The fall TV season is quickly approaching but if you are like me, it can’t come soon enough. Summer series are winding down leaving giant gaps in my prime time schedule, but thankfully NBC and FOX are offering some pilot episodes early!
Nothing on tonight? Head on over to Hulu.com to sample some of this year’s new comedies and dramas.
FOX is showing off their new Tuesday night comedy block additions: The Mindy Project (9:30pm) and Ben and Kate (8:30pm).
Ben and Kate is about a brother-sister combo, hence the name, in which Ben moves in with his sister Kate who is a single parent. I assume since this is a comedy Ben will be left with her daughter a lot and he won’t have any idea of how to take care of kids. I could be off, guess you’ll just have to check it out to see for yourself. The pilot episode is currently streaming on Fox.com and Hulu and will premier later this month on September 25th.
The Mindy Project premiers the same night, and unlike Ben and Kate I did have a chance to check it out. It was funny but as I pilot I wouldn’t say it was anything special. The premise is rather run-of-the-mill (girl has smarts and is witty plus has her dream job, but no love life); however, I am assuming you are tuning into The Mindy Project because you find Mindy Kaling funny and there is plenty of laughs so it certainly shows potential.
NBC is also kind enough to offer a few sneak peeks. Currently you can check out one of their new comedies – The New Normal (Tues. 9:30pm) and Revolution (Mon. 10pm), the latest show to have J.J. Abrams name attached to it.
While The New Normal looks interesting and was created by Ryan Murphy (you remember Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story, right?) I already know its not a show I am going to watch so all I can tell you is its about a single mother who agrees to be a surrogate for a gay couple. The new comedy will occupy Glee’s old timeslot and will compete against The Mindy Project on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm. The New Normal premiers next week on September 11th.
If drama is more your thing then why wait until September 17th when you can see the new J.J. Abrams series Revolution now. The new post-apocalyptic genre series will either find success on the low rated NBC network or crash and burn quickly, so check it out while its on or watch it now so you can say you saw it first. The pilot is full of flaws (exposition heavy, lack of subtlety, an annoying heroine) and potential (J.J. Abrams) so it’s hard to see which way it will go, but based on the ending alone I recommend Revolution.
Have you checked out any of these new shows, what do you think? What else are you planning to watch this TV season? Here’s a look at some of the other new Fall 2012 TV series.
NBC’s been on the receiving end of a lot of questions and criticism for their upcoming mid-season TV schedule; however, this time it’s not because of some new show that looks terrible. Instead, all of the flak is coming from what’s not there – it seems that Community didn’t quite make the grade this time around.
While Community has continually been ratings-challenged, this isn’t necessarily the end. On the flip side though, it’s never a good sign when a show is unexpectedly pulled from the schedule with no established return date.
Besides the general anger directed towards NBC, critics and fans have primarily reacted in one of two ways: rationalizing why NBC wouldn’t actually cancel such a beloved and creative show, especially since NBC’s ratings suck in general or declare doomsday and rally the troops for a save-the-show campaign.
While I really don’t want to see Community cancelled, I’m more willing to believe that NBC’s overall disarray will ultimately save the show. Well that, and the fact that one more season gets the show closer to the magic number needed for syndication. (Although so was Arrested Development.)
Not quite convinced, the seemingly intelligent people at AV Club and Vulture have also provided a number of rational reasons why everyone should just calm down. It’s too soon to whip out the felt goatee and embrace the evil timeline.
Plus, to be honest fan campaigns only work when there are other important factors involved – like money or sponsors. And as much as I love signing online petitions, voting in SOS polls, and mailing bags of marshmallows to network executives, I’ve become a bit of a realist. You can’t just cause a ruckus and hope that sheer will power will buy you an extra season or at the very least a couple of episodes.
If you look back on other shows that have been saved or more notably failed to be saved, a not so surprising pattern emerges. Networks need to have a good incentive besides boisterous fans in order to renew a show.
Jericho fans barrage CBS with nuts – they earn just seven more episodes to wrap up its season one cliffhanger.
Rabid Roswell fans similarly utilized a mailing campaign. Bottles of Tabasco sauce were sent to The WB, which kept the show alive for two seasons before the ax fell. However, another fan campaign and a deal between Twentieth Century FOX and UPN that included Buffy the Vampire Slayer extended the life of the show into an 18-episode third season.
Veronica Mars was another UPN show constantly on the verge of cancelation, but committed fans and the creation of The CW helped the show last three seasons. Low ratings however finally triumphed over a last ditch marshmallow-mailing effort by the fans and a willingness to reboot the series by jumping ahead by the show’s creator were not enough. Although rumors of a movie continue to circulate by both Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell.
The beloved series Friday Night Lights may have went out on top and when it was ready, but for a while it looked like it was going to join the cancelled too soon club. Low ratings combined with the Writer’s Strike caused NBC to question its future. Fan campaigns that included DVD purchases, football and light bulb mailings, and donations to charities were great and all but a deal with DirecTV ultimately gave the show three more well deserved seasons.
And on the completely opposite end of the spectrum is Family Guy, which was cancelled by FOX in 2002. No fan campaigns were ever launched. The show simply found an audience in syndication on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Coupled with outstanding DVD sales, FOX resurrected the show in 2005 and it continues to be a staple on FOX’s Sunday Night Animation Domination block.
There’s plenty of other successful and failed examples out there too, like Angel and Chuck or One Tree Hill and Everwood. So while I am not trying to discourage Community fans, since I am one, I’m just trying to present a more realistic picture of how fan campaigns play into a show’s overall lifespan. Also it never hurts to let networks know that there are fans out there who want more.
So let’s enjoy the remaining few episodes Community has to air and then hope that whatever NBC has lined up for the mid-season fails terribly. But just in case, here’s the link to make your very own Community evil timeline goatee.
If you prefer to sign a petition, visit Save-Community.com. And here are more Community fan campaign ideas to run with if you’re interested in a more active approach. And lastly, if you need posters for whatever campaign idea you’ve concocted, check out these awesome non-NBC Community posters created by graphic artist Jon Defreest, two of which are pictured above.
NBC just extended Parenthood‘s season three to 18 episodes. While that’s not a typical 22-episode order, the addition of two episodes just three weeks into the current TV season is certainly a showing of good faith.
Parenthood is loosely based off the 1989 movie of the same name starring Steve Martin, but the series was reconceived by Jason Katims, of Friday Night Lights fame. Katims involvement alone should be enough of a reason to watch this show, but it also stars some pretty great actors including Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Craig T. Nelson just to name a few.
And while NBC’s Parenthood is defined as a drama it certainly finds the right mix of humor and lightheartedness to make it one of those rare feel-good shows that still manages to reflect real life. So yeah, I am totally recommending that you check this series out.
Although it’s not essential to watch the last two seasons to understand what’s going on, I always recommend it. But if you don’t have time to completely catch up, here’s some essential episodes I recommend watching:
Parenthood airs on NBC at 10pm on Tuesdays. The last five episodes of the current season are always available on Hulu.com and the first two seasons can be found on DVD.[via Deadline]
Here we go again; for cable channels April is just another month during their year-round programming, but for broadcast networks April is a last ditch effort to launch new shows when others have failed. Here are four shows that are either returning or premiering that may end up taking some more of your free time. Enjoy.
AMC, best known for shows like Mad Men and The Walking Dead is now diving into the crime genre with their new show The Killing, which premiers this Sunday April 3rd at 9pm. The show will kick off with a two-hour premier event and revolves around the investigation of the murder of Rosie Larsen, a teenager from Seattle. The show is actually based on a Danish series, but given AMC’s recent track record of quality ‘original’ programs, I’m pretty interested. Plus a few other notable series revolved around solving the murder of a young girl like Veronica Mars and Twin Peaks.
And of course there’s Friday Night Lights, which begins its fifth and final season run on NBC on Friday April 15th at 8pm. For anyone who hasn’t seen this show, you’re missing out. Offering plenty of ecstatic and equally gut-wrenching moments, with everything in between, this show is about so much more than football. I know I always rave about the works of Whedon, but I also need to take a second and say that Jason Katims is a genius too. This is another show where the characters, soundtrack, and quiet moments really elevate the series beyond a typical TV show. I’m not suggesting skipping the earlier seasons to quickly catch-up but here’s a music video that does a pretty good job of summing up season four, well the football parts anyway.
America’s Best Dance Crew is back too! The show returns to the TV schedule on April 7th at 10pm on MTV – More crews, more Mario Lopez, and more of Lil Mama giving non-sensical speeches. Also season six promises to bring us even more popular music from the likes of Rihanna, Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, and Ke$ha. I know I for one can’t wait to hear ABDC’s remixed versions of popular Black Eyed Peas songs. (That’s sarcasm for anyone who doesn’t know me.)
On April 13th, Happy Endings premiers on ABC. The new comedy will join their Wednesday night comedy block at the 10 o’clock hour. However, the premier is slated for a 9:30pm showing, right after a presumably new episode of Modern Family. I’m pretty particular when it comes to comedies but I think I’ll give this one a shot. Mostly because I don’t watch anything else during that time but also because one of the actors, Eliza Coupe, rocked on the last two seasons of Scrubs as Dr. Mahoney. Plus the preview looks amusing enough.
Fair warning – this is pretty much going to be a Parks & Recreation love fest, so read on if you either like the show too or are willing to put up with my stream of consciousness / constant praise. Hell, Parks & Recreation makes me almost wish I worked for the local government, although it also makes the Midwest look kind of cool so I think we can all see a pattern forming here – TV makes things shiny and fun, but I digress.
“You do, of course, have a constitutional right to lend this season the significance of your choosing in any of our designated holiday zones.”
Last year Community celebrated a few holidays throughout their first season, including Christmas / Hanukkah. But in terms of holiday-centric episodes nothing quite compares to their most recent installment, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (2.11). Although this episode garnered a lot of attention and hype before it even aired, mostly because its use of stop-motion animation, the episode still easily exceeded all expectations.
Christmas and other holiday episodes are so common throughout the TV landscape that it’s often difficult to stand out, avoid clichés, or even be original, but Community managed to do all of the above. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (2.11) wasn’t just a classic retelling of some Christmas story we’ve already heard. Rather, it was a story about finding out what Christmas means to you on a more personal secular level.
Already having tackled the religious side of the holidays last season, Community was free to move the plot along with only a small nod to each of the characters beliefs. The simple act of acknowledging Christmas and Hanukkah’s spiritual and commercial connections prevented the audience from feeling cheated but it also set the set the stage for the deeper exploration into Abed’s quest to find the real meaning of Christmas.
I’ve seen my fair share of holiday special episodes over the years, including Hanukkah and Christmas-ish episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House M.D., Glee, The O.C., Lie to Me, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, Saved by the Bell and more, but “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (2.11) from Community is by far my favorite kind of holiday storytelling. If I want the Christian version of Christmas I’ll watch Charlie Brown, but episodes from Community and even The O.C. don’t passively put holiday decorations in the background, complain about the commercialism of the season, rip off It’s A Wonderful Life, and most importantly don’t force one specific view of the holidays down viewers’ throats.
Instead, they encourage us to make our own meaning. Spoiler alert – at the end of the episode Abed explains, “The meaning of Christmas is the idea that Christmas has meaning. And it can mean whatever we want.” For Abed, Christmas used to mean time with his Mom but after this year’s letdown the rest of the study group suggest in song that “Hanging out with the people you love and saying I love you is what Christmas is for”. And in The O.C., Christmas meant the melding of family traditions and the celebration of two heritages in one super holiday Seth liked to call Chrismukkah.
While it’s true that for many people Christmas and Hanukkah means presents and perhaps even has a religious significance, holidays also evoke more personal traditions and rituals. It’s not always about spending time with your actual family or decorating a Christmas tree; sometimes it’s just about calling on the Christmas pterodactyl to save the Christmas spirit.
Scrubs has been really funny this season, even more so, when JD is not present. I just wanted to put that statement out there, before I get any further along, since this is where I am headed with this entry.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti JD and when I initially read that Scrubs was renewed for a ninth season, with a mostly new cast, I was less than thrilled. Sure Scrubs has had some great seasons and some less than great seasons, but overall I thought “My Finale Part I & II” (8.18 & 8.19) were a perfectly respectable way to go out. I wasn’t interested in a spin-off or a reboot with the same name and I wasn’t interested in seeing a new class of med students. After eight seasons I’ve gotten kind of attached to JD, Turk, Carla, Elliot, The Janitor, and Dr. Cox and I’ve also grown fond of the many colorful background characters that keep Sacred Heart Hospital so much fun to visit on a weekly basis.
So even though I had reservations, I wasn’t about to give up on Scrubs. Maybe it’s a personal weakness, but generally when I start a show—I finish it. To put that statement into perspective I watched all eight seasons of Charmed and I’m still watching Smallville on a weekly basis. Initially I was lukewarm to the new season even though the first few episodes heavily featured JD, Dr. Cox, and Turk. The changes made to the show just felt like too much too soon. I had difficultly wrapping my head around the fact that in a few short months a new hospital / med school was built and most everyone was suddenly a professor or gone. (Yes, I understand that it’s a television show…just stay with me, I’m getting to the point.)
Surprisingly, I found myself liking the new characters and their quirks. And while there were certainly some laugh out loud moments in the first few episodes, it wasn’t until JD left that I started to really enjoy the new season.
Here is the main reason why: The character of JD walks a fine line between character and caricature. While I understand that this show is a comedy, unlike the other main characters he has been the most inconsistent in terms of growth. No, I don’t want, or expect him to stop the daydreams or tone down the bromance with Turk, but his constant need for approval and outlandish ‘real-life’ ideas just grow old after a while. What I find even more frustrating about the way his character has been written lately, is that it seems to be a regression from the level of maturity he reached last season, settling down with Elliot and choosing to leave Sacred Heard Hospital to be closer to his son.
Perhaps that is why I don’t mind the ridiculousness of the new characters. Lucy’s horse obsession has been a constant and Cole has always unnecessarily abbreviated words, but I don’t really expect anything else from them. The show is just now starting to develop the new crop of “murderers, butchers, slaughterers, and slayers” into three-dimensional characters. On the other hand, the same character that worried about being man enough for his son (7.8) and willingly postponed steak night to stay with a dying patient (8.2) also wore a hairnet rather than a helmet so as to not mess up his hairdo (3.4) and taught class from a tree (9.2).