The broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including a futuristic tale from the Fringe team, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
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THE SHOW | The CWs Reign (Thursdays at 9/8c)
THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, CBS’ The Crazy Ones (new) and Two and a Half Men, Fox’s Glee, NBC’s Sean Saves the World (new) and The Michael J. Fox Show (new)
THE CAST | Adelaide Kane (Teen Wolf), Toby Regbo (ITV’s The Town), Torrance Coombs (The Tudors), Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) and many, many others
THE SET-UP | Kane plays the Mary, Queen of Scots, who as a blossoming teen — and after an attempt on her life — comes out of hiding at a convent to reunite with Prince Francis of France (Regbo) and formalize their arranged marriage. Francis, though, isn’t so quick to do right by their betrothal (and give up his somethin’-somethin’ on the side). Nor is his mother, Queen Catherine (Follows), rushing to see the deal sealed. Add in the randy French king’s roguish bastard son Bash (Coombs), a quartet of young ladies-in-waiting and opulent digs (the pilot was largely filmed in Ireland, though the show will now shoot in Toronto), and you get a CW-friendly “history” lesson.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Well knock me over with a feather. Upon watching the cutdown for this unlikely CW offering at the Upfronts, I instantly penciled it in for a short run. I perhaps didn’t “get it,” or, more likely, my eyes had glazed over from the trailers for the network’s myriad new sci-fi shows. But in viewing this pilot in full, Reign just might emerge a sleeper hit (by CW standards). It could be that its stark differences (era, setting) from Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Hart of Dixie and the like will make it “pop,” or that its super-sudsy themes (love! lust! betrayal! infidelity! voyeurism! self-pleasure! wait, what?) will reel in the abandoned Gossip Girl crowd. (For good measure, there is a whiff of supernatural hullabaloo thrown in.) The cast is uniformly fine — Kane gives Mary a root-for quality, but Regbo reads a bit ripe — with everyone amusingly doing some variation on a British-y accent that is neither French nor Scottish. C’est la vie!
RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: ABC’s Trophy Wife, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, CBS’ Hostages, NBC’s Ironside, ABC’s Super Fun Night, The CW’s The Tomorrow People, Fox’s Almost Human, CBS’ The Crazy Ones
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | This fate of this one lies largely on The CW’s promo department, which needs to sell what is technically a costumed period drama (“But Ma, I don’t want to learn!”) as the seductive, out-of-time sudser that it is. One X-factor is how Person of Interest‘s relocation will change the Thursdays-at-9 landscape — not that those 13 million older-skewing eyeballs will instinctively dart over to The CW, but the new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones isn’t gonna inherit them all. I optimistically predict better-than-Beastly numbers. Whatever the case, Reign‘s trajectory should be curious to observe.