Network Series Awards for 2013-2014

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Here I vote for the best shows on the networks during the span of time from September, 2013, through May, 2014.

Glossary of terms for individual awards:

  • MVP (Most Valuable Player) for best show
  • ROY (Rookie of the Year) for best first-year show
  • 6th (6th Man Award) for best show that started at midseason
  • OGDY (Only the Good Die Young) for the dumbest cancellation
  • HR (Honorable Mention) for the best shows that I couldn’t fit above

 

ABC

  • MVP: Scandal
  • ROY: The Goldbergs
  • 6th: Resurrection
  • OGDY: Trophy Wife
  • HR: Last Man Standing, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy

 

CBS

  • MVP: Person of Interest
  • ROY: The Crazy Ones*
  • 6th: Friends with Better Lives**
  • OGDY: The Crazy Ones*
  • HR: Elementary

 

The CW

  • MVP: Arrow
  • ROY: The 100
  • 6th: The 100
  • OGDY: The Tomorrow People
  • HR: The Vampire Diaries***

 

Fox

  • MVP: New Girl
  • ROY: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • 6th: Almost Human
  • OGDY: Raising Hope
  • HR: The Mindy Project, Sleepy Hollow

 

NBC

  • MVP: The Blacklist
  • ROY: The Blacklist
  • 6th: About a Boy
  • OGDY: Community
  • HR: Parks and Recreation, The Michael J. Fox Show

 

* There weren’t many options to choose from. TCOwas the “best” of the mediocre lot for both categories.

** The only midseason show I actually watched was Intelligence, which was so awful from a writing standpoint that I refuse to give it any awards, so I had to give this one to a show I didn’t watch but which I’d TiVo’d in anticipation of watching if it was picked up by CBS. Which is was not.

*** It wasn’t as good as previous years (the writers/producers seemed to change three times during the season as to which direction it wanted to point the series), but it was good enough to be the best from what was left to choose.

Network Grades 2013-14

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Grades for the Big 4 networks (ABCCBSFoxNBC) as well as The CW during the 2013-2014 television season

Scoring system (based on shows I watched at least once this past season; How I Met Your Mother and Nikita are not counted because they had already been told that this was their final season):

Network renewed a show that it should have: +10

Network renewed a show that it shouldn’t have: -5

Network didn’t renew a show that it should have: -15

Network didn’t renew a show that it shouldn’t have: +10

NBC (0.9 – 5th place; 3.1/4th last year)

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Notes:

  • In what may be the dumbest decision in a slew of dumb decisions over the past few years, NBC cancelled Community three episodes shy of the magical 100-episode-count for syndication. They stick with it all this time… and cut it off just before that number’s hit. Morons.
  • The biggest out-of-the-box hit on any network last season—the one that helped get NBC off the mat in the first place—is now toast. Revolution was moved off of Mondays (after The Voice) and shuttled off to Wednesday, where it proceeded to shed viewers. This year’s breakout hit—The Blacklist—also aired on Mondays. NBC will be moving it to Thursdays starting in November. You’ve been warned, Mr. Reddington.
  • Last season’s comedy massacre continued this year with only one new comedy making it out alive: About a Boy. I’ll reiterate for those at NBC who are slow (i.e. the executives): comedies don’t burst onto the scene as megabits. You have to let them develop! Yanking a sitcom after one season does no one any good. Sure, there were some disasters in your crops the past two years. But your scythe-like mentality is killing your network. When Parks and Recreation ends next year, the oldest sitcom on the network would be the aforementioned Boy, which started in late February this year.

The CW (4.3, 4th place; 7.0/1st last year)

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Notes:

  • It’s not listed here, because I stopped watching it two episodes into its first season, but… how is Beauty and the Beast still on the air?? Do the executives at The CW think that its an animated continuation of the hit movie? Though The Tomorrow People didn’t live up to its potential, it was still a better show than the one that stuck around. TTP is likely an expensive show to produce, what with all those special effects, and that was probably what prevented it from being given more airtime. [A few days after I typed this, The CW let it be known that BatB was renewed rather than TPP because of BatB’s strong online support. Despite fewer viewers, the fans were more fanatical for Beauty.]

ABC (5.0 – 2nd place; 1.8/5th last year)

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Notes:

  • In its freshman season Suburgatory was a phenomenal show. They’d tried to switch things up a bit last season with the characters and which ones became regulars and which had reduced roles, and they were never able to recover, even though this season was better than last.
  • Both Trophy Wife and The Neighbors were great sitcoms. The latter was incredibly insightful and brilliantly satirical with consistently excellent tongue-in-cheek jokes regarding the show’s moves to different nights and being consistently on the cancellation bubble. The former had great character chemistry and should have received a second year. Big mistakes on both counts. At least the network kept The Goldbergs, although that’s probably in the same position as Neighbors was at the end of last year: get higher ratings in season 2 or get out.
  • The low-in-comparison-to-the-original quality of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland makes you wonder if they’ll even attempt another spin-off in the future. Probably best to stick with the mother ship and ensure it produces the highest quality possible throughout its run.

Fox (4.7 – 3rd place; 5.8/2nd last year)

Screen Shot 2014 05 12 at 3 49 00 PM

Notes:

  • American Dad! isn’t completely cancelled. It will continue to air new episodes on TBS (starting in 2015, I believe).
  • Raising Hope was the one mistake the network made with cancellation. At least we got four mostly-strong years out of it. Oddly enough, all of the other true cancellations were first year shows. Which were pretty bad. And questionable decisions to even air in the first place.
  • Network executives must be kicking themselves for signing Glee on for a sixth season a while ago. The quality’s been low and all over the place since the main characters graduated from high school. It’s not that the new kids are bad, it’s more that the New York scenes necessarily took time away from developing the new characters. The good news for season six is that it’ll be all New York, all the time, which should help focus the writers and story lines for a solid conclusion to a once-dynamite series. …And have you noticed that the lip-synching has become truly horrendous in terms of its, you know, synching.

CBS (6.5, 1st place; 5.0/3rd last year)

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Notes:

 

  • The network for the old people has so many shows that are getting long in the tooth. And they’re getting spin-offs. Both NCIS and CSI will have another member joining the family next season. The Los Angeles version of the former has never been anything special. If the New Orleans one ends up being stronger, I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS cuts LA to keep the franchise from getting watered down.
  • The sitcom situation is dire: Two and a Half Men will start its final season, The Millers and Mom are nothing special (although the latter improved substantially during the course of the season), their mid-to-late season replacements (Friends with Better Lives and Bad Teacher) never really had a chance, 2 Broke Girls has a horrible studio audience (and their writers aren’t great, either), and Mike & Molly is being held until midseason again. CBS has already cut an hour off their comedy total. With The Big Bang Theory standing as their only season-long perpetual laugh-fest, they’d better hope their new shows are winners.


CotW – Angela Gots

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She played Larissa (the maid) in the January 3rd episode of Grimm, “Red Menace.”

 

 

What I’m Watching This Fall

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A special welcome to those of you visiting from Nerdible.com and my Tuesday TVlicious column there. Bienvenue! Benvenuto! Bienvenidos! Willkommen! …Great. I’m a freakin’ Apple OS update.

Here’s the night-by-night grid of what I’ll be watching (italicized shows are the ones I’m not sure about yet; I’ll watch a couple of episodes and then evaluate for full-season-viewing potential). [Fox has a weird situation where they'll have a slightly different schedule starting around November. Shows appearing before a "/" appear in that time slot from next week until the switch; shows appearing after a "/" take control of that slot after the switch.]

*On September 12th Fox announced that it will postpone Enlisted‘s debut until January. A second new episode of Raising Hope will take its slot until then.

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Looking Ahead to the Fall

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As I’ve been writing on my weekly TVlicious Tuesdays column at Nerdibles.com, here’s the entire list of new shows starting this fall on the five major networks, with my thoughts about them, as well as a combined list of my personal anticipation levels and predictions for their length of run.

 

The 100

It features a cast with a lot of names you’ll recognize (Henry Ian Cusack, Isaiah Washington, Paige Turco, Kelly Hu) and a sci-fi premise involving Earth’s sole survivors and a space station, so I’m all aboard this one. For some reason I’m predicting that it’ll only last a season, but I’m hoping it ends up being more, as it sounds like it could be a fun–and tense–character-driven serial.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated return to television. Marvel’s hottest current commodity. Can the show possibly live up to the hype? Probably not. But here’s hoping Marvel’s financial influence can give Whedon’s vision time to form. Those who have watched his shows know that they usually take 1.5-2 seasons before they start clicking like gangbusters. Firefly was never given the opportunity, and I’m kinda glad Dollhouse wasn’t, but Buffy and Angel showed what a master storyteller can do when he (or she) has time to build an arc. With or without cubits.


Almost Human

I don’t really care about the human-robot-cop pairing scenario–what has me hooked on hoping this show does well is its sci-fi pedigree headed by the “J”s: Fringe‘s J. H. Wyman and, um, everything‘s J. J. Abrams. Those two almost guarantee the show will have a cool story-arc, detailed backstories, and the sorts of goodies serial-lovers like me live for. The more serial, the better. Especially if it’s Captain Crunch. But Fox has a spotty record with Abrams’ shows: Fringe hung on by a fingernail every May, and Alcatraz suffered a far-too-short half-season lifespan. Meaning this one, uh, almost might make it.


Back in the Game

It’ll be cool to see James Caan back on the airwaves, but… in a sitcom? This one’ll probably be a tough sell, even sandwiched between The Middle and Modern Family.


Betrayal

The premise doesn’t sound appealing. Woman has affair with man who ends up being opposing counsel against her attorney husband in a murder trial. Probably lots of backstabbing and such. I prefer my clandestineness to be justified, a lá Revenge.


The Blacklist

It takes over the Monday @ 10 slot from Revolution, last year’s top offering from the network, and this should be similarly follow suit. Loved Spader on Boston Legal–hope he carry this one to a second season, even with the awful haircut.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

On the plus side are creators from Parks and Recreation. On the other side is… how do you make a sitcom work in a police environment where the commanding officer is a no-nonsense Andre Braugher? Fox has several sitcoms in the midseason tank. I wonder if they’ll allow this one to survive long enough to get past the “eh… it’s okay”ness that was Parks and Rec its freshman year.


The Crazy Ones

I’m hoping this one works… but you almost wonder if it’s got too much talent to succeed. David Kelley producing, Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar starring. It seems like it’d make for a potentially great movie… but a weekly 30-minute show? Expectations are high given the pedigree. It’d be sweet if it all gels together. With the price tag of each episode, though (Williams can’t be cheap), how much rope will the network give it?


Dads

From the Seth MacFarlane house of comedy. I love Martin Mull, Seth Green, and Peter Riegert (I still laugh thinking about his character from The Mask). If the writing is on par with Family Guy‘s earlier seasons, and if its recurring actors are as good as the leads, I hope it flourishes. But, let’s remember what network cancelled Family Guy before legions of fans proved cash-over-fist how moronic that decision was.


Dracula

Apparently, this’ll be a twist on the normal Draculian formula, where the king of all vamps will pose as an American inventor in London. NBC’s hoping to set up a theme on Friday nights, pairing it with Grimm in the 10 slot. Grimm’s a good show, and NBC (and loyal viewers) got lucky that more viewers showed up during the second season, but I’m not sure Drac’ll be un-undead for long.


Enlisted

I’m all for seeing Stults and Lowell back on the air, and the premise has a great upside… so long as they don’t get mushy or anything with the siblings reconnecting and whatnot. Stick to the funny, and it’s got a shot. Reminisce about Thanksgivings past, and we’ll probably go a.w.o.l.


The Goldbergs

I think it’s the best potential sitcom on any network of the fall season. Jeff Garlin and George Segal (I loved Just Shoot Me!) should make a winner of it. Hopefully, Wendi Mac’s character won’t be obnoxious like the neighbor she played on Rules of Engagement.


Hostages

This is one of those premises that seems to pop up every season: okay, interesting–but how do you get the premise to last past a first season? And how do you even stretch it to a full season–24-style, perhaps? That’d work for a first season… but, what do they do in the second season–new hostages? Or same characters held as hostages somewhere else? I’ll certainly tune in for the pilot to see if I can figure out how they plan to run things, but I have my doubts. Especially if it turns out to be one of those viewers-know-who-the-good-guys-are-but-no-one-except-the-good-guys-on-the-show-knows-who-they-are scenarios, which I hate (see season 1 of 24 for a perfect example).


Ironside

A remake… sort of. The character’s the same and his handicap is, too, but apparently that’s it. I’m not big on remakes, but, seeing as how this wasn’t as much of an icon as other failures (Charlie’s Angels comes to mind), it might work. But I don’t really care either way.


Lucky 7

I honestly don’t know how this even got picked up to series. Oh, wait–Steven Speilberg is a producer. Okay, now I know. Still, what’s the show’s purpose? Don’t really think I want to watch a show where all the leads have more money than I’ll ever make in a lifetime.


The Michael J. Fox Show

…They couldn’t come up with a better title than the generic “The [insert celebrity you loved on earlier shows here!] Show”? That’s a bad sign. Sure, it was a staple way back when (and some of the greatest sitcoms of all time have featured the format: The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Cosby Show), but, as of late, well…. do you remember any of these: The Paul Reiser Show, The Michael Richards Show, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The Weber Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Bernie Mac Show, The Ben Stiller Show, The John Larroquette Show? The last two were brilliant in my opinion, but none of these shows were ratings successes in the slightest. With a cast that doesn’t really interest me (other than the lead–who is my favorite sitcom actor of all-time), I’ll have to hope the writing is brill, yo.


The Millers

Will Arnett. Beau Bridges. Greg Garcia (creator of the brilliant sitcoms My Name is Earl and Raising Hope). James Burrows (if you don’t know his name, you don’t watch TV… or you’re still a teenager). The Big Bang Theory (it’s lead-in). A perfect storm of This Should Work. And it almost certainly would on a different network. CBS’ success means that this show needs to deliver, even though its cast and crew seem to fit more of a Fox/NBC niche vibe rather than generic CBS humor situation comedy.


Mom

I feel like CBS bought their comedies this year based on star power. This one’s loaded just like several other CBS shows listed already: Faris, Janney, Corddry, Stewart. I’d say Chuck Lorre is spreading himself a bit too thin at this point (this’ll make four shows he has on CBS), but Mike and Molly‘s only doing a half-season, and I would think Two and a Half Men is a season or two from its completion. Because it’s Lorre’s show, this freshman has the most leeway, but, for some reason, I think it’ll be the first to go. I get the sense that’ll it’s going to try too hard to be funny. Which doesn’t work for me.


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Some may say S.H.I.E.L.D. will be, but I think this offering is the biggest question mark on ABC’s schedule. How will it fit with the flagship OUaT’s storyline? Will we see characters from OUaT like the Mad Hatter? Is it only supposed to last a season? Can it live up to the quality of the original? And, will the original suffer creatively with the creators split between running two shows?


The Originals

The Vampire Diaries spinoff is probably the show most guaranteed of long-term success, as it already has a built-in legion of fans and an established cast of characters. I do prefer the backstory of the “original” vampires to their current-day activities, but I’ll definitely tune in to see what their game is in New Orleans.


Reign

This one’s supposed to involve romantic and political intrigue. I can do without the romantic half. I probably won’t watch it because of that point, but I may end up missing out on a clever show if the writing and plot lines are up to snuff.


Sean Saves the World

Am I looking forward to this one. No. Will I give it a shot? Definitely. But, going into the season, I give it only a 30% chance of returning for a second season. Actors playing breakout characters like Will & Grace‘s Jack for such long times have historically not had great success breaking into other lead roles. Since it’s been picked up, I’ve wondered how much of that vote-of-confidence was due to Sean Hayes’ executive-producing one of NBC’s lone script hits, Grimm?


Sleepy Hollow

It’s the other half of the house-that-J.J.-built. Fringe creators and Star Trek rebooters Orci and Kurtzmann (and a Hawaii Five-O buddy, I think) head this show that must also have a sci-fi twist in it, as it involves a literary character traveling from the 1700s to present day. As long as it’s more Fringe (serial) and less Five-O (procedural), I think I’ll enjoy it. Being on Fox, hopefully, Orci and Kurtzmann won’t feel pressured to back off the backstory (like they apparently did on Five-O, which is the part of that show I liked–and it’s heavily diminished presence lately has me questioning a return to next season).


Super Fun Night

Another show with an executive producer from the ranks of the late-night genre (Conan O’Brian), ABC’s obviously hoping this does better than last season’s Guys with Kids (Jimmy Fallon). I’m apparently one of the few people on Earth who doesn’t find Rebel Wilson tremendously funny, but that may be due to the massive unlike ability of her character in Bridesmaids (which was the only role I’ve seen her in). I’ll give it a shot, but I don’t see it lasting long, especially given how popular Wilson must be with movie studios nowadays.


The Tomorrow People

Hopefully more X-Men than No Ordinary Family, more seasons 1-3 of Heroes than season 4 of Heroes, this show features beautiful twenty-somethings with paranormal mutations. Color me intrigued. Especially given its producing quartet, which boasts key players from four excellent shows: Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Chuck, and CSI.


Trophy Wife

Loved Bradley Whitford on The West Wing. Loved him in The Good Guys (a ridiculously under-appreciated show co-starring Colin Hanks). The setup here sounds perfect for him, and his character is surrounded by several talented, comedic actresses. It’s paired with The Goldbergs on Tuesdays following that little show from Marvel, so hopefully that means ABC has enough confidence in these two sitcoms not to “have” to put them around perpetual Emmy-winner Modern Family.


We Are Men

This seems more like a Fox show than CBS. It has a New Girl feel to it and some comedic acting vets, but I honestly don’t see it lasting past 2013. It’ll air after How I Met Your Mother, but I think it’s comedic feel would go better paired with Two Broke Girls. With HIMYM exiting in May, CBS probably sees this hour as rebuildable come next fall, so what not try its weakest comedic offering here and see if it manages to stick?


Welcome to the Family

On paper this looks to be the most stable of NBC’s new sitcoms: not a flashy cast, but a solid one; not a glitzy premise, but a traditional one. It’ll probably get a full season and produce consistent ratings, but they likely won’t be what NBC’s looking for in the end. If the network didn’t even think last years Go On deserved a second season, this year’s freshmen had best start preying to TBS.



Personal Anticipation Meter [Eh / Hmm / Psyched], in increasing order:

Lucky 7

Super Fun Night

Betrayal

Ironside

Hostages

Reign

Dracula

We Are Men

Sean Saves the World

Back in the Game

Mom

Welcome to the Family

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Enlisted

The Michael J. Fox Show

Sleepy Hollow

The Originals

Trophy Wife

The Crazy Ones

Dads

The Blacklist

The 100

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

The Goldbergs

The Millers

Almost Human

The Tomorrow People

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.



Predicted Length-of-Run [< 1 season / 1 season / > 1 season], in increasing order:

Ironside

Lucky 7

We Are Men

Back in the Game

Super Fun Night

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Millers

Enlisted

Dracula

Hostages

Dads

Trophy Wife

Betrayal

Welcome to the Family

Reign

Almost Human

The 100

Sean Saves the World

The Crazy Ones

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

The Michael J. Fox Show

Sleepy Hollow

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mom

The Tomorrow People

The Goldbergs

The Originals

The Blacklist