Friday, September 30, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Wednesday, September 28 And Thursday, September 29, 2011 Premieres And Second Week Follow Ups)

This post is going to be a combination of Wednesday and Thursday night ratings for premieres, and second week follow ups.  Because of that, I will be linking to two ratings articles from TV by the Numbers.  There isn't much to talk about here, but I'll say a few words about a few things.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday:

Notable for good ratings:

Suburgatory (ABC, 8:30pm ET)

9.81 million Overall Viewers
3.3/9 in the 18-49 demo

The name Jeremy Sisto and the word sitcom are two things I can't fathom together.  However, ABC is going for this.  My wife has a little bit of interest in watching it, so I'll suffer through it for one episode.  It can't be worse than Whitney, can it?  It's off to a very good start in the 18-49 demo, and its overall viewers are relatively high (pun intended?).  It beat its lead in, which is good for it.  We'll see how it does in its second week.

Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30pm ET)

7.25 million Overall Viewers
3.1/8 in the 18-49 demo

I'm going to be like a politician and spin this into the good category.  Against the numbers of Suburgatory, it didn't do too badly.  In a vacuum (NBC, in other words), this would be considered a hit.  However, it wasn't in a vacuum, it has one of the 3 best lead ins for sitcoms on network TV, Modern Family.  In the 18-49 ratings, it lost 2.6.  Most series would be happy to have a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, but this series lost that from its lead in.  That's bad, but what's worse is that it also lost 6.2 million overall viewers.  If I told you that a series had a 2.6 with 6.2 million overall viewers, you could swear I was talking about an NBC "hit".  It's a hit that's a disaster.  Good luck getting a third season.

The Follow Ups:

How much did the first seasons (including Harry's Law here because of the extensive re-tooling) lose or gain from the first to second week, or first week to third for those who are doing poorly?

Up All Night (NBC) loses another 700,000 overall viewers and another .2 in the 18-49.  We'll be nice, and only go from second to third week, as the first to third week ratings might make someone suicidal.

Free Agents (NBC) loses another 799,000 overall viewers and another .3 in the 18-49.  It hit the dreaded 1.0 in the 18-49 demo, and nothing that ever goes this low stays on the air for long.  Stick a fork in this series, it's done.  Start your death pool now.  My prediction is it is off the air after the 6th episode airs.

Harry's Law (NBC) gains 330,000 overall viewers, and is steady in the 18-49 demo.  Will it be enough?

Revenge (ABC) loses an impressive 1.6 million overall viewers, and .7 in the 18-49 demo.

Thursday:

Notable for not so good ratings: 

How To Be A Gentleman (CBS)

8.98 million Overall Viewers
2.7/8 in the 18-49 demo

I have this on my DVR, but for CBS, ratings like this, for a sitcom, make it DOA.  You'll find out in a few days whether I think it's worth watching.  If you look at what I wrote about Happy Endings above, you will see a very similar dynamic in comparison to How To Be A Gentleman's ratings drop off from its hit lead in.

The Follow Ups:

How much did the first seasons lose or gain from the first to second week?

Charlie's Angels (ABC), in a stunner, only lost 1.57 million overall viewers and 0.6 in the 18-49 demo.  I was really expecting a 2 million viewer loss, but that's the way it goes.  This series in deep trouble.

Person of Interest (CBS) lost 701,000 overall viewers and 0.4 in the 18-49 demo.  I still think its numbers are quite solid, and don't expect this series to go anywhere.

Whitney (NBC) lost 1.3 million overall viewers and 0.7 in the 18-49 demo.  There will likely be more where that came from next week.

Prime Suspect (NBC) lost 300,000 of its anemic overall viewers (5.7 million this week), and 0.3 in the 18-49 demo.  I cannot think of a single police procedural that has continued to be on the air with ratings as low as this series.  I'm putting it in the DOA column.

The new season is shaping up to be a bloodbath for the new series on network TV.  Revenge may be a bloodbath because of the premise, but I would suggest keeping a sharp eye on the ratings for that series.  It looks too expensive to go much lower.  I hope you enjoyed this.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #12 (September 27, 2011 Edition)

Wow, it feels like forever since I've done one of these, and it's only been a little over a week.  I hope you've enjoyed my ratings blog posts, but now it's time to give you some perspective on what I'm watching now.  This is for the week of September 19-24, and it was a week filled with new series and season premiere episodes.  I hope it lives up to expectations.

Ratings Legend:

*Don't waste your time
**Some people may like it, but overall, it's not going to change your life if you watch it or miss it.  Shows between 2 stars and 3 stars are on the line of watchable.
***Solid, watchable show.  If I give something 3 stars, I think you can safely watch it, and usually enjoy it.
****You should definitely watch this show, at least once.
*****Why are you not watching this show?

Mondays: 

Alphas (Syfy, season 1 is over)****
9-19-2011 episode rating-***.5

As a follow up to the previous week's episode, it wasn't that great.  However, the payoff in the episode was quite nice, and it's worth a look.  There is apparently a mole inside of Dr. Rosen's team.  They're all "arrested" and taken to Binghamton to try to figure out who it is.  It's mostly a sit down and interrogate show, but once things get going, they stay going.  It's a good lead in to the season finale, which I've already seen.

The Big C (Showtime, season 2 is over)*** 
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

Jenny "Blow it all up" Bicks was in the house, again, as the Writer for last week's episode, which was the episode before the season finale.  Many big things happen in this episode, because that's what Jenny Bicks does.  It wasn't very good, but the big story points are important to see, if you've been following the series closely.  More big things are coming in the season finale, which is written by the Creator of the series, Darlene Hunt.  For those of you who have not enjoyed season 2, season 3 at least looks to be promising, while nearly certain to be the last. 

2 Broke Girls (CBS, 8:30pm ET)**.5
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

I've written little bits and pieces about this series so far, but this is the first time you'll see me write anything of substance.  This is one of the tightest sitcoms I've seen, in awhile.  It's shot well, directed well, edited well, and written well.  It just has this one glaring problem.  It doesn't make me laugh.  I feel like every joke and gag in the series is wildly telegraphed, and that it's easy to see what the punchline will be.  Maybe Kat Dennings is reading her lines a little wrong, I'm not sure.  She seems like she could be funny, but none of the deliveries are hitting my funny bone.  The blonde woman is pretty annoying, which is exactly what she's supposed to be.  Maybe I'll try to find a script for the Pilot online, and try to "punch it up", with some Chris Colley humor.  If I'm able to do it successfully, you won't be disappointed.  

I've already seen this week's episode, and it wasn't any better than the Pilot.  It wasn't any worse, either, it just was.  It's probably one of the best sitcoms I've seen on paper, but on videotape, it's not really getting it done.  The ratings are still outstanding for the series, so far, so it doesn't look like it's going anywhere.  It's possible the jokes are too tight, and they just need to cut out a few, or give more time for better deliveries.  This should be a good show, but it's not panning out that way, so far.  I'm still going to keep watching, though, in hopes that the "problems" get fixed. 

Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 10pm ET)***.5
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

Wow, that episode was nuts.  It was edited way too much, camera angles were dizzying, and it had to clean up the terrible ending to last season.  The Five-O task force has been dismantled, and Commander Steve McGarrett is in prison for the murder of the Governor.  If you've seen the series, you know this didn't happen, there's no cliffhanger, in that regard.  Chin is back with the Honolulu P.D., Kono is suspended, pending an Internal Affairs investigation, and I guess Danny is suspended too, just because he wears ties in Hawaii.  The man who killed Steve's father gets him in a prison recreation yard, and shanks him.  The episode gets off and running there, and continues to hit you with twists and turns all the way to the end credits.  It wasn't that good, and it was just too much bombardment on the eyes.  Steve Boyum normally directs better than this, but I'm starting to realize he likes to over edit his shows, if I'm not mistaken.  We're not supposed to notice that stuff, but it was all I kept noticing in the episode.  

The good news for fans of the series is that the show gets back on track, in the second episode, and gets back to the pace we're accustomed to.  This is Hawaii, life ain't supposed to move this fast, even if it is the scariest, most dangerous place on earth (according to this series).  The series is still too gimmicky, and it looks like it's doing several major re-toolings on the fly.  It didn't need to do that.  It just needs to be a solid, eye candy police procedural.  If they follow through with the changes they are acting like they are going to do, it's a huge mistake.  I'll talk more about that in my Friday edition of "What I'm Watching Now".

Tuesdays:

New Girl (FOX, 9pm ET)**.5 
9-20-11 episode rating-**.5

I heard about this series very late in the game.  Everyone claims it was heavily promoted by FOX, but I was literally unaware of it, until about three weeks ago.  I caught the Pilot online, before it aired.  I thought it was rough, a little too quirky, and in some cases very cringe worthy.  I saw that it had potential, and that it definitely deserved a second look.  There was a major casting change from the Pilot to the second episode, and I bet Damon Wayans, Jr. is really gonna wish Happy Endings was canceled last season, so that he could have done this instead.   

I've already seen the second episode, and I wanted to let you know that I'm giving it a significant rating bump.  You can watch the Pilot, for the groundwork, but if you start on episode 2, you can miss out on a lot of weird stuff that definitely needed to be fixed.  Stick with the series for at least two episodes, and if you don't like it after the second episode, you're not likely going to like it ever.

Unforgettable (CBS, 10pm ET)*** 
9-20-11 episode rating-***

I was hoping to get to do a write up on this series, but I'm not there, yet.  It just doesn't have enough going for it to do a full write up.  Nothing new has, actually, except for one series, which I would be doing a disservice to by breaking it down.  So, for now, almost everything will be going in my "What I'm Watching Now" posts.  Things can change in a heart beat, but don't expect any big Pilot breakdowns, except for one.   

Unforgettable features a woman who has a condition that only 5 or 6 people in the United States suffer from.  That condition allows her to remember everything she has ever seen.  It is what you can call a blessing and a curse.  The story begins with her volunteering in a nursing home, and moves to her counting cards while playing blackjack, and winning big.  Her memory comes in very handy, when she is taken to the back room of an underground casino.  When she gets home, she hears a large commotion going on outside of her apartment.  When she opens the door, she sees blood on the walls, and goes outside to find one of her neighbors dead.  The Police come, and nothing is what it seems.

There is a back story to the lead character, that is very important, and you'll just have to watch from there, to see what happens.  It was an okay Pilot, with a pretty decent amount of potential.  I think it's worth a few looks, and I am pretty sure I will be sticking around for the whole season.

Body of Proof (ABC, 10pm ET)**.5
9-20-11 episode rating-**.5

Below, I'm going to list all of the problems I had with season one.  This show needed to have a major re-tooling going into season two, so let's find out how it did.  You'll have to read this blog post to see the answers, just scroll down to the Body of Proof part.  

What's wrong with Body of Proof 

1. Dropped the idea of this completely (bad, good, whatevs)
2. It is clear that this character is now Megan's field assistant, or something.
3. Both cops were in the season premiere, no casting changes.
4. Not fixed
5. Not fixed
6. Partially fixed
7. Not fixed (I don't think)
8. I think they are down to the third one being the perp.
9. Not fixed
10. No casting changes happened.  The Arend character was used a bit more in this episode.

As you can see, if you compared what I wrote at the end of last season, with what they did in the season premiere, not much changed.  They didn't fix any of the major problems, but they did change the look of the series.  It's much darker, and I guess intended to cover up the facial flaws of the women on the show.  The series is still as dumb as a bag of rocks, but I'll stick with it.  I just can't believe how much they're butchering such a simple concept.  It's one of the least believable shows on TV, and the whole Desperate Housewives angle was truly disturbing, and unnecessary.  It was a really strange episode, with most of the characters acting very much out of character.  In fact, it was almost like a comedy.  Am I about to coin a new term?  If I do, it will be called a Comedical Drama.  The tone was just so wrong on this episode, and if it continues to go this way, it won't see another season.  The ratings were down significantly from last season, and I expect they will go even lower after last week's episode.

Wednesdays:

Up All Night (NBC, 8pm ET)**.5
9-21-11 episode rating-**.5

In good news, Up All Night didn't get worse.  In bad news, Up All Night didn't get much better.  Nearly all of my laughs in this series have come from facial expressions, not from what's being said.  The scene at the front door, with the new neighbor, and the very awkward conversation Chris and Reagan have with him is...disturbing.  I think Will Arnett is a funny guy, but he really seems to be dragging this series down, for me.  Christina Applegate is trying hard, but the material just isn't there, and she's reducing herself to playing down to Will Arnett's character.  Nearly every scene seems like there's just a basic premise written, and then they're told to wing it.  The series is so loose that it doesn't work for me.  I'm still going to keep watching, because I think that the looseness is the major problem, and that's pretty easy to fix on a sitcom.  The Ava character is still hyper annoying, and I just wish they wouldn't even show her.

Free Agents (NBC, 8:30pm ET)**
9-21-11 episode rating-**

This episode wasn't any better than the premiere, and it seemed a little bit worse to me.  The ratings for this series are awful, and I don't expect it to make it more than 8 episodes.  I'll watch it to the end, because it's not like Anaconda or anything...

Criminal Minds (CBS, 9pm ET)****.5
9-21-11 episode rating-****.5

JJ is back!  Prentiss is back!  The whole team, except the one who replaced Prentiss is back!  The episode begins with JJ testifying in front of what appears to be a Senate Committee.  Things have gone pretty wrong with something, and the whole team is called to testify.  The whole episode is about what happened, while the series was away for the summer break.  It's an excellent episode, and I sincerely hope we can get this series back to normal, after the very jagged sixth season.  This is my favorite police procedural on television, by a wide margin.  If you haven't seen it, you're doing something wrong.  My wife and I watched nearly every episode this summer, after being asked to write about it by my friend Ronda V.  We only have about 4 or 5 episodes we haven't seen prior to season 6, and about half of season 6 to see.  That's about 120 episodes of the series we've watched.  I really thank A&E for overplaying the series, so that we could see as many as we have.

Harry's Law (NBC, 9pm ET)*** 
9-21-11 episode rating-***

Welcome to the NBC house style, Harry's Law.  This series stuck out like a sore thumb on NBC, all of last season.  It looked low rent in comparison to the normally exceptional visual quality of NBC shows.  There is not a single scripted TV series that doesn't look great, on NBC, and I think they have the best overall visual style of any network.  Harry's Law and Up All Night are the only series that have deviated wildly from the NBC style.  That can't be said for Harry's Law, anymore.  This series now has a very high production value, with which will come higher expectations for ratings. 

This is also the first returning series I saw that had a MAJOR re-tooling.  It was so major, that it was downright disturbing.  I feel comfortable placing this series in the sarcama (sarcastic drama) category, because there is just so much caustic wit in it.  I laughed more in this episode than I did in any episode of any sitcom last week (outside of Parks and Recreation and The Office).  It looks like we're going to be taken on a winding story arc, this season, at least for a few episodes.  I'm not going to ruin anything about the season premiere, because I want it to come as a shock to your system, much like it was to ours.  The way the show is done is either going to cause its core audience to disappear, or it's going to bring a larger audience.  I'll be really interested to see the second week's numbers.  If it stays where it's at, for now, even on low bar NBC, it won't be able to stick around, due to the dramatically rising costs of the series.

Revenge (ABC, 10pm ET)***
9-21-11 episode rating-***

This is a series with an angle.  It's pretty easy to follow if you've ever watched any kind of convoluted TV.  If you were able to follow Damages, this is a piece of cake.  We're shown someone being murdered at the beginning of the episode, during an engagement party in the Hamptons.  Immediately after the body is discovered, we are thrust to five months ago.  Phillip Noyce, one of the top Pilot Directors available, helmed the Pilot.  It has a nice visual style, and it was a well done show.  What you come to learn in the Pilot is that nothing is as it seems.  Emily Thorne is an outsider, in an insider's town...or is she?  Through a series of clues, you'll find out that Emily knows exactly what she plans to do, she just doesn't know how it's going to happen.  It's what would be called a "deliciously evil" bit of television.  If you like the Pilot, you'll probably be hooked in further.  It's in my top 3 new dramas, this season, so far, but it's still not worth 4 stars.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 10pm ET)****
9-21-11 episode rating-**

Dick Wolf clearly doesn't get why his franchise is dying.  There are so many grievous errors, in the season premiere, that I just want the series, and franchise, to go away.  Instead of doing another ripped from the headlines episode, why don't you do a ripped from the police blotter episode?  I am so sick of seeing episodes based on national news type crimes.  It is boring, and half-assed.  It's a big part of the reason why the original Law & Order is gone, and why Criminal Intent began to fail. 

With the "potential" loss of Stabler (we all know he's not coming back), a new Detective is introduced to the unit.  That Detective is the person who played the lead in the wildly unsuccessful Chase, that had a hard time lasting a full season.  Then, they brought back my most hated character in the history of the franchise, ADA Cutter, to make things worse.  Having it be a rip off of the DSK rape case was the icing on the cake.  This series is done.  This is the last season.  Take it to the bank.  They're going to go even further, and next week, jump the shark with guest appearances by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.  This series has always shied away from "celebrity" casting (meaning people who will probably be playing themselves), but evidently it's lowered its standards.  I already can't wait to hear that this series is canceled, and that the franchise is officially dead.  It's almost hard to believe this is probably one of my favorite franchises in the history of television.

Thursdays: 

Charlie's Angels (ABC, 8pm ET)*
9-22-11 episode rating-*

This is in a close race, with one other show, for the worst new series of the TV season.  It's cast poorly and acted poorly.  It's all glitz and no substance.  It's boring, and absolutely not worth your time.  I feel sorry for you, if you don't believe me, and give it a shot anyway.  This episode was so bad that I'm not even remotely willing to tune in for a second one.  I predict the loss of viewers from the premiere, for the second episode, will be similar to the loss of blood from having your jugular vein cut.

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30 ET)****
9-22-11 episode rating-****

Everyone's back, and most of them have really altered looking appearances.  Tom is only going to be occasionally showing up, since he's now working with his "media conglomerate" Entertainment 7Twenty.  I'll be Entertainment 7Twenty's Mixer, if they're interested.  Just make sure my checks don't bounce, and that they're heavy.  Did you check out that swag?  Look up Entertainment 7Twenty on google, and you can find their website.  In one area is a place called "swag", where you can see all of the products branded with their logo.  I really want some of that stuff, if anyone from Parks and Recreation ever accidentally stumbles upon this blog.

For me, the episodes are never about the story, it's about watching the cast, my favorite ensemble on television.  I'm kind of rooting for Entertainment 7Twenty to fail, so that Tom can come back full time.  It's just not quite the same without him.  However, if I'm working for Entertainment 7Twenty, I would root for them to succeed like totally hard yo.  I love this series, and it's a travesty if you have never tuned in.  Stick with it for a bit, and you'll fall in love with the characters and cast, just like I did.  It's impossible not to.

The Office (NBC, 9pm ET)****
9-22-11 episode rating-****

It's been a long, winding road for me, with The Office, but now that I understand how to watch it, I'm much more invested.  It's important to see how the characters interact with each other.  It's important to watch each person's story arc.  It's important to watch all the goofy, and funny side stuff, and shove it up your butt.

The episode started off with the very bizarre "planking" gimmick.  If it hadn't had a good payoff, it would have been creepy and disturbing.  We get to find out who the new "bosses" are, in this episode, and lots of bizarre stuff happens.  James Spader's performance is outlandish, and his character is one of the creepiest "normal" characters I have ever seen on TV.  I'll stick with the series until it bores me, but this isn't in my must watch list, even though it's a very good series.

Person of Interest (CBS 9pm ET)****.25
9-22-11 episode rating-****.25

I'm giving this series a 4.25 star rating, because there are enough issues with it that I can't give it 4.5 stars.  This episode was the equivalent of an A-, and, in my opinion, it is, BY FAR, the best new series of the TV season, so far.  It was definitely a little rough around the edges, but it has an extreme amount of potential.  If it falls off the rails, it will be a travesty, because it could be one of the most fun shows I've seen in a long time.  The fight scenes are awesome, for television, and I enjoyed the Pilot thoroughly.  It's the first episode of the TV season where I felt palpable excitement that I could be seeing something verging on great.  The first scene, alone, should be enough to draw you in.  The story will get you in, after that.  It was Created by the Director of Inception's brother.  If that's not enough to pull you in, you're making a mistake.  I don't even want to ruin a bit of this episode for you, so you'll just have to watch it to see what you think.

Whitney (NBC, 9:30pm ET)*
9-22-11 episode rating-*

This is the other series that's in a close race with Charlie's Angels for the worst new series.  Yes, it's even worse than Free Agents, in my opinion. The difference between the two series is that I'm willing to give Whitney a second chance.  It was a fully formed Pilot, but again, it just wasn't funny, to me, at all.  I'm sure there's an audience for this series out there.  However, it's not likely to be me after the second episode.

Prime Suspect (NBC, 10pm ET)**.5
9-22-11 episode rating-**.5

This series has some potential.  I don't think it will ever be worth 4 stars, but I think it will likely end up as a 3 star show.  Jane Timoney (Maria Bello) is a Homicide Detective.  She's in a division filled with a-hole, d-bags, who can't stand her.  They all think she got her job due to being on some kind of "couch", and they bully her, and shut her out of cases.  She is rankled and talks to her boss about it.  He tells her she will get a case, next time one comes up.  Through a series of events, something big happens.  We are shown that Jane is a "supercop" type character, and that she clearly knows what she's doing.  The rampant sexism in this show is a major turn off, and probably hasn't been seen in any cop show since the 70s, and at the very latest, the early 80s.  We'll see if they fix these problems.  NBC is allowing this series to be shot way outside of the "house style", and I do give it credit for the uniqueness of the look.  I didn't like the way it was shot (shaky cam, moving cam, etc.), but I can't remember a police procedural looking like this.

I'm pretty sure this series is DOA, because this type of show just has to premiere strong, and it didn't, at all.  We'll see if it gets any better, and if it picks up more viewers.  It's a rough series, not fully formed in the Pilot, and it has at least 2 or 3 more episodes before I expect it to hit its stride with what it will be.  It might end up being pretty good, but it's probably not going to be good enough to get another season.  I also think this is a very poorly cast show, and it's nearly embarrassing (at least for me) for a series to be cast this poorly on network TV.  Maybe I will change my mind about that, but I don't think I've seen such a polarizing cast in a successful police procedural ever.  CSI, which I have never seen, is the only one that seems to have weird casting like this.  However, that's from Bruckheimer, so you can't look at it like you would any other network TV shows. 

That was exhausting to write, and I started it way too late.  I hope you enjoyed it, and that it has the potential to influence some of your future viewing habits.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Monday, September 26, 2011 Premieres And Second Week Follow Ups)

The ratings are in for FOX's Terra Nova, and I bet you can't wait to see how they did.  I know I wanted to find out the premiere ratings for this series more than any other series on the schedule.  I'll also give a few second week of the season follow up ratings, so you can see where certain series are headed.  Here's the link to the TV by the Numbers article about last night's TV ratings.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Monday, September 26, 2011

Notable for good ratings:

Mike & Molly (CBS)

13.981 million Overall Viewers
4.9/11 in the 18-49 demo

According to the TV by the Numbers ratings article, the premiere episode, for the second season, is a series high for the 18-49 ratings.  There was probably a bit of an EMMY bump, and anything airing behind Two and a Half Men is going to fare very well in the ratings, no matter whether it is good or bad.  I've never caught an episode, but these ratings are top notch in comparison to every sitcom on CBS, except Two and a Half Men.

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

20.031 million Overall Viewers
7.2/17 in the 18-49 Demo

Yes, the ratings dropped off significantly from last week, but it certainly is still putting up awesome numbers, even with the major cast change.  All those rooting for this series' demise are probably going to be disappointed.  It appears to be bi-winning.  It's winning here, and it was winning there.

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

11.576 million Overall Viewers
4.5/11 in the 18-49 demo

The series isn't very good, and I still have probably only laughed a few times at the jokes (everything is wildly telegraphed on this show).  Fortunately, for this series, I am likely not the target audience, so my opinion doesn't matter much, anyway.  The ratings obviously took a huge hit, from last week, in its new time slot, but that was to be expected.  It's probably still going to end up in the top 5 rated sitcoms of the week, so its chances are looking good for a second season.  It also beat its lead in, and for that, CBS has to be happy.

Notable for not so good ratings:

Terra Nova (FOX)

9 million overall viewers (all two hours averaged)
3.0/7 in the 18-49 demo

I can't think of a worse ratings start for Terra Nova.  This is likely one of the most expensively done TV series of all time, and it got anemic ratings for FOX.  Maybe there are other factors that are holding the ratings down, but this is very bad.  I wonder how many dollars, per viewer, they spent.  I'll be watching it tonight, to see if it's even any good.  I think this series is heading towards the top of the pile of series that will be canceled, based on these ratings, and the show's cost.  I don't know how many they have in the can, but if they haven't finished the first (shortened) season, they might want to go ahead and start writing in the Final Destination type dinosaur extinction event, for the series finale.

The current slate of primetime programming execs at FOX should start preparing their resumes.  I hear NBC is going to have a few openings, as well.  This, of course, comes the week after FOX won the ratings war for the first time in their history.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the FOX execs threw away at least four series last season that should have been given at least a little longer leash.  This season, they even had the nerve to add a spinoff, when they have such a small amount of programming hours.  Either expand your programming to three hours a night (like a real network), or stop canceling good shows, after the first or second season, because they don't stand up to American Idol or Bones or something.  Oh yeah, move reality TV to Friday nights and weekends, too.  You're welcome. 

The Playboy Club (NBC)

3.92 million Overall Viewers
1.3/3 in the 18-49 demo

If The Playboy Club falls in a forest, and no one's there to see it, did this series ever happen?  I would say that NBC will put this series to the Saturday night compost pile, but they would probably get better ratings on reruns of the worst new sitcom on TV, Whitney.  If this is not the first canceled series of the 2011-2012 TV season, something is very wrong.  Free Agents is right on its little bunny tail of fail, but this will likely go first.

Everything else is a little down from last week's premieres, but nothing is so out of the ordinary that it's worth writing about.

To close this out, I'm going to end in a rant about CBS.  They're obviously the highest rated network, in terms of overall viewers, for scripted TV.  There's a reason for this.  They make it extremely difficult to see their television shows anywhere but live, or on your DVR.  Sure, they occasionally put some episodes on their website, but not enough of them, and not for every series.  They also engage in counterprogramming, which can often make it difficult to decide what to record.  I had to not record Terra Nova, last night, because 2 Broke Girls was creating a conflict on our DVR.  Since I doubt the episode will be available anywhere else, I recorded it.  The football game wasn't even over when it started, so watching it live wouldn't have even been an option.  CBS's ratings are very inflated for this exact reason.  It's very annoying that they don't have On Demand programming, and it's something they should fix as soon as possible.  I'm talking to you, CBS!

Unless something really impressive or depressive happens with the ratings, I won't be back with another one of these until Friday, when the ratings for How To Be A Gentleman come out.  I might be a little busy over the next few days.  However, if I can get done watching all my stuff from last week, tonight, it's possible I will have a "What I'm Watching Now" ready by the time you wake up tomorrow.  I'm not making any promises, but I'm hoping it's possible (if you even care).  Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Sunday, September 25, 2011 Premieres)

There's not much to talk about here, because only one new scripted TV series premiered, and only one TV series appeared to not live up to its usual ratings success.  I'm going to link to the TV by the Numbers article about the ratings, and give a few brief thoughts, below.  Is this the end of the first week, or the beginning of the second week?  I don't know, but I sure hope I can get through the stuff I still haven't finished watching from last week, before the DVR becomes full again.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Sunday, September 25, 2011

Notable for good ratings:

Pan Am (ABC)

10.85 million Overall Viewers (half hours averaged)
3.1/8 in the 18-49 demo

I still have no plans to watch this series, but in the battle of period TV dramas, Pan Am won in a landslide.  NBC's The Playboy Club can officially start counting its days until it's back on the unemployment lines (a familiar place for me).  These are excellent 18-49 ratings, even for ABC, and the nearly 11 million overall viewers puts this series off to a flying start (get it? flying start...ha ha).

We'll see how the ratings hold up next week, for what appears (at face value) to be a very expensive series.  ABC and Pan Am fans still should be feeling pretty good about right now, regardless of what happens next week.  Maybe the airline will actually even get back in business, if the series continues to be successful.  I even just coined a new TV term, when thinking about that possibility...Product Makement.  I'll add it to my list of TV words and terms I have coined, and explain it there.  You can check out the full list of TV words and terms I have coined, here:

New TV Words And Terms I Have Coined

Notable for not so good ratings:

Desperate Housewives (ABC)

9.75 million Overall Viewers (half hours averaged)
3.1/7 in the 18-49 demo

Well, it looks like the Desperate Housewives train may finally be rolling to a stop.  These ratings are down significantly from last season's premiere, and this series probably needs to be in the 3.1, or higher, range, in the 18-49 demo, with at least 11 million overall viewers to survive.  Due to how long it's been on the air, it's very likely it is extremely expensive to produce, and those ratings better climb on up, if it hopes to receive another season.

I don't watch anything, other than football, on Sunday nights, so I have no idea whether these ratings would be considered great against its competition.  Tonight, Terra Nova premieres, and 2 Broke Girls moves to its normal time slot.  Tomorrow's piece about the ratings should be very educational.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Word About the 2011 Fall Season Openings (Friday, September 23, 2011 Premieres)

You've almost made it through a week of these things, if you've been willing to torture yourself with them.  They're really dry, as they're almost all about my initial predictions and watch lists for the season.  In May, or sooner, for many of the shows, it will be fun to find out how correct my initial predictions were.  There's not much to write about here, because Friday nights are the TV wasteland where shows typically go to die.  CBS is an exception, but I think most of the viewers of that network probably fall asleep without turning off their TVs, before the end of prime time programing.  I'm pretty sure you could get 6 million viewers for a TV test pattern on CBS on Friday nights.  Here's the link to the TV by the Numbers article about ratings, and I'll get started below it.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Friday September 23, 2011

Notable for good ratings:

A Gifted Man (CBS)

9.31 million Overall Viewers
1.4/5 in the 18-49 demo

I don't even think I saw one promo for this during any of the football games I've seen on CBS.  I remember the trailer making this show look like a snooze fest.  Hey, that ties in perfectly with what I said about the CBS viewers, right????  These ratings are very solid for a Friday night show, and if it even remotely maintains these numbers, I would think it's a lock to return for a second season.  I think they'd like a 1.5 with about 10 million viewers, but CBS will take this, for now.  I seriously doubt anything has performed this well, in this time slot, in recent memory.

Blue Bloods (CBS)

11.85 million Overall Viewers
2.0/6 in the 18-49 demo

These numbers are supposedly down a little in the 18-49 demo from the series premiere, last season, but I seem to remember this series having a hard time hitting a 2.0 by the end of last season.  Come on, people, this is Friday night, the bar is low.

Notable for not so good ratings:

Fringe (FOX)

3.53 million Overall Viewers
1.5/5 in the 18-49 demo

Fringe fans, I think that's it, for this series.  I'm pretty sure all FOX is trying to do is get it to the magical 88 episode number, for syndication, which it will do this season.  These ratings are up slightly from last season's finale, but this is, bar none, the lowest rated scripted TV show on FOX.  I'm especially angry about this quote from FOX PR, from TV by the Numbers, "Fox PR notes that Fringe was up 67% from the Friday fall premiere of The Good Guys a year ago."  To that PR person, I say F-UUUUUUUUUUUUU!

There's nothing else to talk about, so unless I'm mistaken, that's a wrap for this week's season premieres, since nobody even tries on Saturday nights, anymore.  The countdown is on for the Monday night premiere of Terra Nova.  You can say for certain that I can't wait to see the numbers for this premiere.  Thanks for reading.

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Thursday, September 22, 2011 Premieres)

I'm a little late to the party, for this update, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  I still haven't even had a chance to catch up on my TV viewing, yet, for this week, so it may be Monday or Tuesday before my next edition of "What I'm Watching Now".  I'll go ahead and link to the preliminary ratings TV by the Numbers article about Thursday's premieres, and then talk a little bit about how things went.  My ratings numbers below are the final numbers for Thursday.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Thursday, September 22, 2011

Notable for good ratings: 

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

14.6 million Overall Viewers (two episodes averaged)
5.0/14 in the 18-49 demo

I have never watched this series, but it seems to be popular with a lot of people.  I think these numbers are up a bit from last season, so I'm including it here.  Any scripted TV that gets a 5.0 in the 18-49 demo is performing extremely well, so you can bet this series is safe from anything bad happening.

Charlie's Angels (ABC)

8.76 million Overall Viewers
2.1/6 in the 18-49 demo

You're probably thinking, "Huh? You consider these to be good numbers for this series?"  You're right, I don't think they're good numbers, but, evidently, ABC does.  This series is up significantly from whatever was airing last season in this time slot, and that series didn't have any competition.  As you can probably guess, that show's not around anymore, and I'm not going to play your nostalgist.  That's what google is for.

What's interesting about this is that ABC has a very high bar for scripted dramas.  I consider this open to be a flop, and if the numbers even drop a little bit, I think this show will be on the cancellation block.  However, for now, ABC seems happy with the numbers, so I'll base it on what they're saying.  If this series drops below a 2.0, and 7.5 million viewers, I think it's in trouble, but it might not even lose any viewers. 

Person of Interest (CBS)

13.33 million Overall Viewers
3.1/8 in the 18-49 demo

This series debuted with very strong numbers.  I think the series is going to be quite a bit better than the terrible previews I've seen for it.  I thought it looked like it was worth a watch, when paired with the longer version of the "trailer" I saw.  It lost a lot of its 18-49 lead in, but the overall viewership didn't change all that much.  It just means its lead in is geared toward a totally different audience.  I highly doubt CBS was counting on The Big Bang Theory to provide a lead in, and they're probably pretty happy with the start of Person of Interest.

Whitney (NBC)

6.84 million Overall Viewers
3.3/9 in the 18-49 demo

This is very similar to what I wrote about Charlie's Angels.  The overall viewership for this episode is pretty low, but the 18-49 demo is very solid.  When it comes to the low ratings bar of NBC sitcoms, I would classify the premiere as a moderate success.  We'll take another look at it next week, to see how the ratings hold up.  That will tell us where the series is headed.  Parks and Recreation premiered to roughly the same ratings (4.11 million overall viewers and a 2.1 in the 18-49 demo) it always has, and it's likely safe to get another season.  Whitney's ratings are much better than that, so it should be interesting to see what the future brings for the series.

Notable for not so good ratings:

I easily could have put Charlie's Angels and Whitney here, but based on network reaction (Charlie's Angels), and 18-49 demo (Whitney), I'll leave them in the good pile.  It's been a really bad week for NBC, and Thursday night wasn't much different. 

Prime Suspect (NBC)

6.05 million Overall Viewers
1.8/5 in the 18-49 demo

I was immediately turned off by this series, due to the casting of the lead (Maria Bello).  She's one of a handful of actresses I can't stand watching, but I'll still be checking out at least a few episodes of this series.  I don't think a police procedural has used the "Good ol' boy" system, or whatever that's called when men rule the roost, in a zillion years.  I'm not saying it doesn't happen anymore, but the level of harassment present in the trailer seemed extraordinarily unbelievable.  I'll probably be doing a full write up on the Pilot, once I see it, but don't expect it for a few days.

As for the ratings, police procedurals in this ratings area are almost always canceled.  I think what will make it or break it, on these ratings, is the overall viewership of NBC.  The bar is so low on this network, for ratings, that if the show is any good, and isn't terribly expensive, it might get another season.  It's way too early to tell, but I am pretty sure this series would be considered to be in big trouble, already.  The words in something TV by the Numbers wrote were pretty ominous for this series, "Prime Suspect had the lowest-rated fall Thursday series premiere ever for NBC."  Time will tell, but I think this is in my top 5 of most likely shows to get canceled, at the moment. 

Community (NBC)

3.98 million Overall Viewers
1.7/5 in the 18-49 demo

I have yet to see an episode of this series, but the people who like this series, love this series.  However, these numbers are awful.  I was surprised the series was picked up for another season, at the end of last season.  It probably has a similar cost factor to Parks and Recreation, which has certainly given it a much longer leash than most series.  The problem is that the 1.7 is too low.  Parks and Recreation usually gets at least a 2.0, and as long as the series routinely crosses 4 million viewers with those ratings, it's generally okay on NBC.  I'll be keeping an eye on the ratings for this series, and maybe this year the low ratings will be too much for NBC to bear.  This is a developing story.

Everything else, I didn't write about here, seemed to have performed similarly to their previous seasons.  My DVR is filled with Thursday TV, so I look forward to finding out how the shows are.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Premieres)

I'm back for day three of the fall TV season ratings review.  Last night was very interesting, for a lot of shows, and this will be the first official blog post where I eat crow.  I haven't seen it, yet, but Revenge looks like it's very likely to be a breakout hit, based on its first night of ratings, against two ratings stalwarts.  The buzz is good for the series, and the ratings were outstanding.  Here's my link to the TV by the Numbers article about last night's ratings.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Notable for good ratings:

Revenge (ABC)

10.15 million Overall Viewers
3.4/9 in the 18-49 demo

I wasn't planning on watching this series, and I was predicting that this would be one of the first canceled series of the 2011-12 TV season.  It looks like I'm going to be wrong on both counts.  When a show opens this well, against CSI and Law & Order: SVU, it deserves a look.  It's a series with an arc, so that's always potentially problematic, but the buzz is good enough that I'm willing to give it a look.  It did have a strong lead in from Modern Family, but if the show is as good as I hear it is, it will likely pick up more viewers via word of mouth, as opposed to losing them.  This is a good, developing story for the new TV season.

Notable for not so good ratings:

Up All Night (NBC)

6.04 million Overall Viewers
2.3/7 in the 18-49 demo

Do you remember what I wrote about the problem with a good lead in?  No, you didn't read that post?  Well, shame on you, because you would know this is exactly what happened here.  This series lost over half of the viewers it had from the Pilot.  That's really bad, even though it was in a perfect storm of other stuff to watch.  Nothing in this time slot performed great, but not that many people watched this episode.  The ratings are still high enough that I think the show is okay, for now, but I will be keeping a close watch on the ratings for this series.

Free Agents (NBC)

3.86 million Overall Viewers
1.3/4 in the 18-49 demo

Unless something else really crazy happens, with other series, Free Agents is going to be in a dogfight with The Playboy Club for the first series canceled for the 2011-2012 TV season.  These ratings are a disaster, and no single camera (it is single camera, right?) sitcom, that I can remember, has ever been allowed to stay on for more than 8 episodes, with ratings like this.  I'll let you know if it's any better, this week, but even if it is, it's not likely to matter, with ratings like these.

Harry's Law (NBC)

7.3 million Overall Viewers
1.2/3 in the 18-49 demo

If you're learning a quick lesson, it's that NBC is a network in a heap of trouble, when it comes to ratings.  The good news for shows, like Harry's Law, is that the bar is so low at NBC, for success, that even shows with a 1.2 in the 18-49 demo have a chance for renewal.  The problem with this series is that it attracts a lot of viewers, but it doesn't attract anyone the advertisers care about.  This was a major problem last season, and it contributed to many people thinking it was on the bubble, even though it had very high overall viewership numbers.  It will be interesting to see how Prime Suspect premieres, because if it does anything better than 2.0 in the 18-49, Harry's Law will probably not have enough to overcome the threat of cancellation (barring any scheduling moves). 

Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

7.60 million Overall Viewers
2.3/6 in the 18-49 demo

L&O franchise fans, love up on SVU while you can, because I would be shocked if this series gets another season.  These numbers are positively anemic, and the series is so expensive that it's not in the economic best interests of NBC to continue with it.  I find it very strange that people weren't even interested in tuning in to see what the show will be like without Stabler.  Dick Wolf, it's time to wrap it up, but don't feel bad, you had a good run with this franchise.

In scripted TV, I think just about everything else is right around where it was expected to be.  Reality TV hopefully got a wake up call with the less than stellar opening of a series that I shall not name.  Modern Family looks to have gotten a bit of an EMMY bump, but I don't think the numbers were outlandishly higher than last season, though I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head.  If you're interested in that, you can do the research.  I'm just gonna write.  I'll be back tomorrow with numbers for the most important night of television (in my home, at least).  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Premieres)

Well, someone was foolish enough to click like at the bottom of yesterday's blog post, so I will continue on with my brief words about ratings and thoughts, as each day's premieres happen.  Since it worked so well, yesterday, I'm going to link to an article about Tuesday's ratings on TV by the Numbers, and then give a few thoughts of my own.

TV by the Numbers ratings article for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Notable for good ratings:

New Girl (FOX)

10.28 million Overall Viewers
4.8/12 in the 18-49 demo

I checked out New Girl, because my friend, Scott D., told me he was going to check it out as part of his fall lineup.  I thought the episode was a bit rough, but I can see that it has more potential than both Up All Night and Free Agents (the bar is low, I guess).  Uniquely, this episode had been available to the public, on the internet, for at least several weeks.  I wasn't aware networks were trying to increase buzz, by showing Pilots in places other than TV, in this way.  Evidently, Whitney is available, as well, but I can wait until tomorrow to see it.  I think that FOX would have to consider these ratings to be fantastic.  It outperformed Glee, in both overall viewership and the 18-49 demo, which was supposed to give this series a great lead in.  Then, it absolutely crushed the solidly rated season premiere of Raising Hope, which followed it.  This series is clearly geared to 25-35 year olds, so I fall outside of the target demo.  I think it's a little too quirky for its own good, but if they tone down some of the negative aspects of the show, it will be very watchable.  If it manages to sustain ratings even remotely close to this, it would have to be a lock for a second season pick up. 

Unforgettable (CBS)

14.09 million Overall Viewers
2.9/8 in the 18-49 demo

If you see the lead actress in the street, please make sure to ask her inane questions about the shooting of the series, to find out if she's gone "method".  I know I will.  I haven't seen the episode, yet, but it's on my DVR.  I was pretty surprised to see it put up such great opening numbers.  It's pretty solid in the 18-49 demo, and it crushes the overall viewership of Hawaii Five-O, which targets a similar audience, in my opinion.  It had a strong lead in, so I think this series can't fall below 10 million and a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, if it expects to survive.  It's off to a great start, and if the series is any good, it should retain its viewers.  I'll have more on this show, at the very least, in my next edition of "What I'm Watching Now".  It went head to head with Body of Proof (ABC), and still did well.  I look forward to seeing the episode.

Notable for not so good ratings:

Parenthood (NBC)

5.28 million Overall Viewers
2.1/6 in the 18-49 demo

It's a good thing this series is on NBC, or it would have been canceled two years ago.  Now they're putting it up against a new show that's expected to perform well, and a good performer from last season.  Good thing this series can move to Mondays, when The Playboy Club is canceled, or you won't be seeing a full season.  If it makes it through this season, somehow, it will be back for a fourth season, but, yeah, I'm calling it now.  Love up on Parenthood while you can, fans, because it's going to be gone real soon.

Body of Proof (ABC)

9.41 million Overall Viewers
2.2/6 in the 18-49 demo

Body of Proof was a mid-season replacement last year, and it benefited highly from the DWTS lead ins, with relatively little competition.  It still has that lead in, but the numbers are down significantly, from last season, if I am not dropped on my head like a little baby.  Last season was so all over the map, that the series needed a major re-tooling going into the second season.  I have it on my DVR, and I'm looking forward to finding out if they have changed this series for the better.  They would really have to screw the pooch, to get this series canceled, but if it's anything like it was last season, it's in trouble.  I'll have more on this in my next "What I'm Watching Now", unless it upsets or impresses me so much that I do a full a write up.

I don't think anything else noteworthy happened last night, so we'll leave it at that.  Ratings for tonight's episodes will be really interesting, and I look forward to seeing those.  There should be much to write about tomorrow.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Word About The 2011 Fall Season Openings (Monday, September 19, 2011 Premieres)

Below is a link to an article for the ratings for last night's premieres.  It's pretty informative, but at the same time, doesn't tell us much.  Just like I said, last week (that you didn't read), everyone's excited about the new stuff, and wants to see if it's any good.  The second week of every TV series (new or old) is what we need to be paying attention to.

TV by the Numbers Article About Ratings

I don't normally link to articles, but it will help to get us thinking about what's going to happen this season.  Below, I'll list the things that I think are very notable, and ignore the rest.

Notable for good ratings:

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

27.76 million Overall Viewers
10.3/24 in the 18-49 demo (the 24 number supposedly that means nearly 1 out of every 4 TV sets were tuned to this episode)

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

19.15 million Overall Viewers
7.0/16 in the 18-49 demo

Castle (ABC)

13.60 million Overall Viewers
3.3/8  in the 18-49 demo

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

11.75 million Overall Viewers (average of both episodes)
4.9/13  in the 18-49 demo

Notable for not good ratings:

The Playboy Club (NBC)

5.01 million Overall Viewers
1.6/4 in the 18-49 demo

Obviously, everyone (who was interested) wanted to see the freak show that is Two and a Half Men.  I saw some early buzz that said it was very bad, but I have zero interest in that series, so I don't know for sure.  What is not in question is that those ratings are astounding, and it is extra special to note.  For there to be nearly 1 out of every 4 TVs, tuned to this episode, is nothing short of amazing. 

2 Broke Girls is likely to be a casualty of an amazing lead in, but its numbers are so high, that if people even think it is remotely decent, it will still obtain very high ratings.  I watched this episode, after hemming and hawing for weeks, and I don't even know what I could write about it.  My headline would probably be "2 Broke Girls Is A Great Sitcom On Paper".  The episode was shot well (directed by James Burrows of Cheers fame), edited well, and written well.  However, I didn't laugh once (maybe chuckled slightly twice).  The jokes were written funny, but must have been delivered in such a way that they weren't funny.  I don't even know how you fix this problem.  If this is what Whitney (NBC) has in store for us, that series will be canceled very quickly.  I'll watch the second episode of this series, but it has zero potential to improve.  Everything is so tight, and yet it's not funny (to me).  I don't know how to fix this.  The actors are kind of good, so how do you fix this?  Am I too old to enjoy a show like this?  I don't know.

I have never seen Castle, but this series always did very well vs. Hawaii Five-O (which I watch).  It had never performed particularly well in the 18-49 demo, so that's why this is notable.  A 3.3 rating in the 18-49 demo is excellent for a series like this (after it's dropped most of its lead in from DWTS).  ABC must be ecstatic. 

How I Met Your Mother way outperformed the season finale from last season.  I don't watch this series, so I can't tell you whether that's a good thing.  No matter what, people are interested in this season (or at least the season premiere).  That's why I noted it.

As for The Playboy Club, can anyone really say they're surprised?  These ratings are on par with last season's average ratings for LOLa (remember, LOLa started out very high, and dropped significantly, but this series is starting out low), so I am already going to start the death watch for this series.  Keep an eye out for Pan Am (ABC, Sunday night), to see if it suffers the same fate as The Playboy Club.  When I watched the trailer for The Playboy Club, it didn't even remotely interest me.  I wasn't interested in Pan Am, either, but it looked like it was going to be done much better than The Playboy Club.

Those are a few of the things I found to be interesting about the first "real" night of the 2011 TV season.  If I can get a few likes on what I've just written, below, I might end up doing this sort of thing for every night, for as long as the TV season premieres are going.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #11 (September 16, 2011 Edition)

Here we are again, another week later, another brain filled with TV.  Several shows ended their seasons, and many network shows will be back, and new ones premiering, within the next week.  I don't think I'll be posting these until Sunday or Monday, once the full season gets going, because there is going to be too much to watch to get it all done by the weekend.  Buckle up, there's going to be a lot to cover starting in the next few weeks.  It sure is a good thing that TNT and USA got out of the way for a little bit, or this would be a pretty stressful undertaking.  Here is what I'm watching now.

Ratings Legend:

*Don't waste your time
**Some people may like it, but overall, it's not going to change your life if you watch it or miss it.  Shows between 2 stars and 3 stars are on the line of watchable.
***Solid, watchable show.  If I give something 3 stars, I think you can safely watch it, and usually enjoy it.
****You should definitely watch this show, at least once.
*****Why are you not watching this show?

Mondays: 

Alphas (Syfy, Check local listings)**** 
Most recent episode rating-*****

Can I just say how much I loved this episode of AlphasToo bad, I already said it.  I hope you're not too worried about spoilers, or anything, when you read this, but I have to talk about a couple of things.  First of all, what do you think the chances are that Dr. Rosen is actually a bad guy?  Would it matter to you?  He's dropped a few lines and character affects in a few episodes that make me think this could be the case.  Even if he is a bad guy, I'm definitely still rooting for his team.  If Red Flag is the good guys, then effa Red Flag.  The other thing I'd like to talk about is the wildcards.  Throughout the series, so far, there have been a few Alphas whose allegiances have been made unclear.  These Alphas may be used on the other side, but I have a feeling each one of them will actually come in quite handy for Dr. Rosen's team, at some point in the future.  The series has been picked up for another season, which I think is going to lead to some very exciting story lines.  The three Alphas to keep an eye on are Marcus Ayers (from "Cause and Effect", episode 2), Skylar Adams (from "Catch and Release", episode 7), and someone from this episode.  I will not tell you who, because it would spoil a lot of the fun.  I loved this particular character, and it would be a crime if this character doesn't actually end up joining Dr. Rosen's team.

As for the episode, we find out that Bill's fight-or-flight Incredible Hulk response has been disabled, by his encounter with Jonas, in the last episode.  Bill is cool with that, but Dr. Rosen is decidedly not cool with that, and is going to try to help him get his Alpha ability back.  We are shown an interrogation room that has been set up to be able to disable Alpha powers, or at least make some kind of barrier between them.  A high risk prisoner is about to be transported to the office, and Dr. Rosen and his team are charged with holding him, and I guess finding out what he's all about.  The prisoner is blind, but his Alpha ability is quite spectacular, and has to do with sound.  As a sound guy, you know I loved this episode.  The wildcard is that there appears to be another "force" inside the building, as the prisoner is transported in.  The "force" causes all kinds of problems for the team, in the episode, and, during this whole time, we see little cracks forming in various areas of the building.  The prisoner is also a doctor, and he will have a very philosophical conversation with Dr. Rosen, regarding a form of "genetic engineering".  The series is at its best when Dr. Rosen is forced to be introspective about what he's really about.  It's why I think there is at least some possibility that he is a bad guy.  However, even if he is, I don't care, because I love him and the team.

I think this episode is basically a "set up" episode, and that if this gives us any idea of where next season is going, it should be quite spectacular.  The buzz is already beginning to go around that this show is better than Heroes.  I never watched that show, so I don't know.  All I know is that I love this series, and I'm extremely glad it got picked up for another season.  I don't know anyone, who's seen Alphas, that doesn't like it.  At least no one's telling me they don't like it.  So, it must be good, right??  I've put up a few polls about this series, to see if I can get a gauge of what people think.  There are a few more episodes left, before the end of the season, and I can't wait to see what happens. 

The Closer (TNT, 9pm EDT)****
Most recent episode rating-****

This week was the season finale of The Closer.  Brenda's case goes to court in hopes of obtaining a summary judgment.  I'm not a lawyer, so I think that means that the case sux or something, and they're going to try to get it dropped.  Brenda's lawyer is very confident he will win.  We think there's a leak inside of Brenda's unit, because Booger knows too much.  While at trial, Blackberries and iPhones start blowing up with communications.  One by one, everyone, there to support Brenda, leaves.  She eventually has to leave herself, because a Sheriff's Deputy has been shot.  I'm not going to give spoilers here, but remember what I said about The Closer.  It's a cop show at its dumbed down finest.  Do not try to zig or zag, this series just does not do that.  Their idea of convoluted is trying to make you figure out which candy Brenda's gonna take out of her desk drawer.  They could have taken this "case" in a lot of different directions, but this is The Closer, so they didn't.  They also couldn't resist the parallel between Brenda's case and this one.  In the summer finale, you will get resolution to Brenda's court case, and that's all I'm gonna say.

Rizzoli & Isles (TNT, 10pm EDT)****
Most recent episode rating-****

I didn't think there was a connection on TNT's Monday night lineup, this week, but it just hit me that there is.  We'll call this one, "Just When You Think It's All Over Monday".  We start out by having a guy stabbed as he is in a bathroom awaiting his release on bail, from jail.  There is just enough time for Rizzoli to get there and question the guy before he dies.  Unfortunately, due to security issues, and a-hole Warden issues, the guy dies before Rizzoli is able to question him.  While Rizzoli & Isles are examining the body, Jane's name (Rizzoli) is called by a spooky voice.  If you remember that I just started watching this series, this season, you will know that I have no clue about the back story of this, and I probably don't care.  It turns out that, in the bed next to the dead body, is a serial killer, a serial killer who had nearly killed Rizzoli.  He has cancer, and is on his death bed.  He proceeds to do a bunch of nonsensical rambling, giving the indication that he had "done a bad thing in 2005".  Isles thinks he's potentially delusional, but Rizzoli is genuinely spooked.  I won't spoil any of the rest, but it had a lot of nice convolution (Hey, The Closer, are you paying attention? No, you're done after this season, anyway, and you don't care? Okay, fine.).  I like this series a lot, and I can officially say that I will be back for next season.  My wife, who was highly resistant to the series, at first, also really likes it.  Angie Harmon, you have turned a corner, and my hate for you is now only mild dislike.  Stop with the goofy forehead expressions, and my perception of you might be neutral. ;)

The Big C (Showtime, 10:30pm EDT)*** 
Most recent episode rating-**.5

I just realized I forgot to write about this.  It must have been really forgettable.  Paul is apparently going to become addicted to cocaine.  Other than that, I don't really remember much.  I don't want to spoil the other big thing that happens...

Wednesdays:

Necessary Roughness (USA, 10pm EDT)**
Most recent episode rating-**

I'll start out by saying that there is good news for any actual Necessary Roughness fans.  The series has been renewed for a second season.  If it's not a lot better than the first, there probably won't be a third.  This series needs some serious re-tooling, and the season finale gave us no indication of what that might be.  I was kind of shocked to find out that my dear friend, from college, Hope A., loves this series.  I asked her why, and she didn't respond.  Are you embarrassed to say why, Hope?  Don't be shy...I love you, and it won't change my opinion of you even one bit.  I think a lot of the appeal for this series comes from the way it is constructed.  I had sort of thought about it in prior episodes, but it really hit me when I watched the season finale.  The series is constructed like a more convoluted soap opera.  As the series has gone on, the writers are getting more bold with the addition of story lines.  Unfortunately, for the viewer, the extra story lines are often terrible, and unnecessary.

I've already gone on about how much I hate the way this series is dealing with the football aspect.  Because they can't get attached to a real team, the series just rings hollow.  When you factor in that the Hawks are now making a playoff run, it gets even worse.  The good news is that the season finale was after the first playoff game.  This series totally would have tried to have the Hawks win the Super Bowl, because it is just that creepy and weird.  The episode ended with a truly WTF? cliffhanger, that was very similar to how House ended, last season.  I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that this series does not go away from why it was started.  Dani had a struggling Psychology practice (on the heels of her pending divorce, and needing a lot of extra cash flow), and was given the opportunity to be the team Psychologist for the Hawks.  This will always need to be an underlying premise on the series, and if they go away from this, there will be big trouble for the series.

I'm not going to talk about the episode, this time around, other than to give you a list of all the story lines that were in it.  If I counted right, there were ELEVEN story lines.  That's a huge amount for traditional scripted TV.  Please feel free to add any that I have missed.  I will give a shout out to T.O. for his performance in the episode.  Some of the trash talk he spat at T.K. was pretty funny.  I'm sure they were used on him, throughout his playing career.  My favorites were "T-Bag" and "T-Cup".

Story lines on the season finale of Necessary Roughness

1. The Hawks have a playoff game
2. T.K. having anxiety attacks over a cornerback (played by T.O.) who has thoroughly gotten in his head
3. T.K. relationship with Vivica
4. Dani's kids in relationship to the playoff tickets
5. Dani's divorce papers signing's effect on the kids
6. Nico being asked to dig up dirt on the Hawks's Owner's wife
7. Nico being involved with Owner's wife
8. The unanswered question of whether the Owner's daughter is really Nico's child
9. Nico needing "therapy" from Dani
10. Dani and Matt's potential relationship 
11. The post playoff game

My only comment about this episode is that they better not get rid of Nico.  I'm really only watching this series because of Callie Thorne and the Nico character.  Callie is so ke-yoot, and Nico is an awesome character.  There are a bunch of other castings I like in the series, but it just comes back to these two reasons.  I'm sure I'm not the only person watching the series for these two reasons.  Why else would so many people be watching such a mediocre show?  Also, here's my suggestion to the writers of this series.  The kids are so unhappy staying with Dani, so why don't you just ship them off to stay with their dad?  The kids are THE worst characters on the show, and I wish they would just go away.  I hope next season is a lot better than this season, because the series does have potential.  Right now, it's just bland, boring, and average on so many levels.

Up All Night (NBC, 8pm EDT)**.5
Most recent episode rating-**.5

You've (not) read my write up on the series, but this is where you can visit to get the weekly rundown.  This is where I officially tell you my star rating, and the series is currently rated at 2.5 stars.  I don't think it's worth skipping, yet, but I certainly wouldn't give a full recommendation to watch it.  The Pilot was right in between "probably good enough to check out" and "it won't change your life by missing or seeing it".  For a fuller version of what I thought of the Pilot, please click the link below:

UP ALL NIGHT: The Problem With A Good Lead In 

Free Agents (NBC, 8:30pm EDT)**.5
Most recent episode rating-**.5

Ending up squarely in the same boat as Up All Night, but for entirely different reasons, is Free Agents.  I see more potential with this series than I do for Up All Night, but this series has bigger problems to overcome, not the least of which is mediocre ratings, when nothing else was on.  The Pilot was pretty polarizing, but I'm willing to give it a few more chances to see if it turns into something good.  I firmly believe you have to do this with sitcoms, because there are often many cooks trying to spoil the broth, in regards to sitcom Pilots.  For a fuller version of what I thought of the Pilot, please click the link below.

FREE AGENTS: The Best New Sitcom To Premiere On NBC On Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 10:30pm EDT

That's it, for this week.  Next week, a bunch of stuff premieres, and there should be plenty to write about.  Please take the time to read my two write ups of Up All Night and Free Agents, if you don't mind.  Thanks for reading.
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