The CW enters its second year of existence with much promise and potential.  Coming out of the gates last year, the network had very few new shows, and its line up mostly consisted of series leftover from the merge of the WB and UPN.  Now, with a bevy of new programming, optimism at network television’s redheaded step-child is at an all-time high and might be ready to compete with the big boys.  The two best new series The CW has to offer are Reaper and Gossip GirlReaper is a sci-fi comedy that may remind viewers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while Gossip Girl is a Josh Schwartz produced teen drama set in the swanky Upper East Side of Manhattan.  Though both show’s should and will be judged on their own merits, they remind of two shows that elevated the FOX network out of the same network doldrums in which the CW currently resides.

Your Take

Anonymous said: CW is on the rise – Gossip Girl is my new favorite show & ANTM gets better every year. Plus, they know how…

richieice said: You see, I like the insight presented by this article. But this stupid network already HAD an amazing show …

Back in the early nineties, FOX was what CW is today: the worst of the networks, with laughable ratings in comparison to the Big Three of ABC, NBC and CBS.  Naysayers would often proclaim that FOX was a failed experiment and that it was crazy to think that a new network could sprout up and even attempt to compete with the longstanding giants of network TV.  That sentiment is laughable today.  FOX has become every bit as successful as the Big Three and currently has in its stable the most-watched show in television history (American Idol) as well as a crop of other highly successful shows (24, Prison Break, The Simpsons, So You Think You Can Dance, Family Guy, among others).

What lifted FOX out of their ratings woes were three series that debuted in the early nineties that put the network on the map: The Simpsons, The X-Files and Beverly Hills 90210.  While the CW has yet to find their Simpsons, or any comedy close to attaining mainstream success, they may have shows that could emulate The X-Files and 90210’s success.  Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michelle Fazekas met and got their start in Hollywood on X-Files and have not been shy about equating Reaper to Chris Carpenter’s mammoth sci-fi hit.  While Reaper certainly plays up the comedy angle in a more pronounced manner than X-Files, the template is quite similar, in that most episodes will be self-contained, yet the series itself will preside over a constantly running mythology.  The pilot for Reaper is excellent and if the tone Fazekas and Butters set in that first episode continues on through the rest of the first season, there’s no reason Reaper can’t become a break out hit.

Gossip Girl has potential for Beverly Hills 90210 type success.  It certainly falls into the same target demographic: teenagers, especially teenage girls.  It’s from OC creator Josh Schwartz and through it doesn’t have that show’s humor and light-heartedness, it does have the type of upper class melodrama that has a ton of teenage appeal.  It’s impossible to expect any show to achieve the stature of a 90210, but if any current show has that potential, it’s Gossip Girl.

I’m rooting for the CW.  I really am.  Fledgling networks are always going to have a hard time getting solidified and finding a good audience.  The CW is going in the right direction, though, and I wouldn’t bet against a large upward swing in ratings in the very near future.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of The CW)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV