The 2013 TV network upfronts have come and gone, and just like last year, the deplorable NBC is once again putting forth a pathetic slew of crap save for a single promising show.

This isn’t it.

What’s most concerning is that NBC’s best looking show last year, Revolution, stumbled greatly after a promising pilot episode and quickly devolved into an aimless, meandering, boring mess.  It remains to be seen if NBC can avoid a repeat of this with The Blacklist.

Fortunately for them, due to Spader’s star power and his excellent track record of choosing TV shows (The Practice, Boston Legal, The Office), there’s reason to hope that the show can build upon what really is a pretty unique and potentially great set up for an action / thriller.  Plus, it gets the awesome James Spader back on TV, and he’s so damn talented and eccentric that there’s really no telling what could happen.

Yes you are, Jimbo.

But before we get to The Blacklist, let’s first take a look at the insufferable drivel NBC is polluting their airwaves with next season, shall we?

A stale single dad sitcom (except he’s gay!)  It’s 2013.  They should have made him a tranny.

Caucasian / Hispanic culture clash!  Teen pregnancy!  The only stereotype missing is a wacky neighbour.

Kudos to the loveable Michael J. Fox for embracing his affliction.  But this still looks bland as hell.

Cranky black cop in a wheelchair doesn’t negate the oh-so-tired formulaic crime procedural format.

Oh good, just what television needs — more f**king vampires.

I believe this NBC show sucked the first time when it was called Heroes.

So very apropos that this is the title of a show on a desperate and struggling network like NBC.

Seriously?  Did NBC learn nothing from the travesty that was last year’s Animal Practice?

A blatant cash grab trying to trade in on a charming British film from over a decade ago.

Because Chicago Fire wasn’t bad enough.  And what the hell is Leon from Curb doing there?

Yeah, give the skeezy douche from Whitney his own show.  Genius move.

I honestly can’t tell if this show is a nursing drama or a hospital themed singing competition.

Good Lord, do these shows look awful.  I’m talking flat-out cancelled-after-three-episodes awful.

But The Blacklist?  Pretty much the opposite.  Spader plays Raymond Reddington, a global criminal mastermind who has been one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives for decades — until he mysteriously surrenders to the Feds and makes them a highly unusual and mind-boggling offer.

Spader + pimp vests + shaved head = BADASS.

Here’s the extended trailer for The Blacklist.  And while it does seem to give away a lot of what transpires in the pilot, it nonetheless teases a set up for what could turn out to be a pretty cool show.

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Jack is back, baby!  After rumours last week teasing that it might happen, Fox officially announced the return of one of the greatest action heroes of all time.

As opposed to one of the worst action heroes of all time.

Jack Bauer is set to return in May 2014 in a 12 episode limited series entitled 24: Live Another Day.

That spineless weasel Logan is gonna shit his pants.

Greenlighting more 24 is pretty much a no brainer for Fox.  They have a long standing good relationship with star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland (who’s now free and clear after his less-than-stellar drama Touch was cancelled), Homeland and former 24 exec producer Howard Gordon is keen to return, and despite producers best efforts a 24 movie was unable to get off the ground.

24 is a juggernaut of a franchise, and massively popularity across the globe.  With no film materializing, Fox was literally losing out on the tons of revenue that an iconic and beloved character like Jack Bauer can generate.  Sutherland himself has admitted Jack Bauer is the role of a lifetime, and since he’s only in his mid-forties, he’s still young enough to pull off playing a believable and hardcore badass.

Seriously, I would still watch the show even if all he did was sit around and knit.

However, the best thing of all to come out the announcement of 24: Live Another Day is the news that it’s going to be a 12 episode limited series.  Although it would have been exciting, the fact is a 2 hour Jack Bauer movie wouldn’t have allowed fans to spend a lot of time with one of their favourite characters.

On the other hand, even the most die-hard of 24 fans will admit the the limitations of the real-time format and demand for the show to have to crank out two dozen episodes per season always resulted in each series having “filler” eps that served more as weak connective tissue than riveting hours of television.

Never forget.

With a 12 hour format that can skip over hours here and there, 24: Live Another Day now has the freedom to move Jack Bauer around by car or plane off screen as well as a less demanding shooting schedule that gives the showrunners the ability to focus on quality over quantity.

The bottom line?  Get ready for 12 hours of non-stop balls-to-the-wall action and for Jack Bauer to kick ass, kill terrorists, and ask where the bomb is.  A lot.

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It’s hard to believe, but 15 brand new episodes of Arrested Development are just weeks away.

The final countdown.

The fact that a show this brilliant and hilarious was able to come back from the dead is both amazing and awesome.  Even better, because all of season 4 is being released at the same time via Netflix, viewers will be able to enjoy the series the way it should be — by watching episodes back to back or even all at once.

Arrested Development was truly a sitcom ahead of its time, and is so rich with call backs and layered humour that the idea of waiting a week just to spend 22 minutes with the Bluths seems ridiculous now that fans have had years to sit down and marathon-watch what is arguably the funniest show ever made.

Oh chicken dances, how I’ve missed you.

The Netflix model of releasing entire seasons of shows all at once is a game changer, and with the success of House Of Cards — and resurrection and inevitable triumph of AD — there’s now even more proof that the best, most exciting and funniest visual storytelling is being done in television, not film.

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