Considering the rocky fortunes and demolished lineups of the networks that kicked off this upfronts week, the amount of confidence on display during Wednesday and Thursdays presentations is staggering. As staggering as a network booking a big superhero show and holding it until midseason? By its own metrics, The CW just had its best season in network history, and it’s not about to scramble the lineup that got it there to fit DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow in—even if one of those titular legends can shrink himself down really teeny-tiny like.
The minimal amount of retooling on its fall schedule makes The CW’s newly found confidence evident. The Flash set viewership records, Jane The Virgin picked up a Golden Globe, and Supernatural is on course to live longer than either of the two networks that birthed The CW. Besides: With only 10 hours to program every week, The CW’s not at the mercy of a schedule that needs to be filled. It can move some pieces to shore up the tentpoles, pair a new series that seems like a departure with a returning show that felt like a departure last year, then spend the rest of the upfront treating attendees to cast appearances and musical performances. Here’s that lineup (with the new in bold), minus the musical performances. The A.V. Club doesn’t have Of Monsters And Men money—who do you think we are, The CW?
8 p.m.: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9 p.m.: Jane The Virgin
In the fall of 2014, The CW took a highly stylized, high-concept hour-long serial and turned it into one of its new signature shows. In the fall of 2015, it’s hoping the lightning that struck for Jane The Virgin will strike again for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the cleaned-up and stretched-out redux of Showtime’s abandoned musical-comedy pilot. The network has yet to post the show’s trailer online, but it’s worth noting how well-represented Crazy Ex-Girlfriend—and its creator-star, Rachel Bloom—is in the press images distributed with the lineup announcement. Sure, it’s the only new show coming to The CW this fall, but there’s some added “oomph” going into the act of getting America to fall for Bloom as hard as it’s fallen for Jane’s Gina Rodriguez.
Here, prospective viewer: Rachel Bloom brought you a morbidly amusing balloon, like the star of an Edward Gorey cartoon who’s just come home from the circus after seeing a clown trampled by an elephant.
Bloom’s character, Rebecca Bunch, impulsively gives up her frou-frou life in Manhattan to move across the country, seeking everything she didn’t have in New York (the requisite “love and happiness”) in the California suburbs. To best display her kooky nature, she’s crafted a variation of the classic Arrow Thru Head gag, only this one has emoji.
Judging by the razzle dazzle of her wardrobe and the expression on her face, this is an excerpt from one of the elaborate musical sequences that express Rebecca’s inner monologue. (Those parts for which there are no emoji, at least.) The giant pretzel, however, is very real, and is one of the biggest amusement attractions in the character’s new Californian stomping grounds. (What, you’ve never been to Pretzel World in West Covina? Oh, you simply must go.)
UPDATE, PART ONE: The trailers are available now. It’s entirely plausible that Pretzel World is a place in this show’s version of West Covina. It’s also plausible that this show turns out to be as delightful as Jane.
8 p.m.: The Flash
9 p.m.: iZombie
The CW presents Don’t Break Up The Night Of Genre Favorites, Part 1: Grin And Grinny Edition.
8 p.m.: Arrow
9 p.m.: Supernatural
The CW presents Don’t Break Up The Night Of Genre Favorites, Part 2: Veterans Wing.
8 p.m.: The Vampire Diaries
9 p.m.: The Originals
The CW presents Don’t Break Up The Night Of Genre Favorites, Part 3: Vampire Edition.
8 p.m.: Reign
9 p.m.: America’s Next Top Model
Here’s where The CW’s limited airtime probably put its schedulers in a bind. CW president Mark Pedowitz says one reason to move the historical fantasy series Reign is to protect it from a sacking at the hands of ABC’s Shondaland empire. If the 10 p.m. hour was available anywhere else—after the vampire shows, or even after iZombie—Reign wouldn’t be here, sharing real estate with the America’s Next Top Model convalescence home, where Hart Of Dixie recently went to die. There’d be spots for midseason series Legends Of Tomorrow, Containment (formerly Cordon—good call there, since the new host of The Late Late Show is a CW corporate cousin), and The 100 at 10 p.m., too. Of course, Fox has been around for nearly 30 years and it still avoids that space, so this is an unlikely hypothetical for even a supercharged CW. And so Mary, Queen of Scots enters her Friday-night exile.
UPDATE, PART TWO: The CW has also posted trailers for Legends Of Tomorrow and Containment.
The Flash’s first-season finale will introduce the Legends Of Tomorrow cast members who’ve yet to show up in Central or Starling City, and the first look at Legends Of Tomorrow makes it look like the new series is taking its tonal cues from The Fastest Man Alive. It’s also drafting on that playful antagonism that makes any team of costumed heroes worth following, as Hawkgirl, White Canary, Captain Cold, Heatwave, The Atom, Firestorm, and Rip Hunter flex their bantering muscles in preparation for a time-traveling showdown with the immortal Vandal Savage.
In Containment, a deadly and unidentified epidemic threatens Atlanta, necessitating the creation of a quarantine in the middle of the city. Adapted by The Vampire Diaries’ Julie Plec from a Belgian format, Containment tells the stories of both those attempting to survive within the borders of the quarantine and their loved ones scraping by on the other side of the fence. (In the search for a cure, have they considered this: Maybe move the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s headquarters out of Atlanta? With the current setup, they’re just inviting every deadly outbreak and/or zombie virus to originate in Hotlanta. Might as well start calling it “Hotzonelanta.”)