Six TV Trends For The Fall 2011-2012 Season: From Fairy Tales To Fish, Bunnies, And Manly Men

By Kelly West 4 years ago discussion comments
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With the major network upfronts wrapped up, its time to step back and look at what ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW have to offer us in terms of new programming. From men being men to fish out of water and trips through space and time, there are definitely some trends worth noting in the upcoming Fall 2011-2012 TV line-up.

You can view all five Fall 2011 schedules here. Below are some of the notable trends for the upcoming season. Well have to wait and see whether any of them pan out

Once Upon An Alternate Universe

There are plenty of shows embracing the limitless world of make-believe. ABCs Once Upon A Time and NBCs Grimm bring classic stories to life. Once Upon a Time sounds more like a continuation and modern-day twist on classic stories, while Grimm appears to have a sort of crime-procedural feel to it as it centers on a detective who learns hes the decendant of a group of people who battle supernatural creatures in an effort to protect mankind. The CWs The Secret Circle is based on a book about a group of teen witches.

CBS A Gifted Man centers on a doctor whos visited by his deceased ex-wife, who inspires him to be a better person. Whether or not this is all in the mans head or happening in real life remains to be seen. Another show that could either be supernatural or simply told from the point of view of a character with mental problems is NBCs midseason drama Awake, which follows a man who wakes up in two different realities after a car accident. In one reality, his wife is dead and his son is alive. In the other, his wife is alive but their son died in the accident.

On the subject of things going on inside the lead characters head, CBS has Unforgettable set to air this fall. While not exactly supernatural, this series does follow a detective who has a rare condition that allows her to remember everything perfectly except for the details surrounding her sisters murder.

Finally, Fox has Terra Nova, which follows a family from the future as they travel to the prehistoric era as part of an effort to rebuild human society and save the species.

Men Being Men

If couples-comedies were all the rage this season, next season will be the season of manly comedies. Considering how well the couples-comedies did (RIP: Better With You, Traffic Light, Mad Love, Perfect Couples), we can only hope these testosterone-filled comedies will do better. ABC is responsible for three of the four that caught our attention. Man Up is a comedy about men trying to figure out what it means to be a real man. Last Man Standing, which stars Tim Allen, features an adventurous, out-doorsy man whos surrounded by women (his wife and daughters). And coming to ABC during Midseason 2012 is Work It, a series about two men who decide to dress as women in an effort to find employment. Of the three, Work It seems to be the most likely to embrace (or abuse) stereotypical gender differences for the sake of comedy. As ridiculous as the premise is, Im secretly looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, CBS has How to Be A Gentleman, which appears to have a sort of Odd Couple-esque dynamic between the two men at the center of the story. One loves manners and believes in the importance of being a gentleman. The other is a fitness nut whos unlikely to ever put the seat down.

Dj vu: Three Remakes, a Reboot and a Sequel

Remakes arent exactly a new trend but it doesnt appear to be dying out anytime soon. While NBCs Wonder Woman didnt pan out, ABC has the reboot of Charlies Angels lined up. NBC is reviving the John Grisham novel The Firm with a series that takes place a decade after the story told in the book (and film).

As for whats being remade for US television, in the grand tradition of taking British TV shows and making them over for a U.S. audience, NBC has Free Agents and Prime Suspect. Free Agents is a comedy starring Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn and Anthony Head (who starred in the original British series) and follows a couple of public relations execs who are dealing with romantic issues. Prime Suspect follows a female detective whos trying to establish herself in a work enviroment that consists largely of men.

Finally, Fox has the U.S. version of X Factor set to premiere this fall. As TV cant seem to have enough talent competitions and given the hype already surrounding the show, including the reunion of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul at the judges table, Im thinking this one will get off to a good star.

Bucket Of Suds

For those of you who are facing the end of your beloved soap operas, TV has a number of soapy looking primetime dramas set to premiere. The CWs Ringer stars former soap star (pre-Buffy) Sarah Michelle Gellar playing a woman who decides to get a fresh start by taking over the life of her twin sister. ABCs Revenge centers on a woman who returns to the Hamptons to settle some scores. And coming to ABC during Midseason 2012 is Good Christian Belles, a drama about a woman who returns to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. Shes forced to face her past and the mess she left behind as she was once a mean girl.

Also set to premiere during midseason on ABC is Shonda Rhimes' Scandal, which follows a public crisis manager and her staff of fellow life-fixers whose lives are all in various states of disarray. If all of the above series don't quench your thirst for drama, I'm not sure what will.

Fish Out Of Water

A story involving a person or people being taken away from what theyre used to and emersed in various kinds of new and different isnt exactly new but it works well. A person from the city being in the city isnt necessarily as dramatic, interesting or comical as a person from the city moving to the country or the suburbs. Case in point: The CWs Hart of Dixie follows a New York doctor down south where she attempts to adjust to country living. In ABCs Suburgatory, a single dad moves his daughter from the city to the suburbs in the hopes of giving her a a better life. Meanwhile, Foxs fish is animated. Allen Gregory follows a pompous child who must adjust to attending school with regular kids his age after being home schooled.

Image ABC

Back In Time

The present is so five minutes ago. Im pretty sure the same can be said for the phrase so five minutes ago, but thats neither here nor then. Heh. On to more relevant matters, there are three big shows set in the past. The first is Terra Nova, which takes place during the prehistoric era and deals with actual time travel. The other two are both set much closer to present day and dont appear to have anything sci-fi or supernatural going down (unless you count the womens perfect hair and make-up). ABC has Pan Am, which follows the glamorous days of the airline industry, before pat-downs and body scans. NBC is also visiting the 60s with their new drama The Playboy Club. Will either of these shows top Mad Men in terms of their portrayal of this classic era? Im going to say doubtful, however if I had to pick one of the two that I think will last, Im going with Pan Am. Although it doesnt have the hype and the sex-appeal that comes with women dressed as sexy-bunnies, I think the airline drama has more potential to stick around beyond the first few episodes. Well have to wait and see how it pans out.

And, now I'm punning, which means it's time to stop and open up the floor to the readers. Which shows are you most looking forward to?
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