BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Upfronts week — that time of year when network executives tell advertisers and the world at large what shows they’ll be airing come the new fall season, and we all start wondering which ones will fail first – is coming to an end. And while, for most people, that means they can start thinking about the future, I’d rather think about the past… and the shows that didn’t make it to a new season.
Poor Tom Welling. Sure, Smallville ended on a relatively high note (Well, the ratings were great), but his new gig as producer for this Bring It On-esque drama really didn’t last that long at all. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen any more of this than what’s appeared on the trailers, but still: Somewhere, the cheerleaders of America are probably in mourning for this show. Well, them and those who liked seeing Aly Michalka in a cheerleaders’ outfit on a regular basis.
Shedding for the Wedding
Pun aside, I don’t think anyone is really going to miss this “overweight couples compete to lose the most weight before their wedding” contest. I mean, if I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed this was a 30Rock joke about how desperate reality TV had become.
The most interesting thing about this amazingly short-lived show (It only debuted this February) was the cast, which included Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke. Otherwise, it was one of a number of romantic comedies about a bunch of twentysomethings, and CBS already had a much better one of those, How I Met Your Mother.
$#*! My Dad Says
I love William Shatner, but he couldn’t save this one. Also, here’s hoping that the death of this show proves that a Twitter feed isn’t enough reason for a television show to exist.
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
Another short-lived show that only made it from February to May, this spin-off from Criminal Minds proved, I guess, that CBS can’t have two generic crime procedural franchises at the same time. CSI, you can breathe easy for now.
Television, I’m glad you have finally realized that you’re better than Jim Belushi.
The Cape and The Event
On the one hand, you have to applaud NBC for courting the geek vote so strongly with these two shows. On the other hand, you have to ask why they couldn’t have tried to do so with stronger shows. The Cape was shoddy from the word go – I mean, look at that title – and pretty much a goner from the time it was announced, but The Event really deserves some kind of prize for demonstrating how quickly a show can go from buzzed-about launch with great ratings to a show that no-one is watching because they have no idea what’s going on anymore. Here’s a hint for whoever tries this kind of conspiracy thriller in future: Don’t make it so clear to the audience that you’re making it up as you go along.
With the cancellation of this, The Event and the much-earlier Undercovers, it strikes me that all of NBC’s big dramas from last year failed. That’s not just a black eye for the network, that should hopefully be reason for them to take a fresh look at what audiences really want.
Law & Order: Los Angeles
…See above. But also: You ended Law & Order after 20 years for this?!?
Outsourced and Perfect Couples
Both shows featured a good cast (and Olivia Munn, who’s now off to the new Aaron Sorkin show at HBO, and seriously, who saw that coming?), but really lazy writing that erred on the side of “Not funny at all” all too often. Which, considering they were comedies, was a problem. Maybe it’s a lesson that NBC should stick to comedies that don’t seem like they could appear on other networks (See: 30Rock, Parks & Recreation, Community, The Office) in future?
The Chicago Code and Breaking In
There’s a lot of buzz going around the Fox had enough massive successes and new shows that it was excited about that series that would’ve been hits on other networks got culled to make room. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but these two shows may have been victims of being too new to have built enough of an audience to stick around, and of launching midseason when not enough people were paying attention to notice they were even around.
Human Target and Lie To Me
These, meanwhile, are likely the shows that had enough of a following to have made them hits on a network like NBC or (definitely) the CW. And, at least in Human Target‘s case, I’m surprised Warner Bros. TV hasn’t at least tried to take the show to either network – Imagine it paired with Chuck or Nikita, say. I’m particularly sad to see Target go; it may not have been the greatest show on, but it was consistently enjoyable, and the cast were charismatic and suitably tongue in cheek.
The Good Guys
I’m less sad to see this go. It had a lot of potential, but never quite gelled for me. I’m surprised that it actually lasted as long as it did, to be honest – Fox seemed to stand behind the show in a way that it doesn’t for other series (Breaking In or The Chicago Code, for example).
Traffic Light and Running Wilde
Fox doesn’t have the greatest track record with half-hour live action comedies – Raising Hope? Really? – and, looking at these two shows, neither of which were particularly offensive, but also not particularly agreeable, it’s easy to see why. If only some of the mean, funny spark of shows like Glee or even American Idol of old could make it to the sitcom format…
Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 1-8-7, Mr. Sunshine, My Generation, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map, The Whole Truth and V
Okay, ABC just culled its line-up this year. There’s no other way to look at it; the cancellation list includes new outright flops (Hi, Mr. Sunshine and My Generation!), bubble-shows (Off The Map and Better With You) and old favorites Brothers & Sisters), not to mention V, which everyone expected to have been killed off last year. It managed to do this because it’s got a good enough line-up of existing shows – Castle! Modern Family! I’ll pretty much forgive them anything for keeping those two around, and in the same slots as before – and some interesting choices of new shows (Charlie’s Angels doesn’t look too promising from what I’ve seen, but Once Upon A Time and Revenge, which is The Count of Monte Christo meets Gossip Girl, could both be breakout hits). Look at it as clearing out the deadwood… only to probably end up with the same amount of deadwood once the audience decides what they want to keep this time around.