Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: CBS, I'll Be Seeing You Next Year

Like ABC before it, I pretty much didn't watch any TV on CBS, during the TV season.  The only reason I watched any of the shows I did, during the season, was due to being bombarded by their promos, when watching sports.  When I heard there was going to be a Hawaii Five-O re-boot, I was immediately skeptical, but finally relented to the promo barrage, and started watching it, when it began.  This was also the case for $#*! My Dad Says.  Had it not been for the relentless promo bombardment, I would never have given that show a shot.  Then, during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I was bombarded with CHAOS promos.  They sparked enough interest to make me want to try the show.  Also, solely based on recommendations by a few friends, I watched Criminal Minds, which then made me decide to check out Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior on my own (which I did in the past week).  The last show that I watched this season, which I finally watched tonight, based on the recommendation of a friend, was Blue Bloods.

As you can see from above, while I didn't watch a lot of CBS programming, while the season was going on, I did end up watching a bunch of CBS TV shows.   I'll go through those shows briefly, and then I'll talk a little bit about next season, at least what I think I'm going to attempt to watch.

Shows I watched in the 2010-2011 season, on CBS: 

Hawaii Five-O
$#*! My Dad Says
Criminal Minds (only saw this after season had wrapped)
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (only saw this after season had wrapped)
Blue Bloods (only saw this after season had wrapped) 

Hawaii Five-O (renewed):

Let's face it, when we think of Hawaii, we think of organized crime, a ridiculously scary place to visit, terrorism, corrupt government, and air bags that don't deploy.  Wait a minute, we really think paradise, beaches, golf, and fun getaways.  The Hawaii Bureau of Tourism must be freaking out about this show.  It literally makes Hawaii look like the scariest place you could ever visit.  You could end up getting kidnapped, thrown off of a hotel balcony, due to mistaken identity, or even possibly end up having your beach picnic used as a weapon against a fleeing suspect.  We won't even talk about how often you might be an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire between organized crime and our heroes, or the fact that your car may be blown up because of what you found out.

I haven't spent much time on Oahu, but I can guarantee you I want to visit Maui, as often as possible.  I'm sure there's crime there, like there is everywhere, but I don't think much about it.  This show makes me think twice.  Nah, I don't really think about it.

As for the actual show, it's a traditional police procedural, with the unfortunate added bonus of giving us tons of back story on every major character in the show, in addition to a huge underlying story line that is totally unnecessary.  It looks like all of that will pay off in the early part of next season, which will hopefully get the show back on the police procedural track.  As for now, this show is full of melodrama, and that's where it fails.  When it is just doing the standard police procedural stuff, it's actually very solid, with a touch of humor thrown in from time to time.  All of the back story stuff is actually pretty annoying, and sometimes overwhelming, and should be diminished drastically in the next season.  By the middle of the season, gimmick guest casting became a rampant problem, and is also something this show should try to avoid.  All this show needs to do is focus on cases, and it could be around for a long time to come.  The original Hawaii Five-O was an extremely gritty show (saw bits and pieces of episodes), and this show would do well to follow those ideas.  It was worth a watch, for the most part, and I always love seeing Hawaii on screen.

Hawaii Five-O Ratings Example (all ratings pulled from Inside TV Ratings):

-9.45 million viewers
-2.3 (18-49) rating

$#*! My Dad Says (canceled):

I watched two episodes of this show.  William Shatner played a wise-ass, retired father, in a somewhat less than traditional sitcom.  His Priceline commercials are funnier.  The End.

$#*! My Dad Says Ratings Example:

-around 10 million viewers
-2.9 average (18-49) rating

CHAOS (canceled):

See my detailed blog post, about this show, for details.

CHAOS Ratings Example:

-5.7 million viewers
-1.0 (18-49) rating

Criminal Minds (renewed):

As I said above, I did not start watching this until the season had wrapped.  I wrote a longer blog post about the show, after I had seen the pilot.  I have now seen the first and last episode of every season, and a few key episodes that tied into those episodes.  That gives me the benefit of missing most of the cast shake ups that happened in season 6, and also a pretty good idea of what the show was about.  Due to me writing the other blog post, this is all I'll say about Criminal Minds.  I hesitate to say this, but I think that Criminal Minds may be one of the most effective, if not most effective, Crime Dramas, in the history of television.  In this last season, I heard they did a lot of tinkering, and I am also hearing there is some kind of other potential casting shake up coming.  I hope they don't ruin the show.  If you are not currently watching this show, and like police procedurals, at all, you have to watch Criminal Minds.  That is the most glowing recommendation I can possibly give.  If you like that genre of television, you MUST watch this show.

Criminal Minds Ratings Example:

-12.85 million viewers
-3.3 (18-49) rating

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (canceled):

I watched the first and last episodes of this failed spinoff of Criminal Minds.  This show had the tendency to cast some comedic actors, which certainly hurt it.   In the two episodes I saw, I did not notice any discernible improvement from the Pilot to the last episode.  In fact, I would say the last episode seemed more like it should have been the Pilot.  Forest Whitaker is generally a very good actor, but, in this show, his performance was just kind of weird.  He was dramatically underplaying everything, which made him seem like he was almost over acting.  The series ended with a Benson like cliffhanger (with a "To Be Continued" graphic), which was bizarre, since it had been widely rumored the show was going to be canceled with more than six episodes left.  I think they would have been better served not putting a "To Be Continued" at the end.  Overall, I thought the show was derivative of many other crime shows, which is something I do not think about the original Criminal Minds.  Also, both story lines of the episodes I watched included an attempted suicide by cop.  In each of the episodes, a person stuck a gun under their chin, and blew their brains out, with an FBI person right in front of them.  The members of this unit were decidedly not trigger happy, and were never able to get a suspect to drop his gun. 

Suspect Behavior generally had ratings that were based on its lead in.  If it had a good lead in, people would watch.  Without a good lead in (rerun before the show), it didn't pick up a lot of viewers.  It even had a sizable drop off in the number of viewers of the show it was spun off from.  Due to that, I think it wasn't really that much of a surprise that it got canceled.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Ratings Example:

-8.45 million viewers
-2.0 (18-49) demo

Blue Bloods (renewed):

Alexis K. said I should check this show out.  I delayed as long as I could, but had nothing going on tonight, so I checked the Pilot out online.  I didn't really go into this show expecting much.  I didn't really know what it was, either, so it was kind of like watching something blind. 

Here are my brief thoughts on the Pilot.  The show is about an extended family of cops, hence the term "Blue Bloods".  Depending on how the show goes, it could end up being a standard police procedural, or it could go the full family story line direction, with just the cases as a MacGuffin of each character's back story.  Based on the first episode, I think it's likely this show is going to focus on the family, and really plays out far more like a soap opera, than a police procedural.  What I mean by that is that there are probably always going to be multiple story lines, that all converge back to one thing:  family.  I don't say that as an insult to Blue Bloods, in fact, for a lot of people that is going to be a huge plus.  I personally thought the show was kind of boring, that it moved too slow, and I wasn't drawn into any of the characters' stories.  I also don't particularly like the casting, but I don't think it is unwatchable, or so poorly cast that it takes away from the show.  With that said, I would like to see the season finale, to see if it improves, but I can't see it now, as it isn't freely available online.  I'm also not willing to pay for an episode of it, as I just don't think I will be continuing with the show.  I gave it a shot, but it's just not my type of show.

This show was also considered a bubble show for most of the season.  The Pilot was shot on location, in New York, and it looked pretty expensive.  It has solid overall viewership, but it has very low ratings, in relation to its overall numbers, in the 18-49 demo.  Most of the numbers I saw put it into the 1.5 area, for the most part, which means this show is definitely going to have a hard time getting picked up for a third season, if those numbers don't at least push up to around 1.8, or so.

Blue Bloods Ratings Example:

-10.7 million viewers
-1.6 (18-49) rating

So, I have two solid pick ups (Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds), and one possible pick up, though not likely (Blue Bloods).

As for the new shows coming to CBS next season, they sure made it hard to check them out.  You have to register, on their site, to watch their extremely boring behind the scenes featurettes for their new shows.  I know a little something about these types of pieces, as I have personally mixed well over a thousand of them, in my career.  If the idea of these pieces is to get your advertisers excited about your new shows, these all failed pretty badly.  I'm not trying to say these shows are weak, it's just that these promotions were sub par when compared to the rest of the networks' presentations.  After watching all five of the show previews, I am going to try Unforgettable, Person of Interest, and possibly How to Be a Gentleman.  I'm lukewarm about How to Be a Gentleman, but there are enough good comedic casting choices that I'm willing to check it out, at least once.  The same goes for the other two, I think they look pretty good, but I'm not super jazzed about either of them.  If they're weak, with little potential, coming out of the gate, I'll just skip them after watching the first episode.

CBS's next season has a decent amount of potential, and I may end up watching more shows on there than I certainly did this year.  Within the next few days, I'll finish these TV season wrap up blog posts with a dedication to NBC, the worst network I watched the most TV on, this year.  Thanks for reading.

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