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2012 TV Season New and Returning Shows What Are The Odds For Survival

28 Aug

The 2012 season will soon be upon us, the week of Sept 9th to be exact. The networks spend lots of money figuring out what we want to watch and what advertisers will buy.  I have been doing a little research, looking at the data based on the focus groups, seen some of the pilots, and read what the critics have said so far. Here is what I think will either earn “Revenge’s” title for break out hit or replace “The Playboy Club“, as the biggest flop. 

Just because a show got renewed doesn’t mean it will survive season 2, it may have been renewed because it’s 3 million viewers was a better bet than one of the pilots.  Let’s also look at some of those returning shows and see who is primed for a sophomore slump, or homecoming queen.

Returning Shows

Dramas

Revenge: Clearly the breakout hit of the 2011 season. This show has the potential to continue to build its audience and solidify it’s place as the catalyst for the nighttime soap rebirth. OR The creators could meddle with the formula and get in over their heads, too many changes and diversions could spell ratings disaster. Hope you dug two graves, one could be for this show.  BTW note to ABC, I don’t think moving it to Sunday night was a good move, the first half of the season will constantly be interrupted because of football. And you are forcing your viewers to DVR it if they are bigger fans of The Good Wife.

Scandal: It started slow, but the finale was the highest rated, and based on reviews and fan discussions it built a solid following who want to see what Olivia Pope and her gang of merry folk will be up to this season.  Shonda shouldn’t have parted company with Henry Ian Cusick, he made Olivia’s preachy/teachy scenes more tolerable.  Private Practice is on its way out, Shonda may need to keep the brand alive by giving this show all her attention which could be a good thing for viewers. I predict a shaky second season and time slot juggling.

The Good Wife: This is a well written show with great acting that consistently turns in solid episodes filled with twists and turns balanced with the right amount of human story every week. It’s ratings are weak, and this year it goes up against Revenge and the first half of the season being interrupted by football. Why does CBS hate The Good Wife. It will hang in, but don’t expect to know if this show will be renewed until the last possible second. Enjoy it today for we may not have tomorrow.

Comedies

2 Broke Girls: Like Revenge this was a big break out hit last year.  Sure critics complained about the crass humor, but the people watched the ongoing antics of waitress/cupcake queens Max and Caroline and kept watching.  I am interested in seeing what tweaks they make, I for one hope they don’t change a thing. This show is really good just the way it is.

Suburgatory: Another break out hit, ABC obviously sees a lot of potential, this season is nestled safely between Modern Family and the much anticipated The Neighbors on Wednesday night.

New Dramas

Nashville: Top Notch Cast- check, classic All About Eve story – check, catchy soundtrack – check (iTunes tie in moneymaker – bonus). ABC Wednesday night comedy block lead in – check. What could go wrong. If this show isn’t the next big thing, I will personally walk up and down Ventura Blvd singing the entire Tammy Wynette catalog.

Revolution: I love Billy Burke and want him to have a hit, the kind of TV hit that buys you houses, bankrolls your retirement and gets you development deals with the network. But, alas I don’t think Revolution is it. The premise is tight, but not sustainable, think Flash Forward or The Event. I predict the power will be back on mid-season.

Chicago Fire: Pretty Pretty boys, not much else, besides its up against CSI and Nashville. Time slot change then cancellation. 

Vegas: Like Blue Bloods, this show is going to kill in overall viewers, but not the key 18-49 demo. This show is going to be a break out hit for the older set. Michael Chiklis has a strong following from his days on The Shield and The Commish, and Dennis Quaid, well he’s Dennis Quaid, he was the Matt Damon of his generation. He could make any movie better.

Elementary: Going in this show has too many things working against it, Robert Downey Jr‘s Holmes is too fresh in our minds, the success of the British reboot currently airing on Masterpiece Mystery and do we really need another police procedural where the detective isnt’ a cop but some sort of savant (see The Mentalist and Perception) The best ever ” a little off” on a cop show Goren on Law and Order CI). Elementary is this year’s Prime Suspect.

New Comedies

Animal Practice: I don’t know why, but this show really appealed to me. It could have been the animals, it could have been Justin Kirk, there was just something about that I liked. But I am not getting attached, it didn’t do well with the focus groups. It is not long for this world.

The Mindy Kaling Project: This show didn’t do well with the groups either, and the pilot was far from perfect. But Kaling has a distinctive style, read her book to see what I mean.  I will be surprised if it gets a second season, but then again I was wrong about New Girl.

The Neighbors: The pilot will have Modern Family’s lead in, then settle into the 8:30 Wednesday time slot. A typical American family moves into the gated community of  Hidden Hills, little do they know all their neighbors are aliens. So its the alien’s next door story in reverse, the problem is the fish out of water, double take humor will get old fast and so will the show.  That’s ok, because when they cancel it they can bring Happy Endings back to Wednesday’s where it belongs.

What do you think will be the break out hits? Or the big misses this season?  Head on down to the comments.

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4/4 Wednesday What You Should Watch

4 Apr

When the hell is Revenge coming back, this is just ridiculous. Way to kill momentum.

Tonight is the season finale for Happy Endings, 9:30 on ABC, if you haven’t seen this show you are missing a great comedy. Catch up on iTunes.

One Tree Hill signs off for good tonight, the series finale airs at 8pm on The CW.

One Tree Hill

Episode: One Tree Hill
The 10th anniversary of Tric attracts old faces and creates new possibilities.

Happy Endings

The gang goes to Derrick and Eric’s wedding; Brad tries to tell Jane something important; Penny meets a cute guy (Brian Austin Green) online.

Suburgatory

Jill’s marriage suffers after she starts seeking support from newly single Dallas; Dalia tries to get back at Tessa by befriending Lisa.

Modern Family

Claire prepares for her debate with Duane Bailey; Mitch and Cam try to clean up Lily’s language before her turn as a flower girl; Jay blames Stella’s strange behavior on Gloria.

Best Friends Forever

Episode: Pilot
After receiving divorce papers, Jessica decides to move back in with her former roommate in Brooklyn, New York; as Jessica falls back into old routines and reconnects with old friends, she also receives criticism from a 9-year-old neighbor.

3/21 Wednesday What You Should Watch

21 Mar

Revenge isn’t back yet. BOOO ABC is running the pilot for Ashley’s Judd’s new show Missing tonight at 10pm.  It debuted last Thursday at 8pm stronger than I expected against American Idol, it had a 2.1 rating/6 share with over 10 million viewers. 

I wonder if it will hang on there, only time will tell. It has about a month to establish a foothold, before all the shows come back for the final runs leading up to season finales and May sweeps.

Only one of ABC Wednesday‘s comedy block shows is new BOOO, but since it’s Happy Endings there is a little silver lining. This show is very funny, catch up on Hulu or iTunes.

So what’s good? Well nothing really unless you like Whitney or Are You There Chelsea? which judging by the ratings not many of you do.

There is Survivor, CSI and Rock Center, like I said BOOO!!!!!

Happy Endings

Dave gets bullied at the gym and Alex teaches him to fight back; residents of the condo challenge Jane for her job as president of the homeowner’s association.

Wednesday 3/7 What You Should Watch

7 Mar

Revenge isn’t back until April, the rest of the ABC line up is repeats with the exception of Happy Endings. Did you see last weeks episode? Check it out, it was hysterical, the episode was called “Cocktail and Dreams” ( wasn’t that the name of the bar in the movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise), it featured a great guest stint by Colin Hanks. It’s available for download on iTunes.

ABC has on a special called Revenge for Real Murder in The Hampton’s. It is about the real life murder of Ted Ammon, he was murdered by his estranged wife’s lover.  The only thing this murder and the show Revenge have in common is it takes place in the Hampton’s. I wonder how many people will tune in thinking it has something to do with the show Revenge.

NBC is running out the rest of the new episodes, of Whitney and Are you There, Chelsea? neither will be back next year.

Happy Endings

Alex and Jane try to convince Dave that he is remembering something that never happened; Penny and Max try to beat an annoyingly perfect couple in a scavenger hunt.
 

Whitney

Episode: The Ex Box
Whitney confronts Alex after finding a box of his ex-girlfriend’s stuff in the basement; Lily tries to be a perfect roommate.
 

Are You There, Chelsea?

Episode: Fired
When Rick is promoted at the bar, his management style doesn’t sit well with his co-workers; Nikki and Dee Dee go on a cleanse.
 
Revenge for Real

An electrician convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s wealthy husband tells his version of events from prison.
 
 
 
 
 

February Sweeps Highs and Lows

23 Feb

As February 2012 sweeps draws to a close, lets take a moment to reflect on the highs and lows.

Strictly by the numbers, the Super Bowl with 113 million viewers was the big winner.  It was a pretty great game, the halftime show was ok and the commercials didn’t live up to the hype.  But the game was great.

Highs

Revenge: Who got shot? The big reveal was good, the build up was really good. The episode answered one question  and set up a whole host of others. I am really looking forward to the rest of this season.

 

 

Fringe:  Olivia remembers everything, and so is everyone else!!  Maybe Peter doesn’t have to go home, maybe they are all coming to him.

NCIS: Hello Jamie Lee Curtis.  

The Good Wife: Will’s grand jury trial and suspension, Alicia and Klinda reunited and it feels so good.

 

 

House: Chases arc, House under review, now that is how you do a final season. Well done.

Downton Abbey: Grand drama as only the Brits can do it. If you missed it check it on iTunes or Netflix.

Lows

Smash: I had high hopes the pilot was strong, but the follow up episodes are tedious and Katherine McPhee can’t act. 

Glee: What have they done to this show, it used to be fun, with the singing and the dancing. Not its teen marriage, suicides and car accidents. Really Quinn gets back on the cherios only to become paralyzed in a car accident. Is Ryan Murphy, the genius who brough us Nip/Tick and American Horror story even checking in on this mess anymore. The creativity is gone, the show is done.

Hart of Dixie: Big deal everyone found out Lemon found her mother, Zoe found out about Lemon and Lavon. Big Yawn Fest. Stick a fork in this on its not getting renewed.

 

 

 

Castle: This show has definitely lost its way. The season started strong with Beckett’s shooting and recovery, but its lost its way. The Noir episode was dull and the big two part Castle event with Jennifer Beals felt like it was missing something.

What did you think of sweeps what were your highs and lows.

Gilmore Girls – A Happy Place

11 Dec

When I am going thru a difficult time in my life I have found that a marathon of a TV show helps my sub-conscious process whatever is going on that my conscious mind is trying to avoid.

I am going thru one of those periods right now.  To sooth my brain,  I have been obsessively watching Gilmore Girls. In the past Buffy was my security blanket, but this time vampires, demons and sarcasm aren’t doing it for me.  

I have seen all episodes of the Gilmore Girls before, I know the stories and the players, but living it again is comforting. Perhaps it is how neurotic Lorelai is, it makes me feel normal.  Getting to watch Rory move from high school to college and remembering how much fun and easy life was then could be the draw.  If I had the choice, I would go back to 1988-1989, best year ever, not only personally, but fashion, music, movies, it was a great year.

Back to GG, perhaps it is the town of Stars Hollow itself, who wouldn’t love to live in a town like that, small, quaint, beautiful New England, with interesting people.  They have so many fun town events, everyone is there for one another, supporting each other thru good and bad times. A real community.

The show is smart and well written, great pop culture references that don’t lose their relevance over time. Granted the last few seasons where a little dodgy, especially the whole Lorelai and Christopher thing in the finale season. We all knew Luke and Lorelai were the end game, the detour was a waste.  I guess what I like best, is this show has no intrigue, no murder, no backstabbing, no time travel, it is charming show with heart about life. 

If you have never seen Gilmore Girls, or haven’t watched it for a while you should check it out. SoapNet is running repeats, or you can buy an episode at a time from Amazon and iTunes, or rent the DVDs from Netflix.

If you don’t have time to watch every episode, here is a list of the best.

I always recommend watching the first two episodes of any show whether they are good or bad, just to get the lay of the land.

From there you can go here

Season 1

Christopher Returns – we are introduced to Rory’s father

Emily in Wonderland

P.S. I Love You

Love, Daisies and Troubadours

Season 2

Red Light on the Wedding Night

The Road Trip To Harvard

Nick&Nora/Sid&Nancy – Jess, Luke’s nephew comes to Stars Hollow, he is a bad boy and Rory is immediately drawn to him. Start of Big trouble, and big love for Rory.

A-Tisket, A- Tasket – more of the Rory/Jess romance

It Should Have Been Lorelai

Lost and Found

Teach Me Tonight – Rory and Jess have a car accident

Help Wanted – Rory tries to convince Jess wasn’t at fault for the accident

I Can’t Get Started – Sookie’s wedding day, Jess and Rory share a pivotal moment and Christopher gets life changing news from his girlfriend.

Season 3

Pretty much every episode in this season is outstanding, this is a pivotal year for the characters and their relationships.

Two standouts , “They Shoot Gilmore’s Don’t They”, “That’ll Do Pig” and “Dear Emily and Richard”

Season 4

Rory heads off to Yale. The tone of the show changed a lot in this season, and it didn’t regain the magic of season three until Season 5. You could read the recaps and skip watching these episodes.

Season 5

Finally we get the Luke and Lorelai romance we have been waiting for, but brace your self for the heartbreak.  Episode 13 is when is all unravels, I would watch the second half of the season in its entirety.

Season 6

The beginning of the end, Rory and Lorelai have another fallout, Rory moves in with her grandparents and Luke finds out he has a 12 year old daughter he never knew about.  I know they went there, this of course breaks him and Loralia up and I break up with the show.

Season 7

I watched to see it through, but it was never the same again.

Stick with seasons 1 thru 5

Her are some fan made clip montages

Fairy Tale Face Off

21 Oct

Cover of "The Fairy Tales of the Brothers...
Cover of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Once Upon a Time premieres this Sunday October 23rd on ABC at 8pm, Grimm premiers Friday October 28th at 9pm on NBC.

Grimm

David Giuntoli plays Portland homicide detective Nick Burckhardt. He is about to propose to his girlfriend, Juliette (who won’t make it thru the first season), he also happens to be a descendant of the “Grimm” a group of humans who can see mythological creatures like Hexenbiests and Blutbads.  Nick finds out about his ability along with the audience during the pilot, he is visited by his aunt, played by Kate Burton, who provides the back story, a magical key and a trailer full of stuff to use for research. Its like the Sunnydale library on wheels, very convenient for our hero.  The first fairy tale, is Little Red Riding Hood, its fun to watch Nick solve the crime and make friends with a reformed Blutbad (wolf). Of course he gets the bad guy, but a different sort of bad guy is revealed in the second to last scene.

Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Jennifer Morrison plays Emma Swan a bailbondsperson, who is visited by a small boy who claims to be the child she gave up ten tears ago. The boy convinces her to return him to his home in a town called Storybrooke. (get it story broke-n). She is told the town is populated with storybook characters, but they don’t know they are storybook characters. The show switches back and forth between the fairytale universe and present day, filing in the bits and pieces.  Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) was cursed by the Lana Parrilla‘s (Evil Queen), the curse ended her happily ever after with the prince and is the reason the characters are trapped in our world.  I will check this show out, I am curious to see how it is developed, we may just end up with some really fresh new inventive TV. (or not)

I subscribed to the Grimm Twitter feed and got an advanced screening of the pilot. It was good, not great, it laid a solid foundation for the season. With over 200 Grimm’s Fairy Tales to use for source material the show practically writes itself.  There is a plot twist at the end of the episode, that I should have seen coming a mile away.

The bit with the reformed Blutbad, was cute, just like on Buffy and Angel this show has a demon on the inside to guide our hero.

Are you going to watch either of these shows? Why or Why Not?

Childhood Memories – The Sunday New York Times Edition

15 Oct

Logo of The New York Times.

Image via Wikipedia

I grew up in a suburb of northern New Jersey in the early seventies, back then you got the national news from the ABC, NBC or CBS at 7:30 pm, or a newspaper. CNN wasn’t a twinkle in Ted Turner‘s eye, I am not even sure cable was invented.

In our house news came from Walter Cronkite and The New York Times, two of the most trusted and respected names in journalism.

Sunday mornings in our house were special, there was a family brunch, music and the Sunday New York Times. If I close my eyes I can picture  record albums strewn about by the living room stereo. Back in those days, stereos and TV’s came in beautiful wooden chests, that heralded the majesty of what the device inside could do.

Record albums came with artwork, lyrics and liner notes. Today if you buy a CD you get some of that, at a less than half the size. If you download from iTunes you get a digital booklet (sometimes), but nothing compares to seeing the picture of the artist or the concept art that went along with some of the greatest albums of all time.  We can’t appreciate that today because the market is saturated with images, video not only killed the radio star it killed album art.  Imagine The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s without the infamous album cover, impossible right?

My parents taste in music was eclectic to say the least, we had Simon and Garfunkel, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan , Three Dog Night, broadway musicals and a vast collection of classical music. Don’t forget Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Dean  Martin.

My dad would load up the auto changer on the stereo and we could go from side 1 of GodSpell to Zeppelin to Handel’s Messiah in a two-hour period.

Before brunch was over, I would pull the special real estate section out of the paper and start reading off the listings for the estates in Connecticut or the Hamptons.  I was in awe of the majestic homes, as an adult I look back on that moment and I can’t recall why I did it. My parents never stopped me from reading aloud or the discussions about the potential future homes.

Perhaps they were simply indulging a young child who didn’t realize what it meant to spend $500,000 on a home. Keep in mind this was the early 70’s and 500k could get a mansion, today that same house would easily cost 7 or 8 million.

After brunch, my parents would sit and read The Sunday Times, back then it was so thick, so many sections. As I grew older my favorite section was Arts and Leisure, to this day when I buy the times that is the first section I go to followed by the Magazine.

The Magazine, it held the holy grail, the Sunday crossword puzzle. As soon as my dad started that puzzle, it was all over, he was in a zone.  As the day lingered on, my mom and I would clear the plates and dress for the day. The music eventually ended, the records put away until next time.

There was usually a Sunday afternoon movie for my mom, and I would go out to play with friends. But my dad, was in his chair, with his coffee doing his puzzle. He would stop to shower and dress, but not shave, he gave his face a rest on Sunday’s.  He worked on the puzzle until diner and sometimes after, sometimes he finished it in one day but he always finished it before next Sunday’s arrived.

It is those pictures in my mind’s eye, a dining table with sticky dishes smelling of sweet maple syrup, record albums, the faces of Simon and Garfunkle starting up at me from the floor, and my dad sitting in his chair, so still, concentrating, a man and his solitary challenge. Those are the childhood memories that come flooding back with the simple act of buying the Sunday New York Times.

What is your Sunday memory from Childhood? What triggers it?

Is TV dead?

29 Sep

The title card for the musical comedy series G...

Image via Wikipedia

Let me rephrase, is the 22 episode season of TV dead?

As I watched last nights episode of Glee, I was disappointed, the season started out so fantastic, last weeks The Purple Piano Project brought back the Glee I fell in love with.  Then came last nights episode, destined to be one of the ones I don’t re-watch when I buy the season on DVD.

You know the one’s I am talking about, filler or sub-plots we don’t care about.   Season 3 of Buffy, perhaps the best season of the series gave us Gingerbread, did you watch that one again? Season 4 had more to skip, but I digress, you get the point.

We all have the episodes we skip in a season, most shows could be trimmed down to 13 episodes and still deliver. Would you rather have thirteen episodes shown in a row, or 22 spread out over several months, with long breaks and repeats.

Several stations use this method and I rather like it, of course I am not crazy about the wait for new seasons, sometimes a year, but I would rather have thirteen quality episodes then a crap shoot every week.

A couple of points to consider:

  • 3 TV seasons, September to December, January to May and June to August
  • Rotate the shows, take the 3 highest rated shows on the network and make one the anchor for each season
  • more room for new shows, grab a broader audience
  • fewer episodes less money spent

TNT and USA have cornered the summer TV market by following this formula, and it has certainly worked for HBO. I get 10 or 13 episodes that move the action along. I tune in every week because I know with a limited run I won’t be wasting my time.

I am not an expert, but I would swear this is how they do it across the pond, when I rent a BBC show on Netflix, there are only six episodes. When I look it up on IMDB they aren’t filming the next series for 6 more months.

TV executives I am calling on you, think outside the box.

Audience what do you think, less episodes, more quality, and more shows to choose from over a never-ending rotating year-long schedule.

Who is with me?

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