Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pilot Review: Almost Human

Almost Human (Mondays at 8:00 on Fox)

Dystopian stories are all the rage now, what with the insane popularity of The Hunger Games books and films and at least half a dozen similar tales coming down the pike. Almost Human is Fox cashing in on that craze. As is the case with most thrown-together stories that follow a trend, it's almost entirely derivative and devoid of any creativity, originality, or fun.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

State of the Union: Fall TV Shows

There was a huge flurry of news today regarding many of the new shows this fall, so I thought I'd put all the information about each new show in one place so any readers who haven't seen the individual announcements would know where each series stands.

I will update this list periodically, as more shows' fates are revealed. (Updated: December 6, marked with *)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pilot Review: The Tomorrow People


The Tomorrow People (Wednesdays at 9:00 on The CW)

The Tomorrow People has a lot working against it: it's on The CW, its title sucks, and its premise is a rip off of a dozen (or more) more popular works. Just off the top of my head, The Tomorrow People bears more than a passing resemblance to X-Men, Heroes, Misfits and Alias, to the point that the pilot sometimes feels like a pastiche of old scripts and lines from these superior serials. But it also has a sense of humor about itself, and it moves at a quick, action-filled clip so that we don't really get the sense of deja-vu that is lurking around every corner.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pilot Review: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC)

After a messy, convoluted, bloated, cheesy, mostly unsuccessful second season, Once Upon a Time needed an injection of new blood. So creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz did it; but rather than giving the jolt of energy to the flailing ABC drama, they put it into a new show instead: the clunkily-titled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. More of an extension than a spin-off, since it doesn't feature any characters from the parent series, Wonderland is nonetheless the shot of espresso this now-franchise needed to seem exciting again. And despite some stumbles, it's just that: exciting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brief Reviews: Betrayal, Super Fun Night, Hostages, The Millers



Even though I've seen all the pilots that have aired so far (and one that hasn't), I've fallen behind in reviewing them because there was a glut these past couple of weeks. So below are a few reviews for shows I never got around to writing in-depth reviews for: Betrayal and Super Fun Night on ABC, and Hostages and The Millers on CBS.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pilot Review: The Originals


The Originals (Tuesdays at 8:00 on The CW; Premieres October 3)

I gave up on The Vampire Diaries very early into its most recent season (its fourth). After a rocky beginning to season one, the show grew into one of television's more entertaining primetime soaps. Some of that fun got lost by the end of the third season when the show took the inevitable turn of making its leading human lady into a vampire. That's about the time I stopped watching it, though not solely because of this turning point. I also hated vampire Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who originally boarded the show in the second season and just never left, despite the writers constantly running his storyline into walls. Now he's getting his own spin-off, and I'm about as taken with it as I was with the later seasons of the parent series... which is to say, I'm not really taken with it at all.

Pilot Reviews: Welcome to the Family & Sean Saves the World



With the departure of The Office and 30 Rock, NBC has begun to restructure its Thursday night comedy lineup as family-centric rather than workplace-centric. The centerpieces are the returns of beloved sitcom stars Michael J. Fox (whose show last week didn't do as well, critically or commercially, as I'm sure NBC had hoped) and Will & Grace's Sean Hayes. Joining them are Parks & Recreation, the sole survivor of the workplace comedies, and Welcome to the Family, a much less ballyhooed, nontraditional family sitcom starring Emmy nominee Mike O'Malley (Glee, Yes Dear) and Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight). They're a mostly uneven blend, and mostly uneven in quality as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pilot Review: Ironside


Ironside (Wednesdays at 10:00 on NBC; Premieres October 2)

When NBC's schedule was announced back in May, many (including myself) scratched their heads at the inclusion of Ironside, a low-key remake of the successful 1960s/1970s cop show starring America's favorite investigator, Raymond Burr. Burr had already established himself as a huge television draw in Perry Mason, and Ironside proved his lasting popularity. NBC's remake, the newest in a long string of questionable television updates (see: CW's Melrose Place; ABC's L.A. Dragnet, Night Stalker and Charlie's Angels; and NBC's own Bionic Woman and Knight Rider), does not have the same pedigree in its leading man, Blair Underwood, nor does it have much appeal to a young audience. After viewing the pilot, considering all these factors, I'm even more confused by what Ironside is doing on the fall schedule. To overcome such obstacles as a passe concept and a leading man who has never successfully carried his own show, I would have thought something in Ironside was great. I'm still left looking for that greatness.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pilot Review: We Are Men


We Are Men (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS; Premieres September 30)

Remember when comedies had leading men who were funny? When sitcoms could revolve around male characters who had charm, warmth and humor? When men on shows like these could interact with women without demeaning them and did not need to make homophobic or misogynist jokes to assert their masculinity? Good thing we have those memories, because We Are Men is the latest comedy to prove that that type of show is long gone.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pilot Review: The Michael J. Fox Show

The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC)

Much has been made in the media about this past Thursday's Robin Williams vs. Michael J. Fox showdown. It was for one night only, since The Michael J. Fox Show will claim its 9:30 timeslot beginning next Thursday, and Robin Williams came out handily on top with the biggest debut so far this season, but the real question shouldn't be which beloved TV star will draw in more viewers in his network return. The real question is, whose show is better? It's not a simple answer, because both shows are pretty weak.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pilot Review: The Crazy Ones


The Crazy Ones (Thursdays at 9:00 on CBS)

It feels kind of strange to review this pilot, because I don't really think it is indicative of what The Crazy Ones will become. The pilot serves mostly as a showcase for Robin Williams, and why wouldn't it be? He's the show's primary selling point. But so much of what made me enjoy the episode is centered around a truly hysterical, scene-stealing guest spot from Kelly Clarkson. What will the show be without her? Having to strike her presence from The Crazy Ones, I'm not sure how much of what's left I actually care to watch again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pilot Review: Back in the Game


Back in the Game (Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC; Premieres September 25)

I'm ready to christen 2013 as the Fall of Backward Comedies. We have The Goldbergs mining the 80s for comedic material; NBC's upcoming Welcome to the Family relying on a 1970s-ish setup and old stereotypes for humor; The Crazy Ones attempting to bank on Robin Williams's tried-and-true mania, if only because that made Mork & Mindy successful forty years ago; the "He-Man Woman Haters Club" mentality of We Are Men; and now Back in the Game, which is just a small screen translation of the 1976 film The Bad News Bears. And it's a bad one at that.

Pilot Review: Lucky 7


Lucky 7 (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC)

I'm a bit confused by Lucky 7. Not with the show itself; it's about as straightforward as a show can get. I'm confused about what it's doing on ABC's lineup. Lucky 7 is unassuming. Nothing about its concept, cast or execution is wave-making, earth-moving, or exciting. It's a small drama (bordering on soap) with a small budget and a big cast of small names. And to then stick it in the timeslot ABC has had some big issues filling with any success shows a total lack of confidence. To be successful, Lucky 7 would have had to be stellar entertainment. But it's not.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pilot Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)

The look and feel of ABC's new small-screen addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a reminder of how good broadtcast television can be with the right people (and enough money) behind it. Unfortunately, it's also a reminder of what can happen when there are too many cooks in the kitchen pulling a series in too many different directions. While Agents of SHIELD is quick-witted and visually stimulating, it's also a confusing blend of genres without much plot.

Pilot Review: Trophy Wife



Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30 on ABC; Premieres September 24)

Who would have thought a show with a title like Trophy Wife, which immediately conjurs images of trashy bottle blondes in short skirts on the arms of unattractive but wealthy senior men, would be the show with the most heart and warmth in the entire lot of new fall offerings?

Pilot Review: The Blacklist


The Blacklist (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC)

I was really excited to watch The Blacklist after hearing a ton of advance praise from critics and audiences alike (apparently it was NBC's highest-tested pilot since Heroes). The early previews made the show look slick and smart, and the prime slot out of The Voice relayed NBC's faith in it. So I was surprised when I found the pilot to be kind of a mess.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pilot Review: Mom


Mom (Mondays at 9:30 on CBS; Premieres September 23)

Chuck Lorre has a long string of successes at CBS: Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, the highest-rated show on broadcast television. Mom is his attempt at a fourth mega-hit, and it's a solid, if not always great, one. Falling somewhere below The Big Bang Theory in terms of laugh-out-loud moments, somewhere above Mike & Molly in terms of wit, and well above Two and a Half Men in terms of overall quality, Mom is a fun and often funny (imagine that!) vehicle for two very talented ladies.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions

I'm horrible at predicting the Emmys (at least compared to how well I can predict the Oscars), and I'm busy writing up a bunch of reviews for some of the new shows premiering this week, so I'm just going to post a list of my predictions, rather than going nominee-by-nominee and rationalizing my choices. Also, there are predictions, not what I hope will happen. That's a much different list.

Pilot Review: The Goldbergs


The Goldbergs (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC; Premieres September 24)

The Goldbergs is not even close to being good comedy. The jokes are recycled; the premise is tired. But that's kind of the point, I think. It's a slice of 1980s-flavored nostalgia filtered through the dysfunctional family lens, and there's enough charm in that conceit to make The Goldbergs amusing for a split second, until you realize how mediocre it really is.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pilot Reviews: Dads & Brooklyn Nine-Nine



Fox kicks off its Tuesday night comedy block this fall with two new shows: Dads, executive produced by network wunderkind Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show) in his first live-action series commitment, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine from the Parks and Recreation team of Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Tonally and quality-wise, these two shows could not be further apart. The former is a low-brow multi-cam without an ounce of heart, and the latter is a quirky single-cam with a boatload of charm.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pilot Review: Sleepy Hollow



Sleepy Hollow (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox)

There will probably be no in-between with Sleepy Hollow: you will be on board with it, or you won't. This isn't the type of show that you'll need to give three or five episodes to decide if you want to commit to watching it. No, you will know by the end of this zany pilot whether or not the show is for you. I fall firmly into the "yes" camp.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pilot Review: The White Queen


The White Queen (Saturdays at 8:00 on Starz; Premieres August 10)

I will start by admitting that The White Queen isn't really in my wheelhouse. I may be in the minority, but I don't get into shows like The Tudors, The Borgias, or even Game of Thrones. Costume heavy period dramas just aren't my thing. So I was probably predestined to not like Starz's latest offering, a co-production with the BBC, though that didn't stop me from sitting through the first episode of the series, set during the Wars of the Roses in pre-Tudor England. The good news for you: if you like the shows mentioned above, particularly the first two, then you can stop reading now and trust that you will also enjoy The White Queen. But I didn't, so I don't.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pilot Review: Siberia


 Siberia (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC; Premieres July 1)

If you haven't heard of this show, I'm not surprised. Siberia sort of came out of nowhere last month when NBC acquired it from Infinity Films (which was founded by Capote Oscar nominee Michael Ohoven). The series has made few waves so far, and there is very little information about it available. In this case, that's a good thing. Not knowing what to expect made the experience of watching Siberia's first hour fun; in fact, I'd go so far as to encourage you not to even read NBC's official blurb, because it contains a spoiler for a plot point not mentioned in the pilot that I think tarnished my viewing experience just a bit. If you follow the show's discoveries and unravelings along with the cast, Siberia can be a strange, engaging, curious way to spend your time.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pilot Review: Below Deck

Below Deck (Mondays at 10:00 on Bravo; Premieres July 1)

Rather than looking for the next lowest-common-denominator series like Princesses: Long Island or Most Eligible: Dallas, Bravo has instead opted for a kind of youthful Downton Abbey at sea, a reality television version of the 1980s film Overboard. That's the best way I can describe Below Deck, the newest addition to the Summer by Bravo lineup. It's an appropriate new show for summer, full of sun and poor choices, and it even manages to be passably entertaining and moderately fun. In other words, Below Deck is a great summer diversion that doesn't require the viewer to pay very close attention in order to enjoy it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pilot Review: Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan (Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime; Premieres June 30)

I'm going to be in the minority on this show, and I'm okay with that: I really do not like Ray Donovan. I can recognize its potential and its positive attributes, and I can understand what others will enjoy and find praiseworthy in it (namely the performances and the overall darkness of the show). But for me, Ray Donovan is predictable, slow, and glowering.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pilot Review: Devious Maids


Devious Maids (Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime)

I watched this pilot nearly a week ago and had every intention of putting up a review before last night's premiere date. But Devious Maids, the new soap from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, instilled me with such lethargy that I just kept putting it off and putting it off, and suddenly the thing had premiered without my review ever being written, let alone posted. That should tell you something of how I feel about Lifetime's new summer series.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pilot Review: Twisted


Twisted (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC Family; Premieres June 11)

I'm torn over Twisted, the newest teen boilerplate mystery/drama from ABC Family. On the one hand, I'm semi-intrigued by the characters and (less so) the plot; on the other hand, I don't really care enough to want to watch much more. It has a strong enough central hook for me to commit to the first ten episodes this summer (there also isn't much more interesting scripted fare to choose from this time of year), but the mystery isn't nearly clever or deep enough to last multiple seasons the way the one on Pretty Little Liars has. Still, it's a fun distraction despite its shortcomings and multiple flaws.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pilot Review: Princesses: Long Island



 Princesses: Long Island (Sundays at 9:00 on Bravo; Premieres June 2)

It looks like Bravo has found its newest trainwreck cast of unlikeable walking stereotypes. Whereas I can find something to like in at least one cast member of just about every other Bravo show, Princesses: Long Island is that rare Bravo series, much like last summer's Gallery Girls, where the characters have no discernible redeeming qualities and make you want to throw things at your television set in hopes that it will break, thereby ensuring you never have to see this tripe ever again.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pilot Review: Graceland


Graceland (Thursdays at 10:00 on USA; Premieres June 6)

I know, Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl, Les Miserables) is just so dreamy. And now he has his own TV show! It's, like, a dream come true. Except that the weight of said show, Graceland, rests heavily (but not solely) on his shoulders; and if you look at any picture of him, you can tell those slight little shoulders aren't up for bearing that kind of load. Accordingly, Graceland is a bogged-down, confusingly boring little cop show.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2013 Fall Schedule: The CW

As surprised as I was by ABC's schedule a few days ago, The CW's might take the cake. There are, like last year, shake-ups on each night.

Monday

8:00 - Hart of Dixie (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Beauty and the Beast (New Timeslot)

Beauty and the Beast's move was expected, but I didn't expect it from Hart of Dixie. Monday has become just as dire for the network as Friday (if not more so), so I suppose it makes sense to not debut a new show up against The Voice and the CBS comedies. But this is an odd pairing to me; I know they're both romances at heart, and Hart of Dixie is probably a low risk no matter what night it airs considering it must be low-budget in comparison with the action/paranormal shows.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Originals (NEW)
9:00 - Supernatural (New Timeslot)

Now I'm a little lost. I assumed the whole point of ordering The Originals to series was to finally try to find a compatible partner for The Vampire Diaries. What better to fill the position than a show with a bunch of characters from The Vampire Diaries? But here it is anchoring a difficult night. The Originals will be up against Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, which I suspect will take a sizeable chunk of its audience, and Supernatural, which has been doing great numbers behind Arrow on Wednesdays, will be up against The Voice and the female-oriented comedies on Fox. I'm not sure how smart this decision was, even if the two shows are a decent pairing.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - The Tomorrow People (NEW)

Arrow gets to keep its timeslot and lead in to a new superhero show, the X-Men-like The Tomorrow People. This is a perfect pairing, and Arrow should provide a good audience for the new series. I just assumed that because it and Supernatural were doing so well together that the CW would want to have at least one night of guaranteed viewership.

Thursday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Reign (NEW)

The CW must be higher on Reign than anyone anticipated to give it such a high-profile timeslot. Granted, The Vampire Diaries isn't what it used to be (the show has stumbled creatively and in the ratings since turning Elena into a vampire in last year's finale), but this is still a big opportunity for the costume drama. There aren't any similar shows in the timeslot, except maybe Grey's Anatomy, so it has a chance to succeed. I say this every year, but here's to hoping Reign is the hit the CW needs.

Friday

8:00 - The Carrie Diaries (New Timeslot)
9:00 - America's Next Top Model

I'm a bit surprised that The Carrie Diaries is on the fall schedule, especially since that means Nikita was bumped to midseason, but I like the pairing of it with America's Next Top Model. The veteran reality show was relegated to summer last season, and that was supposed to be the case again this year; but after seeing how everything on Fridays bombed, it will debut in late August and continue through the regular season in the fall. It should match nicely with The Carrie Diaries for a fashion-themed night, and Fridays will be a very low-pressure night for the sophomore show where it could succeed if it maintains its current ratings there.

Midseason

The CW confirmed that Nikita will be returning for a final cycle of 6 episodes sometime at midseason. Joining it will be two new scripted series, Star-Crossed (formerly Oxygen) and The 100, as well as a new reality series, Famous in 12. I wouldn't be surprised if one or more of the fall shows were designed as half-seasons (approximately 13 episodes) so that these two shows could replace them; but a concept like The Tomorrow People seems perfectly suited to short seasons, as does Reign, which seems to be in the vein of costume dramas like Downton Abbey.

I like the pairings of most of these nights, but I don't necessarily like how they were done. I just see the Tuesday line-up falling flat; Supernatural is pulling 0.9-1.0 in the ratings right now, but I don't think it will sustain anywhere near those numbers in its new slot. And based on how low the backdoor pilot for The Originals rated last month, I don't think it will provide a great lead-in, especially up against stiff competition from ABC. I don't know how I feel about Reign being paired with The Vampire Diaries; I don't see much overlap between the two genres (paranormal romance vs. period romance), but perhaps I'll be proven wrong. I'm just kind of shocked that Arrow and Supernatural have been broken up, and that The Originals isn't airing after its parent show. I'm excited to see how The Tomorrow People turned out, even if it's a blatant rip-off of a dozen predecessors (X-Men, Heroes, Misfits, etc), and I'm especially excited fro Star-Crossed at midseason; the actors in the love triangle are all great in their own right, and advance word on the script was very positive.

Oh, and The CW might as well change its name to The JP, because Julie Plec now has three shows on the air, a third of the network's scripted content: The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Tomorrow People.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Fall Schedule: CBS

Eh... boring.

Monday

8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - We Are Men (NEW)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls
9:30 - Mom (NEW)
10:00 - Hostages (NEW)

I don't like that We Are Men is shoved in the middle of the multi-cam block, especially since CBS has another multi-cam comedy on the bench, Friends with Better Lives. It makes me think they expect We Are Men to fail, making their decision about where to stick Friends (or Mike & Molly) at midseason easier. Hostages will be a limited 15-episode season, so I expected to see it in the spring. I also aniticpated CBS giving Mom, the first pilot they ordered from their biggest money maker, Chuck Lorre, a better timeslot than they did.

Tuesday

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: LA
10:00 - Person of Interest (New Timeslot)

Moving Person of Interest to Tuesday was a good choice; these three shows are the most-watched dramas on television (in total viewers), so this should be a strong night for them. It'll also provide Chicago Fire with some stiff competition.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - CSI

No changes, as expected. Why fix what isn't broken?

Thursday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - The Millers (NEW)
9:00 - The Crazy Ones (NEW)
9:30 - Two and a Half Men (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Elementary

So instead of using Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory as lead-ins for both new shows, CBS did a single-cam block from 8:30-9:30 with its two biggest comedies as bookends. On the one hand, it's kind of nice. The Big Bang Theory will provide a great lead-in for The Millers, and then The Crazy Ones is anchoring the block at 9:00 with Two and a Half Men hopefully giving Elementary a little help at 10:00. On the other hand, these two new comedies are a strange coupling, and all of them don't really seem to fit together.

Friday

8:00 - Undercover Boss
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0 (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Blue Bloods

I'm a bit surprised to see Undercover Boss on the schedule. I expected for CBS, like last season, to save it in case something on the schedule fails; that would have also freed up another slot to debut a second new drama. But CBS seemed to want to make as few changes to their schedule as possible. Hawaii Five-0 gets relegated to Friday, and with good reason: for at least the past three Mondays, it's been in last place in its timeslot.

Sunday

8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - The Mentalist

Midseason

Intelligence will take over the slot occupied by Hostages, Mondays at 10:00, at midseason. Unscheduled at this time are new drama Reckless and new comedy Friends with Better Lives, plus returning comedy (which as a full 22-episode order) Mike & Molly.

Nothing really to write home about here. I do find it strange that CBS is debuting four new comedies and only one new drama in the fall. I suppose it's six of one, half-dozen of the other (it would be five new shows either way if they put Mike & Molly on the schedule and replaced Undercover Boss with a new drama). They made the necessary changes (expanding the Thursday comedy block, shifting Person of Interest and Hawaii Five-0), but they also didn't do anything exciting. All of their new drama pilots look boring and trite, but they did put the most interesting one on the fall schedule. The stable networks are always the least exciting at upfronts...

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2013 Fall Schedule: ABC

Some real surprises in ABC's fall schedule:

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

I have to give a big congratulations to Castle: for the past two weeks, it has out-rated not only everything else in its timeslot (Hawaii Five-0 and Revolution) for the first time this season, but it is now out-rating its lead-in, Dancing with Stars. Having said that, I didn't expect ABC to split them up or move them.

Tuesday

8:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (NEW)
9:00 - The Goldbergs (NEW)
9:30 - Trophy Wife (NEW)
10:00 - Lucky 7 (NEW)

I'm absolutely shocked that ABC is trying an entirely new night, though Tuesday was the best option if they were going to. Gone are Dancing with the Stars results shows, replaced by what will likely be fall's biggest show, Agents of SHIELD. That should give a decent lead-in to the new comedies they have plugged in at 9:00 and 9:30 (though I maintain that Rebel Wilson's new show should be in this block, if only to double the exposure of the Tuesday night lineup). Lucky 7 is a good choice for a tough slot, since it's sounding like it will be a limited series; if it fails, it gets replaced at midseason and can be called "limited" rather than "failing."

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Back in the Game (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Super Fun Night (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville

I'm most surprised that Nashville is staying put; it's been struggling of late, in the mid 1's in the 18-49. I'm assuming ABC is hoping for Super Fun Night to be a runaway hit, between its Modern Family lead-in and Rebel Wilson's growing fanbase, and that it will then boost Nashville as well. I'm not entirely sure that's what will happen; the premise of Super Fun Night doesn't really fit in with the family theme of the Wednesday comedy block.

Thursday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Scandal

This is strange to me. All signs pointed to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland being a very limited series that would air while Once Upon a Time was on hiatus, thereby cutting down on repeats in the spring. Seeing it on the fall schedule, especially in a timeslot with which ABC hasn't exactly had success, is a total surprise. Maybe trying something female-oriented will help (though it didn't do much for Charlie's Angels and Missing two seasons ago).

Friday

8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - The Neighbors (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20

As expected, The Neighbors takes the post-Last Man Standing slot, and Suburgatory is saved for midseason (or until a new comedy bombs).

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Revenge
10:00 - Betrayal (NEW)

I also correctly predicted this line-up. Betrayal was tailor-made to pair with Revenge, though if they were going to put Once Upon a Time in Wonderland on the fall schedule, I'm surprised it's not paired with its parent show.

Midseason

Not on the schedule are returning comedy Suburgatory and several new shows: comedy Mixology and dramas Resurrection, Mind Games and Killer Women (which is still in dire need of a new title). Paul Lee stated that various fall dramas (Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and possibly Revenge) will take extended breaks in the winter/early spring for new limited series. New reality series The Quest will take over for Once, while the others are still up in the air; additionally, Lee stated that Betrayal and Resurrection are designed to only run for 12-13 episodes per season. So it seems likely that Resurrection will then occupy the 10:00 slot on Sunday nights at midseason. That leaves only two new dramas to debut with three possible shows airing in two separate blocks (10-12 in the fall, break, 10-12 in the spring) and then no options for replacing low-rated fall shows. In other words, I don't know if I trust that this model will actually work Also returning at midseason are reality series The Bachelor and The Taste, the latter of which is a bit of a surprise after its very low-rated final episodes.

This schedule is surprising, but not terrible. I like that Tuesday got a complete and total rehaul, and I mostly like the placement of the new shows (even if I would have liked to see Resurrection on this fall). Cutting Dancing with the Stars back an hour will hopefully help improve ABC's overall ratings picture, especially since it's being replaced with such a high-profile new series. I'm surprised they only moved one returning show (The Neighbors); everything else is in the same place as last year's upfront, with new shows filling in holes for canceled series or series returning at midseason. Some of these shows likely could have benefitted from a time change (Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Nashville), but, with any luck, the new shows can provide subsequent boosts to them. I think there's a good possibility for success here, which ABC needs after failing to secure any real hits this past season. I still question the decision to spin-off Once Upon a Time at all, considering the decline in both quality and ratings; but Alice in Wonderland does seem to have some sort of timeless power over people to make them love the story so much, so perhaps it's a good idea. Time will tell.

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

2013 Fantasy Schedule: CW

Monday

8:00 - Beauty and the Beast
9:00 - Oxygen (NEW)

Both shows have a similar theme of a regular person in love with an extraordinary one (the Beast in the former, an alien in the latter). Plus, Beauty and the Beast is underperforming on Thursday and could easily be thrown to the wolves on Monday night against The Voice.

Tuesday

8:00 - Reign (NEW)
9:00 - Hart of Dixie

Reign is the only new show the CW has that could be seen as "traditional," so I think it will get paired with Hart of Dixie, the most normal show on the network. I also think the CW will try to avoid debuting a new show against The Voice here, so I think the veteran show will get pushed back to 9:00.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - Supernatural

This night is working very well for the CW, so I don't think they will touch it.

Thursday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - The Originals (NEW)

I don't think The Originals will do as well as the CW hopes, judging by the ratings for the April backdoor pilot, but it will hopefully retain more of the audience from The Vampire Diaries than any of its previous companions have.

Friday

8:00 - Nikita
9:00 - Encores / Reality

If the final season of Nikita truly is as short as it has been rumored to be (6 episodes), then I don't see the CW attempting to pair anything with it right away. Encores will also present an opportunity to showcase a new drama, much like they did with Arrow repeats this past year.

Midseason

The CW has two other new shows, The 100 and The Tomorrow People, on tap, and I think they will be saved for midseason. The Carrie Diaries was renewed for a second season, and I think it will take over for Nikita on Fridays.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - The 100, The Originals, Oxygen, Reign, The Tomorrow People

Canceled Series - 90210, Cult, Emily Owens MD, Gossip Girl

Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Fall Schedule: Fox

This... is... a mess.

Monday

8:00 - Bones / Almost Human (NEW)
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow (NEW)

Okay. So to start the season, Bones keeps its slot, followed by Sleepy Hollow. Then, after the World Series destroys all regular scheduling, it will be shipped off to Fridays and be replaced by Almost Human. Already, this is too much.

Tuesday

8:00 - Dads (NEW)
8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NEW)
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - The Mindy Project

I honestly think it's ridiculous that The Mindy Project gets to keep its slot considering how terribly it's been doing. And I don't think Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be very compatible; a better choice to pair with the new Andy Samberg sitcom would have been Enlisted, which instead gets a Friday slot. What's even crazier is that New Girl will get the post-Super Bowl slot, followed by another new comedy... which has to mean Us & Them. What a waste.

Wednesday

8:00 - The X Factor

No move, no surprise.

Thursday

8:00 - The X Factor - Results
9:00 - Glee

No changes again, though spring will be interesting. Glee will go on an extended hiatus, with Rake taking its place after American Idol. That means Glee will air into summer, though it seems like Fox is trying to do more year-round programming when you look at their midseason plans (coming up shortly).

Friday

8:00 - Junior Masterchef (NEW) / Bones
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow (encores) / Raising Hope
9:30 - ------- / Enlisted (NEW)

A new reality series will debut in the beginning of the fall, followed by encores of Sleepy Hollow, which I thought might instill some faith in the new series, but then I realized it was the only new series debuting in the early fall. Then Junior Masterchef gets replaced by Bones, and Raising Hope takes over at 9:00, followed by the military sitcom Enlisted. If Sleepy Hollow fails on Monday, I can see it moving to Friday and Bones staying put.

Sunday

8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad

The only thing worth noting here is that The Cleveland Show was never officially canceled by Fox, yet it does not appear anywhere in their press release.

Midseason

Already mentioned above, Rake will debut midseason on Thursday night and The Following will return to Mondays at 9:00. There was no mention of where Gang Related, Surviving Jack, or Us & Them will end up, though it was stated that Gang Related would start in May. Also in May will be a reboot of 24, a limited series of twelve episodes subtitled Live Another Day. Also coming midseason is a blind pickup of a new series from M. Night Shyamalan called Wayward Pines, starring Matt Dillon. They also have American Idol returning, plus the new animated series Murder Police.

Overall, I kind of hate this schedule. It's all over the place. Why, when you have a terribly low-rated show like The Mindy Project, would you schedule a new comedy for Friday night? The last time Fox aired a freshman sitcom on Friday night was Brothers in 2009. Remember that show? Exactly. Plus, Enlisted is a male-skewing show and will be up against at least one already-established male-skewing show (Grimm on NBC). It just seems silly. I also can't believe Fox said nothing about The Cleveland Show; I predicted it would be canceled, but it's not even on the schedule. Does that mean they have no more episodes to air? Or that they are waiting to see if they even want it at 7:30 on Sunday at midseason? Either way, it's getting the shaft. I'm pleasantly surprised, however, to see Sleepy Hollow airing on Monday. I assumed it would go to Friday, just because that's where Fox typically puts that type of show; but I can guarantee if it gets a second season renewal this time next year, that's where it will be on the 2014-2015 schedule.

Read after the jump for descriptions of Fox's new series.

2013 Fall Schedule: NBC

And we're off! My favorite time of the year officially kicks off with NBC's announcement of its 2013 fall schedule. There are some surprises, but not many; compared to last year's schedule, this is downright boring. But it will be interesting to see what they do at midseason with their remaining dramas and comedies, of which there are many.

Monday

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

I called this one. NBC's biggest pilot, The Blacklist, gets the slot after The Voice. No surprise, really.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Biggest Loser (New Timeslot)
9:00 - The Voice (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (New Timeslot)

This is one of the more confusing nights on the schedule, for me. The Biggest Loser is cut down to one hour on the fall schedule (likely to make way for the return of The Sing Off in winter), followed by The Voice. Then Chicago Fire will get a big boost when it moves to Tuesdays; what's strange is that its spin-off, Chicago PD, hasn't been slotted yet. I would think NBC would rather give the new show the strong lead-in, but I suppose they're hoping for a double-down effect: more viewers to Chicago Fire will equal more viewers for Chicago PD at midseason. Plus, the spin-off can then benefit from a possible marketing push during the Olympics.

Wednesday

8:00 - Revolution (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Law & Order: SVU
10:00 - Ironside (NEW)

I was close with my prediction for Revolution (I had it at 9:00), and I suppose 8:00 is as good a time as any to move the show to. The X Factor is all but a bomb, so it won't be much competition; plus the earlier hour may help in getting new eyes on the series. Ironside just feels like a big old bomb to me, but perhaps I'll be wrong. I just don't see there being much of an audience for a remake of a 1960s cop drama, especially one starring Blair Underwood, who has yet to star in a successful series (and never as the lead).

Thursday

8:00 - Parks & Recreation (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Welcome to the Family (NEW)
9:00 - Sean Saves the World (NEW)
9:30 - The Michael J. Fox Show (NEW)
10:00 - Parenthood (New Timeslot)

I think this announcement is the beginning of the end for Parks & Recreation. In all likelihood (though pending their respective networks' fall schedules, of course), it will be up against The Big Bang Theory and possibly Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. But it will also get the opportunity to prove itself if it can retain its current numbers against such competition. Still, it won't provide much of a lead-in for Welcome to the Family. I'm kind of shocked The Michael J. Fox Show isn't anchoring the night at 9:00, though being the only new comedy with a full-season order so far, there will be plenty of opportunity to move it around if this slot doesn't work. I'm worried for Sean Saves the World and the pressure on it to perform at 9:00; I found it to have the funniest preview of the bunch, so hopefully that will translate to a wide audience. Parenthood also gets a chance at bat by moving to a higher profile night; if it can retain its Tuesday night ratings (around 1.6-2.0), it will have more than earned its full season order and time shift.

Friday

8:00 - Dateline (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dracula (NEW)

I'm only surprised that NBC doesn't want Dracula to potentially give Grimm a boost by airing it at 8:00, but it's probably a bit too dark for the earlier hour. Either way, I'm excited for it, and I'm glad NBC is introducing more scripted programming to the evening.

Sunday

Football 

Midseason

As expected, Crossbones will occupy the 10:00 hour on Fridays in the spring, just in time to compete with another pirate drama: Black Sails on Starz. NBC announced a Sunday night lineup for the spring, but that is rarely (never?) followed when the time comes. Regardless, they have slotted a new reality series, American Dream Builders starring Nate Berkus, at 8:00; Believe at 9:00; and Crisis at 10:00. If this does come to fruition, it will be a great step forward for NBC, as they typically only air reality fare on Sunday nights. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if this is actually broken up (especially if The Celebrity Apprentice gets renewed, as Donald Trump has just tweeted it has) and these shows fill in holes left by failed freshmen or anything which may have its season shortened. Also, on Tuesdays at midseason, The Voice will move back to 8:00, followed by About a Boy at 9:00 and The Family Guide at 9:30.

Not on the schedule or planned in any way were new dramas Chicago PD and The Night Shift; new comedy Undateable; and returning comedy Community. All will air sometime in the spring

Also for midseason, NBC has The Sing Off (which will almost certainly air over the holidays, as it did for its first two season), The Million Second Quiz and Food Fighters, and possibly The Celebrity Apprentice.

This is, surprisingly, not horrible. The only real problem I see is that Welcome to the Family will almost certainly drown at 8:30 on Thursday with a totally incompatible lead-in. I still think Michael J. Fox should have anchored the 9:00 hour as well. But other than that, this is solid. I applaud NBC for making some tough decisions and for finally (mostly) going by ratings to justify renewal decisions rather politics. And hopefully they'll see a nice midseason boost from the Winter Olympics.

Read after the jump for descriptions of NBC's new series.

2013 Fantasy Schedule: CBS

With so many new shows and so little schedule time, CBS's lineup will be harder to predict than ever.

Monday

8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - The Millers (NEW)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls
9:30 - Mike & Molly
10:00 - Person of Interest

How I Met Your Mother enters its final season this fall; the boost from that will likely provide a great lead-in for a new comedy, and I think it could be The Millers, the new pilot starring Will Arnett. The only question here is if CBS drops one of its two single-cam comedies into the Monday or Thursday block, or start a new block elsewhere, or take both and put them on Friday or something like that. Since I'm predicting a comedy expansion on Thursday night, Person of Interest will have to move; rather than pushing it back an hour on Thursday, I'm moving it here.

Tuesday

8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: LA
10:00 - Intelligence (NEW)

I'm not sure if the new NCIS: LA spin-off will go forward (response to the backdoor pilot was negative, and it was not part of the early pickups this past week), but even if it does, I think it will be at midseason. So I have Intelligence, the new Josh Holloway procedural, trying to find success in a seemingly doomed timeslot.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - CSI

It's very possible that CSI moves to Friday and a new drama takes its slot, but CBS made a big deal a couple months ago about the strength of its lineup when it renewed almost all of its dramas. In that respect, I think they will try to make as few moves as possible; so CSI, the last one left now that CSI: NY has been canned, stays where it is.

Thursday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - Mom (NEW)
9:00 - Two and a Half Men
9:30 - Crazy Ones (NEW)
10:00 - Elementary

As much as I would like to see an entirely Chuck Lorre night with Mike & Molly moving here, I just don't think it will happen. Crazy Ones, the new Robin Williams/Sarah Michelle Gellar single-cam, will likely get better exposure from and be more compatible, audience-wise, with Two and a Half Men. CBS's Monday lineup is beginning to crumble a bit, so it may be safer to put it here. Because Elementary is the only freshman show CBS can call a "hit" or anything near it, I think it will stay put.

Friday

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

I think, rather than send an expensive veteran like CSI to Friday night, CBS will try another new show here. They successfully launched Blue Bloods in this slot in 2010, so there's no reason they can't keep trying. Hawaii Five-0 has taken a serious hit this season, and it does not warrant any Monday-Thursday slot anymore. However, it still does better than the Sunday night dramas, so I think it will end up here.

Sunday

8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - The Mentalist

If it were up to me, The Mentalist would be gone. With all the late starts CBS's primetime lineup frequently receives in the fall thanks to football overrun, it ended up running outside of primetime quite a few times. Then when it did air in primetime, its numbers were horrible. Same for The Good Wife, though that actually does better at 10:00 than it does at 9:00; if it weren't for the damage running past 11:00 in the fall would do to its serialized aspect, I would be predicting The Good Wife at 10:00 instead of the The Mentalist.

Midseason

I think CBS will use the final episodes of How I Met Your Mother to promote a new show, and I'm predicting that show to be Friends with Better Lives, which seems like the perfect show to takeover for HIMYM. Hostages has already been picked up, and I think its premise is ideal for a limited, midseason run. CBS will likely also have Undercover Boss on the bend to fill in for any failed series, and this also leaves We Are Men, another single-cam comedy, to be slotted in sometime next spring.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Hostages, Intelligence, Reckless, Crazy Ones, Friends with Better Lives, The Millers, Mom, We Are Men

Canceled Series - CSI: NY, Golden Boy, Made in Jersey, Vegas, Partners, Rules of Engagement

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Fantasy Schedule: ABC

ABC didn't have any runaway hits this season (though sophomore Scandal grew into something of a pop culture phenomenon and ended its run last week as the network's highest-rated drama), so they will be doing some extensive housecleaning and reworking. Prior to Friday's spree of renewals and pickups, this schedule would have looked much different. But working with what they have, my best shot is below.

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

I really do think ABC needs to consider cutting Dancing with the Stars down to one cycle per season. It's getting very tired, and the ratings are pretty much in the toilet. I think it will remain on the fall schedule, but at midseason I hope they will consider new options.

Tuesday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars - Results
9:00 - Super Fun Night (NEW)
9:30 - Mixology (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville

Despite bad early reviews, Super Fun Night received a series order (after being passed over by CBS last season) because its star, Rebel Wilson, is enjoying a moment in the sun thanks to the success of the film Pitch Perfect. It's a youth-oriented show, and I think it would pair nicely with Mixology, a comedy about ten single people who meet and form bonds at their local bar. Rebel Wilson could be the kind of up-and-comer ABC needs to get eyes on a new comedy block, which failed miserably last season with two series that just couldn't find an audience without an appropriate lead-in. The 10:00 slot also gave ABC trouble this season, with two shows (Private Practice and Body of Proof) airing there and eventually being canceled. Nashville is the only returning freshman drama, and this would be a safe place to put it without there being much pressure (unlike, say, Sundays at 10:00).

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - The Goldbergs (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Back in the Game (NEW)
10:00 - Resurrection (NEW)

The Wednesday night comedy block has given ABC more trouble than it should have lately. Suburgatory just couldn't retain its Modern Family lead-in in the fall, and then it couldn't retain The Middle's lead-in at midseason. Both it and The Neighbors were renewed, but I don't see either of them returning to this block. ABC needs to find its next comedy hit this year, because every new show launched at 9:30 has failed. So I think they will stick two new comedies in there, likely The Goldbergs, a 1980s-set family sitcom starring another Bridesmaids cast member, Wendi McLendon-Covey; and Back in the Game, a James Caan led baseball-themed sitcom. The latter has the potential to appeal to a wide audience (read: males), so I think it'l be the ideal candidate for the post-Modern Family slot. Resurrection has a supernatural element as well as a soap element, and that seems to be the kind of show ABC has been trying in the 10:00 slot. It's also a respectable slot for a show with a huge ensemble cast, including familiar faces like Omar Epps and Frances Fisher, and Brad Pitt as producer.

Thursday

8:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Scandal

I don't see ABC breaking up the Shonda Rhimes shows at 9:00 and 10:00, and I also was originally thinking that they wouldn't try another new drama at 8:00 after having nearly everything in recent memory fail there. But if anything is going to succeed in this slot, it's the new Marvel pilot. This show should draw in a huge male audience, and I think that if it's scheduled in this slot, it will likely give The Big Bang Theory's demo a sizable hit. And if it fails, the show can be moved; I don't see ABC giving up on it.

Friday

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

Since ABC canceled Malibu Country and didn't pick up a new multi-camera pilot, Last Man Standing will have to be paired with a single-camera. The Neighbors got a full season order this week, as did Suburgatory. I think the former will being its run on Fridays with Last Man Standing, and the latter will be saved in case any other comedy bombs immediately. Shark Tank could easily be moved to another night, but since it's usually the highest-rated show on Fridays, I left it where it is.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Revenge
10:00 - Betrayal (NEW)

Despite both Once Upon a Time and Revenge plummeting in the ratings this season, particularly this spring, I don't see the pair being broken up, especially if Revenge goes through a revamp now that creator/showrunner Mike Kelley has departed. Betrayal, a soapy murder mystery, is a perfect fit with Revenge.

Midseason

The spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is scheduled to be a limited run during its parent series' winter hiatus. Lucky 7, an ensemble drama about how winning the lottery affects a group of people, screams for a limited run as well, kind of in the vein of 2012's The River, perhaps between cycles of Dancing with the Stars, if indeed there are two cycles next season. They also have two other dramas, Killer Women (which I really hope gets a new title) and Mind Games, to fit in, plus the new sitcom Trophy Wife and veteran series Suburgatory. I think the former will be inserted into the Wednesday block, if needed, at midseason and the latter will be saved if something fails horribly either on Tuesday or Wednesday; if not, I expect it to finish a run after Last Man Standing when The Neighbors completes its season.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Betrayal, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Mind Games, Resurrection, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Back in the Game, The Goldbergs, Mixology, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife

Canceled Series - 666 Park Avenue, Body of Proof, Last Resort, Private Practice, Red Widow, Zero Hour, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, Family Tools, Happy Endings, How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), Malibu Country

Since ABC has ordered and renewed/canceled all their shows already, these aren't really predictions, but still...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013 Fantasy Schedule: Fox

This will be both the easiest and the hardest schedule to predict. Fox has already ordered and renewed all its scripted programming for next season, so there's no predictions for which pilots will go to series. However, they picked up more than twice the number of pilots I (and many others on the internet) expected. So this should be fun.

Monday

8:00 - Bones
9:00 - Rake (NEW)

Rake seems like the ideal candidate to keep this slot warm until The Following returns at midseason: both have short orders and both have movie stars transitioning to TV (Rake stars Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear). Plus this is House's old slot, and Rake seems like the lawyer version of House.

Tuesday

8:00 - Dads (NEW)
8:30 - Surviving Jack (NEW)
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - Us & Them (NEW)

Okay, so... I know this looks crazy: three new shows with New Girl right in the middle. But with Fox ordering so many damn comedies, not to mention renewing The Mindy Project for whatever reason (it sure isn't a ratings success), they have to all go somewhere. Dads seems most compatible with Surviving Jack, the new comedy based on the other book by Sh*t My Dad Says author Justin Halpern and starring Christopher Meloni, but I could also see it being worked into the Sunday night lineup since it's produced by Seth MacFarlane. For now, I'm putting it here, and when you see my Friday night schedule, it should make more sense. Us & Them is the perfect show to try to launch out of New Girl: it's got two female-drawing leads (Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel), and it's about the trials of a young couple. It's the ideal female-centric lead-out for New Girl.

Wednesday

8:00 - The X Factor


It's possible that The X Factor gets cut down by an hour or a half hour later in the fall to accommodate a new series, but for now I'll leave this night as is.

Thursday

8:00 - The X Factor
9:00 - Glee

Glee isn't doing terribly well, even if it's still one of Fox's better-performing series. But the only other option besides Thursday is to put it on Friday, and Fox would be completely idiotic if they did that, for the simple fact that Glee's target audience will not be in front of the TV on Friday nights. So I'm leaving it where it is.

Friday

8:00 - Raising Hope
8:30 - The Mindy Project
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow (NEW)

Ok, so here goes. I don't know if this will actually happen. Both Raising Hope and The Mindy Project are low-rated sitcoms, yet both received orders for new seasons. It's entirely possible, even, that these shows are announced as airing on Friday and then get pulled to fill in for failed new shows, etc. But even if this block does air, I think it would be the wisest use of these comedies, neither of which can really pull in an audience. Sleepy Hollow is the kind of fantasy show Fox loves to pick up and then dump on Fridays, so I think that's what will happen here. But with Friday now something of a destination night for fantasy/sci-fi (Grimm, Fringe, Nikita), it might not even be a death sentence for Sleepy Hollow. There are also rumors that it will be a limited series, so Friday might be an ideal place for it.

Sunday

8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad

I don't think there will be any changes here for the fall. I wouldn't be shocked if one or more of Fox's male-centric comedies ended up in the middle of this lineup at some point midseason, though. I think The Cleveland Show will be canceled, but it will probably air any remaining episodes (since animated shows produce so far in advance) at 7:30, if there are any to air.

Midseason

Fox has the Super Bowl this year, so predicting which show gets the post-game slot will be fun. They have a lot of options, considering they picked up two other new dramas (Gang Related and Almost Human, yet another J.J. Abrams series) and two other new comedies (Enlisted and Brooklyn Nine Nine). The Following will also return at midseason. I'll go out on an early limb and say Almost Human gets the post-Super Bowl slot. Other than that, I've got nothing.


Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Gang Related, Rake, Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow, Dads, Surviving Jack, Enlisted, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Us & Them

Canceled Series - The Mob Doctor, Fringe, Touch, Ben & Kate, The Cleveland Show 

Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Fantasy Schedule: NBC

ETA: In light of the fact that I posted this about an hour before NBC made further decisions, I've redone the schedule to reflect the most up-to-date cancellations and pickups.

It's that time of year again! NBC will officially announce its fall schedule on Monday, May 13 (though it will likely be released a day earlier), but for now it's time for TV bloggers to have fun making up schedules.

Monday

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

Revolution is still a hit by NBC standards, but it's nowhere near where it was in September or even November. Now that NBC knows the potential the post-The Voice slot truly holds, they should be trying a new pilot at 10:00. Judging by early word, Blacklist is their best pilot and the most deserving of the coveted timeslot.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - Crisis (NEW)
10:00 - Parenthood

NBC has already ordered two new high-concept dramas which could feasibly go in the coveted post-The Voice slot: Believe and Crisis. I think that because Believe is a J.J. Abrams production, it will be saved for midseason to get a push from the Winter Olympics (plus they still have the Abrams-produced Revolution on air). Parenthood is a remarkably consistent performer, so I don't see it moving.

Wednesday

8:00 - Night Shift (NEW)
9:00 - Revolution
10:00 - Chicago Fire

NBC hasn't had much luck with its Wednesday night comedy block, so I'm not sure they will keep trying to make it work, especially since they have so many new dramas on the bench. NBC previously had a medical drama in this slot a few years ago (Mercy), but that doesn't mean they can't give it another shot with Night Shift. Moving Revolution could help revitalize the night (or it could crash and burn without The Voice as a lead-in), and Chicago Fire does well enough to warrant keeping its timeslot.

Thursday

8:00 - About a Boy (NEW)
8:30 - Welcome to the Family (NEW)
9:00 - MJF (NEW)
9:30 - Parks & Recreation
10:00 - Law & Order: SVU

Now that only Parks & Recreation survives from the "workplace" comedy block, NBC will have to move in a new direction. I don't see that show moving, but it'll stick out like a sore thumb now surrounded by a bunch of family comedies. I think they will lead-off the night with two pilots starring recognizable faces (About a Boy has Minnie Driver, Welcome to the Family has Mike O'Malley). However, it is MJF that is the possible saving grace of NBC at this point, marking Michael J. Fox's return to television. I think the network will put more behind this series than any other, and giving it the tent pole 9:00 slot seems likely. Law & Order: SVU just has to be entering its final season at this point; it's limping along in the mid-to-low 1's in the 18-49 demo. Putting it in this slot likely wouldn't change much of its ratings, and it's a respectable slot for a show at the end of its run. It would also almost certainly be an improvement over the past few shows to occupy the slot.

Friday

8:00 - Dracula (NEW)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

NBC ordered Dracula over a year ago, and it's just now filming. It has a 10-episode order, and they would be crazy not to air it next to Grimm, which is routinely still the highest-rated scripted show on Fridays. This past fall's Mockingbird Lane experiment proved that with a decent lead-in, Grimm can do even better.

Sunday

Football

Midseason

NBC will have quite a few holes to fill at midseason, most notably Sunday night. I sincerely hope The Apprentice does not return; this season has been an exceptional bore, and the ratings reflect that. If it does return, I suspect it will be for one hour, especially since then other shows can be inserted. They'll have Crossbones ready by spring, the pirate drama with a 10-episode commitment starring John Malkovich, which I think will take over Dracula's timeslot. Then they have comedies Sean Saves the World and Undateable (both multi-cams, so likely to air as a block), plus The Family Guide (a single-cam), and dramas Believe, Chicago PD (a Chicago Fire spin-off), and Ironside to slot in, in addition to any other shows (reality, competition, etc) they may order. I think Community, the only returning comedy other than Parks & Rec, will again return at midseason to air its ordered 13 episodes.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Dracula, Crossbones (both previously ordered to series), Believe, Crisis, The Blacklist, Ironside, Night Shift, Chicago PD, Sean Saves the World, About a Boy, The Family Guide, Undateable, Welcome to the Family

Canceled Series - Do No Harm, Deception, Smash, Hannibal, Up All Night, 30 Rock, The Office, 1600 Penn, Guys with Kids, Whitney, Next Caller, The New Normal, Go On

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pilot Review: Red Widow



Red Widow (Sundays at 10:00 on ABC; Premieres March 3)

Never has anyone said, "You know who would make a great TV series about a strong bad-ass woman standing up for herself and her family? The lady who wrote the Twilight films." But for some reason, that's exactly what ABC did: they gave creative control of their new series Red Widow, based on the Dutch show Penoza, to Melissa Rosenberg. It's true that in recent years she has somewhat redeemed her laughable film career, which also includes a screenplay credit for the 2006 dance film Step Up, as an Emmy-nominated writer on Dexter. Unfortunately she still doesn't do female protagonists (or sophisticated storytelling) very well, so Red Widow is a big step backward for her and a total misstep, in general, for ABC.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pilot Review: Golden Boy


Golden Boy (Fridays at 9:00 on CBS; Premieres Tuesday, February 26 at 10:00)

Welcome to the schedule, Golden Boy, yet another police procedural from CBS. It's an example of the tried-and-true formula CBS has perfected over the years: a show about a policeman solving a crime each week, with a slight twist in the design. Blue Bloods has the family dynamic, Elementary has Holmes's deductive skills, The Mentalist has the "psychic" (or whatever) angle, Criminal Minds focuses on the profiling rather than the crime itself, and the list goes on. Golden Boy's angle is that the lead is the youngest member of the homicide squad, and via flash forwards, we know that he eventually becomes the youngest police commissioner as well. The pilot is about as one-note as that description makes it sound.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pilot Review: Cult



Cult (Tuesdays at 9:00 on The CW; Premieres February 19)

Even though Cult is better in concept than in execution, it's the kind of show you can't help but root for. It's so self-aware, so meta, so clever that you have to appreciate it just as much as (or more than) you enjoy it; Cult is the kind of show that should be done all the time on television, and I applaud the CW for taking the risk of putting it on the air. Whether or not is is entirely successful is another story, but it's such a valiant effort to do something new and different that I love Cult regardless.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pilot Review: Zero Hour


Zero Hour (Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC; Premieres February 14)

Zero Hour is the latest attempt by one of the broadcast networks to create a deeply mythologized, supernatural hyper-serialized series a la Lost. The more they try, the more convinced I become that Lost was a success that never should have been, because all the subsequent attempts at capturing its lighting in a bottle have been lackluster at best. Zero Hour has a bit more promise, but it has a long way to go to fulfill that promise.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pilot Review: Immortalized


Immortalized (Thursdays at 10:00 on AMC; Premieres February 14)

I honestly can't even explain how silly Immortalized is. One of the taglines from the opening monologue by host Zach Selwyn, whose incredible achievements include the modern classics Punkin Chunkin and the recently debuted Guinness World Records Gone Wild, is, "Get ready to watch art and animals collide." And it's delivered with a straight face while a string quartet crescendos in the background. Did no one tell the creators that they were making a comedy? Or is this actually supposed to be taken seriously?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pilot Review: Do No Harm


Do No Harm (Thursdays at 10:00 on NBC; Premieres January 31)

The similarities between NBC's new drama Do No Harm and last season's Awake are abundant. Both have featured promo photos with the lead actors' faces split down the middle; both aired in the same timeslot; both feature split personalities; both are/were in some way a procedural; and both had or have plots better suited to a shorter format like film.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pilot Review: The Following



The Following (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox)

Fox has floundered in the ratings this year. The X Factor underperformed for the second year in a row, Glee tumbled on its new night following some major changes, and all of the new fall shows bombed. They went from first place to neck-and-neck for last place in the span of just a few months, so they're aching for a hit. The Following may be just what they need to get back on track.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pilot Review: The Carrie Diaries


The Carrie Diaries (Mondays at 8:00 on The CW)

Let's get one thing straight: I never understood Sex and the City; I never saw Sex and the City; I don't give a fuck about Sex and the City. But then again, anyone who did probably isn't the target audience of the CW's tween prequel to the HBO megaseries, The Carrie Diaries. You're not going to find any nudity, any frank discussions about sexual positions, or anything close to the production values of the pay cable parent series. This is the CW, where even ABC Family shows scoff at how desensitized everything is.

The Carrie Diaries attempts to rewrite the history of Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb, Soul Surfer), a woman who defined at least two generations of females on Sex and the City. Here she is 16, starting her junior year of high school on the heels of her mother's death. After a summer dealing with her pot-smoking kleptomaniac sister Dorrit (Stefania LaVie Owen, Running Wilde), she begins anew with a brand new internship in Manhattan. On her first day she serendipitously meets Larissa (Freema Agyeman, Doctor Who), a magazine editor who wants to introduce Carrie to the big city. The problem? Larissa doesn't know she's a typical teen with a complicated web of friends, enemies, and love interests back in suburban Connecticut. That, plus she has a curfew... which kind of puts a damper on all the night life fun to be had in New York.

It's a totally ridiculous and wholly unbelievable story, but it's not like that really matters. This is 1984, and anyone who's watched a John Hughes movie knows that anything can happen in the 1980s: people with nothing in common can become best friends in the course of a single day, you can take miles off a car by driving it in reverse, or whatever. And that's exactly what The Carrie Diaries seems to be attempting. It's John Hughes by way of Ambien, a pedestrian attempt at recreating the dialogue and just-unbelievable-enough-without-being-ridiculous situations of his classic films. Unfortunately for everyone involved, his movies are so ingrained in our collective conscience that any attempt to be like them immediately pisses us off. You can reinvent the type of film Hughes did for the new generation (Easy A would be a good example of this), but you can't try to recreate it. The Carrie Diaries is too much like Ferris Bueller's Day Off whenever Carrie is in New York and too much like The Breakfast Club whenever she's dealing with her extended group of friends' problems in Connecticut.

Speaking of the latter, everything about Carrie's home life screams "after school special." Her sister is spiraling out of control, sneaking out of the house and coming back the next day drunk, smoking pot, and stealing (and I would too if my name was Dorrit... I mean, seriously); her father doesn't want to to clean out his dead wife's closet or let anyone touch anything inside; Jill (Ellen Wong, Combat Hospital), one of her best friends, is dealing with relationship problems; Maggie (Katie Findlay, The Killing), her other best friend, is cheating on her boyfriend; that boyfriend, Walt (Brendan Dooling), is struggling with his sexuality; and the list goes on. The 1980s setting allows for a kind of judgment-free exploration of such issues, but piling them all into the pilot is groan-worthy. It reduces every character to a stock type, and it makes their future stories painfully obvious: Jill will deal with the repercussions of losing her virginity to the first guy who showed interest; Maggie will deal with the repercussions of her illicit, secret relationship; Walt will have a slow, agonizing journey toward self acceptance (one that will inevitably lead him to the freedom of New York, natch); Dorrit will continue her spiral until she hits rock bottom and then reform; Carrie's love interest and arch rival will become an item, and Carrie will retreat into the world of Manhattan's night life... you get the picture. What I'm trying to say it, The Carrie Diaries is completely unoriginal and predictable. Everything is so tame, the issues all beaten to death in the nearly thirty years since 1984, that it doesn't feel edgy or responsible or anything of the sort... it's very "been there, done that."

And it's not even like there are good performances or writing to elevate the stale material. AnnaSophia Robb is far too pretty to end up looking like Sarah Jessica Parker (sorry, it's true), and such a cliche character could have been played by any young blonde. There's nothing about Robb that makes you think she is Carrie Bradshaw, or that she will become a powerful woman in fifteen years. The supporting cast is likewise dull, and that can be directly attributed to Amy B. Harris's (whose only other major writing credits are one episode each of Gossip Girl and The Comeback, and the Lindsay Lohan film Just My Luck) terrible script. There is a painfully slow scene early in the pilot in which Carrie and her girl friends discuss how it feels to lose their virginity, and the phrase, "It was like fitting a hot dog in a keyhole" is repeated throughout. It's enough to make you want to cover your ears and shake your head, blessing the poor soul who thought of such a comparison. And even the 1980s setting isn't used to full effect. The fashion is understated, the colors are muted, and all in all it feels like an afterthought. Even the music doesn't really fit. We hear snippets of "Footloose," "Let the Music Play, "Somebody's Watchin' Me," and even a really bad cover of "Material Girl," though that song technically wasn't released until two months after the time of the pilot (don't fuck with me when it comes to Madonna), but because these songs are such a part of pop culture as a whole it feels somehow false. The Carrie Diaries hits you over the head with the time period, like a bad theme party. But I feel like it shouldn't be imitating 1984, it should be placing the audience in the middle of it. Unfortunately it's just another misstep, of which there are too many for the show to overcome.