West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 5/17/24 (Upfronts Edition)

So, last week I was in a hurry, and didn’t have an “Intro Rant”. My buddy Mike was like, “Aww, but that’s my favorite part!” Well, here we go.


Social media was a mistake. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve made a lot of good friends on social media over the past 20-ish years (I’m dating back to Friendster), but those days are OVER. I’m not making NEW friends. All I’m doing is finding the old friends in new places. You see, when Elon bought Twitter, a ton of folks jumped ship because they didn’t want to patronize an app owned by a Bond villain, and they foresaw him doing a bunch of nefarious stuff that he either doesn’t have the capacity to pull off OR has fired those employees who did. So, while many of these users’ fears were unwarranted, it was too late because they were already on the lifeboats. These boats didn’t all have the same ultimate destination, however. Some ended up at Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky, while others gravitated towards Zuckerberg’s Threads. While I kept a residence on Twitter (which would be renamed as “X”), I secured real estate on these other apps. I really thought Bluesky was gonna be the ticket. Most of my podcaster friends from Twitter had also made the jump over there. The selling point to me was that it was in beta, and invite-only. This was designed to keep out “the riffraff”, much like nascent Facebook. The problem with gated communities, however, is that the shittiest people tend to be inside the gates.

Bluesky was fine, as long as I stayed in my little circle. The minute I ventured out of that, trouble would ensue. While it’s paraded around as a “safe space” for the marginalized, these margins tend to just be sexual in nature. There aren’t a ton of racial minorities on there, but if you wanna “let your freak flag fly”, then it’s the place! But to say that it’s “Left leaning” would be an understatement. When it finally opened up to everyone, the beta joiners were strategizing as to how to keep out Conservatives and setting up blocklists. It was a bit extreme for my tastes, but whatever. Didn’t affect me. Until it did.

One Sunday back in December, I saw a friend – one that I knew from other places – comment on a post about someone I didn’t know. I guess I didn’t understand who saw what over there, so I said that the unknown person was corny, and came off like a “Token Black Friend”. I felt like I had some knowledge of that role, as I’ve been in that role. Hell, only one of y’all reading this is Black, and I know who you are (Catch you at the cookout!). Well, Token saw it, and Token’s friends saw it. It became a whole thing. If you look back at the post, I was basically saying he wasn’t really as witty as he thought, and that his popularity was bolstered by White Guilt centered around him being their Token Black Friend. I mean, I did my homework. I had read his feed and I had looked at his friends. And you know what happened? A lot of Guilty White People came at me, about how terrible that was to say about him. But, you see, since there were next to no Black people on the app, no one pointed out that the post wasn’t really about their friend, but more about them. And that their reaction was just proving my point. Still, some told me to fuck myself, kill myself, and the whole nine yards of social media discourse. It died down once they found something new to protest, but I learned my lesson: Don’t stray outside the resort on Bluesky!

Up til this week, I had never cared much about Threads. It’s too noisy and unwieldy. I only use it as another outlet to post the same shit I post everywhere else, though I’ve learned I can’t do that anymore. Would this post get you kicked out of the PTA? If so, then it can’t go on Bluesky. Is this post sexual in nature? If so, it can’t go on Facebook, because I’m friends with my 3rd Grade teacher over there. Tailoring messages for different audiences? These are things I never had to worry about before! Still, like Bluesky, I really only associate with folks I knew from the Twitter days. The craziest thing about Threads, though, is that it’s like there’s no algorithm. I can’t explain why I get the stuff in my feed that I get over there. It’s a mix of relationship drama, relationship trauma, and Girl Boss affirmations. I’m over there, sharing my site links, and posting about NCIS, and this is what the app directs to me?! I can’t even imagine where my posts are ending up! Anyway, I shared this post, which I shared everywhere else posts are shared:

It’s just a random throwaway post. I understood the Agatha marketing, and the post is “tongue-in-cheek”, at best. Everyone on those other sites “understood the assignment”. Threads, not so much. As you can see, there are 130 replies on that post. Every social outcast over there wanted to get their shots in, telling me it was a “trash take”, or how I should apologize and “take the ‘L'”. How dare I say “nobody”, when I wasn’t deemed to speak for everyone (apparently, no one was familiar with hyperbole), and they wanted me to know that they were actually excited for the show. At first, I kinda thought it was funny, and I wrote it off as “Well, it’s just a couple of Weirdo Reply Guys”. Then some YouTuber entered the mix, and was trying to do that “Debate me!” shit. So, I added more context, thinking that would explain it:

Again, it’s a throwaway show, that almost feels like a promise kept from a bygone era. I simply don’t think there’s a place for an Agatha show in an MCU that desperately needs a “rebuilding year”, but whatever. I’m just one dude, with one opinion. But that didn’t help things. Instead, it riled up more people. But also their tone was getting worse. I mean, they never walked up to my door with flowers and introduced themselves, but no one was actually looking for a conversation. They just wanted to fight. I’ve said on here time and again that I’m looking for connections. Community. I know a lot of y’all will say “Social Media is not real”, but, in many cases, it has been for me. Nobody wanted to actually discuss my post. They just wanted to tell me to “fuck off” or call me a “little boy”. And that set me off.

My biggest issue these days is that no one knows how to make a first impression, on top of the fact nobody has social skills anymore. So, the whole “I’m behind a keyboard, and will never meet this person” seems to take over the interaction. So, these things never lead to “Huh. And why do you feel that way?” Replies are just “You’re a TROLL and you can fuck right off!” When did the definition of troll simply become “Someone who says something I disagree with”? I don’t want the hate speech of a place like Twitter, but one of the pros of that site was Diverse Voices. These new apps are just echo chambers for hurt people.

That’s what I kept telling myself as the notifications kept coming through, until someone, whose avatar made it clear to me she probably didn’t get invited to many parties, called me “little boy”. I fired off an “I don’t know who the fuck you think you’re talking to, or where you get off…” Someone else told me to “fuck off”, and my reply was “You first.” They never expected me to fight back. And that’s when the blocks started. They thought they could get the best of me, but I was a captive audience at the time, with nothing better to do. I always got in the last word, and if I didn’t, it’s because they blocked me when they didn’t manage to make me cower or apologize or whatever. So, when I look at my feed, I’m replying to a bunch of ghosts who no longer exist. It’s like a social media multiple personality one-man show! When I was good and tired, I pretty much said what I wanted to by my last word on the interaction:

And I did have to tell some folks to choke on a few bags of dicks, in response to the vitriol they were spewing at me. The whole thing was insane to me, and so much more indicative of society as a whole right now: These people were upset at my opinion. Plus, it was my opinion about a TV show about a comic book character who is a witch. Sure, these movies make billions of dollars, but this same argument could have been about Sabrina. That’s unhinged! I wasn’t being political. I never stooped to personal attacks. I wasn’t denying anyone’s rights. I’m simply a nobody with a nothing opinion, about a TV show. But it’s MY opinion. A sane person who disagreed might have shaken their head and kept scrolling. These people, however never saw the irony of stepping up to tell me I’m a nobody with a shit opinion, while they, themselves, were also nobodies, with shit opinions. Echo chambers of hurt people, man…

So, I kinda thought I was gonna get to avoid this post. You see, this is the week when the major networks traditionally hold their “upfronts”, where they present their fall schedules. There’s usually a ton of cancellations the Friday beforehand, and fans have the weekend to prep for the announcement of what will be replacing those fallen shows. Then COVID happened. And the Upfronts sort of had to evolve. While this year was something of a “return to form”, most of the big news had already been spoiled, and the new schedules aren’t too exciting, where many hits and mainstays are being held for midseason, as networks transition to year-round schedules. Still, this is probably the first “official” Upfronts week in five years, so I’ve got to cover it. On top of that, this marks 10 years that I’ve been covering Upfronts Season!

The rules are going to be a bit different this time around. You see, in the past, I meticulously added all of the trailers for the new shows, so you wouldn’t have to go searching for them. Then the networks started getting weird, and quietly set those videos to Private once the Upfronts dust settled. So now I’ve got a whole bunch of historical posts with dead/removed/private listing videos. So, you’re gonna have to find them yourself, with most of them available on the networks’ respective YouTube accounts. Also, I used to compare grids, giving my opinion of which shows would win their nights/timeslots. At this point in TV viewing, however, timeslots simply don’t matter. Ratings are comprised of live viewing combined with 3-day delayed stats, be it DVR or Hulu. Nobody’s watching anything in real-time anymore, so a timeslot is merely a placeholder for a show, rather than a make-or-break arrangement. In the past, the wrong timeslot meant the quick death of a show. Now, however, that’s more dependent on whether or not the network has marketed it in the right places to spike audience awareness. In 1985, CBS canceled Elliott Gould’s E/R because it couldn’t hold its own again NBC’s The A-Team. For good or bad, we simply don’t live in that world anymore. Finally, streamers have joined the party – which is odd, seeing as how the Upfronts used to be primarily for helping to set advertising rates for the fall. I mean, streamers have ads, but it’s an entirely different model. I think they just recognized the ceremony of the Upfronts process, and wanted a seat at the table. So, without further ado, on with the show!


  • Gina Rodriguez’s Not Dead Yet was canceled after two seasons
  • Joshua Jackson will be starring in Ryan Murphy’s Doctor Odyssey, about a doctor on a cruise ship. Ya know how Bryan Fuller never actually delivers the shows he’s hired to develop? Well, Murphy delivers – usually with a strong debut – but then they fizzle after a couple of seasons and never recover.
  • Kaitlin Olson will star in High Potential, about a single mom, with an “exceptional mind”, who solves crimes. I like her, but this is probably just gonna lead to more Sunny delays if it’s a hit
  • The Golden Bachelorette was announced to be Joan Vassos, an educator from Maryland who competed on The Golden Bachelor, but left the competition early.
  • The Conners will officially end with an abbreviated 6-episode season, which is being saved for midseason
  • Abbott Elementary will be ABC’s *only* comedy when the fall season starts, with sitcoms, like Tim Allen’s Shifting Gears, still in development.
  • The Rookie, Will Trent, and the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition reboot are also being held for midseason.


  • Jon Cryer/Donald Faison-starring Extended Family canceled after one season
  • Law & Order: Organized Crime is officially moving to Peacock next season. The reasoning was that it’s a popular show, but no one watches it in real-time, so it makes more sense to use its timeslot to develop a different show.
  • The body of Murray Goldberg isn’t even cold yet, and Wendi McLendon-Covey already has her next job: St. Denis Medical, which will kick off the Tuesday night comedy block. It sounds like “What if The Office was set in a hospital?”
  • Reba McEntire’s got a new sitcom, Happy’s Place, and she’s bringing her old Reba costar, Melissa Peterman, with her. In the show, Reba inherits her dad’s bar, only to discover her father had a secret, younger daughter, played by Blue Beetle‘s Belissa Escobado. So, it’s a multigenerational, cross-cultural show, as the two half sisters get acquainted with one another. It looks terrible, but Lopez vs Lopez is on its third season, so what do I know?
  • Monday’s new drama is Brilliant Minds, starring Zachary Quinto probably being weird or something. Has that dude ever played a “normal” character?
  • Being held for midseason is The Hunting Party, about a team of investigators tasked with tracking down the country’s most dangerous killers – all of whom have just escaped from a secret prison that’s been kept off the books! This is one of those “Sounds good on paper, but its meandering will get it canceled before it ever fulfills its mission” shows.
  • The Quantum Leap reboot was canceled, which now leaves three Leapers lost in the timestream…


  • Everybody seems to want their own Sherlock Holmes show, and CBS said “Hey, that’s OUR turf!” So, we’re getting Watson, starring Morris Chestnut (?!) as Dr. John Watson, picking up his life a year after Holmes has been killed by Moriarty. So, now Watson runs a clinic that treats rare disorders, but it also seems like Moriarty will now be his adversary? There’s a lot going on here: the race swapping, the modern-day setting (again!), the death of Sherlock (who, if they’re smart, should show up, ALIVE, in the final scene of the first season finale). I mean, Elementary worked, but I feel like a Lucy Liu-spinoff from that would have been more successful than this. Sure, CBS has The Neighborhood and The Equalizer, but I’m not sure it’s the right home for a Black-led procedural based on classic English literature…
  • Damon Wayans Jr AND Sr will star in Poppa’s House, which takes over Bob Hearts Abishola‘s Monday night slot.
  • NCIS: Origins will slide into the Monday timeslot formerly held by NCIS: Hawai’i.
  • Starting in January, Wednesdays will see prime time game shows, including a Hollywood Squares reboot with Drew Barrymore in the center square.
  • Thursday nights at 8 will stay in the Cooper Family, as the Young Sheldon spinoff, Georgie & Mandy’s First Marriage, will inherit that timeslot.
  • Thursday night will also have the long-gestating Kathy Bates-starring Matlock “reimagining” at 9 PM.


  • Animation Domination entry Housebroken was canceled after two seasons
  • New to Animation Domination is Universal Basic Guys, about 2 Philly brothers who lose their jobs to automation, and decide to pursue their dreams after being given a Universal Basic Income. Yeah, really.
  • Family Guy‘s 23rd season is being held for midseason, as well as Grimsburg and The Great North.
  • Speaking of Family Guy, it – along with The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers – is at the end of a multiyear renewal, so the futures of those shows could go either way after the 24-25 season.
  • WWE SmackDown will officially leave the network in September, for its move to USA.
  • Fox ordered lifeguard drama Rescue: HI-Surf, which has already been chosen as the lead-out show for Super Bowl LIX. Prior to that, it will air on Mondays, following 9-1-1: Lone Star, which sat out this season, due to strike-related delays. I’m reminded how NBC canceled Baywatch 35 years ago, after one season, because it just didn’t seem to work on network television. Let’s hope they figured out the recipe this time around…
  • Lana Lang is back, as Kristen Kreuk will be costarring in Murder In A Small Town on Tuesdays. Though she’s the “Name”, she’s not The Lead…
  • Also held for midseason are Next Level Chef, Animal Control, The Cleaning Lady, LEGO Masters, MasterChef, and Name That Tune
  • Fox’s most promising new show, Doc, is adapted from an Italian drama and being saved for midseason: a gifted doctor can’t remember the past 8 years, following a traumatic brain injury that resulted from a car accident. Now, she’s got to piece her life back together while performing medical feats of wonder. So, it’s Lady House, and it also features Fox Legend Scott Wolf!

The CW

  • Superman & Lois moves to Thursday for its final season, leading into The Librarians: The Next Chapter. So far, Christian Kane is the only cast member recurring from the original TNT incarnation of The Librarians.
  • Monday is unofficially “Game Show Night”, kicked off by Trivial Pursuit, hosted by LeVar Burton (You just know this was thrown together from his headline-grabbing lobby to get the Jeopardy! job…), followed by a Raven-Symoné-hosted Scrabble.
  • Tuesday night will be the new home of WWE NXT
  • Sophie Turner stars in the ’80s-set jewel thief drama Joan, which will close out Wednesday nights
  • The weekends will feature CW Sports Saturday, comprised of college football and NASCAR, while Sunday will be the home of The CW Sunday Night Movie.
  • The CW-est show on the schedule is being held for midseason: Sherlock & Daughter where, following the death of her mother, an American discovers her father might be the legendary Sherlock Holmes. So, now she has to track him down while trying to solve her mother’s murder. Blu Hunt (The Originals) and David Thewlis (Fargo) will star
  • The CW has the most shows “on the bubble” than any other network, including All American, All American: Homecoming, Walker, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and Wild Cards. This comes down to the fact that the network doesn’t own these shows, so they said they have to figure out the economics to make renewals feasible, and worthwhile to all parties. Meanwhile, most of their new shows are international co-productions, where they actually reap the benefits of streaming and international licensing. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Penn & Teller and Wild Cards have the best shot at getting picked up.


  • Disney Channel canceled Raven’s Home after six seasons, but it placed a pilot order for yet another spinoff: Alice in the Palace, produced and directed by Raven-Symoné, will focus on Raven’s young cousin Alice, who was introduced in the 5th season of Raven’s Home. Alice returns to England to reunite with friend Duchess Clementine, who happens to look just like her! Both roles are played by the same actress, and the characters switch places to get into wacky adventures. So, it’s basically Cory in the House meets The Prince and the Pauper.
  • In other Disney Channel spinoff news, the network officially ordered The Wizards Beyond Waverly Place, which is the sequel to the original Selena Gomez-starring series. Gomez will appear in the pilot, and serve as an executive producer.
  • Not to be outdone by the competition, the success of The Thundermans Return has led Nick to order a currently untitled spinoff series, starring Kira Kosarin and Jack Griffo returning as Phoebe and Max Thunderman, who are now working undercover in a seaside town. More Kira Kosarin is always OK in my book!
  • MTV announced that the MTV TV & Movie Awards are “on pause” for 2024, but will come back retooled in 2025.


  • Constellation canceled after one season at Apple TV+
  • The Other Black Girl canceled at Hulu after one season
  • Scavenger’s Reign canceled after one season at Max, but scooped up by Netflix for a potential second season
  • An untitled, not-a-Simple-Life-reboot, reuniting former besties Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton is in development at Peacock
  • A Legally Blonde prequel is being developed for Prime Video, focusing on the high school years of Elle Woods. I swear, if they don’t call that thing Barely Legal
  • Nicolas Cage will return to voice Spider-Man Noir, this time in the live action Noir, being developed by Amazon
  • At the same time, Amazon announced that it would not be going forward with the other live action Spider-Man Universe series, Silk: Spider Society. It may be shopped to other networks…
  • Pop Culture Jeopardy! is being developed for Prime Video, which feels like a cop out to me. I mean, it’s like, do you want to be the President of the United States or just the President of New Jersey? There are already pop culture categories on regular Jeopardy!, so…
  • Mr & Mrs Smith was renewed for a second season at Prime Video BUT Donald Glover and Maya Erskine aren’t yet confirmed to be returning.
  • Meanwhile, original Mr & Mrs Smith costar/co-creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is developing a Tomb Raider series for Prime Video.
  • Comcast will be launching a reduced price bundle of Peacock, Netflix, and Apple TV+.
  • Meanwhile, the ESPN/Fox/Warner Bros Discovery joint sports streaming service will be called Venu.
  • The aforementioned Agatha All Along will premiere on Disney+ on September 18th
  • Netflix will exclusively stream this year’s NFL games played on Christmas Day

Will Around The Web

You’ve already been through over 3,000 words by now, so I’ll try to make this quick. This week saw the Disney+ release of “Tolerance is Extinction Pt 3”, which was the first season finale of X-Men ’97. I don’t have a ton to say here, as my feelings on it are the sort of thing that gets me in trouble on fledgling social media sites. There were a LOT of moving parts and, while it was epic, I was left wondering: Did it stick the landing? I’m not entirely sure it did…

The episode certainly ends in a better place than where it begins. Final Boss Bastion was so overpowered that I began to think I was watching late 90s anime. I mean, there were elements of body horror, flesh-machine synthesis, etc. It didn’t feel X-Men to me. Plus, for a longer episode, it still felt rushed, on down to the animation. The fight between Rogue and Bastion was almost crudely animated, as her body was sort of deformed as the animators were trying to convey movement.

There were also a lot of questionable decisions in the plotting of this episode. First off, all the Marvel Universe cameos were the worst kind of fan service. They contributed nothing to the story other than to show the effects of Bastion’s actions were far-reaching. The problem with that, however, is that the Marvel Universe doesn’t really extend outside of the Island of Manhattan, so these scenes don’t really get the job done. Also, after putting a nice bow on the Summers Family Reunion, and telling Cable they loved him, what was the purpose of sending them to the setting of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, where they raise Cable in the future? We’re done with Cable now! And did they not recognize Apocalypse in the past? I mean, how many blue-lipped characters have they encountered?

Like a lot of Marvel offerings, the episode was an action packed “tour de force”, as 90s film critics used to say. A lot happened, at a breakneck pace, and it left the characters in places where you’re anxious to see what happens next. That said, also like many Marvel offerings, I can see myself growing to find more to dislike as time passes. Take Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, for example: I, like everyone else, loved it in the theater. Now, however, I look back and am disappointed that the team’s swan song was effectively a Rocket story. It’s not that he hadn’t earned it, but it really forces everyone else’s character development to the back seat. In the case of X-Men ’97, I’m probably going to pick it apart even more if they don’t fast track the release of Season 2. For now, however, I’m still processing and catching my breath, and I can’t deny the incredible overall season that the show had. We’re clearly just getting started, and there’s at least one more Beau DeMayo season ahead of us, so X-Men ’97, once again, had the West Week Ever.