The television upfronts are winding down and the fall schedules have been set. When the dust settles, it looks like the net result will be an increase in genre shows. With only two shows (The River and The Secret Circle) not returning this fall, and at least five new shows joining the schedule (ABC's 666 Park Ave., NBC's Revolution, and midseason shows Cult (CW), The Following (Fox), Zero Hour (ABC), Hannibal and Mockingbird Lane (both NBC), plus projects at FX and TNT that are currently in development stages) it seems like ghosts, vampires, and monsters are slowly taking control of the airwaves. After the jump, we will break down your best small-screen bets by day. The focus is largely on network shows, mainly because all five networks follow a more rigid schedule than cable.
New: Get ready for a Revolution on Mondays, 10pm. NBC's high-concept show set in a world fifteen years after all electrical power mysteriously ceases to exist doesn't exactly sound genre. But with J.J. Abrams (Fringe) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) behind the show, you know there has to be more than meets the eye.
Midseason: Kevin Williamson's new serial killer series, The Following, will premiere in the 9pm slot. For Fox, midseason usually means mid-March. Of all the new shows for next season, I think The Following is the one I am most eager for. Kevin Bacon stars as a disgraced FBI agent who is brought back to the agency when an elusive serial killer he captured eight years ago escapes. What sets The Following apart from any other serial killer plot is that it appears that the killer has created a "cult" of serial killers across the country who share his M.O. down to the last detail.
Returning: If Syfy Channel follows pattern, third seasons of Being Human and Lost Girl should return in January.
As of right now, Tuesdays are the only genre-free nights of the week. This could change come midseason.
Returning: In a refreshing change, Supernatural has been shifted to Wednesday nights. It will remain in the 9pm slot, after new comic book series Arrow, for what the CW is calling "Kick Ass Wednesdays." In recent memory Supernatural has been paired with Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and - most successfully - Smallville. The Arrow - Supernatural combo will be the one "boys block" CW will offer in the fall. This sure frees up my Friday, where Supernatural used to air opposite Fringe and Grimm.
If history repeats, Syfy Channel will continue to air special effects competition show Face Off when it returns for season three (no word on when that will be). FX's American Horror Story will return for its second season in October, and while it ran on Wednesday night, I get the sense that it might not stay there.
Returning: The Vampire Diaries remains in the Thursday, 8pm slot it began in four years ago. Since The Secret Circle got canned, Beauty & the Beast will be its air-mate.
Returning: The surprise hit of the 2011-2012 season was NBC's Grimm. It is no surprise that it will hang on to its 9pm time slot for its sophmore year. Also remaining in its 9pm time slot is Fox's Fringe, which returns for its fifth and final season (well, half season).
Saturday is what we often refer to as the graveyard. This is where bad shows go to die. Saturdays are reserved for sports, oldish movies, and reruns. If you spot a new TV episode on a Saturday night, it means that the network has canned you and is contractually obligated to air the remaining episodes.
New: 10pm will be home to 666 Park Ave. ABC's new show centers around a naive young couple who move into New York's most exclusive apartment building as the new building managers. Little do they know that their neighbors are ghosts and witches, and the landlord may in fact be the devil.
Returning: Sunday is a busy night for genre fans. In addition to 666 Park Ave., Showtime's Dexter will return to its regular 9pm slot on September 29th. Also returning at 9pm is The Walking Dead over on AMC. The Walking Dead has no premiere date, but expect it mid-October.
There is a wealth of shows planned for midseason, but not yet scheduled:
Cult (CW) - Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries) stars as a journalist whose investigation into the disappearance of his brother yields a frightening discovery: the dark, obsessive, and violent behavior of fans of fictitious TV show "Cult." It sounds highly meta, but in a very, very good way.
Hannibal (NBC) - Yup, the Hannibal. In this version, an FBI profiler tracking a killer enlists the aid of brilliant psychoanalyst Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Little does Mr. FBI know, but Lecter is, himself, a killer.
Mockingbird Lane (NBC) - I am trying to keep an open mind about NBC's modernization of The Munsters. They see it as a one-hour drama... but cast Eddie Izzard as Grandpa (who is now the head of the clan). The show has been pushed to June, so we have a lot more time to worry.
Zero Hour (ABC) - Looking like a cross between The Da Vinci Code, National Treasure, and The Exorcist, Zero Hour is one of those high-concept adventure series that could be really awesome... or really cheesy. I'm leaning towards the former. When the wife of the editor of a skeptics magazine goes missing, the "self-confessed paranormal junkie" must accept as truths the things he has spent a lifetime debunking. Plus, there are Nazis!
Also on My Radar...
FX is developing a female serial killer series based on the Heart Sick novels by Chelsea Cain.
TNT is developing a post-apocalyptic series based on the novel The Last Ship by William Brinkley. The crew of a Naval ship deals with "new realities" when they discover that a pandemic has wiped out most of the world's population. If picked up, Michael Bay would direct the pilot. Platinum Dunes is producing.