How “High Concept” Does Your Concept Have to Be?

No point in guessing. Just compare it to the premises for the shows below. Remember, regardless of what their ultimate fates may be, all these shows had premises that got them to the starting line…and scripts that took them beyond:

The Premise-O-Meter: Ranking the New TV Dramas – by Margaret Lyons (Vulture.Com)

ABC’s submarine drama Last Resort premieres tonight, and it’s a doozy: action, adventure, shouting, you name it. It’s great! But man, the show is heavy on concept: There’s a submarine, see, and it’s given an order to nuke Pakistan, but the captain doubts the integrity of the order, so he refuses to go through with it, and then they take over an island, and renegades, and the president, and a secret submarine prototype, and on and on and on. It’s a lot of premise. Not every fall show has this problem, though — there’s the other end of the spectrum, too, the premise-less end, the end where the show is about nothing and has nothing to say. Here are all your new fall dramas, ranked in order of complexity.

ACK! THAT’S A LOT OF PREMISE

Last Resort: See above.

Revolution: A close second. There’s a global blackout, and 15 years later, everything is run by scary militias, and there are freedom fighters and people who want to turn the lights back on, and a lady with a secret internet in her attic, and a girl whose parents are dead, and there’s sword-fighting and a few jokes. So far, the show is heavy on concept and light on character.

666 Park Avenue: An attractive young couple moves into the Manhattan apartment of their dreams, only to discover that the building and its residents are possessed by dark, supernatural forces. It’s sort of like Revenge, but with the devil instead of vengeance.

Nashville: A country music legend grapples with her fading stardom and there’s a young up-and-comer who’s trying to push her out of the spotlight. Enough of a hook to be a soap, but not so much nonsense that it feels like a bad episode of Melrose Place.

Elementary: Sherlock Holmes is now a British ex-pat living in present-day New York; Watson is now a woman and is Holmes’s sober-living companion. It’s fancy, but it’s still just a procedural.

Vegas: Just a ’70s cop show.

Chicago Fire: Dick Wolf made a show about firefighters. It’s sort of like Third Watch, except much dumber.

Emily Owens, MD: She’s a doctor. Mean girls exist.

The Mob Doctor: She’s a doctor. The mob exists.

Made In Jersey: She’s a lawyer. New Jersey exists.

ACK! THAT IS NOT ENOUGH OF A PREMISE

Yes, you’re right. The networks do not practice what they preach. Ask  your teachers in the film-TV department what that means. Let us know if they can even pretend to have an answer.

Are These The Best Shows of the Coming Season?

Writer Alison Willmore of IndieWire.Com thinks so, but we aren’t so sure:

Fall’s Five Most Promising-Looking New Network TV Shows – by Alison Willmore

Summer has come to an unofficial end, and with fall arrives the start of the TV season and a host of shiny new series. While the cable channels are on a year-round calendar these days, staggering their shows’ seasons throughout the year, the broadcast networks still use September and October to launch the majority of their returning and first-time programs. While the offerings on the big four networks don’t tend to display the creative freedom that cable series do, there’s always the chance that a new “30 Rock,” “Community” or “The Good Wife” sneaks in under the radar. Here are our picks for the five most promising-looking new shows on the big networks this fall, from a 1960s-set Western to a supernatural drama.

“666 Park Avenue”
Premiere: Sunday, September 30, at 10pm on ABC

The idea of something demonic lurking in the upscale apartment blocks of the Upper East Side is an appealing one — how else do people afford those rents?…

“Elementary”
Premiere: Tuesday, September 25, at 10pm on CBS

Obviously, if we had to choose only one modern-day interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character, it would be the delightfully snippy incarnation of the legendary detective engineered by BBC and Benedict Cumberbatch

“The Mindy Project”
Premiere: Tuesday, September 25, at 9:30pm on Fox

“The Office” alum Mindy Kaling is a welcome addition to the continuing evolution and growing prominence of funny women on the big and small screens…

“Nashville”
Premiere: Wednesday, October 10, at 10pm on ABC

Connie Britton stole our hearts as mother (or for some, MILF) extraordinaire Tami Taylor on “Friday Night Lights,” and her well-deserved lead role in the ABC drama “Nashville,” written and created by Oscar-winning “Thelma & Louise” screenwriter Callie Khouri, suggests that her steel magnolia stylings are going to be put to appropriate use…

“Vegas”
Premiere: Tuesday, September 25, at 10pm on CBS

So last year’s “Mad Men” knockoffs “The Playboy Club” and “Pan Am” didn’t make it to a second season (or, in the case of the former, very far into a first season). But while “Vegas” may also be set in the ’60s, it’s not another saga of retro drinking habits and sexism in one of our nation’s urban centers. “Vegas” is a Western, one set in the title town several decades before the arrival of the flagship “CSI” series…

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Sorry Alison, but only 1 of your 5 choices has a chance of working for me. THE MINDY PROJECT and NASHVILLE are for chicks, which leaves me out. The BBC’s SHERLOCK satisfies my need for, um, Sherlock so why settle for ELEMENTARY? And VEGAS? C’mon, we’re talking about the most overrated city in the U.S. With one of the country’s dullest actors in the lead.

But 666 PARK AVENUE, that we’ll check out. A Satanic building New York City’s Upper East Side? Which one isn’t? Sold.

THELMA AND LOUISE Writer Producing NASHVILLE for ABC

…And we’re all for it. Law-breakin’ wimmens! Gun fights! Killer babes on a bloody trail through the South! Who could ask for more?

Producers Callie Khouri, R.J. Cutler On ‘Nashville'” TCA

Oscar-winning Thelma And Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri found herself this morning at TCA on a panel promoting the new ABC serialized ensemble drama Nashville starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere that might best be described as “Dallas in Tennessee.”

Khouri is an executive producer of the new series. And if it seemed weird that such an esteemed feature scribe (who also wrote Something To Talk About and Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood) would be producing her first series for TV, her partner on the project is equally odd: R.J. Cutler, known primarily for his unscripted shows and whose past projects have included the likes of Flip That House and Greatest American Dog.

Khouri admitted this kind of project is brand new for her but that she’s having a blast doing it. “I’m actually loving it because with a feature, you do it and it’s over”, she said. “But I’m getting to sit with some absolutely incredible writers and fan out stories that go on for a long time. And so I can plan for characters to go through things and go through changes that you would never be able to do in a feature film, because you cover such a long period of time. And I love that. It’s so much fun. It’s writing at a much faster pace than I’m used to, but that’s the only thing I’m having trouble with. Everything else about it is just so inspiring, to be able to take each character on a long journey and see them change, see them grow and put them through trial by fire.”

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…And then tell us what it’s about. Because we honestly couldn’t make ourselves read any further than “DALLAS in Tennessee.” No killer wimmens? No bloody trails? But it’ll have lotsa conniving bitches, right? And dimly lit shots of them doing the nasty? Please say it will. Please…