Saturday, December 13, 2014

Midseason Schedule: NBC

Updated December 21. 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 - Constantine
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline

Constantine shifts to the 8:00 time period, which seems odd for a couple reasons: 1) its dark tone and violence seems better suited to 10:00, and 2) it reads like a last ditch effort to get new eyes on the show. Perhaps it's not as dead as not receiving an order for additional episodes implies. Still, it's strange to shift Dateline back to 10:00 and then move it to 8:00 again when something else debuts at 10:00 (like Hannibal, which was not part of the schedule announcement but will be returning sometime in the coming months). So is it possible that Hannibal will take up residence elsewhere on the schedule and something unexpected will air on Fridays at 8:00? Or will Dateline just hop around the Friday night schedule for the rest of its life?

Sundays

7:00 - Dateline (January 4, 18, and 25)
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 January, when both football and the special airings of Dateline end. 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 8:00 or 10:00 will be open around February sweeps, 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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pilot Review: Selfie

Selfie (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC; Premieres September 30)

What if Eliza Doolittle were a character in an Amy Heckerling film in 2014? That seems to be the question Selfie creator Emily Kapnek asked herself when developing the new ABC comedy based on George Bernard Shaw's classic 1912 play Pygmalion (and subsequent musical adaptation My Fair Lady). There's a surprising bite to the comedy here, much as there was over a century ago when Shaw debuted his play, despite some shortcomings. But the overall concept of mixing the feeling of Clueless with My Fair Lady comes across better than one would think, thanks to some sharp social commentary.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pilot Review: How to Get Away with Murder

How to Get Away with Murder (Thursdays at 10:00 on ABC)

Much has already been made of the new series from Shonda Rhimes' production company, Shondaland, thanks mostly to a clueless, shit-stirring feature in The New York Times. A lot of the hype is justified, because How to Get Away with Murder is exactly what ABC has been promising in its heavy promotion: instantly addictive, fast-paced fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pilot Review: Black-ish

Black-ish (Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC)

Jokes about race are lazy. They're about equivalent to jokes about farts, pooping, penises, and getting high. So when Black-ish was announced, I assumed we would be getting a thirty-minute exercise in immature humor and lazy punchline writing. Imagine my surprise when a totally coherent and very intelligent show about the construction of identity emerged on ABC's Wednesday night lineup.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pilot Review: NCIS: New Orleans

NCIS: New Orleans (Tuesdays at 9:00 on CBS)

I've never watched a single moment of any previous NCIS series, so I don't know how the New Orleans extension compares to the others. But as a freestanding pilot, NCIS: New Orleans is almost a total failure. But then again, CBS probably isn't too interested in gaining new viewers with this spin-off, but rather pleasing old ones and hoping their eyes stay glued to the TV after the NCIS mothership ends at 9:00.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pilot Review: Scorpion

Scorpion (Mondays at 9:00 on CBS)

Scorpion begins with a title card: "Inspired by a true story." I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the scene of a car chasing a low-flying plane across the runways of LAX, with the pilot hanging from the landing gear and an American Idol runner-up standing up in a speeding Ferrari while they pass an ethernet cable back and forth, isn't included in that disclaimer. That's just one in a long string of ridiculous scenes that comprise this utterly stupid pilot about, ironically, a group of super-geniuses.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pilot Review: Gotham

Gotham (Mondays at 8:00 on Fox)

Do you really need me to tell you whether or not to watch this show? You've definitely already decided by now if you're going to give it a shot (you have possibly even decided whether or not you will hate it or love it), so I'm sure this review is more of a formality than anything that will change your mind one way or the other.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pilot Review: Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary (Sundays at 8:00 on CBS)

Madam Secretary is the type of pilot that is going to be absolutely golden for a certain sect of viewers. It's about politics; it's competently written and shot; and the cast is full of recognizable Tony, Emmy, and Oscar winners. It has the walk-and-talk beats of The West Wing, the female empowerment of The Good Wife, and a likeable, beloved leading lady in Tea Leoni. It's also almost sickeningly sunny and upbeat for a show about the harsh world of governmental politics, and that's where the disconnect comes in for me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pilot Review: Forever

Forever (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC; Premieres September 22)

It's really hard to watch thoroughly mediocre television. If something is great, it's enjoyable. If something is utterly terrible, that can be enjoyable too, in a totally different way. But it's all the series that fall in between those two poles that are painful to sit through: the ones that are shameless rip-offs of better shows; ones that are unremarkable cop procedurals in a new city but with the same boring cast of stock characters; ones that are remakes of foreign shows no one cared about in the first place; etc. Forever is of the first type, a mediocre show that is a shameless rip-off of a bunch of better shows.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pilot Review: The Mysteries of Laura

The Mysteries of Laura (Wednesdays at 8:00 on NBC)

The biggest mystery in The Mysteries of Laura is why Debra Messing, an Emmy winner for Will & Grace (and a nominee for The Starter Wife, her first television foray after that sitcom ended in 2006), has chosen to attempt another NBC comeback with this particular show. Is this really the best the broadcast network had to offer her? Or was there something in the writing which sparked Messing's interest, only to be lost in translation to the pilot? Perhaps she just wanted more screen time after being one of three female leads on Smash? Whatever the reason, it's certainly not that The Mysteries of Laura is a strong show.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pilot Review: Red Band Society

Red Band Society (Wednesdays at 9:00 on Fox; Premieres September 17)

As anyone who's read or seen the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars can tell you, teenage angst has reached new heights: cancer. Yes, cancer is the latest fatalistic storyline thrust upon teens in an attempt to garner tears, empathy, and even laughs. And it's working, because John Green's novel has been on the New York Times Bestsellers list for 93 weeks, and the film adaptation made $125 million at the American box office earlier this summer. Teen cancer is hot right now, so no doubt Red Band Society's creator Margaret Nagle (adapting the Catalan series Polseres vermelles) is trying to cash in. It's a nice show with a big heart, though it's not without problems.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Emmy Predictions

The Emmys are, more so than any other awards show, notoriously difficult to predict. There are always out-of-left-field nominees and winners (see: Jeff Daniels' win last year for The Newsroom), so these predictions are more for fun than anything else.

Miniseries and Television Movie

Writing, Movie/Miniseries: Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart
Directing, Movie/Miniseries: Adam Bernstein, Fargo
Supporting Actress, Movie/Miniseries: Allison Tolman, Fargo
Supporting Actor, Movie/Miniseries: Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Lead Actress, Movie/Miniseries: Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Lead Actor, Movie/Miniseries: Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Television Movie: The Normal Heart
Miniseries: Fargo

These categories will likely flip-flop between The Normal Heart and Fargo throughout. Lead Actor is a horse race between Thornton and Mark Ruffalo, and so is Supporting Actress between Folman and Julia Roberts. I wouldn't be surprised if, in any category above, the other of Fargo or The Normal Heart wins (or if Jessica Lange manages to eke out a win for being the only thing about American Horror Story: Coven that was good in every episode).

Comedy

Writing: Louis C.K., Louie ("So Did the Fat Lady")
Directing: Jodie Foster, Orange is the New Black ("Lesbian Request Denied")
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, Mom
Supporting Actor: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Lead Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lead Actor: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Comedy Series: Orange is the New Black

I sincerely hope this is the year Modern Family's reign ends, and it seems it will be likely with Orange is the New Black becoming a cultural phenomenon; the only thing working against it is the fact that it's competing as a comedy rather than as a drama. Allison Janney already won an Emmy last week at the Creative Arts ceremony for her guest spot on Masters of Sex, but I don't think that will stop her from taking home another (this time in a comedy category) for her scene-stealing role on CBS's underrated rising sophomore Mom. I've also predicted a win for another new comedy series with Andre Braugher in Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the most consistently funny thing about the sometimes-uneven show; but Veep's Tony Hale could just as easily take home a second Emmy for his brilliant work on the HBO show. All in all, though, this could shake out to be a big year for the comedy categories, with a lot of strong new contenders to take away the aging Modern Family's thunder.

Drama

Writing: Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad ("Ozymandias")
Directing: Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective ("Who Goes There")
Supporting Actress: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Supporting Actor: Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Lead Actress: Robin Wright, House of Cards
Lead Actor: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Drama Series: Breaking Bad 

I think Breaking Bad will take away one final Emmy for Drama Series, but this was a strong year all around for other dramas, so I don't see it sweeping again. Of course, that could always happen considering this will be the last chance the Academy gets to honor the show... so seeing Aaron Paul and/or Bryan Cranston walk away with yet another (final) win under the belts wouldn't shock me. I predicted Josh Charles' win using the same logic: he played a beloved character on The Good Wife and was dispatched of in a shocking manner that everyone in the country, even those who don't watch the show, were talking about the next day; he's also been nominated once before for this role but didn't win, so this could be the chance to reward his work. But Aaron Paul is a critical and audience favorite for his Breaking Bad character, so a third win for his role as Jesse Pinkman is just as likely. The only sure thing in these categories seems to be a win for True Detective in Best Directing for a gem of an episode containing an eight-minute, tension-filled long take.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pilot Review: Finding Carter

Finding Carter (Tuesdays at 10:00 on MTV)

Finding Carter is a bit of a strange fit at MTV, home to quirky teen comedies (Faking It, Awkward., etc) and Teen Wolf, not to mention the plethora of ridiculous reality shows that have little-to-nothing to do with the channel's musical roots. It's the kind of show that would better fit into the melodramatic teen angst on ABC Family, if it weren't for the adult edge and slightly more mature tone it's got going. As it stands, Finding Carter lives up to its own name in its pilot: much like the crisis of not fitting on its own network, the new young adult drama struggles to find a consistent tone and balance of too many characters.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brief Reviews: Power, Murder in the First, Dominion

I don't have much to say about the first round of new summer programming: some of it is fun, some of it is downright terrible, and none of it is good enough for me to care very much about it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pilot Review: Halt and Catch Fire

Halt and Catch Fire (Sundays at 10:00 on AMC; Premieres June 1)

I'm hard pressed to think of something I'd rather watch a show about less than someone programming and reverse engineering a computer. And despite some stylish direction in the engineering sequence, Halt and Catch Fire can't make this concept interesting. It's a well-acted and directed show, but it's just hard to care about something so esoteric.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Top 10 Singles By Drag Race Contestants


Many former Drag Racers have tried their hand at music in an attempt to claim the legacy of RuPaul's Drag Race's namesake. When RuPaul exploded onto the scene in the 1990s, it was a kind of kismet that hasn't been seen since. Her single "Supermodel (You Better Work)" was an unexpected hit, both in clubs and on the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbed to #45 and went Gold. The success of RuPaul's first album, Supermodel of the World, was a surprise to just about everyone, including Rupaul herself: it spawned two other #1 Club/Dance Play singles, peaked on the Billboard 200, and led to the public's growing awareness of underground drag culture. From that album, RuPaul then appeared in films, television shows, and even her own VH1 talk show.

Cut to more than twenty years later, and RuPaul is once again at the height of pop culture relevance with Logo's popular competition reality series, RuPaul's Drag Race. Her renewed popularity has resulted in a new lifestyle book, three more albums (the most recent of which, released in February, marked Ru's highest-charting album ever), countless talk show appearances, a fragrance and makeup line, and even a RuPaul candy bar. But the whole point of the show is to expose upcoming queens with the same qualities Ru possesses to the world, all in hopes that they can achieve the kind of crossover success Ru has. So far, few have even come close. Season four's Willam was a television and film regular before he ever appeared on Drag Race, with guest spots on some of the country's biggest TV shows (CSI: NY, Cold Case, Boston Public, etc), and has since found viral success with the YouTube series Willam's Beatdown and several singles. Jinkx Monsoon, season five's winner, has appeared on one of TV's most-watched shows, Blue Bloods, and sold out an off-Broadway run of her original musical, The Vaudevillians. But none have really replicated the unmitigated mainstream success of RuPaul's career.

But in their effort to try, a large number of contestants typically start with releasing music. It only took one song to really put Ru on the map, so these queens usually put all their eggs in one basket and hope for a lightning-in-a-bottle effect. The results are a complete mixed bags, with some absolutely awful songs and some, much fewer, listenable ones. Some, dare I say, are even good. Let's take a look at the more successful Drag Race singles.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 Fall Schedule: The CW

Monday

8:00 - The Originals (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Jane the Virgin (NEW)

I expected The CW to move Supernatural before it moved The Originals, but none of their shows (save for maybe Hart of Dixie, which has proven it is unworthy of any slot but on Fridays) would match well with Jane the Virgin... so why not choose the strongest of this year's freshman class? The Originals proved this year that it can go up against The Voice, though the Monday shows are usually higher rated than the Tuesday shows, so I'll be curious to see how it holds up in this move.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Flash (NEW)
9:00 - Supernatural

The 8:00 timeslot on The CW is typically reserved for either established hits or sure things, so it's no surprise that their strongest pilot takes the slot where The Originals built itself an audience this year. If that show could do as well as it did, I think The Flash will be more than fine, especially with Agents of SHIELD now airing at 9:00.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - The 100

I'm surprised The 100 is returning in the fall. Its first season will be airing into June, so it will be a short time between new episodes. I also assumed The CW would want to use Arrow's stronger fall ratings to launch a new show.

Thursday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Reign

No changes, which I think is smart. The CW must have finally realized that The Vampire Diaries just can't launch a new show very successfully. Reign has done best in the past few seasons, so best to leave it where it is.

Friday

8:00 - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30 - Whose Line Is It Anyway? - Repeats
9:00 - America's Next Top Model

I don't understand why Whose Line... repeats at 8:30 rather than just being an hour long, but that's nothing new.

Midseason

Reserved for midseason are new dramas iZombie and The Messengers, as well as returning dramas Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast. I expect the latter two will return together on Fridays, with one of the new shows likely replacing The 100.

This is probably the most conservative schedule of the entire week. Three nights (Wednesday-Friday) are left completely intact from last season, when there were some major time shifts and three new shows premiering. But coming off their strongest season in many years (quite a feat considering the erosion most of the other networks are seeing), The CW played it safe this year. I'm just glad they're at the point where that's even a possibility for them.

Click through for full descriptions of The CW's new series.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Fall Schedule: CBS


Monday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (New Timeslot) / 2 Broke Girls
8:30 - Mom (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Scorpion (NEW)
10:00 - NCIS: LA (New Timeslot)

CBS's Monday lineup started to fade this season, thanks largely to two huge 10:00pm failures. Moving The Big Bang Theory for a few weeks while football occupies the Thursday schedule will give a nice boost to sophomore Mom. New drama Scorpion will have to self-start at 9:00, and I'm very interested in seeing how NCIS: LA does without its parent series as a lead-in for the first time when it enters its sixth season this fall. At the very least, it will do better than both Hostages and Intelligence did this past year.

Tuesday

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

Unsurprising that CBS would want to give the new NCIS spin-off the mothership as its lead-in.

Wednesday

8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Stalker (NEW)

For most of this season, I suspected that CBS would move CSI to Sundays to make room for a new Wednesday drama at 10:00. CSI has been doing fine, but not great; it's no longer the guaranteed timeslot victor each week, and it's been around long enough that it should have an audience that will follow it around the schedule. So CBS gives the new Kevin Williamson procedural the complementary Criminal Minds lead-in. It should do just fine up against the steady-but-not-huge Chicago P.D.

Thursday

8:00 - Thursday Night Football (Sept 11 - Oct 23)

Beginning October 30:

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

The only thing on this evening I don't agree with is leaving The Millers behind The Big Bang Theory when the Thursday lineup resumes for November sweeps. Putting The McCarthys at 8:30 would have given it a bigger sampling, even though I expect Two and a Half Men to rise in this, its final season. But then The Millers could have been at 9:30, even just to see how it performs without the huge lead-in from Big Bang.

Friday

8:00 - The Amazing Race (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

I'm kind of shocked that CBS moved The Amazing Race, yet I'm not really. Its ratings are down sharply this year, and moving it to Friday will at least eliminate the frequent late starts for the series and perhaps gain it back some of the audience it lost to family-friendly programming like Once Upon a Time.

Sunday

7:00 - 60 Minutes
8:00 - Madam Secretary (NEW)
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - CSI (New Timeslot)

Putting Madam Secretary at 8:00, though, is just plain silly to me. With all the football delays and overruns in the fall, new viewers will be turned off. I think it's better at 8:00 than at 10:00, since the series seems to be a natural pair with The Good Wife, but I don't see viewers being patient enough to wait around for a show that could start anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes late, as they did this past year.

Midseason

Yet another CSI spin-off, this one subtitled Cyber, will assume CSI's timeslot at 10:00 on Sundays. They also have new drama Battle Creek and returning drama The Mentalist to slot in. On the comedy side, veteran Mike & Molly and newbie The Odd Couple will premiere. Undercover Boss was also held back, and I assume it will air in its usual spot (Fridays at 8:00) in between cycles of The Amazing Race.

There were a lot of moves here. I can see CSI moving around the schedule as needed, if one of the freshman shows fails, so that The Mentalist can rejoin the Sunday lineup. But I'm not convinced some of these will work, particularly Madam Secretary at 8:00 on Sunday and Scorpion at 9:00 on Monday. But we'll see.

Click below for full descriptions of CBS's new series.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Fall Schedule: ABC

Monday

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

This is never going to change. I'm convinced the world will end first.

Tuesday

8:00 - Selfie (NEW)
8:30 - Manhattan Love Story (NEW)
9:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Forever (NEW)

Dear ABC: This didn't work for you last season, so why are you doing it again? You need an established show to put on Tuesdays at 10:00. Also, Selfie and Manhattan Love Story seem tonally disparate, so why are they paired? The only good thing about this move is that ABC's comedies won't be facing Fox's and NBC's comedies anymore... but they will be facing The Voice.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - The Goldbergs (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Black-ish (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville

Well, at least The Goldbergs is finally in the slot it should have been in for the past year. Black-ish must be pretty strong to be getting the Modern Family lead-out rather than Selfie (which looks more appropriate for the tone of the comedy block), but I guess they could be going for an hour of non-traditional family sitcoms. And I just wish Nashville would be moved, just to see how it would do on a different night, perhaps with a drama lead-in. I don't see most of Black-ish's audience sticking around for a country music show.

Thursday

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

This was the most obvious move ABC needed to make. They have struggled for years with this 8:00 timeslot, so Grey's should strengthen it. Plus, moving Scandal up then provides a new drama with a big lead-in and it counter-programs CBS's new Thursday Night Football games. It'll be interesting to see how both Scandal and The Blacklist do when they go head-to-head in February.

Friday

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

ABC's only new multi-camera comedy gets paired with its only existing multi-camera comedy. Sounds good to me. Plus, Cristela has history with Last Man Standing: it had no budget to shoot the pilot, so they used the Last Man Standing set and crew to film on a shoestring. Shark Tank probably could have boosted a timeslot on another night, but I suppose ABC is content with how well it does on Fridays and doesn't want to jinx things by playing with it.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Resurrection
10:00 - Revenge

I'm surprised Resurrection is returning in the fall. The writers have stated that they do not want to do a traditional full season, so I just assumed ABC would hold it until midseason again. But it did have a nice momentum going this spring, so I guess airing it in the fall rather than holding it for spring 2015 will ensure the buzz doesn't completely die out.

Midseason

Agent Carter will serve as a fill-in between Agents of SHIELD's fall and spring airings (so it will probably be 10 episodes or less). Galavant, the half-hour musical comedy, will air Sundays at 8:00 (with an unknown half-hour partner) while Once Upon a Time is on winter hiatus. American Crime will assume Resurrection's timeslot (Sunday 9:00) in the spring, and Secrets & Lies is currently scheduled to air in March in the Thursday 10:00 slot for its ten episodes. Also coming midseason are drama  The Whispers and comedy Fresh Off the Boat. The Taste was also renewed for a third season to air at midseason, as well as a December return for The Great Christmas Light Fight. ABC previously picked up The Club from David O. Russell & Susannah Grant, but recent word is that they were reconsidering its order since Russell departed the project... and it wasn't announced as part of their new dramas. So we'll see what happens with that one. Also supposedly set for midseason was this summer's The Astronaut Wives Club, which may be pushed even further to next summer, as no mention is made of it in ABC's press release.

A lot of what Paul Lee did here is expected, which is precisely why I don't think it will be terribly effective. The Thursday line-up should help the network out (and here's to hoping How to Get Away with Murder is a hit, because ABC needs it), but Tuesdays still seem DOA to me. I would have put Castle in the 10:00 slot on Tuesdays and debuted something new on Monday, if only for the fall as a trial. I will, however, commend ABC for their commitment to diversity. This season has a comedy about a Latina family, a black family, and an Asian family, plus a drama about racial tension in America.

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

Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 Fall Schedule: Fox

Monday

8:00 - Gotham (NEW)
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow

Just like NBC has genre nights on Friday, Fox is attempting one on Monday. Gotham should have a nice audience simply because of its premise, though I'd think it would be smarter to put it on a slower night (perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday at 8:00), and I have hope that Sleepy Hollow will maintain its big fall numbers from 2013.

Tuesday

8:00 - Utopia (NEW)
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - The Mindy Project

I didn't expect Utopia to be ready so soon (the casting call explains that filming of the show could take up to a year, so I assumed they'd wait until the whole thing is shot), but here it is. I don't expect it to light up the airwaves, and it won't help the mightily-fallen New Girl.

Wednesday

8:00 - Hell's Kitchen (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Red Band Society (NEW)

When was the last time Fox had scripted programming on Wednesdays in the regular season? Apparently Red Band Society is one of the strongest pilots of the season, and it's unlike anything else on the night, so it may be able to succeed. Hell's Kitchen, I think, will do about the same no matter what night it's on... but why not put it on Fridays with Masterchef Junior and put Utopia on back-to-back nights, like every other reality competition series Fox airs?

Thursday

8:00 - Bones (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Gracepoint (NEW)

Bones is the ultimate utility player for Fox. It'll do decent-to-good numbers no matter where they stick it. Gracepoint is also a cop show, and it should be provided a stable, solid lead-in. But if ABC moves Scandal to 9:00, then it's in trouble.

Friday

8:00 - Masterchef Junior
9:00 - Utopia (NEW)

I'm not sure why Utopia is taking up two hours of the schedule when Fox has tons of scripted programming to air, especially since it's untested, but okay. Masterchef Junior was a surprise hit last fall, so it's unsurprising that it assumes its old slot. But I thought Fox might try something different here (like Glee or Hieroglyph).

Sunday

7:30 - Bob's Burgers
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - Mulaney (NEW)

Fox must not remember how poorly Sons of Tucson did when it was placed in the middle of the animation block a few seasons ago. I guess Bordertown isn't ready to air yet? Anyway, I think programming a show at 7:30 on Sundays in the fall is silly because of guaranteed football overruns, and Bob's Burgers is getting the short end of the stick on that one. But this entire lineup, including both new live-action shows, skews toward a male audience... most of whom will be watching football. So I don't really understand moving a critically liked but little seen sophomore show to a night when it won't have much of a chance.

Midseason

No solid plans were put in place, but Fox will have The Last Man on Earth and Weird Loners on the comedy side; Hieroglyph, Backstrom, Empire, and the terminally-delayed Wayward Pines on the drama side; plus the new animated series from Seth MacFarlane, Bordertown. Returning series at midseason are The Following, Glee (which is strangely absent, though Kevin O'Reilly said today that he will talk to Ryan Murphy about a reduced episode order), and American Idol.


I think this schedule is pretty much a mess. Tuesdays are not going to get any stronger by adding a new reality show to lead in to a comedy hour; focusing on male-heavy programming on Sunday is pretty stupid; and debuting your highest profile new series against The Voice isn't the best choice. And with a cast like what Wayward Pines has (Terrence Howard, who will also be seen in Empire, Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo), I'm surprised it's being pushed back yet again.

Click through to read full descriptions of Fox's new series (and brace yourselves, because they're long-winded).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Fall Schedule: NBC

Monday

8:00 - The Voice
10:00 - The Blacklist / State of Affairs (NEW) - beginning Nov 17

I always figured State of Affairs, the new Katherine Heigl drama, would air Mondays after The Voice. The only surprise here is that The Blacklist will debut early and then vacate the schedule during November sweeps so that Affairs can premiere.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - Marry Me (NEW)
9:30 - About a Boy (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Chicago Fire

So Marry Me must be NBC's strongest comedy pilot to get the post-The Voice slot, particularly since I'm sure NBC is banking on the singing show having a boost this fall from two new judges (Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams). About a Boy should still benefit somewhat from airing so near its lead-in for this season, just shifted back a half hour.

Wednesday

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

Wednesdays are now a "procedural" night for NBC, which isn't a bad idea. Law & Order: SVU has benefited for years from "drop-in" viewers in syndication tuning in every once in a while to new episodes, adding to the loyal fanbase that watches weekly, to boost ratings. Procedurals are almost always easier to get ratings for (just ask CBS), so it's a good thing for NBC to try. I also like the idea that all three of these procedurals have strong females at the center (Debra Messing in Laura, Mariska Hargitay in SVU, and Sophia Bush in P.D.).

Thursday

8:00 - The Biggest Loser (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Bad Judge (NEW)
9:30 - A to Z (NEW)
10:00 - Parenthood

We knew it was coming: the end of NBC's Thursday comedy block. It was totally flailing in recent years, particularly this past one, so it's now been cut back to one hour in the fall and nothing in the spring. NBC announced The Blacklist's move to Thursdays at 9:00 as of February, eliminating the remaining comedy block... unless, of course, the block moves to 8:00 at midseason when veteran Parks & Recreation will return from hiatus for its final season. Also at midseason, Allegiance takes over for Parenthood, which is also entering its last season of 13 episodes.

Friday

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

This was also a fairly obvious pairing to continue NBC's relatively successful genre-night programming. It seems likely that Hannibal will re-assume its timeslot sometime in the spring, unless Constantine is a hit, which is entirely possible given its comic-book origins.

Sunday

Sunday Night Football


Midseason

NBC has quite a bit of programming to fit in at midseason. They'll have a host of new comedies: Mission Control, Mr. Robinson, One Big Happy, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, plus the return of Parks & Recreation. Then they have a good number of dramas as well: A.D., Allegiance (which is currently planned for Thursdays at 10:00), Aquarius, Emerald City, and Odyssey, plus Hannibal and the return of The Celebrity Apprentice. It seems likely, then, that there will again e at least some scripted programming on Sunday nights and/or a full night of scripted programming on Fridays. Heroes Reborn, a reboot of the 2006 series that ended in 2010, is scheduled for summer of 2015 (and it's quite possible that other midseason orders end up there as well, much like Night Shift this year).

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

Pilot Review: Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful (Sundays at 10:00 Showtime; Premieres May 11)

Consider this fair warning: Penny Dreadful is about to be the newest show your friends and acquaintances will flood your news feed with every Sunday night. With The Walking Dead on hiatus, Penny Dreadful is swooping in to claim the title of "horror show you must tweet/post about, right after you get done tweeting/posting about Game of Thrones." It's the same type of well-shot, overblown, gory, but only vaguely interesting show as The Walking Dead.

Friday, May 9, 2014

2013-2014 Season: Final Status of All Shows

Here is the complete list of shows which aired in the 2013-2014 season on a broadcast network and their current status: renewed, canceled, or awaiting announcement. The list will be updated as new information becomes available (updated May 11: all scripted shows accounted for)

ABC

Renewed: America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Castle, Dancing with the Stars, The Goldbergs, Grey's Anatomy, Last Man Standing, Nashville, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Resurrection, Revenge, Scandal, Shark Tank, The Taste

Canceled: The Assets, Back in the Game, Betrayal, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Mind Games, Mixology, The Neighbors, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Suburgatory, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife

CBS

Renewed: 2 Broke Girls, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, Elementary, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, The Millers, Mom, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest, Survivor, Two and a Half Men, Undercover Boss

Canceled: The Crazy Ones, Friends with Better Lives, Hostages, How I Met Your Mother, Intelligence, We Are Men

The CW

Renewed: The 100, America's Next Top Model, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Canceled: The Carrie Diaries, Nikita, Star-Crossed, The Tomorrow People

Fox

Renewed: American Idol, Bob's Burgers, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Family Guy, The Following, Glee, Hell's Kitchen, Junior MasterChef, The Mindy Project, New Girl, The Simpsons, Sleepy Hollow

Canceled: Almost Human, Dads, Enlisted, Kitchen Nightmares, Raising Hope, Rake, Surviving Jack, The X Factor

Other: American Dad is moving to TBS this fall

NBC

Renewed: About a Boy, The Biggest Loser, The Blacklist, The Celebrity Apprentice, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Grimm, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, The Voice

Canceled: American Dream Builders, Believe, Community, Crisis, Dracula, Growing Up Fisher, Ironside, The Michael J. Fox Show, Revolution, Sean Saves the World, Welcome to the Family

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014-2015 Season: New Series Pick-Ups

Updated May 9. I'm going to forgo my usual fantasy schedules this year, but I'll still be tracking the fall schedules and the early series pick-ups, which got going today. See below for titles and loglines, and check back next week for the full schedules from upfronts, including full series descriptions.

NBC

Dramas

Allegiance (formerly Coercion) - A CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs learns that his parents are spies recently re-enlisted by the Kremlin to plan an attack on America.

Constantine - Based on the DC Comic Hellblazer, follows a British con-man-turned-occult-detective as he defends the world against dark forces.

The Mysteries of Laura - A modern look at a working mom, the titular homicide detective who is better at handling criminals than her own kids.

Odyssey - Families are torn apart when a Special Ops soldier in North Africa, a corporate lawyer, and a political activist are drawn into an international military conspiracy.

State of Affairs - A CIA analyst with a complicated personal life counsels the POTUS on high-stakes global incidents.

Comedies

A to Z - A romantic comedy about a chance meeting that leads to a new relationship formed at an online dating company.

Bad Judge - A woman must balance her hard-partying, sexually ambitious personal life with her job as a criminal judge.

Marry Me - A long-term couple ponder whether or not to commit to married life.

Mission Control - A strong woman butts heads with a macho astronaut during the 1962 space race.

One Big Happy - A lesbian is impregnated with her straight male friend's baby just as he meets and marries the love of his life.

FOX

Dramas

Empire - Contemporary musical/family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire.

Gotham - An origins story of Gotham City's Commissioner Gordon and the villains that made the city famous.

Red Band Society - A comedic soap about teenage patients in a hospital's children's wing.

THE CW

The Flash - Arrow spin-off following scientist Barry Allen after a freak accident grants him the power of super speed.

iZombie - Based on the DC Comic, a zombie med student takes a job in the coroner's office to gain unlimited access to the brains she must consume to maintain her humanity.

Jane the Virgin - A hard-working, religious Latina girl is accidentally artificially inseminated.

The Messengers - A group of strangers die when a mysterious object crashes to Earth, but they reawaken to prevent an impending Apocalypse.

ABC

Dramas

Agent Carter - A spin-off of Marvel's Captain America films following Peggy Carter as a covert operative working for Howard Stark in the wake of losing Steve Rogers.

American Crime - A racially charged drama told from the point of view of the victims, the accused, and their families.

Forever - New York's top medical examiner solves criminal cases in an effort to help him discover why he is immortal.

How to Get Away with Murder - A legal thriller about four top law students fighting for the attention and mentoring of a brilliant professor and litigator.

Secrets & Lies -  After discovering a dead boy during his morning run, a man sees his life and small Southern town turned upside down in the wake of the murder investigation.

The Whispers - Aliens invade Earth and use children to achieve world domination.

Comedies

Black-ish Following a promotion to "Urban" VP, a black man worries that he and his family have become assimilated and lost touch with their roots.

Cristela - A Mexican-American woman struggles to be her own person as she graduates law school while still upholding her family's traditional culture.

Fresh Off the Boat - A 12-year old and his Americanized Asian family move from Orlando to Chinatown, D.C. and experience a culture shock in their pursuit of the American Dream.

Galavant - A musical fairytale comedy that begins after the "happy ever after" happens.

Manhattan Love Story - Exposes the unfiltered thoughts of men and women to highlight the disparities between what we think and we say in relationships.

Selfie - A teenage girl who has thousands of online followers and friends decides it's time to make friends in real life.

CBS

Dramas

CSI: Cyber - The FBI's Cyber Crimes Division investigates major crimes that originate online but play out in real life.

Madam Secretary - The female Secretary of State balances her personal and professional lives.

 NCIS: New Orleans - Spin-off set at the NCIS office in New Orleans, handling cases in the South and Midwest.

Scorpion - An eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses form the last line of defense against complex threats of the modern age

Stalker - A pair of detectives handle stalking incidents for the LAPD.

Comedies

The McCarthys - The gay son of a big Irish Catholic Boston family's biggest sin isn't who he loves, but his desire to spend less time with his family.

The Odd Couple - Reboot of the classic series about mismatched roommates, starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pilot Review: Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher (Thursdays at 9:30 on CBS)

Am I the only one with fond feelings toward the 2011 Cameron Diaz film the new comedy Bad Teacher is based upon? I've seen it dozens of times, including in a movie theatre full of laughing people, but most of the reaction toward the small-screen adaptation is, "Why redo such a bad movie?" While I agree that it's not exactly a good choice for the play-it-safe network, CBS, I thought Bad Teacher could work well enough as a weekly series on, say, pay cable or even a more subversive channel like FX. Because everything that made the film funny to me has to be stripped away for broadcast television: the vulgarity, the profanity, and the cast's performances.. So what we're left with is a fairly standard woman-behaving-badly sitcom without nearly as much bite as its source material.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pilot Review: Black Box

Black Box (Thursdays at 10:00 on ABC)

With Kerry Washington pregnant, ABC had no choice but to cut Scandal's episode order for the season short. They must be kicking themselves right about now, cursing the personal life of their star for leaving them with few options for May sweeps programming, save for the pretentious, muddled medical drama Black Box. Not only have they traded down in the ratings (the pilot of Black Box delivered less than half of Scandal's finale audience the week before), but they've also tonally shifted in the opposite direction from guilty-pleasure to no-pleasure.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pilot Review: Turn


Turn (Sundays at 9:00 on AMC)

There's a really great idea at the root of Turn, the newest period piece from AMC set during the American Revolution: what would a spy thriller look like set over two hundred years in the past? Unfortunately, that's the only question Turn's pilot episode answers. There's more time spent on the design and setting than on telling a gripping story, which leaves Turn feeling about as bland as its title.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pilot Review: Surviving Jack


Surviving Jack (Thursdays at 9:30 on Fox)

We already have The Goldbergs mining the 80s for comedy over on ABC on Tuesday nights, and now we have Surviving Jack doing the same for the early 90s on Fox. The difference between the two, however, is key: Surviving Jack is funny. I don't know if it's because the 90s were "my time," and I just relate better to the humor derived from it, or if Jack is just better at using its time period, or both, but I actually found myself enjoying Fox's latest offering.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pilot Review: The 100

The 100 (Wednesdays at 9:00 on The CW)

The 100 takes place a few centuries into the future when mankind has all but decimated itself thanks to a nuclear war. The survivors take refuge in space on a contained vessel that is quickly running out of resources to sustain the last of the human race. Earth's atmosphere has been deemed unlivable for 100 years due to the dangers of radiation poisoning. But it's now been 97 years since the attacks, and with only 3-4 months of supplies remaining aboard The Ark, as the floating space colony is called, the adult leaders send 100 juvenile delinquents, all sentenced to execution on their eighteenth birthdays, to explore the possibility of returning home to Earth. It's win-win: if the planet is uninhabitable, those who were scheduled to be killed will die anyway; if it's habitable, everyone gets to live. But apparently The Lord of the Flies is no longer required reading in this future world, because we all know how this one's going to go down.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pilot Review: Crisis


Crisis (Sundays at 10:00 on NBC)

Remember when Lost and 24 were the biggest shows on TV and then every show for two or so seasons was about people either vanishing or being kidnapped or held hostage or some crazy combination of those shows? Crisis is the latest in that vein, a 24-esque political conspiracy thriller that's coming a few years late to the party. I'm not saying it's bad, because it's not; it's not even all that reductive. It's just reminiscent enough of bigger and better things to detract from its own merits, and it takes itself a little too seriously for its own good.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014-2015 Early Renewals

We're getting back into that time of year again! With just about two months until the 2014-2015 broadcast upfronts, some networks have already begun announcing early renewals for the upcoming season. Click below to see which shows will continue to grace your television sets (and computer screens, tablets, phones, or whatever complicated means by which you watch TV now) through next year. (Updated March 19)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pilot Review: Believe

Believe (Sundays at 9:00 on NBC)

Hopefully with the premiere of Believe out of the way, we can finally stop seeing that damn commercial of the little blonde girl screaming at a bunch of birds. That's about the most positive thing I can say about the latest from J.J. Abrams, whose name once connoted potential greatness and now just clues us in to the fact that the series will probably be a good vs. bad conspiracy thriller, and recent Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron. Because aside from that, Believe is about as mediocre as they come, a confusing mess of mythical imagery, unexplained plot points, and absurd action-movie dialogue.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pilot Review: Resurrection

Resurrection (Sundays at 9:00 on ABC)

I am one of the few who went into ABC's Resurrection knowing what to expect. I knew that this wasn't an American remake of the critically acclaimed French series Les Revenants (The Returned), but rather an adaptation of an original American novel called... The Returned. Yes, it's confusing. But I've never seen a single episode of the French series (which aired late last year in the US on the Sundance Channel), so I don't know how similar ABC's take on the returned-from-the-dead series is to it. But I have read Jason Mott's novel, and I am happy to say that Resurrection is both close to its source material and more successful than it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Three Major Reasons HBO's Looking Sucks


I just have to say that I know I'm in the minority when it comes to HBO's new series, Looking. First of all, I actually watch it, which apparently not many others do, according to its lower-than-low ratings. Secondly, I absolutely despise it. I'm committed to riding out the remainder of the first season (which has only one more episode, airing March 9 at 10:30), but I'm willing to bid a not-so-fond farewell to these narcissistic tools for season two.

But if the gay community at large is to be believed, Looking is something to be celebrated. Word of mouth must be positive, because the ratings have actually grown (though they're still teeny tiny), and most of the comments I've read on review sites, blogs, and Twitter praise the show's "realism" and "refreshing look at the lives of gay men without turning them into sex objects a la Queer as Folk." Personally, I don't see any of that. I just see a bunch of vapid pretty-boys with no sense of compassion or self-awareness.

Anyway, because so many people I've talked to can't seem to understand why I don't like Looking, here are three big reasons why I think it sucks.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pilot Review: Those Who Kill



Those Who Kill (Mondays at 10:00 on A&E; Premieres March 3)

Those Who Kill is the latest in a long line of Danish crime show remakes, this one from writer Glen Morgan, whose credits are primarily within the horror genre (The X-Files, The River, the films Final Destination and its second sequel). That would seem to work in the show's favor, since these Danish remakes tend toward a kind of psychological terror. Just look at The Killing or The Bridge. Whereas those shows each were creatively successful in their own rights, Those Who Kill just doesn't enjoy the same success, mostly because Morgan's script is a mess.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pilot Review: Mind Games

Mind Games (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC)

Debuting in one of ABC's most troubled timeslots is Mind Games, one of their more pleasant dramas of the season. It's a relatively smart and energetic twist on the procedural genre with a strong cast and strong writing from Kyle Killen, who has developed something of a cult following after two well-received but poorly-rated shows (NBC's Awake and Fox's Lone Star). And despite the fact that Mind Games is enjoyable and much more accessible and widely appealing than his previous shows, it's likely to be a hat trick for Killen in the one-season-and-done club, simply because ABC doesn't know how to properly schedule and/or promote their new shows.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pilot Review: Mixology

Mixology (Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC; Premieres February 26)

Some shows don't even deserve the courtesy of my thinking about it, analyzing it, and/or working out my feelings toward it. Some shows are just so unforgivably bad that little can be said to make them seem somehow redeeming or worthwhile. Some shows are so offensively conceived and written that I don't even want to remember ever watching them. Mixology is one of those shows. So I will give you two options: I will give you many of the reasons why I hated ABC's latest comedic abortion, if you are so inclined to want to know more; otherwise, you may skip ahead to the asterisk (*) for the short version of this review.