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.
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!
Canadian medical drama Saving Hope will have its final two episodes of the season airing only online in the US (I wonder, how much money do they save rights-wise by not airing an episode on TV? NBC seems to do that a lot). The Canadian channel CTV will, however, air those episodes and has renewed the show for a second season.
Also in NBC schedule changes, the September 10th episode of Grimm has been postponed to September 28, delaying the show’s return to Friday nights to a week later than planned (perhaps NBC is concerned about having enough original episodes of the show for the season, considering Grimm’s early start?). Instead, a preview premiere of The New Normal will air in the plum 10pm spot following The Voice premiere, as well as another preview showing of the Go On pilot. Given that The New Normal starts out heartwarming but quickly becomes humorless and agenda-driven, I’m not sure it will be helped by this additional preview.
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!