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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SEASON IN REVIEW: 2016-17 New Dramas

Here is my look at the new dramas of the year! Tomorrow, check back for my final wrap-up of the 2016-17 season!

Past Seasons: 2015-16   2014-15   2013-14   2012-13   2011-12   2010-11

This is Us (NBC) - The biggest and buzziest new show of the year certainly earned the praise heaped on it. Tugging at the heart strings week after week, it could have easily veered into cheesy territory but real situations and struggles and dynamic performances across the board made it Must See TV even before it officially receives that label next season on Thursdays. The clever plot twist of the pilot was just the tip of the iceberg for a show that gave a completely fresh look at the family drama thanks to its generation-spanning look at one family. Broadcast TV needed This is Us in a big way and for someone who finally finished watching Parenthood last summer, it has filled the Parenthood sized hole in my heart.

RUNNER-UP: Designated Survivor (ABC) - I've had a complicated relationship with Designated Survivor this year and if I wasn't only halfway through Feud, it may have gotten bumped down to the "Worth Mentioning" category. But when Designated is good, it's very good. It's thrilling and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The problem is it just hasn't been able to figure out the kind of show it wants to be on a consistent basis. Of course it's had three showrunners with a fourth taking over in the fall, so that could be why.

Worth Mentioning: Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)/Pitch (FOX)

Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us (NBC) - As Jack Pearson, Milo Ventimiglia has found the role of a lifetime. He doesn't get to have his story in the present day, but his character permeates throughout the entire series. And that wouldn't work, the relationship and impact on the kids in the present day scenes, if it wasn't for Ventimiglia's dynamite performance. He is a flawed character yet ridiculously likable and easy to root for. His relationship with Mandy Moore and the kids might seem idealistic at times but also seems incredibly realistic.

RUNNER-UP: Sterling K. Brown, This is Us (NBC) - There are countless great performances in This is Us that they're pretty much taking runner-up spots to each other. Fresh off of his winning performance in American Crime Story, he was the heart of present-day This is Us in his role as Randall, the one who has it all together, until he doesn't. He elevates every scene he's in.

Worth Mentioning: Kiefer Sutherland, Designated Survivor (ABC)/Michael Weatherly, Bull (CBS)

Mandy Moore, This is Us (NBC) - Years after being a teen pop star and actress, Mandy Moore is back in a big way with her role in This is Us. Playing Rebecca in a variety of decades, she has perhaps the most to do in the show and she's eminently likable but complicated, like most This is Us characters. Moore was fantastic whether she was a wide-eyed young woman, a harried mom of triplets, or an older woman who lost her husband and has complicated relationships with her children. Moore effectively plays Rebecca at all ages, and that is no easy feat.

RUNNER-UP: Kylie Bunbury, Pitch (FOX) - I lament that Pitch is cancelled and also that it never quite became the show I hoped it would be. Otherwise, it may have been a star making performance for Kylie Bunbury, who was great in a demanding lead role. I hope she has something else in the near future.

Worth Mentioning: Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)/Abigail Spencer, Timeless (NBC)

Ron Cephas Jones, This is Us (NBC) - As the older William, who reunites with his biological son in the pilot of This is Us, and dies with two episodes remaining in the season, Ron Cephas Jones packed a whole lot into what was basically a recurring role. I'll write more about his death episode when it inevitably makes my end of year list, but I'll say now that throughout the season, Jones made William a character who may not have meant much such an integral part of the show that our hearts broke when he died.

RUNNER-UP: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Pitch (FOX) - Mark-Paul Gosselaar transformed himself physically and gave a very strong performance in Pitch as catcher Mike Lawson. His scenes with Kylie Bunbury were the scenes that worked best in the uneven but promising drama. For an actor best known for Saved by the Bell, he showed he has something more in him.

Worth Mentioning: Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)/Chris Sullivan, This is Us (NBC)


Maggie Q, Designated Survivor (ABC) - And we finally have a winner not from This is Us! While Kiefer Sutherland is relegated to not being Jack Bauer, the most action in Designated Survivor is coming from Maggie Q as FBI agent Hannah Wells. With a much better part than in the dreadful Stalker, Maggie Q has kept the show moving and I always pay a little more attention in her scenes because I know something big is likely to happen. She's the most consistent part of this inconsistent but promising drama.

RUNNER-UP: Helen Hunt, Shots Fired (FOX) - I didn't keep watching Shots Fired, but I really enjoyed Helen Hunt in every scene she was in. I wish she had been given to more, because she brought a level of class and veteran acting that made the drama seem more prestigious.

Worth Mentioning: Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)/Susan Kelechi Watson, This is Us (NBC)

Emerald City (NBC) - I know this wasn't a show for me, but I just didn't get it at all. Not to rehash my pilot review but this was such a silly way to reinvent a classic story. "Let's take The Wizard of Oz and make it like Game of Thrones. Except it's on NBC so we certainly can't have the sophistication of Game of Thrones." The Wizard of Oz is beloved and can be remade and retold in different ways, but this just didn't work at all.

RUNNER-UP: Notorious (ABC) - This was ABC's laughable attempt at trying to do a TGIT show without Shondaland's involvement. It was a show that tried way too hard to be steamy and hip and it just came off super lame.

Worth Mentioning: Time After Time (ABC)/Taken (NBC)

THE RUNDOWN: Tuesday, May 23

Tuesday night has the regular spring showdown between the Dancing with the Stars finale and The Voice finale. As usual, they'll probably hurt each other but Dancing will take total viewers and The Voice will take the demo. Leading into Dancing is the timeslot premiere for Downward Dog, which has a tall order. Leading into The Voice, are the final two episodes of the season of Great News before its move to Thursdays next season. FOX has the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Prison Break. While Prison Break is not coming back next season, it still could come back in the future so I'll call it a season finale. CBS has the season finale of Bull and it could see a series low with a repeat lead-in and the competition.

8:00 Downward Dog #2 "Boundaries"
8:30 Dancing with the Stars (24th Edition Finale)

9:00 Bull #23 "Benevolent Deception" (Season Finale)

10:00 48 Hours: NCIS

8:00 Great News #9 "Carol Has a Bully"
8:30 Great News #10 "Carol's Eleven" (Season Finale)
9:00 The Voice (12th Edition Finale)

8:00 Brooklyn Nine-Nine #89 "The Bank Job"
8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine #90 "Crime & Punishment" (Season Finale)
9:00 Prison Break #89 "Progeny" (Season Finale)

8:00 The Flash #69 "Finish Line" (Season Finale)

9:00 iZombie #40 "Eat a Knieval"

Monday, May 22, 2017

SEASON IN REVIEW: 2016-17 New Comedies

For the final three days of the season, I will be looking back. Today is a look at the new comedies, tomorrow the new dramas, and then some miscellaneous awards on Wednesday!

Past Years: 2015-16   2014-15   2013-14   2012-13   2011-12   2010-11

American Housewife (ABC)
When American Housewife premiered, I thought it was a lesser version of the ABC comedies I have grown to love like The Middle, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, etc. But it really fits right in with all of them and continued to find its groove as the season wore on. The cast really gels well as a family and the show is smart to mainly focus on the family with just auxiliary scenes with the friends. My complaint in the pilot was that it just seemed to be a litany of fat jokes, but it has instead found a heart and sweetness to it while still being a bit brash. In that way, it seems like a true successor to The Middle, its lead-in this past year. And considering how much I still love The Middle, that's definitely a compliment.

RUNNER-UP: The Mick (FOX) - Believe me, I'm still surprised I like this show as much as I do. It's over the top and at times, quite dark and cynical. But it's also uproarious and outrageous. It has none of the sweetness of the ABC family sitcoms and as much as I love the ABC shows, it's a little bit refreshing.

Worth Mentioning: Trial & Error (NBC)/Imaginary Mary (ABC)

Nicholas D'Agosto, Trial & Error (NBC) - Trial & Error had a lot of attention on the many wacky characters that populated its first season, but my favorite character was the straight man among all the eccentrics. As trial lawyer Josh Segal, Nicholas D'Agosto brought a sense of exasperated normalcy to a town and trial that had bizarre situations at every turn. For a show as silly as this one, it needed a grounded center. This is the type of role that people like Andy Griffith and Bob Newhart have filled in their sitcoms. I'm not comparing D'Agosto to those legends. I'm just saying that proves how important it is for the straight man to be strong and D'Agosto certainly was.

RUNNER-UP: Diedrich Bader, American Housewife (ABC) - Diedrich Bader is not my favorite character in American Housewife and in a better year for sitcoms, he may not have gotten this spot. But he is a good foil to Katy Mixon and can have some very funny moments in the nerdy husband/father role.

Worth Mentioning: Adam Pally, Making History (FOX)/Kevin James, Kevin Can Wait (CBS)

Kaitlin Olson, The Mick (FOX) - As I mentioned before, I'm pretty surprised that I watched the whole first season of The Mick. But the main reason I did was because of Kaitlin Olson in the lead role. As Mickey Molng, the aunt who has no business raising children, she is a hoot even as she is crude and outrageous like the show. Olson has great comedic timing and interacts with the kids in a way that no other character in a family sitcom does. Despite her many deficiencies, she somehow is still a character you root for. But most importantly, she is just hilarious.

RUNNER-UP: Katy Mixon, American Housewife (ABC) - I didn't care for Katy Mixon in Mike & Molly, but she is completely delightful in American Housewife. She is brash and funny and the whole center to the show. Her winning performance is a lot of what makes American Housewife a success.

Worth Mentioning: Kristen Bell, The Good Place (NBC)/Jenna Elfman, Imaginary Mary (ABC)

Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC) - I didn't stick with The Good Place but in the episodes I watched, I absolutely loved Ted Danson. In fact, I found myself wishing his part was bigger than it was. As Michael, he was so goofy and weird, proving again that Danson is one of the most versatile actors around today. He has gone from likable parts on shows like Cheers to a gruff part in Becker to a villain in Damages, and now a completely offbeat character. He continues to make any show he's in better.

RUNNER-UP: John Lithgow, Trial & Error (NBC) - Another veteran actor playing an offbeat character, John Lithgow had some hilarious moments in Trial & Error as the accused Larry Henderson. I really enjoyed Lithgow in this part but I sometimes felt like the writers could have done more with him and he wasn't the best part of his show, like Danson was, which is why he's the runner-up.

Worth Mentioning: Judd Hirsch, Superior Donuts (CBS)/Cedric Yarbrough, Speechless (ABC)

Julia Butters, American Housewife (ABC) - I always enjoy precocious children in family sitcoms, which is why actors like Giselle Eisenberg (Life in Pieces) and Albert Tsai (Trophy Wife) have won supporting actor accolades from me in other years. As youngest daughter, the decidedly quirky Anna-Kat, Julia Butters had some great comedic moments that make her seem well beyond her years. She can make any line funny when given the chance and I only hope the show continues to use her a lot and she can continue to keep that comedic instinct even as she gets older.

RUNNER-UP: Jayma Mays, Trial & Error (NBC) - As prosecutor Carol Anne Keane, Jayma Mays was a great foil for Nicholas D'Agosto in Trial & Error. She was slightly less outrageous than the defense team, but not by much, and she had some really funny moments during the courtroom scenes.

Worth Mentioning: Leighton Meester, Making History (FOX)/Sofia Black-D'Elia, The Mick (FOX)

The Great Indoors (CBS) - This wasn't a year with an embarrassingly bad sitcom like Dr. Ken or Work It or How to Be a Gentleman. All the ones on this list weren't great, but they were passable. There were just a whole lot of "blah" sitcoms this year. Probably the most "blah" was The Great Indoors, which made millennials look like idiots and the previously cool Joel McHale look like a lame dad. It was a waste of McHale's talents and a sitcom that resorted to dumb jokes. Or at least the pilot and second episode did. I didn't watch it beyond that.

RUNNER-UP: Powerless (NBC) - I didn't hate Powerless. In fact, I thought Alan Tudyk and Vanessa Hudgens were not bad. But as I said, this wasn't a year with terrible sitcoms. Just blah ones. And Powerless was a cool premise, but ultimately a blah show.

Worth Mentioning: Man with a Plan (CBS)/Son of Zorn (FOX)

THE RUNDOWN: Monday, May 22

We have three days left in the season, but some networks are already in summer mode. ABC has the season premiere of The Bachelorette, a summer staple. Both Dancing with the Stars and The Voice have their performance finales ahead of tomorrow's finales. NBC is airing a special of Running Wild with Bear Grylls while the CW has finales of their dramas. CBS becomes the third network to air a Princess Diana special in the year honoring the 20th anniversary of her death. It is followed by the second annual James Corden primetime special.

8:00 Dancing with the Stars
9:00 The Bachelorette (Season Finale)

8:00 Princess Diana: Her Life - Her Death - The Truth (SPECIAL)
10:00 The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special (SPECIAL)

8:00 The Voice
10:00 Running Wild with Bear Grylls (SPECIAL)

8:00 Gotham #63 "All Will Be Judged"
9:00 Lucifer #30 "Sympathy for the Goddess"

8:00 Supergirl #42 "Nevertheless, She Persisted" (Season Finale)

9:00 Jane the Virgin #64 "Chapter Sixty-Four" (Season Finale)

Sunday, May 21, 2017


8:00 The Toy Box
Viewers: 2.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6
10:00 20/20
Viewers: 2.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6

8:00 Undercover Boss
Viewers: 5.0 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 The New I Love Lucy Superstar Special
Viewers: 3.6 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5
10:00 Blue Bloods (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5

8:00 First Dates
Viewers: 3.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Dateline NBC
Viewers: 5.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

8:00 Movie: Maid in Manhattan
Viewers: 1.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.4

8:00 The Originals
Viewers: 0.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.2
9:00 Reign
Viewers: 0.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.2

LOSER OF THE NIGHT: The Originals (CW)

THE RUNDOWN: Sunday, May 21

Sunday night has many season finales of shows that are coming back next year. The one exception is cancelled Making History, which is airing its series finale. ABC has the Billboard Music Awards, which should be an improvement on its regular Sunday night lineup.

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (Season Finale)
8:00 Billboard Music Awards

7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 60 Minutes
9:00 Madam Secretary #68 "Article 5" (Season Finale)
10:00 Elementary #121 "Hurt Me, Hurt You" (Season Finale)

7:00 Dateline NBC
9:00 Shades of Blue #25 "Behind the Mask"
10:00 Shades of Blue #26 "Broken Dolls" (Season Finale)

7:00 Bob's Burgers (REPEAT)
7:30 Bob's Burgers #128 "Paraders of the Lost Float"
8:00 The Simpsons #618 "Dogtown" (Season Finale)
8:30 Making History #9 "Body Trouble" (SERIES FINALE)
9:00 Family Guy #288/289 "Dearly Deported/A House Full of Peters" (Season Finale)

Friday, May 19, 2017


8:00 Grey's Anatomy
Viewers: 7.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0
9:00 Scandal
Viewers: 5.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

8:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
Viewers: 7.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4
8:30 The Great Indoors (Repeat)
Viewers: 5.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0
9:00 The Amazing Race
Viewers: 4.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9
10:00 The Amazing Race
Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8

8:00 Law & Order: SVU (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6
9:00 The Blacklist
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9
10:00 The Blacklist
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

8:00 Masterchef Junior
Viewers: 3.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0

8:00 Supernatural
Viewers: 1.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6
9:00 Supernatural
Viewers: 1.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.6

Thursday night brought two hours of a show on every single network. On ABC, the season finale of Grey's Anatomy was just one hour and it was up nine tenths in viewers and two tenths in the demo. It will join Empire as the only shows at a 2.0 demo or above this week. At 9pm, the two hour finale of Scandal was up a tenth in viewers but down two tenths in the demo to tie a series low. It declined over the two hours from nearly a 1.4 in the 97.:00 half hour to a 1.1 in the 10:30 half hour. CBS aired two hours of The Amazing Race. The 9pm hour was on par with last week's 10pm episode, but the 10pm episode was down a tenth in the demo. On NBC, a two hour season finale of The Blacklist was even in viewers and up a tenth in the demo. FOX aired the two hour season finale of Masterchef Junior and it was up half a million viewers and a tenth in the demo. Finally on the CW, it was a, you guessed it, two hour season finale of Supernatural that was up a tenth in the demo for its best performance since March 30.


THE RUNDOWN: Friday, May 19 & Saturday, May 20

Friday night has a two hour finale of The Toy Box on ABC, which should be very low rated. CBS is airing an I Love Lucy special, which will skew old as usual. NBC and the CW have their regular lineups.

8:00 The Toy Box (Season Finale)
10:00 20/20

8:00 Undercover Boss (Season Finale)
9:00 The New I Love Lucy Superstar Special (SPECIAL)
10:00 Blue Bloods (REPEAT)

8:00 First Dates
9:00 Dateline NBC

8:00 MOVIE: Maid in Manhattan

8:00 The Originals #75 "Queen Death"
9:00 Reign #75 "Coup de Grace"


8:00 American Housewife (REPEAT)
8:30 Downward Dog (REPEAT)
9:00 20/20

10:00 20/20

8:00 NCIS: New Orleans (REPEAT)
9:00 Training Day #13 "Elegy" Part 2 (SERIES FINALE)

10:00 48 Hours

8:00 Stanley Cup Playoffs
10:00 Saturday Night Live (REPEAT)

8:00 MLB Baseball

UPFRONTS 2017: The CW's Official Schedule

Last but not least, here is the CW schedule!

Check back next week for my wrap-up of the 2016-17 season!

8:00 Supergirl (3rd Season)
9:00 VALOR
The CW is moving Jane the Virgin to another night and giving a prized new show one of their decent lead-ins from Supergirl. Valor has been a hot pilot and it will be given a chance to succeed but I don't know what I think of this pairing. I guess of any of the superhero shows were going to be a lead-in, maybe this is the best option?

8:00 The Flash (4th Season)
9:00 DC's Legends of Tomorrow (3rd Season)
Tuesdays will go back to the winter pairing of The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. It was a successful pairing but it's a little surprising that the CW is not using what is easily their biggest lead-in on a new show. That being said, it seems likely that they are planning to give this slot to Black Lightning at midseason since Legends of Tomorrow doesn't make full seasons of episodes.

8:00 Riverdale (2nd Season)
Wednesday nights goes from being a superhero/supernatural night to a soapy night as they will pair sophomore Riverdale with their splashy new update of 1980s iconic drama Dynasty. While these two are both soaps, they don't share much else in common as Riverdale is more for teens while Dynasty will likely appeal to an older crowd. The CW is also not giving these shows any sort of superhero support, but maybe they are hoping the branding of the night will pay off. It's a risk, but I get what they're trying to do here.

8:00 Supernatural (13th Season)
9:00 Arrow (6th Season)
The CW is putting Arrow and Supernatural together again after some time apart, but now Supernatural will lead off the night while Arrow moves to 9pm. Arrow had a rough decline this year and is now not clearly ahead of other CW shows not named The Flash. So there was less of an inclination to use it as a lead-in and they needed to find a show that could air against This is Us and Scandal. And so Arrow gets the task. It's decent counter programming.

8:00 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (3rd Season)
9:00 Jane the Virgin (4th Season)
The CW is basically giving up on Fridays and leaving it for their critically acclaimed but very low rated dramedies. Ceazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin are a great pair with each other and truthfully they wouldn't do much better on another night, if at all. Still, we may see a 0.1 demo at some point from this lineup next year.

As mentioned, I expect Black Lightning to go to Tuesdays at 9pm. Life Sentence fits best with the Friday dramedies, but I expect it to get a better slot for a launch while The Originals probably returns to Fridays. The 100 and iZombie will probably get slots based on how the fall goes.

CANCELLED/ENDED: Frequency, No Tomorrow, Reign, The Vampire Diaries

Thursday, May 18, 2017


8:00 The Goldbergs
Viewers: 5.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4
8:30 Speechless
Viewers: 4.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
9:00 Modern Family
Viewers: 6.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
9:30 Downward Dog
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1
10:00 Designated Survivor
Viewers: 5.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1

8:00 Survivor
Viewers: 8.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
9:00 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
10:00 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
Viewers: 4.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7

8:00 Blindspot
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
Viewers: 5.6 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
10:00 Chicago PD
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

8:00 Shots Fired
Viewers: 2.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 Empire
Viewers: 6.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2

8:00 Arrow
Viewers: 1.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5
9:00 The 100
Viewers: 0.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.3

Wednesday night had four finales and a premiere on ABC. At 8pm, The Goldbergs was up a tenth in viewers and the demo while Speechless was up two tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo. At 9pm, Modern Family was up half a million viewers and a tenth in the demo. It was followed by the series premiere of Downward Dog, which will air on Tuesdays through early summer. The sneak peek premiere was below Black-ish numbers, but did OK. It will have to surprise on Tuesday to last beyond this summer. At 10pm, the season finale of Designated Survivor was up two tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo. On CBS, Survivor was even with last week. It was followed by the final two episodes of the cancelled Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The two episodes were down a tenth in the demo from last week's episode to tie a series low. This cancellation was deserved.

On FOX, Shots Fired was down two tenths in viewers and even in the demo while Empire had another good week as it was down two tenths in viewers and even in the demo. After declining all year, Empire has been pretty steady in recent weeks. On NBC, the season finale of Blindspot was up four tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo. Law & Order: SVU was up six tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo while the season finale of Chicago PD was up three tenths in viewers and even in the demo. Finally on the CW, Arrow and The 100 both tied series lows. Arrow was down three tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo while The 100 was down a tenth in viewers and even in the demo.

LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (NBC)