2013 Fall TV: How’s Everything Shaping Up?

We’re well into November, so I figured now is as good a time as any to check-in on the TV season thus far. Let’s jump in!

NEW SHOWS

I’m not sure if this is the case for a lot of people, but heading into this season, I was incredibly cautious about all the new shows. There were some that I was legitimately excited about/looking forward to, there were some that I knew I wanted to steer clear of, but there were A LOT that I wasn’t sure about. Trophy Wife was one of the shows that felt like it could have went either way for me. The more I watched it though, the more I fell in love with it. Misleading title aside (think along the lines of Cougar Town), the show is a different take of a “modern family” and the cast just have incredible chemistry and comedic timing (which includes the kids). I’m still not sure how I feel about The Crazy Ones, a pretty funny series especially when the cast gets to bounce off each other (which happens a lot), but there’s a little something missing for me. Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show have their funny moments, but there’s nothing big that ties me to them and makes me want to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the people working on both shows but I find myself watching it whenever, and not necessarily seeking it out to watch it. Must see TV they are not.

The shows which I was unsure of and subsequently dropped after watching a few episodes? Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Reign, Back In the Game, Super Fun Night. With Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, I was already disappointed that they had decided to make it an actual series and part of the primetime lineup, instead of their original plan to air it during flagship OUAT’s winter hiatus. As I watched the first two episodes, I just found myself incredibly bored and the CGI incredibly distracting. OUAT’s VFX were never great (pretty good though with the budget they’re working with), but because it’s used sparingly, I can deal with the occasional green screen scene. For Wonderland, it is seemingly all green screen special effects and thus incredibly distracting. I honestly had no intention on watching Reign in the first place, which in itself is surprisingly considering I usually love watching historical/period dramas. I think people labelling it as “Game of Thrones meets Gossip Girl” just completely turned me off. Then hearing a good number of critics/journalists actually liking it, I figured I should at least give it a try. After watching the pilot, I didn’t change my mind about it – I just didn’t like it. Back In the Game had a feeling that harkened back to older sitcoms, while trying its hardest to feel completely modern; therein lies the problem. While trying to be yet another take on the “modern family,” there was nothing that seemed fresh about it. As for Super Fun Night, I tried really hard to like it because of Rebel Wilson, but I didn’t find it funny at all.

One show that I was legitimately excited to watch this season was Dracula and unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations and I found it kind of boring. Then there’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Above almost all the other new shows, this one had the most buzz and anyone who is a fan of the Marvel universe was excited to see this one. The pilot episode was great, but after that, it took more than a few episodes before the show found its footing. I was more than happy to stick with it and see how they were going to develop it, despite some inconsistencies and blah moments, but I know a lot of people let it go as well. It’s not that it’s a bad show; I personally think we all may have had such high expectations for the show that when it didn’t deliver to those standards, we inevitably got disappointed. I was excited to watch The Tomorrow People because it’s another take on the humans with superpowers story we’ve heard/seen in various movies and TV shows before it, which ultimately could’ve proved to be too familiar. While not amazing (I’m still bothered by the fact that they made Robbie Amell’s Stephen a high school-er and the triangle set-up between him, Cara, and John), the show has still managed to make us care about these characters and what they’re doing. It helps that they gave backstories to Cara, John, and Russell so early (in episodes 3, 4, and 6, respectively).

But enough with the negatives. Let’s talk about the shows that I was excited to watch and then invariably impressed. Sleepy Hollow. Wow. Without a doubt one of the best new shows this season. It gave the original story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman a supernatural twist, but it also knows not to take itself too seriously by infusing some humourous moments. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, as our two leads, have chemistry in spades, though contrary to popular opinion, I’d rather them stay platonic a la Sherlock and Holmes on Elementary. Also, the supporting cast in Orlando Jones and guest stars Lyndie Greenwood and John Noble just make the show work on so many levels. It might be a little bit early for me to say this but I love Almost Human. As of posting, the show had only aired 2 episodes, and I had already seen the pilot at SDCC. The pilot for me wasn’t perfect, but it set the ground work for the series. Episode 2 was pretty much what Fringe fans loved, but in a new show: drama, humour, heart, against a ridiculous backdrop (in this case – sexbots). Adding to the FOX love, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has delivered on the laughs every episode. With Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher fronting the show as the smart man-child detective and the serious Captain of the precinct, and the Park and Recreation guys in charge, it had to be funny. What made it great was that the entire supporting cast works so well, you’d have thought that they have all worked together prior to the show or that it wasn’t a freshman series at all.

RETURNING SHOWS

I wanted to talk about returning shows mainly for one reason: Arrow. It’s first season was great, with establishing the characters, Oliver’s story from when he was on the island and how that affected him to become this vigilante/hero, and all the action. This season, DC has seemingly given the show and its writers an all-access pass to characters in the DC universe, and they are just running with it. Just when you think they can’t get any better, they do. Twists, revelations, further character development (hello, Thea Queen for being the most improved), wonderful guest stars. The writing is top notch and they are just firing on all cylinders.

Revenge got a lot of flack for its convoluted second season, but this season has been a return to form. Is it nearly as awesome as its first season? No, but they’ve done an admirable job in trying to make us forget the mess of last season. Flagship Once Upon A Time seems almost like a spin-off of its own show with the focus being primarily on the core characters and their journey through Neverland to save Henry. Another ABC show, Scandal, continues to be the epitome of CRAZY awesome storytelling. Sometimes I forget Shonda Rhimes is in charge of Scandal, because obviously she’s still attached to Grey’s Anatomy (which I stopped watching years ago). The Mindy Project is as funny as ever, and it’s been great to see Adam Pally (who’s practically playing a straight, only slightly more professional version of his Happy Endings‘ Max) join the cast.

How I Met Your Mother, now in its final season, has been hit and miss with this idea to make the season take place over the entire weekend of Barney and Robin’s wedding. There’s been the usual HIMYM antics, which are still funny. However, the whole storyline with Marshall traveling with Sherri Sheppard’s character just didn’t do anything except keep Marshall away from the rest of the gang. The good part though? Getting to see more of The Mother.

What new shows have you gotten hooked on? What’s been surprisingly good or surprisingly disappointing? Which returning shows are still making your time worthwhile? Let me know in the comments!

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Fall TV 2013: New Shows to Look Forward To

The new TV season is just around the corner! Don’t get me wrong, this summer has been unusually full with things to watch from returning favourites like Suits, Covert Affairs, True Blood, and Breaking Bad; to new shows like Camp, Graceland, Under the Dome, and Hollywood Game Night (watching celebs get drunk and competitive playing games – not a bad way to spend an hour on Thursday nights). But I’m ready to go into crazy TV watching mode (the good, the bad, and the frustratingly annoying of it all) with the new fall TV season! So happy and excited to get my regular shows back: Arrow, Hart of Dixie, Grimm, Scandal, Parks and Recreation, the final season of How I Met Your Mother. I’m intrigued to see if Revenge and Once Upon A Time can come back after a ‘meh’ second season, and I’m even a little interested in this season’s cast of Dancing With the Stars (Saved by the Bell actresses! Bill Nye the Science Guy!). I also cry a little that I no longer have Fringe or Happy Endings and in complete denial that Nikita is ending this season (whenever The CW decides to air the final 6 episodes), while I part ways for good with Glee and The Vampire Diaries. Of course, with a new TV season means new TV shows that may or may not become a mainstay in my schedule.

With that, the new shows premiering this fall I’m most looking forward to (in no particular order)!

1.) MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (premieres Tuesday, Sept 24th @ 8 on ABC)

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, BRETT DALTON

OK, let’s just be real here – anyone who is a fan of Marvel, whether it be from the comic books or the movies, is excited for this show. It was the most high profile show during pilot season, so expectations are undoubtedly high. Sure, the focus is more on the regular humans running the agency, as opposed to our superhero Avengers, but who cares? With the Whedonverse in control of the show, this will do just fine to hold us over until the next movies.

2.) DRACULA (premieres Friday, Oct. 25th @ 10 on NBC)

Dracula - Season 1

It seems a little counterproductive to have yet another show featuring vampires, but we are re-visiting a classic character. Plus, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as the titular vamp – need I say more? Can’t wait!

3.) BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17 @ 8:30 on FOX)

brooklyn-nine-nine

Without a doubt, one of the few new comedies I am legitimately excited about. It’s a workplace comedy based in a cop precinct, starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, as a goofy cop (who presumably is still able to get work done) and his tough new boss. Oh, and it’s also coming to us from the Parks and Recreation people. On paper, this show has absolutely everything going for it. I feel like they would have to try really hard to make this crash and burn.

4.) ALMOST HUMAN (premieres Monday, Nov. 4th @ 8 on FOX)

almost-human

I already wrote about my thoughts on the pilot, after getting the chance to see it at Comic-Con. It’s from Joel Wyman, Bryan Burk, and J.J. Abrams, all of whom were responsible in some part for Fringe, which makes me fully supportive of this show. I said in my SDCC post that the pilot wasn’t perfect, but it did nicely set up the show and I can’t wait to see more. Plus, there’s something to be said about having more original ideas on TV, as opposed to just another procedural in a different location.

5.) SLEEPY HOLLOW (premieres Monday, Sept. 16th @ 9 on FOX)

sleepy-hollow

Another show that is brought to us by veterans of Fringe, this time it’s Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, who created the show alongside director Len Wiseman. Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman somehow show up in our modern world? Intriguing to say the least. Come November, Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow will be paired together on Monday nights, which makes this Fringe fan incredibly happy and excited.

6.) HOSTAGES (premieres Monday, Sept. 23rd @ 10 on CBS)

hostages-toni-collette-tate-donovan-cbs

Hostages stars Toni Collette as a doctor set to perform surgery on the President of the United States, but before that happens, her and her family are taken hostage by Dylan McDermott’s rogue FBI agent, who has ordered her to assassinate the president if she wants to save her family. The series is set for a 15-episode break-free run, which is fantastic because if the show makes good to be as thrilling as it seems, any break it would have had might kill momentum in storytelling.

7.) THE TOMORROW PEOPLE (premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 @ 9 on The CW)

The Tomorrow People

To be honest, this is probably the only CW show that I’m excited for. The show follows Stephen (played by Robbie Amell), a teenager with superpowers, who learns he’s actually a part of a secret race of people with supernatural abilities. Of course, what would a group of superpower-ed individuals be without a different group of people trying to hunt them down? First, although we’ve seen this type of story play out before in other shows/movies, the idea of having supernatural abilities is something we’re always thinking about. The show is also in the very capable hands of Greg Berlanti (Arrow) and Phil Klemmer (Chuck), who know a thing or two about working on shows that require just the right mix of drama, action, and humour. Plus, it being paired with Arrow (which stars Robbie’s cousin, Stephen) created the best in-house marketing at CW – Amell Wednesdays!

8.) THE CRAZY ONES (premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 @ 9 on CBS)

crazy-ones

Robin Williams returns to TV on this series, playing the owner of an ad agency who works alongside his daughter, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. For me, Robin Williams can be a little over the top in his comedic tendencies, so I’m hoping the show will use his craziness in just the right amounts. But the fact that it is Williams, alongside a cast that includes Gellar, James Wolk, Hamish Linklater, and Amanda Setton is what makes me excited to see the show. It also doesn’t hurt that their pilot episode features a guest starring role by Kelly Clarkson!

Those are the shows I’m really excited to watch, but notable mentions do include: Trophy Wife, Back In the Game, and The Michael J. Fox Show. Most of the other shows I’m looking forward to are actually on deck for midseason, which happens to be the case for the past couple seasons. So dear friends/followers, what new shows are you excited about seeing this fall season?

Upfronts 2013: ABC Reveals Schedule for 2013-14 TV Season

We continue Upfronts with ABC. I’ve talked about how both NBC and FOX had some rough times this past season, but if we look simply at the pilots picked-up this time last year and which ones have survived to see another season, I think we can all agree that ABC had it the worst. None of their comedies did well, yet somehow critically-panned The Neighbors survived. Of all the dramas, only Nashville made it past its first season. This year, the network continues to try and find some future hits by adding 5 comedies and 7 dramas.

THE GOLDBERGS [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: The series is inspired by executive producer Adam Goldberg’s experiences growing up in his lovingly screwed up family in the 80s. Family comedy set in the 80s, hilarity ensues? We’ll have to see.

MIXOLOGY [Comedy – Midseason]: This show follows a group of singles in a Manhattan bar, as they attempt to find love over the course of a night. Vanessa Lengies, Sarah Bolger, and Adan Canto are among the young stars of this show. We’ve seen ABC try to bring in a younger audience with some of their previous comedies – Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 – which struggled on the network. I’m hoping the network does a better job in promoting and getting the viewers they need for this show (working under the assumption that the show is good and funny).

VANESSA LENGIES, ADAN CANTO, CRAIG FRANK, ANDREW SANTINO, BLAKE LEE, GINGER GONZAGA, KATE SIMSES, ALEXIS CARRA, ADAM CAMPBELL, SARAH BOLGER

BACK IN THE GAME [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: Maggie Lawson stars as a recently divorced single mother, who moves in with her estranged, former baseball player of a father played by James Caan. She reluctantly gets pulled back in to the world of sports when she agrees to coach her son’s Little League team. The hook obviously involves sports, but if they can make it so that it’s not all sports metaphors/jokes all the time, this could do really well for ABC.

SUPER FUN NIGHT  [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 9:30]: This show about a group of three friends who vow to have a fantastically fun night, every Friday was originally developed for CBS last pilot season. After it was retooled, the show landed at ABC, with the network hoping to cash in on Rebel Wilson’s growing popularity following the success of the movie Pitch Perfect. Clearly, they are banking on this show being a hit by giving it the post-Modern Family timeslot.

TROPHY WIFE [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9:30]: Malin Akerman is a reformed party girl when she settles down with a man (played by Bradley Whitford) with three kids and two ex-wives. The whole dysfunctional family thing isn’t anything new, so it’s mostly dependent on the writing. I’ll check it out to see how it is before committing to it.

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

BETRAYAL [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: A married female photographer gets caught up in an affair with a lawyer, who happens to be defending the murder suspect her husband is prosecuting. Above all else, this show will come down to execution of plot. The logline mentions a series of betrayals for everyone involved that will have catastrophic results. I feel like this is a show that will probably be better off as sort of a one-season/limited series event than a full-fledged series because I fear that at some point the story might get so convoluted and dragged out. Also, I’m really hoping for a title change; I mean, ABC already has Revenge and now they have a show called Betrayal? Let’s work on that please? Definitely doesn’t help matters that they are paired up on Sundays, back to back.

JAMES CROMWELL, HENRY THOMAS, WENDY MONIZ, ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN, BRAEDEN LEMASTERS, STUART TOWNSEND, HANNAH WARE, CHRIS JOHNSON

MIND GAMES [Drama – Midseason]: Christian Slater and Steve Zahn star in this series by executive producer Kyle Killen about two brothers – one an ex-con, the other a bipolar genius – who use the science of human motivation and manipulation to help their clients. Never one to give up, Slater is once again back with another new show, hoping this will be the one that will make it. The show will most likely follow a case-of-the-week style format, but with Killen (who was responsible for NBC’s Awake) at the helm, I sense that there’s going to be much more to it than that and I’m quite looking forward to how this plays out.

GREGORY MARCEL, MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE, CHRISTIAN SLATER, STEVE ZAHN, WYNN EVERETT, CEDRIC SANDERS

KILLER WOMEN [Drama – Midseason]: Tricia Helfer plays Molly Parker, the only female in the usually all male Texas Rangers. There really isn’t much else to say about it beyond that. I love my shows with strong kick-ass females in the lead, but the whole lone female in a male dominated world aspect of it just seems a little old school? It’s an idea that is very much present in today’s society, but as a TV show, it’s not much of a hook.

LUCKY 7 [Drama – Tuesdays @ 10]: It’s the TV dramatization of what happens when a group of seven people win the lottery and how their lives change. The key point being made about the show is that each episode will focus on a different character, and if the show lives on for multiple seasons, each season will look at a different group with similar circumstances. I understand that they have an idea of how to sustain the series for multiple seasons, but I feel like it’s one those ideas where it’s better off just being a one-season show or, as networks want to call it these days, limited series events. I mean you get to a certain point and it’ll feel like you’ve seen it before. I will check it out just to see how they write it, but I don’t feel good about this show lasting.

RESURRECTION [Drama – Midseason]: The lives of the people in a town called Aurora are changed when the loved ones they once buried and mourned, return to the land of the living. You have to admit that sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to see it.

SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG, MARK HILDRETH, DEVIN KELLEY, KURTWOOD SMITH, OMAR EPPS, LANDON GIMENEZ, FRANCES FISHER, NICHOLAS GONZALEZ, MATT CRAVEN

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: As the title suggests, this is a spin-off of Once Upon A Time, set in the world of Wonderland. There’s no doubt that I’ll be tuning in, given that I am a fan of OUAT. But it gives me a little pause to see that they put this in its own timeslot, instead of airing it during OUAT’s winter break, as was previously proposed/reported. Either they feel REALLY good about this show or they don’t have much faith in some of their other new dramas, particularly in this timeslot, which has been notoriously bad for the network.

SOPHIE LOWE

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. [Drama – Tuesdays @ 8]: The most highly anticipated show hands down of all the networks. From the moment they announced that a pilot was being made, every geek in the world knew and was anxiously awaiting official word that the show was getting picked-up. For the uninformed, this show follows the peacekeeping group known as SHIELD, found in the world of the Marvel comic books and films. And because it’s fiction, Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), who was previously seen as very much dead in The Avengers film, is alive for the show! Let’s be honest though, unless the producers really screw it up, this show’s going to be a hit. Geeks FTW!

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, BRETT DALTON

Note about the schedule:

  • In order to make room for all their new shows, ABC has cut back the slightest bit on Dancing With The Stars. I was kind of hoping that it meant they would only do the show once a year, but turns out they’re just cutting the results show. I know I bag on all the reality shows for dragging out their results shows, when you really only need to watch the last 5 minutes, but even I have to admit (after last season’s results show-less SYTYCD) that the whole process runs more smoothly when there is that separate show. I’d rather have seen it reduce to 30 minutes, as opposed to the full hour, that way we can still see the pros dance on their own (which is honestly the only thing I’ve been watching this year of DWTS).
  • Critically-panned The Neighbors, which found itself getting a second season, has been moved to Fridays @ 8:30, following Last Man Standing.
  • The heartwarming and utterly charming (and hilarious!) Suburgatory is being held off until midseason, presumably to take the place of any of the network’s other comedies that might fail (too harsh?)
  • ABC’s plan in regards to Once Upon A Time, Revenge, and Scandal, is to separate their seasons into two batches of 12 episodes, giving the shows one long winter break instead multiple little annoying breaks all season.

For more on next season’s lineup at ABC, head on over to Deadline. Tomorrow, it’s CBS’ turn to take the stage.