'Arrow' and 'Beauty and the Beast' bring a darker vibe to The CW: First impressions of the 2012-13 lineup

arrow-stephen-amell-cw.jpgAlthough The CW is generally known for its teen- and female-friendly fare, judging from the dark tone of the first footage three of the network's five new series -- which debuted at the CW Upfront presentation in New York on May 17 -- they're serious about attracting a more diverse group of viewers. (i.e. slightly older and more male than the preteen girl you think of when you picture a CW fan).

"Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Cult" all seem darker and more serious than ever. It's clear newer shows like "The Vampire Diaries" and "Nikita" have paved the way for The CW's development slate, although "Emily Owens, M.D." and "The Carrie Diaries" both have the CW's bread-and-butter cute, quirky vibe.

After watching trailers for all five new shows -- "Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Emily Owens, M.D." are all scheduled for October debuts, while "Cult" and "The Carrie Diaries" premiere in January -- here are our first impressions of the dramas:

"Arrow"
Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
We can't get too mad that Justin Hartley isn't playing Green Arrow in this new show, considering he's back on the network in "Emily Owens, M.D." Besides, Stephen Amell is just as attractive and built. He plays a man lost at sea who returns years later acting very mysterious and cold and (unbeknownst to his family and friends) is now the superhero we know as Arrow. The tone of the trailer is dark and creepy (totally appropriate) and seems like a perfect pairing with "Supernatural" on Wednesday nights. We're not familiar with the superhero mythology, but the casting and tone of this footage seems just right. It shouldn't disappoint any die-hard fans.

"Beauty and the Beast"
Thursdays, 9 p.m.
Man, a lot of blue filter being used on The CW this fall -- this one's also dark (it starts out with Kristin Kreuk's mom getting murdered) but then switches to some weird sort of procedural with KK as a NYPD detective and a Rihanna soundtrack. It's got some clunky, predictable dialogue and we will never ever believe that people trying to outrun trains is a thing that could ever happen in real life, but the realistic-looking NY subway platform is a welcome sight. (Seriously, TV, stop trying to pretend the gigantic, clean, escalator-filled LA subway is in NYC.) The beast effects and script need a little work, especially if this is going to run after the always thrilling "Vampire Diaries." Though if they keep it less serialized and more case-of-the-week, it'll be harder to compare to "TVD's" impeccable storytelling and would probably do better. The leads are pretty attractive, so there's that. This doesn't look bad, we're just not wowed by the whole thing.

"Emily Owens, M.D."
Tuesday, 9 p.m.
Mark Pedowitz calls The CW's new Tuesday nights "Doctor Doctor," because "Hart of Dixie" is being paired with this new medical series. Mamie Gummer is a more insecure, relatable heroine, but from the rom-com-esque voiceover to the fact that the show's about medical interns, this has "Grey's Anatomy Jr." written all over it. That's not the worst thing in the world -- it looks cute and bubbly and fun. The only worry is if two lady doctor shows are a little too much for one night. But since "Hart of Dixie" becomes less and less about medicine from week to week, that might not be a problem after all.

MIDSEASON

"The Carrie Diaries"
Mondays, 9 p.m.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is a prequel to "Sex and the City," but let's leave our Carrie Bradshaw comparisons out of this and view it as its own show. On its own, it looks fun, funny, stylish but also the youngest-skewing show on the network. It doesn't completely lose its "SATC" edge -- the trailer does feature a lot of virginity talk (and even some inappropriate reaction shots) -- and an ultra-swoon-worthy Austin Butler. AnnaSophia Robb has a young-sounding voice but it appears there might be a little edge beyond that squeaky-clean appearance. Mock all you want, but we're on board (at least for now).

"Cult"
Matt Davis looks super Matt Davis-y in this one (you guys know what we mean, right? -- serious, handsome, brooding, and way smarter than everyone else in the room). He plays a journalist looking into a creepy TV show he believes is responsible for the disappearance of his younger brother, with Jessica Lucas as the show's research assistant helping him investigate the ties between the cult show and real-life crime. Honestly, it looks utterly confusing and creepy, and we couldn't be more excited. Yet again, a more mature, male-skewing show for the network -- this could be the year they finally get people other than their core audience to tune in.

Which CW shows will you be watching in the fall?
Photo/Video credit: The CW
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