Welcome to Benjamonster's TV - a place that covers broadcast networks with reviews, ratings, and other features!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Code Black

CODE BLACK












Starring: Marcia Gay Harden, Raza Jaffrey, Bonnie Somerville, Melanie Chandra, William Allen Young, Harry Ford, Benjamin Hollingsworth, with Luis Guzman

Created by Michael Seitzman
Written by Michael Seitzman, Directed by David Semel

THE SYNOPSIS
As the first image of the show tells us, "code black" stands for when a hospital's patients outnumber available resources. At the Angels Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, a "code black" is a regular occurrence, hence the title. The person in charge is the tough ER Residency Director, Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden). She often clashes with Dr. Neal Hudson (Raza Jaffrey). The rest of the ensemble is a group of residents, managed by senior nurse Jesse Salander (Luis Guzman). The residents are all first years: Mario, Christa, Malaya, and Angus (Benjamin Hollingsworth, Bonnie Somerville, Melanie Chandra, and Harry Ford).

THE REVIEW
Just like the hospital in the show, this pilot picked up steam as it went along and it left me much more satisfied at the end of the episode. I actually felt like it wasn't quite as intense as I wanted it to be at first but I realized that was mostly by design as the hospital got busier and busier through the night and the pace of the show and feel of the show became more hectic. The best example of this was the scene where Dr. Rorish was instructing a resident on doing a c-section over the phone while presiding over her own medical emergency.

The cast is very sold here. Marcia Gay Harden is one of those actresses who can just make you feel like this show is in good hands. She exudes confidence even as she's playing a type that has become common in dramas, especially medical ones. Luis Guzman brings a good amount of humor and lightheartedness that is needed while the residents seem good as well. There wasn't really a weak one in the bunch and it does seem like it's going to be a little more character driven than some other dramas on CBS.

That being said, the pilot did resort to pretty much every medical drama cliche in the book. From the devastating loss of a loved one being redeemed in a small way to a sweet moment with an old couple to a pregnant woman's trauma to a predictable back story that led a character into the medical field, they're all there. Just like Rosewood with crime dramas, I don't mind a medical drama that is pretty much standard fare if it's done well with good actors, and that is the case here. Is it the next coming of ER? Probably not, but it is a drama with room to grow and it should satisfy anyone who enjoys a good medical drama.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes. I'm not sure if I'll ultimately stick with it if it survives only because my track record with medical dramas is I tend to lose interest eventually, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/29/15

ABC
8:00 The Muppets
Viewers: 5.8 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
10:00 Quantico (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0

CBS
8:00 NCIS
Viewers: 16.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans
Viewers: 12.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
10:00 Limitless
Viewers: 9.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 13.6 million, 18-49 demo: 3.7
10:00 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris
Viewers: 6.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

FOX
8:00 Grandfathered

Viewers: 5.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
8:30 The Grinder
Viewers: 5.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
9:00 Scream Queens
Viewers: 3.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4

On Tuesday night, FOX launched its new sitcom block and the results were respectable. Grandfathered and The Grinder needed to be self starters and they didn't totally fall on their faces. Both delivered an OK 1.5 demo and a decent total viewer count considering how its been going for FOX. Also, they seemed quite compatible which gives me some hope for the future of this block. Sure, it wasn't amazing but considering how FOX's fall has been going outside Empire, this was an OK start. At 9pm, week two of Scream Queens was down half a million viewers and three tenths in the demo. It's already so far below what many (including me) expected, but it didn't have a disastrous week two drop. FOX can tout the social media buzz of this show and it does skew young, but it's still a disappointment without question.

ABC saw a horrible drop in week two for The Muppets. It crashed 3.2 million viewers and nine tenths in the demo from its premiere last week. That is a drop of over 30%, which is more than double the normal week two slide. We'll see where it settles but this is not a great sign when the second week drops that much. Fresh Off the Boat held up better as it was down 1.4 million viewers and two tenths in the demo. The viewer total is actually a series low but the demo is not even close to the series low (1.3). So, it's skewing younger than last year. I think it would do extremely well in the Wednesday block but what could it replace? Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned at 9pm. It was below last fall's premiere but posted its best demo since December 9. Not a horrible return for this show. A repeat of Quantico did quite well at 10pm. Through its two airings of the pilot, it has gotten over 10 million viewers and a 2.9 demo. I'll be curious to see how episode two does this Sunday.

On NBC, The Voice was up a strong 1.3 million viewers and two tenths in the demo for a season high. It may have benefited from less sampling of other shows and no Dancing with the Stars competition. It helped Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris once again. It was up a tenth in viewers and down two tenths in the demo but suffered a big drop at the half hour mark. NBC has realized it likes this order more and will keep the night as is for one more week instead of flipping the two shows. Best Time Ever will now go to 8pm in two weeks when Chicago Fire returns to 10pm. Finally on CBS, NCIS was down 1.7 million viewers and three tenths in the demo from its season premiere. Despite the lead-in being down, NCIS: New Orleans was up three tenths in viewers and even in the demo. After last week's very disappointing return, it needed to at least hold on and it did. The best news for CBS came at 10pm where Limitless did not drop in week two, a very rare occurrence for new shows. It was down two tenths in viewers and even in the demo. This is very encouraging news for CBS and it catches a break once again next week as NBC will not move The Voice into this hour as originally planned.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Limitless (CBS)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: The Muppets (ABC)

THE RUNDOWN: Wednesday, September 30

Wednesday night has another series premiere with the CBS medical drama Code Black. It has been heavily promoted but it's in a slot that hasn't been kind to CBS recently. Following the season premiere of Criminal Minds, I expect it to do pretty well in total viewers but skew old. As usual with Wednesdays, all eyes will be on Empire. I don't think it will grow like it did every week of its freshman year since last week was so heavily hyped, but it will still dominate. Even more interesting to see is how Rosewood holds up in week two and if it can still benefit from that Empire halo. NBC's crime drama trio is fully back with the return of Chicago PD, which could win the hour in the demo most weeks though it may lose to Code Black tonight. ABC also has week two of its comedies after a strong first week.

ABC
8:00 The Middle #146 "Cutting the Cord"
8:30 The Goldbergs #49 "A Chorus Lie"
9:00 Modern Family #146 "The Day Alex Left for College"
9:30 Black-ish #26 "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun"
10:00 Nashville #67 "'Til the Pain Outwears the Shame"
Prediction: Middle - 7.5 million, 2.0/Goldbergs - 7.4 million, 2.2/Modern - 8.9 million, 2.9/Blackish - 6.9 million, 2.1/Nashville - 4.5 million, 1.2

CBS
8:00 Survivor
9:00 Criminal Minds #234 "The Job" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Code Black #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
Prediction: Survivor - 9.3 million, 2.3/Criminal - 10.4 million, 2.2/Black - 9.7 million, 1.8

NBC
8:00 The Mysteries of Laura #24 "The Mystery of the Cure to Loneliness"
9:00 Law & Order: SVU #368 "Transgender Bridge"
10:00 Chicago PD #39 "Life is Fluid" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Laura - 6.5 million, 1.0/SVU - 6.9 million, 1.5/PD - 7.0 million, 1.5

FOX
8:00 Rosewood #2 "Fireflies and Fidelity"
9:00 Empire #14 "Without a Country"
Prediction: Rosewood - 6.6 million, 2.1/Empire - 15.1 million, 6.3

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

RATINGS RECAP: 9/28/15

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
Viewers: 11.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
10:00 Castle
Viewers: 6.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
Viewers: 15.2 million, 18-49 demo: 3.8
8:30 Life in Pieces
Viewers: 8.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9
9:00 Scorpion
Viewers: 9.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
Viewers: 7.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 12.1 million, 18-49 demo: 3.4
10:00 Blindspot
Viewers: 9.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.6

FOX
8:00 Gotham
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Minority Report
Viewers: 2.6 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

Monday was the most disappointing night in week one and week two is shaping up the same way with many shows dropping, some of them with significant declines. It was good news on NBC where The Voice was down a mere three tenths in viewers and a tenth in the demo from its premiere. This was a great hold especially considering what happened to other shows. One of those shows was Blindspot, which fell 1.5 million viewers and half a demo point. This isn't a disastrous drop, but it dropped to a 2.3 demo in the 10:30pm half hour. Already it's looking like it might not be a long term player even if it's not the near instant bomb that State of Affairs was. It's still doing quite well for a 10pm drama as of now but this week wasn't a huge confidence boost. FOX got a bit of relief as Gotham at least held on from its premiere. It was up a tenth in viewers and even in the demo. This was a prime candidate for a drop but it held on so that's a start. At 9pm, Minority Report was down half a million viewers and two tenths in the demo from its already DOA premiere. How long until this gets yanked?

CBS saw major drops in the first two hours of the night. The Big Bang Theory was still tops of the night in the demo but it fell a rough three million viewers and nine tenths in the demo. This is what CBS gets for overexposing this show and jerking it around the schedule. Week two of Life in Pieces was down 2.6 million viewers and seven tenths in the demo with retention out of Big Bang at a mere 50%. I'll be surprised if this show even makes it to the move to Thursday that's planned. At 9pm, Scorpion crashed to a series low, falling 1.6 million viewers and half a demo point. Life in Pieces could be partly to blame but this was wildly disappointing. At 10pm, NCIS: Los Angeles was down two tenths in viewers for a series low but even in the demo. On ABC, Dancing with the Stars fell half a million viewers and two tenths in the demo to a weak 1.6 demo. I thought this was a candidate to rise as people got away from sampling other shows but that was not the case. Castle was down a tenth in viewers and even in the demo with last week's disappointing showing. The viewer total was a new series low.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: The Voice (NBC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Life in Pieces (CBS)

WEEKLY RECAP: September 21-27, 2015

As started last year, this will recap the week that was. It won't appear until Tuesday nights when the Sunday final ratings come in. Everything has been reset as far as number of weeks on each chart.

Please note these will only cover regularly scheduled shows - not sports, not specials, not repeats, and not Saturday shows (too many burn-offs/oddities).

Check out Week #1 from last year!

TOP 10 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. Empire (FOX, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 6.7
2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Monday 8:00pm) - 4.7
3. The Voice (NBC, Monday 8:00pm) - 3.5
    The Voice (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 3.5
5. Scandal (ABC, Thursday 9:00pm) - 3.3
6. Modern Family (ABC, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 3.2
7. Blindspot (NBC, Monday 10:00pm) - 3.1
8. The Muppets (ABC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 2.9
9. Grey's Anatomy (ABC, Thursday 8:00pm) - 2.8
10. Life in Pieces (CBS, Monday 8:30pm) - 2.6
      How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, Sunday 10:00pm) - 2.6

TOP 10 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Monday 8:00pm) - 18.2 million
    NCIS (CBS, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 18.2 million
3. Empire (FOX, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 16.2 million
4. 60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7:00pm) - 15.0 million
5. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 12.6 million
6. The Voice (NBC, Monday 8:00pm) - 12.4 million
7. The Voice (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 12.3 million
8. CSI (CBS, Sunday 9:00pm) - 12.2 million
9. Dancing with the Stars (ABC, Monday 8:00pm) - 11.5 million
10. Life in Pieces (CBS, Monday 8:30pm) - 11.3 million

BOTTOM 10 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, Friday 9:00pm) - 1.0
    Dateline NBC (NBC, Friday 9:00pm) - 1.0
3. Minority Report (FOX, Monday 9:00pm) - 1.1
    Last Man Standing (ABC, Friday 8:00pm) - 1.1
5. Castle (ABC, Monday 10:00pm) - 1.2
    NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, Monday 10:00pm) - 1.2
    Nashville (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 1.2
    The Mysteries of Laura (NBC, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 1.2
    The Player (NBC, Thursday 10:00pm) - 1.2
    The Amazing Race (CBS, Friday 8:00pm) - 1.2
    Bob's Burgers (FOX, Sunday 7:30pm) - 1.2

BOTTOM 10 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. Bob's Burgers (FOX, Sunday 7:30pm) - 2.5 million
2. Family Guy (FOX, Sunday 9:00pm) - 2.9 million
3. Minority Report (FOX, Monday 9:00pm) - 3.1 million
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX, Sunday 8:30pm) - 3.1 million
    The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Sunday 9:30pm) - 3.1 million
6. The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday 8:00pm) - 3.3 million
7. Scream Queens (FOX, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 4.0 million
8. Gotham (FOX, Monday 8:00pm) - 4.6 million
9. The Player (NBC, Thursday 10:00pm) - 4.7 million
10. Nashville (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 4.9 million

WINNERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - Blindspot (NBC)
Tuesday - The Muppets (ABC)
Wednesday - Empire (FOX)
Thursday - Scandal (ABC)
Friday - Blue Bloods (CBS)
Sunday - Quantico (ABC)

LOSERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - Minority Report (FOX)
Tuesday - Scream Queens (FOX)
Wednesday - Nashville (ABC)
Thursday - The Player (NBC)
Friday - Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)
Sunday - Blood & Oil (ABC)

MY TOP 5 EPISODES OF THE WEEK
1. Black-ish #25 "The Word"
2. The Middle #145 "Not Your Brother's Drop Off"
3. Scandal #70 "Heavy is the Head"
4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine #46 "New Captain"
4. The Muppets #1 "Pig Girls Don't Cry"

RATINGS RECAP: 9/27/15

ABC
7:00 Once Upon a Time: The Dark Swan Rises
Viewers: 3.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
8:00 Once Upon a Time
Viewers: 5.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8
9:00 Blood & Oil
Viewers: 6.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4
10:00 Quantico
Viewers: 7.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

CBS
7:00 NFL Overrun
Viewers: 13.0 million, 18-49 demo: 4.4
7:30 60 Minutes
Viewers: 15.0 million, 18-49 demo: 2.9
9:00 CSI
Viewers: 12.2 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8

NBC
7:00 Football Night in America
Viewers: 8.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.0
8:00 NFL Pregame
Viewers: 11.9 million, 18-49 demo: 4.4
8:30 Sunday Night Football
Viewers: 22.1 million, 18-49 demo: 8.1

FOX
7:00 Family Guy (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.1 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
7:30 Bob's Burgers
Viewers: 2.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
8:00 The Simpsons
Viewers: 3.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
9:00 Family Guy
Viewers: 2.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5
9:30 The Last Man on Earth
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.4

On Sunday night, ABC premiered its new lineup of dramas and got pretty troubling results until there was a bright spot to end the night. At 8pm, Once Upon a Time did not start things off with a bang as it has other seasons. It was up from a lot of spring episodes but still pretty weak at a 1.8 demo. Unless it can reinvent itself again like it did for the Frozen storyline last year, I'm pretty sure this is going to continue to trend downward. The worst piece of news was at 9pm where Blood & Oil premiered pretty close to DOA levels. It skewed too old and generated very little interest. I'm not sure this will even survive until January. But at 10pm, Quantico was a pleasant surprise, as it built heavily on its Blood & Oil lead-in and skewed much younger. It also did far better than any episode of Revenge in this slot last season. Clearly there was some buzz for this show and it makes you wonder if this scheduling was right. But if it can save the 10pm hour and ABC can find a buzzier and better show for 9pm, the night might work. Maybe Secrets & Lies should return to 9pm instead of the Wednesday 10pm plan?

FOX had the premiere of its comedy/cartoon lineup. The good news is the block was pretty consistent from start to finish while the bad news was everything was awfully low. It looked like spring numbers for this block without a direct NFL lead-in. This is bad news for The Simpsons and Family Guy, which have typically done decently with early fall episodes whether there's a direct NFL lead-in or not. There are positives from the other shows. For Bob's Burgers, it really did quite well for 7:30pm. For the live action sitcoms, they really fit like a glove with this lineup and look like potential long term players. This lineup will obviously improve when there is a direct football lead-in but it's not looking good for the spring already.

Following a strong lead-in from an NFL-fueled 60 Minutes, CBS aired the series finale of CSI, which ended with a movie following its 15 season run. It delivered a strong total viewer count but skewed old. This show has sailed off into the sunset, but it had an incredible run. It was a little show that could on Friday night in the fall of 2000. It got a timeslot upgrade in February of 2001 and became one of TV's top shows for years. It inspired four spinoffs and many more procedural crime dramas that were in the same vein. It deserves to be discussed among the most influential dramas of all time if not one of the most critically acclaimed. A Broncos-Lions game on NBC was well below last week's Packers-Seahawks game.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Quantico (ABC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Blood & Oil (ABC)

PILOT REVIEW: The Grinder

THE GRINDER













Starring: Rib Lowe, Fred Savage, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Hana Hayes, Connor Kalopsis, and William Devane

Created by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel
Written by Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogel, Directed by Jake Kasdan

THE SYNOPSIS
Rob Lowe is back on TV as Dean Sanderson Jr., an actor fresh off a run on a hit TV show called "The Grinder" where he played a hotshot lawyer. He returns to his hometown and immediately is at odds with his brother, Stewart (Fred Savage), who is a real life attorney. Dean thinks he can become a real lawyer after his successful TV run and attempts to do so. Stewart lives with his wife, Debbie (Mary Elizabeth Eliis), daughter Lizzie (Hana Hayes), and son Ethan (Connor Kalopsis). Rounding out the main cast is Dean and Stewart's father, and head of the law firm, Dean Sanderson Sr. (William Devane).

THE REVIEW
I really enjoyed this pilot and it starts with the cast, which is absolutely top notch. Sometimes Rob Lowe can wear on me but he's having so much fun playing this type of character and it works extremely well. Just like John Stamos on Grandfathered, he has embraced a character that some people think is pretty close to true life and plays it with gusto and clear enjoyment. He is a perfect foil to Fred Savage and it's great to see Savage back in front of the camera. The two of them have instant chemistry as brothers and foils. The rest of the cast is promising especially with a veteran like William Devane, but this pilot and show are clearly about the two leads.

The legal theme for this show sets itself up extremely well because there will be endless stories to tell. It can essentially do a case of the week and milk different ideas with different guest stars for lots of comedy. One thing I'm curious to see is what the Rob Lowe character will look like in a year if it makes it that far. He can play the confident but ignorant TV star for awhile but if he stays in the legal field, he will inevitably figure things out more. Same with Savage and his inability to speak in court. The show can get a lot of laughs out of those two character elements at first but it can't last forever. They need to keep building the relationship between those two and other characters to allow the show to go somewhere in that realm. There will always be court cases to do but I'm curious to see where the relationships go.

FOX has given itself a very strong sitcom block on Tuesday nights. I just hope they will be able to survive in a tough slot. I thought The Grinder was the funnier show but it's a little less sure of the show it wants to be. That's not to say that it's not off to a great start, because it is. I just think it needs a little more ironing out, but the jokes are already there and the characters are already there. That is the DNA for the makings of a great sitcom.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Absolutely. This might end up being my favorite new sitcom of the season.

PILOT REVIEW: Grandfathered

GRANDFATHERED













Starring: John Stamos, Paget Brewster, Josh Peck, Christina Milian, Ravi Patel, Kelly Jenrette

Created by Daniel Chun
Written by Daniel Chun, Directed by Chris Koch

THE SYNOPSIS
Jimmy Martino (John Stamos) is a happy bachelor and restaurant owner who has never settled down and likes it that way. His life changes when a son he never knew he had, Gerald (Josh Peck), comes to visit and reveals that he's a grandpa to a baby girl. Others in the main cast include Gerald's mother, Sara (Paget Brewster) and Gerald's estranged girlfriend, Vanessa (Christina Milian) as well as restaurant employees Annelise and Ken (Kelly Jenrette and Ravi Patel)

THE REVIEW
This can safely be called the sweetest new show of the 2015-16 season. It goes for all schmaltz and cuteness but it largely succeeds at the show it's trying to be. John Stamos is embracing his type in a big way and he does a good job with it. He recognizes what he does well and he's milking it for all its worth with success. The entire cast is strong with Paget Brewster another standout. She already has good chemistry with Stamos and they are great adversaries here. Josh Peck seems very promising and I enjoyed Kelly Jenrette as the assistant.

I really did enjoy this pilot but my only complaint would be it didn't provide a ton of laughs, at least above what I had already seen in the trailer. The show was very cute but it needs to up the humor quotient in future episodes. I'm not saying it should ever veer away from the sweetness, shows like The Middle and The Goldbergs mix humor with sentimentality extremely well. This show can do the same, it just needs to strike the right balance. I'm confident the pieces are in place for it to get there.

I think this show has set itself up well for future episodes by focusing mostly on relationships in the pilot. It established the characters well, especially the lead but it didn't do too much exposition. It spent most of its time allowing the characters to interact with each other. I'm not sure the show needs to resort to gimmicks like celebrities in Jimmy's restaurant (Deion Sanders and Don Rickles in the pilot). The main characters are good enough in this show. It's off to a good start.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes. I'm curious to see what future episodes look like.

THE RUNDOWN: Tuesday, September 29

Check below this post for a review of Blood & Oil and check back later for reviews of Grandfathered and The Grinder!

Tuesday night has two series premieres: the new FOX comedies Grandfathered and The Grinder. Going into the season, I was optimistic about how these two might start but I'm not so sure after last week's Scream Queens debacle. Speaking of Scream Queens, I'm expecting a pretty big week two drop after last week did not garner the attention everyone thought it would. Two other shows have their second weeks as well. The Muppets will be an interesting one to watch. I could see a sizable drop but nothing disastrous. I think Limitless could hold up best with limited competition. NBC is choosing to go with Best Time Ever at 10pm for one more week instead of moving it to 8pm this week as originally planned. ABC has the season premiere of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but I'm not expecting much there.

ABC
8:00 The Muppets #2 "Hostile Makeover"
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat #15 "Boy II Man"
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #45 "Laws of Nature" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Quantico #1 "Run" (REPEAT)
Prediction: Muppets - 7.8 million, 2.4/Boat - 5.8 million, 1.7/Marvel - 5.6 million, 1.7

CBS
8:00 NCIS #284 "Personal Day"
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans #25 "Shadow Unit"
10:00 Limitless #2 "Badge! Gun!"
Prediction: NCIS - 16.9 million, 2.2/New Orleans - 12.1 million, 1.6/Limitless - 8.9 million, 1.7

NBC
8:00 The Voice
10:00 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris
Prediction: Voice - 11.5 million, 3.3/Best Time - 5.7 million, 1.9

FOX
8:00 Grandfathered #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
8:30 The Grinder #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Scream Queens #3 "Chainsaw"
Prediction: Grandfathered - 6.1 million, 1.9/Grinder - 5.4 million, 1.6/Scream - 3.1 million, 1.2

Monday, September 28, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Blood & Oil

BLOOD & OIL












Starring: Don Johnson, Chace Crawford, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Scott Michael Foster, Amber Valletta, India de Beaufort, and Delroy Lindo

Created by Josh Pate and Rodes Fishburne
Written by Josh Pate & Rodes Fishburne, Directed by Jonas Pate

THE SYNOPSIS
Blood & Oil takes place in a modern day "Boomtown" - thousands have flocked to Rock Springs, North Dakota following an oil discovery and the mayhem ensues from there. At the center is oil tycoon Hap Briggs (Don Johnson) and a young couple who has just moved out to North Dakota - Billy and Cody LeFever (Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse). Briggs has a bad boy son, Wick (Scott Michael Foster) and a socialite wife, Carla (Amber Valletta). Rounding out the main cast is loan shark Jules Jackman (India de Beaufort) and Sheriff Tip Harrison (Delroy Lindo).

THE REVIEW
When this show was in development, it was one of the shows I was most excited about based on the premise. I began to be a little skeptical after seeing the trailer and hearing early buzz and I'm sorry to say, it is one of the biggest disappointments on the fall season. All the elements were there to make this the new Dallas and we've seen with Empire that a modern day soap opera for today's audiences can work. But this is a show that doesn't want to get crazy enough to embrace its soapiness but it's too soapy to be a serious or thoughtful drama. The result is a show that's pretty darn boring.

It's disappointing that it all feels so listless because the setting is quite unique. What's the last show you can think of that was set in North Dakota? Some of the shots are pretty breathtaking, but it doesn't give off the feel of North Dakota, or at least what I imagine it to be like as I've never been there myself. This is a show like Fargo where the setting should practically be another character and that's not the case here.

As far as the actual characters, none were particularly memorable. This show has advertised Don Johnson as a JR Ewing type character, but he vanished for a long time in the middle of the episode and he seems to be giving a half-hearted effort. Maybe he realizes the show is no good. The rest of the cast is forgettable. Amber Valletta could certainly be a queen bee type of role as the socialite but she's not mean enough in the part and it was hard to get invested in the story of the young couple at the center of the show. It's hard to get invested in anything here, really.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Nope. Easily one of the biggest disappointments for me this fall.

THE RUNDOWN: Monday, September 28

Check below this post for a pilot review of Quantico and check back later today for a pilot review of Blood & Oil!

Week 2 begins tonight and most interesting to watch will be how the newbies, especially Blindspot, hold up in Week 2. Blindspot got a huge lift in DVR L+3 airings and even passed The Voice in the demo so I'm cautiously optimistic about it. Life in Pieces could take a pretty hard fall and if it brings down Scorpion with it, it may have a short leash. Gotham and Minority Report were already pretty low so they may not drop as much.

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
10:00 Castle #153 "XX"
Prediction: Dancing - 12.2 million, 2.0/Castle - 6.9 million, 1.3

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory #185 "The Separation Oscillation"
8:30 Life in Pieces #2 "Interruptus Date Breast Movin'"
9:00 Scorpion #24 "Cuba Libre"
10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles #146 "Citadel"
Prediction: Big Bang - 16.9 million, 4.3/Pieces - 9.2 million, 2.0/Scorpion - 10.8 million, 2.0/Los Angeles - 7.5 million, 1.2

NBC
8:00 The Voice
10:00 Blindspot #2 "A Stray Howl"
Prediction: Voice - 11.8 million, 3.3/Blindspot - 9.8 million, 2.8

FOX
8:00 Gotham #24 "Rise of the Villains: Knock, Knock"
9:00 Minority Report #2 "Mr. Nice Guy"
Prediction: Gotham - 4.2 million, 1.5/Minority - 3.0 million, 0.9

Sunday, September 27, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Quantico

QUANTICO










Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Josh Hopkins, Jake McLaughlin, Aunjanue Ellis, Yasmine Al Massri, Johanna Braddy, Tate Ellington, Graham Rogers

Created by Joshua Safran
Written by Joshua Safran, Directed by Marc Munden

THE SYNOPSIS
Quantico is part thriller and part soap opera. It centers on a very attractive and very fit group of young FBI recruits. We find out in a flash forward in the pilot that one of them is suspected of a terrorist attack in New York City nine months later and we also flashback to their lives before they came to Quantico Academy. At the center of the story is Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra), who is being questioned following the attack in the flash forward scene. The other recruits in the story are Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis), Nimah Amin (Yasmine Al Massri), Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy), Simon Asher (Tate Ellington), and Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers). Rounding out the main cast is FBI Special Agent Liam O'Connor (Josh Hopkins).

THE REVIEW
There is a lot to consider here after a pilot that tried to do just about everything and it honestly worked on several levels. Despite the jumps between the beginning at the academy, flashbacks to the past, and the flash forward to New York City, it was pretty clear to follow and well-structured. The show tries to be a little bit of Grey's Anatomy with the hot young recruits already hooking up. It spends more of its time being a thriller in the Blacklist/Scandal realm with a lot of intense moments and it seems like a Shonda show with its very diverse and progressive casting in terms of roles for minorities and women. All of this worked in the pilot but I'm a little nervous about future episodes because I'm not sure if the show knows what it wants to be. I hope it goes more in the thriller direction and less in the soap opera direction. They made the stakes too high in the flash forward to be too much of a steamy romantic drama.

The cast is good but they were hard to distinguish in the pilot except for star Priyanka Chopra. She is already an international start but not well known here. However, she was very strong in her lead role and I can tell why people who know her were excited about her in this show. There was no one else who really stood out in a good or bad way. It's going to take a little bit of time to get to know these characters. It's definitely an ensemble show but it's also clear that Chopra is going to stand above the rest.

I thought this pilot set up the first season really well. I can see it being a twisty and exciting thriller through the first year as we try to figure out what happened. But shows like this have two traps that are hard to avoid. The first is to not let the ultimate result be a letdown. Sometimes the journey is so satisfying that the end result can be underwhelming. To an extent, I felt that way about How to Get Away with Murder last year. The other question is, even if it succeeds with a satisfying finale with this mystery, where does it go from there? What could season two of this show possibly look like? I guess that will be a bridge to cross if it gets there. For now, I will try to enjoy the ride for now and hope it comes to a satisfying conclusion with more to tell.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/26/15

ABC
8:00 College Football
Viewers: 2.4 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7

CBS
8:00 Limitless (Repeat)
Viewers: 4.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 48 Hours
Viewers: 4.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.9

NBC
8:00 The Carmichael Show (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.0 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5
8:30 Boxing Premiere Championship
Viewers: 2.0 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5

FOX
8:00 College Football

Viewers: 3.4 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

THE RUNDOWN: Sunday, September 27

Premiere Week concludes with a busy Sunday night. ABC has two series premieres following the new season of Once Upon a Time: the soapy Blood & Oil and thriller Quantico. The year to year comparison for Once could be pretty brutal with last year's "Frozen" boost and I'm not too high on the two new dramas so I'm not sure the sampling will be great. After an NFL overrun and a 90 minute 60 Minutes, CBS is airing the two hour movie finale of CSI, which has been on CBS since Fall 2000. It's definitely the end of an era and has been well promoted so I think it'll do well. NBC has a football game that probably won't be one of their bigger ones of the season while FOX has season premieres of their comedies and cartoons. Without a direct NFL lead-in, it will probably be a quiet start that will get boosted next week with the NFL.

ABC
7:00 Dark Swan Rises: A Once Upon a Time Fan Celebration" (SPECIAL)
8:00 Once Upon a Time #90 "The Dark Swan" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Blood & Oil #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
10:00 Quantico #1 "Run" (SERIES PREMIERE)
Prediction: Once - 7.7 million, 2.4/Blood&Oil - 6.7 million, 2.0/Quantico - 5.7 million, 1.8

CBS
7:00 NFL Overrun
7:30 60 Minutes
9:00 CSI #336/337 "Immortality" (SERIES FINALE)
Prediction: 60 Mins - 14.5 million, 2.6/CSI - 13.3 million, 2.3

NBC
7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football: Denver at Detroit

FOX
7:00 Family Guy (REPEAT)
7:30 Bob's Burgers #89 "Sliding Bobs" (Season Premiere)
8:00 The Simpsons #575 "Every Man's Dream" (Season Premiere)
8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine #46 "New Captain" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Family Guy #250 "Peternormal Activity" (Season Premiere)
9:30 The Last Man on Earth #14 "Is There Anybody Out There?" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Burgers - 3.0 million, 1.2/Simpsons - 4.8 million, 2.2/Brooklyn - 3.7 million, 2.0/Family - 4.2 million, 2.2/Earth - 3.3 million, 1.7

Saturday, September 26, 2015

RATINGS RECAP: 9/25/15

ABC
8:00 Last Man Standing
Viewers: 6.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1
8:30 The Muppets (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.8 million, 18-49 demo: 0.8
9:00 Shark Tank
Viewers: 6.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
10:00 20/20
Viewers: 5.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

CBS
8:00 The Amazing Race
Viewers: 5.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
Viewers: 8.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0
10:00 Blue Bloods
Viewers: 9.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.3

NBC
8:00 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (Repeat)
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Dateline NBC
Viewers: 5.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.0

FOX
8:00 Minority Report (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.3 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7
9:00 Rosewood (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.2 million, 18-49 demo: 0.5

It was a quiet Friday night of premiere week with only a few shows having their premieres. CBS was the only network that was fully new. At 8pm, The Amazing Race was up a tenth from last fall's premiere. At 9pm, Hawaii Five-0 sprung a bit of a leak with a new series low. If this keeps up, this could be the final season for Hawaii. At 10pm, Blue Bloods was also up in the demo from last fall's premiere. Race and Bloods are the first shows to grow in the demo from this same week a year ago. The total viewer count for Bloods was lower than usual though. ABC had the season premiere of Last Man Standing tying a series low. It's not a great start but let's see what it does when the full ABC lineup is new. This show usually starts in October so fans may not have realized it was back. After a repeat of the pilot of The Muppets, Shark Tank was back at a fairly weak 1.7, which was still tops of the night. We'll see what happens when Dr. Ken joins this lineup next week.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Blue Bloods (CBS)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)

Friday, September 25, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: The Player

THE PLAYER










Starring: Philip Winchester, Charity Wakefield, Damon Gupton, and Wesley Snipes

Created by John Rogers and John Fox
Written by John Rogers & John Fox, Directed by Bharat Nalluri

THE SYNOPSIS
Set in the high stakes world of Las Vegas, The Player takes crime and turns it into a Vegas game. Alex Kane (Philip Winchester) is a security expert who is suspected of murdering his ex-wife. While the cops including former friend, Detective Cal Brown (Damon Gupton) are on his trail, we know he didn't do it. The other people who know he didn't do it are the mysterious Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes) and Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield). They use a state of the art intelligence system to bet on crimes where Mr. Johnson is the pit boss and Cassandra is the dealer. They enlist Kane to be their new "player," hence the title.

THE REVIEW
I'll start by saying that I really like this concept. I think it's a pretty interesting idea even though there's definitely shades of Person of Interest (the second new show that has echoes of the CBS drama). The problem is the execution. It's not all bad, I actually liked it more than I thought I would but I felt like the show takes an outlandish concept and somehow makes it even more preposterous. This show tries to deliver ridiculous lines with a serious tone and it comes off silly. I mean, the show is about gambling on crime in Vegas... it can be intense but it really can't be too serious.

The actors are solid. It's clear that the writers and producers think Wesley Snipes is quite the cool guy. How else do you explain the close-ups as he removes or puts on his glasses or the spinning camera that circles around him during his first appearance (aside from the brief moment in the opening seconds). Yet, Snipes seems like he's having fun with the role. Charity Wakefield is interesting too although she and Philip Winchester both had to deal with some ridiculous dialogue. A nice thing about less series regulars in a show like this is the pilot didn't feel too cramped. With a somewhat complicated exposition to do, we didn't have to meet a zillion characters and that was nice.

This show probably won't last too long but it does seem like it might be a bit of a thrill ride while it does last. There are a lot of things to make fun of with this show and I can understand why it has been panned critically. Yet, I didn't hate it. In fact, there was something about it I found fun. The Vegas setting is essential to a show like this and the show did a good job of setting that tone. If it can find some of the comedy that Person of Interest has been able to do at times, it would go a long way because this is a show that definitely should not take itself too seriously.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Actually, I might. I don't think it's great TV but I'm curious to see what episode two will look like.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/24/15

ABC
8:00 Grey's Anatomy
Viewers: 9.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.8
9:00 Scandal
Viewers: 10.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.3
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder
Viewers: 8.4 million, 18-49 demo: 2.6

CBS
8:00 NFL Thursday Night Kickoff
Viewers: 7.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
8:30 Thursday Night Football
Viewers: 16.9 million, 18-49 demo: 6.0

NBC
8:00 Heroes: Reborn
Viewers: 6.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.0
10:00 The Player
Viewers: 4.7 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

FOX
8:00 Scream Queens (Repeat)
Viewers: 2.0 million, 18-49 demo: 0.7

On Thursday night, viewers came flocking back to TGIT as they the trio delivered a very strong opening to the season. At 8pm, Grey's Anatomy continued to go strong as it has now entered its 12th season and shows no sign of a slump after the Patrick Dempsey departure. The best news for ABC came from Scandal as the show came roaring back from its spring slump. It was up a full demo point from its season finale for its best performance since February 19. The trend wasn't looking great for this show in the spring but this has to be a huge sigh of relief as viewers were definitely excited for Scandal to return. At 10pm, How to Get Away with Murder did quite well but it was a little bit more concerning than the other two because it returned to a series low despite the strong showing from Scandal. It looks like viewers aren't as attached to this show as Grey's and Scandal and that could prove to be a problem over time. I know they wouldn't have done well but ABC should have considered rerunning the entire season over the summer. They do have Viola Davis' Emmy win to use as promotion but this may need some extra attention after an underwhelming premiere.

NBC kicked off its new Thursday lineup with the two hour premiere of Heroes: Reborn. It delivered OK numbers and held up pretty well across the two hours, but it wasn't anything too special and the bad news is this is most likely the ceiling for this show as fans of Heroes checked it out and some will undoubtedly reject it while others who never watched the original (like myself) have no interest. As expected, the series premiere of The Player was pretty much ignored. It was slightly above Allegiance's February debut in this slot but below Parenthood from a year ago in this slot (with a far lower lead-in). Right now it looks like this could battle Minority Report for first cancellation but let's see how the rest of the newbies do. On CBS, a Giants-Redskins game was pretty close to dead even with the same matchup a year ago. FOX aired a repeat of the Scream Queens premiere two days after originally airing it. I guess you could make the argument that the premiere has now gotten a 2.4 demo over two nights. Bones and Sleepy Hollow return next week.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Scandal (ABC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: The Player (NBC)

THE RUNDOWN: Friday, September 25 & Saturday, September 26

FRIDAY
There are no series premieres on Friday and three networks are airing at least one repeat so it's a pretty quiet end to the work week. Last Man Standing gets a premiere week airing after a couple years of October season premieres. CBS has its full lineup and should continue to make noise in the total viewer count by skew old.

ABC
8:00 Last Man Standing #87 "The Wolf Returns" (Season Premiere)
8:30 The Muppets #1 "Pig Girls Don't Cry" (REPEAT)
9:00 Shark Tank (Season Premiere)
10:00 20/20
Prediction: Last Man - 6.3 million, 1.2/Shark - 6.9 million, 1.7/2020 - 5.4 million, 1.3

CBS
8:00 The Amazing Race (27th Edition Premiere)
9:00 Hawaii Five-0 #119 "Mai ho 'ona i ka wai lana maile" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Blue Bloods #112 "Worst Case Scenario" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Race - 5.7 million, 1.1/Hawaii - 9.3 million, 1.2/Bloods - 11.2 million, 1.2

NBC
8:00 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (REPEAT)
9:00 Dateline NBC
Prediction: Dateline - 5.8 million, 1.2

FOX
8:00 Minority Report #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Rosewood #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)


SATURDAY

ABC
8:00 College Football

CBS
8:00 Limitless
9:00 48 Hours (Season Premiere)

NBC
8:00 The Carmichael Show #2 "Protest" (REPEAT)
8:30 Premier Boxing Champions

FOX
8:00 College Football

Thursday, September 24, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Rosewood

ROSEWOOD










Starring: Morris Chestnut, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Gabrielle Dennis, Anna Konkle, with Lorraine Toussaint

Created by Todd Harthan
Written by Todd Harthan, Directed by Richard Shepard

THE SYNOPSIS
In the most standard procedural entry of the new fall season, Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Morris Chestnut) is a brilliant pathologist running his own consulting service in Miami. He frequently teams up with law enforcement and finds himself paired with a recently relocated Detective Annalise Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz) from NYC. At his practice, Rosewood works with sister Pippy (Gabrielle Dennis) and her fiancee Tara (Anna Konkle). Rounding out the main cast is Rosewood and Pippy's mother, Donna (Lorraine Toussaint).

THE REVIEW
This show is without a doubt the least original I have seen so far this fall season. But that doesn't mean it's the worst. In fact, I enjoyed the pilot in part because it knew exactly what it wanted to be and didn't try to do too much. Some procedural dramas with overarching storylines don't really know how to handle a pilot episode so the exposition gets confusing and the "case of the week" gets rushed. That was not the case here. This show acted more like a season premiere than a series premiere as a great deal of time was devoted to the case of the week even as we met the characters. I think that is the way to do a pilot like this. The strength of its episodes will rise and fall based on how intriguing or good the cases are and they gave enough time in the pilot to develop this one.

The cast is good. Morris Chestnut is charismatic in the lead role and the arrogance in the role works for the character. Jaina Lee Ortiz is strong as well and there's palpable chemistry between Chestnut and Ortiz, which is essential. The rest of the cast didn't make much of an impression as is often the case early on with shows like this. Even with generic writing, Chestnut and Ortiz seem to have the skills necessary to elevate the show.

I read that people compared this to a USA show and it definitely has that feel. It's all very sunny and safe. There's nothing dark or gritty, nothing gutsy or courageous, nothing serialized about it at all. But as long as a show knows what it wants to be and does it well, it will be fine. I think that's the case here. There are many shows that swing and miss on trying to be much higher concept. I'm not saying this is going to be a great procedural drama. I'm just saying the elements are there to make it an enjoyable, low-pressure hour on TV.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Probably, but I doubt every week. The nature of a show like this is it's pretty easy to watch when I have time and skip when I don't.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/23/15

ABC
8:00 The Middle
Viewers: 8.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1
8:30 The Goldbergs
Viewers: 7.6 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
9:00 Modern Family
Viewers: 9.5 million, 18-49 demo: 3.2
9:30 Black-ish
Viewers: 7.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
10:00 Nashville
Viewers: 4.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

CBS
8:00 Survivor
Viewers: 9.7 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5
9:30 Big Brother
Viewers: 6.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2

NBC
8:00 The Mysteries of Laura
Viewers: 7.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
Viewers: 8.3 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8

FOX
8:00 Rosewood
Viewers: 7.5 million, 18-49 demo: 2.4
9:00 Empire
Viewers: 16.2 million, 18-49 demo: 6.7

As expected, Wednesday night was all about Empire. FOX's smash drama returned to huge numbers though it couldn't quite top the season finale numbers back in March. Still, it posted an insane 16.2 million viewers and 6.7 demo. It's truly in a class all its own. Will it last? Who knows, but this start at least shows the hype and promotion all summer worked. It was the closest thing to an event premiere this fall and audiences turned up in bug numbers. In fact, they tuned in so much they helped the lead-in, new drama Rosewood, in a big way. Rosewood got sampled well and had a huge jump in the second half-hour. It's amazing that pre-tune in can be such a thing in 2015 but here it is, it jumped from a 2.1 in the 8:00 half hour to a 2.7 at 8:30. It also was easily FOX's biggest series premiere this week. After the huge disappointments of Minority Report and Scream Queens, Rosewood and Empire gave FOX the medicine it needed. I also think this validates the decision to keep Empire at 9pm. If it aired at 8pm and Rosewood after, Rosewood's raw numbers may have been better but all we would have talked about was the bad retention. Instead, people are mostly pleasantly surprised by the Rosewood showing.

It wasn't horrible for the other networks, however. ABC certainly had plenty to smile about. At 8pm, The Middle and The Goldbergs came all the way back to tie their demos from last fall's premiere week. They are the first two shows to do so when doing a year-to-year comparison. Considering the drops some shows have taken this week in that category, this is a huge win. The 9pm hour was down from last year but held up admirably against Empire. Modern Family is definitely showing its age but its still very clearly the best of the block. Black-ish was understandably down from its series premiere a year ago but it posted its best result ever against Empire. This comedy lineup, which stayed completely in tact, remains very strong. Only Nashville was a problem as it came close to hitting a series low. Just like Castle, why is this staying in this slot?

CBS had its usual Wednesday premiere week combo of the launch of the new Survivor and the finale of Big Brother. Both were down from last year but did pretty well and I would think Survivor is one of the best candidates to have a small drop in week two, especially since it won't have to air in the very competitive 9pm half-hour. Finally, NBC had an OK start as The Mysteries of Laura returned to its second best demo since January. I don't think it's going to cut it and last past its 13 episode order, but it didn't fall on its face. The two hour season premiere of Law & Order: SVU did decently considering the competition and it had a major jump in the 10pm hour after the Empire competition was gone. Of course in the weeks to come, it will only air at 9pm so it may have a rough fall ahead of it.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Empire (FOX)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Nashville (ABC)

THE RUNDOWN: Thursday, September 24

Check below this post for a review of The Muppets!

On Thursday of Premiere Week, there are series premieres on NBC with the two hour premiere of the reboot of Heroes: Reborn followed by the new Wesley Snipes drama The Player. I was a bit skeptical of these shows anyway and I'm even more-so after seeing the first couple days of ratings. I wouldn't be shocked if Heroes: Reborn is underwhelming and The Player bombs. ABC has the return of TGIT. The year to year comparisons will probably be pretty brutal because last year had the series premiere of How to Get Away with Murder. But the gang is back together again and they will help each other especially against male-skewing programming on CBS and NBC. Speaking of CBS, they have a game between two OK teams from big markets. FOX is basically taking the night off with an encore of Tuesday's Scream Queens premiere. Considering how disappointing the premiere was, this could be pretty awful numbers for the encore.

ABC
8:00 Grey's Anatomy #246 "Sledgehammer" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Scandal #70 "Heavy is the Head" (Season Premiere)
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder #16 "It's Time to Move On" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Grey's - 8.7 million, 2.7/Scandal - 10.3 million, 3.1/Murder - 9.8 million, 2.9

CBS
8:00 NFL Thursday Night Kickoff

8:30 Thursday Night Football: Washington at NY Giants

NBC
8:00 Heroes: Reborn #1 "Brave New World" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Heroes: Reborn #2 "Odessa"
10:00 The Player #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
Prediction: Heroes - 6.0 million, 1.8/Player - 4.1 million, 1.2

FOX
8:00 Scream Queens #1 "Pilot" (REPEAT)
9:00 Scream Queens #2 "Hell Week" (REPEAT)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: The Muppets

THE MUPPETS











Starring: Bill Barretta, Dave Goelz, Eric Jacobson, Peter Linz, David Rudman, Matt Vogel, Steve Whitmire

Based on characters created by Jim Henson
Developed by Bill Prady and Bob Kushell
Written by Bill Prady & Bob Kushell, Directed by Randall Einhorn

THE PREMISE
Yes, it's those characters you know and love but it's in a brand new format. This show is done with a more adult approach and in the mockumentary style that The Office and Modern Family made famous. Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up but are still working together as Kermit is the executive producer for Miss Piggy's late night show "Up Late with Miss Piggy." All the others are there too: Electric Mayhem is the late show band, Fozzie Bear is the warm-up announcer, Gonzo is the Head Writer, and the Swedish Chef does craft services among many others. A new character is Kermit's new girlfriend, a different pig named Debbie.

THE REVIEW
It is great to see these guys again. This pilot has been divisive but count me in the group that thinks this is a fresh and fun take on classic characters. The mockumentary style was being overdone for awhile but its been a few years now and it works quite well with the Muppets and their very distinctive personality. When there's a brand this iconic, they needed to reinvent themselves for a new prime time show and they have done exactly that.

Of course, anything Muppets is really all about Kermit and Miss Piggy and the obvious tension with them following their breakup gives the show a place to go and a new dynamic to explore. The show is daring to provide a bit of social commentary with Fozzy Bear's mixed-species relationship. Yet, everything is still being done in a very silly way that stays true to the Muppet. The late night show setting will set it well for the future with lots of potential for celebrity guest stars, another Muppets hallmark. Tom Bergeron was quite funny in his cameo appearance in the pilot.

I have only sort of been paying attention to the divisive reviews that have been coming through but I truly don't really know the problem people have here. The Muppets have always put themselves into different genres: variety shows, cartoons, full length films, Christmas carols, concert specials. Why not a mockumentary sitcom? The writing isn't perfect yet but I think the newest team behind the Muppets definitely has a grasp on the characters and their many quirks. I think this show has a ton of potential. It didn't disappoint me one bit.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
You bet! I'm excited to see where this show goes.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/22/15

ABC
8:00 The Muppets
Viewers: 9.0 million, 18-49 demo: 2.9
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat
Viewers: 6.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9
9:00 Dancing with the Stars Results
Viewers: 9.6 million, 18-49 demo: 1.5

CBS
8:00 NCIS
Viewers: 18.2 million, 18-49 demo: 2.5
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans
Viewers: 12.6 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7
10:00 Limitless
Viewers: 9.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.9

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 12.3 million, 18-49 demo: 3.5
10:00 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris
Viewers: 5.9 million, 18-49 demo: 2.1

FOX
8:00 Scream Queens

Viewers: 4.0 million, 18-49 demo: 1.7

On the second night of the season, every network had something to smile about except for FOX, which suffered a second night with an extremely disappointing premiere. ABC got the best news for a new show as The Muppets proved to be a self-starter with an impressive nine million viewers and 2.9 demo. Some people were predicting a huge start for this but this actually exceeded my prediction. It was a huge improvement in a difficult slot. I think a big drop next week is likely but it has given itself some room to fall and still be a hit. The Muppets helped Fresh Off the Boat in its season premiere. The sophomore comedy tied its best Tuesday performance ever. Only its Wednesday preview night last season delivered a higher rating. I still think it could have been better given the lead-in but I think it also won't fall as much as Muppets this year and retention will improve. A Dancing with the Stars special results edition skewed pretty old. From here on out, it's back to just one night a week.

Disaster struck again on FOX as the heavily hyped Scream Queens disappointed in a big way with just four million viewers and a 1.7 demo. In some ways, this is a bigger disappointment than Minority Report on Monday even though it wasn't DOA. FOX put so much energy into promoting this show and it just didn't pay off. Yes, it will do better in DVR ratings. Yes, it was big on social media. But this was billed as an event show and FOX couldn't even get people to show up on the first night. This doesn't bode well at all for its future and its shaping up to be a rough fall for FOX outside of Empire. On NBC, night two of The Voice was pretty much dead even with its Monday night airing so that's good news. It also helped week two of Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris. The new variety show was down nine tenths in viewers but up three tenths in the demo from its premiere. Its big test comes next week, however, where it must be the lead-in show at 8pm.

Finally on CBS, NCIS came back to good levels, its best performance since February. In season 13, it's amazing this show can still deliver 18 million viewers. It's also interesting that, just like The Big Bang Theory, the viewer total was on par with last season's premiere but the demo was noticeably older. A lot of shows are continuing to skew older as younger audiences are watching shows in less traditional ways. The news was far worse at 9pm where NCIS: New Orleans had a terrible night. It tied a series low in total viewers and almost hit it in the demo. This is a really bad showing given how NCIS was strong once again. It will have to keep facing The Voice, which could prove to be a problem. At 10pm, the series premiere of Limitless was solid, especially given how weak New Orleans was. It built on its lead-in in the demo and skewed much younger. This wasn't great but given the circumstances and only so-so buzz, I think CBS should be happy with this start.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: The Muppets (ABC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Scream Queens (FOX)

THE RUNDOWN: Wednesday, September 23

Check below this post for a reviews of Limitless and Scream Queens. And check back later for my review of The Muppets!

Premiere Week rolls on with Wednesday night and the most anticipated premiere of the entire week: season two of Empire. This has been the only show that really seems to be generating pre-season premiere heat and I wouldn't be shocked at all to see another series high after its incredible climb throughout season one. Its lead-in is the only series premiere tonight, the medical procedural Rosewood. FOX is trying hard with this one and even teasing an extra Empire scene during it but I'm not sure it's going to get a lot of attention as a lead-in. ABC returns its full lineup from last year. I'm sure we'll see declines from last year's strong premieres for these shows but I think the lineup will still be solid this year. NBC has the season premiere of The Mysteries of Laura and a two hour premiere of Law & Order: SVU, which often seems to premiere well. CBS has its usual first Wednesday combo of the Survivor premiere with the Big Brother finale.

ABC
8:00 The Middle #145 "Not Your Brother's Drop Off" (Season Premiere)
8:30 The Goldbergs #48 "A Kick-Ass Risky Business Party" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Modern Family #145 "Summer Lovin'" (Season Premiere)
9:30 Black-ish #25 "The Word" (Season Premiere)
10:00 Nashville #66 "Can't Let Go" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Middle - 7.0 million, 1.8/Goldbergs - 6.8 million, 2.0/Modern - 9.6 million, 3.1/Black-ish - 8.3 million, 2.2/Nashville - 4.8 million, 1.3

CBS
8:00 Survivor: Cambodia (31st Edition Premiere)
9:30 Big Brother (Season Finale)
Prediction: Survivor - 9.3 million, 2.5/Big Brother - 6.5 million, 2.2

NBC
8:00 The Mysteries of Laura #23 "The Mystery of the Taken Boy" (Season Premiere)
9:00 Law & Order: SVU #367 "Devil's Dissections" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Laura - 6.3 million, 1.1/SVU - 7.8 million, 1.9

FOX
8:00 Rosewood #1 "Pilot" (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:00 Empire #13 "The Devils are Here" (Season Premiere)
Prediction: Rosewood - 6.0 million, 1.5/Empire - 18.4 million, 7.7

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Limitless

LIMITLESS










Starring: Jake McDorman, Jennifer Carpenter, with Hill Harper, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Based on the Film "Limitless"
Written by Craig Sweeny, Directed by Marc Webb

THE PREMISE
Limitless is a new drama based on the 2011 film starring Bradley Cooper. In the TV version, set after the events of the movie, Brian Finch (Jake McDorman) is a man struggling to find his way until he discovers a mysterious drug called NZT-48, which gives him recall of everything he has ever read, seen, and heard. Hot on his trail is FBI agents Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter) and Spellman Boyle (Hill Harper). Rounding out the main cast is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as the special agent in charge of the division, Nasreen Pouran. Cooper himself will make recurring appearances in the same role he played in the movie.

THE REVIEW
I will start by saying that I have never seen the movie. What is with the remaking of non-iconic films this season, anyway? I don't know if seeing the movie would have made a difference but I felt so disconnected from this pilot. I wouldn't say it was my least favorite of the five I've seen so far, but it was definitely the one I was least interested in and I had a hard time keeping my attention on the episode. For starters, there was far too much narration. I don't have a problem with narration when it's used to good effect but it seemed to be done way too much and it accomplished very little.

I think the concept of this show is a good one but it just didn't sell me. I think part of the problem was a problem so many drama pilots like this have, it didn't find the right balance between exposition and plot for the week and it awkwardly mixed the two throughout the episode. That is a troubling sign because good writing can usually make it work. I also didn't really care for the obvious color differences between Finch on the pill vs. the cops chasing him in a normal life. It seemed gimmicky and unnecessary. Just like the narration, this was another example of the show needing to be super obvious about something instead of letting the writing allowing it to unfold naturally.

As for the actors, they were fine. Jake McDorman was solid but nothing memorable. In fact, I'm already confusing him with Stark Sands from Minority Report, another new drama based on a mostly forgettable film. The other actors were even less memorable except for, of course, Bradley Cooper. Cooper was good in his small scene in the movie, but I am actually shocked that the show has been able to rope him into a recurring role. I know we're in an era where TV and movies can be seen as equals when it comes to the acclaimed one, and I have always enjoyed TV more than movies. Yet, with Bradley Cooper being a huge movie star, this show somehow felt beneath him.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Nope

PILOT REVIEW: Scream Queens

SCREAM QUEENS












Starring: Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Lea Michele, Glen Powell, Diego Boneta, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Nasim Pedrad, Lucien Laviscount, Oliver Hudson, Billie Lourd, and Jamie Lee Curtis

Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan
Written by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, & Ian Brennan, Directed by Ryan Murphy

THE PREMISE
Scream Queens has been quite accurately described as a slasher version of Mean Girls. Set at the fictional Wallace University, the show centers on a Kappa sorority. Their queen bee leader, Chanel (Emma Roberts) battles with Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) as a murder mystery from twenty years ago reignites with the return of the mysterious Red Devil and the killing of sorority members. Other sorority members include Chanel's minions, #5 (Abigail Breslin) and #3 (Billie Lourd). Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) is a new freshmen pledging because her mother was in the sorority. Other girls pledging include misfit Hester "Neckbrace" Ulrich (Lea Michele) and the brilliant Zayday (Keke Palmer). Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) is a former sorority girl and now the chief of the sorority. Rounding out the main cast is Grace's love interest, Pete (Diego Boneta), her father, Wes (Oliver Hudson), and Chanel's boyfriend Chad (Glen Powell). The show is conceived as an anthology so theoretically next year would have an entirely different premise and group of characters.

THE REVIEW
Scream Queens is a Ryan Murphy show through and through. It is highly stylized and tongue in cheek. It's such an odd mix of things, but I think it's supposed to be. There's definitely a Mean Girls vibe throughout the entire show and then there's the whole horror angle. The thing is, they seem to be holding back ever so slightly and I don't really know why. You have a show that's just so crazy and different, yet I feel like they're almost a little too conservative at times. Some of the death scenes (and there are several in the first hour alone!) seem like they're playing it a little safe. I'm not even saying it needs to be scary because this is clearly a dark comedy. I'm just saying, they seem to be just a step shy of fully committing to being the show it so obviously wants to be.

As for the cast, they are quite promising but who knows how long any of them will be with us in a show that promises to kill off at least one character a week. Emma Roberts is an early standout in the queen bee role. From the way she talks to the way she walks, she definitely exudes the stuck-up rich and beautiful girl type. Jamie Lee Curtis is also a veteran of the horror genre and she has an interesting character that will continue to be quite key to the story. It was pretty obvious that one of the characters from the pilot was going to die before the end of the episode. My only question is, why did she feel the need to crawl to her computer instead of using her phone?

I'm curious to see what the general response is to this show and if the parade of hot young stars keeps people interested in this show. For me, I can't get past the fact that it's a Ryan Murphy show and it feels that way from start to finish. I haven't liked anything he's ever done and this isnt' an exception. It's not as preachy as Glee or as weird as American Horror Story, but it's still clearly a Murphy show. For some people, that's a positive. For me, it's a negative.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Probably not. I'm not even paying that close attention to the second hour going on right now as I write this. Despite the fact that I don't like Ryan Murphy or horror that much, I hoped this might be fun enough for me to enjoy it. But it's not, so I don't. I do hope it gets itself a good title sequence for the rest of the season, it seems like the type of show to have one.

RATINGS RECAP: 9/21/15

ABC
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
Viewers: 11.5 million, 18-49 demo: 1.8
10:00 Castle
Viewers: 6.8 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

CBS
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
Viewers: 18.2 million, 18-49 demo: 4.7
8:30 Life in Pieces
Viewers: 11.3 million, 18-49 demo: 2.6
9:00 Scorpion
Viewers: 11.1 million, 18-49 demo: 2.2
10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
Viewers: 7.9 million, 18-49 demo: 1.2

NBC
8:00 The Voice
Viewers: 12.4 million, 18-49 demo: 3.5
10:00 Blindspot
Viewers: 10.6 million, 18-49 demo: 3.1

FOX
8:00 Gotham

Viewers: 4.6 million, 18-49 demo: 1.6
9:00 Minority Report
Viewers: 3.1 million, 18-49 demo: 1.1

Premiere Week is here but Monday night's results didn't get things off to a great start for many shows. NBC had the most to smile about after one night as The Voice returned at a pretty good 3.5 demo. Its best days are behind it, but it's still one of TV's top shows and was down 15% from last year. Given how other shows dropped year to year, that's not too bad. Even better news came at 10pm where Blindspot got off to a solid start with very good retention of The Voice. Even though its 3.1 demo premiere didn't come close to The Blacklist's 3.8 demo two years ago, it's worth noting that premiere came out of a 5.1 demo for The Voice. This is a very positive start for NBC after the disastrous run of State of Affairs and The Night Shift last year in this spot. It might prove to be a timeslot hit, but we know not every show can get numbers like that out of The Voice. We'll see where it goes from here.

On the other end of the spectrum, it really couldn't have gone worse for FOX on opening night. Gotham could not recapture its earlier form and instead took on its late season form with a weak 1.6 demo, just a tenth above its series low. This is quickly looking like it's the newest version of The Following and Sleepy Hollow: big time premiere, deterioration during the season, and a very disappointing return in season two. If things hold true, it will decline a little more and probably settle into the low 1s. But even that news wasn't as bad as what followed. Minority Report premiered to a DOA 1.1 demo and 3.1 million viewers. There is nothing positive to say about this result as it was just outright rejected by viewers. I was skeptical on its chances but I didn't think it would debut anywhere near this low. FOX will certainly be replacing this show in the lineup but they may let it linger for awhile so its replacement (most likely midseason drama Lucifer) can get the benefit of following The X-Files reboot in January.

CBS saw another solid premiere from The Big Bang Theory but it's audience is getting older. Last year, it premiered actually a tenth lower in viewers (18.1 million) but seven tenths higher in the demo (5.4). This was a heavily promoted episode and it was solid but not spectacular by its own standards. I think it's clear this show has peaked but it still has tons of life left. The series premiere of new comedy Life in Pieces was not nearly as promising. Though the raw numbers look okay, its retention out of Big Bang was a mere 62% in viewers and 55% in the demo. This will not cut it for CBS and if it takes a nasty week two drop, it might never make it to Thursday in November as planned. Remember, CBS has Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls, and The Odd Couple all waiting on deck. At 9pm, the season premiere of Scorpion was solid and on par with it season finale (and above what it was getting before then). It would have had a much bigger premiere if it had a Big Bang lead-in like it did for the series premiere a year ago. However, CBS has a lot to worry about at 10pm where NCIS: Los Angeles returned to a new series low in the demo. This show is aging fast and will probably not be in this slot a year from now.

Finally on ABC, Dancing with the Stars held up decently in week two. It was down 1.6 million viewers and three tenths in the demo from last week's premiere, which isn't bad given all the new competition. It's quite possible it could rise in the weeks to come. Disaster struck at 10pm where Castle returned to tie a series low in total viewers and hit it outright in the demo. ABC should never have returned this show to 10pm Mondays. It was on a constant downward trend last season. It's not too late to fix things for the spring and put one of their promising midseason dramas (perhaps The Family?) here.

WINNER OF THE NIGHT: Blindspot (NBC)
LOSER OF THE NIGHT: Minority Report (FOX)