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Monday, September 30, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: We Are Men

WE ARE MEN

















Starring: Kal Penn, Chris Smith, with Jerry O'Connell, and Tony Shalhoub

Created by Rob Greenberg
Written by Rob Greenberg, Directed by Rob Greenberg

We are Men is a new single-camera sitcom on CBS centered on three single men of a certain age and their new project. When Carter (Chris Smith) is left at the altar, he moves into a complex and becomes fast friends with three divorced men: womanizer Frank (Tony Shalhoub), wealthy (but fighting to keep it in divorce court) Stuart (Jerry O'Connell), and the more grounded Gil (Kal Penn). They show him the value in being single and spending time with the guys.

THE GOOD: Honestly, my favorite part was an ever-so-small cameo by Dave Foley as Carter's Dad complaining about his missing hard boiled egg. It was the only moment that really even made me smile. I don't really have anything else to say.

THE BAD: This is seriously putting up a fight with Dads for the worst new sitcom and there are elements I disliked more. First of all, can we stop with the leaving people at the altar storyline? Maybe I'm naive but it seems like it happens way more often in sitcoms than real life. While we're at it, the guest actress playing Carter's fiance was pretty bad. I felt like so many little things happened in the pilot but yet nothing worthwhile really happened. Jerry O'Connell is bad as he is in everything and spends far too much time with his shirt off and/or in a speedo. This show just never should have made it to the air: unlikable characters not acting like real people, contrived plots, and bad acting.

BOTTOM LINE: Stay far away from We Are Men, this will be a pretty early cancellation, it's even worse than Partners last year in this same slot. Tony Shalhoub deserves better than this garbage. Sitcoms that are this weak and tired don't deserve to be around long and this one won't be.

THE RUNDOWN: Monday, September 30

Check below this post for my review of ABC's new drama Betrayal!

Week one is over and we are on to week two of the 2013-14 season. CBS has the series premiere of We Are Men but I think it could be pretty ugly for this show with little buzz. In fact, I think it'll be a pretty bad night for CBS all around as Monday already seems troubled and the shows are likely to drop. NBC will probably see drops too but I don't think they'll be very severe while ABC may even see a rise from Dancing with the Stars and FOX may see a rise from Bones as things even out. Also worth watching is Sleepy Hollow to see if it can have another good hold in week three.

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
10:00 Castle #107 "Dreamworld"
Prediction: Dancing - 13.8 million, 2.4/Castle - 10.7 million, 2.1

CBS
8:00 How I Met Your Mother #187 "Last Time in New York"
8:30 We Are Men #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 2 Broke Girls #50 "And the Kickstarter"
9:30 Mom #2 "A Pee Stick and an Asian Racoon"
10:00 Hostages #2 "Invisible Leash"
Prediction: Mother - 8.4 million, 3.2/Men - 6.3 million, 1.8/Girls - 8.2 million, 2.5/Mom - 7.1 million, 2.2/Hostages - 6.8 million, 1.7

NBC
8:00 The Voice
10:00 The Blacklist #2 "The Freelancer"
Prediction: Voice - 14.6 million, 4.9/Blacklist - 11.7 million, 3.5

FOX
8:00 Bones #169 "El Carnicero en el Coche"
9:00 Sleepy Hollow #3 "For the Triumph of Evil"
Prediction: Bones - 7.2 million, 2.0/Sleepy - 8.2 million, 2.9       

Sunday, September 29, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: Betrayal

BETRAYAL











Starring: Hannah Ware, Henry Thomas, Wendy Moniz, Chris Johnson, Braeden Lemasters, Elizabeth McLaughlin, with Stuart Townsend, and James Cromwell

Based on Dutch Televison Series "Overspel," Developed by David Zabel
Written by David Zabel, Directed by Patty Jenkins

Betrayal is a new soapy drama centered on a torrid affair between photographer Sara Hayward (Hannah Ware) and lawyer Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend). The problem is that McAllister works for the powerful Karsten family led by patriarch Terence (James Cromwell) and his son TJ (Henry Karsten) and they are embroiled in a murder trial where Sara's husband Drew (Chris Johnson) is working for the other side. Rounding out the main cast is Jack's wife Elaine (Wendy Moniz).

THE GOOD: Well, I think this is an interesting concept. A steamy affair among the rich and powerful with a scandal-plagued sounds like a great TV drama. In fact, if done well, it could be a show like ABC's other steamy one-word titled shows Scandal or the first season of Revenge.

THE BAD: The problem is nothing works with the concept in the pilot. In fact, this was the most nauseating and boring pilot I have seen so far this season. It starts with the fact that there is zero chemistry between the two supposed lovers who are so infatuated with each other. It's a mix of bad acting and bad writing but I didn't feel any sort of connection. Then the whole pilot was just so so boring. I feel like nothing of importance happened and that's the show's fault because nothing felt important or urgent. For a show like this,
there better be high drama and there wasn't. The show had a Revenge-style flash forward at the beginning of the episode (and they just had to remind us of it at the end again) but there wasn't anything to it unlike the first episode of Revenge which really sucked the viewer in with the flash forward. Finally, they may as well hold signs saying "betray" because it's painfully obvious that the writers are going out of their way to make that a theme with every single character, however unmemorable they may be.

BOTTOM LINE: I don't think this show is going to fare any better than ABC's doomed Lucky 7 and it shouldn't because it's actually a worse show. It was so uneventful, how are we supposed to feel invested in these characters when the performances are so wooden? I feel like this is very comparable to Red Widow where it truly felt like nothing happened in the episode. It's a bad imitation of Deception, which itself was a bad imitation of Revenge, which is falling apart in season three. Enough with these kinds of shows.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/28/13

ABC 
8:00 College Football
Viewers: 6.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2

CBS
8:00 The Crazy Ones (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.5 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9
8:30 Mom (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 Hostages (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
10:00 48 Hours
Viewers: 6.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0

NBC
8:00 Chicago Fire (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5
9:00 The Blacklist (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.9 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

FOX
8:00 College Football
Viewers: 1.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5 

WEEKEND REWIND: CBS 1985-1986 Season

This year in the Weekend Rewind, I will take a trip back to look at CBS from 1985 until this blog began in 2010. Last year, I did ABC and most Sundays, you can check here to look at CBS' past. Check out my entry on ABC's 1985-86 season.

CBS 1985-86 SEASON

Mondays
8:00 Scarecrow and Mrs. King
9:00 Kate & Allie
9:30 Newhart
10:00 Cagney & Lacey
Mondays have been a model of stability for CBS since the 1950s and I Love Lucy and they still are today. Back in 1985, they didn't have four comedies as they often have in history. They instead had Scarecrow and Mrs. King leading off the night. The adventure drama starring Kate Jackson was in its third season of a modestly successful run. Two popular 1980s sitcoms followed - Kate & Allie starring Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart's second sitcom, Newhart. These shows spent most of their runs together on Mondays. At 10pm was the detective buddy drama Cagney & Lacey starring Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless in its fifth season. The show was never a huge hit and faced cancellation a couple times but hung on for a seven season run and was very critically acclaimed as evidenced by its Emmy win following the season. This was also the only night that didn't change all season for CBS.

Tuesdays
(Sep 24-Oct 15)
8:00 Hometown
9:00 Tuesday Night Movie

(Oct 22-Dec 17)
8:00 Various Programming
9:00 Tuesday Night Movie

(Dec 24-Jan 21)
8:00 Stir Crazy (through Jan 7)
9:00 Tuesday Night Movie

(Jan 28)
8:00 Melba
8:30 Charlie & Co.
9:00 Trapper John MD
10:00 CBS Special

(Feb 4-Mar 18)
8:00 Trapper John MD (starting Feb 18)
9:00 Tuesday Night Movie

(Mar 25-May 6)
8:00 Morningstar/Eveningstar
9:00 Mary (through Apr 8)
9:30 Foley Square (through Apr 8)
10:00 The Equalizer
"Morningstar/Eveningstar"
Unlike Mondays, Tuesdays were a mess all season for CBS, particularly in the 8pm hour. The season started out with Hometown at 8pm and a movie at 9pm. Hometown was a dramedy based directly on the hit movie The Big Chill and featuring Jane Kaczmarek and Daniel Stern. The show actually premiered a few weeks ahead of the regular season to get a head start but it didn't work and ratings fell quickly. The show was cancelled in October. Various specials filled the slot all the way until December when Stir Crazy aired some burnoff episodes during the Christmas season. On January 28, CBS planned a new lineup but it had double trouble - first the Challenger disaster happened earlier in the day and Americans' minds were elsewhere. Secondly, the 8pm sitcoms bombed - Melba starring Melba Moore was yanked instantly and the remaining five episodes were burned off in the summer. Charlie & Co. had bounced all around the lineup and didn't do any better here. Former Sunday occupant Trapper John MD had aired at 9pm but just a couple weeks later, it moved to 8pm and the Tuesday night movie returned to 9pm. Trapper John meanwhile was cancelled after seven modestly successful seasons. Finally in late March another new lineup was attempted. Morningstar/Eveningstar was a oddly titled warm family drama that lasted a mere six episodes. Two sitcoms that had failed on Wednesday - Mary and Foley Square were given another chance on Tuesdays but it didn't do any better. The Equalizer was one of the few decent performers among new shows and moved over from Wednesdays to Tuesdays to close out its season.

Wednesdays
(Sep 18-Dec 4)
8:00 Stir Crazy
9:00 Charlie & Co.
9:30 George Burns Comedy Week
10:00 The Equalizer

(Dec 11-Jan 8)
8:00 Mary
8:30 Foley Square
9:00 Charlie & Co. (through Dec 25)
9:30 George Burns Comedy Week (through Dec 25)
10:00 The Equalizer

(Jan 15-Feb 26)
8:00 Mary
8:30 Foley Square
9:00 Crazy Like a Fox
10:00 The Equalizer

(Mar 5-Apr 23)
8:00 Fast Times
8:30 Tough Cookies
9:00 Wednesday Night Movie (starting Mar 19)

(Apr 30-May 21)
8:00 West 57th
9:00 Wednesday Night Movie
"The Equalizer"
Like many other times in TV history (including this year on ABC Tuesdays), CBS tried to kickstart Wednesday nights in 1985 with an entirely new lineup. However, it was not very successful as only one of the four new shows saw a second season. The night started with Stir Crazy, an adventure dramedy about two escaped wrong-convicted prisoners. That absurd concept didn't last long as the show was yanked off of Wednesdays in early December and then it finished its run in a couple Tuesday episodes. At 9pm was two comedies. Charlie & Co. brought Flip Wilson back to TV in a family comedy that many saw as a ripoff of The Cosby Show. Also featuring Gladys Knight and a young Jaleel White, the show bounced around the lineup on three different nights for 18 episodes before it was cancelled. It was originally paired with George Burns Comedy Week which featured the 89 year old Burns as a host of a comedy anthology. Despite many appearances by big names, it only lasted until Christmas although one comedy feature became the short-lived show Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills. At 10pm was The Equalizer, a serial action drama that was one of the few success stories from the year. It ended up having a four season run and became a cult hit that will become a Denzel Washington movie in 2014. In December, two new comedies joined the lineup - Mary and Foley Square. Mary marked the return of Mary Tyler Moore to a sitcom format eight years after her classic show ended. Also featuring Katey Sagal and John Astin, this show put Mary in a tabloid newspaper setting. It was not nearly as successful and was gone by April. Foley Square was set in the Manhattan District Attorney's office and featured Margaret Colin, Hector Elizondo, and Jon Lovitz. The two shows were paired together throughout their run but neither lasted long. In January, Crazy Like a Fox took over the 9pm hour after moving over from Sunday. In March, things changed again as a movie took over the 9pm and 10pm hours and was led in by two new comedies - Fast Times, based on the hit movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Tough Cookies, a short lived cop comedy. Both those sitcoms were less successful than Mary and Foley Square and were quickly replaced by newsmagazine West 57th at the end of the season.

Thursdays
(Sep 26-Apr 17)
8:00 Magnum PI
9:00 Simon & Simon (starting Oct 3)
10:00 Knots Landing

(May 1-22)
8:00 Simon & Simon
9:00 Bridges to Cross
10:00 Knots Landing (through May 15)
"Bridges to Cross"
Thursday night brought some stability as it was full of long-running series. Magnum PI and Simon & Simon were two big hits in the early 1980s but they were starting to get older. They were two of the many detective shows that dominated the CBS landscape in the 1980s. At 10pm was Knots Landing, the hugely successful Dallas spinoff. In addition to the detective dramas, the opulent soaps made up the other half of hit CBS dramas in this era. Magnum PI ended its season early and Bridges to Cross took its place. Featuring Suzanne Pleshette, Eva Gabor, and Roddy McDowell, the drama set at a weekly newsmagazine company did not last very long. It looks like CBS was trying lots of new styles of dramas this season and it wasn't working with their detective drama/soap theme.

Fridays
(Sep 27-Apr 11)
8:00 The Twilight Zone
9:00 Dallas
10:00 Falcon Crest

(Apr 25-May 16)
8:00 Charlie & Co.
8:30 Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills
9:00 Dallas
10:00 Falcon Crest
"Leo and Liz in Beverly Hills"
Friday nights stayed the same for most of the year with a small change at the end. It started with a reboot of The Twilight Zone still narrated by Charles Aldman and featuring a theme song from the Grateful Dead. While not a big hit, it was one of only TWO new shows to get a renewal for season two (the other being The Equalizer). The rest of the night was set with Dallas, CBS' second highest rated scripted show, and fellow soap Falcon Crest. Isn't it hard to believe that the second highest rated scripted show on the network aired on Friday night? But that was a different time and Dallas thrived on Friday nights for years and year. At the end of the season, Charlie & Co. tried its third night and was paired with the odd fish-out-of-water comedy Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills starring Harvey Korman and Valerie Perrine. The show was based out of an episode of the failed George Burns Comedy Week and was no more successful as a standalone series which was comparable to The Beverly Hillbillies

Saturdays
(Sep 21-Mar 29)
8:00 Airwolf
9:00 Saturday Night Movie

(Apr 5-May 17)
8:00 Crazy Like a Fox
9:00 Airwolf (starting May 3)
10:00 Magnum PI (starting Apr 26)
Saturdays were pretty quiet on CBS. Airwolf aired at 8pm. Featured Ernest Borgnine, Airwolf was cancelled by CBS after three seasons but picked up by USA Network in an early example of a cable pickup of a network show which still happens today. A movie aired at 9pm for most of the season. So many movies aired on network TV back then! At the very end of the season, Airwolf moved to 9pm while Crazy Like a Fox finished its run at 8pm and Magnum PI temporarily moved to Saturdays to give Bridges to Cross a chance on Thursdays.

Sundays
(Sep 22-Jan 5)
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Murder She Wrote
9:00 Crazy Like a Fox
10:00 Trapper John MD

(Jan 12-May 18)
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Murder She Wrote
9:00 Sunday Night Movie
Sunday night had the top two shows for CBS. It was Murder She Wrote and - can you believe it - 60 Minutes. While 60 Minutes is still an institution, it's hard to believe it used to be among the Top 5 shows on TV. It was followed by Murder She Wrote which was starting its second season in a very long and successful run. Two dramas followed - Crazy Like a Fox had a second season despite a modestly rated first season but it was cancelled after year two. Distant M*A*S*H spinoff Trapper John MD had a nice seven year run but it was also cancelled as CBS was trying to move on from its early 1980s hits although its hard to do so when only two new shows survive!

CBS 1985-86 Stats

Shows in the Top 30
3. Murder She Wrote
4. 60 Minutes
6. Dallas
12. Sunday Night Movie
14. Kate & Allie
16. Newhart
17. Knots Landing
24. Falcon Crest
28. Scarecrow and Mrs. King
29. Simon & Simon

Fall Shows Survival: 2/6 (33%)
The Equalizer, The Twilight Zone

Midseason Shows Survival: 0/8 (0%)

Total New Shows Survival Rate: 2/14 (14%)

Cancelled/Ended Series
Trapper John MD (7 seasons)
Airwolf (3 seasons)
Crazy Like a Fox (2 seasons)
Stir Crazy/Charlie & Co./George Burns Comedy Week/Hometown/Mary/Foley Square/Melba/Fast Times/Tough Cookies/Morningstar Eveningstar/Bridges to Cross/Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills (1 season)

Emmy Award Nominees & Winners (Major Categories)
Cagney & Lacey (WINNER, Outstanding Drama Series)
Murder She Wrote (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Kate & Allie (Nominee, Outstanding Comedy Series)
Tom Selleck, Magnum PI (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Edward Woodward, The Equalizer (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Sharon Gless, Cagney & Lacey (WINNER, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
Tyne Daly, Cagney & Lacey (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
Angela Lansbury, Murder She Wrote (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
Bob Newhart, Newhart (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series)
Jack Warden, Crazy Like a Fox (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series)
John Karlen, Cagney & Lacey (WINNER, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
John Hillerman, Magnum PI (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
Tom Poston, Newhart (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
Julia Duffy, Newhart (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series) 

THE RUNDOWN: Sunday, September 29

Check back later today for the first Weekend Rewind of the season!

It's the final night of premiere week and there are plenty of season premieres with one series premiere - the ABC drama Betrayal. I think its lead-ins, Once Upon a Time and Revenge, will be way down year-to-year and that means a weak debut for Betrayal, which has little buzz. Elsewhere, CBS has the premieres of The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist which don't have the NFL direct lead-in and could have lackluster premieres. FOX does have the NFL lead-in which should boost the premieres of their animated lineup. In addition to competing with the NFL on NBC, the premieres must also compete with premieres of Homeland and the new Masters of Sex on Showtime and perhaps most importantly, the much anticipated series finale of Breaking Bad on AMC which should be a huge demo draw.

ABC
7:00 Once Upon a Time: Journey to Neverland (SPECIAL)
8:00 Once Upon a Time #45 "The Heart of the Truest Believer" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Revenge #45 "Fear" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Betrayal #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
Prediction: Once - 9.6 million, 2.8/Revenge - 8.5 million, 2.2/Betrayal - 6.4 million, 1.7

CBS
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 The Amazing Race (23rd Edition Premiere)
9:00 The Good Wife #91 "Everything is Ending" (Season Premiere)
10:00 The Mentalist #117 "The Desert Rose" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: 60 Mins - 11.2 million, 1.6/Race - 9.3 million, 2.3/Wife - 9.6 million, 1.7/Mentalist - 9.4 million, 1.8

NBC
7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football: New England at Atlanta

FOX
7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT
8:00 The Simpsons #531 "Homerland" (Season Premiere)
8:30 Bob's Burgers #46 "A River Runs Through Bob" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Family Guy #211 "Finders Keepers" (Season Premiere)
9:30 American Dad! #153 "Steve & Snot's Test-Tubular Adventure" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Simpsons - 8.4 million, 3.5/Burgers - 5.8 million, 2.7/Family - 7.1 million, 3.5/Dad - 5.5 million, 2.5   

Saturday, September 28, 2013

RATINGS RECAP: 9/27/13

ABC 
8:00 Last Man Standing 
Viewers: 5.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
8:30 The Neighbors
Viewers: 4.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0
9:00 Shark Tank
Viewers: 6.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0
10:00 20/20
Viewers: 4.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

CBS
8:00 Undercover Boss
Viewers: 8.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
Viewers: 9.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
10:00 Blue Bloods
Viewers: 11.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7

NBC
8:00 The Michael J. Fox Show (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.1 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 Dateline NBC
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3 

FOX
8:00 Masterchef Junior
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Sleepy Hollow (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.7 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9 

Friday night had premieres on CBS and FOX. First up, CBS debuted its new Friday lineup with Hawaii Five-0 in the middle. First up, Undercover Boss debuted to a 1.6 demo which is on the low end of what it was getting last year, but this show tends to fluctuate. At 9pm, Hawaii Five-0 came over to Fridays from Mondays at 10pm. Though it hit a series low in the demo, it actually did better in total viewers than it did most of last year. Overall, it was a very solid start by Friday standards. It seemed to help Blue Bloods too which had its best demo since April 6, 2012. NBC had a two hour Dateline NBC which slightly outdid 20/20 in total viewers but tied it in the demo. In late October, they will no longer have to compete against each other when Dracula launches.

FOX had the series premiere of Masterchef Junior and it got off to a solid start as it beat Undercover Boss to win the 8pm hour. For a Friday reality show, this is pretty good. Finally, ABC had some troubles at 8pm against new competition. After lackluster starts last week, Last Man Standing fell a million viewers and three tenths in the demo while The Neighbors was down half a million viewers and two tenths in the demo to a low 1.0. Friday isn't always a huge priority but these numbers are troubling this early. At 9pm, Shark Tank was even in viewers and up two tenths in the demo despite more competition and a lower lead-in. Finally at 10pm, 20/20 was down 1.2 million viewers and a tenth in the demo.  

GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK: September 28, 2013

GOOD WEEK: THE "BIG GUNS"
It has been a good premiere week for the broadcast networks for the most part. Most importantly, they each had a major victory with the show that matters most. ABC needed Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to premiere big and it delivered the best demo for a drama premiere since 2009. CBS needed The Big Bang Theory to come back and power The Crazy Ones to a big debut. Big Bang delivered it's best viewership total ever and The Crazy Ones had the best sitcom debut in two years. NBC needed The Voice and The Blacklist to start off strong and The Voice had its best debut since the post-Super Bowl airing while The Blacklist dominated its hour against CBS' competing new drama Hostages. Finally, FOX needed Sleepy Hollow to hold up after a surprisingly strong debut and it did as it got a 3.1 demo against The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, and 2 Broke Girls/Mom. Not everything went perfectly for the networks this week but the things that absolutely needed to did just that.

BAD WEEK: "LUCKY 7"
This statement might change in the coming days with Betrayal, We Are Men, and Super Fun Night, but only one new show has been completely dead on arrival and that was Lucky 7. Every other show could point to some hope, even Hostages, which had some nice DVR gains. But there is no hope for Lucky 7. 4.4 million viewers and a 1.3 premiere is not going to cut it. ABC saw a 6.4 million/1.4 demo debut for Zero Hour last midseason and that was gone after three weeks. We'll see if Lucky 7 can even make it that long.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/26/13

Check below this post for reviews of The Michael J. Fox Show and The Crazy Ones!

ABC
8:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
Viewers: 9.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.4

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
Viewers: 19.0 million, 18-49 demo: 5.5
8:30 The Big Bang Theory
Viewers: 20.4 million, 18-49 demo: 6.1
9:00 The Crazy Ones
Viewers: 15.5 million, 18-49 demo: 3.9
9:30 Two and a Half Men
Viewers: 11.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.9
10:00 Elementary
Viewers: 10.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1

NBC
8:00 Parks and Recreation
Viewers: 3.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3
9:00 The Michael J. Fox Show
Viewers: 7.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
10:00 Parenthood
Viewers: 5.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6 

FOX 
8:00 The X Factor
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
9:00 Glee
Viewers: 5.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0

Thursday night was all about The Big Bang Theory. The ratings beast that is doing numbers no other show is continued its incredible hot streak. After posting fantastic numbers at 8pm for its season premiere, a second episode at 8:30pm climbed to an all time high in total viewers and one of its best demo numbers ever. There is just no comparison on TV right now to Big Bang. It is far and away the top scripted program on TV and the closest thing to a mass hit in today's fractured audience environment. The double Big Bang certainly helped the series premiere of Robin Williams' The Crazy Ones. Crazy had weak retention out of Bang but it delivered the best sitcom series premiere numbers since the inflated premiere of 2 Broke Girls in September 2011. This certainly got the show sampled but next week will be a huge test when it has The Millers as a lead-in instead and less curiosity tune-in. The news wasn't as good for CBS the rest of the night though it was still solid. Two and a Half Men was down six tenths in the demo from last year's season premiere which followed a less strong Bang. This show benefited from the Big Bang lead-in last year and it can still be a draw, but CBS is probably smart by keeping it away as an anchor. At 10pm, Elementary returned to numbers close to what it was getting in the spring. It was an OK start but nothing great and now it must face Scandal's return next week. 

The series premiere battle between The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show didn't really amount to much of a competition as NBC was left in the dust. Things started out weak where Parks and Recreation in its new lead-off 8pm slot tied a series low in the demo with a measly 1.3. For whatever reason, this show just isn't going to ever find a big audience. It seems to be skewing older too as last year it also had 3.3 million viewers for its series premiere but with a 1.6 demo. At 9pm, the first two episodes of The Michael J. Fox Show aired. The good news is it built on Parks in a big way and held steady throughout the hour. It's too early to tell with this show but it did a lot better in total viewers than NBC Thursday shows have done in a long time. However, it skewed older so we'll see if NBC wants to head in that direction. At 10pm, the season premiere of Parenthood on its new night was down from most Tuesday numbers last year but way up from pretty much anything in this slot in recent years.

Over on ABC, a repeat of Tuesday's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. picked up a few more viewers and nearly beat Parks and Recreation. At 9pm, the two hour season premiere of Grey's Anatomy was down a full demo point from last year's big season premiere. This isn't too surprising considering that last year's premiere overperformed and the show is getting older. Over on FOX, The X Factor was up a tenth in viewers and the demo. I don't understand this show. It has a horrible weak last week and then faces The Big Bang Theory and its 20 million viewers and goes up in the ratings. At 9pm, the season premiere of Glee was way down from last year. It may get a bounce from its Cory Monteith episode in two weeks but I think it's going to be another year of big declines for Glee.

PILOT REVIEW: The Michael J. Fox Show

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW












Starring: Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce, Katie Finneran, Juliette Goglia, Conor Romero, Ann Nogueira

Created by Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne
Written by Sam Laybourne & Will Gluck, Directed by Will Gluck 

The Michael J. Fox Show is a new sitcom that brings Family Ties and Spin City star Fox back to the small screen. In this show, Fox plays Mike Henry who, like Fox, has Parkinsons and has taken time off to deal with the disease. Mike Henry used to be a star local news anchor in New York City and is coaxed back to TV by friend and executive Harris Green (Wendell Pierce). This means he'll no longer be a stay-at-home dad which is great relief to his wife Annie (Betsy Brandt), sons Ian and Graham (Conor Romero and Jack Gore), daughter Eve (Juliette Goglia), and sister/neighbor Leigh (Katie Finneran). Rounding out the main cast is Henry's assistant Kay Costa (Ann Nogueira).

THE GOOD: Michael J. Fox is as likable and enjoyable to watch as ever. He has a charisma that pops on screen whether he's Alex P. Keaton, Mike Flaherty, Marty McFly, or Mike Henry. With all the struggles he's been through, it really makes the audience root for both Fox and his character. While this is a family sitcom, I actually enjoyed the work scenes more (save for an awkward cameo by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie). Fox seems in his element as the news anchor and tough journalist. Basically, the best of this show (like Family Ties) starts and ends with Michael J. Fox

THE BAD: I wanted to like this pilot more than I did. The biggest problem for me was the family. Betsy Brandt was serviceable as Fox's onscreen wife but I didn't like the kids at all and it's 0 for 2 with Katie Finneran for me (after the awful I Hate My Teenage Daughter). In a year full of family comedies, this is far from my favorite family with not overly likable characters and actors who do not seem very natural in their roles. I already mentioned Lauer and Guthrie who were terrible in their cameos (is Savannah Guthrie that much of a ditz regularly on Today?) Everyone is concerned about product placement on The Crazy Ones but I'm more concerned that there is going to be too much NBC on this show.

BOTTOM LINE: I am far from writing off this show because of Fox but hopefully the surrounding cast, especially his family, can get to his level. NBC has given this show a full 22 episode commitment so there's time to work out some issues but hopefully the audience will stick around for awhile. I don't want to give up on this show but Fox can't do it alone. He deserves better, come on people!

PILOT REVIEW: The Crazy Ones

THE CRAZY ONES












Starring: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Hamish Linklater, Amanda Setton

Created by David E. Kelley
Written by David E. Kelley, Directed by Jason Winer

The Crazy Ones is a new sitcom from David E. Kelley that brings Robin Williams back to TV more than thirty years after Mork & Mindy. In this show, Williams plays Chicago advertising executive Simon Roberts. The free spirited Simon now oversees Roberts & Roberts alongside his type-A daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and in the pilot they have to work together to save their biggest client, McDonalds. Rounding out the main cast is another gifted salesman, Zach Cropper (James Wolk), ditsy secretary Lauren (Amanda Setton), and art director Andrew (Hamish Linklater).

THE GOOD: Let's get this straight right away: love him or hate him, Robin Williams is exactly what you expect him to be. For me, I typically enjoy Williams and I found him funny on the show. That being said, I like him more when he's a bit more subtle and he actually was in the pilot. He still had his spastic moments that are very typical Williams but they were blended nicely with a more sophisticated performance. If the writers and Williams can continue to strike that balance, he will shine here. Williams has good chemistry with Sarah Michelle Gellar but he really plays well with James Wolk. The two of them trying to come up with a McDonalds sex song for guest star Kelly Clarkson was the highlight of the pilot and it showed fantastic comedic chemistry between Williams and Wolk. Finally, aside from Mad Men, it feels like it's been awhile since we've had a show set in the advertising world so that's a fun element to this show.

THE BAD: I know that David E. Kelley and the writers were trying to provide a contrast between Williams and Gellar but it almost goes too far. Williams is fun and energetic but Gellar's character seems almost too wound up even with the restaurant scene where she puts herself out there. She needs to be more likable and I think it's partly the writing and partly her portrayal. This pilot also seemed to rush by things so McDonalds giving them another chance and Sydney actually getting Kelly Clarkson seemed almost too easy. I think this would have benefited from an hour long pilot or a two part episode because I felt like there was too much plot to happen in a short time along with the exposition they needed to do.

BOTTOM LINE: The Crazy Ones is a fun show and I think it has real potential. There are some major questions going forward though with the two biggest: can Gellar become more likable? And will Robin Williams continue to rein himself in enough to make the show enjoyable? I don't think all the pieces were there in the pilot but there's definitely a show here filled with good people in front of and behind the camera.

RENEWAL ALERT: Unforgettable

CBS announced today that it has renewed the Poppy Montgomery drama Unforgettable to air in the summer of 2014. The show initially aired a full season in the 2011-12 season and was cancelled at the end of the season after airing Tuesdays at 10pm. However, CBS changed its mind and renewed it for this past summer where it did decently enough, at least in total viewers, to get a third season.

Friday, September 27, 2013

THE RUNDOWN: Friday, September 27 & Saturday, September 28

Check back later for reviews of The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show! I didn't get a chance to watch them yet!!

Friday has a lot of new programming but I think it'll be pretty soft overall. ABC had a disappointing start to its Friday lineup last week and I don't think there will be huge drops but there won't be improvement. CBS has the season premieres of Undercover Boss, Hawaii Five-0, and Blue Bloods but I'm not too high on this lineup. The total viewer number will be OK but the demos will be low. NBC is rerunning The Michael J. Fox Show and pairing it with a two hour Dateline. Finally, FOX has the series premiere of new reality show Junior Masterchef but it's really just a placeholder.

FRIDAY

ABC
8:00 Last Man Standing #44 "Driving Lessons"
8:30 The Neighbors #24 "September Fools"
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 20/20
Prediction: Last Man - 6.2 million, 1.4/Neighbors - 4.1 million, 1.1/Shark - 6.7 million, 1.8/2020 - 5.4 million, 1.2

CBS
8:00 Undercover Boss (Season Premiere)
9:00 Hawaii Five-0 #72 "Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Blue Bloods #68 "Unwritten Rules" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Boss - 8.2 million, 1.5/Hawaii - 8.4 million, 1.4/Bloods - 9.3 million, 1.4

NBC 
8:00 The Michael J. Fox Show #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
8:30 The Michael J. Fox Show #2 "Neighbor" (REPEAT)
9:00 Dateline NBC

Prediction: Dateline - 5.5 million, 1.4

FOX
8:00 Junior Masterchef (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Sleepy Hollow #2 "Blood Moon" (REPEAT)
Prediction: Junior - 4.5 million, 1.5

SATURDAY

ABC
8:00 College Football: Wisconsin at Ohio State

CBS 
8:00 The Crazy Ones #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
8:30 Mom #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Hostages #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
10:00 48 Hours


NBC
8:00 Chicago Fire #25 "A Problem House" (REPEAT)
9:00 The Blacklist #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)

10:00 48 Hours

FOX
8:00 College Football: Arizona at Washington 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

RATINGS RECAP: 9/25/13

ABC
8:00 The Middle
Viewers: 8.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5
8:30 Back in the Game
Viewers: 8.0 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
9:00 Modern Family
Viewers: 11.7 million, 18-49 demo: 4.2
10:00 Nashville
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0

CBS
8:00 Survivor
Viewers: 9.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
9:00 Criminal Minds
Viewers: 11.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.8
10:00 CSI
Viewers: 9.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0

NBC
8:00 Revolution
Viewers: 6.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
Viewers: 9.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.7

FOX
8:00 The X Factor
Viewers: 7.7 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5 

It was an interesting Wednesday night where every network had at least some things to be happy about. ABC had the only series premiere of the night with Back in the Game but first up, The Middle was down four tenths in the demo from last year's season premieres but it was above most numbers from last year. At 8:30pm, the series premiere of Back in the Game performed decently enough. It was lower than The Goldbergs or Trophy Wife in the demo but it had a much lower lead-in than either of those shows. It seems like it will be compatible with The Middle. At 9pm, Modern Family was down a big 1.3 demo points from last year's season premiere. This show may be past its peak unless syndication can give it new life. It's still the top comedy demo of the week though. At 10pm, Nashville premiered to pretty soft numbers right above where it settled last year. It seems like this show might be in trouble if its Super Fun Night lead-in starting next week is low.

A surprising story of the night was NBC. First off, the season premiere of Revolution in the new difficult Wednesday 8pm slot came in fourth place but it was close to where it left off last season in the much better Monday 10pm slot. More importantly, it didn't have a Smash-like meltdown when left to its own devices which is huge for NBC. This may not be enough in the long run but it's an improvement in the slot and maybe even a slightly overachieving performance from Revolution. The better news came at 9pm where Law & Order: SVU's two hour premiere gave the series its best performance since way back in May 2011. I did not see this coming for this show and incredibly impressive for its 15th season premiere.

Over on CBS, Survivor was down two tenths in viewers and the demo from its season premiere last week. At 9pm, Criminal Minds premiered down three tenths in the demo from last year but that's to be expected for a veteran drama. More troubling was CSI, which was down half a demo point from last year's premiere and only tied Nashville in the demo after regularly beating it last year. It will be interesting to see how the 10pm slot will go when Ironside is in the mix and the two returning dramas settle. Another surprise came on FOX where The X Factor was up 1.1 million viewers and three tenths in the demo for a season high despite more competition. Maybe I was writing this show off a little too soon.

RENEWAL ALERT: Bob's Burgers

Season four hasn't even begun but FOX has announced that Bob's Burgers was renewed for season five (2014-15). Because animation shows need a lot of pre-production, the renewals often come early. FOX has already announced American Dad! will air on TBS starting next season while Family Guy and The Simpsons are most likely to get renewals soon though you never know with The Simpsons since it's getting up there in age and more expensive. FOX also renewed Glee for 2014-15 as announced last season.

THE RUNDOWN: Thursday, September 26

Check below this post for a review of ABC's Back in the Game!

Thursday night has lots of double pumping of shows, a Beatles tribute on Glee, the return of Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox to TV, and trips to London on Parks and Recreation and Elementary. ABC is starting things off with a rerun of Tuesday's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere and it should do pretty well for a rerun. A two hour Grey's Anatomy follows and should do well but probably not above a 4 like last year's season premiere. Over on CBS, The Big Bang Theory should be dominant as usual and help The Crazy Ones to stellar debut numbers. Of course in the long run, The Crazy Ones has to follow The Millers and not Big Bang. I think CBS will see a decline as the night goes on like ABC on Tuesday though Elementary won't fall anywhere as low as Lucky 7 did. NBC has an hour long premiere of Parks and Recreation which should be pretty low like usual. The highly anticipated The Michael J. Fox Show follows and should easily build on Parks but I think it'll be awfully hard for it to top the Big Bang-led The Crazy Ones. If it somehow could, that would be a huge story. At 10pm, Parenthood on its new night may be able to challenge Elementary if Michael J. Fox premieres big. Finally, FOX has The X Factor which I think will wilt against the competition. Honestly, it could lose to the Marvel rerun as well as Big Bang. The Glee season premiere follows and its probably headed for fourth place but I think it'll build on X Factor.

ABC
8:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Grey's Anatomy #197 "Seal Our Fate" (Season Premiere)

10:00 Grey's Anatomy #198 "I Want You With Me"
Prediction: Grey's - 10.9 million, 3.6

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory #136 "The Hofstadter Insufficiency" (Season Premiere)
8:30 The Big Bang Theory #137 "The Deception Verification"
9:00 The Crazy Ones #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:30 Two and a Half Men #225 "Nangnangnangnang" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Elementary #25 "Step Nine" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Big Bang - 15.2 million, 4.9/Crazy - 12.6 million, 3.9/Men - 11.3 million, 3.4/Elementary - 10.7 million, 2.4

NBC
8:00 Parks and Recreation #91/92 "London" (Season Premiere)
9:00 The Michael J. Fox Show #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:30 The Michael J. Fox Show #2 "Neighbor"
10:00 Parenthood #69 "It Has to Be Now" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Parks - 4.2 million, 1.6/Michael - 8.7 million, 2.8/Parenthood - 6.0 million, 2.3

FOX
8:00 The X Factor
9:00 Glee #89 "Love Love Love" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Factor - 5.6 million, 1.7/Glee - 7.4 million, 2.3

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: Back in the Game

BACK IN THE GAME












Starring: James Caan, Maggie Lawson, Ben Koldyke, Griffin Gluck, Lenora Crichlow, JJ Totah, Kennedy Waite, Cooper Roth

Created by Rob Cullen and Mark Cullen
Written by Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen, Directed by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra

Back in the Game is a new baseball themed comedy centered on former star college softball player Terry Gannon (Maggie Lawson) returning home with son Danny (Griffin Gluck) after a messy divorce. They move in with her outspoken and estranged father "The Cannon" (James Caan), who was a star baseball player himself. Despite Terry's disgust towards baseball and the way it messed up her life, Danny wants to play because he has a crush on Vanessa (Kennedy Waite), a baseball loving girl at school. However, Danny is not very coordinated and doesn't make the team until Terry steps up to coach a team of misfits. Rounding out the cast is Terry's sassy new friend Gigi (Lenora Crichlow) and her flamboyant son Michael (JJ Totah), and league president Dick (Ben Koldyke) and his jerky son David (Cooper Roth).

THE GOOD: This show isn't one of those laugh out loud shows but it's very charming and enjoyable. It's fun to have a movie legend like James Caan on a TV show and he's well cast as the cranky but proud old man. Maggie Lawson is solid in the lead role as well and has good chemistry with Caan. They really do seem like they could be father and daughter. The kids are really enjoyable in this show. Griffin Gluck makes Danny a real character to root for and the ragtag gang of misfits was the closest the show came to a laugh out loud moment especially with the twins. Lenora Crichlow has a few nice lines in the pilot too and there is no cast member that stands out as a weak link, which is always promising.

THE BAD: This show can get by a lot on charm but I do think it needs to up the humor a little bit.
The characters were great, the writing was solid, and the premise is interesting. It needs to find a way to pepper the show with a few more jokes while keeping the heart it already has. This isn't really negative but I'm also interested to see how the show is going to expand beyond baseball because it surely can't make that the focus of every episode.

BOTTOM LINE: It looks like ABC has a winner in Back in the Game, which is a perfect fit out of The Middle and another solid family comedy for ABC this fall making them 3 for 3 in that department (not counting the odd fitting non-family comedy Super Fun Night). I'm looking forward to seeing where they take this show.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/24/13

ABC
8:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Viewers: 12.1 million, 18-49 demo: 4.7
9:00 The Goldbergs
Viewers: 8.9 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1
9:30 Trophy Wife
Viewers: 6.7 million, 18-49 demo: 2.3
10:00 Lucky 7
Viewers: 4.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

CBS
8:00 NCIS
Viewers: 20.0 million, 18-49 demo: 3.6
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
Viewers: 16.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.0
10:00 Person of Interest
Viewers: 12.4 million, 18-49 demo: 2.3 

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 14.4 million, 18-49 demo: 4.7
10:00 Chicago Fire
Viewers: 8.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.7 

FOX
8:00 Dads
Viewers: 3.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Viewers: 4.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8
9:00 New Girl
Viewers: 4.0 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
9:30 The Mindy Project
Viewers: 2.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5 

On the first Tuesday of premiere week, ABC started with a bang and ended with a fizzle. The hotly anticipated Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did not disappoint as its 4.7 demo was the best for a drama premiere since V got a 5.2 way back in November 2009. It skewed pretty young too and actually grew at the half hour which is a great sign. Reviews seem to be pretty positive so ABC can breathe a big sigh of relief. The comedies that followed had mixed results. At 9pm, The Goldbergs posted good raw numbers. It actually posted the best demo premiere for a comedy since The Neighbors a year ago. However, retention was pretty weak but I think that's to be expected. Overall, I think it's a good showing. Trophy Wife only did OK though at 9:30pm as it lost a lot of The Goldbergs' audience. Week two will be key for these two shows. Week two barely matters though for Lucky 7 which fell flat on its face with a horrible 1.3 demo premiere. It's not a matter of if but when for this show's cancellation as it's very DOA. I'd be surprised if it lasts until November but ABC does have some other question marks like this Sunday's Betrayal so that might play a factor. Also, for those counting at home, ABC lost 3.4 demo points from 8pm-11pm. Still, the show that had to premiere strong did and that's important.

NBC won the night again thanks to The Voice as the ratings giant was just four tenths behind its mammoth Monday premiere. It tied Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the demo over two hours but lost in the 8pm hour to the Marvel show. NBC was smart to launch it with two hours but the even smarter move is airing it at 9pm this year on Tuesdays where it might have a halo effect at both 8pm and 10pm. At 10pm, the season premiere of Chicago Fire was fueled by The Voice to a series high. Retention and overall numbers were not as good as The Blacklist but that's to be expected. This show is able to find new viewers and will probably be one of the few returning shows that will grow in the ratings this year.

CBS had a good night with a trio of veteran drama premieres. At 8pm, NCIS debuted close in viewers but down in the demo to last year. Of course it had to face off against Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this year which made things much tougher so I think 20 million viewers and a 3.6 demo is pretty impressive for a show in its 11th season now. At 9pm, NCIS: Los Angeles was also down from last season's premiere but still solid with a 3.0 demo. At 10pm, the premiere on a new night of Person of Interest was below the series premiere of Vegas a year ago but well above what Vegas and Golden Boy got during most of the season last year. I think this will end up being the most reliable Tuesday 10pm performer for CBS in years. Hopefully the 9pm Thursday slot it left holds up well for them too with The Crazy Ones and Two and a Half Men.

Finally, FOX had the second week of all its comedies and it was big drops galore as expected. Dads fell 2.1 million viewers and seven tenths in the demo. This show won't be long for this world with big drops and no critical support. At 8:30pm, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was down 2.2 million viewers and eight tenths in the demo. The bad news is it dropped more than Dads, the good news is it still built out of its lead-in and skewed pretty young. At 9pm, New Girl was down 1.5 million viewers and also eight tenths in the demo. It still skews as young as anything on broadcast TV. At 9:30pm, The Mindy Project was down nine tenths in viewers and four tenths in the demo. It has the smallest drop but it also started much lower and is actually a weaker performer than Dads right now given its lead-in. It's going to be a long year for FOX Tuesdays if Mindy stays put.

RENEWAL ALERT: Mistresses

ABC announced today that it has renewed Mistresses for a second season. The Alyssa Milano dramedy aired all summer at 10pm to low but not horrible (by summer standards) ratings. It was dwarfed by Under the Dome but did a little better when it was moved to 9pm for the last couple weeks. It's scheduled to premiere next summer but it's not out of the realm of possibility that it will air during the season especially if other dramas for ABC bomb like Lucky 7 did last night.

THE RUNDOWN: Wednesday, September 25

Check below this post for reviews of Lucky 7, Trophy Wife, The Goldbergs, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Blacklist! And check back tonight for a review of Back in the Game!

After premieres galore over the last couple days, Wednesday night has just one series premiere - ABC's comedy Back in the Game. Game premieres in-between season premieres of The Middle and Modern Family so it should get a solid sampling. An hour of Modern Family should help Nashville's season premiere at 10pm. Elsewhere, CBS has the season premieres of Criminal Minds and CSI which are aging but solid though they could get hurt (and vice-versa) by NBC's two hour premiere of Law & Order: SVU. Earlier in the night, Revolution has its season premiere in a tough timeslot and I'm not expecting much. Finally, The X Factor has been disappointing for two weeks and now it must face many season premieres. It will definitely fall and could flirt with dipping below a 2 in the demo.

ABC
8:00 The Middle #97 "The Drop Off" (Season Premiere)
8:30 Back in the Game #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Modern Family #97 "Suddenly, Last Summer" (Season Premiere)
9:30 Modern Family #98 "First Days"
10:00 Nashville #22 "I Fall to Pieces" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Middle - 8.8 million, 2.9/Game - 8.4 million, 2.8/Modern - 12.6 million, 4.6/Nashville - 7.8 million, 2.3

CBS
8:00 Survivor 
9:00 Criminal Minds #187 "The Inspiration" Part 1 (Season Premiere)
10:00 CSI #296 "The Devil and D.B. Russell" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Survivor - 9.4 million, 2.4/Criminal - 11.5 million, 3.0/CSI - 11.1 million, 2.5

NBC
8:00 Revolution #21 "Born in the USA" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Law & Order: SVU #320 "Surrender Benson" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Law & Order: SVU #321 "Imprisoned Lives"
Prediction: Revolution - 5.7 million, 1.6/SVU - 7.4 million, 2.0

FOX 
8:00 The X Factor
Prediction: Factor - 5.9 million, 2.0      

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: Lucky 7

LUCKY 7

















Starring:  Summer Bishil, Lorraine Bruce, Christine Evangelista, Stephen Louis Grush, Matt Long, Anastasia Phillips, Luis Antonio Ramos, Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Based on the British series The Syndicate
Developed by Jason Richman and David Zabel
Teleplay by Jason Richman & David Zabel, Directed by Paul McGuigan

Lucky 7 is a new drama with a unique premise: seven gas station workers in Queens have been playing the lottery for years and when they finally win the big jackpot, their lives are changed for better and for worse. Making up the main cast are the six winners (one chose to save his money instead every week and didn't become a part of the winners) and their close family and friends.

THE GOOD: You know, I went in expecting to completely hate this show and I guess I didn't completely hate it. There are some individual performances that are good: Lorraine Bruce and Luis Antonio Ramos are the strongest performers so far in the ensemble or at least they made the most of mediocre material and character development. I actually think the premise is really interesting and could make for a great drama but so much of it just didn't work which I will get to now.

THE BAD: This show is sooooo ABC that it's nauseating. And it's ABC circa 2006-2007 with its whimsical feel and melodrama. I just wasn't invested in this show at all and I blame it on a couple things. First is the writing. The characters are one dimensional with some predictable problems and issues. A show like this needs to be character driven and it isn't. The second thing was the directing - the quick cuts, the abundance of slow motion moments. So much just didn't work here but most of all, it was boring. This is about people winning the lottery and I feel like nothing exciting happened. Finally, the lottery guy on TV seemed like he belonged on The Goldbergs because it was such an 80s looking TV clip.

BOTTOM LINE: I just don't see anything about Lucky 7 working. It has no buzz and it's only hook didn't pan out in the pilot. I can't imagine many people tuned in and I really can't imagine those who did sticking around for long. This will be a prime candidate for first cancellation of the season.

PILOT REVIEW: Trophy Wife

TROPHY WIFE













Starring: Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Michaela Watkins, Natalie Morales, Ryan Lee, Gianna LePera, Albert Tsai, and Marcia Gay Harden

Created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins
Written by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins, Directed by Jason Moore

Trophy Wife is a new family sitcom with a new kind of TV family. The title character is Kate Harrison (Malin Akerman), a party girl who falls in love with twice divorced father of three Pete (Bradley Whitford) after a freak accident at a karaoke bar. As Kate adjusts to life as a stepmom to teenage twins Hillary (Gianna LePera) and Warren (Ryan Lee) and precocious six year old Bert (Albert Tsai), she must also contend with Pete's two ex-wives. Hillary and Warren's mom Diane Buckley (Marcia Gay Harden) is a sensible and successful doctor while Bert's mom Jackie (Michaela Watkins) is a hot mess new-age woman. Rounding out the main cast is Kate's best friend Meg (Natalie Morales).

THE GOOD: All hail Trophy Wife! Everything clicked in this pilot - the cast is fantastic, the premise is a unique spin on a classic genre, and the writing is top notch because it seems to write to the actor's strengths. You very rarely see things gel this quickly for comedies. Malin Akerman is fantastic in the lead role - she has excellent comic timing with a nervous, awkward energy and she plays a great drunk. Equally enjoyable is Bradley Whitford, who seems to be playing an older and more domestic version of Josh Lyman, but he still has the great timing and delivery. Michaela Watkins is a hoot as the oddball Jackie. She had some of the best lines in the pilot but they were all contextual so it's hard to quote them in the review. Finally, Albert Tsai is a real scene stealer and a funny child actor. They're not always easy to find!

THE BAD: This is truly nitpicking because I loved the pilot. The only two characters that didn't completely land for me were Warren and Meg. I felt like they were trying a little too hard to make Warren a nerd and they didn't seem to know what to do with Meg. A show like this honestly doesn't even need a best friend character because the family characters are all so strong.

BOTTOM LINE: This show has put some pressure on other sitcoms and itself. For other sitcoms, it shows that it doesn't always take awhile to gel. Sometimes it can happen instantly when all the elements come together. For itself, it now has to replicate the success in the episodes to come. This is usually more of a fear with stellar drama pilots but you never know. I think the cast and writing are strong so I think this show should have smooth sailing ahead. Now about that scheduling - ABC has lost their mind by putting Super Fun Night after Modern Family instead of this high quality and compatible comedy. To be fair I haven't even seen Super Fun Night but there's no way it's in the same league as this show. In fact, very few are. Trophy Wife has struck gold.

PILOT REVIEW: The Goldbergs

THE GOLDBERGS












Starring: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantina, with George Segal, and Jeff Garlin

Created by Adam F. Goldberg
Written by Adam F. Goldberg, Directed by Seth Gordon

The Goldbergs is a new family comedy set in the glorious 1980s. Closely based on creator Adam Goldberg's life, the show is set in the small town of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and revolves around the Goldberg family. Smothering mother Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is having a hard time accepting her kids growing up. Murray (Jeff Garlin) is her loud-mothed emotionally distant husband. Oldest child Erica (Hayley Orrantina) is nearing college and a stereotypical 1980s teenager. Barry (Troy Gentile) is the middle child who also desperately wants to grow up. Youngest child Adam (Sean Giambrone) is based on Goldberg himself and follows his family around with a camcorder. Rounding out the cast is Beverly's suave but aging father Albert (George Segal).

THE GOOD: The Goldbergs is a funny yet sentimental comedy that hits a lot of right notes in the pilot. There will of course be a lot of comparisons to The Wonder Years but it's not without merit right down to the narration (and when the narrator was interacting with the plot in the diner scene, it definitely felt like The Wonder Years). This show just seems like it will more often go for the funny and not the heart while Wonder was the opposite. However, when it did pull at the heart strings near the end of the pilot, it worked well. The standout in the cast so far is Wendi McLendon-Covey as the overbearing mother. She has excellent delivery and reactions. Her best scene in the pilot was giving Barry a locket instead of car keys for his birthday. The rest of the cast (for the most part) was pretty strong too and I can see them growing into their roles. Barry may not be so sure about REO Speedwagon but I hope this show continues to use lots of 1980s tunes to complement it. Finally, the clothes were awesome as to be expected and the real life home videos shown at the end were really interesting - I hope that continues.

THE BAD: While the 1980s setting is a key component of this show, it just needs to "be" in the 80s. It doesn't need to overload the pop culture references to remind the viewer of the premise. The clothes, cars, decor, and soundtrack will do that easily enough so the script doesn't need to. There were times in the pilot where I felt like they were trying a little too hard with the pop culture nods (the Flavor Flav line by Barry especially stands out). Speaking of Barry, Troy Gentile was the weakest link in the pilot as he delivered every line with the same level and force and very few came across believable or funny. I liked Jeff Garlin as the dad but I didn't like the "translations" that appeared. And it's not just from the ads of the summer, I thought that seemed stupid when I saw the trailer too. Hopefully that doesn't keep happening.

BOTTOM LINE: While it's not perfect, it has a ton of potential. The cast is good, the writing seems to be good, and the setting is, like, totally tubular. This is a show with a real basic premise, nothing fancy, and that should allow it to focus on its characters. I want this show to succeed because I think it has a chance to be a great family comedy.

PILOT REVIEW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.













Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge

Based on the Marvel Comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen
Written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, & Maurissa Tancharoen, Directed by Joss Whedon

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the highly anticipated new series from the makers of the many successful Marvel movies in recent years. In the show, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) from the movie assembles a S.H.I.E.L.D. team (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division). Made up of humans in the Marvel universe, the team works to try to figure out the superhumans in the universe. The rest of the main cast are the five agents working under Coulson.

THE GOOD: I think fans of the Marvel films will be happy with this show. It has some great visual effects, high tech gadgetry, and lots of humor mixed in. All those features are hallmarks of the movie and very evident throughout the pilot. Not surprisingly, Clark Gregg is very solid as the leader of the crew. The show started to build my interest as it went on and it had some good fight scenes and destruction of property which is an essential for a show like this.

THE BAD: I must admit that this kind of show is not my style. I have seen a few of the Marvel films but I never really love any of them and that's how I felt about the show, it was just fine for me. There was nothing about it that made me think it was far worse than the films. However, it's not my style so I found the whole thing a little dull. There was also an element of it that made me think of a modern-day Get Smart with its truth serum. Now I love Get Smart but I don't think that kind of humor really works in 2013. I don't know if it was just my lack of interest, but the whole pilot dragged a little bit. I didn't get sucked into the story the way I have with many drama premieres over the years, even some weaker ones.

BOTTOM LINE: ABC is betting big on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I'm really having a hard time trying to figure out if it will work or not. I really think fans of the movies (and there are many) will like this show but maybe more people found it dull like I did. Either way, this show is going to be revealing if a big tentpole scripted show like this can still work on TV. Let's see...

RATINGS RECAP: 9/23/13

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
Viewers: 13.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.3
10:00 Castle
Viewers: 11.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2

CBS
8:00 How I Met Your Mother
Viewers: 9.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.7
9:00 2 Broke Girls
Viewers: 8.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.8
9:30 Mom
Viewers: 8.0 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5
10:00 Hostages
Viewers: 7.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 15.0 million, 18-49 demo: 5.1
10:00 The Blacklist
Viewers: 12.6 million, 18-49 demo: 3.8

FOX 
8:00 Bones
Viewers: 6.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9
9:00 Sleepy Hollow
Viewers: 8.6 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1

On the opening night of the 2013-14 season, it was all NBC all night as their combo of The Voice and The Blacklist got off to a great start. The fifth edition of The Voice with the original coaches got off to a phenomenal start. It was up nicely from both the fall and spring edition premieres last year. This show is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down and it managed to post these fantastic numbers even with new shows galore on the other networks. At 10pm, the series premiere of new drama The Blacklist got off to a stellar start. It beat the competing new drama Hostages by two full demo points. While it was slightly below the Revolution premiere, that show started a week early against less competition. It handily beat the second episode of Revolution which aired on this night a year ago. Feedback has been positive so NBC will be promoting it like crazy with these numbers as they try to get a show to stick here.

Things were not as rosy for CBS on premiere night. The night started off well for them as the one hour final season premiere of How I Met Your Mother was up a tenth in the demo from last year's season premiere. At 9pm though 2 Broke Girls continued to prove it is not a solid anchor. It was down a big nine tenths from last year's season premiere and it seems like it will continue to slide like it did last year. This is becoming a real problem for CBS. The series premiere of the Anna Faris-Allison Janney sitcom Mom followed and posted disappointing numbers though retention out of Girls wasn't bad. This show might have been better suited at 8pm where Mother is a much better lead-in than the sure to be doomed We Are Men. Mom was the least of CBS's problems though because Hostages was pretty much DOA by CBS standards at 10pm. This was a hugely disappointing premiere in a slot where Under the Dome rocked it all summer. It's hard to imagine a serial drama like Hostages growing from here and I hate to make too snappy a judgment, but I wonder if CBS will even air all 15 planned episodes on Monday night.

While NBC was impressive for sure, the real winner of the night might have been Sleepy Hollow which had a fantastic hold in week two against tons of competition. First off though Bones was down 1.1 million viewers and four tenths in the demo. This isn't too surprising with the competition and I think it will crawl back above a 2.0 in the weeks to come. But the best news was at 9pm where Sleepy Hollow was down 1.5 million viewers and four tenths in the demo from last week's series premiere. This is a great hold especially for a genre show and against CBS premieres and the stronger hours of Dancing with the Stars and The Voice.

Over on ABC, Dancing with the Stars took a big hit against The Voice as it dropped 2.4 million viewers and eight tenths in the demo. Honestly, this is to be expected and it was only down two tenths in the demo from last year's premiere, which aired on this night, and up two tents in the demo from the second episode last year. At 10pm, the season premiere of Castle posted respectable numbers against two series premieres. It was a distant second to The Blacklist but topped Hostages and was up a tenth in the demo from last year's premiere. All in all, it was a pretty solid night for ABC when every other network was more newsworthy and exciting.