Fall sweeps fail: Networks debut pilots, misses mark on most
Dawn PandolianoMy goal this weekend was to watch every new show that premiered on TV for the fall season and tell y’all which ones I thought would make it and which ones I thought wouldn’t. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Fall Sweeps was intermittent all September long – with most of the shows premiering at the end of the month. Big props to cable for the option to watch all the pilot episodes in one weekend, because I did not have a backup plan.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of television. I watch a few shows and stick to them until they get canceled or just end. Then I get mad and write letters to the networks. No, I don’t mail them. Don’t judge me.
There was not a single show I saw a preview for this year that I would actually watch religiously. Except for the much hyped “Revolution,” most of the previews looked like rejected pilots from past seasons regurgitated with new faces and repackaged to viewers. There was also no way I could sit still long enough to watch every single new show. That’s a lot of couch time.
So, I picked the most interesting looking shows to me.
And without further ado ... :
The Mindy Project (FOX) – Mindy is a 31 year old, successful doctor trying to change her life, move forward from a bad break-up and is desperately looking for a movie-style romance. Shows like this come and go, but I hope this “rom-com” stays. It’s honest, hilarious and features a cast you can identify with – and by that, I mean it’s not stocked with impossibly gorgeous models. Single women, you finally have a champion and she understands your pain ... but I have a feeling it won’t last. B+
Guys with Kids (NBC) – It’s exactly what the title says – a show about guys with kids. Two of them are married and one is divorced from a she-witch and comedy is supposed to ensue. It was cute, but not really funny. I’m not even sure the writers of the show actually have kids or a relationship. It will get canceled or bought out by a cable network. C-
Animal Practice (NBC) – “House” and “Scrubs” had a baby, and it’s called “Animal Practice.” This show is a dramedy about what goes on in a vet clinic and stars the spider monkey from the “Hangover” and some other people. Finally, there’s a show for animal lovers that’s not on Animal Planet, and it’s insanely more interesting when you mix cute animals and people. If they don’t come out with another Jersey Shore-like train wreck of a reality show in the same time slot, this could be a hit. A+
Ben and Kate (FOX) – I enjoyed the pilot, but could not get over Ben’s teeth. It’s horrible, I know. My teeth aren’t perfect, but I’m not on TV. Oh, the story: Ben comes home to attempt to stop his ex’s wedding, fails and then decides to stay and help his sister raise her daughter. I have a soft spot for this kind of stuff because I have two brothers who would do the same. C+
The New Normal (NBC) – Oh, how I laughed. This show is just the right amount of funny and offensive to work. David and Bryan are an alternative-lifestyle couple who want to have a baby. Goldie is the single mom who agrees to be the surrogate. Jane is Goldie’s racist and politically incorrect grandmother who is against the plan for obvious reasons. The casting is a little awkward, but I see this as another “Modern Family.” Ellen Barkin, you may remember her from “Ocean’s 13,” as Jane, delivers the most laughs. Fingers crossed it stays. A+
Revolution (NBC) – The power goes out all over the world and only one man holds the key to restoring it ... or does he? Fifteen years after the blackout, there’s a race between the good guys and bad guys to figure out how to restore power, and I’m guessing it has something to do with a piece of costume jewelry. No one has superpowers and no one is lost on an island, but with Jon Favreau (Avengers) directing a (mostly) hot cast, some conflict, a little young romance, throwing in a bit of drama and – boom – it’s a formula much like “Lost” and “Heroes.” I give it way too many seasons before the show loses enough viewers through ridiculous plot lines (predicting guest appearances by UFOs followed by aliens, then mutated humans who live underground around season three) before they finally find the power and go out gracefully. A
X-Factor (FOX) – This is another “American Idol,” and it’s just as entertaining. Former teen pop star, Britney Spears, and current teen pop star, Demi Lovato, join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid as judges to find the next manufactured pop idol. Yay ... B-
I’m picky when it comes to television. There have only been a few shows that I’ve followed over the years. I’m a huge “Star Trek” fan – both the original series and “The Next Generation.” Once they started spinning off with “Voyager,” “Deep Space 9” and “Andromeda,” the franchise lost me. Then there was “X-Files,” which was the best UFO conspiracy show in my lifetime (in my opinion). Not until “Fringe” has there been a show like it and that only worked because they didn’t try to bring back Mulder and Scully (“X-Files”), although it follows the same formula.
Currently, I’m keeping up with “Archer” and “Eastbound and Down” (which I auditioned for a few years ago, true story) as well as a few SciFi original series.
I did catch a few returning shows that I didn’t think would make it last season, like “Grimm” – the show about a cop who comes from a long line of fairy-tale-monster vanquishers.
“Revolution” is the only new show that will probably make it to my list of must-watch-when-I-have-time television. I just hope it doesn’t get redundant, ridiculous or canceled just when it gets interesting. I’m not above writing another letter.