Fall TV 2014 Check-In

It’s November, which means we’re in the special TV time known as Sweeps. In today’s day and age, there’s an increasing number of people who don’t watch TV shows the traditional way, live and actually on the TV; a lot of people DVR their shows or watch through various means (legal or otherwise) online. That being said, Nielsen ratings, as outdated as they are, still hold a lot of value to networks and advertisers – which is why November sweeps (along with sweeps periods in February and May) becomes sort of a battle ground for the networks. Sweeps somehow gauges what people are really watching, especially since a lot of shows and networks touting “big” episodes that you “must watch live.” Regardless, it’s a good time as any to check-in on the new batch of shows that premiered this season.

ABC

TIMOTHY PEPER, JOHN CHO, DA'VINE JOY RANDOLPH, KAREN GILLAN, ALLYN RACHEL, DAVID HAREWOOD

  • SELFIE [Cancelled]: The show follows in the footsteps of many horribly titled shows that came before it, commonly known as the Cougar Town effect, in which the show is much more than what the title implies. It’s like a modern-day retelling of My Fair Lady, that has had some really funny moments, in spite of some of the issues it faced in the first couple of episodes. If anything really, I quite enjoy the dynamic between Karen Gillan and John Cho, and the show has been fleshing out all the characters beyond just Gillan’s Eliza and Cho’s Henry. I’m really bummed to see that ABC cancelled it so soon, when it has started to find its footing.
  • MANHATTAN LOVE STORY [Cancelled]: The first casualty of the season was this odd attempt at a rom-com. The only surprising thing about the cancellation was that the show lasted a month before ABC pulled the plug on it. I really wanted to like the show because I really like Analeigh Tipton (who really was the only good thing about the show) and Jake McDorman (who somehow ended up being a greater jackass version of his Greek character). There just wasn’t anything good about it.
  • FOREVER [Full Season Pick-Up]: An immortal medical examiner helps the police solve cases because he can REALLY see the details everyone else misses. I watched the pilot, and it’s not terrible by any means. In actuality, it has a slight charm to it that I’m gonna say is due to Ioan Gruffudd. At the end of the day though, it’s just not really my thing so I didn’t continue watching.
  • BLACK-ISH [Full Season Pick-Up]: I know some people don’t like the title, but I think it’s funny and on the nose. An African-American family, that according to the dad, has been “white-washed”, making them “black-ish” – you can’t get a more straight-forward title than that. It’s been quite funny and a joy to watch; has certainly proven to be a compatible lead-out of Modern Family.
  • HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER [Full Season Pick-Up]: Of note, the show is only executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, not created by her, but is part of a Shondaland Thursday that has proven to be a winner for ABC. Right from the pilot episode, it got me. Seeing the back and forth between present day and the flash-forward of the murder mystery is really interesting. Also, it doesn’t really need to be said but Viola Davis is a FORCE. AMAZING. My only concern with the show is how they’re going to keep all of this going. I feel like this is setting up to be first season Revenge, with the reveal of what led to the main murder around winter break, and then the rest of the season showing the fallout. So then what will subsequent seasons (if any) look like? For now though, I’ll take it as it is.
  • CRISTELA: Honest, I haven’t watched it yet. I’ve heard it’s decent, ratings are so-so for a Friday, and that’s about it.

CBS

Pilot

  • SCORPION [Full Season Pick-Up]: A group of geniuses are tasked to help the FBI. A lot of people have called it the action procedural version of The Big Bang Theory with Katherine McPhee’s Paige being the Penny of the group. It’s a fun show to say the least and they have made an effort to give the characters more depth and not just stereotypes. Is it something I’m in a rush to see every week? No. But I don’t mind watching it from time to time.
  • NCIS:NEW ORLEANS [Full Season Pick-Up]: I don’t watch the show so I really have nothing to say about it. But we all know the NCIS name is sort of a goldmine for CBS.
  • STALKER [Full Season Pick-Up]: I watch the show for Maggie Q. Some aspects of it (the sociological/psychological implications, the back-stories of Maggie Q’s Beth and Dylan McDermott’s Jack) are interesting to me, but I’m really not a big fan of the procedural aspect of it. Again though, watching it for Maggie – and maybe the cool alt-cover songs at the end of each episode.
  • MADAM SECRETARY [Full Season Pick-Up]: I have no interest in the show. It just didn’t look like something I would be into.
  • THE MCCARTHYS: The show got a late premiere so I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Even based on previews, I’m not entirely sure I want to watch it.

The CW

Pilot"

  • THE FLASH [Full Season Pick-Up]: There were high hopes for Flash coming into the season. Seeds were planted within the Arrow universe, allowing it to spin-off on its own, and by all accounts it has succeeded. The pilot became CW’s most watched EVER, after all the DVR ratings/playbacks were accounted for. Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg have done an incredible job taking what they’ve learned as executive producers on Arrow and put it into Flash. Excuse the obvious pun, but they really hit the ground running – there hasn’t been much of a learning curve and that has allowed the show to be very fun and more lighthearted than its dark Arrow counterpart. That doesn’t mean the show isn’t without some minor issues, but for the most part, it’s been doing an incredibly good job.
  • JANE THE VIRGIN [Full Season Pick-Up]: I was a little skeptical about the show at first, mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I quickly fell in love with the show after watching the pilot though; it was just so sure of itself from the get-go and knew what it was doing. Elements like the Telenovela speaker voice-over that you think wouldn’t work, somehow does. Anchored by Gina Rodriguez’ performance as our titular Jane, the show is just bursting with charm, humour, and heart.

FOX

Gotham

  • GOTHAM [Full Season Pick-Up]: This was one of the high profile shows of the new season, looking at the city of Gotham before there ever was a Batman; it was the “Batman show without Batman,” a label that was a little unfairly thrust upon the show. It’s a prequel series that follows Detective Jim Gordon return to Gotham, as the city itself is slowly crumbling from the crime and immorality. Yes, the underlying story is how a young Bruce Wayne became the Batman we know, but that’s not the main focus. Instead we get a serialized procedural – case of the weeks tied into the bigger story of a mob war for control of the city. It has been a slow build (as expected from a new series) but it’s been very solid. My only concern is that the show is getting a full 22-episode season, which if I remember correctly, wasn’t the plan. Initially, it was supposed to be like Sleepy Hollow and get an (at most) 18 episodes; stretching the episode count runs the risk of them adding filler episodes that don’t do much for the plot.
  • RED BAND SOCIETY: Some called it Glee meets The Breakfast Club, or Glee without the singing and set at a hospital. At the outset, it’s easy to make the Glee comparison (that is, first half of season 1 Glee) – these “outcasts” come together, in support of one another. I enjoy the show, but the first few episodes were obviously a process of learning to balance the teenage angst with the emotions involved with it being about kids in a hospital. While I disagree with some media outlets suggesting the show change focus to the doctors and nurses (led by the incredible Octavia Spencer, as well as Dave Annable), that would just make the show seem like Grey’s Anatomy-lite. It’s a tricky situation because realistically, not all the kids can “make it” and get a happy ending, but assuming the network gives it a chance, I really do think the writers can strike the right balance of teen and medical drama.
  • GRACEPOINT: I actually never watched Broadchurch, the UK series in which Gracepoint is based on, so it’s not like I was avoiding it and its similarities (as far as I’ve heard). I just slowly came to the realization that straight up murder mysteries don’t work for me; I need something else to hook me in (like the dual narratives of Showtime’s The Affair). The show was always touted as a limited series, so in the case of ratings, it will only play a factor in whether the show sees a second season, not a back nine.
  • MULANEY: I barely got through the first episode, and I don’t remember laughing at it once. There may have been a chuckle, but that was it. Chances of it surviving are slim.
  • UTOPIA [Cancelled]: FOX’s social experiment of tasking a bunch of strangers to form their own society, and live there for a year – what could go wrong? Well, no one cared. It was meant to be on air for 2 nights a week, which then got cut to just one night (on Fridays), and then straight cancelled. Can’t blame FOX for trying something a little different but this sounded like a terrible idea from the beginning.

NBC

Marry Me - Season Pilot

  • MARRY ME: I LOVED Happy Endings, and will never get over the fact that it got cancelled. That being said, I’m pretty happy that David Caspe has created this new show, loosely based on his relationship with series star Casey Wilson. Wilson and Ken Marino are the central couple, but like Happy Endings, the show is more than just about the couple – it’s also about their relationship with their friends. Pretty much if you were a fan of Happy Endings, the witty jokes, pop culture references, physical comedy – it’s all there.
  • THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA [Full Season Pick-Up]: I like Debra Messing and the show has Greg Berlanti (who somehow has the time to do ALL these projects, making everyone else look bad) as one of its executive producers, but something about it just didn’t appeal to me. I think the way the network sold the show to audiences – “She’s a mom AND a cop?! Whhhaaattt?” – just did not work for me.
  • A TO Z [Cancelled]: Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman starred in this cute little rom-com series that was to show their relationship from “a to z”/beginning to end. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see their relationship fully play out since NBC has decided to not give it a back nine, essentially cancelling it. I realize “cute” is a word I’m using a little too often in talking about a bunch of the shows, but sometimes that’s what you need. This show certainly put a smile on my face every episode, so I’m a little bummed that it won’t continue beyond the 13 episodes.
  • BAD JUDGE [Cancelled]: Kate Walsh plays a tough judge, who doesn’t have the rest of her life together. The ads did not do anything to make it seem anything less than stupid, so I didn’t even bother checking it out.
  • CONSTANTINE: It’s our third new DC show of the season, but this one got a bit of a later start than the rest. I’m enjoying thus far and it does have more of a supernatural feel to it than the dark grittiness of Gotham or the light superhero fun of Flash. But yeah, I’m liking it and it definitely makes for a fun creepy night of Friday TV paired with Grimm.

What about some of the returning shows?

  • Agents of SHIELD has been on a roll in its second season. The events that occurred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was definitely a game-changer for the series, and at least for those who stuck around, it sort of made getting through the first half of season 1 worth it. It’s been nice to see them broadening the show’s scope and actually incorporating characters from the comics (ex. the addition of Adrianne Palicki’s Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird). Knowing what we know now about the MCU slate for the next 6 years, one can’t help but wonder how/if the show will play an instrumental role in setting things up for the movies.
  • Sleepy Hollow has continued to impress in its second season, despite ratings being less than last season. Some media outlets are saying that some things need to be “fixed” with the show, for which I disagree because that means there’s something that’s broken within the show. There are some aspects that could be worked on (let’s see Katrina show off her powerful witchery, get Irving out of the psych ward, and use Jenny more!), but take it week-by-week and it’s still the fun crazy show we know and love.
  • I’ve quite enjoyed the integration of Frozen into Once Upon A Time. I am however getting very annoyed by their constant use of the “Magic comes with a price” line, and the theme for this season (family and acceptance) is being layed on very thick.
  • Can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m kinda getting bored with Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. Still funny, but feeling very “same old, same old”
  • It’s been kind of hard to remember that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has moved to Sundays; I’m so used to Sunday nights of FOX to be strictly animation. That being said, there’s no sophomore slump here. Andre Braugher and his deadpan delivery is still the highlight of a very funny show.
  • Still on the top of its game? Arrow.
  • I haven’t watched Dancing With the Stars in full, live on TV for quite some time now, but I do still catch up with the performances afterwards. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve watched so much dance, but I’m not feeling it. Like some of the dances that are getting 10s, I’m like “Really? I wasn’t feeling it. I want MORE.” I think at this point, I just want to see professional dancing ALL THE TIME. And I really need them to get rid of contemporary and jazz (I will not stop complaining about this until it happens).
  • With a packed Monday, The Voice has been relegated to an afterthought – meaning like DWTS, I just watch the performances afterwards. I still love the show, but I can’t commit to the full two hours, when I have other things to watch. Though I do LOVE the addition of Pharrell as a coach.

So that’s my Fall TV check-in. What new shows did you check out this season? Any new favourites? Disappointments? Let me know!

Advertisements

Favourites of 2011

It is December 31st, last day of 2011 – I’d say it’s about time I do my favourites list for the year.

FAVOURITE ALBUMS

  • Adele – 21: This was Adele’s year, you can’t argue with that. I had already liked her from her debut album, but her sophomore effort made me a bonafide fan. Not to mention, hearing her perform live is absolutely INCREDIBLE.
  • Kelly Clarkson – Stronger: Right, because Kelly Clarkson comes out with a new album and I wasn’t going to put it among my favourites? HA! I don’t know what to really say about Kelly Clarkson. She has always been one of my favourite artists, and with each album she releases, there’s a quality about them that makes you connect to it. ‘Stronger’ is no exception; I’ll be listening to it well into 2012.
  • Matt Nathanson – Modern Love: Funny thing about Matt Nathanson, I didn’t really listen to his music before. I mean I had his music on my hard drive but I didn’t listen to it all that often to consider myself a fan. Then I went to see him in concert before his new album got released and now I listen to him all the time. And I saw him in concert a 2nd time, and hopefully a 3rd time in 2012 when he opens up for Kelly Clarkson’s tour. ‘Modern Love’ is just a really good album, with great songs and lots of memories.
  • Lady Antebellum – Own the Night: Last year, I talked about how I loved Lady Antebellum’s song “Need You Now.” This year, my appreciation for them went up another level with their latest album. I’ve never been a big country music fan, but I really love ‘Own the Night.’ It’s an album that definitely has that crossover appeal, but not so much where it’s like Taylor Swift (not that there’s anything wrong with Swift.)
  • The Script – Science and Faith: Technically, this album got released in late 2010 but that was only in Europe. Us North Americans didn’t get the album  until early 2011, so it makes the cut. They pretty much took what was great about their first album and did it again, with bigger hooks.
  • James Morrison – The Awakening: A three-year wait for this follow-up of ‘Songs for You, Truths for Me’ seemed like AGES, but totally worth it. James Morrison just does not disappoint.

FAVOURITE MOVIES

Admittedly, I didn’t see that many movies this year, especially in theatres, and so I’ve been catching up as they’ve gotten released on DVD (or I watched it on the plane during my vacation). I’m sure this list would’ve been more extensive had I seen more movie, but this will do.

  • Crazy Stupid Love: Cast alone – Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone – I’m pretty sure we were guaranteed a good movie experience. Also, let’s not forget the line that hooked us all – “It’s like you’re photoshopped!” What could’ve easily been a cliche-filled chick flick, ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ was everything a romantic comedy should be –  a comedy about love with a lot of heart.
  • Like Crazy: Saw this at the Toronto International Film Festival, and absolutely loved it. It’s a heartbreaking story about 2 people who are trying to keep a long-distance relationship alive, and all these obstacles that come with their situation. You might’ve seen something like this portrayed in other movies, but not in the same way that it was done here. Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin made you believe every moment, every struggle. It felt so real, you forgot you were watching a movie.
  • Midnight in Paris: A Woody Allen movie that seemed to appeal to a much wider audience. I myself can’t even pinpoint exactly why I liked the movie so much. It could’ve been the whole modern look at the 1920s and the culture of the 1920s, mixed along with the fact that it was set in Paris, which has its own magical quality to it.
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene: After hearing such great things about it from Sundance, when I found out they were playing it at TIFF, I knew I had to go see it. I remember after seeing the movie, not knowing exactly how I felt about, which I think is what makes it such a good movie. It’s a different kind of movie. It’s sort of a psychological thriller but not. It kept you on edge. Also, Elizabeth Olsen is a wonder playing the title character(s). She’s definitely got a bright future ahead of her.
  • The Adjustment Bureau: A smart sci-fi type of thriller. From beginning to end, the movie hooks you. Although I must admit from time to time, I did compare the movie to a mix of ‘Fringe’ and ‘Monsters, Inc. ‘ (the Bureau is like the Fringe Observers, and get around town using doors like the monsters from Monsters, Inc.).
  • X-Men First Class: With the exception of January Jones, the rest of the cast was great. Going back to the beginning of the X-Men storyline was a breath of fresh air in the series.
  • Super 8: J.J. Abrams. Steven Spielberg. Alien invasion type movie. Do you really need more? Yes? Well, how about the fact that the movie is carried by a group of kids and it works? Kids acting that well at that age just make the rest of us look bad. Oh well, still a really good movie.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: This list wouldn’t be complete without Harry Potter. It’s the end of an era! And there’s nothing else to say about it.

FAVOURITE TV SHOWS

  • Nikita: The show was good when it started and slowly found its footing getting to its winter finale in 2010. When 2011 came, the show came back kicking ass. I was already a fan, but I became an obsessive nerd about the show, always on the lookout for where they were filming in hopes of meeting Maggie Q and Shane West. I hope that despite its Friday timeslot, the show continues to thrive and be picked up for another season because I can’t imagine a Nikita-less TV world.
  • Once Upon A Time: They got me hooked at the mention of fairy-tales. Fairy-tale characters cursed to live their lives as normal people, with no recollection of their other life? Genius. Obviously, the trick is balancing the fairy-tale world with the real world, and so far it’s working.
  • Revenge: I figured I would like this show when I first heard about it/saw previews, I didn’t realize how much I would love it. ABC bringing back the primetime soap? Good call. Emily Van Camp is wonderful in her role as Emily Thorne, out to get payback for her father. Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson is flat out perfect. Twists, turns, backstabbings, cliffhangers – the show’s got it all.
  • Happy Endings: So many shows have come and gone, trying to do the whole comedy about a group of friends, which inevitably lead to being compared to ‘Friends,’ yet somehow ‘Happy Endings’ stood out. The hook of the show was that 2 within the group were getting married but then Dave gets left at the altar by Alex, and the friends trying to deal with having to pick sides. But the show’s grown so much from that. They still bring up the Dave-Alex relationship here and there, but the show is now really about this group of friends. Also, they have endless amounts of pop culture references which is really all I need to stay tuned!
  • Hart of Dixie: Regardless of the fact of whether you believe Rachel Bilson as a doctor or not, this show is so full of charm. With a cast that includes Rachel, Scott Porter, Wilson Bethel, Jaime King, and Cress Williams, the chemistry is endless. Once you start watching, you can’t help but like it.
  • How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Community, So You Think You Can Dance, Modern Family, The Vampire Diaries: Because I still really love these shows, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

Upfronts 2011: ABC Releases Its Schedule for Next Season

As Upfronts Week continues, today we get ABC’s planned schedule for the next TV season. In total, the network picked up 13 shows: 8 dramas and 5 comedies. Here’s a rundown of the new shows and where they’ll sit in the new schedule:

  • Last Man Standing [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8]: Starring Tim Allen, the show revolves around a “man’s man” who finds his life being dominated by women and attempts to put men back into their  “rightful place in society.” I know Tim Allen coming back to television is kind of a big deal, but they couldn’t give him something better? A show about men trying to dominate society because they now feel threatened by women? Come on, what year is this? And I know it’s a comedy but still.
  • Man Up [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8:30]: Three guys wonder about what it really means to be a man in today’s world. Really? I think the only thing I find hilarious in all of this is that the network is showing 2 comedies about being men, right before they air the DWTS results show.
  • Suburgatory [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: A single father with a teenage daughter decides to move from NYC to the suburbs, much to her horror. If done right (meaning not playing on the stereotypes of city life + suburb life for too long) this could work very well with the current Wednesday night comedy lineup. Although I’m still a little pissed they cancelled Better With You.
  • Revenge [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Supposedly a female and modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, the show stars Emily Van Camp as a woman who moves to the Hamptons to get revenge on the people who ruined her family. Also stars Connor Paolo from Gossip Girl (guess we know where Eric won’t be next season…) The show sounds intriguing to say the least and I love a good mystery thriller, so we’ve got something here.
  • Charlie’s Angels [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: Without a doubt one of the more high profile shows of the new season, we get a reboot/adaptation(?) of the original Charlie’s Angels series, produced by Drew Barrymore (who of course brought the Angels to the big screen.) For the brand name alone, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people will tune in to the premiere at least and figure their interest from there. And anyways, I’m all for girls kicking ass on TV. But Thursdays? As if my Thursdays aren’t packed enough. Although, if CW does the right thing and renews Nikita for a second season and keeps it in its current timeslot, that would certainly make for a totally awesome 2 hour block of television.
  • Once Upon A Time [Drama – Sundays @ 8]: Similar to NBC’s new show Grimm, we’ve got another show where we are to believe that fairy tales and fairy tale characters exist in our world. Both similar in the fairy tale aspect, but obviously their takes on it will be different. Question is will viewers watch both shows despite similarities? Or will one prevail over the other, which I feel might be the case? I mean we’re not talking about the same issue as True Blood vs. The Vampire Diaries, which really isn’t an issue but just a matter of comparison’s sake. TVD is on CW, mainly for teens; TB is on HBO, for older audiences – there’s little overlap, unless you’re someone like me who does watch both. But both Once Upon A Time and Grimm are broadcast network shows, and they’re more than likely aiming for the same type of viewers. At this point, I think I’ll give both a shot, but ultimately, I’m sure I’ll be choosing one over the other.
  • Pan Am [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: A 1960s-set soap following the pilots and flight attendants of Pan Am Airlines. People are looking at this as broadcast network’s attempt at a Mad Men type of show. Doesn’t really interest me all that much, not sure why.
  • Good Christian Belles [Drama – Midseason]: Leslie Bibb stars as Amanda, once a “mean girl”, who moves back to her hometown after a scandalous divorce. Amanda’s a different person than she used to be, but will her former classmates accept her now? The idea of Leslie Bibb (who I still love from her days on Popular) and Kristin Chenoweth (who is just awesome, let’s be real) in one show is more than enough reason for me to watch.
  • Missing [Drama – Midseason]: Ashley Judd plays Becca Winstone, a mother who finds out her son has disappeared while studying abroad, and is now on a mission to find him. To me, this sounds like the movie Taken, but with gender reversal. It’s another one of those shows where I feel like how long could this possibly go? Once she finds her son, it’s end game. It’s like Prison Break – the broke out of prison after season 1, and yet somehow the show went on for an additional 3 seasons. But who knows? They could do like Lost and give this whole mythological background to it and her son was missing for a reason, and so on. Could be interesting, but I feel like I could lose interest real fast too.
  • The River [Drama – Midseason]: A wildlife expert/TV personality goes missing in the Amazon, and his family, friends, and camera crew go on a hunt to find him. Meh.
  • Scandal [Drama – Midseason]: Another show from Shonda Rhimes, this one revolves around the lives of a group of crisis management consultants. For one thing, at least its not another medical drama from Rhimes. Personally, I’m intrigued by the idea of crisis management, so the show might be worth giving a shot. I’m just afraid of the show getting too soapy.
  • Apartment 23 [Comedy – Midseason]: A show about a Midwestern girl moving to the big city, who is then forced to share an apartment with a party girl of a roommate. The whole odd couple thing is always fun, plus add to that James Van der Beek playing a caricature of himself? I think we’ve got ourselves a winner here.
  • Work It [Comedy – Midseason]: Two guys can’t seem to find a job, so they decide to dress in drag and get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Again, really?! I’ve got a feeling that this won’t last long.

Other scheduling news:

  • Cougar Town has been pushed to midseason. Happy Endings will take its 9:30 slot on Wednesdays.
  • Extreme Makeover Home Edition moves from Sunday to Fridays @ 8.
  • Officially Cancelled Shows – Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 187, Mr. Sunshine, No Ordinary Family, V, Off the Map

ABC’s new shows are definitely a mixed bag. Many of the dramas show a lot of promise, the comedies not so much. But of course, we’ll just have to wait and see. Tomorrow, we get CBS’ schedule for next season.