Saturday, December 13, 2014

Midseason Schedule: NBC

Say goodbye to NBC's Thursday night comedy block, because for the first time in almost 40 years, NBC will be airing three dramas on Thursdays.

Mondays

8:00 - The Celebrity Apprentice (Beginning January 5)
8:00 - The Voice (Beginning February 23)
10:00 - State of Affairs
10:00 - The Night Shift (Beginning February 23)

With The Blacklist moving to Thursdays and State of Affairs only producing 13 episodes this season, last year's surprise summer hit The Night Shift makes the move to the regular season, and with a great lead-in from The Voice no less. The Celebrity Apprentice gets the burn-off treatment, airing 14 episodes back-to-back, with a special premiere on January 4 and then six weeks of two-hour blocks on Mondays (no surprise given that the show completed filming nearly a year ago).

Tuesdays

8:00 - Parks & Recreation (Beginning January 13)
8:00 - The Voice (Beginning February 24)
9:00 - Undateable (Beginning March 17)
9:30 - One Big Happy (NEW - Beginning March 17)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

Parks & Rec airs its final season in one-hour increments for seven weeks, ending with a finale on February 24 at 10:00. The premiere comes on the heels of the Golden Globes, which Poehler is once again hosting with Tina Fey, to maximize the show's exposure. After The Voice cuts back to one hour, another summer series, Undateable, gets its sizable lead-in when it leads off a new multi-cam comedy block with the Ellen Degeneres-produced freshman, One Big Happy. Marry Me and About a Boy will air in January and return later in the season, likely summer.

Wednesdays

8:00 - The Mysteries of Laura
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU
10:00 - Chicago P.D.

No changes for one of NBC's more stable nights (thought not necessarily highly-rated).

Thursdays

8:00 - The Slap (NEW - Beginning February 12)
9:00 - The Blacklist (Beginning February 5)
10:00 - Allegiance (NEW - Beginning February 5)

The Biggest Loser, Bad Judge, and A to Z all finish their runs in late January. Then The Blacklist makes it big move, potentially boosted by its post-Super Bowl airing on February 1, followed by the premiere of Allegiance.

Fridays

8:00 - Dateline
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Constantine

Constantine did not get a backorder for its first season, so the 10:00 timeslot will be open around March. Nothing was announced as its replacement, but the third season of Hannibal seems likely.

Sundays

8:00 -  TBA
9:00 - A.D. (NEW - Beginning April 5)
10:00 - Odyssey (NEW - Beginning April 5)

NBC hasn't set any programming for Sundays at 8:00 after football ends. For now, "special programming" will occupy Sunday nights through the end of March. Then A.D., the miniseries sequel to History's The Bible, will premiere on Easter Sunday, followed by Odyssey. NBC didn't have a lot of luck with scripted drama programming on Sundays last season, but A.D at least has the potential to garner viewers.

This leaves comedy Mr. Robinson and dramas Aquarius and Hannibal without air dates. With The Night Shift and Undateable moving to the regular season, could Mr. Robinson and Aquarius move to summer? It's possible, though Sundays at 8:00 and Fridays at 10:00 will be open, as well as Thursdays at 8:00 following The Slap's eight-week run (which should end on April 2, leaving 7-8 weeks of the regular season remaining). Heroes Reborn is also slated for summer, and Hollywood Game Night is on deck as well.

For descriptions of NBC's new shows, see the 2014 schedule announcement from upfronts in May.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Golden Globes 2015: TV Nominations

I've never commented on the Golden Globes on this blog, mostly because I think their film awards typically carry more weight than their television ones. (Can you even remember what won Best Comedy Series last year? It was Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was an out-of-left-field choice and one that hardly made any waves given that it didn't translate to the Emmys or the ratings.) Even their film nominees and winners have a history of catering to popularity over art, but this year the Hollywood Foreign Press seemed to want to go legit by nominating a host of new, acclaimed series and stars. The nominees are:

Best Television Series - Drama

Downton Abbey
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Game of Thrones
The Affair

The first thing the Globes have in common with the Emmys here is the lack of love for broadcast dramas. Despite Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder topping the ratings and many viewers' favorites lists, CBS's The Good Wife is the only drama on a broadcast network to receive a nomination in the top category. It's also nice to see Showtime's critically-acclaimed but underwatched new series The Affair slip in.

Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series - Drama

Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
Liev Schrieber - Ray Donovan
Dominic West - The Affair
James Spader - The Blacklist
Clive Owen - The Knick

Cinemax enters the fray for the first time ever with a major nomination for its new series The Knick. Schrieber, Spacey, and Spader all repeat from last year, but with 2014's winner (Bryan Cranston) now out of the picture and Masters of Sex's Michael Sheen failing to repeat, Owen and West were able to secure nods.

Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

Robin Wright - House of Cards
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder
Claire Danes - Homeland
Ruth Wilson - The Affair

Homeland is going through a bit of a revival with a strong fourth season (following the abomination that was season three), so it's good to see Danes' name back on the list after missing out last year. Davis secured her second major nomination for the fall's highest-rated new drama, following a SAG nomination yesterday, and she looks well on her way to an Emmy nomination later in the year. Margulies has been nominated every year The Good Wife has been on the air but only won once, in 2010; on the heels of her Emmy win, will she get another one here?

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Girls
Orange is the New Black
Transparent
Jane the Virgin
Silicon Valley

This is a really interesting category. Gone are former stalwarts Modern Family (which was completely shut out for the first time in its five year history) and The Big Bang Theory, as well as last year's winner, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So no matter what, a first-time winner will be crowned in this category. Orange is the New Black was categorized as a drama in 2014, and it competes for the top prize for the first time this year. And let's all welcome The CW and Amazon to the awards-season fold! Amazon had a great year with its first adult series, Transparent, garnering rapturous reviews and now some awards love as well. And The CW seems to have finally crossed over from the narrow appeal of its target demographic (comic book fans and teenage girls) with Jane the Virgin garnering the network's first major nominations in its eight-year history.

Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Don Cheadle - House of Lies
Ricky Gervais - Derek
William H. Macy - Shameless
Louis C.K. - Louie
Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent

Cheadle is the only returning nominee in this wide-open category, which includes Macy for the first time since Shameless switched from competing as a drama to a comedy this season. And despite poking fun at HFPA for years, Gervais managed another nomination for his Netflix show, proving that the group behind the Globes doesn't take itself too seriously and can take a joke without taking it too personally.

Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Lena Dunham - Girls
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Gina Rodriguez - Jane the Virgin
Taylor Schilling - Orange is the New Black

Schilling was nominated last year when Orange competed as a drama (the show's sole recognition), but she'll have just as tough a time of it this season with competition from Louis-Dreyfus, who now has three consecutive Emmys for Veep but has never won the Globe.

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Olive Kitteridge
The Normal Heart
True Detective
Fargo
The Missing

After competing (and mostly losing) at the Emmys as a drama series, the Globes recognize True Detective for what it is: an anthology mini-series. It will go head-to-head with Fargo for the first time at a major awards show.

Best Performance By an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Matthew McConaughey - True Detective
Woody Harrelson - True Detective
Martin Freeman - Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton - Fargo
Mark Ruffalo - The Normal Heart

For my money, this one is McConaughey vs. Thornton.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jessica Lange - American Horror Story: Freak Show
Frances O'Connor - The Missing
Frances McDormand - Olive Kitteridge
Maggie Gyllenhaal - The Honourable Woman
Allison Tolman - Fargo

Will Tolman win the Globe after many felt she was robbed of the Emmy?

Best Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jon Voight - Ray Donovan
Matt Bomer - The Normal Heart
Bill Murray - Olive Kitteridge 
Colin Hanks - Fargo
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife

After Voight's surprise win last year, I won't count him out this time. But I sincerely hope the Globes can do some justice by Matt Bomer, who should have taken home the Emmy in September.

Best Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Allison Janney - Mom
Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black
Kathy Bates - American Horror Story: Freak Show
Michelle Monaghan - True Detective
Joanne Froggatt - Downton Abbey

Janney, Aduba, and Bates all won Emmys in September (though Bates' was for Coven, whereas her nomination here is for Freak Show), so this category is pretty open. Of note is that this is the first year since its debut in 2009 that Sofia Vergara has not been nominated in this category (even crazier: two-time Emmy winner Julie Bowen has never been nominated).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Midseason Schedule: CBS

CBS has done well for itself on the freshman drama front, especially since it had no dramas from last year renewed for a second season. Their comedies aren't doing nearly as well, with second-season sitcom The Millers axed and pulled after just a handful of episodes. So whereas the comedy situation is a bit confusing, it's even worse for the dramas: with everything performing at-or-above expectations, even a moderately successful series (Stalker) will be getting short shrift to make way for the midseason dramas waiting on the bench.

Mondays

8:00 - 2 Broke Girls
8:30 - Mike & Molly
9:00 - Scorpion
10:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles

After The Millers' second season crashed, perennial backup plan Mike & Molly was brought in to succeed it. The new season begins this coming Monday, December 8, and will continue through next year.

Tuesdays

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: New Orleans
10:00 - Person of Interest

NCIS: New Orleans is performing only slightly below its lead-in, which is a good thing, except that its lead-in is down pretty significantly as well.

Wednesdays

8:00 - The Mentalist (beginning January 7)
8:00 - Survivor (beginning February 25)
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Stalker
10:00 - CSI: Cyber (NEW - beginning March 4)

The Mentalist signs off for good when its series finale airs on February 18, and a new season of Survivor takes over the following week. Stalker is getting some really strange treatment, vacating the schedule to make way for the newest CSI spin-off and then returning later in the season. It hasn't been performing all that poorly (it has won its timeslot every week against regular broadcast competition), but it is the lowest of all the new dramas (though Madam Secretary fluctuates so much that it's almost not fair to compare it to anything else).

Thursdays

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - Mom
8:30 - The Odd Couple (NEW - beginning February 19)
9:00 - Two and a Half Men
9:00 - The Big Bang Theory (Repeats - beginning February 26)
9:30 - The McCarthys
9:30 - Mom (Beginning February 26)
10:00 - Elementary

With only The Odd Couple on deck for midseason now that The Millers has been pulled and replaced by Mike & Molly, CBS has a lack of comedies to fill out its schedule. So 9:00 will be used for Big Bang repeats once Two and a Half Men's 11-year run comes to an end, with an hour-long episode, during Sweeps.

Fridays

8:00 - Undercover Boss (beginning January 2)
8:00 - The Amazing Race (beginning February 27)
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

Undercover Boss airs three episodes in December on Sunday nights before reassuming its timeslot from last season between cycles of The Amazing Race.

Sundays

8:00 - Madam Secretary
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - CSI
10:00 - Battle Creek (NEW - Beginning March 1)

CSI may be on its way off the schedule, as this season's episode order was cut from 22 to 18. And whereas the CSI spin-off was originally scheduled for Sundays, it will get a better lead-in on Wednesdays, leaving Battle Creek to fight for its life following one of CBS's lowest-rated dramas.

For descriptions of the new shows, see the 2014 schedule announcement from upfronts in May.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Midseason Schedule: ABC

Updated December 10 with Fresh Off the Boat premiere information

With only one real freshman hit this fall in How to Get Away with Murder and two huge sitcom failures (and the complete collapse of Resurrection in its second season), ABC has a lot riding on its midseason schedule. Murder will only be around until the end of February sweeps because lead Viola Davis is only contracted for a maximum of fifteen episodes per season, so the other nights will need to play strongly in its absence.

Mondays

8:00 - The Bachelor (beginning January 5)
10:00 - Castle

Dancing with the Stars will, presumably, take back its Monday night timeslot sometime in March. Mondays have been a steady, unchanged stalwart for ABC.

Tuesdays

8:00 - Fresh Off the Boat (NEW - beginning February 10)
9:00 - Agent Carter (NEW - Beginning January 6)
9:00 - Agents of SHIELD (Beginning in March)
10:00 - Forever

Fresh Off the Boat will get a sampling on February 4 when it airs twice during the Wednesday night lineup at 8:30 and 9:30, before moving to its permanent home here. ABC doesn't seem deterred by the dual failures of Selfie and Manhattan Love Story this fall, though it may come down to just not having the schedule space to put the new comedy anywhere else. At least it's getting a bit more exposure with the previews airing on a more successful night. Limited series Agent Carter assumes its parent series' timeslot for eight weeks while SHIELD goes on hiatus. If Carter performs at the same level as SHIELD, I imagine ABC will be satisfied.

Wednesdays

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - The Goldbergs
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Black-ish
10:00 - Nashville

No changes here. The Goldbergs has been thriving in the family-comedy lineup, often outperforming its lead-in and its own performance last year on Tuesdays. Black-ish is doing well for ABC also, and it's the first post-Modern Family freshman to air at 9:30 for the entire season (aside from Cougar Town, which premiered alongside Modern Family in 2009).

Thursdays

8:00 - The Taste (Beginning December 4)
8:00 - Grey's Anatomy (Beginning January 29)
9:00 - Scandal (Beginning January 29)
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder (Beginning January 29)
10:00 - American Crime (NEW - Beginning March 5)

The Taste airs its third season in two-hour increments as holiday filler until TGIT returns just in time for February sweeps. After a two-hour finale, How to Get Away with Murder vacates the schedule to make room for American Crime, which was originally slated to air on Sundays at 9:00 but is apparently too dark for the earlier hour.

Fridays

8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - Cristela
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20

Cristela continues its underdog victory lap with a full-season order. The pilot was a last-minute addition, filmed on a shoestring budget on the Last Man Standing set with much of that show's crew, before being ordered to series in May. Now it has a full 22-episode pickup, cementing its reputation as The Little Show That Could.

Sundays

8:00 - Galavant (NEW - Beginning January 4)
8:00 - Once Upon a Time (Beginning March 1)
9:00 - Resurrection
9:00 - Secrets & Lies (NEW - Beginning March 1)
10:00 - Revenge

With Resurrection absolutely bombing in its already-short (13 episodes) sophomore season and Revenge hitting all-time lows, the Ryan Phillipe-led Secrets & Lies has a low bar set for it when it debuts the first Sunday in March, one week after the Oscars. Galavant looks strange and fanciful, but it's getting the burn-off treatment when it airs back-to-back episodes for four weeks in January and February.

After all is said and done, ABC still has one freshman drama (The Whispers) to slot in, as well as the new Shark Tank spin-off Beyond the Tank.

For descriptions of the new shows debuting midseason, see the 2014 upfronts schedule announcement from May.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Midseason Schedule: Fox

Fox has taken a lot of hits this season. Their former President, Kevin Reilly, left the network right around upfronts, putting them in a strange situation: he'd done away with pilot season, and Fox was now stuck with all of his final decisions and no one to account for them. Among those questionable decisions Reilly made before jumping ship: ordering a full year (52 weeks) of untested reality series Utopia; sending a bunch of shows straight to series, including the canceled-before-airing Hieroglyph and the unnecessary Broadchurch remake, Gracepoint; and renewing Glee for two seasons last year, before the next-to-last season took a huge nosedive in the ratings. So there are still a few months left in the season before Fox can do an overhaul on the Reilly era, and those months are a bit of a scheduling mess.

Mondays

8:00 - Gotham
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow
9:00 - The Following (beginning March 9; two-hour premiere March 2)

The Following struggled both creatively and in the ratings during its second season. I was surprised to see it renewed, especially with the original cast in tact, but, compared to the other woeful drama ratings for Fox, it may not do too terribly.

Tuesdays

8:00 - Masterchef Junior
8:00 - Hell's Kitchen (beginning March 3)
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - The Mindy Project
9:30 - Weird Loners (NEW - beginning March 31)

The third season of Masterchef Junior premieres on the heels of the second season finale, a surprisingly strong ratings contender for Fox. The Mindy Project received an order for additional episodes to bring it through March, when Weird Loners, which has just a 6-episode order, takes over.

Wednesdays

8:00 - American Idol (beginning January 7)
9:00 - Empire (NEW - beginning January 7)

Fox has to be hoping some of the viewers who ran from the last season of American Idol return this year, though the damage may be done. Hip-hop drama Empire, starring two Academy Award nominees, hopes to (at the very least) do better than canceled fall drama Red Band Society.

Thursdays

8:00 - American Idol (two hours beginning January 8)
8:00 - Bones (beginning March 26)
9:00 - Backstrom (NEW - beginning January 22)
9:00 - Wayward Pines (NEW - beginning May 14)

So as of March, American Idol will be cut down to just one hour per week. Backstrom, which was originally a busted pilot which Fox later ordered to series, will be facing steep competition from Scandal on ABC and The Blacklist on NBC. And Wayward Pines gets the Gang Related treatment.

Fridays

8:00 - World's Funniest Fails (NEW - beginning January 16)
9:00 - Glee (beginning January 16; two-hour premiere January 9)

Glee rides off into the sunset with a very quick burn-off of its final 13 episodes, all of which will air in just 11 weeks (the two-hour series finale is on March 20). It gets a brand-new viral video clip show, along the lines of MTV's Ridiculousness, as a lead-in, which just looks like Fox giving up on Fridays for now.

Sundays

7:30 - Mulaney
7:30 - Bob's Burgers (beginning March 1)
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth (NEW - beginning March 8; one-hour premiere March 1)

The good-as-canceled Mulaney finishes out its run by the end of February, when Fox is betting on SNL vet Will Forte's new comedy The Last Man on Earth to make good use of the Family Guy lead-in, at least until Seth MacFarlane's new animated series is ready to go. Bob's Burgers once again gets the shortest straw at that point and moves back to 7:30.

All of this just leaves the animated Bordertown, which seems likely to be held for next year at this point, without an air date.

For descriptions of the new scripted series, see the 2014 schedule post from May.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pilot Review: Constantine

Constantine (Fridays at 10:00 on NBC)

Just in case you didn't have your fill of comic book adaptations almost every other night of the week, NBC is here to remedy that situation by bringing the DC series Hellblazer to the small screen as Constantine. It's a late entry in the comic adaptation game (and in the fall season), and it's not an entirely successful one. But in terms of sheer enjoyability, this latest offering ranks high.

Friday, October 17, 2014

State of the Union: Fall 2014

We're now four weeks into the new television season, and networks are starting to make decisions on the futures of some new shows. Click through below to see where the newbies stand.

Additionally, CBS has pulled the plug on comedy The Millers after airing just four episodes of its second season. Shows being canceled so early in their runs that are not new series is relatively unheard of, especially since The Millers was pulled just one day after a lower-rated freshman show got an order for more scripts. (Updated December 1 - Fate of all Fall 2014 shows now known)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pilot Review: Marry Me

Marry Me (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC)

NBC is batting zero with me this fall. Of the three new shows they've premiered (this one, Bad Judge, A to Z), none of them made me want to return for another episode. Maybe because they're all about annoying douchebags, especially the erratic Marry Me. What is the impetus to watch a show about awful people? I'll never know, and I won't be starting with Marry Me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pilot Review: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin (Mondays at 9:00 on The CW)

With a title like Jane the Virgin, you know exactly what you're getting: something a little risque with a bit of silliness. Make that a whole heap of silliness, once we hit about the halfway point of the absurd CW pilot based on the Venezuelan series Juana la Virgen. That's when the show embraces its melodramatic, over-the-top roots as a telenovela adaptation and takes a nosedive into near-nonsense.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pilot Review: Cristela

Cristela (Fridays at 8:30 on ABC)

The family sitcom has been done to death, but Cristela has the "twist" of being about a Mexican family. That little word makes all the difference in a television landscape that under-represents minorities, even as Univision gives the broadcast networks a run for their money in the ratings department: star, writer, and producer Cristela Alonzo is one of very few Latina/Hispanic (she shares the character's Mexican-American nationality) actors on broadcast television, and the only one in a leading role. For that alone, Cristela is admirable. And while "admirable" doesn't always translate to "good," the laughs in ABC's newest pilot land more often than they miss.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pilot Review: The Flash

The Flash (Tuesdays at 8:00 on The CW; Premieres October 7)

The second of three new DC Comics-based shows is The CW's The Flash, starring Grant Gustin (Glee) as the titular superhero. While technically a spin-off of the network's popular Arrow, as Gustin had a two-episode arc in that show's most recent season, this new take on the World's Fastest Man differs heavily in tone and execution. The Green Arrow and The Flash may exist in the same television universe, but they couldn't be more different. Whereas Arrow is dark and brooding, The Flash is silly and over-the-top, the way comic book adaptations used to be

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pilot Review: Mulaney

Mulaney (Sundays at 9:30 on Fox)

Remember Seinfeld? Of course you do, it was one of the most popular and most celebrated sitcoms of all time. Fox is hoping that you not only remember it, but that you miss it enough to want to watch another up-and-coming comedian blatantly rip that show off in his own bid for sitcom stardom. Prove to Fox that you're smarter and more discerning than that by skipping this mess.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pilot Review: Stalker


Stalker (Wednesdays at 10:00 on CBS)

Let's first clear the air on something: Stalker is not the misogynistic, heinously violent series that many reviewers have made it out to be. Anyone who has blasted the show for its opening sequence, in which a woman is trapped in a flaming car that then explodes, simply has not watched it. While this scene is creepy and suspenseful and suggestively violent, the actual murder is not shown. That goes for the entirety of Stalker. While it tackles a subject that is inherently disconcerting and voyeuristic, the show itself is actually relatively tasteful. There was more on-screen violence in this week's second episode of Gotham, and the torture scenes are almost all mental rather than physical, so it doesn't even compare to creator Kevin Williamson's last show, The Following. The show itself may not be the most progressive or the most unique, but it's better and more timely than its early detractors have suggested.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pilot Review: A to Z

A to Z (Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC; Premieres October 2)

There is such a thing as trying too hard to stick out. Comedies like Veep, Arrested Development, and others develop rabid followings because their characters (and the actors playing them) are a little off; Pushing Daisies stuck out because of its bold visual style and perspective; and there are countless other examples of shows that had a quirk to them that audiences and critics could latch onto. NBC's new romantic comedy A to Z tries to put all of them into one show, and it fails.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pilot Review: Manhattan Love Story

Manhattan Love Story (Tuesdays at 8:30 on ABC)

ABC has the two smartest sitcoms of the season in Black-ish and Selfie. They have gone above and beyond the typical comedy setups of "a bunch of friends looking for love" or "dysfunctional family" and crossed over into social commentary and satire. Why, then, is ABC airing Manhattan Love Story, the worst kind of trite, oversimplified, offensively dumb show: the gender roles comedy? They are clearly capable of doing much better, of providing viewers with thoughtful humor, but you would never guess it after subjecting yourself to just a few minutes of Love Story.