NBC and Fox First for Upfronts; Brothers and Sisters Finale Watch

Late today, sorry. I toyed with not even posting today, but there is too much going on. There is a spoiler-filled Brothers and Sisters finale review at the bottom:

uh ... what? january?

uh ... what? january?

NBC had two options going into next year’s TV season when they unveiled their schedule today. It could either start the rebuilding process from being the lowest rated of the major networks and hope by some miracle that everything just turns out OK, or they could just blow up the entire schedule and start from scratch. It did the right thing — it completely obliterated the schedule. The shows that a couple years ago were its only really recognizable properties — Heroes and Law and Order — are gone for good. Or are they? Anyway, axing them gets them off the air to clear up room for shows that are probably better, and it sends a distinct message: Don’t screw with us. The network apparently doesn’t care about pedigree or past performance anymore. If you can’t produce quality programming or deliver ratings, then forget it, you’re gone. That’s not the worst message to send when you’re trying to rebuild a business. NBC has showed it will hold on to quality as long as it’s not completely losing its shirt making the episodes — Friday Night Lights, Chuck — but without some kind of revenue stream, the Peacock is showing it means business. Every time a show’s producer comes in and says, “You can’t dump my show, you kept Friday Night Lights around!” NBC can come right back and say, “Yeah, but did you see what we did to Law and Order? You’re next!”It’s the equivalent of a new boss firing someone on the first day. You think you’re safe Office just because you sell on iTunes? Or 30 Rock just because people keep giving you Emmys? Forget it, get numbers or else. the one major surprise was the announcement that Parks and Recreation isn’t coming back until the winter. I’m in the opposite corner to those who think this is a good thing — it can’t do anything but hurt Parks and Rec at a time when it has some juice. The network spent the last year trying to turn the show into a hit. Now that there is actually a chance of that happening, they take it out of sight for seven months? Stupid NBC.

another year of a low-rated, big-budget average action show? sure, why not!

another year of a low-rated, big-budget average action show? sure, why not!

Fox is in the exact opposite situation. They’re the #1 network on TV, they can afford to give away time to shows that may not be as big a hit, but they think can be — so it’s good to see Lie to Me and Human Target back on next year’s schedule. They both get average ratings, but they’re both good shows with likable characters, good actors and somewhat compelling stories. They’re never going to be nominated for Emmys, and they’ll never take precedence in any decent DVR over something like Grey’s Anatomy, but that’s fine. They’re not supposed to, that’s not their job. They’re there for us to waste an hour of our lives and say, “I liked that hour better than the hour I spent at the dentist today.” Not everything is a home run, but baseball teams need guys to get on base with walks and singles if they’re going to win. Lie to Me and Human Target are the equivalent of a slap-hitting centerfielder. They don’t wow you, but you need them in the lineup or you’ll have a big hole.

WATCH OUT, I’M ABOUT TO GIVE AWAY THE BROTHERS AND SUSTERS FINALE!!! IF IT’S SITTING ON YOUR DVR, DON’T READ THIS!!! A couple of thoughts on the final five minutes of Brothers and Sisters, which were the only five minutes worth watching in what was just your average episode, except for that final family car crash that promises to change the landscape of the show, for good or for bad:

–Robert’s dead. No coming back from the grave, no chance that they took him to the hospital and he miraculously popped back to life, he’s dead and gone and ready to jump into his new role on Park and Recreation. Not the best introduction of his character either, as The Guy Who Made Out with Drunk Ann. Or the Guy Who Points Instead of Shaking Hands:

Not exactly a resume builder. Here’s how I think this went down. Rob Lowe announced in the winter he was leaving the show, so Brothers and Sisters writers had to figure out a way to get rid of him, but to make sure they really got rid of him so they didn’t have to field questions at every press junket about when he’s coming back. Killing him was the only option. As the days went by and ideas flew around in the writers’ room, they couldn’t come up with anything. Finally it dawned on them — why not a car crash not just to kill off Robert, but to change the family dynamic as well. It makes Kitty a single mom — and a single step-mom for Robert’s three other kids who are trapped in his basement or something since we haven’t seen them all year — and makes her more reliant on the rest of the Walkers. It’s not the best way to get rid of a character — especially one who is the only appealing person on the show to those of us who don’t wear bras — but it’s acceptable and it’s closure. But if you’re a man, you’re once again going to be embarrassed telling your friends that you watch the show, if you weren’t already. I kinda was, but now I’ll be full-fledged hiding it.

–If you didn’t think he was dead, then Justin cemented it the second he left him in the SUV with Kitty to die. That was his soldier training coming back. Help the ones you can, not the ones you can’t. Which leads us too …

–Holly will probably be fine. There’s no proof of this, but with one kinda Walker down, there’s no reason to get rid of another one too. Just a way to make her more involved in the story next year, her recovery from the injury.

buck up, saul. at least you'll have some meaty parts in next year's season

buck up, saul. at least you'll have some meaty parts in next year's season

–Poor Saul. He just came out of the closet, only to find out he’s HIV positive. But for the fans, it’s the only good part about this car crash. It means the family actually knows. The other option would have been him to have this secret that we would know and the family wouldn’t, and by next Christmas, we’d be yelling at the TV “JUST TELL THEM ALREADY!!!” when Saul nearly gets caught for the 82nd time giving himself a shot of AZT. FINALE GRADE: B-. SEASON GRADE: C

Here’s everything you need to know about the Desperate Housewives finale since I don’t watch it.

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