Although some may anxiously anticipate the beginning of the fall season for the return of the NFL (on the briefest of tangents…I am having serious mixed feelings this year. See this 2009 Malcolm Gladwell article or read Bishop’s earlier post and you may know why) or the increase in apple cider options at your local supermarket, my fall excitement centers around the official return of primetime network television. This annual pumpkin pie mush of old favorites, old not-so favorites, promising pilots that never go anywhere (see Flash Forward, The Nine), pilots premises that are dead on arrival (last year’s The Playboy Club immediately comes to mind), and that one diamond in the rough (that amazing night in 2004 when I first saw Lost remains my most special pilot experience ever) that can become your television staple for many years to come is enough to turn my leaves some beautiful foliage colors.
In the coming days and weeks, I will be carving out my fall TV impressions – the good, the bad, and the potentially life-altering. Thanks to my trusted EW fall TV preview (an old friend since ’96) and the inspiring words of Master Andy Greenwald of Grantland, I have been able to determine what is getting a shot, what remains a DVR mainstay, and what is just not gonna ever be watched this year…oops.
“A covering all my bases” note: I am aware that most of the best television currently being produced and my favorite shows are on basic (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) or pay cable (Game of Thrones, Homeland, Girls). I know that the chances of finding another Lost or a new comedy that I really enjoy via the big three (plus two) networks (I thought I should get my first NBC dig in early) are similar to the chances that the Miami Dolphins have of winning the AFC East this year if Ryan “competes with Brandon Weeden as the worst starting QB in the league” Tannehill remains their quarterback.
For now, here is my network by network breakdown as I enter the fall TV season:
Returning shows that I will watch and DVR Season Pass: Revenge (last season’s surprise survivor), Modern Family
New shows that get immediate DVR Season Pass: Nashville (Connie Britton and some wonderful press), Last Resort (the new show I am most excited for – welcome back to primetime Frank Pembleton)
New shows dead on arrival: 666 Park Avenue (sorry great Terry O’Quinn), The Neighbors
Returning shows that I will watch and DVR Season Pass: Survivor: Phillippines (I made my alliance with Jeff Probst during the finale of Season 1 in 2000 and I don’t break my alliances)
Returning shows up for 2012 Season Pass cancellation: The Amazing Race (my most inconsistent staple over the years), Person of Interest (the fact that last season’s final four episodes remain unwatched five months later says something)
New shows that get a pilot viewing chance: Vegas (I have never been too keen on Dennis Quaid), Elementary (the PBS Sherlock is so good, do I have room for a CBS procedural with Lucy “don’t get it” Liu?)
New shows dead on arrival: Partners, Made in Jersey (nope)
Returning shows…: None. The last time I turned on the CW was to watch the new 90210 many years ago. I am not even sure if I know more than one person who actually watches this network.
New shows that get a pilot viewing chance: Arrow (It has the worst time slot to be on, up against Survivor and The X-Factor, so I have some major doubts, but I owe a new DC character at least one shot)
New shows dead on arrival: Emily Owens, M.D., Beauty and the Beast (has there ever been a movie that I loved so much that inspired a TV show that I wanted so little to do with?)
Returning that I will watch and DVR Season Pass: The X-Factor (Yes! A more detailed review is coming, but so far new judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears are doing great work…)
New shows that get immediate DVR Season Pass: The Mindy Project (Tuesday night is light on my DVR and my time with Mindy on The Office has always been splendid – this is the new comedy that has a chance to be a long-term runner)
New shows dead on arrival: The Mob Doctor (no thank you), Ben and Kate
Returning that I will watch and DVR Season Pass: The Office (If it weren’t the final season, I would be out), Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live
Returning shows up for 2012 Season Pass cancellation: The Voice (like Cee-Lo and Christina in Season 4, I think I am ready to move on)
New shows that get immediate DVR Season Pass: None
New shows that get a pilot viewing chance: Revolution (J.J. and I go way back – see Alias or Lost – but from all I have read, I am not sure I will make it to October),
Go On (already tried and already failed)
New shows dead on arrival: The New Normal, Go On, Animal Practice, Guys With Kids, Chicago Fire
Finally, tomorrow night marks the return of the most important fall premiere, America’s fifth major professional sport (which could move up to third with the impending NHL lockout and the fact that MLB is at this point unwatchable), MTV’s The Challenge! Expect a full preview tomorrow…
Until we meet again, same bat time, same bat channel…