Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Fall in TV: Sifting through what the networks will inflict upon us this fall

It's a funny thing, habit. I haven't logged onto The Home Theater Forum in months, and yet, as the TV networks began making their upfront presentations to advertisers, I felt like I was shirking something by not putting together a forum thread on what the networks were doing. It wasn't an official duty of mine, but just something I'd done for the past few years, and enjoyed doing. Now, though, I don't really have a place where I talk about TV. But, on the other hand, this is my blog, and I can hijack it if I want.

I suppose I could go back to HTF; I didn't exactly quit. It was just last year's casualty of Fantasia - I go to Montreal, I do nothing with my computer but write reviews between days of seeing movies, and when I come home, I've got so much to catch up on elsewhere that something online just looks too daunting.)

As per usual, the information comes from The Futon Critic. The bolded selections are the things I plan on watching, comments follow.


07:00 - ABC - American's Funniest Home Videos
07:00 - CBS - 60 Minutes
07:00 - Fox - The OT
07:00 - NBC - Football Night in America

07:30 - Fox - The Cleveland Show

08:00 - ABC - Once Upon a Time
08:00 - CBS - The Amazing Race
08:00 - Fox - The Simpsons
08:00 - NBC - Sunday Night Football

08:30 - Fox - Allen Gregory

09:00 - ABC - Desperate Housewives
09:00 - CBS - The Good Wife
09:00 - Fox - Family Guy

09:30 - Fox - American Dad

10:00 - ABC - Pan Am
10:00 - CBS - CSI: Miami

* I'm really pleasantly surprised to see The Good Life make it to a third year; I got the impression that its sinking ratings might end it after two. It's been remarkably good and remarkably consistent since the start, and the politics gives it a unique angle.

* Good lord, does Allen Gregory look insufferable.

* ABC's Once Upon a Time looks a whole lot like the great Vertigo Comics series Fables, which is especially interesting considering that ABC had optioned Fables about a year or so ago. I hope Bryan K. Vaughn and Mark Buckingham and company are getting paid a little. Also, Pan Am doesn't look great, but it's got Christina Ricci, and gets a sample for that.


08:00 - ABC - Dancing with the Stars
08:00 - CBS - How I Met Your Mother
08:00 - CW - Gossip Girl
08:00 - Fox - Terra Nova
08:00 - NBC - The Sing-Off

08:30 - CBS - Two Broke Girls

09:00 - CBS - Two and a Half Men
09:00 - CW - Hart of Dixie
09:00 - Fox - House

09:30 - Fox - Mike & Molly

10:00 - ABC - Castle
10:00 - CBS - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - NBC - The Playboy Club

* Those two hour unscripted shows are ridiculous, just filled with air.

* Amber Heard is not enough to get me to watch The Playboy Club; Kat Dennings may get me to sample Two Broke Girls.

* Stephen Spielberg and dinosaurs certainly gets me to give Terra Nova a shot. Shame about Brannon Braga's involvement, though - how he keeps getting work after running Star Trek into the ground is beyond me.

* Nice job spoiling Castle's finale in your press release, ABC.


08:00 - ABC - Last Man Standing
08:00 - CBS - NCIS
08:00 - CW - 90210
08:00 - Fox - Glee
08:00 - NBC - The Biggest Loser

08:30 - ABC - Man-Up

09:00 - ABC -Dancing with the Stars Results
09:00 - CBS - NCIS: Los Angeles
09:00 - CW - Ringer
09:00 - Fox - New Girl

09:30 - Fox - Raising Hope

10:00 - ABC - Body of Proof
10:00 - CBS - Unforgettable
10:00 - NBC - Parenthood

* ABC's 8pm hour of henpecked-men comedies make me ill just reading about them.

* Ringer, from what I gather, actually started life as a pilot for CBS before getting bounced to CW. I guess Sarah Michelle Gellar just doesn't get to sit at the big kids' table, no matter how convoluted her new show's premise is.

* As much as I'm tempted to start watching Parenthood, what with its cast filled with people I like and the show no longer up against The Good Wife, I really like Poppy Montgomery, so Unforgettable gets a look.

* Why the heck do I feel obligated to give New Girl a look because Zooey Deschanel stars? When was her last good work? And with Jake Kasdan directing the pilot, too.


08:00 - ABC - The Middle
08:00 - CBS - Survivor
08:00 - CW - H8r
08:00 - Fox - The X Factor
08:00 - NBC - Up All Night

08:30 - ABC - Suburgatory
08:30 - NBC -Free Agents

09:00 - ABC - Modern Family
09:00 - CBS - Criminal Minds
09:00 - CW - America's Next Top Model
09:00 - NBC - Harry's Law

09:30 - ABC - Happy Endings
09:30 - Fox - I Hate My Teenage Daughter

10:00 - ABC - Revenge
10:00 - CBS - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
10:00 - NBC - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

* H8r? Really? Shouldn't this be on MTV or something?

* Up All Night, Suburgatory, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter all have better casts than their generic premises deserve.

* Revenge actually has a pretty nice cast, and Philip Noyce directing the pilot. But it's pretty clearly a single-story serial without an apparent mechanism for done-in-one stories, so I don't see how it avoids becoming a train wreck.


08:00 - ABC - Charlie's Angels
08:00 - CBS - The Big Bang Theory
08:00 - CW - The Vampire Diaries
08:00 - Fox - The X Factor Results
08:00 - NBC - Community

08:30 - CBS - How to Be a Gentleman
08:30 - NBC - Parks & Recreation

09:00 - ABC - Grey's Anatomy
09:00 - CBS - Person of Interest
09:00 - CW - The Secret Circle
09:00 - Fox - Bones
09:00 - NBC - The Office

09:30 - NBC - Whitney

10:00 - ABC - Private Practice
10:00 - CBS - The Mentalist
10:00 - NBC - Prime Suspect

* Apparently The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle have the same producers and are adapted from books by the same author, but one is not a spinoff of another. Weird.

* Person of Interest doesn't do much for me from the description, but it does come from J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan.

* Prime Suspect terrifies me. It has a hell of a supporting cast, Peter Berg directing, and I really like Maria Bello. However, she's competing with Helen Mirren in the role that made everyone stand up and take notice - in large part because she made herself look like every case was killing her. I honestly don't know if you can keep that pace up over a 22-episode season with anyone.


08:00 - ABC - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
08:00 - CBS - A Gifted Man
08:00 - CW - Nikita
08:00 - Fox - Kitchen Nightmares
08:00 - NBC - Chuck

09:00 - ABC - Shark Tank
09:00 - CBS - CSI: New York
09:00 - CW - Supernatural
09:00 - Fox - Fringe
09:00 - NBC - Grimm

10:00 - ABC - 20/20
10:00 - CBS - Blue Bloods
10:00 -NBC - Dateline NBC

* Wow, Jonathan Demme directed the pilot of A Gifted Man? Biggest case of apparent slumming since Spike Lee did episode 1 of Shark. Shame it seems to be CBS's designated Friday night "communicating with the hereafter" drama, because it's got Margo Martindale.

* The guys who have to watch every sci-fi/fantasy show must hate 9pm. Grimm looks like the odd one out for me, despite Angel's David Greenwalt in charge. I'll probably wait on the Blu-rays for Supernatural as I have with the last two years, leaving Fringe the clear winner.

* Supposedly Chuck is having "final season" and "13-episode order" tossed around again. That would get it right to the 100-episode area, although I'm not sure just how crucial that is any more. I do hope they find ways to keep Timothy Dalton around, because he has been killing it on this show (Linda Hamilton, not so much).

* I wonder if Blue Bloods got better in the second half of its first year. I liked it well enough, but when it got scheduled against something else, it lost its space on my DVR, and I never felt a particular need to keep up with it.


08:00 - ABC - Saturday Night College Football
08:00 - CBS - Rules of Engagement
08:00 - Fox - Cops
08:00 - NBC - Repeats

08:30 - CBS - Repeats (Comedy)

09:00 - CBS - Repeats (Crime)
09:00 - Fox - Repeats with the occasional "America's Most Wanted" special
09:00 - NBC - Repeats

10:00 - CBS - 48 Hours Mystery
10:00 - NBC - Repeats

* Poor Rules of Engagement; it looks like it either has a multi-year renewal order CBS couldn't get out of or it just needs to get over a hump for syndication.


Apartment 23 (tentative - Tuesday 9:30pm)
The Bachelor
Cougar Town (tentative - Tuesday 9:00pm)
Good Christian Belles
The River
Secret Millionaire
Work It

* Apartment 23 has Krysten Ritter and a somewhat offbeat premise. I'll go for that.

* Missing and The River both seem like Revenge, in that they're single-premise shows that will be stretched out forever if successful. It just doesn't seem like a good way to do business.


The 2-2
Undercover Boss

* CBS never seems to need a deep bench these days, between their solid and predictable hits and a bunch of crime shows that they can use for re-runs.

The Frame
One Tree Hill

* Ugh. Why is this network still here?


Alcatraz (tentative - Monday 9:00pm, House to 8:00pm)
American Idol (tentative - Wednesday 8:00pm)
American Idol Results (tentative - Thursday 8:00pm)
Bob's Burgers
The Finder (tentative - Thursday 9:00pm)
Napoleon Dynamite (tentative - Sunday 8:30pm)

* Alcatraz is J.J. Abrams again, and has the one guy I liked a lot from Lost. But like Fringe, it's got a central mystery that also lends itself to single-episode stories, so it's got a chance.

* I liked Heroes for longer than most, but Tim Kring's Touch looks like a disaster. And if the backdoor pilot that aired as part of Bones is any indication, The Finder is going to be really, really annoying.


The Apprentice (tentative - Sunday 8:00pm)
Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea
Best Friends Forever
Betty White's Off Their Rockers
Dateline NBC (tentative - Sunday 7:00pm)
Fashion Star
The Firm (tentative - Sunday 10:00pm)
Smash (tentative - Monday 10:00pm)
The Voice (tentative - Monday 8:00pm)
Untitled Brian Williams Newsmagazine

* I'm almost certain I've seen the premise for Awake used in a graphic novel recently. The guy jumping between parallel universes with important differences seems like the sort of thing that would make a great pilot but would run out of steam, especially once the audience encounters "married in one universe, widowed with love interest in the other" for very long.

* Smash could be a really nifty idea - following the process behind mounting a Broadway musical - and has Steven Spielberg behind it. The cast seems to be people who can sing, too, so if "musical drama" means "show where people burst into song" as opposed to just "drama about a musical, with in-story songs", it could be something interesting. It could also be a trainwreck, of course, and I sort of hate the idea of Glee inspiring imitators.

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