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  • The Network TV BloodBath Analysis (Part 1 of 3)

    May 21st, 2014

    by Danny Manus (TV Whore)

    The last two weeks have made the network TV landscape ironically resemble an episode of Game of Thrones. The blood and guts of writer’s hard work spewed everywhere as we say quite a few shocking goodbyes while a little person bangs a hooker in the corner. Okay, well maybe not that last part.

    As the networks plan for the upcoming 2014-2015 season, hard choices and painful decisions must be made. There’s only so much time and so much money, and so much attention span viewers have. Because of that, over 40 shows were cancelled from the big four networks with 22 cancellations coming in the last two weeks. Some deservedly so, some somewhat expected, and some utterly unfortunate and disappointing.

    I will address the network’s new offerings in a different article. But as someone who wastes far too much time getting hooked to network shows just to see them disappear 3, 8, 13 or 22 episodes later, the least I could do is tell the networks why they are wrong and how they could have saved the shows they seemed so high on a year ago. Or why they never should have been on in the first place. Or what should’ve been cancelled instead. As always, I don’t write about the CW because I don’t watch anything on the network and, well, who gives a shit?

    NBC –

    Total Cancelled Shows: 12

    Community, Revolution, Dracula, Crisis, Believe, Ironside, Camp, Growing Up Fisher, Welcome to the Family, Sean Saves the World, Michael J. Fox Show, Million Dollar Quiz

    The Breakdown:

    Perhaps their fates were written on the wall, but there were a few winners in this pile that could have been saved…ya know, if I were running the world. Then again, I didn’t want them to cancel Smash.

    Community – I get the reasons for and against, and yes it’s a cult show. But basically everything on networks these days survive with smaller but rabid cult followings. And this past season, for the most part, was pretty brilliant and back to its glory days. If you didn’t see their GI Joe episode, you’re missing one of the best 30 minutes of comedy all year. We will miss you, Greendale. I would’ve given it another 13 episode season to go along with Parks & Rec.

    Revolution – I DVR this show and find myself begrudgingly binge-watching it and fast-forwarding through half of it. The concept got too tedious and it felt like even the writers weren’t sure what it was about anymore. But it was the time slot change that killed it.

    Crisis – This show could’ve worked. Should have worked. The problem? They made Gillian Anderson play 4th banana behind TV Show Killer Rachael Taylor. This is her 4th show and 4th cancellation in 4 seasons. Why do people keep casting her? If Gillian Anderson had been the lead, people would have cared. And if Dermot Mulroney wasn’t billed as the lead yet so awkward to watch as a bad guy, the show could’ve connected more. A great cast wasted; a decent concept that didn’t have enough legs.

    Believe – It just wasn’t as good or interesting as Resurrection and they went head to head with similar themes. I never made it past the pilot.

    Welcome to the Family – Of the THREE shows about stupid teenagers who get pregnant, this was the most schmaltzy. I loved Mike O’Malley and Mary McCormick, but a Latina teenager getting pregnant and keeping it is hardly earth-shattering original TV.

    Sean Saves the World – I like Sean Hayes. I really do. But as the sidekick. And I love Megan Hilty. I really do. But I love her more when she sings and gets to be sexy instead of playing off someone who is clearly not going to find her sexy. It was painful to watch. Glad it’s gone.

    Michael J. Fox Show – This should have been given more of a chance. A funny show with an obvious hook, it didn’t know exactly what it wanted to be about. It tried to make it less about MJF’s disability, but those were the jokes that were the funniest.  NBC paid a hefty price for cancelling it. Literally I am surprised this didn’t last longer. So was Michael.

    Growing Up Fisher – There was only ONE problem with this show and her name is Jenna Elfman. This show was cute and funny at times, but the promos were vague, the posters told us nothing about the hook, and Jenna Elfman being married to a blind J.K. Simmons is about as believable as… Jenna Elfman being married to a blind J.K. Simmons. Plus the little Asian kid had the worst teeth on TV and was really hard to watch. If they had cast it better, this could have been a hit. But seriously – give J.K. Simmons something else, cause I’ll watch it.

    Should’ve Been Cancelled Instead: Is there anything left?  Parks and Rec and Parenthood each have one more 13-episode season and then they’re gone. How many hours of Hollywood Game Night can you possibly show?

    New Hits: The Blacklist, About A Boy, Chicago PD. Big fan of all these shows. Glad they’re giving About A Boy another shot. It’s not a hit at all, but it’s good enough to try again.

    Summary: With a little help from The Voice, Blacklist, Sunday Night Football and the Olympics, NBC landed at the #1 spot again. Amazing, considering they cancelled more shows this year than any other network. But they have strong branded, tested shows like SVU and Chicago Fire still burning strong and a nice crossover companion show with Chicago PD. Basically, after 25 years, NBC traded in NY for Chi-town and it seems to be working. Going 1/10 in the hit department isn’t something to be proud of. But at the end of the day, the only show cancelled that will be missed for more than 10 minutes is Community.

    Next, in Part 2, I cover CBS….

  • The Network TV BloodBath Analysis (Part 2 of 3)

    May 21st, 2014

    By Danny Manus (TV Whore)

    CBS –

    Total Cancelled Shows: 7

    The Crazy Ones, Hostages, Intelligence, Friends with Better Lives, We Are Men, Bad Teacher, and How I Met Your Mother (ended run)

    The Breakdown:

    CBS knows its audience, and while they attempt to try new things, it rarely works for them. I’ll be honest – the only CBS shows I watch are The Good Wife, Amazing Race, Survivor (though I skipped this season), Blue Bloods, Mom (which I’ll discuss in a moment), and the now defunct HIMYM. But with the success of Elementary and their CSI/NCIS world, they don’t need to change much. And they’re not going to.

    There’s only one show that was cancelled that I really take issue with –

    The Crazy Ones – Robin Williams led a pitch-perfect (no pun intended) cast that had one of the best chemistries in comedy. Their gag reels at the end of the episode were worth watching the whole show for. And they truly seemed like they were having fun, which translated onto the screen into each episode. I think it was far too heavy on the promotional tie-ins and obvious corporate sponsorship, but the writing was really strong and the improv was even stronger. I will miss this show and hope its cast find new comedies quickly, especially James Wolk and Hamish Linklater.

    As for the others…

    Hostages – Wonderful pilot, strong second episode. But man did it go down the shitter from there. If it was any longer than 15 episodes, I would have hurt someone. This was an 8 episode show stretched to 15 that wishes it could have been like 24, but really wasn’t. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

    Friends With Better Lives – After James Van Der Beek’s HILARIOUS turn on Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, he proved his comedic chops. But this show wasted every single one of them. Kevin Connolly looked uncomfortable, Zoe Lister-Jones is quickly becoming the Rachael Taylor of sitcoms, and Brooklyn Decker…well, who cares? She’s Brooklyn friggin’ Decker and I’ll watch her do anything. But these friends didn’t seem to actually have better lives. Hope to find the Beek on a better sitcom very soon!

    How I Met Your Mother – I want to stroke its head and tell it, “You weren’t cancelled, little baby, you just ended. And we’ll always love you. Even if some nasty people hated your last episode.” This is a show that will be missed by viewers, by the network, and by its producers especially now that their spinoff has not been picked up (possibly the biggest CBS shocker of the year). So long, Robin Sparkles. So long, Barney!

    Should’ve Been Cancelled Instead – Nothing jumps out, but I could do with one less NCIS.

    New Hits – One of my favorite new comedies – MOM. It’s not full-on comedy – it has a lot of drama and heart mixed in with raunchy fun and inappropriateness. But man, I love the way they do it. I will watch anything with Allison Janney, and I love that they are bringing this show back. I also love that the daughter actually gave away the baby. We’re The Millers has also become a hit, though I stopped watching a few episodes in. Lucky for them, they are owned by CBS. It’s not bad, it’s just very….CBS. It’s the same reason I don’t watch any of their other comedies anymore. Under the Dome is a big summer hit, though I didn’t think it was as strong in the end as it was in the beginning.

    Summary – Unlike the other networks, CBS has strong 10pm shows that anchor their nights better than any other. Hawaii 5-0, Elementary, The Mentalist, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, NCIS, CSI, etc. They know their audience. None of these shows are Emmy-worthy (though The Good Wife deserves one for this season’s shocker), but they get the job done. The execs have it pretty easy over at CBS, where their biggest change is going to be losing Letterman. Though I’m sure next year will be the end for Mike & Molly since Melissa McCarthy has grown too big for her britches. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    Stay tuned for Part 3 – FOX AND ABC!

  • 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.

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