NBC Cancels Outsourced, Law & Order: L.A. & The Event, Passes On Wonder Woman… Renews Chuck

On Friday, NBC announced the cancellation of Outsourced, Law & Order: Los Angeles and The Event.  We predicted every single one of these cancellations months ago.

Outsourced (from our Fall 2010 Post Game Wrap-Up on 01/13/2011)

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… 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.

Law & Order: Los Angeles (from our review of the show on 10/09/2010)

And before you say to yourself, “Well, this could be different,” I’m going to have to stop you right there because, no, it’s not going to be different. Do you know how I know? There are two obvious reasons. First, take a look at the first sentence of the show description by NBC:

“Law & Order: Los Angeles” fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast.”

The first thing that they mention as a selling point is what made the show suck to begin with (the “ripped from the headlines” crap). It’s the reason that people stopped watching… period, you unoriginal nit-wits at Dick Wolf Productions.

This show is nothing more than the original Law & Order that just got cancelled after 20 seasons except for the fact that it’s set in L.A… This whole show is just awful and no one is getting a free pass.

The only reason it’s getting three stars is because it’s not as bad as Outlaw.  I expect it to be canceled by the end of the season.

The Event (from our What’s Wrong With The Event and How To Fix It In Five Easy Steps piece back on 12/22/2010)

Unfortunately, since its premiere, the audience numbers have dropped steadily and the show is on life-support at this point and it’s completely unnecessary… The truth is that the long hiatus (new episodes will not air until March 7, 2011) may be the final nail in the coffin for The Event

What is a surprise to us, however, is that NBC has ordered 13 episodes for a fifth and final season of Chuck.  We got bored with it but we didn’t hate it and we’re glad that a fan-favorite was picked up for one last hurrah.

In related news, the awful David E. Kelley, Boston Legal-clone Harry’s Law has been renewed by NBC and just when we thought NBC had ZERO standards remaining they did smartly pass-on Kelley’s reboot adaptation of the comic book classic that no one ever reads, Wonder Woman.  Tracie Thoms, who would have played Diana Prince’s best friend Etta, had this to say about the news via Twitter:

I am very sad that NBC passed on Wonder Woman. But that just goes to show you: There is no such thing as a “sure thing” in this biz.

Sorry to disappoint you, Etta, but there is one sure thing in Hollywood:  that show would have reached the highest level of suckitude© imaginable.

Fall 2010 Post-Game Wrap-Up (Thursday)

Welcome to part four of the mid-season 2010 – 2011 review. In this post we’ll be discussing Thursday’s programming.

8:30 p.m.

CBS – $#’! My Dad Says

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.

NBC – Community

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…

9:00 p.m.

The CW – Nikita

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.

NBC – The Office

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.

9:30 p.m.

NBC – Outsourced

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.

‘Outsourced’ (NBC – Thursday, 9:30 p.m.)

“Outsourced” is NBC’s new workplace comedy series centered around a catalog-based company, Mid America Novelties, that sells American novelty goods including whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon, and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.

After recently completing Mid America Novelties’ manager training program, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) learns that the call center is being outsourced to India, and he is asked to move there to be the manager. Having never ventured out of the country, he is unprepared for the culture shock. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world.

The sales team Todd inherits includes Gupta (Parvesh Cheena, “Help Me Help You”), a socially awkward employee; Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan, BBC’s “Five Days II”), a young romantic who is enamored with America; Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood, BBC’s “Doctors”), a smart, striking woman who finds herself intrigued by Todd; Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) the assistant manager who wants Todd’s job; and Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan, Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”), a wallflower who suffers from extreme shyness.

Todd also discovers other transplants working in his office building, including an American expatriate, Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader, “The Drew Carey Show”), who runs the All-American Hunter call center, and Tonya (Pippa Black, “Neighbours”), a beautiful Australian who runs the call center for Koala Air. – NBC

The Preview (Originally posted on 9/23/2010):

Shawn: I don’t know what appeals to me more, the politically incorrect tone of this series or the fact that it looks absolutely hilarious. I also like the premise that they telemarket novelties like rubber vomit and whoopee cushions. Looking forward to this, I hope the show can live up to the hype in the trailer.

The Review:

7 out of 10

Unfortunately, Outsourced looked a lot funnier in the trailer than it has turned out to be. I’m not saying that I don’t like the show but I think the whole concept of the series works better for a film than it does for a weekly sitcom.

The hilarious trailer is literally a four-minute summation of the entire pilot episode and though the jokes while rapid-fire in the trailer are very funny, they don’t work particularly well for comedic value over the course of 23 minutes. That or it was one of those issues like with the film The Hangover where they literally showed every funny scene in the movie in the trailers and because of that when I actually saw it I didn’t think it was that funny. Probably not, though, because every episode following the pilot has followed the same trend and I’m still not laughing as much as I would have hoped.

Every single episode kind of follows the same formula and that is Todd dealing with an issue involving the differences between American culture and Indian culture. Some of the jokes work but a lot of them don’t and the reason why is that they keep reverting to this standby of taking an American turn-of-phrase and having one of the Indian characters repeat it using a funny accent and saying it in the style of… well… an Indian. Here’s an example:

Gupta: As you say in America, it looks like you are up a creek and have forgotten your paddle. Also, this is a creek of feces… a most unpleasant creek for you.

See what I mean? That line was one of the funnier ones but every episode is full of these and it gets a little stale when there’s a dozen of those per episode because you really just start expecting it. Like I said, it’s the kind of thing that works sporadically in a feature film but it can’t carry a series. Just think of how well it worked during the few cameo scenes with Mooj (Gerry Bednob) in The 40 Year-Old Virgin (and it was even funnier because he was so foul-mouthed).

WARNING: NSFW (LANGUAGE, SEXUAL REMARKS)

But you wouldn’t want a whole series based around that (foul language and sexual remarks notwithstanding). It would be like having an entire series based around people who tried to speak American English but they also sounded like Yoda. It would be funny the first couple of times but it would lose its appeal rather quickly.

Beyond that, though, these characters are very likable and although the different scenarios all have the same general premise, I find myself still wanting to tune in every week. It’s very charming.

So, in the end, Outsourced is an enjoyable show even if it’s not as funny as I would have expected and it does have the potential to pick up steam and become a lot funnier with a little bit of effort on the writer’s part.

Watch full episodes of Outsourced, here.

Fall 2010 TV Preview – Thursdays

Part Four of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because  I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted.  Do you really need a review of those?)

Thursday

8:00 p.m.

ABC:     My Generation (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

What a difference ten years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation, then revisits these former classmates ten years later as they return home to rediscover that just because they’re not where they planned doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be.

These students couldn’t wait to graduate and head out into the real world. But the world they were entering got very real very fast. As these classmates return home to revisit their old hopes for their future, they’ll discover that, even if you don’t get exactly what you thought you wanted out of life, it’s not too late to get what you need. – ABC

Shawn: OK, ABC, that’s enough already with the pseudo-documentaries.  It’s becoming as overused as 3-D is for feature films and like 3-D it’s just a cheap gimmick to try to convince people that your crap show really isn’t a crap show.  Do you think audiences aren’t going to notice that this show is no different from any other show about 20-somethings from different walks of life who all have something in common that brings them together?  This entire premise alone is going to piss off your target demographic for that hour (namely me) because it points out how old I am at 35 compared to these knuckleheads.  Don’t need that, sorry.  Despite the fact that the show makes me feel old, let’s be honest, it just looks dopey.

8:30 p.m.

CBS:     $#’! My Dad Says – (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

$#*! MY DAD SAYS (pronounced “Bleep My Dad Says”), based on the popular Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, stars Emmy Award winner William Shatner as Ed Goodson, a forthright and opinionated dad who relishes expressing his unsolicited and often wildly politically incorrect observations to anyone within earshot. Nobody is safe from Ed’s rants, including his sons, Henry, a struggling writer-turned-unpaid blogger; and Vince, the meek half of a husband/wife real estate duo with domineering Bonnie. When Henry finds he can no longer afford to pay rent, Ed reveals a soft spot and invites Henry to move in with him. Henry agrees, knowing that the verbal assault will not abate and now there will be no escape. Describing their father/son relationship is tricky, but Ed will easily come up with a few choice words. – CBS

Shawn:

This is by far the most unfortunate post I have to write.  You see, I’ve been a big fan of Justin Halpern’s Twitter Page “Shit My Dad Says” for well over a year now and of course, I’m a huge fan of all things The Shat is involved with but I’m sorry to say that this is going to suck.  Not only is it EVERYTHING that I absolutely hate about sitcoms with the recycled and clichéd jokes, characters and plots it’s 180 degrees backwards of the whole premise of “Shit  My Dad Says!”  Just watch the trailer below to see what I’m talking about but first read this from Amazon in which Halpern explains the premise of the book bearing the same title:

‘At 28 years old, I found myself living at home, with my 73-year-old father. As a child, my father never minced words, and when I screwed up, he had a way of cutting right through the bullshit and pointing out exactly why I was being an idiot. When I moved back in I was still, for the most part, an idiot. But this time, I was smart enough to write down all the things he said to me.’

Now please explain to me how a wise-cracking jerk of a father, who’s apparently pretty senile and his sensitive and always correct progeny bear any resemblance to the description you just read FROM THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE THING?!

The answer is simply that they don’t resemble each other whatsoever but Halpern isn’t stupid.  He must know that this is garbage and that his new-found fame from this silly little twitter account will be over in about 15 minutes and he’s cashing in while he can and you know what?  I don’t blame him whatsoever.  If a bunch of no-talent hacks like the cast of Jersey Shore or The Hills or Keeping up With the Kardashians can get paid, why not a guy who has actually made millions of people laugh?  But please, be honest and don’t kid yourself into thinking that this is going to be anything but the highest level of suckitude©.  Believe me, I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this, but I know I’m not.

AND WHY THE HELL IS HALF THE CAST OF MADtv IN THIS???

NBC:     Community – (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: I have to admit, I’m a convert to Community.  When it debuted in 2009, I had high hopes for it because it looked clever and starred E’s Joel McHale (The Soup) and he’s always clever and funny.  It took me three episodes to be very disappointed.  Then, around Christmas-time (I think), I was in the garage working on a project and NBC was running a back-to-back marathon of the sitcom and I completely changed my mind.  Community improved dramatically and is very funny. I definitely recommend Community.

Watch full episodes of Community, here.

… And check out this great sneak preview, here.

9:00 p.m.

The CW:     Nikita (September 9, 2010 – NEW SERIES)

When she was a deeply troubled teenager, Nikita (Maggie Q, “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Mission Impossible 3”) was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn’t tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin. Throughout her grueling training at Division, Nikita never lost her humanity, even falling in love with a civilian. When her fiancé was murdered, Nikita realized she had been betrayed and her dreams shattered by the only people she thought she could trust, so she did what no one else before her had been able to do: she escaped. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former bosses that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation. – The CW

Shawn: I’ve already done a full review of Nikita, see it here.  Good but not great.

Watch full episodes of Nikita, here.

FOX:     Fringe (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: Fringe is one of my favorite shows on TV currently.  If you haven’t watched it before it’s like The X-Files on steroids with a J.J. Abrams spin.  The stories are great, the characters are well-developed and it’s grown into a wonderful and fascinating story arc.  For those of you who are new to the series, don’t bother starting in, now.  You’re going to have to go to Netflix and add the first two seasons to your queue, or you’ll be completely lost, but it’s certainly worth saving the new episodes on the divver recordification device for when you’re done watching the old episodes.

Watch full episodes of Fringe, here.

NBC:     The Office (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: Every time that I think The Office has run out of steam, it does something that keeps me coming back for more.  Looking forward to yet another year at Dunder Mifflin.

Watch full episodes of The Office, here.

9:30 p.m.

NBC:     Outsourced (September 23, 2010)

“Outsourced” is NBC’s new workplace comedy series centered around a catalog-based company, Mid America Novelties, that sells American novelty goods including whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon, and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.

After recently completing Mid America Novelties’ manager training program, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) learns that the call center is being outsourced to India, and he is asked to move there to be the manager. Having never ventured out of the country, he is unprepared for the culture shock. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world.

The sales team Todd inherits includes Gupta (Parvesh Cheena, “Help Me Help You”), a socially awkward employee; Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan, BBC’s “Five Days II”), a young romantic who is enamored with America; Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood, BBC’s “Doctors”), a smart, striking woman who finds herself intrigued by Todd; Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) the assistant manager who wants Todd’s job; and Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan, Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”), a wallflower who suffers from extreme shyness.

Todd also discovers other transplants working in his office building, including an American expatriate, Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader, “The Drew Carey Show”), who runs the All-American Hunter call center, and Tonya (Pippa Black, “Neighbours”), a beautiful Australian who runs the call center for Koala Air. – NBC

Shawn: I don’t know what appeals to me more, the politically incorrect tone of this series or the fact that it looks absolutely hilarious.  I also like the premise that they telemarket novelties like rubber vomit and whoopee cushions.  Looking forward to this, I hope the show can live up to the hype in the trailer.

NEXT: Friday