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Friday, November 20, 2009

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: THE CW

NEW SHOWS: It was the best of times (VAMPIRE DIARIES) and it was the worst of times (THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE: TBL). Heck, it was even the in-between of times (MELROSE PLACE), but overall, I'd say the fall was a good season for CW because it yielded the network it's biggest hit to date in VAMPIRE DIARIES. If CW can get some more solid hits like DIARIES, maybe the netlet can finally get some traction. GRADE: C+

RETURNING SHOWS: GOSSIP GIRL, ONE TREE HILL and 90210 had all seen better days, as has AMERICAS NEXT TOP MODEL. SUPERNATURAL returned strong, though it had the help of DIARIES. As for SMALLVILLE, Fridays have hurt its overall audience, but considering its in its 9th year - not to mention its the highest rated show when factoring in LIVE+SEVEN DAYS, I'd say SMALLVILLE has been a quiet success for the CW. GRADE: C-

LOOKING AHEAD: Two new shows will see if they cant improve upon the fall: BODY POLITIC and LIFE UNEXPECTED.

CW NIGHT BY NIGHT:
MONDAYS: GOSSIP GIRL and ONE TREE HILL: ONce kinda hot, now kinda not. Needs revamping. GRADE: C

TUESDAYS: 90210 and MELROSE PLACE: LOoked good on paper, but hasnt worked - even with Heather Locklear's return. A major disappointment for the network. GRADE: D+

WEDENSDAYS: TOP MODEL and DIARY repeats? Hmmmm....ZONK! GRADE: D+

THURSDAYS: The creepy/hot combo of VAMPIRE DIARIES and SUPERNATURAL make this THE CWs biggest night. GRADE: A-

FRIDAYS: SMALLIVLLE and TOP MODEL's repeats. Works for me, insofar as the first hour goes. GRADE: C

OVERALL GRADE: B-

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: FOX

NEW SHOWS: Three new shows aired this fall on Number One Fox, and only BROTHERS looks to be canned. The other two, GLEE and THE CLEVELAND SHOW, are modest hits, with GLEE being a huge buzz-worthy show. Well done! GRADE: B+

RETURNING SHOWS: FOX also had great success with the returning HOUSE and BONES, though LIE TO ME and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE fell short. Also looking scary were the returns for FRINGE and TIL DEATH, while DOLLHOUSE has already met its maker. The best news of all, though, had to be FOXs ANIMATION DOMINATION of returning comedies SIMPSONS, AMERICAN DAD and FAMILY GUY. GRADE: B+

LOOKING AHEAD: Look for SONS OF TUCSON to take over BROTHERS, while things get a bit trickier finding slots for new shows PAST LIFE and HUMAN TARGET. Why? Because behemoth shows AMERICAN IDOL and 24 invade the airwaves in January.

FOX NIGHT BY NIGHT:
MONDAY: HOUSE made a huge comeback this fall, which helped out LIE TO ME to some degree. GRADE: A

TUESDAY: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE at 2 hours following a summer run hasnt been music to FOXs ears. GRADE: C+

WEDNESDAY: YAWN to the DANCE's results show, but BRAVO to GLEE following it. GRADE: B

THURSDAY: BONES has improved the timeslot, but moving to FRINGE to the 9 pm hour hasnt paid off. GRADE: B-

FRIDAY: A disaster! BROTHERS has already been relocated to Sundays, TIL DEATH has been put back on hiatus, and DOLLHOUSE has already been canned. GRADE: F

SUNDAY: ANIMATION DOMINATION, need I say more? GRADE: A

OVERALL GRADE: B-

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: CBS

NEW SHOWS: The Eye network had among the fewest number of new shows this fall (again). That's because of the continuing popularity of CBS' procedurals, which, after 10 years, shows no signs of wearing down (though I wish they would since I am not a fan). Of the new shows that aired, CBS had a huge success with NCIS: LOS ANGELES and middling success with THE GOOD WIFE (started hot, but has since cooled considerably). The weak links were ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE and the soon-to-be-canned THREE RIVERS. GRADE: B

RETURNING SHOWS: NCIS continues to shine brightly, but all three CSI shows are showing their age in the ratings. CBS shouldnt worry for a couple years, but with continued erosion (albeit in baby chunks) of CRIMINAL MINDS, the CSIs, and COLD CASE, when the bottom drops on procedural TV, its going to be gruesome. SURVIVOR continues to slip, but AMAZING RACE perked up. Monday comedies look GREAT, with BIG BANG posting its best ratings ever. And the CBS Friday lineup looks solid with MEDIUM joining GHOST WHISPERER. Sorry, NUMBERS, but yours is up. And THE MENTALIST was a great move to Thursday. NEW ADVENTURES OF CHRISTINE and GARY UNMARRIED? Sorry!
GRADE: A

LOOKING AHEAD: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT should take over ACCIDENTALLY, I hope. Then CBS also has MIAMI TRUAMA. But otherwise, there's not much in the pipeline until next year when HAWAII FIVE-O and the new CRIMINAL MINDS spin-off should make some noise.

CBS NIGHT BY NIGHT:
MONDAY: With a solid block of comedies, and CSI MIAMI on tap, this is a terrific night for CBS. GRADE: A

TUESDAY: NCIS is explosive, which has helped spin-off LA rack great numbers. Without them, THE GOOD WIFE would have been cancelled, but with the trickle effect, even Juliana's show has succeeded. GRADE: A+

WEDNESDAY: Two weak comedies lower the averages for CRIMINAL MINDS and CSI: NY. Grade: C+

THURSDAY: They are old in the tooth, but they bring in lots of viewrs, even though their 18 to 49 demo is weak. Maybe its time to mix up SURVIVOR and CSI. Wait, that's why they brought THE MENTALIST over to the night. My advice? Switch THE MENTALIST and CSI, keeping all three CSIs in the 10 to 11 slot. GRADE: A-

FRIDAY: CBS pretty much owns the night, even the expectations are lower for GHOST WHISPERER, MEDIUM and NUMB3RS. GRADE: B

SUNDAY: 60 MINUTES is still keeping it real, as is AMAZING RACE. But THREE RIVERS and COLD CASE are a drag. GRADE: C+

CBS OVERALL GRADE: B+

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: NBC

NEW SHOWS: NBC actually had a lot of buzz heading into the fall season, all thanks to THE JAY LENO SHOW. But when viewers sampled the show and saw that it was just a weak shell of THE TONIGHT SHOW, viewer tune-out hit quick and hard. I wanted to like the show, but it's format was snooze-worthy. NBC needs to revamp it and make it more of a variety show and NOT a late-night clone. As for the scripted fair, TRAUMA tanked and will be yanked, MERCY isnt doing much better, and COMMUNITY has under-whelmed (though it has seen some recent upticks). GRADE: D+

RETURNING SHOWS: The quick cancellation of SOUTHLAND season 2 before it even aired a single episode didnt win the network any new fans. And of the shows that DID return, only THE OFFICE and BIGGEST LOSER showed any real signs of life. HEROES is as good as cancelled, LAW & ORDER and SVU are struggling to stay in the game, and 30 ROCK has stumbled out of the gate. One bright spot? PARKS & RECREATION, at least creatively. GRADE: C-

MIDSEASON: CHUCK can't return quick enough! I just hope it doesnt sink amid the other disappointments. DAY ONE was shortened to a mini-series (never a good sign), and 100 QUESTIONS has already been retooled. Can PARENTHOOD turn things around? And will THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE continue to annoy?

NBC NIGHT BY NIGHT
MONDAYS: A total disaster. HEROES will never turn itself around, and TRAUMA has already been canned after this initial set of 13 episodes. THE JAY LENO SHOW should be canned, or in the very least re-tooled. GRADE: D+

TUESDAYS: THE BIGGEST LOSER saves the day! GRADE: B

WEDNESDAYS: MERCY sucks, and is only barely winning its timeslot against very weak competition. LAW & ORDER SVU feels out of place at 9, but is still showing signs of life. GRADE: C

THURSDAYS: COMMUNITY, PARKS & RECREATION, THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK bring some creative prestige to the network, but ratings are all down. GRADE: C+

FRIDAYS: DATELINE and the original LAW & ORDER are doing okay, insofar as Friday ratings are concerned. GRADE: C+

SUNDAYS: Thank God for FOOTBALL! But without it, NBCs averages are going to plummet. GRADE: A

OVERALL GRADE FOR THE NETWORK: B-

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: ABC

Now that the fall season is winding down (November sweeps is considered the final ratings period before special-filled December gives the nets a breathing period before January and, more importantly, February sweeps), here is a look at how ABC did this fall.

NEW SHOWS: ABC had a terrific, buzz-filled fall. Shows like MODERN FAMILY, COUGAR TOWN, FLASHFORWARD and V all hit their marks. On the flip side, THE FORGOTTEN, EASTWICK, HANK, and SHARK TANK, well, tanked. And somewhere in the middle was, um, THE MIDDLE. After huge premieres, though, all of ABC's new shows fell significantly, and if FLASHFORWARD continues to sink, it's chances of a second season will be questionable. Ditto V. The show is still buzz-hot, but can't afford too many more dips in the 18 to 49 demo. Will the 8 week hiatus hurt it? Not sure. Overall, I would give ABC a B+ for it's new shows.

RETURNING SHOWS: ABC had a terrible fall for its returning shows, as evidenced by the declines for DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BROTHERS & SISTERS and DANCING WITH THE STARS. All three shows have seen their best days, I'm afraid. And forget about UGLY BETTY seeing a fifth season. GREYS ANATOMY continues to slide, but is still a player, which has helped PRIVATE PRACTICE. CASTLE has seen some recent progress, but is still considered an under-achiever.
Overall, I would give ABC a C- for it's returning shows.

LOOKING AHEAD: Very iffy! BETTER OFF TED had a terrible summer run, and SCRUBS is coming back revamped (but is it better? And keep in mind, SCRUBS has never been a ratings powerhouse for either ABC or NBC). HOwever, ABC also has the final season of LOST on deck, so that's comforting news. As for the new shows, HAPPY TOWN looks interesting, but I can't say the same for THE DEEP END.

ABC NIGHT BY NIGHT:
MONDAY: DANCING WITH THE STARS and CASTLE (Still a good night, but nowhere near what past seasons have provided the alphabet network. Ratings will continue to slide as DANCING gets older. Now is the time to be thinking about a future on MOnday nights for ABC). B

TUESDAY: V, DANCING RESULTS and THE FORGOTTEN (V is still promising, improving vastly upon SHARK TANK, DANCING RESULTS continues to see erosion, and THE FORGOTTEN is toxic. With SHARK, this night was a D) But with V saving the day (so far), this night also gets a B.

WEDNESDAY: Ballsy, and reminiscent of the PUSHING DAISIES/PRIVATE PRACTICE/DIRTY SEXY MONEY scheduling a couple years back, ABC went with an all-new line-up of shows, and the result was hit and miss. THe misses were HANK and EASTWICK (both now cancelled), and the hits were MODERN FAMILY and COUGAR TOWN (with an assist from THE MIDDLE). That averages to a C+. If ABC can work some more hits into the night, by the end of the season, ABC could be in the B range for this night as well.

THURSDAY: One of ABC's better nights, with the buzzy (but faltering) FLASHFORWARD, the still-mighty (but faltering) GREY'S ANATOMY and the so-so PRIVATE PRACTICE grabbing viewers. ABC usually wins the night, and so it grades at an A-

FRIDAY: UGLY BETTY didnt improve the hour, which was a disappointment. And SUPERNANNY and 20/20 are what they are: filler. GRADE: C-

SATURDAY: A weak night for all the nets, and so I wont be grading this night. But if I were, ABC had the success of college football to power the night.

SUNDAY: AMERICAS FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS does well enough and will be around forever, but what troubled ABC were the huge declines for EXTREME MAKEOVER HOME EDITION, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (it still wins its time slot, but the averages are off in the double digits), and BROTHERS & SISTERS. If ABC can schedule some new juice around their HOUSEWIVES, the effect could rub off on the DESPERATE show and pump up its numbers. GRADE: B-


ABC overall GRADE (Average between the nightly grades:) B-

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MY PERFECT TV WEEK: FALL 2009

MONDAY
8 to 8:30: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
8:30 to 9: ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (CBS)
9 to 9:30: TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS)
9:30 to 10: BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
10 to 11: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (NBC) DVR-ed from Saturday (skipping musical guests)

TUESDAY
8 to 9:00: V (ABC)
9 to 10:00: MELROSE PLACE (CW)
10 to 11: GLEE (FOX) DVR-ed from Wednesday

WEDNESDAY
8 to 8:30: TOSH.0 (COMEDY) DVR-ed from Tuesday
8:30 to 9: THE MIDDLE (ABC) DVR-ed from Wednesday
9 to 9:30: MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
9:30 to 10: COUGAR TOWN (ABC)
10 to 11:00: EASTWICK (ABC)

THURSDAY
8 to 8:30: COMMUNITY (NBC)
8:30 to 9: PARKS & RECREATION (NBC)
9 to 9:30: THE OFFICE (NBC)
9:30 to 10: 30 ROCK (NBC)
10 to 11:00: THE MENTALIST (CBS)

FRIDAY
8 to 9:00: UGLY BETTY (ABC)
9 to 10:00: PROJECT RUNWAY (LIFETIME) DVR-ed from Thursday
10 to 11:00: STARGATE UNIVERSE (SYFY) DVR-ed from earlier in the night

SATURDAY
8 to 9:00: SMALLVILLE (CW) DVR-ed from Friday
9 to 10:00: SUPERNATURAL (CW) DVR-ed from Thursday
10 to 11:00: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (DIRECTv) DVR-ed from Wednesday

SUNDAY
8 to 8:30: SIMPSONS (FOX)
8:30 to 9: CLEVELAND BROWN (FOX)
9 to 9:30: SOUTH PARK (COMEDY) DRV-ed from Wednesday
9:30 to 10: AMERICAN DAD (COMEDY)
10 to 11:00: DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) DVR-ed from earlier in the night

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall TV Review 2009: V

We are coming to the end of the Fall TV Reviews for 2009, for soon the winter 2009 shows will start up (Which, for my blog purposes, will begin with any shows premiering after January 1st). Very few new shows premiere in December because of the holidays. But that's not important right now, right? Because it's all about "V".

I remember seeing the original V on NBC as a kid. I loved the two miniseries and was a huge fan of the short-lived series. I was pretty upset when it was cancelled. I havent seen the original since it first aired, so maybe if I watched it now it won't seem as awesome. But from my memories, comparing the new ABC V to the NBC original, just doesnt seem fair, since so much has evolved with computer graphics and technology.

In the new V, I have been happily engrossed in the new cast. The pilot was great, and I look forward to the next two episodes before the show disappears in December (again, the holidays) and returns in early 2010. Whereas FLASHFORWARD is a chore to muddle through, V zips along and leaves me wanting more at the end of the hour. Now THATs a good sign!

MY RATING: A

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FALL TV 2009: CANCELLATION WATCH

Add ABC's EASTWICK to the fall shows that have been canned. I actually enjoyed EASTWICK in it's first 2 outings, but later episodes started to become lazy and uninspired. In fact, I have the last 3 episodes waiting to be seen on my DVR (never a good sign). Other ABC shows in danger are HANK and THE FORGOTTEN, though the latter just got picked up for 5 additional episodes. But HANK surely will be canceled soon. (MODERN FAMILY, FLASHFORWARD, THE MIDDLE, COUGAR TOWN and V are all safe)

At the CW, THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE was the first fall show canned, and MELROSE PLACE looked like a goner, too. That is, until it was announced that Heather Locklear would join it. For now, its on life support. The only other new CW show, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, is more than safe.

NBC has ditched TRAUMA after its run, and has picked up COMMUNITY and MERCY for full seasons.

No word yet on WHEN CBS will be canning THREE RIVERS, but NCIS: LA and THE GOOD WIFE have full season pick-ups, and ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE will be around for at least 18 episodes.

As for FOX, GLEE and CLEVELAND SHOW have earned their full-season pick-ups, but look for BROTHERS to get the ax any day now.

FALL PILOTS OFFICIALLY CANNED:
*EASTWICK (ABC)
*THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE: TBL (CW)
*TRAUMA (NBC)

Monday, November 9, 2009

FALL TV 2009: Best of THE CW

1. SUPERNATURAL
2. Melrose Place
3. Smallville
4. The Beautiful Life: TBL
5. The Vampire Diaries

RUNNER-UP: 90210
TOTAL LOSER: One Tree Hill

FALL TV 2009: Best of FOX

1. GLEE
2. The Cleveland Show
3. The Simpsons
4. American Dad
5. Fringe

RUNNER-UP: Dollhouse
TOTAL LOSER: BROTHERS

FALL TV 2009: Best of CBS

1. THE BIG BANG THEORY
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. Two and a Half Men
4. Accidentally on Purpose
5. The Mentalist

RUNNER-UP: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE
TOTAL LOSER: THREE RIVERS

FALL TV 2009: Best of NBC

1. THE OFFICE
2. 30 Rock
3. Friday Night Lights (via DIRECTV)
4. Community
5. Parks & Recreation

RUNNER-UP: TRAUMA
TOTAL LOSER: MERCY

FALL TV 2009: Best of ABC

Here are the 5 BEST ABC shows from Sept 1 , 2009 thru Nov 1, 2009:

1. Desperate Housewives
2. Modern Family
3. The Middle
4. Ugly Betty
5. Cougar Town

RUNNER-UP: Eastwick
TOTAL LOSER: Hank

Sunday, November 8, 2009

PROJECT RUNWAY: Who's Going to the Park?

Last month I made my predictions from the final 7 on who the final 3 would be. At the time I predicted Irina, Althea and Christopher (though I also called him a long-shot). HOnestly, at the time, I only felt Irina and Althea were talented enough to go all the way. But then Carol Hannah stepped up her game in the last couple of weeks, even winning a challenge. And in the end, the three prettiest women left on the show got the nod to bo to Bryant Park.

THE MEN: As predicted, each of the final 3 men fell, starting with Nicholas, then (shocker! NOT) Logan, and, finally, Christopher. With Chris, my heart wanted him to go, but deep down I knew he didnt deserve it, as did the judges. With schooling and formal training, Christopher has a shot at making it in the business, but he's too green for NY Fashion Week.

BYE GORDANNA: A noble effort, but, as the judges said, I never got a sense of what her signature look is as a designer. Plus, her age is working against her at this point in the game. Seeing her leave was a welcome relief.

CHARLIE'S ANGLES: Of the 3 finalists, Meana Irina was a no-brainer. I was a tad worried to see Althea in the bottom two, but am glad the judges advanced her. The wonderful surprise of the hour was the greenlight for Carol Hannah. On a purely personal level, I want Carol Hannah to win. Next, Althea, then Irina the bitch. With Irina, there is no doubt she can sew flawless dresses and outerwear, but I still think her aesthetic is stuck in the 80s past. Althea seems to have the best sense of going fashion-forward, and I predict Althea will win. I will go with Irina for #2 (hehe), and Carol Hannah for third place. Though, I gotta say this: Carol Hannah has surprised me in the past, and it would make my day to see her upset the competition and win the dang thing!

As for this cycle overall? SNOOOOOOZE! And PLEASE let's get a guy designer to Bryant Park next time. There hasnt been one since Christian Siriano won in cycle 4.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

WINTER MOVIE MUST-SEES

There are four films this year that I HAVE to see in theaters. In order, they are:

1. AVATAR: This James Cameron movie is his first since TITANIC, and one of the first movies to truly show live-action 3D in a HUGE canvass of a film. What is all the hype about? On Dec. 18 we get to find out.

2. 2012: A movie that was MEANT to be seen in theaters, in all it's destructive glory. They are calling this disaster porn for a reason.

3. A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN 3D: Speaking of 3D, here is the holiday charmer of the season. Like POLAR EXPRESS before it, CAROL is certain to be a perennial fave.

4. NINE: Rob Marshall's first musical since CHICAGO. With an all-star cast singing and dancing, I am ready for an adult musical to get me over recent failures FAME, BANDSLAM and REPO: A GENETIC OPERA.

Fall TV Review 2009: The League

Somewhere between the brilliance that is ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (A-) and the disaster known as TESTEES (F) falls this new fantasy football league sitcom on FX. There are moments when it excells (such as the adult character who is found stripping off a jersey from 'the oracle' as the boys parents walk in on it), but mostly it's just sad and raunchy (smoking pubic hairs to get high?). With too many other brilliant comedies to watch, I think I will be sitting THE LEAGUE out.

MY GRADE: C-