Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pilot Review: Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life


This poster tells you everything you need to know about the new Fox series' brand of humor.
Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life (Sundays at 8:30 on Fox; Premieres January 3)

Have you missed the bro humor of Entourage since it went off the air? Hankering for a watered-down, network TV version of The Hangover, complete with one of the trilogy's stars? Been wishing for another ridiculously tongue-tangling long titled sitcom after Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 ended a few years back? Well, Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life is here to fill those voids for you without providing much of anything else.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Midseason Schedule: NBC

UPDATED JANUARY 22 with additional Sunday, Wednesday & Thursday scheduling

NBC has yet to firm up many of its midseason plans, including what will air on Sunday nights when the NFL season ends. But plans are in place for January, at least, with more to come soon.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Midseason Schedule: CBS

UPDATED FEBRUARY 11 - Changes to Thursday

With all of its freshmen series now picked up for full seasons (short ones or otherwise), CBS had few changes to make to its midseason schedule. As usual, they're more about filling gaps than making moves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Midseason Schedule: The CW

UPDATED FEBRUARY 11 - Monday & Tuesday Nights

Mark Pedowitz continues to make big moves as the CW head, choosing to bench low-rated Reign and moving veteran The Vampire Diaries and companion/spin-off The Originals to a whole new night. Click through to find out when.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Midseason Schedule: ABC

ABC has had both a good fall (Quantico improving on Revenge's timeslot numbers; The Muppets debuting big; Shark Tank continuing to win Fridays, despite increased competition) and a bad fall (Wicked City being the only show on any network pulled prematurely from the schedule; The Muppets falling hard after a big premiere; Blood & Oil disappointing and having its order cut short). With the announcement of their midseason schedule, they're hoping for more of the former and less of the latter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Midseason Schedule: Fox

UPDATED FEBRUARY 11 - Changes to Thursday & Sunday Nights

Fox is making some major midseason changes, thanks in part to the total failure of freshman Minority Report and once-great-but-greatly-fallen Sleepy Hollow. They'll debut two new comedies and three new dramas, including the limited-run revival of The X-Files, while sidelining The Last Man on Earth and Bones.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pilot Review: Wicked City


Wicked City (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC)

The latest in a long line of serialized cop shows is more jarring than most that have come before it, but not for the reason you'd expect. ABC's Wicked City isn't gorier or grittier or gloomier than its predecessors. It's not more graphic or more gruesome. Wicked City is jarring because it's relatively tame in comparison to the shows it tries to emulate, like True Detective, Bosch, The Killing, and The Bridge, sometimes to its own detriment.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pilot Review: Supergirl

Supergirl (Mondays at 8:00 on CBS; Premieres October 26)

It can be hard to separate the show Supergirl is from the show Supergirl represents, but luckily both are more positive than negative. It's heavy with cultural significance, and not just because it represents a new kind of show for its network, the traditionally old-skewing CBS. No, Supergirl is arriving at a moment when our popular culture is inundated with superheroes, from the small screen to the big screen and everywhere in between. The catch? The heroes are almost exclusively male, despite a growing trend of female viewers and consumers. So Supergirl has a lot on her shoulders, being the only live-action female superhero to currently carry her own brand. More than just a move toward the future for CBS, Supergirl is a step forward for all heroic adaptations with a clear message: Girls can kick ass too, and quality doesn't have to suffer for it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pilot Review: Truth Be Told


Truth Be Told (Fridays at 8:30 on NBC)

Truth Be Told would have been a really edgy comedy in the 1980s, when TV's most successful sitcoms were The Cosby Show, Who's the Boss, Family Ties, and The Facts of Life. But in a television landscape that has recently tackled issues of race, gender, sexuality, and the political intersection of all these cocnepts to great success (black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, Modern Family, Jane the Virgin), Truth Be Told feels forced and dated.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

State of the Union: Fall 2015

The networks have started making moves three weeks into the new season. This list will be updated continuously as new shows receive script orders, episode orders, or cancellation notices. * Updated December 11 (NBC)

Unless otherwise noted, full season orders are for an additional 9 episodes, bringing the season total to 22 episodes. Additionally, script orders do not always guarantee an order for more episodes. They are a way for networks to gauge the direction a show will take beyond the episodes originally ordered into production.

ABC

Full Season Ordered: Dr. Ken, The Muppets, Quantico

Canceled: Blood & Oil, Wicked City

*The back order for The Muppets is for 3 episodes, bringing its season total to 16 episodes.

Also of note, ABC ordered an additional 9 episodes of comedy Fresh Off the Boat, bringing its second season total to 22 episodes.

CBS

Full Season Ordered: Code Black*, Life in Pieces, Limitless, Supergirl

* Code Black received a backorder of 5 episodes, bringing its season total to 18 episodes. Supergirl received a backorder of 7 episodes, bringing its season total to 20 episodes.

The CW

Full Season Ordered: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend*

* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received a backorder of 5 episodes, bringing its season total to 18 episodes. Additionally, sophomore iZombie received an order for 6 more episodes, bringing its season total to 19 episodes.

Fox

Full Season Ordered: Grandfathered, The Grinder, Rosewood

Canceled: Minority Report


Midseason drama Second Chance (formerly Lookinglass & The Frankenstein Code) has had its episode order reduced from 13 to 11 episodes.

NBC

Full Season Ordered: Blindspot, Chicago Med*

Canceled: Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, The Player, Truth Be Told

*Chicago Med received a backorder of 5 episodes, bringing its season total to 18 episodes.

Also of note, NBC cut the episode orders for two midseason comedies: Telenovela and Superstore will each be 10 episodes now rather than 13. Back in August, they also canceled the planned midseason reboot of Coach after shooting just a pilot. Additionally, sophomore drama The Mysteries of Laura received an order for 3 more episodes, bringing its season total to 16.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pilot Review: Code Black



I always think that it must be so hard to be original on broadcast television whenever I watch a show like Code Black. It must be nearly impossible to come up with a new idea, a new way of saying something familiar, or a new way of presenting old tropes and stories, especially when there's clearly an audience for these tried-and-true procedural shows. And it seems even more difficult considering how middling and undistinguished most of these shows turn out to be.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pilot Reviews: Grandfathered & The Grinder

It's two-for-one night on Fox Tuesdays with 1980s heartthrobs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pilot Reviews: Blood & Oil and Quantico

ABC's new Sunday night lineup is about as melodramatic as you would expect, considering the timeslots its two new shows, Blood & Oil and Quantico, have inherited: times formerly occupied by such shows as Desperate Housewives, Revenge, and Brothers & Sisters. There's no worries for fans of ABC's past soap successes on the night, as both shows, for better or worse, follow in the soapy, excessive footsteps of their predecessors.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pilot Review: The Player

The Player (Thursdays at 10:00 on NBC)

When a drama doesn't pretend to be anything more than it's supposed to be, I can appreciate it. If it doesn't take itself too seriously or have delusions of grandeur, I can at least have a little bit fun along with the creators. Sometimes shows are unabashedly silly and over-the-top (think Revenge or early episodes of Glee), and that can translate to an enjoyable, if unimpressive or stimulating, hour of viewing. The Player looks like it will fit quite nicely into this television niche.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pilot Reviews: Limitless & Rosewood

I've decided to put my reviews of these two new shows, CBS's Limitless and Fox's Rosewood, in one article for a few reasons. They actually share more in common than meets the eye: both are procedurals; both feature an ingenious lead who solves crimes (one through the use of a mind-enhancing drug, the other just through charm and knowledge); and both are a huge bore.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pilot Review: Scream Queens

Scream Queens (Tuesdays at 9:00 on Fox)

If you're a fan of Ryan Murphy's previous forays into quirky, off-kilter television (Popular, Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story), then you know what to expect from Scream Queens. The new Fox horror-comedy shares quite a bit of DNA with all of Murphy's prior shows, especially his two most recent creations, all mashed up into one bloated, offensive, messy piece of television.

Pilot Review: The Muppets


The Muppets (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)

I have to admit that I've never truly understood the Muppet craze. I grew up with them, like seemingly everyone else aged 2-70; I had a Kermit bedside lamp and a stuffed Fozzie. But I have never held them in such reverential esteem as many millions of others have and do. So I was not surprised to find myself merely bearing with this latest incarnation of the Henson puppets and their adventures. Diehards may find more to love in this more grown-up version of their favorite felt friends, but only casual fans and those young enough to be tuning into their antics for the first time will likely have to find comedic fulfillment elsewhere.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pilot Review: Life in Pieces

Life in Pieces (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS)

It's so rare with sitcoms that the concept and comedy feel fresh. When it happens, the feeling is electric; think of the first seasons of Modern Family and Glee for a couple of recent examples. The comedy landscape is so well-trod that all it takes is a slight format change, a strong cast, and a little truth to the jokes to make it work. Life in Pieces is the first show in some time to get it all right and elicit that elusive response.

Pilot Review: Minority Report


Minority Report (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox; Premieres September 21)

I know I said just yesterday in my review of Blindspot that it's not always a bad thing to have preconceived notions of what a show is and to compare it to what came before. And that's true for that particular show; the comparisons it will draw to similarly plotted and themed films, shows, and novels are just comparisons. But with Minority Report, we have a show that is an extension of an existing format: the 2002 Steven Spielberg directed hit which starred Tom Cruise (prior to his very public meltdown and decline in popular opinion). The comparisons between movie and series are not only inevitable in this case but necessary, and it's hard to separate the two when watching Minority Report's pilot. It's something that works completely against Max Borenstein's attempt to extend the story of the police force in future Washington, D.C.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pilot Review: Blindspot


Blindspot (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC; Premieres September 21)

The comparisons to a myriad of previous shows and movies, from the Jason Bourne series of novels and films to NBC's own former Monday night success The Blacklist, are inevitable with Blindspot. It's an action series that's also a procedural, a show heavy with shootouts, fight choreography, and conspiracies. But despite all this, Blindspot does still carve out its own niche in the broadcast landscape (there are bevy of other procedurals for audiences to choose from, including this show's direct competition on both ABC and CBS, but nothing else with the same popcorn-flick feel) and manages to be a bit smarter and cooler than one may expect based on the shoot-'em-up promotional materials currently in mass circulation.

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions

I (and most others) pretty much suck at predicting the Emmys, because rarely do they make sense. How anyone but Cicely Tyson won this year's dramatic guest actress statue, or how Martin Freeman could beat Matthew Bomer last year, is beyond my comprehension. So I never really take my predictions seriously, not like I do for the Oscars anyway.

Miniseries and Television Movie

Writing, Movie/Miniseries: Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge
Directing, Movie/Miniseries: Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge
Supporting Actress, Movie/Miniseries: Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Supporting Actor, Movie/Miniseries: Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
Lead Actress, Movie/Miniseries: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Lead Actor, Movie/Miniseries: Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Television Movie: Bessie
Miniseries: Olive Kitteridge

I'm not going to pretend like I know what the hell the Television Academy will do in these categories (honestly, I'm still scratching my head over Kathy Bates winning last year over both Julia Roberts and Allison Tolman). So these are guesses. Olive Kitteridge was rapturously received by all, and it's already cleaned up at a host of other ceremonies, so when in doubt I went with the HBO mini. Freak Show is mostly disliked among fans of American Horror Story, so its enormous amount of nominations probably speaks more to a lack of eligible, prodigious projects than true quality; however, I can see Paulson winning for her dual performances as conjoined twins. Queen Latifah could upset McDormand for Bessie (and I wouldn't be shocked by a win for Mo'nique over Paulson, either). David Oyelowo has a good shot for winning lead for Nightingale, but I just personally feel like the overall strangeness of that film may turn voters off and push them to vote for a more traditional winner like Rylance. Oh, and I really hope that if American Crime gets anything, it's for John Ridley's brilliant pilot script.

Comedy

Writing: Jill Soloway, Transparent ("Pilot")
Directing: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Last Man on Earth ("Alive in Tucson")
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, Mom
Supporting Actor: Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lead Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lead Actor: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Comedy Series: Veep

I think it would be ridiculous for Modern Family to win again, but you can never rule anything out. My heart wants to pick Transparent for almost everything, including best series, but I just don't know if it's the kind of show the Television Academy would fully embrace in that way. Instead I'm predicting Veep, which probably should have already had at least one of these awards already. I think Transparent has the best shot at winning for writing and actor, though I wouldn't rule out a win for directing as well (or series, if the voters are as progressive as I hope). For the first time in five years, Modern Family is not nominated for directing, so something new will win there; I went with the fun, unique pilot of The Last Man on Earth, but both Veep and Transparent have good episodes nominated (and Transparent's is the episode for which Bradley Whitford already won the Emmy for guest actor, so perhaps that's a sign of the episode's reception among voters). Regardless, I'm predicting and hoping for a Modern Family-less winners list in the major comedy categories.

Drama

Writing: Matthew Weiner, Mad Men ("Person to Person")
Directing: Steven Soderbergh, The Knick ("Method and Madness")
Supporting Actress: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Supporting Actor: Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Lead Actress: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Lead Actor: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Drama Series: Mad Men

Again, a lot of question marks in these categories. This is Mad Men's last year of eligibility, and the show hasn't won the top honor since 2011, so I expect them to get one last statue as a parting gift. Ditto to Hamm, who has nominated eight times now for the show but never won. Actress is a rat race between Davis and Taraji P. Henson, both of whom are critic and fan favorites, and Tatiana Maslany, who's had a huge fan campaign behind her for years now. Aduba could take home her second award for playing "Crazy Eyes," even though her win last win was in a completely different category (comedy guest), or Christina Hendricks could finally win for Mad Men after receiving six nominations. Or Lena Headey could come out on top for Game of Thrones. Speaking of, Game of Thrones has the possibility of winning in many more categories than I predicted: writing, directing, supporting actress, and series. But because of the intense backlash from a lot of this season's episodes, I went conservative with other nominees.

The Emmys air Sunday night, September 20, on Fox.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pilot Review: The Carmichael Show

The Carmichael Show (Wednesdays at 9:00 on NBC; Premieres August 26)

This show is horrible. The acting, the writing, the concept, all of it's awful. Truly, truly bad. Don't watch it.

It's the early 1990s again on NBC with The Carmichael Show. Jerrod, playing himself, and his girlfriend, Maxine (Greek's Amber Stevens West) have just moved in together. Maxine thinks Jerrod's parents, Joe (David Alan Grier) and Cynthia (Emmy winner Loretta Devine), deserve to know, but Jerrod disagrees: his parents, particularly his mother, have old-fashioned views on how and when couples should live together, thanks to her reliance on the Bible and prayer. That's why Jerrod's brother Bobby (stand-up comic LilRel Howery) and his ex-wife haven't told them they've been separated for three months. Hijinks ensue!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pilot Review: Blunt Talk

Blunt Talk (Saturdays at 9:00 on Starz; Premieres August 22)

Patrick Stewart is one of the world's greatest living actors. His breadth of work, from fan favorites like Star Trek and X-Men to his prolific stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company and beyond, is stunning. But for a guy known primarily (almost solely) for his dramatic work, the "funny side" of Patrick Stewart has been coming out for the past decade or so, thanks to some hilarious, off-kilter voicework on American Dad! and Family Guy, and his voiceover narration for Ted and Ted 2. Stewart teams up with Seth MacFarlane, the guy who's brought the funny out of him in the recent past, for Blunt Talk, a sometimes-tedious, totally weird media satire.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pilot Review: Significant Mother

Significant Mother (Mondays at 9:30 on The CW)

The CW has shied away from producing half-hour sitcoms in the past. In fact, the networks has only aired one sitcom in the regular season that it developed: Aliens in America, which aired for just one season from 2007-2008. Since then, they have attempted to gain some more footing in the comedy genre by experimenting with turning web series (which have aired on The CW's digital platform, The Seed) into full-length sitcoms. So far, it hasn't been too successful. Last summer's Backpackers was the first attempt, and it lasted only two episodes before being pulled from the schedule (it aired alongside Canadian import Seed, which also didn't do very well). Now, the network is trying again with Significant Mother, which likely won't do any better for them, if the quality of the pilot is anything to go on.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pilot Review: Proof

Proof (Tuesdays at 10:00 on TNT; Premieres June 16)

It's nothing new for a procedural show to dabble in the paranormal (see: The X Files). TNT's latest is a medical procedural immersed in death and dying, not aliens or the supernatural, but the earlier series' influence on Proof is obvious and heavy. Also showing hints of TNT's own former dramas Saving Grace and HawthoRNe, Proof is an interesting but wishy-washy approach to a paranormal procedural.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 Fall Schedule Changes

UPDATE, JUNE 10: Beyond the Tank and Wicked City will replace Quantico on ABC's Tuesday night schedule.

Upfronts were less than a month ago, but as shows gear up for production in July, some networks are making changes to the schedules they announced a few weeks ago.

ABC has removed Of Kings and Prophets from the fall schedule to "retool" the project, including making cast changes. It's never good news when the word "retooling" is used, especially since making cast changes from pilot to series is relatively commonplace (four other ABC shows are currently recasting roles, including the one replacing Of Kings and Prophets on the schedule), so it's likely a sign of bigger issues with the series as a whole. Not only will the show be recasting at least one role, but the order has been cut from 13 episodes to 10. I wouldn't be surprised if this one goes the way of Fox's Hieroglyph last season (another period blood-and-sand drama) and never sees the light of day. It will be replaced on Sundays at 10:00 by Quantico, which was formerly announced to debut on Tuesdays at 10:00. So ABC's Sunday fall schedule will now be Once Upon a Time at 8:00, Blood & Oil (formerly Oil) at 9:00, and Quantico at 10:00. The Tuesday night schedule will now consist of the previously announced comedies (The Muppets and Fresh Off the Boat) at 8:00, Agents of SHIELD at 9:00, and now the Shark Tank companion series Beyond the Tank for four weeks at 10:00, followed by Wicked City beginning October 27 at 10:00.

Similarly, NBC has pushed Heartbreaker back to midseason. Originally set to air on Tuesdays at 9:00, the Melissa George-led medical drama will be delaying production to accommodate its star's pregnancy, as well as to recast one of its male leads. Instead, NBC will be doing what I wondered why they weren't doing in the first place: airing the newest in the Chicago franchise, Chicago Med, in its timeslot. The Tuesday schedule will now be The Voice at 8:00, Chicago Med at 9:00, and Best Time Ever at 10:00. Come November, Chicago Fire replaces Neil Patrick Harris's variety show, creating a two-hour Chicago block from 9:00-11:00.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pilot Review: The Whispers

The Whispers (Mondays at 10:00 on ABC)

There's not much that can be as creepy as a child. Look at The Shining, The Omen, Poltergeist, Children of the Corn... kids are terrifying, whether they're possessed by a demonic force or talking to themselves. The Whispers creator Soo Hugh (whose past writing credits include the delightfully weird The River and CBS's smash sci-fi series Under the Dome) knows this, and she gives us a host of them in the pilot. But an adorable little girl named Harper, who tries to kill her mother, is only the beginning of this twisted, suspenseful ride.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pilot Review: Stitchers


Stitchers (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC Family; Premieres June 2)

Before sitting down to watch Stitchers, ask yourself a few questions: Am I the type of person who requires a modicum of logic from the shows I watch? Do I tend to enjoy shows with snappy dialogue, dynamic characters, and strong performances? Is there another channel I could be watching on Tuesdays at 9:00?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, take a hard pass on Stitchers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pilot Review: Wayward Pines

Wayward Pines (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox; Premieres May 14)

If you're looking for a weird, fun summer distraction, you could do a lot worse than Wayward Pines.

2015 Fall Schedule: The CW

Monday

8:00 - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (NEW)
9:00 - Jane the Virgin

I'm surprised that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the only new show The CW is debuting in the fall, especially since it will need to be extensively retooled over the next couple of months (it was originally a racy half-hour pilot for premium cable network Showtime). And it gets one of the hardest timeslots to attempt a launch, up against The Voice and Supergirl, though Jane the Virgin feels like a good fit for it.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - iZombie

This pair of shows has been a success, with The Flash's huge ratings leading iZombie to being the third highest rated show on the network in the 18-49 demo, so it's no surprise that The CW didn't want to mess with this combination.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - Supernatural

I would have moved Supernatural, since it's so resilient thanks to a rabid fanbase, but with Empire occupying the 9:00 slot on Fox, it's probably better to not introduce a new show. Plus The 100 did much better before Empire came along, so it'll come back at midseason.

Thursday

8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - The Originals (New Timeslot)

Entering its third season, The Originals finally moves to the slot many thought it would have from the beginning: following its parent series. The Vampire Diaries is struggling right now. Its ratings have tanked, and its leading lady is departing at the end of this season. So next year will be a complete reboot, and if The CW can find a way to reach the fans who abandoned the show over the years and get them to see the rebooted version, maybe this won't be the end of the line.

Friday

8:00 - Reign (New Timeslot)
9:00 - America's Next Top Model (New Timeslot)

As expected, Reign is getting sent off to die on Fridays. It's doing terribly on Thursdays currently, and it probably won't do much better on Fridays, but something has to air there and better this than another new show (since The Messengers debuted lower than low last month) or a slot full of repeats. I expect more reality (Whose Line, perhaps) to take over after Top Model ends.

Midseason

The CW's highest profile project, a third show in its DC Universe titled Legends of Tomorrow, will debut midseason, as will Containment (formerly Cordon). The 100 will return as well, with Beauty and the Beast likely to return next summer (the third season begins next month, and it was already renewed for a fourth). Whose Line Is It Anyway? will also return.

Congratulations are in order for Mark Pedowitz; he took a floundering network and made strides to turn it around this past season. The Flash is huge, Arrow is still strong, and Jane the Virgin has brought the network its first ever top tier accolades. With such a strong lineup, few changes needed to be made, as can be evidenced by only one new show premiering this fall. I don't have much to critique here, except that I would have used The Flash to launch a new show (Containment, probably) in the fall and bring iZombie back at midseason. although the midseason schedule will be tricky. Will iZombie be a limited run? Will Legends of Tomorrow follow The Flash, Arrow, or something else entirely? Will Reign last on Fridays, or will it go the route of Beauty and the Beast and be pulled in favor of a summer run? Does Supernatural stay on Wednesdays, or does it move so one of the new midseason shows can follow it? For now, The CW can enjoy its stability, for the first time in a long time.

Read full descriptions of the new shows after the jump.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2015 Fall Schedule: CBS

Monday

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Life in Pieces (NEW)
8:00 - Supergirl (NEW - Beginning in November)
9:00 - Scorpion
10:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles

Much like last season, Big Bang and new single-cam Life in Pieces will air on Mondays to start the season while football occupies Thursday nights. Then they will move, with Supergirl taking over the 8:00 hour and going head-to-head with fellow DC Comic adaptation Gotham. Conspicuously absent from this version of Monday nights is 2 Broke Girls, which has aired on Mondays for four seasons.

Tuesday

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

NCIS hit historic lows this season in the 18-49 demo, but it's still one of the most-watched shows on television, so I didn't expect to see it vacate its timeslot just yet. That honor goes to Person of Interest, which not only moves out of its timeslot form this season (Tuesday at 10:00), it's off the schedule completely until midseason and received a shortened 13-episode order. So it's being replaced by Limitless, which is produced by and will occasionally star Bradley Cooper.

Wednesday

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

With how many shows CBS has to slot in, I wouldn't be surprised if Survivor and/or The Amazing Race (especially the latter) only does one cycle in the upcoming season, but both are on the fall schedule. CSI: Cyber moves out of its current slot to be replaced by Code Black.

Thursday

8:00 - Thursday Night Football
8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (Beginning in November)
8:30 - Life in Pieces (Beginning in November)
9:00 - Mom (Beginning in November)
9:30 - Angel from Hell (NEW - Beginning in November)
10:00 - Elementary (Beginning in November)

I don't understand why Elementary isn't being moved away from this timeslot, especially considering how high the ad rates are for Thursdays and how low its ratings are. It seems like a prime slot to launch a high-profile new show, maybe something male-skewing (Limitless?) that could compete with the success of How to Get Away with Murder. It's also odd that CBS is dropping two new single-cam comdies into a block that was traditionally multi-cam (and with multi-cam lead-ins).

Friday

8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

If Limitless and Code Black are successes, I would expect Person of Interest to possibly end up on this night at midseason. For now, no changes.

Sunday

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

The only show on the move from spring is CSI: Cyber, which takes over the slot its parent show occupied last fall. It'll also be picking up its parents show's star when Ted Danson joins the cast (and losing one of its own as Peter MacNicol departs).

Midseason

A slew of veteran shows join the lineup midseason: drama Person of Interest; comedies 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, and The Odd Couple; and reality series Undercover Boss. They'll be joined by two new dramas: Rush Hour and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

This is a ridiculous schedule. Why renew so many shows and order so many new shows when you don't have the space to air them? One comedy is typically held "for midseason," AKA to fill in for a failed newbie, but three? Even if both new comedies fail, that still leaves one of the three held comedies without a slot. It looks like they designed this schedule to have "outs" if new shows failed (Life in Pieces, Angel from Hell, Supergirl), but it also doesn't make much sense. I hate that Thursday Night Football messes with the schedule so much, having to follow Big Bang around the week, not allowing new shows to debut until November sweeps when viewers are already settled into habits and have already committed (or not) to new shows... it's annoying. And they didn't do themselves any favors by keeping the remaining slots so stagnant, particularly Sundays. They're banking hard on known properties for their new dramas, but I'm not sure if that'll pan out... not all of them sound particularly promising.

Read full descriptions of the new series after the jump.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2015 Fall Schedule: ABC

Monday

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

The world keeps changing, but Monday nights on ABC never will.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Muppets (NEW)
8:30 - Fresh Off the Boat (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Agents of SHIELD
10:00 - Quantico (NEW)

The Muppets is a good place to start in fixing the Tuesday night schedule, but I don't think it pairs very well with Fresh Off the Boat, which would have benefited from being moved to the Wednesday comedy block (much like The Goldbergs was this season). And this shows just how much faith ABC must have in Quantico to give it the death slot.

Wednesday

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

No changes to Wednesdays? That's confusing. The Middle could have easily been moved to the Tuesday block to make room for Fresh Off the Boat, and black-ish is going to have to prove itself as not relying solely on its lead-in sooner or later. I guess ABC just wants to do it later. And why Nashville, which in all likelihood will not last past this upcoming season, isn't being moved is beyond me. Perhaps they're hoping whatever CBS places there will fail, so that Nashville can be low-rated but still near the top of the hourly ratings? No clue.

Thursday

8:00 - Grey's Anatomy
9:00 - Scandal
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder

I really don't know how the hell ABC is going to fit in all their renewed and new shows if they're not making any damn changes to the schedule! But Thursday was never going to change; TGIT was a powerhouse for them this past fall.

Friday

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

Dr. Ken, as a multi-camera sitcom, was destined to land on Fridays with Last Man Standing. I don't see it lighting the airwaves on fire.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Oil (NEW)
10:00 - Of Kings and Prophets (NEW)

I would have moved Nashville to the 10:00 slot here, debuted The Family on Wednedays, and time-shared these two new dramas over the course of the season. But I don't run a network. I don't see Oil capitalizing much on the Once Upon a Time family audience (at least what's left of it, after a disappointingly rated fourth season), and the Bible trend seems to be dying out if A.D.'s current ratings are any indication, so that doesn't bode well for Of Kings and Prophets.

Midseason

As expected, The Catch, the new series from Shonda Rhimes, will take over the Thursday 10:00 slot when How to Get Away with Murder finishes its season. The Family will take the Sunday 10:00 slot after Of Kings and Prophets completes its limited run. Returning drama Agent Carter will once again bridge the two halves of Agents of SHIELD's season, with Galavant similarly bridging the halves of Once Upon a Time's season. Secrets & Lies will return midseason to air in Nashville's timeslot while that show goes on winter hiatus. (The Bachelor also returns to air Mondays while Dancing with the Stars is between cycles.) Wicked City is currently expected to air on Tuesdays at 10:00, either in between fall and spring editions of Quantico, or permanently if Quantico fails. The Muppets will have a limited run in the fall/winter, with Fresh Off the Boat moving to 8:00 on Tuesdays to launch The Real O'Neals. Only returning drama American Crime and new comedy Uncle Buck do not have preliminary plans in place.

ABC needed to make some moves with this schedule, and they didn't. They renewed a slew of low-rated shows, which was mistake number one, and then didn't even try to fix other problem areas (Tuesdays and Sundays) by making moves... just substituting shows. YAWN.

Read full descriptions of the new shows after the jump.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Fall Schedule: Fox

Monday

8:00 - Gotham
9:00 - Minority Report (NEW)

Unsurprisingly, Fox is using its highest-profile drama to launch one of its many new genre offerings. Minority Report was the network's biggest drama acquisition (aside from possibly Scream Queens), so it makes sense to give it one of the best lead-ins possible.

Tuesday

8:00 - Grandfathered (NEW)
8:30 - The Grinder (NEW)
9:00 - Scream Queens (NEW)

Tuesdays are a rough night for all the networks, and Fox's attempt to remedy that is with a new night of comedies. Grandfathered and The Grinder seem like a match made in heaven, with beloved sitcom stars John Stamos and Rob Lowe, respectively, starring. Scream Queens has a built-in audience thanks to creator Ryan Murphy and an all-star cast of both young and old performers. It should easily boost the night's viewership.

Wednesday

8:00 - Rosewood (NEW)
9:00 - Empire

To cash in on the insane popularity of Empire, I think it's a good thing that it will be returning in the fall rather than at midseason (especially since it can be used to promote the midseason lineup now). Rosewood doesn't seem like much of a fit with it, aside from both having strong, well-known African American male leads, and I'm a bit confused as to why Fox wouldn't move Empire to 8:00 in order to use it as a lead-in. (I'm also a little confused as to why Rosewood wouldn't undergo a title change, to avoid confusion with Pretty Little Liars.)

Thursday

8:00 - Bones
9:00 - Sleepy Hollow (New Timeslot)

This looks like Fox pulling an NBC from a couple seasons ago and just giving up on Thursday nights for the time being. Bones is very low-rated at the moment, and Sleepy Hollow had a pretty steep decline in both quality and viewership in its second season, so going head-to-head with Scandal (in all likelihood, though not yet official) and Thursday Night Football doesn't show much confidence in the show... but I guess it's better than throwing a new series into the timeslot with a weakened lead-in and stiff competition.

Friday

8:00 - Masterchef Junior (New Timeslot)
9:00 - World's Funniest Fails (New Timeslot)

Despite being one of the few good surprises in its lineup this past season, Masterchef Junior gets bumped to Fridays, where Gordon Ramsay has had a strong presence for many seasons. Also, I assume that if any of the new dramas fail, it can be moved quickly from Fridays to fill in.

Sunday

7:30 - Bob's Burgers
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - The Last Man on Earth

I assume The Last Man on Earth's second season will be as short as its first, because Fox has Seth MacFarlane's perpetually delayed new animated series Bordertown still to slot in, and it would need to go into the animation block somewhere, most likely after Family Guy. But for the fall, there are no changes to the night, which is solid for them, if not nearly as big as it once was.

Midseason

Fox will use the NFC Championship game to launch the six-episode revival of The X-Files, which will then move to Mondays to take over for Gotham durings its hiatus. Veteran comedy New Girl is being held for midseason as well, returning to the Tuesday lineup to help launch another new show, The Guide to Surviving Life (and reportedly to give star Zooey Deschannel time to have her baby). When that happens, Fox will once again have a two-hour sitcom block, with all but one being freshmen. American Idol will also return for a final season (can you believe it?!) in January, along with new dramas Lucifer and The Frankenstein Code, the former of which will be paired with The X-Files for a short time and then Gotham on Mondays and the latter of which will likely replace Sleepy Hollow on Thursdays.

This looks like a pretty strong schedule from the flailing network, which had only one major hit this season (Empire) and one minor one (Gotham, which started strong but faded by spring). Fox is starting to cut the dead weight by saying goodbye to The Mindy Project and renewing American Idol for a final season, and by tapping into known properties and/or established fanbases (Scream Queens, Minority Report, The X Files, Lucifer). Hopefully they can dig themselves out of the hole Kevin Reilly got them into with some of these moves.

Read full descriptions of the new shows after the jump.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Fall Schedule: NBC

Monday

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

Even though The Voice is the best lead-in NBC can give to a show, they have had little-to-no success moving successful shows in the Monday 10:00 timeslot to other places on the schedule. Revolution bombed in its second season after a strong start, State of Affairs never really even got off the ground, and now The Blacklist is lower rated than Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. after moving to Thursdays. So while this shows a vote of confidence in Blindspot, it doesn't bode well for its future.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Voice
9:00 - Heartbreaker (NEW)
10:00 - Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NEW)
10:00 - Chicago Fire (beginning in November)

I'm not surprised NBC axed the Tuesday comedies, but I am surprised they're putting Heartbreaker in the 9:00 timeslot. If they're going to put a medical drama there, why not the Chicago Fire spin-off Chicago Med? I completely forgot about Neil Patrick Harris's variety show, which preempts Chicago Fire until sweeps, but this is as good a place as any to put an experimental series like that, considering how weak all the networks have been on Tuesday nights.

Wednesday

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

Shockingly, there's not a single change to the Wednesday night line-up. Perhaps NBC assumed Fox would try to get Empire back on the air for the fall and didn't want to risk throwing a new show up against it? Wednesdays are relatively stable for NBC, even though Laura is very low-rated, so I suppose NBC is focusing on building up other nights.

Thursday

8:00 - Heroes: Reborn (NEW)
9:00 - The Blacklist
10:00 - The Player (NEW)

So despite their all-drama Thursdays not exactly panning out this spring, NBC is trying again in the fall. I don't exactly agree with the decision for the Heroes reboot to kick off the night, especially since it will be going head-to-head with Thursday Night Football (and is similarly male-skewing), but what do I know? It's at least higher profile than The Slap was this season. I'm nervous for The Player, since The Blacklist is at crazy lows right now (and it will likely be facing ABC's highly rated How to Get Away with Murder).

Friday

8:00 - Undateable (New Timeslot)
8:30 - People Are Talking (NEW)
9:00 - Grimm
10:00 - Dateline 

Fridays used to be a haven for sitcoms, and this is a decent experiment for NBC. Tuesdays didn't work out very well, and Thursdays aren't really an option for them right now (though they could conceivably try Thursday comedies again at midseason when the Coach revival debuts, possibly with the Eva Longoria vehicle Hot & Bothered). So Fridays are a low-key, low-stress way to try something new. It will be an interesting battle if ABC keeps their multi-camera block in the same timeslot. Undateable was a good choice to try this with, especially since the third season will be all live episodes, a much cheaper option than traditionally-produced episodes. It'll keep costs down to increase the potential for success. And maybe Grimm can climb a bit if it gets a decent lead-in.

Sunday

Sunday Night Football

Midseason

On tap for midseason, NBC has a handful of new comedies in Coach, Hot & Bothered (formerly Telenovela), Crowded, and Superstore. New dramas coming midseason include Chicago Med, Game of Silence, Emerald City (which was, oddly, not part of the announcement), Shades of Blue, and You, Me and the End of the World (formerly Apocalypse), as well as miniseries The Reaper. Shows returning at midseason include The Celebrity Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, and The Night Shift. NBC also announced the first in a series of films to be produced by Dolly Parton, titled Coat of Many Colors. Hopefully they can figure out a way to successfully program their Sunday nights post-football that doesn't involve a bunch of dramas destined for the trash heap (maybe Shades of Blue, starring Jennifer Lopez, would be a good place to start there).

This is a frustratingly stagnant schedule. The only returning show moved around the schedule is Undateable, with the low-rated Wednesday night lineup still in tact and The Blacklist still on Thursdays at 9:00 despite hitting lows I would never have predicted it would hit this early in its run. I think the Thursday lineup, in general, is destined to crash and burn, unless some truly heavy promotion for Heroes: Reborn can breathe life into everything... but considering how low the show was when it went off the air five years ago, coupled with its direct competition in Thursday Night Football (and likely The Big Bang Theory come October when the Thursday night games are over), I'm not exactly optimistic. But I've been wrong before and could easily be wrong again.

Read descriptions of all the new shows after the jump.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2014-2015 Season: Status of All Broadcast Shows

*Updated August 13 (information regarding The Celebrity Apprentice)
Here is the complete list of shows which aired in the 2014-2015 season on a broadcast network and their current status: renewed, canceled, or awaiting announcement. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.

ABC

Renewed: Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, American Crime, America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Beyond the Tank, Black-ish, Castle, Dancing with the Stars, Fresh Off the Boat, Galavant, The Goldbergs, The Great Christmas Light Fight, Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Last Man Standing, The Middle, Modern Family, Nashville, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Secrets & Lies, Shark Tank

Canceled: Cristela, Forever, Manhattan Love Story, Revenge, Resurrection, Selfie, The Taste

Awaiting Fate: Repeat After Me

CBS

Renewed: 2 Broke Girls, The Amazing Race, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI: Cyber, Elementary, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, Madam Secretary, Mike & Molly, Mom, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, The Odd Couple, Person of Interest, Scorpion, Survivor, Undercover Boss

Canceled: Battle Creek, CSI*, The McCarthys, The Mentalist, The Millers, Stalker, Two and a Half Men

*CSI will have a proper send-off with a two-hour finale film airing on Sunday, September 27, 2015.

The CW

Renewed: The 100, America's Next Top Model, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Flash, Jane the Virgin, iZombie, The Originals, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Reign, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Canceled: Hart of Dixie, The Messengers

Fox

Renewed: American Idol, Bob's Burgers, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Empire, Family Guy, Gotham, Hell's Kitchen, The Last Man on Earth, Masterchef, New Girl, The Simpsons, Sleepy Hollow

Canceled: Backstrom, The Following, Glee, Gracepoint, The Mindy Project*, Mulaney, Red Band Society, Utopia, Weird Loners

*The Mindy Project will move to Hulu for a 26-episode fourth season, with the option to pick up future seasons.

NBC

Renewed: The Biggest Loser, The Blacklist, The Celebrity Apprentice*, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, The Mysteries of Laura, The Night Shift, Undateable, The Voice

Canceled: A.D.: The Bible Continues, A to Z, About a Boy, Allegiance, American Odyssey, Bad Judge, Constantine, Hannibal, Marry Me, One Big Happy, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, The Slap, State of Affairs

*The Celebrity Apprentice will continue without Donald Trump as host, so it will air in the 2016-2017 season, not the upcoming 2015-16 season as previously reported.

2015-2016 Season: New Series Pick-Ups

* Updated May 8, evening

NBC

Dramas

Blindspot - An FBI agent is drawn into a complex conspiracy when a naked amnesiac is found in Times Square covered in fresh tattoos... including his name on her back.

Chicago Med - The newest installment of the Chicago franchise; an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city's most explosive hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together.

Game of Silence -  A rising attorney on the brink of success could lose his perfectly crafted life when his long-lost childhood friends threaten to expose a dark secret from their violent past.

Heartbreaker - A medical soap that follows the outspoken Alex Panttiere, one of the rare female heart transplant surgeons. Alex brings an innovative eye to treating patients week to week while also balancing the complications of her professional and romantic life.

The Player - In the high stakes world of Las Vegas, a former sniper turned security expert is drawn into a mysterious conspiracy that forces him to complete a series of heroic challenges in order to save innocent lives.

These join the previously ordered dramas Apocalypse, Emerald City, and Shades of Blue (plus Heroes: Reborn, pushed back from the 2014-2015 season).

Comedies

Crowded - Multi-camera comedy which chronicles how things backfire for recent empty-nesters when their children and their parents move back home.

People Are Talking - Multi-camera comedy about a white and a black couple examining sex, race, and everything else your parents told you never to talk about.

Superstore - Single-camera comedy about a group of employees at a big box store which examines love, friendship, and the beauty of everyday moments.

These join the previously ordered comedies Coach and Telenovela.

CBS

Dramas

Code Black - Medical drama set in the busiest and most notorious ER in the nation where the extraordinary staff struggle in the face of a broken system to protect their ideals and the patients who need them most.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders - Focuses on a division of the FBI that helps American citizens who find themselves in danger abroad.

Limitless - Based on the 2011 film, the series follows a man as he discovers the power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced into using his drug-enhanced abilities to solve cases for the FBI.

Rush Hour - A stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer is assigned to a case in Los Angeles where he's forced to work with a cocky African American LAPD officer who has no interest in a partner.

Supergirl - Small screen take on the DC Comics heroine - Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-El - who decides to embrace her superhuman abilities at age 24 and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Comedies

Angel from Hell - When Amy enters Allison's life and claims to be her guardian angel, they form an unlikely friendship, but Allison can't be sure if Amy is really an angel or just nuts.

Life in Pieces - Single-camera comedy about one family told through the separate stories of its different members. 

The CW

Cordon - When a deadly epidemic breaks out in Atlanta, a large city quarantine is quickly enforced, leaving those stuck on the inside to fight for their lives.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - A comedy with musical elements about a girl who impulsively leaves everything she has in Manhattan behind to find love and happiness in California.

Legends of Tomorrow - Spin-off from Arrow and The Flash in which a time-traveler assembles a disparate group of heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat to the planet and to time itself.

Fox

Dramas

The Frankenstein Code - A morally corrupt retired cop is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead younger and stronger.

Lucifer - Small screen take on the DC Comics character who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, so he opens a piano bar in Los Angeles.

Minority Report - Follow up to the 2002 film, set 10 years after the end of Pre-Crime in DC, where one of the three precogs struggles to lead a normal, human life, but remains haunted by visions of the future.

Rosewood - Investigative drama centered around Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, the top private pathologist in all of Miami, the owner of the one of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art independent labs in the country. 

Comedies

Grandfathered - Single-camera comedy about a charismatic longtime bachelor whose life is upended when he discovers he's a father - and a grandfather. 

The Grinder - Single-camera comedy about a beloved TV lawyer who, when his long-running hit series comes to an end, finds himself at a crossroads in life and decides to move back to his small hometown to take over his family's law firm.

The Guide to Surviving Life - Single-camera comedy that celebrates the mistakes and misadventures we all make during the years after college, before settling down.

ABC

Dramas


The Catch - A thriller centered on a strong, successful fraud investigator who's about to be the victim of fraud by her fiance.

The Family - A thriller following the return of a politician's son who was presumed dead after disappearing over a decade earlier, but suspicions emerge as he is welcomed back into his family.

Of Kings and Prophets - An epic Biblical sage of faith, ambition, and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet, and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny.

Oil - A young couple moves to "The Bakken" in North Dakota after oil is discovered and are soon pitted against a ruthless tycoon who forces them to put everything on the line, including their marriage.

Quantico - A diverse group of recruits, the brightest and most vetted, arrive at the FBI Quantico Base for training, where one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11.

Wicked City - Anthology series telling stories set throughout history in Los Angeles, with the first season centered on a 1982 murder on the rock and roll, cocaine-infused revelry of the Sunset Strip.

Comedies

Dr. Ken - Multi-camera comedy centered on a brilliant physician with no bedside manner whose good intentions have a way of driving everyone crazy both at work and at home.

The Muppets - Single-camera contemporary documentary-style show that will explore the Muppets' personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, breakups, achievements, disappointments, wants, and desires.

The Real O'Neals - Single-camera contemporary take on a seemingly perfect Catholic family whose lives take an unexpected turn when surprising truths are revealed.

Uncle Buck - Multi-camera update of the 1989 film about an irresponsible man-child who moves in with his brother's family after being fired from his job and kicked out of his girlfriend's place and becomes the new nanny.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pilot Review: Happyish

Happyish (Sundays at 9:30 on Showtime; Premieres April 26)

UGH. Wannabe literary types and pseudo-intellectuals are going to cream themselves over This American Life commentator Shalom Auslander's new series Happyish. It's the kind of show that you can just picture patting itself on the back (if TV shows had hands... or backs, for that matter) after every "joke" it makes. You can just picture the writers rooms, full of self-important blowhards mocking the current generation for being on Twitter and Facebook while they discuss (and probably misinterpret) Camus over lunch. It's a frustrating, annoying show with nary a redeeming quality.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pilot Review: iZombie


iZombie (Tuesdays at 9:00 on The CW)

Have you been craving a fourth season of Veronica Mars? Good news! You got it! Only Veronica is a half-zombie this time around.

I feel like this was the pitch for iZombie, the new series from Veronica Mars mastermind Rob Thomas and former Mars writer Diane Ruggiero-Wright. While the CW show is adapted from a DC Comics storyline (yup, another one, just in case you didn't get your fill with Arrow, The Flash, or Gotham), it has been changed so much to fit into Thomas's oeuvre that it feels like a completely different animal, and not always for the better.

Pilot Review: One Big Happy

One Big Happy (Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC)

It's a shame when bad shows happen to good people. With such likeable personalities as Elisha Cuthbert and Nick Zano in front of the camera, and everyone's favorite dancing talk show host Ellen Degeneres working behind it, you would think NBC's latest offering would be, at the very least, enjoyable. But One Big Happy can't even manage that.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pilot Review: American Crime

American Crime (Thursdays at 10:00 on ABC)

American Crime is often an uncomfortable show to watch. It's unafraid of throwing hard issues in its audience faces, the exact kind of issues we typically try to avoid talking about: race, class, gender, addiction, poverty. It's the kind of show that aims to start a conversation, to put an intelligent, semi-balanced face to abstract but emotional ideas about how society shapes our views of ourselves and everyone around us. It will make you angry; it will make you sad; it will annoy you and piss you off. But it will, undoubtedly, make you feel something.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pilot Review: CSI: Cyber

CSI: Cyber (Wednesdays at 10:00 on CBS; Premieres March 4)

These long-running CBS franchises that continue to be expanded (both NCIS and CSI have spin-offs this year, and Criminal Minds has had one in the past and another on tap) are not exactly brain food. They don't challenge audiences; they don't make you think. It's why they're so damn popular. People can relax in bed or curled up under an electric blanket and check their e-mail, read a magazine, eat dinner, talk on the phone, or doze off and not really miss anything. And if you do miss something important? Meh, there'll be another episode just like that one on next week, so it's no big deal. But they're just entertaining enough, just the right amount of bland and fun, that they make for great background noise or detached, casual viewing. CSI: Cyber is no exception to this formula.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pilot Review: Battle Creek

Battle Creek (Sundays at 10:00 on CBS)

Welcome to CBS's newest (well, most recent, considering this pilot was first written over a decade ago) exercise in pointless mediocrity, Battle Creek: a show that blends some wonderful creative talents with a great, quirky cast and yet somehow still ends up feeling like the Dullest Dullard in Dullsville.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pilot Review: Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies (Sundays at 9:00 on ABC)

If there's one genre I want to see die out, it's the "dead kid mystery" genre. You know exactly what I'm talking about. It began a few years ago with The Killing, found its way overseas to Broadchurch, came back to the States as Gracepoint, and was most recently explored on the new Amazon streaming series Bosch. Now we get Secrets and Lies, a remake of an Australian miniseries and one of the duller entries into the field, despite some good moments and some decent performances.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pilot Review: The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple (Thursdays at 8:30 on CBS)

CBS's remake/update of The Odd Couple is a lot of things: deluded, lazy, crass, offensive. One thing it's not is funny.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pilot Review: Fresh Off the Boat


Fresh Off the Boat (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)

A show like Fresh Off the Boat should be heralded simply for existing. Believe it or not, the last time a series aired on broadcast television with an entirely Asian American cast was over twenty years ago; Margaret Cho's All American Girl aired for nineteen episodes on ABC in 1994 and 1995, and it resulted in a strained attempt at integrating the Korean Kim family into an almost entirely white landscape. The problems that arose from that series (a lack of original plotlines, relying on stereotypes for laughs, and objectification of the leading characters) are strangely still mostly present in the pilot of Fresh Off the Boat, resulting in a strange, uneven, uncomfortably old-fashioned kind of show.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Amazon Comedy Pilots - January 2015

With Transparent garnering rapturous reviews and already racking up some love from awards groups (including a Golden Globe win for Best Comedy Series), Amazon has released a new assortment of pilots for its users to watch and rate, in an effort to help decide what will go to series in the future. So far, Amazon has only dabbled in comedy (though that changes in a few weeks when Bosch releases), so that's where I started my viewing binge with this latest crop of shows, and it was an easy start since there are only two in consideration, as opposed to four dramas.

Click through for my reviews of Down Dog and Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pilot Review: Backstrom

Backstrom (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: an unlikeable narcissist storms around his workplace insulting people and making a fool of himself, but he gets to keep his job because he's also something of a genius. The anti-hero trend is still in full force, especially on Fox; Backstrom is just the latest, following last year's epic failure Rake. The show's title character is yet another quirky, somewhat obnoxious leading player a la Bones, House, The Finder, and others. There are probably about a dozen shows you could compare Backstrom to, and I guarantee they're all better than it is.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Midseason Schedule: The CW

Better late than never, The CW has, at last, finalized its midseason plans.

Monday

8:00 - The Originals
9:00 - Jane the Virgin

No changes to the Monday night schedule, which hasn't exactly been lighting up the ratings, but critical darling Jane the Virgin will soon be getting some exposure after its featured on the Golden Globes (with many even predicting leading lady Gina Rodriguez to win) this weekend.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - Supernatural
9:00 - iZombie (NEW - beginning March 17)

The newest DC comics adaptation, iZombie, will be following the hit DC comics adaptation The Flash. Will having three comic book shows on the air on back-to-back nights be a windfall or a detriment for The CW? We'll find out in March.

Wednesday

8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - The 100
9:00 - Supernatural (beginning March 18)

After The 100 wraps its second season on March 11, Supernatural, the CW's ultimate utility players, transfers over to Wednesdays.

Thursday

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

Despite being one of the lowest-rated dramas on the network currently, Reign stays put on Thursdays.

Friday

8:00 - Hart of Dixie
8:00 - Cedric's Barber Battle (beginning April 10)
8:30 - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (beginning April 10)
9:00 - Repeats through April 3
9:30 - Masters of Illusion
9:00 - The Messengers (NEW - beginning April 10)

I was holding out hope that The Messengers would be good, but apparently not: it gets a terrible, throwaway timeslot and debuts very late in the season so that nearly half its episode will air in the summer. It's all but dead already. And the network's newest reality series, Cedric's Barber Battle, could not sound worse: "Each week, the show will visit different barbershops in cities, including Los Angeles, Queens, Harlem and Austin, where the best barbers will go head-to-head in a hilariously unfiltered, no-holds-barred arena.  Creating hair sculptures that feature elaborate designs ranging from images of a person’s face to grand cityscapes, the barbers will use nothing more than their clippers and a few coloring tools to create intricate works of art that are both imaginative and location-centric." No, thank you.

This leaves only Beauty and the Beast, returning for its third season, without an airdate, which will likely be sometime this summer as it was last year (along with the new seasons of Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller: Fool Us).

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

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pilot Review: Empire

Empire (Wednesdays at 9:00 on Fox)

This has been an incredible year for diversity on the broadcast nets. The biggest show on network television has a black female lead (Scandal), and the biggest new show of the year does as well (How to Get Away with Murder). The biggest new comedy of the year is about an all-black family (Black-ish), and now you have Empire, with its entirely African American or Latino cast, sweeping in to tie How to Get Away... for the biggest premiere of the season. And the best part about all of this? Each of these shows is actually good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pilot Review: Agent Carter

Agent Carter (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC)

Agent Carter is, in almost every way, the exact opposite of Marvel's other television series, Agents of SHIELD. Whereas that series started with a massive bang (and a budget to match), focusing on visual effects and extending the sensibility of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the small screen with its ensemble cast, Agent Carter enters the field with little more than a murmur: it's a relatively quiet (by comic book adaptation standards) period piece more interested in creating dynamic characters than dynamic explosions. Not everything works, but what does is a huge step up from the misfire that SHIELD turned into after its entertaining pilot.