After comedy stole the spotlight at the L.A. Screenings last year with breakout hits 2 Broke Girls and New Girl, dramas are returning to center stage during this week’s affair, where international buyers are gathering to sample the new crop of U.S. series. While several series are gathering buzz, there don’t seem to be big standouts at the screenings, which are still going on in Los Angeles. (at right: a photo from Warner Bros’ party Wednesday night.) Maybe it was the recent series finales of Desperate Housewives and House fresh in his mind, but a Western European buyer spoke nostalgically of the 2004 L.A. Screenings that featured Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, House and Lost. “We haven’t had such a strong group of new shows since,” the buyer said.
Among the new shows gettings thumbs-up is Warner Bros’ superhero CW drama Arrow. “It was surprisingly good,” said Ruediger Boess, head of acquisitions for Germany’s ProSiebenSat1. “It’s darker and older than the standard CW shows, and its very well cast.” Two other dramas — HBO’s The Newsroom from Aaron Sorkin and Fox/Warner Bros’ The Following starring Kevin Bacon — have made an big impression too. The Newsroom, which screened two episodes Sunday that were introduced by Sorkin, received applause from the audience. Boess called the series, set behind the scenes at a cable news network show, “an outstanding masterpiece of television.” The issue with The Newsroom and the violent The Following, described by a buyer as “a darker Criminal Minds,” is that they can’t be shown on free TV networks, at least not before 10 PM. (more…)