On June 8th we reported that Thomas Gibson had still not signed on to reprise his long-running role as Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, which had the potential to hold up production of the seventh season due to air in the Fall. As we suspected, Deadline is reporting that Gibson has signed a new deal and will of course, be returning in September.
More major cast member news for scripted drama, this time from CBS.
Deadline is reporting that Academy Award-nominated Laurence Fishburne, who took over the lead role from Wiiliam Petersen on CSI two and a half years ago will not be returning for CSI‘s 12th season this Fall. Fishburne’s one-year contract has come to an end and he has decided not to renew it in order to return to feature films, full-time. No word on who will be replacing him and we really don’t care. In fact, we question the mental stability of the people who still watch this franchise. It’s a live-action Scooby Doo minus the dog, the pothead and the ascot. Watching this show actually makes you dumber.
In other CBS scripted drama news, Thomas Gibson, star of Criminal Minds (a show we actually like and are looking forward to being on Netflix Streaming in the near future in accordance with CBS deal) has still not signed a contract to return for a seventh season and talks are reportedly at a standstill. This is of concern because production of the new season began last week and the writers don’t know whether his character, Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, will be returning and it makes it a little difficult to produce content if you don’t know who your lead is. We hope this gets resolved shortly as we like him on this show and it makes us completely forget that he was Greg on Dharma & Greg.
It’s our 100th Post, Yay!
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that ABC went mad-crazy on Friday dumping seven shows including five freshman shows, renewing two and picking up a whopping twelve new scripted shows, all in advance of tomorrow’s upfront advertising event where they’ll announce their schedule for the 2011 – 2012 season.
V: The phrase “no surprise here” is really a running theme with all of these canceled shows on ABC but never is it more appropriate than for V. V was phenomenal in its first season but by the third episode of the second season, it had become one of the most ridiculous and embarrassing SciFi shows ever produced. Fans will of course blame ABC for how they scheduled, this is nonsense. The show turned and we’ve actually been working on a remedial course that will published i na couple of weeks for folks who don’t understand why V was so damned ridiculous. We’re not saying that we’re happy about its departure, but we sure as Hell understand why it was canceled and make no doubt about it, it deserved to be canceled.
Detroit 1-8-7: This is a very sad, albeit necessary cancellation. D-187 was one of the best police procedurals in recent memory and we were sure it was going to be terrible. It’s unfortunate that it couldn’t find an audience. Again, the writing for this show was on the wall since November 2010.
No Ordinary Family: *sigh* What’s unfortunate about this cancellation is how much potential this series had and how it completely fell off the rails. The show became less about superheroes and more about this dysfunctional family and wore thin very quickly. Not to mention, Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) is the probably the most emasculated male lead character in the history of television.
Off the Map: We got through twenty minutes of the pilot, to turn it off. Terrible writing, terrible acting and just complete and utter tripe. It’s nothing but typical recycled procedural crap. Good-bye, you won’t be missed. We hated this show so much, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do a review on it. Fortunately, Off the Map is off the map.
Mr. Sunshine: We actually forced ourselves to sit through two episodes of this mess. This was a very poor rip-off if 30 Rock was one of the worst shows we’ve seen this season. It was nothing ut really bad recycled jokes, recycled characters and recycled plotlines. Good Riddance. Maybe it will be another decade before we’ll have to be subjected to Matthew Perry again. What? We can’t be the only ones who thinks Friends is one of the worst pieces of crap shows ever made.
Better With You: We made it through three episodes and the last two minutes of every episode that wound up on our DVR recordings of Modern Family. This may be one of the worst shows ever made next to $#*! My Dad Says. There was nothing funny about this and it abused every sitcom cliché from the last 50 years of television and it made us angry that the producers had such a low opinion of their audience.
Brothers and Sisters: We have no problem with this show and in fact we’ve never watched it but we understand that it had a loyal following (Little Sister ‘Tastic was a big fan). The problem was that viewership had been steadily declining and once you get past the fifth season, if the ratings aren’t there to justify higher ad-revenues it’s impossible to keep a show because at this point the production costs (including cast salaried) increase dramatically.
Body of Proof: We don’t understand the appeal of this show, but then again we don’t understand the appeal of all safe procedurals. This show really particularly stupid, with dopey and recycled premises and really bad dialogue. But, alas, what do we know as audiences seem to love it.
Happy Endings: We have to be honest, we haven’t had time to watch this show but it does look very funny and it does have strong critical buzz surrounding it so we’re looking forward to watching it over the summer and reviewing it. Part of the reason we didn’t put it to the front of our schedule is that based on the ratings, we weren’t expecting it to be renewed. Good for them!
Picked Up (We’ll be providing our assessments of the new shows shortly after the schedule announcement is made on Tuesday):
Charlie’s Angels: A modern take on the 1970s series starring Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy) as Charlie’s (Robert Wagner) new Angels. The Miami-set drama, from Sony Pictures Television, is written by Smallville duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and produced by Nancy Juvonen (Whip It), Leonard Goldberg (the Charlie’s Angels features) and Drew Barrymore, who appeared in the big-screen reboot. Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries) directed the pilot.
Last Man Standing: The project centers on the former Home Improvement star, who is fighting for his manhood in a world increasingly dominated by women. Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer) co-stars in the multicamera comedy from 20th Television. Jack Burditt (30 Rock) penned the pilot, with Marty Adelstein (Prison Break), Becky Clements and Shawn Levy (Date Night) on board as producers. Insiders believe the mutlicam Allen vehicle, which has had “lock” status for weeks, will launch a second ABC comedy block, likely on Tuesdays (Improvement‘s old stomping ground).
Pan Am: From Sony, the sexy soap set in the 1960s focuses on stewardesses and pilots, some of whom live double lives as spies. Christina Ricci stars in her first series regular role in the drama written and produced by Jack Orman (ER). Also producing are Sid Ganis, Nancy Hult Ganis and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who helmed the pilot.
Apartment 23: The a single-camera comedy from 20th TV centers on a Midwestern girl (Dreama Walker, The Good Wife) whose big-city dreams are dashed after her first week in New York, where she finds herself living with her worst nightmare (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad). James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) co-stars as himself in his first series comedy role. Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad) and Dave Hemingson (Traffic Light) penned the pilot and will produce along with Jeffrey Morton (Traffic Light). Jason Winer (Modern Family) helmed the pilot.
Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches): The soap revolves around a former high school “mean girl” (Leslie Bibb, Popular) who returns home to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. The series, from ABC Studios, also stars Kristin Chenoweth (Glee) and Annie Potts (Designing Women). Robert Harling(Laws of Attraction), who penned the pilot, produces alongside Darren Star (Sex and the City) and Aaron Kaplan. Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) directed the pilot. The series is based on the book by Kim Gatlin.
Revenge: The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired soap from Mike Kelley (Swingtown), centers on a woman (Emily VanCamp, Brothers and Sisters) who moves to the Hamptons. The ABC Studios pilot, which was directed by Phillip Noyce, counts Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey as executive producers.
Once Upon a Time: A fantasy drama that revolves around a woman (Jennifer Morrison, How I Met Your Mother) who, after a boy who claims to be her son shows up, is drawn into a town where fairy tales might be real. Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) co-stars as Snow White in a cast that also includes Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and Josh Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming.Lost’s Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz penned the pilot and will produce alongside Steve Pearlman (V) and Mark Mylod (Shameless), who directed the pilot from ABC’s sister studio.
Scandal (formerly Damage Control): The drama revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer (Kerry Washington) and her staff. Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick co-stars as her right-hand man and Tony Goldwyn plays the president. It is based on the career of crisis management consultant Judy Smith, who serves alongside producers including Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy). From ABC Studios, the pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin).
The River: A stylized project that follows a crew through the Amazon in search of a missing adventurer. Eloise Mumford (Lone Star) stars in the ABC Studios drama written by Michael Green (Kings) and Michael R. Perry (Persons Unknown). Executive producers include Oren Peliand Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (United States of Tara), Zack Estrin (No Ordinary Family) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity). Jaume Collet-Serra directed the pilot, which was shot in Puerto Rico.
Work It: The cross-dressing comedy from Warner Bros. TV and Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen(Friends), revolves around two out-of-work car salesmen (Amaury Nolasco, Ben Koldyke) who dress as women in order to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Beth McCarthy Miller directed the pilot.
Suburgatory: The project stars Jane Levy as a New Yorker who moves to a cookie-cutter community and discovers that the suburbs is more frightening than any horror movie she’s seen. Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) co-star. The single-camera comedy from Warner Bros. TV was written by Emily Kapnek (Hung, Parks and Recreation), with the pilot directed by Mike Fresco (Raising Hope, Better Off Ted).
Man Up: The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios and Chris Moynihan (Coupling) is a look at what it takes to survive as a modern man, as told through the eyes of three best friends and the women in their lives.
FOX Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television have come to terms on a new license fee agreement and the hit series Bones has been renewed for a seventh season. We predicted this would happen as merely a defensive move if nothing else because if the uncertain fate of House. Universal Media Studios and FOX did not reach an agreement despite a deadline of April 15th and two extensions beyond that deadline.
To make matters more precarious for FOX and the future of House on the network, NBCUniversal head, Steve Burke, has announced that parent company Comcast will be investing an additional $200 million into the struggling NBC. This, of course, just reaffirms our suspicions that it is quite possible that UMS may just opt instead to sell the hit medical show to NBC. The issue at play here is money. UMS wants the same they had with FOX in season five and have FOX share in the cast salaries. FOX’s position is that though the show is still strong it’s not as strong as it was in season five when the initial deal was made. So considering that the deadlines have passed and UMS wants more money than FOX is willing to give, who better to turn to than fellow NBCUniversal subsidiary, NBC who will apparently be rolling in cash. Steve
Burke had this to say about the cash infusion at NBC:
The real key to turning around NBC is not necessarily increased investment. The real key is making better shows.
So apparently Mr. Burke certainly gets it and that’s good sign for NBC’s future. Even though he is stating the obvious, it simply amazes us how his predecessors couldn’t grasp that very simple concept. So now it’s our turn to ask the obvious: what better way is there to make better shows than by purchasing already established hits in their prime? We can’t think of many. As we’ve noted, the addition of House to the Peacock network would be a game changer for them or at the very least a life-preserver.
Via Press Release:
FOX UNCOVERS ANOTHER SEASON OF “Bones”
Fan-Favorite Series Renewed for Seventh Season
All-New Episode Airs Thursday, May 5, on FOX
FOX has renewed the hit series Bones for a seventh season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“Bones is creatively fresh, it’s a rock-solid player every time it airs and this season it has helped us win on Thursday nights for the first time in our history,” said Reilly. “Hart Hanson and the fantastic cast and crew, as well as the millions of loyal Bones fans, make this show really special, and I’m excited to have it on our air for another stellar season.”
In the all-new “The Signs in the Silence” episode, airing Thursday, May 5 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), a 15-year-old Jane Doe, who is hearing impaired and unable to communicate, is found on the streets covered in blood and wielding a knife, leading the team to believe she is responsible for a recent murder. Meanwhile, Angela keeps Hodgins in the dark regarding the details of her pregnancy.
Bones is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who can read clues left behind in victims’ Bones and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.
Bones is from Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson, Stephen Nathan, Ian Toynton and Barry Josephson are executive producers. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bones and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bonesonfox (@bonesonfox).
Hi, folks. Thanks for coming back for part two of this very special feature on FOX where Blossom ponders losing her virginity, yet again. No, no, no, obviously we’re going to talk about FOX’s recent surprising schedule moves and what we think is going on over there. Yesterday, of course, we reported on the renewal of Bob’s Burgers for a second season and left our readers with a cliffhanger as to the significance of this renewal for the network as a whole and why we are actually pleased about the renewal despite that we don’t like the show. So now it’s time to explain why and we’ll bring you back to when we fist heard about FOX moving Fringe to Friday nights.
As noted by our two pieces on Fringe‘s move to Friday (here and here) we’ve been very critical of FOX’s history of jumping ship on shows (especially new shows) that have had a run of, not even horrible, but average to mediocre ratings. Seriously, c’mon, FOX… Seinfeld wasn’t immediately a hit. It wasn’t even in the top 30 for its first three seasons and in its fourth season it was #25.
Anyway, in these pieces, we also expressed our skepticism with FOX’s stated commitment in the past to fan-favorite shows and of course this directly related to their campaign in January expressing the same commitment to Fringe. But, then, a few weeks ago, Virginia found out that there is indeed a Santa Claus and the announcement was made that Fringe not only had been renewed for a fourth season, but it was given a full season order… in March. We speculated as to why this occurred as EVERYONE, including us, assumed that after the ratings decline, the move to Friday and of course, FOX’s history, this show was destined for Cancellationville.
And of course, there is American Dad, a show that FOX execs have not historically supported and have been trying to replace for years and it got renewed for a seventh season… in February, again with a full season order of 22 episodes, no less.
When we heard the announcement about Fringe, we speculated as to the many reasons it may have been spared cancellation but came to the conclusion that we really didn’t care, we were just happy that the show was saved. But now, we’re hearing that FOX is on the verge of losing House, as well.
The network remains in last-minute negotiations with Universal Media Studios, which owns the series, in hopes of signing a new deal for an eighth season. The two sides are far apart in determining the percentage each will pay for the show’s costs.
UMS, owned by NBCUniversal, has given Fox an extension on the window of negotiation exclusivity. That ends Friday. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, UMS will offer the show to competing networks including, of course, the Peacock, which would likely be more than happy to take the series away from Fox.
So thanks to all of these developments, we’ve been dragged into the speculation game and we’re guessing that there are several issues at play here:
First, FOX has some serious issues with original scripted program scheduling coming this Fall and this is just based on what we know. Four new shows from 2010 – 2011 have already been canceled (Running Wilde, The Good Guys, Sons of Tuscon and Lone Star) and Traffic Light is certain to be canceled by May 16th. So, that’s five down right there (and chances for The Chicago Code being renewed for a second season seem to be getting slimmer by the day) and Human Target and Lie To Me are more likely to be cancelled than not. Add to that the fact that as of this posting FOX hasn’t been able to come to a deal to keep the perennial hits Bones and (as earlier noted) House (the deadline for a deal for House was last Friday), the network faces potentially being down nine scripted programs from 2010 – 2011 (Even though we are still trying to forget about Sons of Tuscon as if it never existed, and of course we aren’t counting 24 which was at the end of its run).
And here’s the thing about House: Universal may not come to a deal intentionally and may just turn House over to NBC who is desperate for a strong scripted drama, or strong scripted anything at this point. Whereas FOX axed four of their new shows (with a fifth coming for sure), NBC has axed five of their new shows with at least a sixth certain to be on the way out the door (Sorry, but as much as The Event has improved by following what we suggested it needed to do, it was too little, too late…so, adiós!). Let’s also not forget Chuck, which is on its way out the door as well. It’s so bad at NBC that less-than-positive performers such as Law & Order: Los Angeles and Harry’s Law are almost guaranteed to be renewed because, well, frankly, theyz gots nothin’ else and they certainly don’t have American Idol or Simon Cowell’s new series, The X-Factor, that is destined to be a ratings juggernaut, so at the end of the day, NBC is in way worse shape than FOX. So, here’s our bold prediction: House will be on NBC come Fall 2011 and a deal with Bones (in desperation) will be made and it will return to FOX.
But the effects of losing House on FOX will be devastating and even if they keep Bones, that show has seen a sharp decline in ratings over the past two season which means there will be only one truly strong live-action veteran scripted show and that would be Glee. Can FOX really be comfortable going into the new Fall season with the The Animation Domination Block, Glee, The X-Factor and American Idol being the only programming that is guaranteed to be stable? We don’t think they possibly could be satisfied with that situation.
So taking this a step further, based on what we know for sure about the Fall schedule and the three shows that were renewed – not only unexpectedly but early, as well – (Fringe, American Dad and now Bob’s Burgers), here’s what we think is going on and it crossed our minds when we first heard about Fringe‘s renewal: FOX is not just uncomfortable with the new scripted programing they have ordered for Fall 2011, they’re downright nervous and they expected to have had more success with their new shows from 2010 – 2011. They also certainly didn’t expect the possibility of looking at Fall 2011 with no House and to a lesser extent no Bones.
This brings us to the Stephen Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment produced, epic Sci-Fi series, Terra Nova, which as we noted when we reported Fringe‘s renewal, has been delayed yet again and is set to debut in Fall 2011. There are some serious issues with Terra Nova that we think FOX is starting to get as concerned about as we are. First, the delays are insane and we are not confident at all that it will debut in the Fall as promised. Second, Terra Nova may be the most expensive show in history with the first two episodes alone costing $16 million and whereas the average episode of scripted drama costs $2.5 million, Terra Nova per episode cost will come in at $4 million and the show is rife with rumors of cost overruns although the producers deny this.
Third, this is the biggest risk that FOX has ever taken on any series, nevertheless a Sci-Fi series, in an era where epic Sci-Fi is DEAD on network television. And we’re sure that it doesn’t help when veteran television Sci-Fi writer and producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise) who is exec. producing/writing Terra Nova is doing the “pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain” Great and Powerful Oz routine denying the fact that it is indeed a Sci-Fi series when you’d have to be blind not to see it:
But it’s not a sci-fi show.
“It’s really about this frontier family trying to survive,”
Centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization.
No, there’s absolutely nothing Sci-Fi about that premise at all. It’s just like Little House on the Prairie… but with time travel… and dinosaurs… and automatic weapons… with lasers.
So, if we go with the premise that FOX isn’t really sure whether or not Terra Nova is going to actually debut on the Fall 2011 schedule as planned and it finally occurred to them that this kind of Sci-Fi is highly questionable for network television and of course there’s the issue of the costs involved, we can come to only one conclusion: FOX is worried that they aren’t going to have much going on this Fall, Monday through Friday, other than Glee and The X-Factor and they’ve decided that keeping some of these shows that have established, stabilized audiences even though they’ve seen ratings drops, may be their only option. For goodness’ sake, and we cannot stress this enough, they saved three shows that everyone expected to be canceled, and again, this is FOX we’re talking about.
We alluded to this theory yesterday, in part one, our commentary on the Bob’s Burgers renewal:
We think FOX is starting to realize that it may be better for them to deal with the devil that they know as opposed to the one they don’t…
So, that’s where we think all of this is going and in our opinion, this is nothing but a positive turn of events. FOX has lived very well over the past decade with their scripted programming, reality program and sports. If new show, “A” didn’t work out as well or as quickly as they had hoped, they’d just dump it and replace it with new show “B” and if that didn’t work out they’d replace it with show “C” and so on and they’d usually find gold eventually. But let’s be honest about this; the crop of decent scripted shows out there over the past couple of years on ALL of the networks has been thin to say the least. So considering the lack of quality, sustainable shows, all the losses in shows that they’ve had in the past year, the possible losses of their perennial hits to other networks, and a questionable Fall 2011 lineup, it appears that FOX execs have been forced to put on the big boy pants and change their strategy so that they have something that’s at least slightly stable in their lineup, and will actually work to build up those shows by subsidizing them with their juggernauts, particularly American Idol and The X-Factor.
Now, although FOX may not be particularly happy about taking this approach (because of course, everyone likes the quick and easy buck), all of these developments and this new approach is nothing but positive for viewers and fans of the many quality scripted programs that FOX does have to offer, but probably wouldn’t have been given an opportunity like this if this was, oh, say, two or three years ago. Heck, we suspect that if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were in its second season in 2011 instead of in 2009, it already would have been renewed for a third season by now.
And this is EXACTLY why we are so happy about Bob’s Burgers being picked up for a second season (as much as we dislike it) because it’s show number four that was not only renewed by FOX but picked up early when no one expected it to be. This in turn gives up hope for the remaining three likely to be canceled shows, Lie to Me, Human Target and The Chicago Code. We can almost guarantee that FOX will not cancel all three of these shows, in fact, they may only cancel one of them but we are going to go with the premise, based on everything we’ve laid out over the past two days that they will keep at least one of them and we think it will be a toss-up between Lie to Me and Human Target.
Don’t get us wrong, we love The Chicago Code and we don’t particularly like the clichéd and predictable Lie to Me but we have to be objective about this. If FOX or any other network is going to pick up an underperforming show to keep for another season, they are going to pick one that has an established audience for at least a couple of seasons over a mid-season replacement that hasn’t been able to find any stability with their audience. The fact that The Chicago Code is a serial doesn’t help its chances of gaining a stable audience a season later, either. Now, obviously, Bob’s Burgers doesn’t have a multiple-season established audience BUT it did have the highest ratings of any new show premiere of the season and its audience numbers, though not great, have stabilized and it does have very strong lead-ins and lead-outs with The Simpsons and Family Guy, respectively, whereas The Chicago Code dos not.
So there you have it. Our wild speculation on why the big change in strategy at FOX. You can take it for what it’s worth, and call us crazy but do the research for yourself and see if you come to any other conclusions because we’d love to hear your take. Remember folks, May 16th is the big day for FOX. That’s when we find out who’s going and who’s staying.
Welcome to part four of the mid-season 2010 – 2011 review. In this post we’ll be discussing Thursday’s programming.
Well, it certainly is $#’!-ty. After watching one episode of $#’! My Dad Says we determined that not only is the worst show of the new season, the worst sitcom we’ve ever seen but perhaps even the worst show in television history. Just to show that we were fair and objective, we endured three more episodes of this awfulness… our opinion has not changed.
It’s currently a bubble show right now which makes us lose all faith in humanity that anyone is watching it but CBS did cut short the episodes it ordered for the Spring so hopefully this will go away by May.
If you haven’t read our review of $#’! My Dad Says we highly recommend it as we consider it more of a community service than a review… like an intervention for people addicted to bad TV. Read it here.
Community is still one of the better sitcoms on television (there are only a handful) and currently it’s a toss-up between whether or not NBC will renew it for a third season. In our estimation, it should be renewed if for only the reason that it’s been relatively consistent on Thursday nights and there’s nothing on the sitcom horizon for NBC in the near future. We hope so. It’s the type of show you can turn on and just laugh at because of its ridiculousness. It’s one of our two Thursday Night guilty-pleasure. The second one is, of course…
We love Nikita and we really shouldn’t because it’s a mediocre bordering on terrible show. But it’s over-the-top campy goodness is something that keeps us coming back for more every week. The premise is beyond ridiculous and the performances are almost silly but there’s so much “pew, pew, pew” that we can’t stay away from it.
There’s another reason why we have a soft spot for this puppy and it’s not because Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard) looks incredibly hot in a bikini. It’s because we heart The CW. A show like this could never survive on major prime-time network but The CW and it hearkens back to the late 90’s with UPN when they would take chances on shows like The Sentinel, Nowhere Man and our personal favorite 7 Days.
These shows, like the shows on The CW can thrive on very small audience numbers compared to the other major networks. There is no chance that camp like Nikita could ever survive anywhere but The CW and for that we are thankful for The CW. There is only ONE show that will not be renewed (that isn’t in its planned final season) on The CW next year (Life Unexpected). That’s just awesome.
Well, we’ve been concerned about this for a longtime but it’s official: The Office just isn’t as funny as it used to be and it has run out of steam. It’s still enjoyable but it’s not nearly as funny as it used to be. It’s really jumped the shark as evidenced by the fact they are resorting to revolving around another sitcom (the Glee viewing party episode). C’mon, now.
We’re still watching because it certainly has its moments, and actually, the aforementioned Glee episode was pretty funny although we cringe at the concept in principle. That being said, no one has anything to be concerned about because it’s certain to be renewed for next Fall.
Outsourced is one of the most disappointing shows this season but it’s not because it’s a bad show. It’s cute and it’s clever but it’s a sitcom trying to be funny and it’s really not. We pointed out in our review that the problem is that the novelty of the culture clashes and funny accents only works for about ten minutes, yet Outsourced is an entire series that revolves around those gimmicks.
A couple of months ago we saw the 2006 film of the same name and we realized that there’s a reason why the film doesn’t translate to a sitcom: the film wasn’t a comedy to begin with. Yes, there was humor to it but he film was really a character driven story about how despite different cultures may be, we’re really not all that different after all. Sitcoms don’t work with the touchy-feely any more like they did in the 1980’s where there were a bunch corny jokes and Alex P. Keaton and Vanessa Huxtable learned a valuable lesson at the end of every episode. Audiences today want their sitcoms to have the most laughs possible during the course of 21 minutes and that’s really what it’s about it. Whatever lessons are to be learned are secondary. Outsourced the series, like the film, is focusing more on the valuable lessons with the comedy as an afterthought.
If we’re going to watch a sitcom, we want it to be funny. Outsourced unfortunately is not. It’s currently leaning toward “the-more-likely-to-be-renewed-than-not” category but we doubt audiences are going to continue to tolerate it until May.
Next, we take a look at Friday’s programming.
Welcome to part three of the mid-season 2010 – 2011 review. In this post we’ll be discussing Tuesday’s programming.
We’re sad to say that as much as we were excited after the pilot of No Ordinary Family, the show has turned out to be, well, pretty ordinary and it’s suffering in the ratings because of it. In our review, we noted that one of No Ordinary Family’s greatest assets was the focus on the Powells as a family. Well it’s turned out that this aspect of the show is becoming its greatest liability. This is supposed to be a live-action Incredibles which means at the heart of the series, it should be a superhero show first. It hasn’t worked out that way. This show is far more focused on the dysfunctional nature of the family and each character’s individual neurosis than it is in crime-fighting.
To make matters worse, they go through this charade every week about how “it’s too dangerous to use these new powers so we won’t use them” and then they go ahead and use them. That’s getting pretty stale and it’s frustrating for audiences because it’s like they haven’t come up with a premise for the show, yet. Are they crime fighting superheroes or what?
The next problem is Michael Chiklis and not him per se, but the casting of him in this role of police sketch artist, Jim Powell. In the beginning we felt that his talent and presence would carry this show, but again it’s not working out that way because of how the character is written. To put it bluntly, we don’t mind sensitivity in a male character, but Mrs. Powell has more balls than Jim. We can’t remember the last time we saw a protagonist as completely emasculated as Jim Powell and it’s even more striking considering Chiklis’ last lead role on The Shield. Quite simply, Vic Mackey needs to grow a pair.
It’s not looking good for No Ordinary Family in the ratings and based on that alone it would be unlikely that it would be picked up for a second season, however, No Ordinary Family is no ordinary show. It’s an ABC Studios production and is the personal pet-project of Disney. Despite the low ratings, it is entirely conceivable that No Ordinary Family may get at least a second season to sort out its issues.
We still like the show and because it hasn’t had any kind of real serial arc, it is much easier to fix the problems in the show going forward and save it than it is to save a show, for example, like The Event without a massive overhaul.
CBS – NCIS
In its eighth season, NCIS is as good now as it has been in the past several years and it is still one of the highest ranked dramatic series on television for that reason. Not much more to say than that.
FOX – Glee
*Sigh* It pains us to say this, but Glee has become a victim of its own hype. The musical numbers are still wonderful but the show itself has become so exaggerated and unbelievable that we aren’t even watching any more. Prime example: we tuned in on a whim the other night to watch the Christmas episode and here is the premise that we were supposed to buy:
Exceptionally nerdy kid in a wheelchair is dating cute blonde cheerleader, Brittany… who (and I’m not kidding) still believes in Santa. So, the Glee Club takes her to the mall – together… because they can’t take a dump without each other – to sit on black Santa’s lap (and mind you, a black Santa who was wearing his beard off of his face) and Brittany comments on how tan he is and asks him for her boyfriend to be able to walk for Christmas. Santa says, “OK.” Meanwhile, at the Batcave, Sue has rigged the “Secret Santa” event and put her name on every slip of paper in the empty protein shake container. It gets better: We are also treated to an ever-so- slightly creepy rendition of Baby, it’s Cold Outside by the gay kid and another gay kid he’s pining for that is sure to be a hit with the NAMBLA crowd and to top things off, at the end of the episode the aforementioned nerdy kid has a pair of robot legs from Israel waiting under his tree and nobody knows where they came from! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
So basically, the show has gotten ridiculous but it doesn’t seem to care because they are walking on water right now after their breakout surprise success last year and can pretty much do what they want. We believe that they have jumped the proverbial shark but via stealth and no one has noticed yet. Although the show is incredibly popular right now (it is FOX’s highest rated scripted show) and will certainly be renewed for a third season, we believe that when it crashes it will crash hard and suddenly because audiences are going realize that they’ve been watching a, if not horrible, at least very silly show for a while.
Glee completely lacks the heart it was known for in its first season and the only really positive aspect of the show in its sophomore season was the GQ photo spread the cast appeared in.
The ‘Tastic would like to say to all of our male readers in advance, “You’re welcome.”
The Battlestar Galactica prequel failed miserably during the second half of its first season for many reasons and was cancelled with five episodes remaining. It was certainly a show we liked, but we get why it failed. We did an analysis of its demise, here.
When we’re wrong, we admit it. We started watching NCIS: Los Angeles this season because we promised we would. We’ve watched the first three episodes in the last week and I have the rest on DVR and we are impressed. It’s a lot more compelling and complex than it was in the beginning of last season (when we stopped watching) and the characters have actually become likable. This is good for this franchise because it’s using all of the elements that have made the original NCIS so successful. The audience numbers for this show are phenomenal so you can be sure that there will be a season three.
Another case of admitting when we were wrong with this one. As noted in our preview and subsequent review, Raising Hope is a surprisingly funny and charming show. It’s officially a bubble-show at this point so it could go either way for a second season.
The watered-down version of Battlestar Galactica meets Star Trek: Voyager has also been canceled. SGU wasn’t a particularly bad show, it just wasn’t a particularly good show and it wasn’t nearly as good as the other series in the franchise. Sorry, SGU, but you really won’t be missed.
In yet another example of we here at The ‘Tastic admitting when we were wrong, as noted in our review, Detroit 1-8-7 has been a pleasant, if not completely original, surprise. Yes, it’s a formulaic cop show that rips off its style from every cop procedural that’s aired in the last 20 years and yes there are a handful of cringe-worthy, eye-rolling clichéd moments in every episode but overall, the stories are compelling and the characters are pretty well-written if not all fleshed out yet.
We are particularly impressed with Michael Imperioli (Life On Mars, The Sopranos) as Detective Louis Fitch and although this is an ensemble cast, Imperioli steals the show. We couldn’t be happier as Imperioli is an excellent actor and it’s not only nice to see him in a lead role but it’s particularly nice to see him as something more than a foul-mouthed gangster. Nothing against The Sopranos, but we feel that it’s pigeon-holed a lot of fine actors who have found little success since the series ended in 2007.
Unfortunately, though, Detroit 1-8-7 is on the ropes right now and will probably not be renewed for a second season.
Next up, we take a look at Wednesdays.
Part Two of the Seven Six part series.
ABC: No Ordinary Family – September 28, 2010 (NEW SERIES!) (Full Review Here!)
ABC Studios brings to life “The Incredibles”, the story of the Powells, an every day american family, who are too busy to spend time together. So they decide to take a trip as family as a way to reconnect, but on the way, their plane crashes. Now there’re back to their normal lives, but something seems to be happening to each one of them… they have superpowers. – ABC
Shawn: First, let’s give credit to ABC for not only acknowledging right off-the-bat the most obvious criticism of this show – that being that it looks like Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles – but outright OWNING it. That’s the way to beat them at their own game! And why wouldn’t Disney try to capitalize on their property in a prime time, live-action drama (for those of you that are unaware, Disney owns ABC)? Screw the nay-sayers, this show looks like a lot of fun and is my choice for sleeper hit of the season. The concept is great and it’s not just a show for the family but it’s a show focused on the family as much as it is on their super powers. Casting always tells me a lot about a show and No Ordinary Family is no different. You’ve got Michael Chiklis as the dad (The Shield), Julie Benz as the mom (Dexter), Romany Malco (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as the best friend and sidekick and lo and behold, Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) who appears to be our Lex Luthor-type. I don’t care if I sound like a 10 year-old fanboy, I can’t wait to watch No Ordinary Family and apparently based on the amount of merchandising I saw over at the official site, ABC is pretty confident that they have a hit on their hands as well.
CBS: NCIS – September 21, 2010
Shawn: NCIS enters its eighth season and is still one of the most watched shows on television and the highest rated drama. I’ve been there from the beginning since it was a spinoff of J.A.G. and the show has gotten increasingly better each season and I don’t see any signs of it jumping the shark any time soon. At first glance, NCIS would appear to be your standard fare, formulaic cop show that I regularly rail against and during the first couple of seasons, that’s exactly what it was. But, the cast and the characters were compelling enough to keep me around until season 4 when it really came into its own with multi-episode, cloak and dagger story arcs and complex character development. You simply can’t go wrong with NCIS.
(Sorry, but no video on this one. I was completely unable to find any trailers for season 8 on YouTube or anywhere else)
FOX: Glee – September 21, 2010
Shawn: Glee is great. Everyone should be watching this. It is funnier than any other sitcom on TV with the exception of Modern Family, has wonderfully heartwarming drama and the musical numbers are creative and fantastic. I challenge you not become moved during the musical numbers on Glee.
CBS: NCIS Los Angeles* – September 21, 2010
Shawn: The only reason I’m putting NCIS Los Angeles (now in its second season) in this preview is to clarify why I recommend NCIS but not its spinoff. Simply put: I just don’t like it. I was very excited last year about the possibility of an NCIS spinoff but I only lasted six episodes into the first season. The show makes no sense at all. The premise is unbelieveable, the plotlines are boring and formulaic, and the characters are clichéd and have absolutely zero chemistry. I like Chris O’Donnell a lot. He’s very talented and I appreciate the fact that he dropped out of the business to raise a family and be a father to his 103 children. There’s nothing more noble than being a father and a husband. Unfortunately, his talents are being wasted on this safe, simplistic and dry show. On principle, I don’t recommend this show, but I may watch the season premiere just to see if they’ve fixed any of the mess that is NCIS Los Angeles. I’m always willing to give a show a season to work out the bugs and if they do, I’ll report back with the good news.
(Again, no trailer for this show either… blame CBS)
FOX: Raising Hope – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Raising Hope is a new single-camera family comedy from Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia that follows the Chance family as they find themselves adding an unexpected new member into their household. At 23 years old, JIMMY CHANCE (Lucas Neff) is going nowhere in life. He skims pools for a living, parties every night and still lives at home with his family, including his MAW MAW (Cloris Leachman); his mother, VIRGINIA (Martha Plimpton) and his father, BURT (Garret Dillahunt). Jimmy’s life takes a drastic turn when a chance romantic encounter with LUCY (guest star Bijou Phillips) goes awry once he discovers she is a wanted felon. Months later, when Jimmy pays a visit to the local prison, he learns Lucy is pregnant with their baby, and after she gives birth, he is charged with raising their daughter. – FOX
Shawn: I didn’t think it was possible but Rasing Hope has given me whole new reason to hate sitcoms. You see, what’s pissed me off thoroughly is the lie perpetuated on show’s Official Page that I posted above. It’s leaving out a crucial detail and the omission is by design. The little baby’s mother, isn’t just a wanted felon, she’s a serial killer and her big joke in the trailer is that they would never execute a mother of a seven month-old baby. Then, they cut to a scene with Jimmy sitting on the other side of the glass with the baby on his lap watching her get electrocuted and about halfway through the process he covers the baby’s eyes. I’m sorry, and you can call me old-fashioned, but a baby being separated from its mother and then forced to watch her get executed in an electric chair is not exactly what I would call charming or endearing. FOX has been doing a very good job of hiding that little piece of information on their website and their regular TV spots for this show. Gee, I wonder why? What I saw is not nearly as bad as the fact that they are trying to hide it.
Beyond, that, of course this show is as stupid, clichéd and as recycled as any other sitcom. Seriously, though, the rule of thumb for FOX should be to assume all of their sitcoms are going to suck. It’s just a question of to what degree of suckitude (© 2010, TV-Tastic). Raising Hope is certainly no different from any other FOX sitcom and they brag about why it sucks. The claim to fame of this show is that Greg Garcia created it and of course he was the award-winning writer who came up with My Name is Earl. What no one wants to admit about My Name is Earl is that it wasn’t funny after the first season and to be honest, the novelty wore off after the first 10 episodes. And of course, this show isn’t even much different from Earl with the portrayal of the stupid, white-trash and downright depressing family. Again, recycled crap. It’s seems like a shame too because the main cast includes Cloris Leachman, Martha Plympton and they FINALLY got a lead role for one of my favorite character actors of all time, Darren Gillahunt (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Deadwood), an actor that is so talented that he played TWO different characters on Deadwood and no one noticed it was the same guy. So, yeah. we’ll be passing on this. Oh and if you watch this video, you’ll the scene in question.
Syfy: Stargate: Universe
The latest series for the Stargate franchise has Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) as part of a group that is transported to Destiny, a self-guided spaceship used to place stargates around the universe.
Shawn: SGU starts its second season and I am loathed to admit it, but I like this show and I really shouldn’t. It is a complete rip-off of Star Trek: Voyager and Battlestar Galactica with the quest to get home and the incessant, holy-crap-we’re all-going-to-die-by-the-end-of-the-episode-but-somehow-we-are-miraculously-saved-at-the-last-minute crisis of the week, but still, somehow, it manages to work. The characters are OK and are becoming more developed every episode and the special effects and action do work well. SGU also succeeds because you don’t get the feeling that you have to know the entire Stargate Anthology in order to get the show. If you like space-based Sci-Fi, this show is definitely for you, if it’s not your thing, you can pass on this and your life won’t be any less fulfilled.
FOX: Running Wilde – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
Will Arnett stars as a Beverly Hills jackass who ends up falling in love with Emmy Kadubic (played by Keri Russell), a charitable tree hugger, who hates his lifestyle and moral code.
Shawn: “What… the… fudge… was that?” You see, those are the words that came to mine when I watched the extended trailer for this show, except for the fact that just like Ralphie from a Christmas Story I didn’t use the word fudge. Unlike Ralphie, however, I didn’t have a bar of Palmolive handy to cleanse my soul from what I had just seen. Obviously, the geniuses at television development at FOX are the same people in charge of player development for the New York Mets. I have it on good authority that the roundtable discussion for filling the 9:30 hole on FOX went something like this:
Writer 1: OK, we want to go with something recycled along the lines of The Nanny and Dharma & Greg and every couple-based sitcom from the last twenty years that involves two people from extremely different worlds.
Writer 2: Well, I brought a hat full of a bunch of paper slips with different subjects on them. Let’s shake it up and pull out the first ten and apply it to your lame-o premise.
Writer 3: Um… I brought pot.
OK, so I completely made that up, but seriously, after watching the trailer below, does it not seem like that’s exactly how they came up with this show? It’s typical FOX suckitude for sit-coms. Running Wilde is a perfect bookend to Raising Hope. Both these shows look awful individually but together they qualify for “making-me-puke-in-my-mouth” status. But, fear not. TV-Tastic predicts that both of these shows will be cancelled before Thanksgiving replaced with re-runs of Bones or House.
ABC: Detroit 1-8-7 – September 21, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)
In this ABC crime drama project, a fictional documentary filmmaking crew goes inside Detroit’s homicide division. – ABC
Shawn: “Once in a generation, a cop show comes along that re-writes the rules.”
That is seriously said in the voice-over at the beginning of this trailer. It may be true, but that show was The Shield, not Detroit 1-8-7 (which sounds more like a the title of an N.W.A. album than it does a dramatic television series). Sorry, but this show re-writes nothing. It’s the epitome of why I don’t watch formulaic cop shows anymore. It’s all the same thing but this one is trying to be clever by combining the rawness and the grittiness of The Wire and to an extent Homicide: Life on the Street and the pseudo-documentary style of… The Office. That’s right, The Office. The difference is that The Office actually is consistently shot like a documentary. The style of this show is all over the place. I’m sorry, but if you want to convince us that the show is being shot by a documentary camera crew, your shots cannot include shots only possible if filmed while a cameraman is sitting on the hood of a moving car (that’s in the trailer).
Beyond, that, though Detroit 1-8-7 doesn’t look awful, it just looks ordinary and typical. I’ve seen this cop show before, and I can tell I’m not alone in thinking this way.
This is from 1-8-7’s Official Page:
“The detectives are well-developed and easy to follow… There are relationships worth investing in.”
– Mekeisha Madden Toby, Detroit News
“…promises to be a mighty fine ride…smartly cast urban crime drama’s gutsy, gritty allure.”
– Matt Roush, TV Guide
First, notice the ellipses that permeate both quotes like bullet-holes, indicating that ABC cut a lot out. Second, knowing that, this is really the best ABC could come up with to promote critical acclaim for the show? Seriously, that Matt Roush quote is just embarrassing, but honestly, I really don’t expect much from him anymore. I think he just has too much on his plate so unless he really likes something a lot, he just whips out the TV reviewer’s thesaurus and gives us “mighty fine ride,” “smartly cast (which is kind of like sensible shoes),” “gutsy” and “gritty.” As far as Makeisha Madden Toby is concerned, I think she got the memo that if you write for a Detroit Newspaper and live in L.A., it’s in your better interest to be pleasant when discussing a drama set in the city you don’t live in but is responsible for your paychecks. I’m sorry, but, “The detectives are well-developed and easy to follow…” and “There are relationships worth investing in,” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.
I’m sorry but there’s just too much good TV this Fall for me to waste my time with this. I may catch the pilot or an occasional episode, but this isn’t appointment television by an 8-mile.