Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pilot Review: Lethan Weapon & The Exorcist


Fox had two small-screen takes on big-screen hits debut this past week, continuing a trend on television we've seen for the past few years (following Limitless, Damien, Bates Motel, Fargo, Minority Report, and a slew of others). Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist each demonstrate the weaknesses and strengths that can be found in mining films for television gold.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pilot Review: Pitch


Pitch (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox)

As much as I dislike sports, particularly baseball, I realized halfway through watching the pilot of Fox's Pitch that many of my favorite movies revolve around sports... particularly baseball. I adore Field of Dreams, Fever Pitch, and Bull Durham, and I can quote every single solitary line in A League of Their Own. So acknowledging my affinity for baseball dramas, I actually liked Pitch more than I thought I would when Fox added it to the fall schedule.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pilot Review: Bull


Bull (Tuesdays at 9:00 on CBS)

You have to love when a show announces its own quality right in the title. Bull is full of itself, in all senses of the phrase.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pilot Review: Speechless


Speechless (Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC; Premieres September 21)

Speechless is the type of show where you are immediately going to have an opinion about it before you know anything more than its logline: "A disabled teenager and his family move into a new neighborhood so he can attend a better school." You'll either think this is a show missing from the television landscape, portraying the struggles of disabled people and those supporting them. Or you'll think it's an eye-rolling downer made to appease the PC police. Either way, Speechless is here to prove you wrong.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pilot Review: The Good Place


The Good Place (Thursdays at 8:30 on NBC)

NBC has really had a rough go of it in the comedy department of late. With the end of Parks & Recreation in the 2014-2015 season, they were left with only one returning sitcom last year, the low-rated Undateable. It was moved to Friday nights for live episodes, paired with the only new comedy NBC premiered in the fall, the swiftly canceled Truth Be Told. The winter months followed with the premieres of Superstore, a surprise success, and Telenovela, a surprising failure. Now NBC finds itself in much the same situation, with only Superstore returning to the fall schedule from last season and The Good Place being the only new comedy coming before midseason. It should help that the latter is a huge step up in quality from Truth Be Told, and its quirky, witty characters should match well with the ones on Superstore.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pilot Review: Kevin Can Wait


Kevin Can Wait (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS)

For some reason, Kevin James is one of the most popular comics in America. His stand-up sells out venues across the country; his films, which consist almost entirely of goofy family fare like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, rake in piles of money, even when critics rip them apart; and his former CBS sitcom The King of Queens ran for 9 seasons and still airs daily in syndication on multiple networks. He's our favorite, safe comedian: an unassuming, overweight New Yorker who doesn't rely on vulgarity to create humor. He also has a tendency to produce some awfully stupid material, and Kevin Can Wait is the latest.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Emmy Predictions

Rarely do the Emmys make any sense to me, but I'm throwing out my predictions for the winners anyway!

Limited Series and Television Movie

Writing: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, The People v. OJ Simpson ("From the Ashes of Tragedy")
Directing: Ryan Murphy, The People v. OJ Simpson ("From the Ashes of Tragedy")
Supporting Actress: Jean Smart, Fargo
Supporting Actor: Sterling K. Brown, The People v. OJ Simpson
Lead Actress: Sarah Paulson, The People v. OJ Simpson
Lead Actor: Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Television Movie: All the Way
Limited Series: The People v. OJ Simpson

I feel like this is where the most competition is. So many TV films and limited series were among the best things on television this season: The People v. OJ Simpson, Fargo, Confirmation, The Night Manager, All the Way. It was an amazing year. A lot of these categories are nail-biters. I think People v. OJ walks away with the top prize. In the acting categories, I think it's a horserace between Bryan Cranston as LBJ (a role for which he already won a Tony), an actor who the Academy loves, and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran. Actress is similarly close, with Paulson getting the edge over the magnificent Kirsten Dunst, who absolutely stole Fargo's second season away from everyone else on screen. A win for Kerry Washington or either woman from American Crime wouldn't suck either... basically anyone could win that category, and it would be a great choice. I think Fargo may get a trophy still for Jean Smart, though Melissa Leo, Olivia Colman, and last year's surprise winner Regina King are all equally just choices. Sterling K. Brown, David Schwimmer, and John Travolta may cancel each other out in supporting actor, but I think Brown stood out enough among his cast mates to lead the category. People v. OJ dominated the writing and directing categories (and the limited series categories, in general), so it's a safe bet it'll win there, though the question becomes for which episodes; I went with the season premiere in both cases.

Comedy

Writing: Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang, Master of None ("Parents")
Directing: Dave Stern, Veep ("Mother")
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, Mom
Supporting Actor: Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lead Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lead Actor: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Comedy Series: Veep

This looks like it may be a lot of repeats from last year. I'm predicting Veep to take home the top prize, with Dreyfus winning yet again as well; don't be surprised if the episode "Mother" walks away with directing and writing awards as well, though I've predicted Aziz Ansari's Netflix series Master of None to take the latter, since many cite its writing as the show's strongest point. Allison Janney and Jeffrey Tambor will likely repeat their wins from last year as well, and maybe even Tony Hale in supporting actor too. For now, I'm hoping for a course-correction win for Tituss Burgess, though it's a tight race between those two and comedy vet Louie Anderson for playing the mother of a clown (you read that right) on FX's Baskets.

Drama

Writing: Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot ("eps1.0_hellofriend.mov")
Directing: Miguel Sapochnik, Game of Thrones ("Battle of the Bastards")
Supporting Actress: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Supporting Actor: Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Lead Actress: Keri Russell, The Americans
Lead Actor: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Drama Series: Game of Thrones

I think we may be looking at a near-sweep for Game of Thrones, which is the clear frontrunner for best series after securing more nominations than any other show. The only non-conservative prediction I've made here is for Keri Russell to win a statue for her work on The Americans, which has never been nominated before and broke through in a big way with some major nominations this year. Russell seems like the most likely of those nominations to win, though she'll have to upset last year's winner, Viola Davis, who is probably the frontrunner right now. Otherwise, Rami Malek looks poised to take the award for lead actor, likely shutting Kevin Spacey out once again, though a win for Spacey or even Robin Wright wouldn't be a total surprise. Game of Thrones may clean house in supporting categories as well, and I'm also predicting it for directing and wouldn't be shocked if it took writing, too, but Esmail's script for Mr. Robot was more unique and current.

The Emmys air Sunday night, September 18, on ABC.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pilot Review: Son of Zorn


Son of Zorn (Sundays at 8:30 on Fox, beginning September 25)

Smell that? It's the beginning of the fall season. That mixture of hope and excitement and dread is beginning to fill the air as we wait in anticipation to see what the networks have in store for us this season. For the first time in many years, there are no new comic book adaptations or superhero shows on the fall schedule; but Fox has given us something comic book-adjacent with Son of Zorn, a half-animated, half-live action series about a He-Man looking cartoon character who leaves his animated island to reconnect with the live action world of his ex-wife and teenage son.

Yeah, that other thing you smell? That waft of dank, fecal unpleasantness? It's this show.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: The CW

Monday

8:00 - Supergirl
9:00 - Jane the Virgin

Even after switching networks, Supergirl remains at the same time, creating a female-centric evening of programming for the The CW next to its critical darling, Jane the Virgin.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - No Tomorrow (NEW)

This pairing is very odd; it's something new for the network to try, after premiering new genre/thriller shows after The Flash for the past couple of years. But a romantic comedy? I don't know how much audience overlap there will be here.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - Frequency (NEW)

What surprises me here is not that Frequency is following Arrow, it's that Riverdale was left off the fall schedule in favor of it.

Thursday

8:00 - DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00 - Supernatural (New Timeslot)

Thursday is the only night the CW hasn't aired Supernatural, and it's their ultimate utility player, so I expected this move. If Legends of Tomorrow weren't ready for fall, I actually would have anticipated Supernatural airing at 8:00 and leading in to something else, perhaps iZombie, which would be a nice fit for it. But Legends' second season will be ready for a fall launch, and we'll see how it does against football.

Friday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (New Timeslot)

The Vampire Diaries has strengthened Fridays for The CW, so it stays put, but companion The Originals is benched until midseason to make way for the low-rated but beloved Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. If it can maintain its extremely modest Monday night ratings on Friday, I think the move will be considered a success. I also expect it to produce a shortened season, since the network has so many dramas waiting on deck.

Midseason

Several returning dramas will rejoin the lineup at midseason: fourth seasons of The 100, The Originals, and Reign, and the third season of iZombie. One new drama will also premiere, the Archie comics update, Riverdale.

There's not much to say here. For the most part, it's a very basic formula of superhero + something else. The biggest winner here is probably Jane the Virgin, which should benefit from the Supergirl lead-in, even if the former CBS show only carries over half its audience to The CW. I'm surprised the network is rushing a second season of Legends of Tomorrow onto the fall schedule, and that Riverdale was the only show held until midseason. It seems a natural fit with Arrow or The Flash, and it still feasibly could be, and it was the best-received pilot the network had this season. (Side note: with Riverdale and the move of Supergirl, Greg Berlanti is now producer of a third of the CW's total output.) But what's here is hard to complain about. It's a solid, stable schedule. And if any or all of the new series are hits, I can't wait to see what The CW does this time next year in deciding what shows to let go.

Read descriptions of The CW's new shows after the jump.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: CBS

Monday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Kevin Can Wait (NEW)

8:00 - Kevin Can Wait (Beginning in October)
8:30 - Man with a Plan (NEW - Beginning in October)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Odd Couple (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Scorpion (New Timeslot)

That's a lot of moving. Big Bang once again leads off the night while Thursday Night Football occupies its regular time period, leading into the new Kevin James vehicle (which likely doesn't need the boost, so it makes sense to have it lead at 8:00 in October). I think it's a stupid waste of easy promotion to break up Man with a Plan and The Odd Couple, since both feature former Friends stars in leading roles, but that's just me; at least they're airing on the same night. Also, if you read the descriptions below, Kevin Can Wait and Man with a Plan sound like essentially the same show.

Tuesday

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - Bull (NEW)
10:00 - NCIS: New Orleans (New Timeslot)

This makes sense to me as well, seeing as Michael Weatherley is coming off 14 years on NCIS to do Bull, so he'll have the benefit of his old gig leading into his new one. Plus, New Orleans has now had two years to build a fanbase behind the mothership, so it's sink-or-swim time.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Code Black

I'm really surprised that Code Black made the cut and Limitless did not, especially since CBS ordered another medical drama and will air it on Thursday at 10:00... do they need two hospital shows on consecutive nights?

Thursday

8:00 - Thursday Night Football (September 15-October 20)

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (Beginning Oct 27)
8:30 - The Great Indoors (NEW - Beginning Oct 27)
9:00 - Mom (Beginning Oct 27)
9:30 - Life in Pieces (New Timeslot - Beginning Oct 27)
10:00 - Pure Genius (NEW - Beginning Oct 27)

I like this assortment of comedies. Mom continues to be CBS's bravest, most adult comedy, and I think it'll work, tonally, with Life in Pieces. I don't know what to  make of Pure Genius (which is a terrible title that makes me think of the 80s Val Kilmer movie, Real Genius), but Elementary wasn't cutting it in the timeslot (and obviously neither was the canceled Rush Hour). I'm interested to see how CBS does launching a new drama there in the fall.

Friday

8:00 - MacGyver (NEW)
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

The Amazing Race will seemingly only get one cycle this season, as it's left off the fall schedule in favor of the rebooted MacGyver, which will be a perfect fit for the Friday night lineup, next to the rebooted Hawaii Five-0. I'm surprised it made the fall schedule, though, since the show will need to be heavily rewritten, reshot and recast.

Sunday

7:00 - 60 Minutes
8:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Madam Secretary (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Elementary

Moving NCIS: LA to such an early timeslot is a bit of a head-scratcher. Sundays are basically a wash in the fall months because of frequent football overruns, so it doesn't show much confidence from CBS to put it there. This is typically where CBS shows go to fade away (CSI, CSI: Cyber, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, etc), so both NCIS: LA and Elementary are likely on their last legs, unless they can pull out some surprises.

Midseason

CBS has two more dramas readying for midseason, Doubt and Training Day, as well as a new reality series, Hunted. They will be joined by returning shows Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, The Amazing Race, and Undercover Boss. Interestingly, CBS has no comedies, new or returning, set for midseason.

There's a lot of wonkiness here, thanks in part to CBS again airing Thursday Night Football. That pushes their Thursday night lineup back about a month later than the rest of their premieres, and it makes their Monday night schedule go haywire since they constantly move The Big Bang Theory around to get the most out of its high ratings. So it'll lead into one comedy in September before moving and leading into another comedy in October. In this case, I think it's unnecessary. Kevin James is a big enough name to launch his own show right off the bat, without help from Big Bang. There are also other moves that just didn't need to be made; why move 2 Broke Girls yet again back to Mondays when it could have stayed on Thursdays after Mom, with Life in Pieces moving into the Monday night block? Another confusing thing, to me, is the fact that both Wednesday and Thursday nights will have medical dramas airing at 10:00. Like I said before, I'm really shocked Code Black even got a second season, when renewing something like Limitless at least would have given the schedule some more variety.

I don't expect MacGyver to light it up at 8:00 on Fridays, but considering its target demographic is likely outside the desirable 18-49 age group, it should do well enough. It fits with Hawaii Five-0, and The Amazing Race hasn't been doing so well lately, so it's definitely time to start looking for a replacement. But the last time CBS launched a new drama on Friday night was 2012, and that show, Made in Jersey, was canceled after just two episodes. Sunday nights will be interesting to watch as well with two veteran dramas fighting to be seen in the fall; Sunday night ratings are typically disastrous for CBS, so it'll be fun to see if NCIS: LA's audience will try to keep up with it.

Read descriptions of CBS's new shows after the jump.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: ABC

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Conviction (NEW)

With Castle gone after eight seasons, the Monday 10:00 timeslot is finally open, and ABC will be using it to launch a new procedural.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Middle (New Timeslot)
8:30 - American Housewife (NEW)
9:00 - Fresh Off the Boat (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Real O'Neals (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (New Timeslot)

This is exciting to me for two reasons: one, I've been hoping for The Middle to move to Tuesdays to start a new comedy hour for two years now; and two, this lineup looks really strong. ABC clearly has a lot of faith in Fresh Off the Boat, pushing it to anchor the night at 9:00, and having an established name at 10:00 like Marvel will likely allow the network to focus elsewhere for the seasons, rather than throwing a bunch of freshmen dramas in the timeslot and watching them burn.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Goldbergs (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Speechless (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - black-ish
10:00 - Designated Survivor (NEW)

The Goldbergs has proven itself in its 8:30 timeslot, often growing out of its lead-in, so it becomes the new 8:00 lead-off. I expected Fresh Off the Boat to join the Wednesday night lineup, but Speechless seems like a good fit with its "quirky family" premise, much like every other show in the mix. And the 10:00 slot goes to an action show now that Nashville is gone. It's been more than five years since ABC tried anything but a soap at that time, so we'll see how that goes.

Thursday

8:00 - Grey's Anatomy
9:00 - Notorious (NEW)
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder

On the heels of Kerry Washington's pregnancy announcement, Scandal is being held for midseason, making way for newbie Notorious. I think it probably would have been better to try The Catch there, just to see if it could perform better in the fall, but Notorious looks like the kind of guilty pleasure stuff that can fit into TGIT.

Friday

8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - Dr. Ken
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20

For the first time since it moved to Fridays in 2012, Last Man Standing will be paired with the same show for a second season: Dr. Ken. The rest of the night remains unchanged as well.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Secrets & Lies
10:00 - Quantico

The second season of Secrets & Lies was originally ordered for this past season, but it was held over to give it a better chance of success (otherwise, ABC could have easily shoved it in the Tuesday 10:00 slot following the swift cancellation of Of Kings & Prophets). It'll air where the first season was in spring of 2015. Once Upon a Time and Quantico stay where they are.

Midseason

Coming up at midseason, ABC has two other new comedies (Imaginary Mary and Downward Dog) and three new dramas (miniseries When We Rise, Shondaland production Still Star-Crossed, and Time After Time, which is tentatively scheduled for Sundays at 9:00), plus the returns of American Crime, Scandal, and The Catch. They also have the three-hour telefilm remake of Dirty Dancing on tap, as well as a new special from magician David Blaine.


This is the first schedule of the season that I have not had an adverse reaction to. The Tuesday comedy expansion makes sense, considering ABC has had more success launching comedies than they have launching dramas. Moving The Middle to lead-off the night is the smartest choice; The Goldbergs could have done the job as well, but that show is really flourishing on Wednesdays, more than enough for it to take the lead-off position now. Scandal suffered this past season in terms of ratings and reception, so perhaps holding it until midseason will give the creators a chance to focus the story (having a 16 episode order, rather than 22, should help things) and the fans/critics a chance to breathe. I think Conviction is the best choice to take the late slot on Monday; it's on-target with ABC's typical demographic, and they have no other procedurals on the air, so it fills a niche. The only slightly questionable move is putting Designated Survivor on Wednesdays at 10:00, since a violent action-thriller doesn't really go with the comedy block before it. But that was always a difficult slot for them to fill prior to Revenge's success in 2011, so maybe taking the risk on Designated Survivor will pay off in the same way. Everything else is relatively stable for the network. Sundays will probably need a makeover this time next year, with Once Upon a Time continuing to slide in the ratings and Quantico basically rebootng itself in season two with no sign of how that will be received, but for now it's good enough.

Read descriptions of ABC's new series after the jump.

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: Fox

UPDATED FRIDAY, MAY 20

Just days after announcing its fall plans, Fox has issued some changes to its schedule: baseball drama Pitch will now air in the fall on Thursdays, bumping back Bones to January and moving the reboot of Prison Break to Tuesday nights.

Monday

8:00 - Gotham
9:00 - Lucifer

Fox keeps its Monday night spring lineup in tact, which may not be the worst idea considering how poorly Minority Report did last fall. Lucifer hasn't exactly lit the airwaves on fire this spring, so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up against bigger competition, like Monday Night Football.

Tuesday

8:00 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New Timeslot)
8:30 - New Girl (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Scream Queens

This is the first time Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in yet another timeslot shift after being bounced out of the Sunday lineup this season, and New Girl have been paired together in over two years, and it went relatively well last time. I'm still shocked that Scream Queens managed a second season after the abysmal ratings and critical reception it received.

Wednesday

8:00 - Lethal Weapon (NEW)
9:00 - Empire

This pairing is jarring to me. When you have another music series ordered by the same man who created Empire, why would you not put it with Empire? Lethal Weapon doesn't really feel like a natural fit for the hip hop soap.

Thursday

8:00 - Rosewood (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Pitch (NEW)

Pitch probably won't get much help from its lead-in, but airing at the same time as the World Series should provide some strong cross-marketing opportunities. Both shows do have African American leads, so perhaps they can attract some overlap in audiences.

Friday

8:00 - Hell's Kitchen (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Exorcist (NEW)

Again, this doesn't make much sense to me. Why debut a new genre series on Friday, when you could have shifted an existing genre show (Lucifer, Scream Queens) here and put The Exorcist in a higher-profile timeslot? Expectations will be lower, sure, but when was the last time Fox successfully launched a Friday night drama? (The last show Fox premiered and aired entirely on Friday and then renewed for a second season was Dollhouse in 2009, and that wasn't really a success at all, with its second season being burned off quickly in 2010. Prior to that, the last Friday-night success was The X-Files, way back in 1993.)

Sunday

7:30 - The OT / Bob's Burgers (New Timeslot)
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Son of Zorn (NEW)
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth

Bob's Burgers gets shafted once again in favor of a new series, this time the animated/live-action hybrid Son of Zorn, which looks weird and quirky enough that it may work with The Simpsons.

Midseason

Fox released an entire tentative midseason schedule. Which includes a hell of a lot of "bridging," which we've seen frequently from ABC. Monday nights, for example, will consist of two new dramas, 24: Legacy at 8:00 (following a premiere after the Super Bowl) and A.P.B. at 9:00, while both Gotham and Lucifer are on an extended break between the fall and spring halves of their seasons. On Tuesdsays, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl will temporarily share 8:00 to lead-in to new comedy The Mick at 8:30. New reality series Kicking & Screaming takes over at 9:00 when Scream Queens ends, followed by the reboot of Prison Break. Limited series Shots Fired goes to Wedensdays at 8:00 when Empire returns with the back-half of its third season; prior to that, Lee Daniels' new music series Star airs at 9:00, paired with the remaining episodes of Lethal Weapon. Bones finishes its 12-episode order on Thursdays at 9:00, with Rosewood staying at 8:00. Masterchef Junior returns to Fridays at 8:00, while Sleepy Hollow's fourth season moves back an hour to Fridays at 9:00. The Sunday lineup for midseason remains the same, except Son of Zorn vacates the 8:30 slot to make way for another new comedy, Making History. Also slated for midseason but without any announced plans is a new cooking show, My Kitchen Rules. In October, Fox will also air the film remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The midseason schedule is hugely ambitious, with the majority of Fox's new shows premiering then. Mondays will be completely new for a time, and that's got to be scary for them, because, despite some name recognition for 24: Legacy, there's no guarantee people will want to come back and watch a whole new show only somewhat-related to the original.

There are also a bunch of missed opportunities here, like pairing Lucifer and Sleepy Hollow on Fridays (taking pressure off the former and possibly giving a boost to the latter, not to mention freeing up a timeslot so a new drama wouldn't have to premiere on Fridays). Star and Empire seem tailor-made for each other, but they're not paired together, either. For a lot of these shows, it feels like Fox is betting a lot on names and hoping that they're enough to get eyes on television sets: Lethal Weapon, Prison Break, The Exorcist, and 24: Legacy are all recognizable titles (and Star is from a recognizable name in Lee Daniels), but this past season proved that doesn't always matter to audiences. Minority Report and Rush Hour both bombed this past season, yet Fox (and other networks) are betting hard that popular films will somehow equate to popular television shows. The Heroes sequel didn't do too well on NBC, but Fox used the same idea to resurrect one of their hits from the same time in Prison Break. It's all very confusing to me, but I suppose Fox is just trying to find something, anything that will stick in its first season post-American Idol, when they have 40+ hours of additional programming to create.

Read descriptions of Fox's new shows after the jump.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: NBC

Monday

8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - Timeless (NEW)

As always, NBC has given its biggest lead-in to a new drama, this time the time-traveling thriller Timeless. It bumps Blindspot to Wednesdays at 8:00, much like The Blacklist did to Revolution a few years back... and that didn't end well for Revolution, which was canceled at the end of its second season.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - This Is Us (NEW)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

Chicago Med moves out of its freshman timeslot to make room for This Is Us, while the rest of the lineup remains the same.

Wednesday

8:00 - Blindspot (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU
10:00 - Chicago P.D.

Blindspot, despite its darkness and violence, moves into the 8:00 hour to lead-in to the other two usual Wednesday night suspects. This is the oddest choice NBC made, I think, when they had other options (Thursdays at 9:00 or 10:00, Tuesdays at 9:00) for Blindspot's move.

Thursday

8:00 - Superstore (New Timeslot)
8:30 - The Good Place (NEW)
9:00 - Chicago Med (New Timeslot)
10:00 - The Blacklist (New Timeslot)

The NBC Thursday comedy block is back after taking a year off, this time with sophomore Superstore leading off the night (but never having to go head-to-head with its biggest competition, The Big Bang Theory, because of Thursday Night Football), paired with The Good Place. Chicago Med follows in a new hour, and The Blacklist gets pushed back to where it always should have been at 10:00.

Friday

8:00 - Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

There are no changes, surprisingly, to the Friday night lineup. Grimm's order has been confirmed for only 13 episodes, though the option remains open for more. But NBC is actively seeking a genre replacement for the aging series, with Emerald City and Midnight, Texas cited by Chairman Bob Greenblatt as potentials.

Sunday

Football Night in America

Midseason

Preliminary Sunday night plans at midseason include the return of Little Big Shots; the newest branch of the Chicago-set franchise, Chicago Justice; and the second season of the Jennifer Lopez-led Shades of Blue. NBC has four other new dramas coming at midseason (The Blacklist: Redemption, Emerald City, Taken, and Midnight, Texas) and four new comedies (Great News, Marlon, Powerless, and Trial & Error), plus the third season of The Carmichael Show. Other shows returning at midseason include Hollywood Game Night and The New Celebrity Apprentice. They will join new alternative series The Wall and First Dates. In addition, NBC announced last week the second in its collaborations with Dolly Parton, a sequel to last year's successful Coat of Many Colors, this one titled Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. This December's annual live musical will be Hairspray Live!, joined by a new event: a live drama, a production of Aaron Sorkin's play A Few Good Men.

With so many new shows on tap, it's clear NBC is trying to get back in the game. But they're all being held for midseason. NBC has seven new dramas ordered for the upcoming season, but only two made the fall schedule. Of course, Sunday nights will become available in the spring once football ends, but NBC hasn't really had much luck launching scripted programming on that night. I expected, at least, a new series to be airing at 8:00 on Friday. But perhaps some of these new dramas are being developed as limited series, which would open up more time (and they do have three more hours a week to play with in January and February when The Voice is on hiatus), but this is a relatively disappointing schedule. There are some interesting things happening with the shows NBC has ordered, but the fall schedule just reflects how rote they are. There are no really big moves here. Sure, shifting The Blacklist back an hour makes sense, and it probably should have been done a year or more ago. Sure, debuting a new show after The Voice on Mondays makes sense, but they do it every year and the show that ends up suffering is the sophomore series who has to give up their spot (see: the cancellation of Revolution, or the ratings crash of The Blacklist). Sure, cancelling The Mysteries of Laura left Wednesdays at 8:00 open, and the easiest move is just shifting Blindspot, but how well will that show really do in such an early hour? There's a lot here that makes sense, but it isn't going to turn anything around for NBC. Hopefully their new shows are strong enough to do that.

Read descriptions of the new series after the jump.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2016-2017 Broadcast Season: New Series Pickups

UPDATED SATURDAY, MAY 14

Click after the jump for log-lines of the new shows ordered to series by broadcast networks so far. Updated frequently as new information becomes available.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pilot Review: Houdini & Doyle


Houdini & Doyle (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox)

Fox is getting a jump start on the summer season with the early debut of the new Canadian-British series Houdini & Doyle. Already aired in the UK, the show draws upon the real-life friendship of master illusionist Harry Houdini and prolific writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame, and it may have been better serviced had it simply been a retelling of their relationship. But instead we get a strange kind of supernatural period police procedural that hews far from facts and deals mostly in cliches.