Maybe it’s because NFL training camps are beginning to kick off, or because it’s been so miserably hot for so long, that I can feel fall coming. That means Football, Football, and more Football. But while the rest of the sports world focuses on those first weeks of September for the kickoff of the NFL season, the rest of us are excited for our stories to return. Before the HBO, USA, and TNT filled the summer with outstanding original programming the summer was a baron wasteland of re-runs and awful reality TV concepts that could not make the regular schedule. It was the worst of times and you longed for the fall, which brought new tales of comedy, drama, and adventure while reuniting you with the old friends you missed all summer.
I once read an article about the process to get a show on network TV, and it is probably more of an exclusive club than the NFL. There are something like 2000 story pitches to the big 4 networks each year (around 400 eligible players for the NFL Draft), that is cut to about 300 that are commissioned to write a script (vs around 250 that get drafted). Then from those 300 scripts about 80 get picked for pilots (of the 250 drafted about half of the players picked make an active NFL roster). After the 80 pilots are made 16 to 32 shows will make the Fall Line-up (There are about 40 to 50 rookie starters to begin the season). The lucky 4 or 6 will become a hit series and last for more than two seasons (usually about 20-25 players from each draft develop into stars or constant starters). Which really begs the question, HOW THE FUCK DO SOME OF THESE SHOWS GET ON THE AIR?!?!?!?!?!?
Short answer, I have no idea. Long answer is a boring rant about producers and stars with pull over network, and time honored programming traditions. For example, darker, mature programming is on after 10, family programming is usually on at 8, comedies have to be 30 mins, and so on. Either way shit gets on the air and lucky for you, McNasty and I sat down went through the trailers, upfronts (when the Network rolls out its new line-up), and everything we could find out on all the new shows coming out this fall.
We will break them down by Network, first up NBC. (We are not focusing on returning shows because you already know about those and made your mind up). In the following weeks we will look at CBS, ABC, and Fox.
High Concept JJ Abrams Vehicle
Revolution takes an interesting, yet completely unrealistic concept of all of the power in the world going out at once. Basically a giant EMP went off and destroyed every power source in the world, even batteries (I know right). The story picks up 15 years later, where the world has fallen to a mid-evil style of life, with nature taking over. This leads to several cool shots of landmarks crumbling and over-run with foliage, unfortunately it does not cover up for the dreadful acting. When you can’t act in a 5 min extended trailer, what the hell are you going to do for an hour every week? This looks more like a Flash Forward, than a Lost.
McNasty’s Take: Girls are ugly, characters are weak, and Wrigley Field never looked better. Yet, after 15 years, they still have booze? That’d been gone in under a year for sure!!
Matthew Perry is (insert blank profession) as a neurotic cocky know-it all dealing with personal demons.
This is Perry’s fourth or fifth show in as many years it seems, with him playing the same character. This time there seems to be more of a drama with him dealing with the loss of his wife in a car accident and a lot of group therapy.
McNasty’s Take: Did I see Terrell Owens in there? Fuck me…he’s desperate…and how did a show that started to look good about a Morning sports talk show host fall into Aptowian drivel about finding yourself in therapy and helping others out by the “March Sadness”… Seriously Bing, give up.. Then there’s TO.. does this mean they are going to find other washed up sports stars and parade them out for cameos too?? I can’t wait till mid season when they have Darko Milic and JaMarcus Russell. This could be the worst sports related show since Strahan opened a “nice” steak house, lived with his mom, played himself, and had a Hughley in a wheel chair as his brother. But this isn’t Fox so I guess it won’t be that bad.
Really…Jimmy Fallon, Really…
It’s not bad enough you constantly pollute late night television or ruined a perfectly good Queen Latifia movie, but now you are trying to make us watch this shit. Guys with Kids is well, exactly what the title says, three annoying guys sitting around the bar with babies strapped to their chests. Yes, I am not making this shit up. Expect a lot of quality time, vomit, diarrhea, and generally unfunny jokes. I mean the one “working man” is a tool, and he’s married to Medow Soprano??? Seriously, I guess Jerry Ferrara must have been just slammed. Horrible…just horrible. You have to think that they would at least take the leads out for a beer before the show to see if they had any chemistry together whatsoever…and newsflash they don’t.
McNasty’s Take: Fucking Jimmy Fallon, you put together this awful show and then stick Jamie Lynn in it, which is going to make me at least watch the four episodes it lasts before it gets cancelled.
Lets take the guy couple from Modern Family add in a young Zooey Deschannel like blonde, add an over bearing mother, and sprinkle in a dash of Diva.
And you have The New Normal; which, although strange, looks decent and has the other guy from The Hangover in it. So it could be funny, if they are not too over the top flamboyant. Other than that I do not really have much to say.
McNasty’s Take: She’s hot, in a funny quirky way. I’ll check it out, I like that guy whose not part of the fun in the Hangover… It’s pretty sad that this is the best show I’ve seen so far. NBC is seriously suffering from Whitney-fall out.
House becomes a womanizer and a vet?
Honestly, in what should be the dumbest show yet, Animal Practice actually looks like the best. From the trailer, everyone seems to blend well together, there seems to be great, eccentric side characters, and there is a monkey. Seriously, as long as they do not spend too much time on low brow animal jokes or focus on a will-they or won’t they love angle of the two leads, this has the potential to be pretty funny.
McNasty’s Takes: Hang Over Monkey? Check. Womanizing doctor type? Check. Ridiculous story lines involving random animals? Check…I am there.
Greys Anatomy in a Fire house.
Seriously, every year someone tries to duplicate what ABC found with Greys Anatomy. They set it in the police force, with lawyers, and now with Firefighters. Expect incredibly over dramatic weekly events with all sorts of hook ups along the way. Honestly none of the characters look very appealing and I have a feeling this one is no Greys.
McNasty’s Take: Backdraft the TV Series!!! Hell yes…where are the Baldwins? You’re telling me they couldn’t find one of those guys to be the grumpy old fire chief?! This is outrageous. I guess Alec has not cut them off yet!
The Mid-season replacement line-up:
As with every new season, shows will perform or under perform. Here is what NBC has waiting on deck (basically an NFL Practice Squad). They were not good enough for prime time so they are slotted to be back-ups or mid-season replacements. Sometimes they are placed here as well because they are expensive to produce so the network only orders a half season. But this is what NBC has waiting on deck…
Do No Harm - Because Dr. Jackal and Mr. Hyde needed to be maybe in modern day and as a TV series.
Infamous- Foxy Cleopatra infiltrates the Hiltons, where surprise, she learns of botched botox and murder. Seriously did I mention these were second string?
1600 Penn - Bill Pullman reprises his legendary role as President Thomas J. Whitmore and has since re-married Dhrama and they are living in the rebuilt White House with an odd-ball collection of family members. Ok, so it’s not the sequel to Independence Day we’d all hoped for, but maybe an aging Fresh Prince and Carlton will drop by from time-to-time. The tag line is seriously, “Modern Family meets The West Wing from a creator of Modern Family.”
Next Caller - They gave Dane Cook his own show…Where he plays a Howard Stern like character that is partnered with a “chipper NPR feminist”….This might be tolerable on HBO or Showtime where foul mouth rants and humor can flow, but on Network, this is going to be awful. Who wants to see Dane Cook, much less a watered PG version of Dane Cook? Plus its Dane Cook, he lasted for about a min. You remember all those horrible attempts Hollywood made to shove him down our throats???? No? Well I do, and I’ll never forget you Good Luck Chuck, your awfulness will never leave me. Thank god I never saw Employee of the Month.
Hannibal - The Beginning – Dexter with a partner, based on Silence of the Lambs characters with no Hopkins or Foster… Sweet…tell me when to not watch.
Till next time!