Network upfront trailers are primarily sales tools. Their primary purpose is to convince advertisers to put money down on the show and give a sense that the show will play out its run for the season.
Trailers generally run three to four minutes, so they are more like a movie trailer than a TV promo, which is in the 30-60 second range and has to convey the information in a different way. Still, you can look at these trailers and come away with some sense of chances that we have a TV show on our hands.
I looked at 17 trailers for 2018-19 series on the broadcast networks and evaluated them on four criteria:
- Can I see a hundred episodes, which is my way of asking if this is a TV show or a pilot with limited possibilities?
- Are there people or situations that one can relate to? Always the No. 1 factor in the success of a series.
- Is it funny, emotionally involving or (the best) both?
- Is the trailer hiding the weenie? Does it convey what the series will be, or is it trying to fool us in some way?
So, with these factors in mind, here’s my ranking of the 17 trailers:
- “The Neighborhood (CBS)
- “FBI” (CBS)
- “Magnum, P.I.” (CBS)
- “All American” (CW)
- “New Amsterdam” (NBC)
- “The Kids Are Alright” (ABC)
- “The Rookie” (ABC)
- “Charmed” (CW)
- “God Friended Me” (CBS)
- “I Feel Bad” (NBC)
- “Manifest” (NBC)
- “Single Parents” (ABC)
- “Happy Together” (CBS)
- “Rel” (FOX)
- “The Cool Kids” (FOX)
- “The Passage” (FOX)
- “A Million Little Things” (ABC)
I have not seen the shows yet, so this is in some ways an evaluation of the marketing abilities at work here. It’s not a ranking of what I might watch, but simply the effectiveness of the trailer.
Feel free to disagree.