Keeping Up with the Upfronts

Here’s your soon-to-be-daily reminder there will be a PopRox live chat Tuesday at 11 a.m. My blogging will be spotty this week because of some weird scheduling for me, so if you think I’m missing anything, hold on to it and feel free to stop by the chat Tuesday to bring it up.

But here are some things I know I’ll be covering:

–The departures of 24, Lost and Law and Order. Three TV institutions that will be ending in a span of two days, Sunday and Monday.

–The new TV schedules for the fall.

–All the scripted season/series finales.

–The summer movie season.

–Anything else pop culture related on your mind.

So stop in on Tuesday, ask a question and I promise I’ll get to it as soon as I can. I’ll keep answering questions as long as people keep asking them. There have been people asking for something like this for a while, so if you want to make sure we do something like this monthly or even weekly, make sure to come around Tuesday afternoon so we can see if there is actually demand.

If you want to make sure I answer a question — or if you’re as absent-minded as me and you think you might forget it by Tuesday — you can always e-mail it to me.

We’re in the midst of a pretty boring upfront season. It used to be kinda cool waiting around to find out what shows were coming back and what shows weren’t. Well, kinda cool in a nerve-racking way. But these days, we find out long before the upfront presentations whether a show is coming back. And this year, even if a show really is on the bubble, we find out a day before if it’s been chopped or renewed. So the fun has been taken out of everything. That’s the case with the CW. We know Life Unexpected and One Tree Hill will be back, but Melrose Place won’t be even before the network’s upfront presentation Thursday. Move along. Nothing to see here.

But it also means there is tons of news. Catching up on some of the bubble shows but not worrying yet about the new shows because only NBC made their trailers available and I haven’t gotten a chance to go through them all yet, except The Event, which looks disjointed but cool:

In case you haven’t seen the new schedules, here they are:

ABC looking for the next Lost.

CBS has six new shows.

NBC guts its scheule.

FOX is in good shape.

Some thoughts on the new schedules:

"please, lady, stop me from being such an @ss and bad actor"

"please, lady, stop me from being such an @ss and bad actor"

V will be back, even though it’s pretty much crap. I’ve wasted a lot of time watching this show for the last couple months when every instinct in my head was telling me to bail (more in the review). The surprise is that it’s not coming back until midseason. It’s perfectly understandable and ABC can give plenty of good reasons for it — but there are just too many arguments against it. Whatever momentum it has, it’s going to lose by not coming back for eight months. Moves like that are usually reserved for top-flight, top-notch shows that have a guaranteed audience salivating at the mere thought of it coming back, like Lost and 24 have had the last couple years. V doesn’t belong in that group. Keeping it off the air until January doesn’t do anything expect help people forget it ever existed.

For some reason, I pictured CBS as axe-swinging trolls just randomly chopping the heads off anyone who wandered under their bridge. They dumped seven of their shows, none of which were really a surprise. It’s just that it’s a lot of real estate to fill with stuff that might not be as successful as a show like Cold Case, which does get good raitings. Or Ghost Whisperer. Don’t think for a second that it’s an easy thing to do, pulling in even slightly decent ratings on a Friday. CBS had the formula to do it, but decided to drop two of the good performers, Whisperer and Numbers. We’ll see if they’re as successful next year. As soon as Ghost Whisperer and New Adventures of Old Christine were dropped, ABC immediately started talking about picking them up.

these guys deserve a better fate

these guys deserve a better fate

Normally I’m not excited about anything on CBS because it just feels like the network of old people. That’s not changing. The only new thing I’d be remotely interested in is Bleep My Dad Says, but I’m already convinced that with the presence of overacting poster boy William Shatner, it’s going to suck rocks. I’ll give it a shot, it just doesn’t really make me want to watch. What does concern me about the CBS schedule is putting the giant hit but completely formulaic Big Bang Theory against the ratings-hurting but fantastically hysterical Community. Community’s second season is when it would have started to grow and possibly get an audience. NBC was ready to show reruns all summer, word of mouth would have circulated and people would have started to gravitate to Greendale Community College. Now, putting it up against Big Bang Theory practically kills it. I tried watching BBT again this week, I think I’m now on about 15 viewings or so, and I still just don’t get what all the fuss is about. To me, it just seems like every other laugh-track sitcom, unoriginal and unnatural. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Community, a totally fresh and brilliantly funny half hour I’ve started looking forward to each week. No show this year has improved as much as Community, and it sucks that it’s going to be gone after two years because CBS just decided it wants to shake up its schedule. I’m seriously considering naming the show’s Goodfellas/mafia movie parody as the funniest thing I’ve seen on TV this year.

But hey, at least Charlie Sheen will be back with Two and a Half Men! Hmmmm. I don’t think my sarcasm really comes out well in writing sometimes. But that was meant to be completely sarcastic. The show is on a lot when I’m at the gym on the treadmill — the only way I’d watch it — and it’s just 100 percent unfunny. It really is. It makes me sad that three times as many people watch it than Community.

Upfronts aren’t as big news at cable networks, but when you’re getting the sloppy seconds of the one of the messiest divorces in TV history, it makes news. Hopefully someday we’ll get to see that Conan video instead of just getting the blow by blow.

the legacy of jim rockford is safe ... for now

the legacy of jim rockford is safe ... for now

One thing that surprised me when NBC announced its schedule Monday was that Rockford Files wasn’t there, and it wasn’t on the midseason schedule either. Then we found out why — because it sucked. It’s somewhat of a good sign that NBC decided to scrap it, because it probably should have scrapped other expensive reboots like Knight Rider and The Bionic Woman. They decided to keep those shows and market them on nothing other than camp and nostalgia, and both were D-U-N done in less than a season. so either Rockford Files sucked so bad NBC said, “This is even worse than Knight Rider, we’ll  probably spend eternity in hell if we put it on TV” or they just decided to send a message with their programming: Give us good shows, or else. I’m hoping it’s the latter. (That’s the second one, for those like Phil Dumphy.)

Just to be clear — I haven’t forgotten about movie news. Especially not when it concerns one of the Flight of the Conchords! I still won’t be seeing Men in Black 3, but it’s good to know Jemaine Clement is becoming quite the in-demand comedy actor.

V SPOILERS COMING NOW, LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE SECRETS TO THIS MISERABLE SHOW: The biggest regret of my TV year is staying with this show on the very crowded Tuesday at 10 spot. I liked it OK for the November episodes, but hoped it would improve by the time its spring session rolled around. It hasn’t. It’s gotten worse. Like Charles Logan-level worse. How can anyone believe that four or five people who apparently make up the entirety of this mysterious but still unseen Fifth Column can take on an entire race of aliens? Everyone keeps talking about how powerful and how scary the Fifth Column is, but I can’t seem to figure out why. So why should I get on board with this? Seems to me that if this Anna broad is so smart, she would have been able to identify one person on her ship and four people on Earth who comprise this little party group. And when are people going to realize that you can’t just write douchieness? You need a believable actor to pull it off, too. I don’t hate Scott Wolf’s Chad Decker because he’s such a jerk — I hate him because he’s distractingly one-dimensional and completely unrealistic as a journalist. That’s every one’s fault — writer, director, producers and Wolf. Whatever. Now here’s the problem after last night’s episode — it wasn’t as bad as all the other episodes. In fact, it was decent. Or at least what I saw of it, seeing as those of us watching on WNEP missed a very important five minutes or so as the local ABC affiliate broke into live coverage of Joe Sestak’s victory speech (I’m waiting on a response from the station to an e-mail I sent). In case you haven’t seen it, fast forward to the 37:30 mark, it’s kinda worth it:

The climax of seeing Ryan’s baby with a tail wasn’t as climactic and cool as the reveal was in the original V miniseries, but it’ll do. Now I have enough questions to things I’m actually interested in that I might end up watching next year. That makes me kinda angry. I still don’t care about 90 percent of the people on the show, but it was a pretty decent finale — too bad it can’t make up for the rotten season. FINALE GRADE: B. SEASON GRADE: D+

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