Friday, December 23, 2011

My Network TV Scripted Mid-Season Thoughts On New TV Series Only (And Mostly Just Ones I Watch)

David S. inspired me to write this post, by something completely unrelated to what I'm about to write about.  I've decided to go and re-visit the things I wrote about this fall's new TV shows, for each of the networks to see how accurate (or inaccurate I have been).  It should be an interesting little journey, and I'll give my thoughts about how I think anything I'm watching is doing.

ABC (since looking at what I wrote about ABC's new shows was the inspiration for this blog post, I will do them first, thanks David S.!):

I wasn't jazzed about any new shows on ABC's fall schedule, so I just wrote some comedic quotes about most of them.  Some of the shows haven't aired, and some might not ever air.  However, it's relevant to re-visit them now.  I'll analyze each quote after I place it to let you know what I'm thinking now.  If you want to read the whole wrap up of ABC's last season, you can find it here:  2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: ABC, Like Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) Sort Of Said, "You Got Work To Do" 

The ABC 2011-2012 New Shows:

 Apartment 23 (Not aired, no word on whether it will)

What I wrote last June:  So funny, I forgot to laugh. 

What I'm saying now:  Evidently, ABC has also forgotten to laugh, because it's still not on their mid-season schedule. 

 Charlie's Angels (Canceled)

What I wrote last June:  "They stopped giving me money for sequels, so I decided to make a TV show, of a TV show that was movies, and stuff."-Drew Barrymore

What I'm saying now:   Now they've stopped giving Drew money to do TV shows, because this one was canceled not soon enough after consistently disastrous ratings.  I hope we can now officially make this franchise die.

 Combat Hospital  (Probably canceled)

What I wrote last June:  We re-lived the 70s with Charlie's Angels, why not re-live the 80s with Combat Hospital.

What I'm saying now:  This was a summer show, so its ratings standards aren't supposed to be very high.  However, Prime Suspect reruns almost beat this show's season 1 finale.  Don't expect it to return.

 Good Christian Belles (Airing Sunday nights at 10pm ET, beginning March 4, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  I'm sure if we got a halfway decent dialect coach, our show would be hu-lair-eee-yuss.

What I'm saying now:  This show is on the mid-season schedule (in Pan Am's slot), under the title GCB.  Based on the trailer, I thought this show was going to be a half-hour sitcom.  It's an hour long dramedy?  Awwww helllllll nawwwwww!  We'll see if the audience agrees.  My initial prediction, from what I watched, is that this is DOA.  Let's see how I do.

 Last Man Standing (Airing, doing fine)

What I wrote last June:  "You finally gave up on your movie career, Tim?  Welcome back! Do you have Pam's number?"-Anonymous ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  No word on whether that exec got Pam's number, but this looks like it will be picked up for a second season.  Tim Allen, once again, proves that half-hour sitcoms are where he should go when no one will put him in movies anymore, or when he needs to make some solid dolares.  I still chuckle when I think of Tim Allen, as Buzz Lightyear, in the Toy Story movies.  The fact that he had that part shows you how much fame he once had, because he never would have been cast in that part, today (Clooney probably would have been cast, today).

 Man Up! (Canceled)

What I wrote last June:  "Hey, remember when we did that show about the Geico cavemen?  I think we can really do better than that, by doing a show like those funny beer commercials."-Fired ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  This show aired, and has been canceled (all 13 episodes got in the can, but it got yanked after 8 or 9 episodes).  It never was rated strong, though I heard it wasn't nearly as bad as it should have been.  No word on whether the executive was fired.

 Missing (Airing Thursday nights at 8pm ET, beginning March 15, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  A TV version of Liam Neeson's Taken, except it's the mom that's really driven!

What I'm saying now:  It will be on my DVR, but putting it in that slot might end up causing disaster for the show. 

Once Upon a Time (Airing, once great ratings taking a major dive over the last month)

What I wrote last June:  "Hey, you guys remember when that show Grimm came to pitch us?  That show looks good, maybe we made a mistake."-Fired ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  I had no plans to watch this show, but I heard enough positive buzz to check it out.  It premiered to extraordinary ratings, but it has been settling down to earth for quite awhile.  We still have no idea where it will land.  As long as it stays above a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo (it's at a 2.9 right now), I expect it to get another season.  It's a decent show, nothing more, nothing less.  Grimm is looking like a sure bet to get picked up for a second season, and I like it a lot better than this one.  As long as this show's ratings don't keep falling, my quote will probably not be 100 percent accurate (if any of it is, anyway).

 Pan Am (Canceled)

What I wrote last June:  "Hey, you guys remember when that show The Playboy Club came to pitch us?  That show looks good, maybe we made a mistake."-Fired ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  The ratings for this show started out in the stratosphere, but soon crashed and burned.  There was barely enough time for an in-flight meal, and you always had to keep your seat belt fastened.  The audience has spoken, for the last time.  Do not make serialized period dramas...period.

 Revenge (Airing, doing fine)

What I wrote last June:  "I am so glad we didn't pass on Revenge, after passing on those other two.  This has got to be our new Dynasty."-ABC Executive on suspension

What I'm saying now:  BOO-YA!  TWO PAIR!

 The River (Airing Tuesday nights at 9pm ET, beginning February 7, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  We are gonna find the next Lost, even if it kills us!

What I'm saying now:  Only you can prevent Lost clones, only you.

 Scandal (Not aired, no word whether it will)

What I wrote last June:  "Every once in awhile, you gotta take a chance with a show that has no chance of making it, just in case it does."-Future fired ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  "Why take a chance?"-Dr. Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 Suburgatory (Airing, doing fine)

What I wrote last June:  "Whose idea was it to cast Jeremy Sisto as a lead in a situational comedy?  That person deserves a promotion!  This will surely be this year's Parker Lewis Can't Lose, I just know it."-ABC Executive

What I'm saying now:  A quote that was written in jest may end up being quasi-accurate.  To that, I say, "LOL"...LOL.
  
 Work It (Airing Tuesday nights at 8:30pm ET, beginning January 3, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  Bosom Buddies if it wasn't funny.  Bosom Buddies wasn't that funny.

What I'm saying now:  I predict this show will be off the air before the Super Bowl in February.  Good luck with that.  It will need it.

 Expedition Impossible (Aired last summer, who knows what will happen with it?)

What I wrote last June:  Let's take the two most popular reality shows on CBS, and put them together!

What I'm saying now:  And get one third the ratings!

NBC:

We all know that last season for NBC was a disaster.  Well, guess what?  This season's been pretty much a disaster for them, as well.  I'm available for work, if NBC wants my help.  My slate will begin by canceling all reality TV, to bring this network back to the once great place it was.  I'm cheaper than you think, but worth more than you'll ever know. ;)  I didn't write quotes like I did for ABC, so I'll just try to pull out a relevant quote for each new show.  If you want to read the whole wrap up of NBC's last season, you can read it here:  2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: NBC, Now By Comcast

The NBC 2011-2012 New Shows (Only shows I decided to watch):

Up All Night (Airing, mediocre ratings, moves to Thursday nights at 9:30pm ET beginning January 12, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  I'm very lukewarm about Up All Night, as Will Arnett seems to drag every sitcom he's in into cancellation.  The preview also didn't look that funny, but I'm willing to give it one shot, to see if it's any good.

What I'm saying now:  I'm still very lukewarm about this show, and I'm curious to see how it will be rated when airing after The Office.  The bar is not very high for renewal, and it's about time they finally moved it.  It's not a good show, but it's gotten better very s-l-o-w-l-y, and Arnett has comfortably settled into playing the straight man, for the most part.

Free Agents (Canceled)

What I wrote last June:  I am very enthused about Free Agents.

What I'm saying now:  This show never lived up to expectations, and just wasn't very good.  I watched it until the short bitter end.

Whitney (Airing, moving to Wednesday nights at 8pm ET, beginning January 11, 2012)

What I wrote last June:  The Whitney show looks fairly funny, but many of the scenes from the preview had less than stellar comedic timing.  So, I think I might not like it, though I will give it one shot to impress me enough to stick around for a second viewing.

What I'm saying now:  The series had potential, but this is literally one of the worst sitcoms I have ever seen in my lifetime.  If you like this show, I am very disturbed by your tastes.  I think I got through four episodes that showed absolutely zero improvement potential, before not being able to take it anymore.  If you want a better Whitney show, watch 2 Broke Girls.  It doesn't make me laugh very often, but I do kind of enjoy it.  Whitney getting moved to Wednesday nights will likely spell disaster for it.  I think NBC is trying to bury it, which is probably a pretty good move.  It should be interesting to see those first new night ratings.

Prime Suspect (Canceled)

What I wrote last June:  I like the idea of Prime Suspect, but I don't really like Maria Bello, so the show will probably have to grow on me.  I will see if it does.

What I'm saying now:  It grew on me, all right, like something that would eventually cause your leg to need to get amputated.  This was one of the worst police procedurals I have ever seen.  It's even more of a shame when you factor in how good the series was that it was based on.  The original series first aired over 20 years ago.  It would be like going back 20 years, taking the mind sets of how things were back then, and applying those same things to today.  It just wasn't believable, and the procedure was terrible.  If you want to watch a great, fun, police procedural, watch The Closer (much more similar in tone, minus the humor, to the original Prime Suspect) or Rizzoli & Isles.  This was crap. 

Grimm (Airing, doing fine)

What I wrote last June:  When I read the premise for Grimm, I wasn't impressed.  When I saw the preview, I was impressed.  I can't believe NBC put this on Friday nights, especially since it looks quite expensive, and the storyline, from the preview, actually makes the show look like it could be really good.  There's also a strong possibility it's bad, because it was put on Friday night.  Networks don't put shows they think will be winners on Friday night.  That's where you send shows to die.  Chuck's final season will air in the slot right before Grimm, if you are looking for a practical example.

What I'm saying now:  I was right on the money, here.  I really enjoy this show, and it's looking very good for renewal.  I spent a lot of time harping on this show being on Fridays, but I think that might be the best place for it, as of right now.  With its numbers, on Fridays, it has a nearly 100 percent chance of being picked up for a second season.  On other nights, I'm not so sure it would get the numbers needed to stick around.


CBS:

It's no surprise that CBS has ratings that stay on top.  When you don't make your programming freely available after the original air date, people will decide to watch it live, or always make sure it's never in conflict on the DVR.  2 Broke Girls has caused a lot of TV watching drama during the football season, for me, so I can speak from experience.  This will follow the same idea of the NBC version, because I only wrote about shows I was going to watch.  If you want to read the whole wrap up of CBS's last season, you can read it here:  2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: CBS, I'll Be Seeing You Next Year 

The CBS 2011-2012 New Shows (Only shows I decided to watch):

What I wrote last June:  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.

What I'm saying now:  As you can see, I ended up condensing all of the new shows I was planning on watching into one little area.  Unforgettable is just a standard "super cop" police procedural.  It's pretty good, but not great.  It's a million times better than Prime Suspect, which shared a lot of characteristics with Unforgettable.  It appears to be headed toward cancellation, and if it is canceled, I'm pretty sure it will be a long time before we see another "super cop" police procedural on network TV.  In this post, you will see that I said this genre is pretty much dead (outside of maybe The Closer, which is in its last season).  The best example of turning that particular genre of police procedural on its head is Rizzoli & Isles.  The reason Rizzoli & Isles works is because that's more of a relationship police procedural, as opposed to a super cop police procedural, even though it shares many of the characteristics of that genre.

As for Person of Interest, if you know me, you know I love this show.  It's my favorite new show of the TV season, and it's not close.  F-U Homeland!  If you're not watching this show, you're missing out on some of the most fun television I've seen in awhile.  It's a serious show that does not take itself seriously, and that's probably what makes it so great.  It will probably uniformly be passed over for awards season, but I think it shouldn't be.  It's a show people are going to look back on and wonder why they weren't watching it in the first season.  Now if they could just work on Caviezel's whispering problem...

How to Be a Gentleman was the funniest new sitcom you never saw, this season.  The spirit behind it was fun, but it couldn't find an audience.  It was canceled faster than you can type How to Be a Gentleman.  If it were on any other network, outside of FOX, it likely would have been a hit.  I bet the guy who starred in the show will get another shot (for writing/creating) somewhere else, because it hit a lot of great notes.  RIP to a pretty good sitcom that had more in common with the classics than what you see today.

I'll also get in a little word about 2 Broke Girls, here.  I hemmed and hawed, but ultimately watch the show.  It's got more dirty jokes than those two comedians who rolled around in mud, and ended up talking about it incessantly in their Vaudeville routines.  Sometimes it makes me laugh, most of the time it doesn't.  In most good sitcoms, you don't laugh all the time, though it helps.  I'm interested enough in the storyline, and this is the number 1 new sitcom, this season, if not the number 1 new scripted TV show, this season.  I don't think it's cast or acted particularly well, but it does a good enough job to stay on my DVR.


FOX:

Can I just take a moment to say, "AHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"  Wait a second, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"  Okay, I'm done.  If you want to read the whole wrap up of FOX's last season, you can read it here:  2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: FOX, You Fail!

There were only two new shows I wrote about last June, and they were Terra Nova and Alcatraz.  I didn't say anything about how I thought they would be, or what I thought they would do.  Terra Nova is among the blandest of the bland TV shows for that genre.  The ratings have been terrible (for a show of this magnitude and promotion), and there is no way this series should see a second season.  They may wait until January, to see how Alcatraz premieres, before officially showing Terra Nova the portal (the only way it is saved is if both Alcatraz and Touch bomb).  Still, if you liked this show, I feel sorry for you.  It was just good enough to watch, and not bad enough to not watch.  The words "Terra Nova" should be in the dictionary next to the word failure.  I hope Alcatraz is a lot better than this series was (is?).

For next year's version of the wrap ups, I'll try to remember to write something about every new show on each of the four major networks, so I can break it down like I did ABC.  This post suffered a little bit, due to me not doing that.  In the immortal words of Maxwell Smart, "Uhhhh, sorry about that."  Thanks for reading.

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