Sunday nights are jam-packed with returning network staples this year. Only ABC is using the night to launch a new series – Betrayal, which will air at 10pm, after Revenge. It seems that ABC is sticking with the counter-programming strategy against football.
On Sunday nights FOX must subscribe to the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ motto since The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, and American Dad all return.
Although it won’t happen until Fall 2014, there’s a Family Guy Simpsons crossover episode to look forward to. Apparently Seth MacFarlane’s Griffin family will be taking a road trip to Springfield.
Joining Betrayal on Sunday nights are Once Upon a Time, Revenge, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist.
As a fan of Revenge I was particularly pleased to hear that the new showrunner plans to simplify season 3 by cutting back on the numerous nonsensical subplots and to focus more on the revenging.
However, I’ve got less good news for fans of The Mentalist, apparently this season will be the last for Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman a.k.a. special agents Grace Van Pelt and Wayne Rigsby.
One last fun fact about Sunday night TV – with the exception of Sunday Night Football on NBC, all other TV shows will return September 29th. Better make room on your DVR, I told you it was going to be a busy night.
Friday night is notoriously a mellow evening reserved for the quiet yet consistent performers, series in their final seasons, and all sorts of other odds-and-ends that don’t pair well with anything else in the network’s’ line-up.
Just two new-ish shows will debut on Fridays this fall:
MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay certainly aren’t new to the FOX network, but MasterChef Junior is the newest addition to this franchise and will feature contestants between the ages of 8-13 years old. Mostly I’m assuming that this cooking competition will put my cooking skills to shame.
According to NBC, this version of Dracula is a, “sophisticated and sexy take on Bram Stoker’s classic novel…” so that should tell you right away whether or not this series is for you. Also, in this reincarnation, Dracula will be working alongside Van Helsing.
There’s a little something for everyone on Fridays this fall. Returning scripted series include The Carrie Diaries, Grimm, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, The Neighbors, and Last Man Standing.
Although no official return date has been announced, the CW’s little-show-that-could is expected to return to the TV schedule later this fall. My guess is that Nikita will return for its fourth season and final six episodes after America’s Next Top Model completes its current cycle.
The Thursday night comedy blocks for NBC and CBS will look pretty different this fall as five new comedies join the prime time line-up.
The Millers featuring Will Arnett and The Crazy Ones, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams will be sandwiched by some of CBS’s biggest sitcom performers – Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
With The Office and 30 Rock gone, NBC had a lot of rebuilding to do, which is why three new sitcoms will be joining Parks and Recreation on Thursday nights – Welcome to the Family, Sean Saves the World starring Sean Hayes, and The Michael J. Fox Show.
My pick is The Millers, mostly because Will Arnett’s last two broadcast sitcoms didn’t exactly succeed.
With the unfortunate and unexpected passing of Cory Monteith, the creative team of Glee has had to do some scrambling. But with the blessing of Lea Michele the show will go (probably for another two seasons).
The 5th season of Glee will premier on September 26th, a week later than originally scheduled. The first two episodes back will be a 2-parter revolving around the music of The Beatles. The third episode of the season will then address the passing of Monteith and the character of Finn. And then after that episode, the show will go on hiatus for a bit to figure out what’s next for McKinley High School’s glee club members and alumni.
Come mid-season, Parks and Recreation will say goodbye to Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, aka – Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger. While I can see how both characters have run their course, I’ll still miss the Ann and Leslie friendship.
Meanwhile the 10th season of Grey’s Anatomy, which kicks off with a 2-hour premiere on September 26th, will be the last season for Sandra Oh and the character of Dr. Cristina Yang.
And Amber Tamblyn will be joining the cast of Two and a Half Men as Charlie’s lesbian illegitimate daughter. Her role will most likely fill the gap left by Angus T Jones, who will only appear in a recurring role this season.
For the most part, Wednesday nights this fall are full of established shows and consistent performers for their networks, but four shows are lucky enough to get some strong lead-ins.
Joining ABC’s night of comedy is Back in the Game, which appears to be another family-based sitcom, and Super Fun Night, which I’m mostly looking forward to because it stars Rebel Wilson from Pitch Perfect.
Meanwhile, Ironside will cap off NBC’s Wednesday night line-up. It’s another cop show, but the twist is that the lead detective is in a wheel chair; however, that doesn’t make him any less good at what he does.
Over on The CW, The Tomorrow People should fit in nicely with the escapades of Oliver Queen, as the show is about a group of pretty-looking people with extraordinary abilities fighting evil or something.
Although I don’t feel strongly about Back in the Game, I’m thinking NBC’s Ironside is the most likely to be short-lived. We all know NBC has been struggling and I don’t know if another cop show is going to be their saving grace. The show’s creator also has a pretty small IMDB list so this one is certainly a wildcard.
Revolution has made the move from Monday nights at 10pm to the family hour in the middle of the week. Creators however promise that Revolution will still be action-packed. I personally remain a bit skeptical about the unfolding plot lines and may drop the show from my watch list.
Wednesday night is a big night for law enforcement with TV staples like Criminal Minds, CSI, Law & Order: SVU, and now Ironside.
Arrow, The Tomorrow People, and Revolution also hunt down the bad guys, albeit with a bit more brute force and a lot more arrows.
In a rare move, ABC will be premiering an entire night of new programming starting with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at 8pm. It seems that ABC is banking on the Marvel brand, the popularity of The Avenger’s movie, and Joss Whedon’s new found mainstream popularity to create a strong lead-in for Tuesday night’s primetime schedule – I personally hope it succeeds.
At 9pm they’ll try a new duo of comedies: The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. If you recall, last season, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 and Happy Endings failed to find a sizable audience in the same time slots. I really enjoyed both of those shows so I’m feeling pretty nonchalant about their replacements’ success.
Lucky 7 caps the night off in the 10pm time slot. Out of all of the new ABC Tuesday night shows I have the least amount of faith in this one.
FOX will be debuting two new comedies. Brooklyn Nine-Nine starring Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, and Fred Armison, which looks like it could be amusing; however, Dads is this year’s new show that begs the question, “How did this ever get the go-ahead?”
Meanwhile The CW will stick with its moderately successful formula of supernatural remakes/re-tellings/adaptations with The Originals, a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. The show will be airing on Tuesday nights but will make its network debut on Thursday October 3rd at 9pm, following the 4th season premier of The Vampire Diaries.
Seriously just watch the current FOX promo for Dads. The show was created by Seth MacFarlane though, so I might be out-of-luck since he’s got a good track record of success – i.e. Animation Domination.
The second season of New Girl was excellent, so I cannot wait to see what kind of hijinks Jess, Cece, Nick, Schmitt, and Winston get themselves into this year. Also Coach is set to return for a handful of episodes. Should be fun.
If you’re seeing a pattern develop here then you’d be correct, next week I’ll be taking a look at Wednesdays’ new and returning TV shows.
Despite generally playing it safe, mostly because they can, CBS is making the biggest moves on Monday night this year with the debut of three new series. Two of which, We Are Men & Mom, will join their powerhouse Monday night comedy block. (I can’t stand shows with laugh tracks and I’ve never fallen in love with any of Chuck Lorre’s other series, but Mom stars Anna Farris so I might have to give it a shot.)
After two hours of laughter, CBS switches gears with Hostages, which will anchor the night at 10pm. The title might not include the acronym CSI, but the series is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and stars some big names like Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott.
FOX and NBC have kept more seasoned and consistent performers around in an effort to create strong lead-ins for their newbies. FOX is taking a gamble on a re-telling of the classic Sleepy Hollow story while NBC has opted for a less fantastical drama with The Blacklist staring James Spader.
From what I’ve seen, this series reminds me a lot of the other high-concept TV shows that aimed big and fell short. Also, I just don’t see how this plot can be stretched out over more than one season – the creative team has even had clarify that this show is not meant to be a miniseries. But of course I also feel that way about Under the Dome and that series is pulling in decent numbers and just received a second season pick-up, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
It’s only taken 9 seasons, but Ted finally gets to the point of the story in this final order of episodes.
Monday nights are risk-averse for ABC and The CW. However, both Hart of Dixie and Beauty & The Beast are new to the night, although given how often The CW show’s are time-shifted these moves will probably have little to no affect on their live ratings.
Next week I’ll be talking about Tuesday night’s new Fall TV line-up so keep an eye out for that post.
It’s summertime, which means vacation – the beach, road trips, camping and all sorts of other travel shenanigans. Not all of us can be jet-setters though, so if you’re planning a staycation or just need something to do when its raining or when you are so sunburned that going outside is out of the question, here’s a handful of vacation episodes from your favorite TV shows to enjoy.
Back in 2011 I read an article on the A.V. Club by Sam Adams called “The convenience trap: What the changes at Netflix reveal about an insidious trend”. Obviously it was about Netflix, but what Adams was really getting at, beyond discussing the announcement that Netflix was going to be focusing more solely on streaming video, was that the act of prioritizing convenient entertainment would mean forgoing a lot of other great entertainment simply because one would have to work for it or wait to get it.
As a Netflix DVD-only subscriber, the article really rang true to me. If I’m going to watch a movie, I want it to be a movie that I want to see, not just one that I can see at that moment. But despite my flimsy ‘fight the power’ attitude, I’m certainly guilty of choosing easy entertainment in many other scenarios. After all, television is probably the biggest convenience trap of them all.
Between the hundreds of channels available, OnDemand services, Hulu.com, Amazon streaming, iTunes, Netflix, and even YouTube there is always something to watch. Endless entertainment is available on just about every screen in your house, at the touch of a button.
It’s a wonder I even go outside. But you know, every now and then it’s really great to get off the couch to see some live entertainment. As good as an episode may be, or however much fun you’ve had live tweeting, there is something uniquely awesome about seeing a live performance and being surrounded by a crowd of people who share the same level of enthusiasm as you do.
A couple of weeks ago, after work, I hopped on a train to NYC to see the Shaping Sound Dance Co perform its last show of their 13-city North American Tour. Now I don’t dance, (believe me when I say I can’t), but I really really love So You Think You Can Dance, which in a roundabout way is how I even knew what Shaping Sound was.
Nick Lazzarini, the season one winner of SYTYCD along with Travis Wall, the season 2 runner-up and Emmy-nominated choreographer, teamed up with two of their other dance friends (Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson*) to create the Shaping Sound Dance Company. And I know this because their efforts were chronicled on the reality show All the Right Moves, which aired on Oxygen last summer. (Most everything I know, I learned from watching TV.)
In the final episode they were approached by Gil Stroming, founder of Break The Floor Productions who showed a real interest in producing their tour. Obviously he was serious because tour dates were announced this spring.
Long story short, on Monday June 17th I found myself in a packed theater in New York City sitting two rows behind SYTYCD alum Billy Bell, and one row ahead of Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a self-proclaimed dance fan, occasional SYTYCD guest judge, and one of the stars of ABC’s hit sitcom Modern Family.
Yeah, I was totally nerding out, but honestly the dancing and the show itself was the real highlight of my night. At one point I even had goosebumps, that’s how incredibly captivating the performance was. Not only was the dancing mind-blowing, especially for an uncoordinated person such as myself, but the lights and the music – everything just came together.
I left the theater that night in awe, feeling like I witnessed something that only existed in that time and space. And I know that might sound cliche or over-dramatic, but the sentiment holds true when you apply it to other live events like concerts or even sports. My feelings were only further confirmed when I watched a YouTube video of one of the dance numbers a few days later. It was exactly what I’d seen that Monday night, but it also wasn’t. When I was sitting in the theater I could feel the excitement radiating from my fellow audience members and even see the facial expressions of the dancers, both of which were sorely lacking from the YouTube video.
So turn off the TV (that’s what DVRs are for), step outside of your comfort zone, and go see something live. Anything at all. Catch a baseball game, a concert, or even a local theater production. And if you’re really set on sticking with TV, well then find a convention that appeals to you, or mark the dates on your calendar for next year’s PaleyFest or ATX Television Festival. TV is great, but there is a lot of other great entertainment out there too. You just can’t always find it from the comfort of your couch.
*Fun Fact: Kyle Robinson was the Abraham Lincoln bachelorette party stripper on Parks & Recreation (“Two Parties” 5×10).