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  • The Network TV BloodBath Analysis (Part 3 of 3)

    May 21st, 2014

    FOX –

    Total Cancelled Shows – 7

    Almost Human, Surviving Jack, Rake, Enlisted, Raising Hope, Dads, X-Factor

    The Breakdown

    Some were happily put out of their misery, but there are 2 that could have been saved and salvaged…

    Surviving Jack – Fox never gave this show its proper chance. Chris Meloni and Rachel Harris were hilarious. This show had some of the nostalgia factor of The Goldbergs, some of the harshness of Married with Children, and some of the hilarity of…watching Christopher Meloni be a dad. I wasn’t convinced by the first episode, but I stuck with it and ended up really enjoying it. If it had a better lead-in and time slot, this show could’ve connected. Meloni deserved better after the courtship Fox and the producers went through to get him on the show.  Jack, I hardly knew ye. Chris Meloni and J.K. Simmons should be in a comedy together.

    Almost Human – Loved the first 2 episodes, but it quickly got stale for me. I didn’t care enough to keep watching, though I know it had a loyal fan base. It wasn’t as big a hit as Sleepy Hollow so they cancelled it, but they could’ve given it another shot – probably would’ve worked better on Friday nights than Mondays.

    Rake – Great pilot if you live in LA. Totally lost me (and about 4 million other people) in episode 2.

    Raising Hope – Consistently one of the funniest shows on TV, but after a while I guess it was time to go. They should be proud of their run and I was happy to watch most of it.

    X-Factor – I based my company on Simon Cowell but I am SO happy to see this go away. They never had more than 2 talented acts in 3 seasons, Simon Cowell wasn’t mean enough and seemed truly bored, and Britney, LA Reid, Kelly Rowland  and whoever that Shakira-wannabe was were all painful to watch. Not to mention the awful hosts. I’m sorry, but Mario Lopez is no Seacrest. The only saving grace to this show for me was Demi Lovato.  Good riddance to bad talent.

    Should’ve Been Cancelled InsteadGlee, The Following, The Mindy Project.

    Glee – This season should have been the end. Once Cory died, the heart of the show died too. Ryan Murphy brought in this whole new cast of wannabe stars, one more awful than the next – and the audience HATED them. So then he changed the show back to the original cast and mixed it up. Now, it’s like the newbies never existed (a waste of 13 awful episodes) and it’s no longer about a glee club – it’s about making it NY. Hello, why don’t you just call it FAME! This show doesn’t HAVE another 22 episodes in it, it’s painful these days and if the rumors are true and Naya Rivera was fired, I’m officially Gleeked Out. Done. This series could have had a GREAT wrap-up and send-off this season. Instead, it’s staying past its welcome.

    The Mindy Project – This show never knew what it wanted to be. I like Mindy Kaling, but I honestly don’t like watching her in a lead role. I find her funny, but annoying. She’s not pretty, but she’s not ugly. The supporting cast has changed more times than the host of the Oscars. And even though some say it’s gotten better, I just don’t see what the network sees in this show.

    The Following – I don’t know how or why I got through this season, but it wasn’t even close to the first season. It was awful. There’s not really anywhere else to go with it, and if you counted the body count of the first two seasons, it would easily be the most murderous show in the history of network TV. Hundreds killed. The first season was really good, the second season was ridiculous, the third season – it shouldn’t happen.

    New HitsSleepy Hollow, Brooklyn Nine Nine. Sleepy Hollow isn’t my type of show, so I’ve never seen it but I LOVE Brooklyn Nine Nine. What a great new comedy – consistently hilarious and a great ensemble. I love that this show connected, though with its new move to Sunday nights next season, I worry about it a little bit. Fox, please PLEASE don’t fuck it up.

    Summary – Fox needs some MAJOR new hits and quick. With X-Factor gone, American Idol more of a utility player than star attraction, and The New Girl taking a huge (and painful) hit both creatively and in its ratings, Fox needs a win. They only have 7 live-action shows left (plus 3 animated, plus Idol) and Glee is already set to end next season. Plus Bones, The Following, and Mindy Project probably won’t make it past one more season.  But they have some huge new shows and “events” coming next season. So, I’m crossing my fingers for them.

     

    ABC

    Total Cancelled Shows – 12

    Trophy Wife, Suburgatory, Mixology, Super Fun Night, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Mind Games, Lucky 7, Killer Women, Betrayal, Back in the Game, The Assets, The Neighbors

    The Breakdown

    I’m not sure if you can call them cancelled if they only lasted 2 episodes. They barely qualify as “aired,” which is the case with 4 of these shows. There are some wonderful comedies in the above list that should have been kept and given more of a shot. There were some awful time slot choices and some awful promotions involved. But also some awful shows. But if any network made me mad this season, it’s ABC! Now feel my vengeance.

    I’ll be honest – at least 9 of these shows deserved what they got.

    Super Fun Night – If I wanted to watch an obnoxious fat girl try to get laid, I’d go back on JDate.  I don’t get Rebel Wilson’s appeal. She’s mildly funny but she’s a cheap Melissa McCarthy knock-off. There, I said it. Not because there can’t be two funny fat chicks on TV, but because Rebel’s slapstick shtick gets stale after 2 episodes. In this case, it was old after 10 minutes. I feel bad for Liza Lapira who is also on her 4th cancelled sitcom in 4 years.

    Suburgatory – This show was great, then less great, then good again, then not so much. Perhaps it is its inconsistency that was its downfall. It had a strong voice at first, but that faded into weekly wacky sitcom situations. It had a decent run, but The Goldbergs needs its time slot and there is nowhere else to put it.

    Mixology – I really enjoyed this show. Maybe I’m alone, but I thought it was different, it had potential, I laughed out loud every episode and the cast was really interesting and funny. The casting directors did a great job finding NEW talent! Were there a couple lamer episodes? Maybe. But I really liked the structure of the show. Of course, I’m not sure where the second season would take it, but this show deserved a better shot and another chance.  I hope to see the cast in other shows very soon. The writers were the original writers of The Hangover – the ones who actually SOLD the script – and don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve.

    Trophy Wife – I may miss you most of all, scarecrow. I thought I’d hate this show. And at first, I didn’t love it. But it really grew on me. Malin Ackerman was actually funny, Bradley Whitford is always wonderful, and even the horribly annoying Michaela Watkins started to warm my heart. But the funniest members of the cast were the two kids, Warren and Bert. As the season went on, they got better and better. This show SHOULD have aired after Modern Family – it was the perfect fit. But for some ungodly reason, they never put it there. This show was on the bubble in the truest sense, and looking at some of ABC’s new comedic offerings next season, they are going to regret cancelling this show. Fare thee well, Bert.

    Should’ve Been Cancelled – All of ABCs remaining shows are pretty strong, and I’m really glad they gave Nashville another shot. I’m not sure why it’s not connecting as well as it should.

    New HitsMarvel Agents of Shield, The Goldbergs, Resurrection and Scandal. ABC landed in 4th place, but had the most successful new shows. Scandal isn’t a NEW hit, but man has it taken off even more – and I love it. The Goldbergs is hilarious nostalgic fun and it really hits home. I’m so glad it’s coming back. Agents of Shield lost me. I watched the first 6 or 7, then kinda realized I was watching it for the wrong reasons and not because I liked it. Resurrection had one of the best pilots of the year and it’s still interesting enough to keep my attention. If you’re writing a show with religious elements, that’s the pilot to watch to learn how to do it right.  And all of ABCs other shows are solid – Grey’s (yes, I still watch it!), Revenge, Castle, and Modern Family, though the latter two have not been nearly as strong as previous seasons. But to have 3 breakout hits and the #1 social media-obsessed show on the air is a pretty solid distinction ABC can take to the bank.

    Summary – The problem with ABC is either they launch massive hits or truly awful bombs. There is no middle with ABC. Their shows either last many years or 3 episodes. ABC is going through a new regime and they are swinging big next season, but they’ve done pretty well despite being #4. Their shows are well-liked, they just get watched more in DVR+7 than live. Let’s be honest, if the NFL didn’t exist, ABC would not be #4.

  • The Best Love Story on TV

    February 11th, 2011

    By Danny Manus (the TV Whore)

    Television is home to some of the greatest love stories ever told – past and present couples that define and defy love to create moments that audiences hold dear for eternity.

    Lucy and Ricky, Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel, Carrie and Big, Homer and Marge, Jim and Pam, Dan and Roseanne, Al and Peggy, Will and Grace, Luke and Laura, Mulder and Scully, Meredith and McDreamy…

    But for my money, my favorite love story CURRENTLY on television is the budding romance between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic’s work and sparring partners on CASTLE, one of the most enjoyable shows on ABC.  Producers planted this tiny little seed in the first episode of how Katic’s Beckett may have this secret hang-up for Castle’s books, but she played it really straight with him the first season,  not letting on (to him) at all, which led to some great banter and the feeling like it would take 4-5 years for them to get together.

    But this season, after some very personal and moving episodes (especially the search for Beckett’s mother’s killer), their relationship has turned more personal – more connected. Their walls seem to have come down very quickly. Their across-the-room glances and hidden smiles aren’t so hidden anymore. Their eyes meet now. They thank each other, they hug. And as of a couple weeks ago, they had their first kiss…and it was hot.

    Sure, it was disguised by a case and an undercover ploy, but it satisfied audiences goading for them to finally connect physically in some way

    The other difference is that instead of it going unsaid, their actual love and attraction for each other has been brought up and discussed by tons of other characters on the show, so it has been brought to the forefront. We know she’s the only reason he’s still at the precinct and we know she doesn’t mind having him there. But they still have a great working relationship and that great Moonlighting-style banter that keeps the show going.

    It doesn’t hurt that Fillion is incredibly charming and disarming. He’s written as funny and smart with just the perfect amount of bumbling and perhaps just a tad too much cheese. Katic is written as a smart, sexy take-control type – very Alpha Woman – but she has a huge heart and a clear soft spot. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s insanely beautiful – easily one of the 3 best looking women in television.

    And the show itself, though formulaic and procedural, is still original and literate and fun. While I think it’s weird that Beckett seems to boss around all the other detectives in her squad like she’s in charge, it still seems to work and I like how the supporting players get their moments to shine in comedy and drama. And in case you don’t care about the cops, the cases or Castle himself, the stunning 18-year old red-head Molly Quinn, who plays Castle’s teen daughter, is enough reason to watch. Even though her dialogue is the most unauthentic and saccharine cheesy of any character, she’s so ridiculously hot that it doesn’t matter.

    So, if you’re looking for comedy, drama, and the best love story currently on TV, storm the Castle 10pm Mondays on ABC.

  • TV Review: Off The Map

    January 13th, 2011

    Last night, the new Shonda Rhimes executive produced medical/romance/drama premiered on ABC, a network that had big hopes for the show and have advertised the hell out of it the last couple months. And coming from Grey’s and Private Practice creator Rhimes, and her protégé writer/producer Jenna Bans, it seemed like a no brainer.

    I’m manly enough to admit that I love Grey’s Anatomy. I’m sorry, but I do. And every time I start to lose interest, they do something awesome like last season’s shoot-em-up finale that pulls me back in. I used to watch Rhimes’ Private Practice too, only because I like Kate Walsh, but then lost interest after its second season (however, I recently started watching again after the whole rape attack storyline gave us one of TV’s best performances of the year from Kadee Strickland).

    So, I was happy to give Off the Map a shot. And with acting talents like Caroline Dhavernas (who was so likeable on Wonderfalls), Martin Henderson (who was in some good and bad movies), Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and my new obsession Mamie Gummer (from The Good Wife, but better known as Meryl Streep’s daughter), it seemed like a good recipe for success.

    Unfortunately, other than Caroline and Mamie’s likability factor, and it’s pretty location (shot on the “Lost” set in Hawaii), there’s nothing new to this show. And everyone’s worries that Off the Map was just Grey’s Anatomy in the jungle – were fully realized and then some. From the same lines of dialogue to the same characters and relationships, the show is nothing but a completely unoriginal ripoff, and a more superficial one at that.

    Zach Gilford’s character is Justin Chambers’ Karev character to a tee. Martin Henderson’s character is Patrick Dempsey with a slight poorly-hidden accent. Caroline Dhavernas has the same doe-eyed whiny yet relatable quality as Ellen Pompeo, and her developing friendship with Mamie Gummer’s character is exactly the same as the Meredith/Christina friendship on Grey’s, which was slow to develop into TVs strongest friendship bond. It’s all been done before.

    Rachelle Lefevre’s barely seen character in the pilot seems like the natural bitch foil that we’ve seen come through Seattle Grace in plenty of incarnations, including Kate Walsh’s Addison, except Rachelle is not NEARLY as likeable of an actress (probably because she’s so young and seems more like a brat than a scorned woman). And in case that’s not enough, there’s the demanding Latina “Nazi” character and the experienced black doctor (Isaiah Washington, anyone?) to round out the cast.

    Even the set ups and payoffs of the medical problems they face are the same. Two minor medical stories and two major medical stories per episode. A sting ray was used in the pilot, which was pretty cool, but is it really any different than the things we’ve seen on Grey’s? No.  And the major love stories in the show were obvious from the second scene. Gummer’s characters’ dismissal of Gilford’s character as a love interest made it obvious that their Izzy/Karev connection is written in the cards. And Caroline’s characters’ divulging of her dead fiancé to her boss, Martin Henderson’s character, who is also clearly suffering from losing a love, just hit us over the head too soon and made it too obvious that he’s her McDreamy.   

    I really like Caroline and Mamie.  But do I like them enough to keep watching a completely unoriginal show? Maybe for 2 more episodes. But unless they do something to convince me this isn’t Grey’s in the jungle, this show will be Off My Map.

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