Last year, the CW Network changed their slogan from "TV to Talk About" to the ruthlessly candid "TV Now," marking the first time in history that a network has dropped all pretenses and announced itself the fast food version of entertainment. The fact that the CW avoided a motto with glowing adjectives or hints at their aspirations for the future of the network is pretty telling of their own low opinion of the programming. They aren't trying to win Emmys with their lineup, and they aren't trying to reinvent television; they're only concerned with pumping out the processed, heat-lamp version of shows in the hope that enough people out there need something bland to consume before falling asleep on the couch.
Stupid slows your heart rate better than curly fries.
I know all this because I recently watched an unhealthy amount of their programming and blacked out. All the shows bleed together because they adhere to a very specific formula: Latch onto the title of some pre-existing franchise or folk tale, scrape away any residual pieces of the plot that made the original property so famous, and then sex it up with handsome boys in shirtless love triangles. If you doubt that it can be that simple, watch a single episode of Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, or The Vampire Diaries. Or wait until their new lineup is ready: It includes Sherwood, an iteration of Robin Hood; a Sleepy Hollow series based on the legend of the headless horseman; and Alice in Wonderland, which I assume is about an everygirl named Alice who falls in love with a crazy guy in a tall hat, or pair of idiot twins, or like a really sexy mouse in a teapot.
The "Beast" portion of Beauty and the Beast should be all the proof you need of the CW's strategy.
But that doesn't mean that I think it's a bad formula. If anything, I want to get onboard. I enjoy bad television as much as I enjoy Jack in the Box mechanically separated chicken hunks, and since the CW is clearly in the business of hunks, I have a few ideas I want to pitch.
4 Robinson Crusoe
Twenty-three-year-old socialite and push-up sensation ROBBIE returns to New York City handsome and tan after being stranded on a desert island for 12 years. Everyone, including his ethnically ambiguous girlfriend, SABRINA, and decidedly black friend, TYLER, assumed him dead when his family yacht was attacked by Somali pirates. Returning to society, Robbie inherits his father's nationwide fitness chain but is soon overwhelmed by all the thrilling advancements in gym technology over the past decade, as well as the dark secrets he uncovers about his father's embezzlement schemes and possible murder. Now Robbie and his friends must struggle to uncover the truth, keep the business afloat, and still find the time to ensure that their six-packs stay properly rocking.
3 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The grisly series of attacks on fraternity brothers near a state university bell tower has police baffled. Fortunately, CAITRYN CALLARI, first-year psych student and girlfriend to one of the victims, has quietly been following the case and created a psychological profile of the attacker. Her hypotheses based on a semester of a 101 class have led her directly to the assailant: a hideously deformed man who lives in the bell tower. But as she confronts the monster, she realizes that each attack was actually warranted and that he's not so different from a normal human, despite a weak chin, sandy blond hair, and back muscles that are almost noticeably overdeveloped from too many pull-ups. Now she needs to help keep the recluse safe while also uncovering the truth behind the attacks. But things get complicated as she starts to fall in love with the creature.