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Young Adult books and programming have trended away from vampires and supernatural creatures in recent years and trended toward present day, realistic stories told from a modern viewpoint. Case in point: The Fault in our Stars recently crushed at the box office. Now, the brand new trailer for Red Band Society shows that Fox wants to stay on trend with the new wave of teenage-oriented programming. They’ve even thrown in Octavia Spencer in the hopes that adults will get excited about hospitalized schoolchildren, too.
Nearly 15 years ago, Fox’s then sister network, Fox Family, aired a program called Higher Ground, following the lives of a group of teens who are sent to a school in the middle of nowhere called Mount Horizon High School after dealing with home problems, drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, and body image disorders. The series only lasted for 22 episodes, but it helped to spawn the careers of Star Wars’ Hayden Christensen, Criminal Minds’ A.J. Cook, Once Upon a Time’s Meghan Ohry and Firefly’s Jewel Staite. From the above preview, it looks as if Fox has revamped the Higher Ground concept and inserted a whole lot more humor into those body image disorders. Because anorexia=hilarious.
The Red Band Society trailer actually does a great job of explaining both the plot and the tone of the series. We’ve known for a while that Red Band Society would follow the lives of a group of teens living in a pediatric unit of a hospital in Los Angeles. From the trailer, it seems as if some of the kids in the series are sick and some of them are dealing with other issues, but they all come to the hospital seeking treatment and instead find a sort-of temporary family unit. Of course, that’s where Octavia Spencer comes in. The wise-cracking woman will play Nurse Jackson, a lady with a “take-no-prisoners” approach when it comes to her patients and their care.
As the preview shows, the series is not above making fun of its characters. One teen comes in proclaiming she neither drinks nor does drugs when a blonde in a cheerleading outfit snarkily responds, “So unhealthy, right, not like starving yourself?” It’s zingers like that that make me think this series would be a much better fit for The CW.
It's very possible FOX is viewing this new offering as a potential replacement for Glee. The long-running high school drama is set to finish its run with Season 6. Red Band Society would be a natural fit, though that doesn't explain why the network has chosen to run the drama on Wednesdays this fall, in the same primetime block as Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe the goal is to line the two shows up together when Glee returns in 2015? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Red Band Society makes it through some early humps and into the spring lineup.