Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chris Colley's TV Morsels Episode 5: Chris Colley's TV Morsel Of The Year 2014

Welcome to the inaugural Chris Colley's TV Morsels "Morsel of the Year".  From now until as long as I do this blog, I will be picking out one scene, clip, or line that was my favorite of that particular year.  For the first one ever, even though the show the clip comes from is on my lumps of coal list, I couldn't pass it up.  Will it be enough to get Paul Lieberstein an EMMY nomination as a Guest Actor?  I guess we'll have to wait about a zillion more months to find out.  Congratulations to this clip from the third episode of the final season of The Newsroom!  You are my "Chris Colley's TV Morsel of the Year" for 2014.  Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

You'll unfortunately have to click the link here to see it, since my blog can't seem to find the video:

Chris Colley's TV Morsels Episode 5: Chris Colley's TV Morsel of the Year 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chris Colley's TV Blog*'s 10 Lumps of Scripted TV Coal I Received And Watched In 2014 (Euphemism For 10 Worst, Because Worst Is Too Strong)

I gave you my 15 favorite shows, and now it's time for me to tell you about 10 shows I was extremely disappointed in during 2014.  Amazingly, I had a difficult time finding 10 shows to put on this list.  It was a year of great, and a year of mediocre.  I didn't bother with stuff that didn't appeal to me to begin with, and that's probably why it was more of a struggle to fill the list.  If it weren't for two shows' seasons crashing and burning by the end, I'm not sure what I would have done.

A lot of these shows were canceled, or are going to be canceled.  Being ranked number 1 on this list means I thought you were the worst of the worst.  Being ranked on this list doesn't mean I didn't watch every episode (or even that it was overtly terrible), it's just that I thought the shows could have been done a lot better.  However, some of these shows were overtly terrible, and yet I still couldn't avert my eyes.  Again, Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

1. Bad Judge (NBC)

Ho-ly s***, this show's Pilot was awful.  I didn't even bother sticking around for another episode, and that's fairly rare for me on comedies, knowing what it takes to develop them into more well-rounded shows.  I didn't have the patience, because it was just so over the top bad for me.

2. Mulaney (FOX)

I gave this show four shots to pull its head out of its a**, and it failed every time.  Really good comedy talent was behind this show, so I just can't see it as anything other than a very poorly executed trolling of the typical multi-camera sitcom audience.  Technically, the show worked, everything else...didn't.

3. Rake (FOX)

In poker, you pay rake when playing.  This show felt like what you pay when playing.  Not even Greg Kinnear's playing of a completely unlikable lead could save this show.  It just didn't work at all.

4. Murder in the First (TNT)

This was a terrible law procedural with apparently a complete lack of self awareness.  It was a case that could have been solved in 45 minutes, and ended up having a terrible payoff after a period of time that must have gone on as long or longer than the OJ trial.  Some good talent was involved, and all I'll say about that is that some good talent was involved.

5. Tyrant (FX)

If this show hadn't been renewed for a second season, it would have been a bigger waste of time than the doomed NBC TV show, Awake.  Instead, it got renewed, The Bridge got canceled, and now it will end up being an even bigger waste of time than one season would have been.  If it didn't provide such good material for Chris Colley's TV Morsels, it would be even more of a waste of time.  Because of that, it is the most entertainingly bad show on this list.

6. Welcome to Sweden (NBC)

I only watched the Pilot, but how did this show happen?  Nepotism sux, Amy Poehler!

7. Working the Engels (NBC)

This show had a Pilot that showed a ton of comedy potential.  So much for that.  Thanks Jason Priestley!

8. The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)

This show had so much potential, and it has still yet to realize it.  I don't think it ever will, but I'll keep watching with hope that it does.

9. Homeland (Showtime)

From the moment of a particular gunshot to the opening of a particular door, Homeland had finally found its way back into being a pretty damn good TV show.  Unfortunately for the show, it was book ended by a BUNCH of crap, and that's why it ended up right back on this list despite having a chance at hitting my favorite 15 as recently as three or four weeks ago.

10. The Newsroom (HBO)

I enjoyed the first two episodes of this season A TON.  About half of the third episode went back to bad The Newsroom, and then the show evidently fell off the side of a cliff to end with one of the most resounding series finale thuds I've heard in awhile.  Still, my favorite scene of the year happened in this show (I'll post it before the New Year), proving that not all was bad on The Newsroom, just well more than half of it was.

Chris Colley's TV Blog*'s Fifteen Favorite Shows of 2014

Everyone loves doing best of lists at the end of the year.  In the case of this list, it's not a best of, it's just my 15 favorite shows of 2014.  Remember, this isn't an objective list, it's only featuring the shows I watch.  Some great shows hold absolutely no appeal for me, so I don't watch them.  Don't hate.  With that said, it was an insanely great year for good TV, and because of that I've decided to make this list include 15 shows instead of my typical 10.  I think every show on this list is worth checking out, and hope you will.  I hope you all have a prosperous and safe 2015!  Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

1. Fargo (FX)

This season of Fargo was literally as good as TV can get for me, and nearly everything I watch in the future will be measured against this one particular season.  The show had its flaws, but they were minimal, and every second spent with the show was worth it.  I've seen every episode probably at least 4 times, and think you should see it even more than that.  If you didn't watch it, why not?  If you want to watch it, what are you waiting for?  My last note is that it is absolutely criminal that Martin Freeman didn't win the EMMY for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or whatever the category is called.  It's rare to see two absolutely stunning performances in one TV season, and I'll get to the other a little later in this list.

2. Hannibal (NBC)

The goriest show in network TV history takes the number 2 slot with an incredible second season.  This show has constantly been on the chopping block for NBC, but it managed to get renewed for a third season.  Because of that, I think we'll get to see every season Bryan Fuller originally intended to make.  Stranger things have happened, but we should get 4 more seasons of this show.  I'm not into the gore, but the artistry, storytelling, and acting make it well worth your while.  The stupid EMMYs might feel comfortable with ignoring it, but I'm not.  Keep up the good work Fuller and team.

3. The Missing (BBC/Starz)

Coming as the biggest surprise on this list was the BBC/Starz show, The Missing.  Even with an ending that might polarize you, it's well worth the ride.  The surprise portion of the program is that it's ahead of True Detective in my list.  While True Detective was an incredible ride, it had plenty of flaws that The Missing didn't, and that's why The Missing is ending up above True Detective for me.

4. True Detective (HBO)

When this show was airing, I thought there was no way it would end up below number 1 on my list for 2014.  Little did I realize how great this year would be for TV.  Viewed through the lens of character study, the show completely worked.  Viewed through the lens of a "case", it might leave you feeling a little flat.  Matthew McConaughey's performance was one of the best I can ever remember seeing on TV, and Woody Harrelson's work really elevated as the series went along.  It had a few problems, but none of them warrant it falling any lower than this on my list.

5. Veep (HBO)

By a wide margin, this is my favorite comedy.  It has great performances top to bottom, and is the most consistently funny show I watch.  Only one other comedy will end up in my top 15, and it's the one that makes me laugh the most.  I love this show, and if you're not watching it, you're missing out...almost as much as how much The Academy is missing out on Hannibal.

6. Person of Interest (CBS)

This show being at number 6 should be a very good indication of how great 2014 was for TV.  Person of Interest didn't get any worse than previous seasons, it just got passed.  I think you should be watching it, but if you haven't started by now then maybe it's best you never do.  If you start watching it now, you'll have to wonder why you didn't watch it before.  If you don't want to live a life filled with regret, either start watching it now, or don't watch it at all.

7. Justified (FX)

This season had a few problems, but I really enjoyed it overall.  I was very surprised to find that some people didn't like it.  Maybe their meds need adjustment...or I need to start taking meds.  I guess we'll never know which.  We're coming up on the final season of what I think is truly one of the top 15 or so shows in TV history (and I actually have awareness of TV existing before 1990).  If you haven't watched this show yet, you're doing yourself a grave disservice.

8. House of Cards (Netflix)

This is another show that gets way more hate than it deserves.  I get that people want this to be some kind of realistic political drama, but I LOLHARD@U if that's what you think the show is trying to do.  This show is easily the most elite hyperdrama I have ever seen.  It has so much stuff happening in it that is patently unbelievable, but it presents it in such a way that it almost seems like it's possible.  If you want any indication of how believable the show is intended to be taken, watch the first scene of season 1.  If you walk away from that scene thinking this is going to be a realistic drama, you're doing it wrong.  This is the type of show Scandal aspires to be.  This show was as entertaining as TV gets, even if it's patently ridiculous.  It also features some of the best acting you're going to see in this list, and definitely has one of my favorite directing/shooting styles currently on TV.  Kevin Spacey is awesome in this part, even if you disagree.  I think he'd be better at it without an accent, but what fun would that be?

9. Rectify (Sundance)

Rectify is a super unique show, told in a way no one else dares on TV.  With a long leash to evidently tell its story how it wants, if you have patience, this show is for you.  It features universally excellent performances, and is generally written at a very high level.  While I'm not remembering season 1 as well as I'd like, I have a feeling budget cuts might have had some kind of impact on season 2.  Even with any budget cuts the show might have faced, it still gets there.  One scene in the second season almost made the show jump a few spots, but the scene ended in a way that kept the show right where it is.

10. Transparent (Amazon)

This show explored themes that have never been explored in the television medium in ways that these themes have never dreamed of.  It's filled with a lot of discomfort, sex, nudity, dysfunction, and anything else you can think of.  When people talk about the show in stuff I've read, I hear of authenticity being applauded.  I kind of disagree, and think it plays on the edge of authenticity.  The themes explored in the show are so crushing and painful for the players involved that this show wasn't even a remotely fun watch.  However, when I started ranking my list, the show was just objectively better than the rest of the shows appearing in the top 15 below it.  I think it's a bit overrated, but not by a ton.

11. The Bridge (FX)

The Bridge got canceled, and I was pissed.  This was a great show, and while season 2 was significantly different than season one, it was still a great show.  In any other year, this would have made my top 10, but it couldn't get there this year.  I'm not sure what turned viewers off about season 2, but it might have come down to the fact that the show was far more complex and the storylines were a lot harder to follow in comparison to season 1.  If you never watched this show, you're missing out.  The fact that Tyrant returns while this was canceled is an absolute travesty.

12. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

While Veep is the most consistently funny comedy I watch, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is by far the funniest comedy I watch.  I generally get 4 or 5 great belly laughs per week, and just absolutely love the show.  When I first started doing my "favorites" list in 2011, I didn't think there was any way I wouldn't have Parks and Recreation in my list.  This just shows how far TV has come for me in the last few years (now that I've actually had time to watch TV again).  Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes its place for me now, and that's just fine by me.

13. Happy Valley (Netflix)

This show is basically in the same type of genre as The Missing, but it's told in a completely different way.  I think its writing is far more simplistic than The Missing, but many of the performances were every bit as good as other shows on this list.  Sarah Lancashire was absolutely fantastic in this show, and one of the characters in this show made me very worried that cops over there didn't carry guns.  At times it's a slow watch, and at others it is extremely intense.  There's nothing polarizing about the ending in this show, but the ride is significantly less "fun" than The Missing.

14. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

When Halt and Catch Fire was at its best, it would be well into my top 10, but when it was at its worst it would easily fall into my lumps of coal list.  The vast majority of the show fell somewhere in the middle, and I think the show has a tremendous amount of potential to improve in season 2.  I'm just placing it here to try to help it gain awareness.  Scoot McNairy and Lee Pace were absolutely tremendous in the show, and it was worth watching just for them.  It was also every bit as good at the period look as The Americans, even though some of its choices didn't feel like I was experiencing the same part of the 80s the people making the show were (a lot of Cameron's music choices seemed way off for me).  I have high hopes for season 2 even if I have no clue where they're gonna go with the show after the end of the first season.

15. Bates Motel (A&E)

Fighting for the last spot on my list were Bates Motel and The Americans (FX).  The Americans continues to not live up to its potential for me, so I'm leaving it off the list.  I fully expect The Americans to either make my list next year, or be in my lumps of coal.  It's at its crossroads to reach its potential, and if it doesn't next season it never will.  But, we're not talking about that show here, we're talking about Bates Motel.  I'll freely admit that season 1 was often a frustrating experience, that mostly got there by the end of the season.  Then, season 2 started as an almost absolute dumpster fire.  Its true low point was Norma Bates doing musical theater.  She's very talented, but ain't no one got time for that.  I almost quit the show 3 times, but each episode did just enough to hook me in.  Then, it happened.  The show got GOOD.  It never let off that accelerator the rest of the season, and I have very high hopes for season 3.  I even now believe we have a Norman Bates "trigger" that is believable to me, something that was a major struggle for me to get past in season 1.  If you ever had any interest in the show, give it a shot.  If you still don't like it by the time the big event happens in season 2, you can feel free to drop it.  This pick is again an awareness pick.  Not enough people are aware of this show, and that's a shame, especially since it does plenty well enough in the ratings to stick around.  Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are outstanding in the show, and I really felt for what Freddie had to go through at various points in the season.

Just Missed

The Americans (FX), Grimm (NBC), Silicon Valley (HBO), The Mindy Project (FOX), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Psych (USA), Forever (ABC)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chris Colley's TV Blog*'s Early Pointless Scripted TV Renewal/Cancellation Predictions For The Fall 2014 TV Season (Big 4 Networks Only)

You've probably noticed that I haven't done much writing lately.  Well, you're going to see a small flurry of posting over the next couple of weeks, and even a few more videos.  The first of these will be my yearly pointless predictions post.  Based on past "success", I'm going to give myself credit for being right on everything that's been canceled so far (I would have predicted cancellation for everything that has been).  This post still feels slightly early for me, but I'm afraid the train will get too far down the tracks if I don't post it.

The big question for this season is whether L+3 (Live+3 Day DVR Ratings) ratings will actually matter for NBC.  Last season, they canceled several bubble shows that were good performers in L+3 (as a quick note, if you see me say L+SD, I mean Live+Same Day ratings), but it's unlikely this will happen this season.  Even though I still have zero data that NBC cares about DVR ratings, I can make the case that because one show is so problematic in the ratings that other shows will be positively affected by that.  Part of why I've been waiting so long to do this post is to see how State of Affairs would perform in the DVR ratings.  I was supposed to get the DVR ratings for its second episode yesterday, but for some reason the State of Affairs DVR ratings didn't show up in the list.  So, I'm going to fly a little bit more blind than I'd like on the pick, and might end up revising my early decision about it as I get more data.  That said, I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and we'll see if I end up looking like a fool when all is said and done.

Chris Colley's TV Blog* Estimated Bubbles (this is a ratings threshold NOT an average):

ABC:

Drama (Monday-Thursday)-1.6 in the 18-49 Demo
Drama (Sunday)-1.4 in the 18-49 Demo
Comedy (Monday-Thursday)-1.6 in the 18-49 Demo
Comedy (Friday)-1.2 in the 18-49 Demo

CBS:

Drama (Monday-Thursday)-1.8 in the 18-49 Demo
Comedy (Monday-Thursday)-2.0 in the 18-49 Demo
Drama (Friday-Sunday)-1.2 in the 18-49 Demo

FOX:

Drama (Monday-Thursday)-1.4 in the 18-49 Demo
Comedy (Monday-Thursday)-1.2 in the 18-49 Demo

NBC:

Drama (Monday-Thursday)-1.6 in the 18-49 Demo
Comedy (Monday-Thursday)-1.6 in the 18-49 Demo
Drama (Friday)-1.2 in the 18-49 Demo

Correct guesses in blue
Incorrect guesses in red  

***An important note is that I predict L+3 ratings will play a factor on ALL networks, though their lowest impact will be on NBC, until proven otherwise.  If a show has ratings near or below the bubble, but has good DVR ratings, I will be putting it under "Renew It".  If a show has those same conditions, but mediocre or poor DVR ratings, I have no choice but to put it under "Cancel It".  There are a few exceptions to this methodology, and those exceptions, specifically related to the shows Forever and Constantine are where I think I am mostly likely to be in error.*** 

What I Predict Would Happen If A Decision Were Made Today (animation not factored in):

Sunday (Renew It):

Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Madam Secretary (CBS)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
The Last Man on Earth (FOX-Did not pick a fate in time, but would have picked renewal)
A.D. The Bible Continues (NBC-Listed as Miniseries, but if it can be renewed it will be)
Secrets & Lies (ABC, didn't have this in the list as it was listed as a miniseries but would have predicted renewal)

Sunday (Cancel It):

Resurrection (ABC)
The Mentalist (CBS, Final Season)
CSI (CBS)
Mulaney (FOX)
Galavant (ABC)
Revenge (ABC) *fate changed 4-14-15*
American Odyssey (NBC)
Battle Creek (CBS)

Monday (Renew It):

Castle (ABC)
2 Broke Girls (CBS)
Scorpion (CBS)
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
Mike & Molly (CBS) 
Gotham (FOX)
Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
The Blacklist (NBC)
The Night Shift (NBC)

Monday (Cancel It):

The Millers (CBS)
State of Affairs (NBC)
The Following (FOX)

Tuesday (Renew It):

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
NCIS (CBS)
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS)
Person of Interest (CBS)
New Girl (FOX)
The Mindy Project (FOX)
Chicago Fire (NBC)
Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)
Undateable (NBC)

Tuesday (Cancel It):

Selfie (ABC)
Manhattan Love Story (ABC)
Forever (ABC)
Marry Me (NBC)
About a Boy (NBC)
Marvel's Agent Carter (ABC)
One Big Happy (NBC)
Weird Loners (FOX)

Wednesday (Renew It):

The Middle (ABC)
The Goldbergs (ABC)
Modern Family (ABC)
Black-ish (ABC)
Nashville (ABC)
Criminal Minds (CBS)
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Chicago P.D. (NBC)
Empire (FOX)

Wednesday (Cancel It):

Stalker (CBS)
Red Band Society (FOX)
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
CSI: Cyber (CBS) 

Thursday (Renew It):

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Scandal (ABC)
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Already Renewed)
Mom (CBS)
Elementary (CBS)
Bones (FOX)
The Odd Couple (CBS)

Thursday (Cancel It):

Two and a Half Men (CBS, Final Season)
The McCarthys (CBS)
Gracepoint (FOX)
Bad Judge (NBC)
A to Z (NBC)
Parenthood (NBC, Final Season)
Backstrom (FOX)
Allegiance (NBC)
American Crime (ABC)

Friday (Renew It):

Last Man Standing (ABC)
Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
Blue Bloods (CBS)
Grimm (NBC)

Friday (Cancel It):

Cristela (ABC)
Constantine (NBC)

Notes:

  • My reasoning behind putting State of Affairs in the "Cancel It" pile is that it's up against no competition, and has a great lead in.  It's performing poorly behind its lead in, and against a lack of competition.  While I might later change my mind, as I see DVR ratings, I can't put it in the renew pile in good conscience.
  • When FOX renewed The Mindy Project last season, they pretty much obligated themselves to make the show through its fourth season.  Despite lackluster ratings, and lackluster DVR ratings, The Mindy Project should definitely return.
  • Forever is my second favorite new network TV show this season, and it has a wide disparity in its Live and DVR ratings.  It's against two shows that definitely have people watching Forever on DVR once they've seen their favorite show live.  It has pretty much an atrocious lead in for the type of show it is.  It's certainly good enough to be renewed, but the show's ratings are just not good enough to get another season, in my opinion.  With the amping of the serialized storyline after the break, a decent ratings improvement could change my mind about this.
  • The Mysteries of Laura has been stable for most of the season.  Unfortunately for it, it's been pretty much at the same ratings Revolution had last season, but without the big DVR bump.  Revolution got canceled.  My lone caveat is next, and it is the only path to renewal I see for the show.  Even with that path, I still see very little chance of renewal.
  • NBC and DVR ratings are problematic.  They canceled several shows last season that had excellent DVR ratings, while every other network was renewing poorly performing shows with good DVR ratings.  However, one show has put NBC in a very awkward position in regard to DVR ratings, and because of that, I think they will have no choice but to make DVR ratings factor for *some* of their shows.  If they decide to grade on a curve across the board, that might help a few shows, but I think NBC is very much a cherry picking network when it comes to low rated shows, so don't hold your breath about a giant precedent being set.  If a precedent is set (it will be), it will probably be a fairly insignificant one.  Chicago P.D. is performing very poorly in L+SD ratings, but is performing exceptionally well in L+3.  If this show gets canceled, NBC is hopeless.  Because of this disparity in its ratings, I predict NBC will factor them in and renew it.  This could help shows like The Mysteries of Laura and Constantine, but I think that is pretty unlikely at this time.  NBC has to officially do something that screams a renewal based on DVR ratings for me to think they're a factor.  They haven't done that yet...but they will.
  • Elementary is performing extremely poorly in L+SD this season.  If it weren't about to head into its syndication season, I would be very concerned about it.  The good news is that it is, so it will come back for another season, unless something absolutely extreme happens.  It needs to get propped up somehow, but looking at CBS's current schedule, I can't see where it can benefit.  If CBS decided to move Person of Interest back to Thursdays, maybe that could help, but I doubt it.
  • Constantine is a very good genre show, and NBC hasn't been able to get anything to perform well at 10pm on Friday nights, including the truly exceptional Hannibal.  At some point, NBC has to put their foot down and either change the schedule by moving Dateline back to 10pm, or they have to stick with something.  Grimm and Constantine are two very well matched shows, even though a significant chunk of the Grimm audience doesn't appear to be interested in Constantine.  If you like Constantine, and aren't watching Grimm, you're missing out, though I doubt the same theory would play in reverse.  Constantine is certainly a polarizing show, based on its main themes, but I enjoy it and would like it to stick around.  Unfortunately, it does very poorly in L+SD ratings.  If you're a Nielsen watcher, and want this show to return, you need to start watching it live.  If it can get up to a consistent 1.3 in the 18-49 demo by the end of its run (it currently fluctuates between 0.9-1.1), I could see it getting renewed.  It does well in the DVR ratings, but I don't think how well it does will be enough to sway NBC, based on NBC's past history.  I think that's even more the case when absolutely no prestige will come from this show.  Also worth noting is that even though Constantine did not get a back 9 ordered, I think that means next to nothing with the typical time slot sharing that happens on Fridays at 10pm.  That doesn't mean I think its chances of renewal are better, just that I think that particular decision is a no impact one on Constantine's chances for renewal.  ****UPDATE 2-12-15:  I have read in the press that there is potential Constantine could move to Syfy for a second season, possibly under the original comic name, Hellblazer.  Based on what I've read, I would put the chances of Constantine returning on that channel well above 50 percent, as the rumors don't seem to be the typical PR babble.  It will get canceled from NBC, but I am cautiously optimistic this show will return.  I think it's a practically perfect match for Syfy, and am an board any decision that would put it there.  Stay tuned.****
Well, that's that for now.  I might change some of these predictions over time, and if I do, I'll note the date I changed it.  I'll also add my predictions for Spring 2015 shows in this same post, so bookmark it for updates.  Coming soon will be my 10 Favorite and 10 Lumps of Coal posts for 2014.  I hope you're looking forward to those.  Thanks for reading.
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