agency and save the world. Sparks and dramady flies. No really, they actually mentioned office romance. (Midseason)

CBS

After they passed on Cagney & Lacey, my hopes settled on the Murphy Brown revival. And … that’s about it.

  • Fam – A woman’s life is upturned when her sister moves in. Shenanigans ensue. (Midseason)
  • FBI – Dick Wolf is back, and this time his go-to is Missy Peregrym (from Stick It – the Gymnastics movie we all love – and Rookie Blue). It’s about FBI agents. Who could have guessed?
  • God Friended Me – God friends a dude on social media and sends him on missions. This sounds like Joan of Arcadia a bit, crossed with Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (which stared Joan’s broken from JoA!).
  • Magnum P.I. – A no moustache reboot of the Tom Select classic. Higgins is a woman though, so …
  • Murphy Brown – Murphy’s on air, and so is her son. Who’s conservative. Duelling shows!
  • The Red Line – Noah Wyle’s back to Chicago, this time involved in a police shooting of an African American doctor. I was seriously wary about this until I realized it’s not just a Berlanti production, but also an Ava DuVernay one! Now I’ve got a little more faith.
  • Happy Together – Old people get their cool back when a pop star moves in. I’m not making this up.
  • The Neighborhood – Friendly guy from the midwest moves to California and finds out people are different.

The CW

In no shocker at all, Charmed was picked up. The reboot? Will have a gay witch. Legacies, which seems like a successor to Vampire Diaries and The Originals, looks pretty promising too. There’s also Roswell, New Mexico, which is a remake of Roswell, and I get the gay-tingles when I read about it.

  • All American – Berlanti story about a kid from South Central LA who gets a spot at some rich, Beverly Hills, school.
  • Charmed – Witches! And one’s a lesbian! Rejoice in the power of three!
  • Legacies – A spinoff of The Originals, which was a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries.
  • In the Dark – A blind woman is the only witness to a crime. (Midseason)
  • Roswell, New Mexico – A woman returns home to her tourist trap town and finds out her high school crush is an alien. (Midseason)

How Gay Was It?

Not gay enough! Seriously, with the exception of The CW, I’m pinning hopes of long-chances.

If you’re into math, check out Lesley Goldberg’s post on TV Upfronts By the Numbers. Cancelations are up and new shows are down.

Well that’s it for the 2018 upfronts. What are your thoughts?

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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