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09 Oct 2013

True TV: A Premature Assessment of the Current TV Season

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Sleepy Hollow earned one of the new TV season's first renewals. Sleepy Hollow earned one of the new TV season's first renewals.

Is it too early for a Fall Television Death Watch/Report Card? Not for The Only TV Column That Matters™!

After crunching the ratings numbers (and several plates of nachos), I’ve semi-scientifically determined where most of the shows currently sit—the new ones, the old ones, the ones you didn’t even realize were still on, etc.

The following doesn’t account for yet-to-return series like Community, Raising Hope, Grimm and whatever The CW hasn’t tossed back, or upcoming debuts like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Almost Human, Dracula and NBC’s visionary remake of Baretta. (Just kidding … or am I?)

Already Renewed

Fox has already signed on for a sixth and probably/hopefully final season of Glee next year, as well as a fifth for Bob’s Burgers, but the network surprised everyone last week with an early renewal for the new Sleepy Hollow, a solid Monday-night performer despite a wacko premise and the occasional decapitation. The Simpsons is set for Season 26 in 2014, and Family Guy will likely outlive you. (American Dad! will be moving to TBS full-time after this season on Fox.)

Don’t Worry

Underwhelmed by 21 S.H.I.E.L.D. Street, er, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Count on ABC to give it a full season to fix itself, with or without the clingy Avengers cameos. ABC standards Modern Family, The Middle and Grey’s Anatomy are also locks; somehow, so is Tim Allen’s cockroach of a sitcom, Last Man Standing.

CBS vets 2 Broke Girls, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and (blech) The Big Bang Theory aren’t going anywhere, nor are newer series Elementary and Person of Interest. Newcomer The Millers could be a keeper, but only because of the millions who still tune in to watch the played-out nerd show right before it.

Fox’s creaky Bones will be moving to Friday nights, but it’s still safe; critic/fan favorite New Girl will also be around for a while, and once it shakes the lead-in stench of Dads, newbie—and contender for Best New Comedy—Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to be just fine.

Since the mouthbreathers who watch The Voice apparently can’t work the remote, The Blacklist has become a slosh-over hit for NBC—good news, because the rest of the net’s freshman dramas and comedies are being met with a wall of indifference usually reserved for new Activia flavors. Dick Wolf joints Chicago Fire and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit are still going strong, as is Parks and Recreation … well, strong-ish.

Maybe Worry

ABC’s kinda-funny The Goldbergs and CBS’ definitely-lousy The Crazy Ones premiered big a couple of weeks ago, but then audiences found fresher shows to watch—like Benson reruns on antenna. Speaking of the classics, Two and a Half Men is about done roaming the Earth and, thanks to the one-two suck-punch lead-in of Welcome to the Family and Sean Saves the World, The Michael J. Fox Show is on shaky … nope, not gonna go there.

Dig a Grave

It’s a weak launch season for ABC: New series Back in the Game, Betrayal, Lucky 7 and Trophy Wife probably won’t see 2014, or even Thanksgiving, and it’s looking only slightly better for second-year shows Nashville and The Neighbors. (As I was typing this, Lucky 7 was canceled, so there.)

Monday CBS newbies Mom, Hostages and We Are Men are biting it hard—in particular, Men was the lowest-rated CBS comedy debut ever, and this is the network that once built a TV show around a talking baby from commercial. Hawaii Five-0, displaced from Mondays to Fridays, is just begging for an “aloha” joke here.

Sadly, two of NBC’s best dramas, Parenthood and Revolution, are going to need some of the net’s other shows to fail even more violently in order to survive. In the plus column on that front, no other Peacock pilot in history has debuted to fewer eyeballs than Ironside, which bested (worsted?) even 2011’s The Playboy Club on the Meh Scale.

Oh, Dads—how have you lasted this long? Way more surprising, the once-hot (OK, just warm) Mindy Project is bleeding Fox viewers faster than The X Factor: Walmart Parking-Lot Auditions Round.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR OCT. 15!

Cannibal Diner

While out camping in the woods (when will damned kids learn to not go camping in the woods?), a group of girls are kidnapped by human-flesh aficionados for a feast at their Cannibal Diner, which at least has great Yelp reviews. (MVD)

Defiance: Season 1

In the year 2046, 30 years after aliens arrived and totally eff’dup Earth, humans and extraterrestrials struggle to coexist, Deadwood-style, in terraformed St. Louis. Starring Julie Benz, Jaime Murray, Mia Kirshner and a survivor of Liz and Dick. (Universal)

Embrace of the Vampire

A remake (!) of the infamously-awful 1995 Alyssa Milano horror-cheese flick (which is also being re-released on the same day): A timid college student (Sharon Hinnendael) may be a vampire, or may soon be hugged by a vampire, or … it still doesn’t make any damned sense, really. (Starz/Anchor Bay)

The Heat

A by-the-book FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a maverick Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) reluctantly team up to take down a drug lord; filthy language and filthier behavior ensue. It’s the family hit of the year! (Fox)

Pacific Rim

Gigantic monsters are rising from the center of the Earth, and only men (like Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam) piloting gigantic-er robots can stop them—until the monsters get even more gigantic-er-er. It goes on like that. (Warner Bros.)

More New DVD Releases (Oct. 15)

Anger Management: Vol. 2, Blood Moon Rising: Lucy’s Revenge, Crossland, Hart of Dixie: Season 2, Hate Crime, I Hate Tom Petty, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Maniac, Murder University, Stalker, Star Wars: The Clone, Wars: Season 5, Vikings: Season 1.

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