Aside from Hannibal, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and the CW have made their decisions about which shows are returning next season. How did I do this year on picking which new shows to watch?
Canceled: 666 Park Avenue, The Family Tools, How to Live with Your Parents, Last Resort, Malibu Country, Red Widow, Zero Hour
Renewed: The Neighbors
I watched more of ABC’s pilots than I typically would for a network since their media site allowed me to preview several shows weeks or even months before they aired. I didn’t like 666 Park Avenue. I thought The Family Tools and How to Live with Your Parents were decent, but by the time they finally started airing I didn’t have time to watch. I loved the pilot of Last Resort, but subsequent episodes lacked the same polish, so I bailed after episode 3, always saying I’d get back to the show, but never actually doing so. The Neighbors was far better than I was expecting, and I watched through the mid-season break, and plan to catch up this summer.
Canceled: Golden Boy, Made in Jersey, Partners, Vegas
I watched not a single full episode of any of the canceled shows, and I loved Elementary right from the start, and it remains one of my favorite new shows.
Canceled: Ben & Kate, The Mob Doctor
Renewed: The Following, The Mindy Project
I watched the two new comedies on Fox with a nervous eye toward the ratings. While Ben & Kate was cute, The Mindy Project was far more funny. The drama premises interested me not at all.
Canceled: 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, Deception, Do No Harm, Go On, Guys With Kids, The New Normal
Renewed: Chicago Fire, Revolution
I passed on all of NBC’s new dramas, though I did give Revolution two episodes to convince me it was must-see-TV (it failed to), but I was far more willing to try out comedies. The New Normal proved its awfulness in one episode, and I moderately enjoyed Animal Practice while it lasted. I enjoyed 1600 Penn, Go On, and Guys With Kids, but fell multiple episodes behind with each of them quite frequently.
Canceled: Cult, Emily Owens, MD
Renewed: Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Carrie Diaries
I was going to give Cult a chance because of Matt Davis, but the previews turned me off, and I never planned to watch Emily Owens. Arrow is tied with Elementary for my favorite new drama of the year, and I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast but fell behind because of my new job. Initially I didn’t like the idea of The Carrie Diaries at all, but cute promos and a Doctor Who alum has pushed the show into “maybe I’ll check it out someday” territory.
Just about all of broadcast TV’s new fall shows have aired at least two episodes now, so I think it’s time for a look at which ones soared, which ones got off to a rough start, and which ones nosedived. I’m dividing this list up into several groups so you can get an idea of what my preferences and interest levels were going in.
Shows I Haven’t Seen and Never Plan To:
Out of the 20 new shows that have debuted so far, the list of those I haven’t seen is pretty small: 7. I hate country music, so Nashville was out. The rest (Made In Jersey, The Mob Doctor, Partners, Emily Owens MD, Chicago Fire, and Vegas) I wasn’t interested in for one reason or another. One is already canceled, two more aren’t far behind, and none of the seven shows has been a breakout hit. I feel pretty happy with my choice not to watch them, and expect maybe 1-2 to reach a second season (not holding my breath, though).
Shows I Never Planned to Watch but Did See the Pilot:
For two shows, I checked out the pilots knowing I’d never commit to watching the show. It was easy to tell from the previews that 666 Park Avenue wasn’t my type of show, but I had a chance to watch the pilot early as a TV blogger, so I tried it out. It seemed well done, but I didn’t enjoy it. The New Normal I watched out of a morbid curiosity to see how awful it would be, and aside from one or two heartfelt moments, it was utterly terrible. I didn’t laugh once.
Comedies I Thought Would Be Awful but Didn’t Mind:
Another show I got a chance to watch early was The Neighbors, which wasn’t as terrible as the previews made it out to be. I’ve seen the first two episodes, and might watch more if I’m caught up on most of my other shows and in the mood for a comedy. Guys With Kids I didn’t intend to see, by my siblings said it was pretty good, so I watched a few episodes. Both shows are more family-oriented comedies, which usually bore me, and I don’t really laugh during them, but I like having extra comedy shows to watch on dreary days.
Comedies I Like but Wouldn’t Cry Over Their Cancellation:
Every new comedy not in the above lists fits in this section. Many of them are great, but I haven’t gotten attached to any comedies so far this season. That’s probably a good thing, as Animal Practice has already been canceled. Go On is probably the best of the lot, and I expect it will return for a second season, but The Mindy Project (my pilot review here) and Ben and Kate (pilot review here) are far from out of danger despite their full-season orders. These shows are heartwarming and humorous, but they’re not laugh out loud funny. Plus, none of the characters grip me in that “I would hate to see them go” way. It could come with time, and I’ll keep watching these shows until they get terrible or get canceled.
Dramas That Didn’t Wow Me In Their First Two Episodes:
Revolution was hyped to be awesome, Beauty and the Beast was critiqued to be terrible. I was disappointed by Revolution’s pilot, but enough was done right that I gave the show another episode. When Miles was still the only character I enjoyed watching, and the rest of the show failed to interest me, I decided to stop watching. It’s too bad, because from the premise it seemed like exactly the type of show I would enjoy.
I just watched the second episode of Beauty and the Beast, and really noticed the terrible, terrible dialogue people were complaining about in the pilot (my review of it here). I so want to love this show, but the writers are making it very hard. I’m still not sure if I’ll watch a third episode. I want it to pull a Vampire Diaries and start getting really good after a few episodes, but I don’t know if there is enough backstory for the mythology of the show to grow. Also, in the second episode, several procedural issues bugged me (Don’t uniforms clear buildings? Are detectives allowed to be present during the autopsy of someone they killed?), and Cat had a sister appear out of nowhere. The first episode got good ratings for the CW, but the second quickly dropped, so it might not get time to improve. Might be better to replace it with the midseason Cult, to bring over Matt Davis (Alaric) fans from The Vampire Diaries. (I know I had no plans to watch the show, but after marathoning through The Vampire Diaries, Matt Davis has become one of my favorite actors, so I definitely plan to give Cult a few episodes to impress me.)
As I was writing this, I kept thinking, I wonder what Revolution and Beauty and the Beast would have been like with Joss Whedon in charge? Can’t wait for S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Dramas I Love:
The three drama shows I was most looking forward to turned out to be the ones I loved most this season. My favorite pilot episode, Last Resort (my review here), hasn’t quite lived up to its potential in subsequent episodes, but it still keeps me glued to the screen almost every minute. Its low ratings don’t signal much hope for renewal, but ABC shows regularly do poorly in that timeslot. ABC did order 2 more scripts for the show, so it’s unlikely to get pulled from the schedule immediately (I was starting to worry about that), but that may be just to give the show some sort of resolution. All the same, I’ve tried to temper my attachment to the show and just enjoy it while it lasts.
Elementary (my review of the pilot here) has been just as awesome as I hoped. I’ve been completely won over to the idea of a female Watson, and it’s been nice watching their friendship slowly grow over the past few episodes. Both annoy each other like crazy, yet their respect and admiration for each other is beginning to build. The cases seem to have an extra twist compared to most crime drama shows, which fits well with the need to bring in a consultant. I’m really sorry for the people who have a hard time understanding Jonny Lee Miller’s brisk British accent, but I feel the speed helps convey Sherlock’s fast mental process. Oh, and the opening credits are amazing:
Last but not least, Arrow has been amazing so far. While the pilot (my review here) had a good deal of the plot revealed in preview clips and therefore wasn’t quite as engaging, the second episode (my review here) had everything I was looking for: great action sequences, insightful character moments, and hints at series-long mythology-building. The second episode got the exact same excellent rating as the first (double that of typical CW “steady performers”), so I’m looking forward to this show being around for a while.
Three great dramas. Three good comedies. That’s my haul from broadcast TV’s new fall shows, and I managed to find a show I liked on every single network. I think 3, maybe 4, will stick around for a second season.
Private Practice creator Shonda Rhimes and ABC have decided to let the show end after finishing up this season’s thirteen-episode run. Sister show Grey’s Anatomy will get two additional episodes, however.
ABC is also giving Castle one extra episode this season, while comedies Modern Family and The Middle have been granted two extra episodes. They’ve also ordered two additional scripts each for struggling new dramas Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue.
Fox also has joined “extra episode Friday,” bumping The Mindy Project’s recent full season order from 22 to 24 episodes. While many have anticipated the network would pull low-performing new drama The Mob Doctor from its Mondays-at-9 slot any day now, Fox recently announced the show would air 3 out of 4 Mondays during November sweeps.
As I mentioned earlier, Animal Practice has been pulled from NBC’s schedule and replaced by Whitney. There’s still no news about when Community will return – I’d expected to hear something by now, so I’m beginning to fear it won’t return until midseason. I’m also starting to get a sneaking suspicion that NBC knows how rabid Community fans get when something happens with their show, and are using the uncertainty to build buzz. Further cementing the idea that they want this schedule change to increase anticipation for new episodes, this awesome clip was released the day the season premiere was supposed to air:
Animal Practice is the second new fall broadcast show to get bumped off (after Made In Jersey, and midseason comedy Next Caller was canceled before airing a single episode). Given its ratings, this wasn’t a big surprise, but I liked the quirky little show. It was better than the show that followed, Guys With Kids, and far better than its replacement, Whitney.
The one good thing about this move is the pairing of two multi-camera shows. But where does that leave single-camera comedy Community? Sophomore Up All Night has been struggling in the ratings, but a second year show is less likely to get canceled and not air all its episodes. I’m guessing NBC is waiting for tonight’s numbers to make a final decision about the show. What it think is most likely: Up All Night is pulled from the schedule immediately, but the filmed episodes are held in case one of the midseason comedies (1600 Penn, Save Me) flops. Community is brought in as a replacement, either in Up All Night’s 8:30 slot, or back to its original 8:00 slot. Another outcome (less probable): Up All Night is allowed to finish out its 13-episode run, Community is held back for midseason.
Returning seasons of Community and Whitney have been postponed – and NBC hasn’t said when they’re coming back. This could actually be good news for either or both shows, as some new NBC comedies (Guys With Kids and Animal Practice) aren’t doing so well. I recently speculated that there might be some comedy rearranging on the network, and I hope Community will get a chance to flourish on Wednesdays instead of being shuffled off to a Friday death slot or being forced to compete with the hugely popular CBS hit, The Big Bang Theory.
I expect we’ll get some news after Wednesday’s ratings come in for Guys With Kids and Animal Practice. In the meantime, Grimm repeats will continue to air on Fridays at 8.
NBC has given three of its freshman shows a full season pick-up (which usually involves expanding their initial 13-episode order to a full 22): Revolution, Go On, and The New Normal. Revolution and Go On are the network’s highest-rated scripted shows so far this season (out of all their scripted shows, not just new ones), while The New Normal has ridden Go On’s coattails for ratings on par with The Office’s current (and final) season.
I’ve sampled all three shows, but Go On is the only one I’m still watching (Revolution’s pilot was interesting enough for me to give the show another chance by watching the second episode, but The New Normal’s pilot was so awful I barely finished it).
The news doesn’t bode well for NBC’s other new comedies, Animal Practice and Guys With Kids – I’m watching both still, but I wouldn’t really mind if either are canceled. NBC has 3 comedies officially on tap for midseason – Save Me, 1600 Penn, and Next Caller, plus the likely Dwight-from-The-Office spinoff The Farm. With 30 Rock, Up All Night, and Community all only having 13-episode renewals, only one out of the 5 (these three, plus Animal Practice and Guys with Kids) will likely get nine more episodes. I’m REALLY hoping that show is Community. I’m also hoping Community will switch places and get one of the Wednesday slots before it comes back. (If so, I think it should be paired with fellow single-camera comedy Animal Practice, while both multi-camera shows – Guys With Kids and Whitney – air on Friday.)
As far as dramas go, with not really liking Revolution, the only current NBC drama I watch is Grimm. For midseason, I’m still not sure if I’ll return to Smash, and the new dramas set to debut then don’t really interest me.
Thanks to sneak peaks and early releases, the fall broadcast TV season is well underway, even if most shows don’t premiere until next week (or later). Into the bunch are thrown 21 new scripted shows – which of these do you intend to check out?
Please vote in the poll for all the shows for which you plan to see (or have already seen) the pilot episode. Then leave a comment and let me know which shows you’re most excited about!
Amy Huberman wasn’t in the preview trailer much, so I don’t mind their recasting her role for JoAnna Garcia. She’ll be playing Dorothy, ex-girlfriend and current boss of lead Dr. George Coleman, played by Justin Kirk.
A voice of reason amid all the cries of “Why even watch season 4?” “This is the darkest timeline,” and “Community won’t be Community without Dan Harmon,” this article looks at all the very plausible explanations for why he was fired.
While the show started out as an accessible, though quirky, sitcom, over the past few years it has evolved into a very niche show. I still love it, but occasionally there are episodes that try so hard to parody something that they forget to be funny (“Pillows & Blankets” was the latest offense – I think I laughed once during the entire episode).
The article linked below focuses on what good might come out of the change in showrunners. I for one am hoping the changes will be reminiscent of Mark Ruffalo playing the Hulk instead of Edward Norton in The Avengers. I know comparing actors to showrunners is a bit like comparing apples to apple trees, but both Norton and Harmon have a reputation for being difficult to work with. Bringing in Ruffalo was far from the only thing that made The Avengers a success, but I believe it helped. (Side note, since I’m already talking about The Avengers, wouldn’t it be awesome if Joss Whedon had become Community’s new showrunner? I know it’s completely different from his own shows – though not from ones he’s worked on – and unlikely to have worked out, but can you imagine the fan craziness that would have ensued?)
Found this right after I finished this post, and thought it was amazing! (And very fitting to add.)
But what I don’t understand with this move to make Community more mainstream, is why NBC still plans to air Community on Fridays, a timeslot usually reserved for niche shows. It seems like they’d do one or the other (fire Dan Harmon or move the show to Fridays), not both. How is the show expected to pick up new viewers that way? Far better to air the final season of 30 Rock there instead. I would have put Community on at 8 on Wednesdays, followed by Animal Practice (giving the new show the benefit of a veteran lead-in). Then Thursdays could have started with sophomore Up All Night at 8, followed by the similarly-themed Guys With Kids. I do hope some executive at NBC is smart enough to figure that out before fall, and if not, that a new show bombs quickly and NBC rearranges things.
Now that all of the broadcast networks have revealed their fall schedules, as well as trailers or clips of new shows, it’s time to look at what I will be watching live, what I’ll have to catch online, and how many annoying half hour and hour “dead zones” I’ll have between good shows.
TVLine was nice enough to compile a grid chart of what’s airing when, which you can view at the link below (it will open in a new tab so you can follow along):
Thanks to 666 Park Street’s too-much-horror bent, Once Upon a Time remains my only show for Sundays, though if my Sunday evenings stay busy, I’ll be watching online anyway.
Monday has a lot of dead zones. Since I don’t get HD Fox coverage in my area (which makes the picture 2/3 of its normal size), I’ll watch Bones on Hulu and How I Met Your Mother live. But since I’m likely giving up 2 Broke Girls (since it’s become the ladies’ version of Two and a Half Men instead of a smart, funny comedy), I don’t have anything else I plan to watch until Castle at 10. Revolution looks good, but like Smash (which will be back in midseason), I’ll only watch it live if Castle is a repeat or ABC won’t come in.
Tuesday’s first two hours are packed for me. I’ll probably watch NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles live when I can, because if I have to watch a show online I prefer Hulu to CBS’s video player. But if they’re on repeats or I’m in the mood for comedy, I have choices: Ben & Kate on Fox at 8:30, New Girl on Fox or Go On on NBC at 9, and The Mindy Project on Fox (maybe) or Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 at 9:30. Nothing on at 10 that interests me, though I might watch the pilot of Vegas out of curiosity.
Wednesday just has two shows I plan to watch, and of course they conflict – Arrow at 8 and Suburgatory at 8:30. I might try out Animal Practice (at 8) if I’m watching Suburgatory live.
Even with Community’s move, Thursdays remain my busiest night. At 8, I have to choose between The Big Bang Theory and a half hour dead zone, or ABC’s Last Resort. At 9, Person of Interest and CW’s Beauty and the Beast will probably push The Office to online-only. My only conflict-free hour will be at 10, with CBS’s Elementary.
Friday, I will probably watch Community and Grimm (NBC, 8:30 and 9) live, and catch Nikita online.
All told, that’s 22-26 shows every week, out of which up to 12 are 1/2 hour comedies. Up to 20 hours total every week for broadcast shows, if I like all the new shows I’m trying out. Seems like a lot, but I guess not really for someone who runs a TV site. 🙂
NBC has unveiled its schedule for Fall 2012, and the most notable change is Community’s move to Fridays at 8:30. While Fridays are usually where shows go to die, quite a number of shows (usually niche genres) thrive there for years. While Community has a terrible lead-in (Whitney), at least it’s being put with Grimm, which has thrived in its Friday slot.
And with much less competition (no behemoth American Idol or The Big Bang Theory ratings to strive against), Community might do well enough for a back nine order and/or season 5 renewal. I’m not too unhappy since this means probably the only two shows I’ll watch live on NBC will be back to back.
Unfortunately, most of NBC’s schedule looks like a mess. Two new comedies I’m interested in watching (Go On, and to a lesser extent Animal Practice) are paired with comedies I plan to avoid at all costs (The New Normal, Guys With Kids). Thursday night’s all-veteran comedy lineup means I’ll probably just catch The Office online, and if Castle stays in the same slot, I’ll do the same with the new Revolution (which NBC does show a lot of faith in by putting after The Voice and holding Smash off till midseason).
Also on hold until midseason: Next Caller, 1600 Penn, Save Me, Do No Harm, Infamous, and Hannibal. But you can still get a sneak peak at many of these shows at the link below!