News on 4 new WB shows is scary

Scary may be the best word to describe the four new shows coming to the WB this fall.

Scary may be the best word to describe the four new shows coming to the WB this fall.

Just Legal is a predictable drama that pairs an in-his-cups lawyer (Don Johnson) with an 18-year-old legal genius learning the courtroom ropes (Jay Baruchel).

Twins is a painful comedy about fraternal twins — a brainiac (Sara Gilbert) and a beauty (Molly Stanton) — working for a lingerie company owned by their parents (Mark Linn-Baker and Melanie Griffith).

Related is an hourlong dramedy about four bickering but inseparable young-adult sisters. That's all we know for sure — the show's being recast and the pilot reshot.

Scary, scary, scary.

And then there's Supernatural. It's scary, too, but intentionally so. Of the six new shows featuring paranormal/extraterrestrial themes, the pilot for Supernatural is the standout.

On paper, it doesn't sound like much: Two brothers (San Antonio-born Jared Padalecki and Dallas-born Jensen Ackles) hit the country's back roads, encountering strange happenings while searching for their father.

But lay out some major bucks, ramp up the special effects, flesh out the story line and hire David Nutter to direct the pilot, and the fear factor increases substantially.

In the show's opening moments, for example, a woman bursts into flames on the ceiling of her baby's room. Now, add in that the woman is the brothers' mother, and the one-sentence story line begins to take dramatic shape. Add in more background and we learn why the father is missing and why the boys are determined to follow all leads to find him.

Lost this isn't. Supernatural is less sci-fi and more about oogly-booglies — and Googlers.

"I have a mandate to the writers that the show must be extremely Google-worthy," said executive producer Eric Kripke. "The show is sticking to folklore and urban legend" happenings that can be found by searching the Web.

Nothing will be created out of whole cloth, Kripke said.

"Every week our promise to the audience is that we're going to scare the living hell out of you," he said.

Ah, but that's the potential deal-breaker. Keeping those scares coming could be difficult. Scripts will have to be produced more quickly than usual so that the show's special-effects team can work their dark magic.

And there's a history of TV shows kicking off with expensive, kick-butt pilots and then fizzling as budgets are pared back to more normal levels. Nutter, for example, produced big-budget pilots for Tarzan, Dark Angel and Millennium. They're gone, gone and gone.

"We share the same concern," said McG, a Supernatural executive producer. (McG has his own personal example of that, 2002's Fastlane.) "The promise we made to our actors was that the show was going to feel like a movie every week, and we're going to fight as hard as we have to to make sure that's protected. Every once in a while, it's going to cost a couple of bucks."

But Kripke qualified that, saying that budget concerns might force them "to be more evocative."

"When you use a less-is-more approach, generally the scarier it is," he said.

Maybe. Maybe not.

It's scary to think about it.

Source: Houston Chronicle