By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 23, 2013 at 2:27PM
FOX's 2013/2014 lineup (and NBC's as well) probably presents us with the most to look forward to, with regards to new series with black actors in starring roles.
First, Almost Human, the futuristic thriller from Fringe executive producer, writer, director and showrunner, J.H. Wyman, as well as creator J.J. Abrams.
Michael Ealy co-stars alongside Karl Urban in a series described as an action-packed buddy cop show set in the near future, where all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved humanlike androids.
Ealy plays a character named Dorian, the android partner of LAPD officer John Kennex (Karl Urban), who understands humanity more than his human counterpart.
Wyman penned the script for the project, and also executive produces, alongside Abrams and Bryan Burk, with Kathy Lingg and Reid Shane.
Brad Anderson, who just directed Halle Berry in The Call, directed and co-exec produced the pilot.
USA Network canceled the last TV series Micheal Ealy starred in - Common Law - after just one season, last fall, so I'm sure this was a welcomed gig.
Meanwhile, Mekia Cox plays Kennex's ex-lover.
FOX has set the new series to air on Monday nights at 8/7c,starting in the late fall, as it says in the above chart.
And second, coming up right after Almost Human, also on Monday nights, airing at 9/8c, will be its new contemporary take on the legend of Sleepy Hollow, starring Nicole Beharie.
Beharie will play Detective Abbie Archer, described as "a smart and tough detective in small town Sleepy Hollow. Poised to leave the town in a week for the FBI Academy, she has an unspoken reluctance about her decision. Her troubling past causes her to doubt her perceptive abilities and she's horrified as she witnesses the gory slaying of her partner and mentor, Sheriff August Grey. Barely able to speak about what she saw, only one person can corroborate her story -- Ichabod Crane, an unwilling fugitive from the past who claims to be a soldier in the Revolutionary War."
Beharie is joined by Orlando Jones, Tom Mison and Katia Winter, in a pilot that will see Ichabod Crane - a tested captain in the Revolutionary War - transported to present day Sleepy Holly, where he's charged with the murder of a police officer and has to prove his innocence, as well as convince a wary detective believe he's from the 18th century.
Orlando Jones will play Lt. Frank Williams.
Alex Kurtzman (Fringe) and Bob Orci penned the pilot script as well as executive produced, with Phil Iscove. Heather Kadin also exec produced, while Len Wiseman directed the pilot.
So Monday nights on FOX should be one that will attract a sizable black viewership. Although, as the chart notes, Almost Human won't debut until the late fall, while Sleepy Hollow, will end its first season run likely in the late fall, to be replaced during its time slot by mid-season replacement, The Following.
We'll know more when the network gives exact premiere dates for each later.
Meanwhile, Tuesdays at 8:30 pm FOX will air its new cop comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Andre Braugher and Terry Crews co-star, alongside Andy Samberg in the project from Mike Schur/Dan Goor, directed by the co-directors of 21 Jump Street (the movie) - Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
The comedy centers on a diverse group of detectives in a New York City police precinct.
Samberg plays the lead detective, while Braugher is Captain Holt, described as a 30-year veteran of the New York City police force. Holt has finally gotten his own command and he’s not going to let anyone, especially Samberg’s character, mess it up.
And Terry Crews plays a character named Terry Jeffords, described as "the no-nonsense but father-like sergeant who runs the detective squad."
Braugher has had a tough time in TV land. Let's hope this one lasts longer than the last new series he starred in, did.
The Allen Hughes-directed drama Gang Related, which co-stars RZA, will be a mid-season replacement, although no word on where it'll be placed eventually.
The project follows a gang member who's sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department who rises through its ranks but must balance his obligations to his crime family with an increasing sense of loyalty to his new “family” - the SFPD’s Gang Task Force.
The project comes from Chris Morgan (Fast Five), with Scott Rosenbaum serving as showrunner.
Ramon Rodriguez stars, while Rza plays a character named Cassius, Rodriguez’s partner and best friend on the Gang Task Force, who's originally from the streets of Oakland.
As for returning series, of note, look for Lamorne Morris in the comedy sitcom New Girl, which stars Zooey Deschanel; Amber Riley returns as Mercedes Jones in Glee.
That's about it for FOX's primetime during the upcoming 2013/2014 season, where *blackness* is concerned. If I missed any, feel free to mention in the comments section, and I'll update. But I think I got them all.
Up next, looks at CBS and NBC...