On the plus side, the five new dramas the CW unveiled at Thursday's upfront presentation all looked pretty good.
On the down side, if the netlet can't get some traction this season -- in what CW Prez Mark Pedowitz called "a transformative year" -- one has to wonder whether an army of vampires, superheroes and beasts will be able to save it.
Although the network has juggled its lineup, CW has again created little islands every night, where the two hours paired appear to fit well together. That includes the superhero character Green Arrow (reduced to "Arrow" in the show) preceding "Supernatural" on Wednesdays, a reboot of "Beauty and the Beast" following "The Vampire Diaries" and a new medical hour featuring Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter), "Emily Owen M.D.," to follow "Hart of Dixie." Watching the clip, I kept thinking to myself "Ally McDoctor."
(A side note here: While I bow to no one in my admiration for "Beast's" Kristin Kreuk, she might be less convincing as a tough New York City cop than Rachel Bilson is as a doctor, which is really saying something.)
The macabre "Cult" and "Sex and the City" prequel "The Carrie Diaries" are slated for midseason, and again, they looked promising (particularly the former) and on-brand, although the connection between "Carrie" and its ostensible inspiration looked tenuous at best. Even the notion of moving "America's Next Top Model" to Fridays and freeing up some midweek real-estate for newer fare was probably overdue.
For all that, CW just doesn't seem to be making much noise, despite its claims to being the first "fully converged network," and that its streaming video deals with Hulu and Netflix are "a game-changer for us."
Actually, it looks like the fourth quarter for the CW. And unless one or two of these new series get hot and start racking up some points, it's going to be increasingly difficult giving the channel a spot in the starting lineup.