The CW is obviously playing a somewhat different game than the other broadcast networks with its 10-hour schedule, but even so, the channel might have what looks like the surest bet to take off in the fall with its adaptation of “The Flash.” Throw in “Jane the Virgin” — which put together a charming cut-down package — and the CBS-Warner Bros.-backed junior network comes away from the latest development derby with an inordinate amount of promise.
Of course, there are a few disclaimers about “The Flash,” starrring Grant Gustin as the DC Comics speedster, starting with the fact networks tend to frontload pilots with special effects, which might not come so fast or freely once the series is on a regular production schedule. (Notably, that problem plagued CBS’ 1990 version of the character, which was for the most part quite good.)
Even so, the clips were impressive, and Gustin appears to have perfectly captured a Peter Parker-like response to being an ordinary young guy suddenly saddled with the whole “great power equals great responsibility” thing. The 8 p.m. Tuesday timeslot also seems like a perfect choice, especially with ABC relocating “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” to 9 p.m.
The same largely goes for “Jane the Virgin,” about a young woman (Gina Rodriguez) who has stayed chaste at the urging of her grandmother, only to be accidentally artificially inseminated. The show looked funny and sweet, with the only mild hiccup being the tittering Rodriguez’s “no sudden moves” neckline elicited from the crowd at the network’s upfront screening in L.A.
CW also had a pair of midseason shows with potential in “The Messengers” and “I Zombie,” and if the channel opted to bring back “Hart of Dixie” and “Beauty and the Beast” as backups, well, nobody’s perfect.
Mostly, the mix of supernatural, superhero and teen soap dramas does appear to have broadened CW’s profile, as President Mark Pedowitz suggested, after having once perceived as being little more than ABC Family with a higher smut quotient.
Again, development is a little easier when you can afford to be this targeted about it, but that doesn’t undermine the fact CW — based on first impressions, anyway — has as good a shot as anyone from this new freshmen class of catching lightning in a bottle.