This week all the networks announced their fall seasons, and as usual, being a big TV watcher, here are my thoughts…
First, here are links to the network pages for their fall line-ups: NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS and The CW.
Next, the shows I’m losing (more shows than these were cancelled, these are just the ones I was watching): 24, Dollhouse, Better Off Ted, Defying Gravity, Lost, Ugly Betty, Accidentally on Purpose, and Gary Unmarried. Of these, the only one I am really upset about is Better Off Ted. It was, quite possibly, my favorite sitcom ever. With pre-emptings and shufflings I don’t think it got a fair chance. Season 1 is on DVD, buy it. Season 2 is likely coming, buy it. And when the complete series is released, buy that too. Okay, maybe you don’t need to buy it twice, but you should buy it in some form.
NBC: Chuck, The Event, Chase
FOX: House, Lonestar
ABC: Dancing with the Stars, Castle
CBS: How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly, Hawaii Five-O
CW: 90210, Gossip Girl
NBC looks like it has a winning line-up as far as I am concerned. I already like Chuck and both The Event and Chase will be given a shot. Fox isn’t looking too shabby either, I like House, but while the cast of Lonestar looks promising, I’m not sold on it entirely. The con man angle is nice, so I’ll give it a chance. For ABC, I’ll continue not watching dancing shows, but I’m in for another season of Castle. CBS, HIMYM I like… but I’m also getting bored of not meeting the mother. I’ll give Mike and Molly a shot, and I’m down for Hawaii Five-O. The CW has nothing on Mondays that I care to see. Total: 7 hours, 8 if Lonestar doesn’t suck.
NBC: The Biggest Loser, Parenthood
FOX: Glee, Raising Hope, Running Wilde
ABC: No Ordinary Family, Dancing with the Stars Results, Detroit 1-8-7
CBS: NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Good Wife
CW: One Tree Hill, Life Unexpected
Reality shows still don’t interest me much outside of American Idol in the spring, so The Biggest Loser is a loser for me, but I found myself really enjoying Parenthood despite initial reservations, so I’m in for that. Glee won me over already, and I’ll give both Raising Hope and Running Wilde a shot based entirely on their casts. Hope looks better than Wilde. No Ordinary Family: not only is the cast full of people I like, but it’s about superheroes, so count me in. Skip dancing. Detroit 1-8-7 has a strike against it – homicide. Lots of other crimes happen out there, why does almost every cop show focus on murders? This is going to be one of those shows I won’t watch until at least five people I trust tell me it is worth seeing. CBS has programmed a night full of shows I’m not watching. I gave up on One Tree Hill a while ago, and I’m still watching Life Unexpected. Total: 5 hours, 6 if Detroit 1-8-7 turns out to be worthwhile.
NBC: Undercovers, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Las Angeles
FOX: Lie to Me, Hell’s Kitchen
ABC: The Middle, Better Together, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Whole Truth
CBS: Survivor, Criminal Minds, The Defenders
CW: America’s Next Top Model, Hellcats
I’m a J.J. Abrams fan, so I’ll be watching Undercovers, but I’ll be skipping the Law & Order shows. Nothing for me on FOX. All three of ABC’s returning half-hours I skipped last season, but am now catching up on, so I’ll probably continue watching them. I’ll probably add Better Together, but The Whole Truth doesn’t interest me. Legal dramas just don’t keep me watching unless the characters are great, and I’ll wait to hear reviews before I bother trying. Mostly, I’m not interested in CBS’s Wednesday, but The Defenders might be something I watch. Legal dramas, eh… but throw in comedy and I’m willing to give it a shot. And the CW’s Hellcats is about cheerleaders and I’m a guy, so, yeah, I’ll be watching, but I may not stick about. Total: 4 hours, 5 if The Defenders works, back to 4 if Hellcats sucks.
NBC: Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Outsourced, Love Bites
FOX: Bones, Fringe
ABC: My Generation, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
CBS: The Big Bang Theory, S#*! My Dad Says, CSI, The Mentalist
CW: The Vampire Diaries, Nikita
I bailed on 30 Rock a while back and I never gave The Office a chance, Community is something I’m thinking of going back to catch up on, and Outsourced looks pretty funny. I’m not overly thrilled with the idea of Love Bites, but I know the wife will want to watch. FOX has a winning line-up. We kicked Private Practice to the curb this year, but we still watch Grey’s Anatomy. My Generation looks like it’ll be pulled from the schedule within 6 episodes. The Big Bang Theory is still awesome, William Shatner will draw me in for S#*! My Dad Says, and I’ll probably keep sitting through The Mentalist if only for brief moments of Cho (he and Rigsby need a Dragnet-like spin-off). We finally gave up on The Vampire Diaries… I’ve always talked about how lots of TV shows get stale because of their unwillingness to kill characters, this show illustrates the exact opposite, someone seems to die every episode – they’ll spend a whole night introducing a character just enough to make you care and then whack them. People die so often I came to assume everyone was going to die and numbed to it. I’ll give Nikita a shot because I like spy/action shows. Total: 6.5 hours, 7.5 if she makes me watch Love Bites.
NBC: Who Do You Think You Are, School Pride, Dateline, Outlaw
FOX: Human Target, The Good Guys
ABC: Secret Millionaire, Body of Proof, 20/20
CBS: Medium, CSI: NY, Blue Bloods
CW: Smallville, Supernatural
NBC has nothing for me unless Outlaw gets some great word of mouth. I love Human Target and the Premiere of The Good Guys this week was enough to keep me watching. ABC only has Body of Proof that I want to watch. I keep watching Medium despite my frustration that Allison and her family don’t seem to actually pay attention to their own lives, and Blue Bloods looks good enough to try. Smallville can die in a fire, and despite feeling like Supernatural should have finished strong at the end of this past season I’ll be watching to see where they go with it. Total: 6 hours, 7 if Outlaw holds up.
NBC: Encore programs (repeats)
FOX: Cops, America’s Most Wanted
ABC: College Football
CBS: Crime Time Saturday, 48 Hours: Mystery
Nothing. Nada. Total: 0 hours.
FOX: The OT, The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, The Family Guy, American Dad
ABC: America’s Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters
CBS: 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, Undercover Boss, CSI: Miami
I’d almost say it’s a repeat of Saturday, but I might still watch Brothers & Sisters. The show has gotten a tad out of control with crazy plot lines and intrigue, so I also might not. Total: 1 hour, 0 if I kick B&S.
So… the final total for the week is a low of 28.5 hours of television and a possible high of 33.5 hours. Yeah, that’s a lot of TV, but not all of these shows will stay. Of course there will be mid-season shows too, and this list doesn’t include the less traditional schedules of the cable networks like USA, TNT, FX, Syfy and so on. I think I can attribute a good chunk of the increase over 2009 to NBC actually having a 10pm slot this year since the whole Jay Leno debacle. And there you have my thoughts on the 2010 Fall Season.
Last week, all the TV networks trotted out their fall line-up, and as with every year, what follows are my thoughts. To see the schedule and find links to all the shows, check out the incredibly awesome Laurel’s TV Picks.
ABC goes with Dancing With The Stars and Castle. I love Castle, but Stars is a waste of TV as far as I’m concerned. At midseason they’ll switch Stars for The Bachelor, another waste. CBS mostly keeps its line-up with How I Met Your Mother (watch), Two And A Half Men (pass), The Big Bang Theory (watch), and CSI: Miami (pass). Rules of Engagement has been pushed to midseason, and they’ve added Accidentally On Purpose, which I’ll tune into. NBC is bringing back Heroes, which I’m taking a “wait and see” attitude on (I’ll wait for other people to tell me its good and then catch up), and pairing it up with Trauma, which I have no interest in seeing. At midseason they swap both of those for Chuck and Day One, both of which I will watch. And this fall NBC is throwing away the 10pm slot to keep Jay Leno happy, and to finally let people unwilling to stay up late to watch “late night” TV. *sigh* Fox has gone with House and Lie To Me, with 24 showing up midseason. I gave up on Lie To Me this year, each episode was too similar for my tastes. The CW has Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, both of which I stopped watching.
Monday verdict: 3 1/2 hours to start, which a push up to 5 1/2 at midseason.
ABC will have Shark Tank, Dancing With The Stars Results, and The Forgotten… skip, waste and watch. CBS expands one NCIS into two and follows them with The Good Wife, none of which I will watch. NBC goes with The Biggest Loser and then more Jay Leno, with 100 Questions coming in midseason when Loser goes to 90 minutes. I’ll watch 100 Questions. Fox wastes the evening on So You Think You Can Dance until January when they replace it with American Idol and Past Life. Heaven help me, I’m addicted to Idol, but I’ll be passing on the rest. The CW has 90210 and adds to it Melrose Place… nope.
Tuesday verdict: 1 hour, going to 1 1/2 at midseason.
ABC brings in four new half hour comedies that I won’t be watching, and ends the night with Eastwick, which I’m curious to see if it is any good. Lost will likely return at midseason, and being the last season (and that I like the show) I’ll watch. CBS changes nothing: New Adventures of Old Christine (pass), Gary Unmarried (never miss it), Criminal Minds (pass), CSI: NY (pass). NBC decided to resurrect Parenthood at a TV show, given the cast I want to see it, but I won’t unless someone tells me its worth watching. Midseason they’ll swap it for Mercy, which I want to see. They fill the rest of the night with Law & Order SVU and Jay Leno… no, and no. Fox will have results from Tuesday’s voting for SYTYCD and follows it with Glee, which I watched and was extremely surprised how much I enjoyed it. In January we’ll get Idol and Human Target (must see). The CW gives me another night of nothing worth watching by having America’s Next Top Model and following it with a 90210-style drama about models.
Wednesday verdict: 2, maybe 3, hours to start, becoming 4 in the midseason.
Finally we hit a night with more TV for me… ABC gives us Flash Forward, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, and I’ll watch them all. CBS has Survivor, CSI and The Mentalist, of which I only watch the last. NBC is still trying to regain its Thursday comedy dominance: SNL Weekend Update Thursday, Parks & Recreation, The Office, and Community (with another wasted 10pm slot on Jay Leno). I like SNL’s Weekend Update and Community looks good, and 30 Rock comes back midseason. Fox has Bones and Fringe, yes and yes. And the CW brings out The Vampire Diaries to join Supernatural. Now, I’ll watch me some Supernatural, that show rocks, but The Vampire Diaries is going to have to be very good to keep me interested… it looks like Twilight, and I have no interest in Twilight.
Thursday verdict: 8, maybe 9, hours.
ABC has Supernanny, Ugly Betty and 20/20, and three ‘no’s from me. CBS has Ghost Whisperer, Medium and Numb3rs, with word that Flashpoint will show up at some point. I was glad to see Medium saved from cancellation since the recent episodes have been quite good, and I enjoy Numb3rs and Flashpoint. NBC gives us Law & Order, Southland, and a final 10pm Jay Leno for the week. Fox gives us Brothers (pass), Til Death (used to be decent but now, pass), and Dollhouse (yay!). And the CW has Smallville and reruns of Top Model. No CW for me.
Friday verdict: 3 hours, possibly 4.
Should we even discuss Saturdays? Its nothing but sports and reruns and crap and shows networks want to cancel but contractually have to air. I wish someone would revitalize Saturday evening television.
Saturday verdict: 0, zilch, nada.
ABC sticks with Extreme Makeover, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sister (I watch the last). CBS has The Amazing Race, Three Rivers and Cold Case and won’t be having me as a viewer. NBC has football which they will replace with reality shows, neither interests me. And Fox has its animated shows, all of which I have stopped watching.
Sunday verdict: 1 hour.
The weekly verdict: 19 hours, going to 24 by midseason.
Of course, there are several midseason shows currently not on schedule, but given the penchant for networks to cancel shows quickly, they’ll all see the light of day. Of those, I’m interested in The Bridge, The Deep End, Happy Town, Parental Discretion Advised, V, and Better Off Ted. Scrubs is listed as returning, but I thought it ended so well that I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t bring it back.
And none of this includes the many shows that cable networks have started airing, but so few of them stick to the traditional fall season model that I’m just watching those all year long, but usually only 2 or 3 at a time even though its got to be a dozen shows.
Lastly… the post mortem.
Crusoe should have known they’d never last more than one season, the fact that they didn’t resolve their story in their 13 episodes is a failure. I had hopes that it would be a 13 episode mini-series and encourage other networks to do the same, but it didn’t work that way. Cupid also got cancelled, again. I say again because, and most people don’t realize this, it was a remake of an earlier show. The earlier one was also good, and also cancelled too soon. Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Eleventh Hour, ER, The Ex List, Harper’s Island, Kings, Life, Life on Mars, Lipstick Jungle, My Name is Earl, My Own Worst Enemy, Prison Break, Privileged, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Samantha Who?, Terminator, The Unit and The Unusuals. I don’t have room to eulogize them all. Some were cancelled too soon, some right on time, some past their prime, but all of them were shows I watched (or am still watching as they play out the productions on Saturday nights). Looking at this list, I am losing more shows this year than I am gaining, and if the networks keep moving toward more reality TV and if Jay Leno is popular at 10pm, that may be a trend which continues… or it may just mean that all the shows worth watching will be on cable.
Have you ever been watching a TV show and heard a song that you wanted to know what it was or who sang it? Even worse, it wasn’t on the CW so they didn’t tell you at the end and you had to go digging around the Internet hoping that someone else who watched the show knew the songs and put it out there somewhere that Google could find it?
Last week saw the premiere of Swingtown. Its set in the 70′s and is about a couple that moves a few blocks from a cozy middle class neighborhood to a more upscale rich neighborhood across the street from a couple who swings. If the use of ‘swing’ there confuses you, it means to have an open marriage, sleep with other people as well as engage in group sex. The show was okay… nothing really ground breaking, and I didn’t even find their allusions to sex all that graphic or shocking. I’ll probably keep watching it through the summer because there isn’t much else on.
However, the best thing during the broadcast was a little blurb saying “if you want to hear the music from Swingtown again, go to Last.FM” and they gave out this link.
Pure genius. Every single show that has music in it needs to hook up with Last.FM and do this. Simply awesome. I mean, I’ve used that site before, during dinner parties or regular parties or just while I’m working… normally, you pick a band you like and you get to hear them and other bands similar to them. But this, putting together a streaming soundtrack from a TV show… this is truly inspired use of the medium. No more guessing what the song was, just go to the show’s Last.FM page and hear it again.
I repeat… every single show that has music in it needs to hook up with Last.FM and do this.
Time for the TV Network Upfronts, the listings of what’s new, what’s returning and what’s been given the old heave ho.
On Monday, NBC went first and confirmed the death of Bionic Woman, Journeyman and Las Vegas. While losing Las Vegas didn’t really phase me as I thought the show was going down hill, I really enjoyed Bionic Woman and Journeyman, with the latter really shining toward the end of its run. Things from my watch list that survived the cut: Chuck, Heroes, My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, Life and Medium, with the last two getting new time slots (Lipstick Jungle also survived, but the wife watches that one, not me, I swear). Of their new shows… My Own Worst Enemy looks interesting and I’ll give it a shot; Kath & Kim will warrant a watching; Crusoe has piqued my interest; as has The Philanthropist; Kings might survive a single viewing; I’m going to pass on Blue Blood; Zip and Man of Your Dreams are going to have to win me over; while The Listener, Merlin and Knight Rider are three shows I might watch just so I can make fun of them. Overall with NBC, its looking like I lost 3 hours a week, but after early cancellations and failed starts I may pick up about 3 hours a week… at least until fall 2009.
NBC Extra… way back when it premiered, I was a big fan of ER. I stayed a big fan for about 8 seasons. When Dr. Mark Green (played by Anthony Edwards) died, my interest in the show sort of petered out. I’ve caught episodes now and again when they did something special, like when Dr. Carter returned, but I’ve also missed entire seasons. However, I might be checking out the show again for the 2008-2009 season since it will be the final season. I love when shows end with an actual planned ending instead of an abrupt cancellation. I think it will be worth watching.
On Tuesday, ABC went early, and they officially axed Men In Trees, Miss/Guided, Notes From the Underbelly, October Road and Women’s Murder Club (and the Cashmere Mafia, which the wife watched and I sometimes paid attention to). Returning shows from my schedule: Samantha Who?, Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, Scrubs (moving from NBC), and Lost. Of their new shows: Opportunity Knocks, crappy reality/game show, pass; some Ashton Kutcher/Tyra Banks show, crap, pass; The Goode Family, its Mike Judge so I’ll give it a whirl; Life on Mars, the only new item ABC has that I’m excited for. ABC didn’t announce many new shows, instead they listed a large number of projects “in development” some of which are bound to air, and a couple might even be worth watching. The round up for ABC sees me losing 4 (5) hours and gaining 1, maybe 1 1/2, hours (maybe more if some of those “in development” shows don’t suck).
Later on Tuesday, it was the CWs turn. They didn’t cancel anything I watch. A rare event, though not surprising when you consider they canceled most of their shows that I watched last season (I and my 3 wonderful seasons of Veronica Mars hate you and every single one of your programming executives). Meanwhile, it means I’ll still be watching: Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Supernatural, and Reaper. The CW is short on new shows like ABC with only 3 announced: Stylista is more reality TV garbage; Surviving the Filthy Rich looks to be another guilty pleasure that will suck me in like Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill; and while the thought of a 90210 relaunch has my inner child whimpering in terror, I’ll probably end up watching it too. So, making up for ABC, it looks like I lost nothing from the CW but I’m going to gain 2 hours a week.
CW Extra… I used to watch Smallville. For the first few seasons I really enjoyed it. In my opinion, however, they wasted a perfect opportunity to rewrite the rules of television shows. Smallville should have been strictly about Clark Kent in High School and coming to term with his powers. After three or four seasons, we should have seen Clark graduate and head off to college, bringing the Smallville story arc to a close. The following season could then have seen the launch of Metropolis, where we would meet a world weary Clark Kent returning home from travel abroad (college and work as a budding journalist, who also occasionally saved some lives). Clark knows that he needs to use his powers for good, and we follow him as he explores how best to do that. Run that show for a couple or three seasons until Clark is solidly Superman and then wrap up Metropolis. From there you could do a new Superman TV show or even move into some sort of Justice League show, or do a series of TV movies, or even launch into movies (well, if not for that Brandon Routh thing). Instead, we have seen Clark languish in Smallville, retreading stories and trying to find new ways in which huge things are hidden in this tiny Kansas town. Frankly, 8 years of Clark saving lives in Smallville, everyone should know he has superpowers by now. “Oh, look, honey, its Clark come to stop yet another meteor infected townsperson!” Last season I gave up on Smallville and until someone tells me the show is ending I don’t think I’ll be going back.
Wednesday gave us CBS… and they axed Jericho, Moonlight, Shark, and Welcome to the Captain. I’d also mention they canceled Viva Laughlin, but even though I enjoyed the show it has been off the air so long at this point that I forgot it was part of the last season. Surviving the cut: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two And A Half Men, Rules of Engagement, CSI, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, and The Unit. Surprisingly, all of their new shows look like they will rate at least a few viewings: Harper’s Island, The Mentalist (this show sounds like a dramatic version of USA Network’s Psych), Eleventh Hour, The Ex List, Project Gary, and Worst Week (CBS doesn’t provide direct links to their shows, only the grid). So I’m losing 3 1/2 hours and gaining 5 hours.
CBS Extra… Look, I’m not saying that stunt casting guest stars is a bad idea, but at least be smart about it. This past week on HIMYM they have the second Britney Spears appearance, and it was really stupid. The rest of the episode about Lily and Marshal was great, but the Barney/Britney bit was just awful. She might earn you ratings, but she’s a horrible actress and using her makes the bunch of you look like a bunch of ratings pandering whores. Cut it out.
Thursday saw FOX lay out their lineup… gone from the schedule are Back To You, Canterbury’s Law, New Amsterdam, The Return of Jezebel James, and Unhitched. Stay for my viewing pleasure: 24, American Idol, Bones, Family Guy, Prison Break, Til Death, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. New for the fall: Fringe looks good, and being a J.J. Abrams product means I’ll watch it; Do Not Disturb will get watched if only because it is being paired with Til Death (although Til Death made a major change for the worse this season concerning their new character addition to the show); Outnumbered might get a viewing; Dollhouse is Joss Whedon so I’ll watch it, but the premise doesn’t excite me; Lie to Me, it seems powers of observation are all the rage this year; Courtroom K stars Alfred Molina, so I’ll watch it; Sit Down, Shut Up and The Cleaveland Show are two animated additions that I might watch; Secret Millionaire is yet another stupid reality show. So on FOX I appear to be losing 3 1/2 hours, but I might be picking up 6.
FOX Extra… I’ve been watching Til Death from the beginning, but they are about to lose me. The introduction of the new character, Kenny, well, he might make the show better for some people but I find myself wanting to turn the show off whenever he gets involved too much in the story.
So there you have my annual review of the TV Upfronts. Some good stuff, some bad stuff…
But mostly, as I plead every year… people, please, I am begging you, stop watching all those awful reality shows.
Over at Laurel’s TV Picks, she’s gotten up her annual Fall Season Grid.
I’ve spent the last week taking a look at the various clips and plot summaries of all the new shows and returning shows… what follows is my opinion of the new fall season as it currently stands. Keep in mind, some schedule juggling and even show re-tooling happens, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
The returning shows worth watching are How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8pm), Two And A Half Men (CBS, 9pm), Rules of Engagement (CBS, 9:30pm), Prison Break (FOX, 8pm), and Heroes (NBC, 9pm). Gone are The Class, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and a couple shows that get canned early on. Of the 5 new shows on Monday, it goes like this: Sam I Am (ABC, 9:30pm) is about a girl with amnesia who wants to be a better person that she used to be, so basically My Name is Earl about a woman with head trauma, might be funny so I’ll give it a look see. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:30pm), two nerds live next door to a hot chick, since I’m already watching the other 3 shows in CBS’s comedy block, I’ll give this a chance. Journeyman (NBC, 10pm) is about a journalist who travels in time… yeah, I thought it sounded stupid too until I watched the preview for it, now I figure its weird enough for me to like and to get canceled, I give it 6 episodes, max. K-Ville (FOX, 9pm) is about police in New Orleans working in a city still recovering from Katrina, pass. Aliens in America (CW, 8:30pm), something about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, and like everything else on UPN.. I mean the CW’s Monday night comedies, I won’t be watching it.
Five shows from last season, three new ones… total of five and a half hours of TV.
Returning shows worth watching on Tuesday… The Unit (CBS, 9pm). Shows not returning: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Standoff and the Knights of Prosperity. Much hate for the networks for what they did to my Tuesdays. New show breakdown: Cavemen (ABC, 8pm), the Geico commercials are not funny and I predict this show will be no better, pass. Carpoolers (ABC, 8:30pm) is about businessmen who carpool together and I presume will tell stories about their lives… what better show to pair up with the suckfest Cavemen will be than another show that sounds like a suckfest, pass. Cane (CBS, 10pm) is the story about a Cuban American sugar and rum producing family, a plot which sounds like it would be a great daytime soap, but as a weekly nighttime drama, I’ll pass. Chuck (NBC, 9pm), about a guy who gets a government server downloaded to his head so suddenly they need to use him as an agent… reality check, they’d actually throw him in Gitmo and torture him until they got their info back, I predict this show will last just as long as most other robot/computerized human shows, less than a season, not worth my time. New Amsterdam (FOX, 8pm) is the name for Old New York, and this show is about a guy old enough to have lived there, he’s immortal, he’s a homicide detective, and only true love will make him mortal again, but it looks interesting enough to garner a viewing or two. Reaper (CW, 9pm) stars the kid from The Loop (another unfairly canceled show, but not from Tuesday) as a kid who winds up being the devil’s bounty hunter, now some of you may be old enough to remember Brimstone, this doesn’t look at good, but might be funny, so I’ll watch it.
One returning show and two new shows… three hours.
Returning shows worth watching: ‘Til Death (FOX, 8:30pm) and Bones (FOX, 9pm). New shows: Pushing Daisies (ABC, 8pm) about a guy who can bring people back to life, some more permanent than others, I don’t really understand, I might watch it, I might not. Private Practice (ABC, 9pm), where Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey’s Anatomy runs off to California, to be honest, a spin off hasn’t looked this good in ages, definitely a keeper. Dirty Sexy Money (ABC, 10pm) could be interesting and has a great cast, I might watch it, but I suspect the name, if kept, will be its downfall. Kid Nation (CBS, 8pm) has a bunch of kids living in a pioneer ghost town making their own rules… interesting sociology experiment, awful TV show idea, pass. Bionic Woman (NBC, 9pm), I am hoping this is great, but I’m worried it won’t be, I’ll be watching to see. Life (NBC, 10pm), a wrongly convicted cop is freed and returns to the job… totally unrealistic, in the real world he would sue for millions, win, and retire deservedly, but the show might still be okay. Back To You (FOX, 8pm), Kelsey Grammer returns to TV in front of the camera and it looks to be pretty funny, it will round out my two hours on FOX nicely. Gossip Girl (CW, 9pm)… my hatred for this show known no bounds, seriously, I hope it gets worse ratings than Veronica Mars ever did and they cancel it in under six episodes.
The round up… two returning shows, three definite new shows with two or three maybes… four to six hours.
Shows from last season worth watching: Ugly Betty (ABC, 8pm), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9pm), My Name is Earl (NBC, 8pm), 30 Rock (NBC, 8:30pm), Scrubs (NBC, 9:30pm), Smallville (CW, 8pm), Supernatural (CW, 9pm). Gone are The O.C., Six Degrees and Happy Hour (the show so good they canceled it twice). New shows: Big shots (ABC, 10pm) just doesn’t look good. Kitchen Nightmares (FOX, 9pm), I didn’t watch Hell’s Kitchen, I won’t watch this.
Seven old shows and no new ones keeps me at five and a half hours for the night.
Returning shows: Men In Trees (ABC, 8pm), Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8pm), Numb3rs (CBS, 10pm), Las Vegas (NBC, 9pm). Gone to the big schedule in the sky are… well… nothing I watched. New Shows: Women’s Murder Club (ABC, 9pm) is based on a series of books by James Patterson, I enjoyed the first book, the wife enjoyed them all, but what I’ve seen of the show so far was… unimpressive. Moonlight (CBS, 9pm), I really liked Forever Knight, but I’m not sure about this new telling of the (now tired) vampire trying to do good tale, may give it a shot though. The Singing Bee (NBC, 8pm), pass. Search for the Next Great American Band (FOX, 8pm), I’ll give it a chance since I always thought American Idol with groups instead of solo artists would be cool. Nashville (FOX, 9pm), pseudo-reality TV like Laguna Beach annoys me, pass.
So I keep four hours from last season and gain maybe three more… six or seven hours.
Saturdays are a dead zone of repeats and encores, where they don’t even try to schedule new shows any more since people don’t watch… or maybe they would if anything worth watching, aimed at the people who don’t go out… I’m thinking Sci-Fi and Horror shows would do well here, but the networks obviously don’t want to change a good (bad) thing and aim to continue their rerun filled Saturdays.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Returning shows worth my time: Brothers & Sisters (ABC, 10pm), Shark (CBS, 10pm) and the Family Guy (FOX, 8pm). Nothing lost here for me… as for new shows: Viva Laughlin (CBS, 8pm) at first glance sounds uninspired, a guy going to run a casino loses his funding and has to turn to his enemy for help, especially once you know its a remake of a UK show, but with Hugh Jackman involved and the mention of the integral part music will play… my interest is piqued and I may give this a chance. Life is Wild (CW, 8pm), about a family that moves to Africa, can jump in a lake, pass. The CW’s other Sunday offerings, CW Now and Online Nation are going to get a pass from me as well.
Three shows kept, maybe one gained… two and a half or three and a half hours for the night.
Not On The Schedule:
You might have noticed that there are many shows I didn’t mention, like Lost, Medium, One Tree Hill, October Road, and Notes From the Underbelly, all shows that were not canceled, and yet they don’t appear on the schedule… it seems that the networks are hedging their bets, holding shows in reserve until they cancel some early failures or waiting until the schedule shakes out a bit to find a place for their shows to get good ratings. There are also new shows picked up but not on the schedule. I’m not going to touch any of the reality shows, most reality shows are crap and you people should stop watching them so they’ll stop making them, but there are no less than SIX new reality shows and game shows waiting in the wings, and each of them sounds worse than the canceled Thank God You’re Here. On the comedy side there are four: The IT Crowd (NBC) is a spin off of the Office, or so it seems, and like the Office it is an import from the UK. Miss Guided (ABC) looks funny, and its got Judy Greer in it and I want to see her on a show that doesn’t get canceled for once, but ABC doesn’t have a spot for it until Dancing with the Stars ends or if one of its new Tuesday shows fail… lucky for Judy, both Tuesday shows look like stinkers. FOX has two half hours waiting for a chance, The Return of Jezebel James comes from the people who brought you Gilmore Girls, and The Rules for Starting Over comes from the Farrelly brothers, both are proven good writing teams, but both shows seem a bit iffy, I’ll watch them if they ever make it to the big leagues. On the Drama front you’ve got all sorts of stuff… NBC is holding Lipstick Jungle, from the woman who gave us Sex in the City and starring Brooke Shields, I’ll pass on it, but the wife will probably want to watch it, so I expect it to come in and replace something I want to watch, like the Bionic Woman. CBS, the network that used to be for old people, has Swingtown in its bullpen, and it has to be the oddest show I’ve ever read about… set in the 1970′s, a couple moves to a new “swinging” neighborhood… and if you don’t know why “swinging” is in quotes, then this show is probably not for you, even if you do know, this show is probably not for you. ABC is holding on to Eli Stone and The Cashmere Mafia, the former, about a lawyer who begins hallucinating and doing good things, might be quirky enough to succeed if it gets a chance, the latter is basically the Lipstick Jungle but on a different network. And lastly, FOX is keeping two shows off the schedule for now… the first is Canterbury’s Law, and the best thing going for it is that its coming from the same team that does Rescue Me over on FX. The second show is The Sarah Connor Chronicles, yes, that Sarah Connor… taking place between Terminator’s 2 and 3, Sarah and John, with the help of a reprogrammed Terminator run for their lives and try to make sure the future is safe from the annihilation of humanity.
In there, you’ve probably got another four hours of shows I’d watch if given the chance.
All in all, the new fall season is looking to be about thirty hours of TV watching per week. Of course, if the networks repeat what they did this season, with all the delays, hiatuses and cancellations, I might not ever have more than twenty in a single week.
And there you have it… Enjoy.
All this week, networks were unveiling their fall line-ups for the upcoming season. The following are my thoughts, as they progressed through the week, so don’t complain when I speculate about things that by the time you see this are already known.
I was happy to see the return of Las Vegas, Medium, and My Name Is Earl. Good shows all three, and they will continue to be on my watch schedule. Scrubs, as usual a fan favorite but not well rated, managed for the first time in 5 seasons to not be cancelled, but will be held off until mid-season (likely to fill the hole of some show they cancel within the first couple of weeks). I’m sad to see that Surface isn’t returning as it was the best, most exciting of all the alien invasion TV shows from last season. Heist is gone, which sucks because frankly it was more exciting to watch than Thief on FX (Thief has a better cast, but it was so slow in its plodding storyline). Teachers bids farewell as well, a shame because it was pretty funny, in my opinion, as was Four Kings (also not returning). Conviction is missing from the line-up, which is too bad because I was really enjoying it. As for new shows… Heroes looks great to me, which means it should last exact three episodes, nine tops. Kidnapped also looks interesting, in the vein of all the other mystery serials, this one could be good. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has a stellar cast, and Sorkin is a good writer/creator (see the first seasons of The West Wing). 30 Rock, well, I like Tina Fey, she’s a good comedy writer, I’ll watch the show, but I’m iffy about its chances. I really want to see Andy Barker, P.I., but its been relagated to mid-season status, so I’ll have to wait. Raines might be good, but as much as I like some of the actors the plot seems like it could be a bit too hokey for me. As for the rest of NBC’s line-up, I really don’t care… ER I gave up on long ago, though I’ve heard its been decent. The various Law & Orders, I catch those on TNT, USA and other stations when I’m trying to go to sleep. Friday Night Lights? Didn’t enjoy the movie, I’ll probably not enjoy the show. Deal Or No Deal? I’ll care when they come to Atlanta and I get to be on. America’s Got Talent? Like the Deal, only care if I’m on it. NBC also got the contract for Sunday Night Football, which means at least one night a week I don’t have to even bother checking to see what’s on that channel.
Lost is sticking around (Yay!), as is Grey’s Anatomy (Woot!). Freddie is gone (Boo!), and The Night Stalker got axed early this past season, as did Emily’s Reasons Why Not. I’ll miss In Justice, The Evidence and Commander-in-Chief. Invasion is out… however, I know the CW has expressed interest in picking it up, and I’m conflicted about this show. Previously I wrote that it was the worst of last season’s three alien TV shows, and for about the first 9 or so episodes, it clearly was. The pacing was godawfully slow, and it made me want to scream at the TV, but seeing as how I was a huge fan of American Gothic years ago, I wanted to give Shawn Cassidy a chance, so I stuck with it. Now, at the end of their season, Invasion has gotten alot better. There is action, and plot movement, and stuff makes more sense now. If the CW doesn’t pick it up, I won’t be too upset, but if they do, I’ll keep watching. So, on to the new shows… Day Break, eh, not so interested but I’ll watch it for Adam Baldwin. The Nine sounds interesting, but I’m willing to bet it gets cancelled rather quick. Six Degrees will get some attention from me if only because J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost) is involved. I refuse to watch Traveler, because it sounds kind of lame, and I don’t think it will last long at all (Best Buy, however, will sell exclusively the complete series that contains as many as six unaired episodes). I’m going to pass on most of their comedies… I might watch the Ted Danson one, Help Me Help You, if enough people tell me its good, and Let’s Rob… might be a winner, but then I love Donal Logue (only not in a gay way). Every show I didn’t mention, I have no interest in. Betty the Ugly and Men in Trees have to be the two worst named TV shows ever. And American Inventor? This season was so horribly crappy that it won’t sucker me in again… what a hunk of garbage!
Of the shows I watch How I Met Your Mother will be back, so will The Unit, Numb3rs, and Ghost Whisperer. Yes, Ghost Whisperer is a stupid show, but for some reason (and it couldn’t possibly be Ms. Love Hewitt’s breasts) I keep watching it. Threshold, of course, got axed early this past season, and won’t be returning. CBS is actually renewing 18 shows, more than anyone else, so there isn’t alot to complain about in the cancellation department. New shows… sitcom The Class sounds like it might be okay, but the appearance of Lizzy Caplan in the cast doesn’t bode well for the WB’s Related, which I can now assume is not getting picked up for the CW. Smith is another “people stealing stuff” drama, Heist didn’t last and I found Thief kind of boring, so I’ll give this a try but I’m not holding out much hope (though the cast is stellar). Jericho sounds like it might be interesting, Skeet Ulrich as the lead isn’t a big draw for me though. With the possibility of real nuclear war looming in the Middle East these days, either people will heartily embrace this story, or flee from it, I don’t see much middle ground. Shark… well, since I lost Conviction, I suppose my TV line-up is missing a court drama, so I’ll give it a shot. If the world didn’t so love all the various CSIs, I’d say can them and pull a couple of the midseason replacements out… Waterfront sounds promising, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for Joey Pants (and, really, not in a gay way). So it looks like I’ll be trying all of CBS’s new offerings, how many stick is another story.
Prison Break, Bones, The O.C., and The Family Guy all return (though I’m getting less enthused by The O.C. each season Marisa continues to live). 24 is back, of course, but I’m still many seasons behind and have decided I’ll just watch them on DVD, but as long as they are good, I’ll be happy they keep making them. The Loop is coming back, and probably bringing is crappy theme song with it, but only as a pair with the American Idol Results show on Wednesdays. And yeah, Americal Idol will be back. Reunion died long ago, and the only show they axed I was watching was Free Ride, and I really won’t miss it. Vanished sounds like it might be good, but frankly I’m getting pretty tired of the “you must watch every episode or else you’ll be completely confused because this show is really one 24 hour story” shows. A couple is fine, a few is pushing is, but next season it looks like there will be aboout fifteen of them. Standoff looks better since its more episodic (like Numb3rs, The Unit, and a few others). Justice… well, it’ll be either Shark on CBS of this, I really don’t want too many courtroom dramas on my schedule. Shark may win just because “James Woods > Kerr Smith”. ‘Til Death sound formulaeic, but fun. The Winner might be a winner, except I got burned on Reunion last year, so a time warping comedy drama looking back to the days of 1994 probably won’t make my list unless the word of mouth is extremely good. Yeah, and Simon Cowell has another show, Duets… more singing on TV. On The Lot might be the first reality show I actually get excited about rather than just watch because its on and people talk about it. (New Fox Shows don’t have links because I can’t find links to New Fox Shows)
Veronica Mars survives the merger! WOOHOO!! So did Supernatural, Smallville, Gilmore Girls, and One Tree Hill (I hate that I’m addicted to this show). Pepper Dennis and Related didn’t make the cut. Neither did Everwood, of which I wasn’t a fan watching every week, but I enjoyed every episode I saw. I honestly don’t know why they renewed 7th Heaven. It wasn’t a bad show, but I never felt it was any good either, it was very bland family happy-happy-joy-joy drama. But I guess I can’t begrudge a network wanting at least one wholesome show on TV. Sadly, they are keeping both the UPN’s and the WB’s reality shows. Runaway seems like an odd plot… its The Fugitive, only the guy doesn’t run off alone, he takes his whole family with him. It could work. They’ve picked up Palm Springs for midseason, which sounds like The O.C. only with really dark secrets. As long as Marisa Cooper isn’t there I’ll be watching. No word anywhere, but I hope that they at least try out Mercy Reef (the Aquaman TV show) to see if people like it instead of just letting it go. And it seems they did pass on Invasion, something about it being too expensive. I wish they’d take the 7th Heaven money and put it in Invasion instead. Well, I got my Veronica Mars, so I guess I’m happy for now.
TNT is starting up another season of The Closer this summer, and it looks like they cancelled Wanted. FX will probably keep Rescue Me and The Shield, even Thief might run another season. USA has a show called Psyche about a private detective who pretends to be a psychic by lying, guessing and using inside information. And beyond that, I don’t really know any more…
When it comes to movies, its been years since the world has gone to a model of instant gratification. I want to say it was Batman that sealed the deal, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that that is when I noticed the change. Before then, having a solid opening weekend and good review was what companies wanted… followed by their movie staying at the box office for a few months, maybe more. Somewhere in the late 80′s that changed and studios began pushing for a mega-opening followed by… well… nothing. Advertising for films push the opening weekend so hard, and any movie that doesn’t crack twenty million at least is considered a failure. And if you notice, up until that opening weekend you’ll see commercials, and hear radio spots, but after that first weekend, any movie that didn’t finish in the top 5, doesn’t have critical acclaim or an Oscar bid will vanish. No more ads. It lost. The only exception to that rule is a movie that came out before a holiday but might experience a surge due to a holiday, like any romantic comedy or date film type movie that came out in January always gets a second push for Valentine’s Day… if its still in the theaters.
Television in the last few seasons has finally caught up to movies. This season saw Emily’s Reasons Why Not get a huge advertising push prior to its debut, then when it didn’t snag a monster share of viewers, not only was the advertising dropped, it was cancelled. After one single airing of the pilot episode, the network scrapped the show. Now, I’m not saying that Emily was a great show. It was kinda funny, and Heather Graham is nice to look at… but one episode? First off, it was airing in a slot that had previously belonged to Monday Night Football, so people who watch fluffy romance comedy shows weren’t likely to be on that channel at that time. And to be honest, as much as ABC claimed they promoted the show, if I didn’t normally watch shows on ABC I’d have never known it was on as most of their ad push seemed to be commercials on their own network during shows that, while popular, were not anywhere near the same demographic… I kept seeing the commercials during Lost and Invasion. Sci-Fi fans aren’t likely to watch romantic comedy shows.
Outside of Emily, CBS has pulled Love Monkey after, what, three episodes? It was a quirky show about the music industry using unknown acts and delivering rapid fire dialog. Obviously they pulled it because some page of numbers somewhere indicated that this show should have dominate the dial pulling in 30 million viewers… and obviously there are some TV execs with their heads firmly planted in their asses if they thought this show was going to be anything other than a niche show until at least a dozen episodes had aired and allowed word of mouth to spread. ‘Night Stalker’ also got cancelled a while back because it was only pulling in ‘X-Files’ ratings (a show that started slow, but ran 9 seasons, had a movie, and continues to sell seasons on DVD for $70 despite that the usual season price these days sits around $40-$50) and not ludacrisly lofty ‘American Idol’ numbers. And there are lots more examples…
It seems like Television, as with their Film counterparts, have lost faith in anything but the Out-of-the-Gate success. And its a shame, because lots of these shows that are falling by the wayside are good shows, and half of the ‘monster hits’ of the past wouldn’t survive under today’s rules. But then again, I think I have loved every show that has ever been pre-maturely cancelled, so my view may be biased.