F/X Programming Update: ‘Justified,’ ‘Archer,’ ‘Lights Out.’ What’s Staying, What’s Going.

There have been three major announcements from F/X over the last few weeks regarding programming for the 2011 -2012 season.

Coming back…

First, in a move that delights us to no end, one of the best shows on television, Justified, has been renewed for a third season.

Via The Longest Press Release We’ve Ever Seen to Announce the Renewal of a Show:

FX’S CRITICALLY ACLLAIMED HIT DRAMA JUSTIFIED GETS PICK UP

Network Orders 13 Episodes for Third Season from

FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television

Six All New Episodes Remain in Season One, Wednesdays at 10 PM ET/PT

With Season 1 Finale Airing June 8

Season Two (First-Run) Averaging 3.9 Million Total Viewers and 2.0 Million Adults 18-49

Marking Gains of +16% in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 vs. Season One Average

With Multi-Run Weekly Average of 7.2 Million Total Viewers and 3.7 Million Adults 18-49

LOS ANGELES, March 29, 2011 – The FX drama series Justified is enjoying one of the most critically acclaimed seasons of any show on television this year and today the network has ordered another season of the hit series, picking up a 13-episode third season, announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks.  Six all new episodes remain in season two, airing Wednesdays at 10 PM ET/PT, with the second season finale airing May 4.

“Justified was a critically acclaimed hit series in its first season, but the show has far surpassed our expectations this season,” said Landgraf.  “Creatively, the show is on a roll. The performances of Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Margo Martindale and the entire cast are extraordinary. Graham Yost and his team of writers are delivering some of the richest stories anywhere on TV and are doing a brilliant job of being true to Elmore Leonard’s original character, Raylan Givens. We couldn’t be more proud of the work everyone has done.”

Developed for television by Graham Yost and starring Timothy Olyphant, Justified (TV-MA) is based on the popular Elmore Leonard character “Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens” from his short story Fire in the Hole and some of his other novels.

Yost said, “I always say that the best review we’ve ever received on Justified is the fact that Elmore Leonard gets a kick out of the show.  I must add to that.  Now tied for the best feedback we’ve ever received is the news that a network as cool and original and supportive as FX is bringing us back for another year.”

“The show’s appeal speaks volumes to Graham’s fresh approach to storytelling,” said Jamie Erlicht, president of programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.

“The stellar performances by Timothy, Walton and the entire cast are Emmy caliber and we couldn’t be prouder of this series” added Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.

SOURCE: The Nielsen Company, NHI (Live+7)

Through seven weeks, first-run episodes of Justified are averaging 3.9 million viewers (+15% vs. season 1) and 2.0 million Adults 18-49 (+18% vs. season 1).  The weekly multi-run average viewership for the season 2 is 7.2 million total viewers and 3.7 million Adults 18-49, respective gains of +6% in Total Viewers and +6% in Adults 18-49.

The series co-stars Walton Goggins guest stars as “Boyd Crowder,” Nick Searcy as Givens longtime friend and boss “Chief Deputy Art Mullen,” Jacob Pitts as “Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson,” Erica Tazel as “Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks,” Joelle Carter as “Ava Crowder,” and Natalie Zea as Raylan’s ex-wife “Winona Hawkins.”  This season Margo Martindale joined the cast in a supporting role as “Mags Bennett,” matriarch of a rural Kentucky crime family and nemesis of Raylan Givens.

Yost wrote the pilot and serves as Executive Producer/Writer on the series. Leonard is an Executive Producer on the series along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Dinner, and Olyphant is Producer. Justified is produced by FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television.

FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 99 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning original series, an established film library of acquired box-office hit movies, and an impressive lineup of acquired hit series.

Later that same day, F/X announced that they would also be renewing the animated comedy series, Archer, for a third season as well, with new episodes airing in September.  We didn’t watch Archer when it first aired but since it’s been on Netflix Streaming, we’ve been getting into it and it’s absolutely hilarious.

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye: Lights Out

Finally, in a bit of disappointing (if not unexpected) news, on March 24th, F/X announced that they would not be renewing their critically acclaimed drama, Lights Out, for a second season.  In our review, we stated that Lights Out was the best new show of the Spring and we gave it a coveted 10 out of 10 rating (an honor that has only been bestowed upon one other show since we started the blog, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) after only seeing two episodes and we firmly stand by that assessment.  We’ve done a separate commentary on the cancellation of Lights Out, which can be read here.

‘Chase’ (NBC – Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

 

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.

Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State. – NBC

The Preview (Posted 9/15/2010):

Shawn: Although, seemingly formulaic and reeking suspiciously of U.S. Marshalls (I was waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to pop out and start barking orders about finding Richard Kimball in the trailer), the high-energy and the strong cast of Chase makes it certainly worthy of consideration.  I’m not jumping out of my pants about it yet but it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that definitely makes it worth watching for at least the first three or four episodes.  “Cautiously optimistic” is the best way to describe my enthusiasm for Chase.

The Review:

3 out of 10

Shawn:     Alright, that is the absolute last time I automatically give a show the benefit of the doubt for being a Jerry Bruckheimer production and I should have had this policy in place a long time ago because of CSI alone (but let’s be fair… I did use the phrase “cautiously optimistic.”).  Bruckheimer’s problem in general is that when he really gives a damn, he gets behind projects that although may not have long-term success are at least original (see: Justice, E-Ring).  When he doesn’t, he reverts to bland and intelligence-insulting procedurals like Chase

One thing I can say about Chase is that the there is certainly a lot of that during the hour, in fact that’s about all they do and yes it gets very stale, very quickly.  When they aren’t running all over Texas, they are sitting around a room and doing the psychoanalysis version of CSI but instead of a forensics investigation based on actual evidence, this crew comes up with off-the-wall behavioral theories about their fugitive’s psyche and it just so happens that everything they predict about the fugitive’s current and next moves is absolutely what the bad guy is doing!  They literally NEVER make a mistake or misstep and it left me with one conclusion: these jokers don’t need to be working for the Marshal Service collecting government salaries, they need to hook up with Miss Cleo and make some real money.

CALL MEH’NOW!

Chase is boring and contrived.  The characters are clichéd, poorly written and conceived, and furthermore generally cringe-worthy and unlikable.  The dialog is ridiculous, and the general premise of the show is that all you need to know about Texas is that everyone in the state worships Waylon Jennings and knowing that will allow you to track any fugitive.  The only thing that this show has going for it at all is that it’s fast paced and very well-shot which I think was done on purpose to distract the audience from how bad the show is plot and character-wise.  Either that, or they just sunk all of their money into the technical side of production and NONE into the writing side. 

For the record, the actors are fine and actually all have been traditionally very good.  The problem is the writing.  You can’t polish a turd and Jeff Gordon can’t win a race driving a 1993 3-cylinder Geo Metro.

By the way, I don’t even like NASCAR but I figured if Chase can make a whole show based on clichés and stereotypes about Texas, the South and rednecks, why not get in on that as well with the analogies.  When in Dallas…

Oh, and one last thing, Jerry… no one likes seeing the portrayal of a family terrified and graphically murdered execution-style during the opening sequence of a pilot… NO ONE.

Watch full episodes of Chase, here.

Fall 2010 Prime Time Preview – Mondays

Welcome to the TV-Tastic First Annual Fall TV Preview.   This is the first of what we hope to be many television season previews.  In January we’ll be doing a Mid-Season Replacement Preview and in Summer 2011, we’ll be doing a preview of the cable offerings and random shows that FOX just throws out there June through August to fill up airtime that no one seems to care about (see: The Good Guys).   This is a seven part series and today we are covering Monday night television.

We will not be including a preview of every single show that’s in the Fall lineup.  We’re only previewing the stuff  we care about and of course the new offerings on network and cable.  Our rating scale for this will be based on whether we think you should waste your time with it or not and we’ll tell you why.  No numbers on this just, simple recommendations like “you have to see this” or “pass on this” or “I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit.”  Vic’s been very busy so I’m going solo on this for right now but he will be adding his two-cents later and I’ll update the blog and the subscribers accordingly.

So, without further ado, let the games begin, and by the way, this is one of the best Fall Lineups in years and it mostly is because of NBC (which is a phrase I never thought I would utter).

TV Guide Fall Schedule

TV Guide Fall Schedule Calendar

Monday:

8:00 p.m.

FOX:     House – September 20, 2010

Shawn: I love House, it’s a “can’t-miss.”  You know it and I know it.  How many shows can they change the night and timeslot every two weeks and it’s still be successful?  There is one reason and one reason only to watch House, and that’s House, himself.  I hate medical dramas as they’re all the same tripe.  House could be a show set on submarine or in a cannery (or a nunnery) and it would still be great.

NBC:     Chuck – September 20, 2010

Shawn: I unfortunately missed all of season 2 and 3 because of scheduling issues but I love this show and I’m glad it got a fourth season.  It’s just a fun show that’s got something for everyone.  Humor, action, romance and of course, Adam Baldwin.  I dare say, what more do you need?  I’ll be catching up with Seasons 2 & 3 and saving season 4 for later.

9:00 p.m.

FOX:     Lone Star – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)

Shawn: I’ve already seen the pilot and it is definitely worth watching.  See my full review with trailer here.  Upon further review my biggest concern for it is it is in the same time-slot as this:

NBC:     The Event – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)

The Event is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his would-be fiancée Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.

Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “In Treatment”); Sophia Maguire (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Leila’s shadowy father (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. – NBC

Shawn: This is by far the most anticipated show of the new year and for good reason.  It’s a spy/action/political thriller à la 24 shown from multiple perspectives with a Lost-type/FlashForward-type mystery to it.   The cast is amazing and the effects look killer.  This is one of those moral imperative shows.  You must watch this.  I’d comment more on it but the trailer confused the crap out of me and I still haven’t processed all of it.

9:30 p.m.

CBS:     Mike & Molly – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)

A couple finds love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting in this multicamera comedy from Chuck Lorre, the force behind Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.

Shawn: Did Kevin James get taller, fatter and less articulate?  As a rule, I’m skeptical of sitcoms to begin with because for the most part they are unoriginal and they all recycle the same stupid jokes decade after decade.  Even the more original and funny comedies like The Office eventually wind up being copied (see: Parks & Recreation) and eventually run out of steam… waitaminute… The Office was a copy as well.  Anyway, the point being is that Mike & Molly is the reason that I hate sitcoms.  This is just embarrassing.  Seriously who does this simple-minded crap appeal to?  What I find humorous is that they brag how this show is from the producers of Two and a Half Men.  Hey… newsflash:  despite how many people watch it, Two and a Half Men is complete crap as well. I would definitely pass on this.

10:00 p.m.

CBS:     Hawaii Five-O – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)

When Steve McGarrett’s father is murdered, he decided to return home to Oahu in order to catch the killer. The governor offers him the opportunity to run a new task force where he is able to call the shots. Detective Steve McGarrett brings together his own team, beginning with Chin Ho Kelly; an ex-Honolulu Police Detective and former protégé of McGarrett’s father. Kelly has been assigned to a federal security patrol after being suspected of corruption. Detective Danny “Danno” Williams is a New Jersey cop who recently moved to the island and is raising his 8-year-old daughter. Kono Kalakaua is Kelly’s cousin and a rookie officer, fresh from the academy. McGarrett’s team is giving full backing from the governor and plays only by their own rules. – CBS

Shawn: Way to go CBS for making this show sound like every other dry, formulaic cop show.  Thank God for trailers, eh?  I have to say,  I was just going to recommend the pilot and only the pilot simply for the sake of novelty (and the great cast). Watch it, know it’s probably going to be crap-tastic and forget about it. Then I saw the trailer below.  This isn’t Hawaii Five-O, this is friggin’ Alias in Hawaii with cops and it looks great!  Back to that great cast, you’ve got Alex O’Loughlin (The Shield) as McGarrett, Scott Caan (Boiler Room and the Ocean’s Eleven films) as “Danno,” Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, 24) and the smoking hot Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) as Kono Kalakaua.  This one of the best casts of any show this season and I’m really glad to see Kim in a more prominent lead-role where he actually speaks his native language for a change… which of course is Eastern Pennsylvania English.  Heck, he didn’t even have to move for this show considering his last gig was on Lost for six seasons which is was of course, also filmed in Hawaii.  And, by the way, I am well aware that for a cop show the amount of action looks ridiculous.  That’s part of the reason why it appeals to me so much.  I mean, crap, if you’re going to go camp, go all the way… and we’d better see Wo Fat, too or I’m writing a letter.  This is another definite must-watch show.

NBC:     Chase – September 20, 2010 (NEW SERIES!)

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.

Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State. – NBC

Shawn: Although, seemingly formulaic and reeking suspiciously of U.S. Marshals (I was waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to pop out and start barking orders about finding Richard Kimball in the trailer), the high-energy and the strong cast of Chase makes it certainly worthy of consideration.  I’m not jumping out of my pants about it yet but it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that definitely makes it worth watching for at least the first three or four episodes.  “Cautiously optimistic” is the best way to describe my enthusiasm for Chase.

NEXT: Tuesdays