by Jonathan Gray — University of Wisconsin - Madison
May 18, 2009 – 21:35
FOX went first, and James Poniewozik says it was an odd presentation, in that it wasn’t so much about the brilliance of FOX, but of TV. As he writes:
it spent most of its time, before screening clips of its new shows, defending the medium of television itself. Despite what pundits in the media are telling you, they told advertisers, the vast majority of TV watchers still watch on a television set, and not online. And they do so watch the ads! […]
But when you’re working this hard to persuade a room of advertisers of the basic efficacy of your medium—you are nervous about something. And mind you, this is the network that has American Idol. What the hell is ABC going to say tomorrow?
Anyways, down to business, after the fold:
Gone are King of the Hill, Prison Break (none too soon), and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (it seems the show walked in front of Christian Bale during filming of the movie, and the rest is history).
Staying are American Idol (surprise of surprises!), The Simpsons (Bart’s my age now isn’t he?), Family Guy (because non-sequitur humor ain’t too hard to write), American Dad (see previous snark), Cops and America’s Most Wanted (because there are still colored people who FOX thinks it’s entertaining to see arrested, so it seems), Til Death (which I still haven’t seen), Bones, Fringe, and (Joss fans hold onto your hats) Dollhouse.
Origjnal interstitials will play during ad breaks, as FOX’s crafty way of trying to convince us to watch the ads. Sounds cute, until we remember that there’s this new thing called “YouTube” where such things will find themselves in a few seconds. Anyways, as for the new shows –
Glee, which you’ve probably already seen ads for, and which seems to be FOX’s chosen child. The show is getting good buzz from the press, who liked it. It seems to be High School Musical meets Cop Rock with a bit of Election rolled in.
The Cleveland Show, another Seth MacFarlane animated sitcom spun off from Family Guy. MacFarlane can be funny, but I kind of wonder about three of his shows, back to back, each Sunday night. A little excessive?
Brothers, a sitcom with former NFL star Michael Strahan, in which Strahan stretches to play … a former NFL star. He returns home to find that he’s changed. Did you ever play Pass the Parcel as a kid? This show sounds like it’s wrapped in about fifteen layers of cliché, so we’ll need to see whether audiences bother unwrapping any of them to see what lies beneath (if indeed anything does lie beneath).
The Wanda Sykes Show will be a Saturday night talk show. I like Sykes. She was very funny at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner this year, especially once she took aim at Rush Limbaugh. So I wish her well; especially when late night talk has been overwhelmingly male, it would be nice to see her pull this off. Though with a Saturday night slot, I’m not sure FOX has much trust in this.
Coming in Spring, as a midseason replacement, Fringe and Boston Legal’s very own Ken doll, Mark Valley, hits the screen with Pushing Daisies’ favorite gumshoe, Chi McBride, in Human Target. In introducing it, apparently FOX noted the absence of “easy to watch” ‘80s-style action shows, “like The A-Team.” Now, I like my BA, Faceman, Madman Murdoch, and Hannibal as much as the next, but I’m not sure it’s a great model for a show in 2009. It’s a thriller based on a DC Comics title. I’ll wait till I see trailers.
Another midseason replacement, Past Life, sounds laughably silly, Ghost Whisperer meets Cold Case (oh boy! Adding two crap shows together could only make a better one, right?). The main character uses past-life regression therapy to solve cases. Eesh. (Mind you, I love Lost, and its premise is now a whole lot wilder.) But haven’t we now seen every possible variation on the crime procedural? This show sounds like a punchline to that set-up question.
And the final midseason replacement, Sons of Tucson, is a sitcom that several in the press are comparing to Malcolm in the Middle. If that works, sign me up. But with the fairly annoying Tyler Labine starring, I’ll likely need winning over.
Finally, the schedule:
- On Monday, House at 8 is followed by Lie to Me at 9
- On Tuesday, So You Think You Can Dance moves in from Summer for two hours and will likely face off against Dancing with The Stars’ result show in the process (so, if you don’t like procedurals, Jay Leno, dancing, or Seth MacFarlane, you’re not gonna find much on TV this Fall)
- On Wednesday, we start with the results show for So You Think You Can Dance, then Glee comes on at 9
- If all that happiness, dancing, and singing has you wanting some grit and strangeness, Thursday offers Bones at 8, and then, in a bold move, Fringe moves into the heavily contested 9pm spot
- Friday has absolutely no thematic unity, with Brothers and Til Death segueing into Dollhouse (whah?)
- Saturday evening brings us Cops at 8, America’s Most Wanted at 9, then the Wanda Sykes Show at 11
- Sunday starts with The Simpsons, then it’s The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad
- On Monday, 24 replaces Lie to Me, as Jack Bauer shows his own, more Cheney-inspired strategies for detecting liars (though in his current coma, maybe his torture skills will be a little staid)
- On Tuesday, American Idol returns at 8. If you find yourself slipping into a Bauer-like coma and drifting off to your previous life, Past Life can help you out at 9
- On Wednesday, Idol’s on at 8 again, with Human Target replacing Glee
- Thursday stays the same, as do Friday and Saturday
- On Sunday, American Dad moves to 7.30, Sons of Tucson comes on at 8.30, and The Cleveland Show moves to 9.30