We’re too light on the special goings on around the Poconos this week to go into it, so we’re hitting the links today.
We’ve got everyone’s midseason TV schedule announced, Fox finished it off yesterday. We now have a list of shows that are, for all intents and purposes, canceled. That doesn’t mean these shows aren’t coming back, because some of them have episodes already taped and in the can and it’s pretty costly to tape something and never air it. It just means the network hasn’t committed to any new tapings and the production has been pretty much shut down. Once that happens, it takes a presidential order to bring it back. So yeah, those shows that aren’t on the midseason schedule, especially the shows that are only three months old? They’re in trouble. They’re not technically canceled yet, but they might as well be.
Here are the “not on the midseason schedule” shows that are in pretty big trouble of being canceled:
Fox: Allen Gregory. Got through two episodes of this before calling it quits. Allen Gregory watchers are realizing the same thing Community watchers are learning this year — Dean Pelton is better used in short doses, not in a heavy supporting role. In a good news, bad news thing, some actors are just too recognizable to be voice actors in animated TV shows. You can’t help but picture them the whole time you’re watching. Jonah Hill has become one of those guys. So your show is getting canceled, but hey, you’re super famous!
ABC: Man Up, Pan Am. I’m on record saying I can’t watch shows with a laugh track. And I stand by that. But when a sitcom without a laugh track fails, it’s a train wreck of a grease fire that will quickly spread and engulf your whole house. That would be Man Up. Apparently there is some debate whether Pan Am actually will be making more shows or not, but it looks like 99.9999999 percent there will be no new Pan Ams produced, which is fine by me. The whole Cougar Town thing is a whole other story. It’s not on the midseason sked, but ABC set the record straight that it is, in fact, coming back in the spring with a reduced number of episodes. If it ends up getting canceled after that run, NBC should pounce to pick it up and immediately insert it on Thursday nights at 9:30 where I can safely avoid it and still be happy that it’s on the air while something like Whitney continues to exist.
NBC: Community, Prime Suspect. NBC gets a lot of crap for not marketing shows correctly and not pushing its own products, but it did just about everything short of sending Maria Bello to your home to watch Prime Suspect with you to keep that show on the air. It played repeats constantly through the week, doing anything it could to lull you in to some false sense of security that this show would be around forever, thereby making it your very own TV security blanket to fall asleep with. That strategy went over about as well as it did two years ago with the Leno show and now Prime Suspect looks to be gone. Community … I’m starting to come to grips with losing it. I shouldn’t have to. None of us should. If we lived in a world that made sense, Community would be one of the most-watched comedies on TV, a consistently funny, inventive, risk-taking sitcom that makes everyone laugh as hard as it makes me laugh. Instead, we live in the world where 2.5 Men is the most-watched sitcom on TV, and that just doesn’t make any sense. You can’t blame NBC if it does end up dumping Community. It’s a show not many people watch on one of the most important, profitable nights of the TV week that is getting ratings-trounced by the sitcom airing opposite it. What you can blame NBC for is keeping Whitney on the air and deciding Community is expendable. The good news is that production on Community has not been shut down and it should air all of its remaining episodes next year sometime. We just don’t know when, and that’s not a good sign.
CBS: Rules of Engagement. The network says it’s coming back at some point, it just doesn’t know when. This entire season was a syndication burn-off anyway, so no one at the network really cares. That’s about the same attitude viewers would take since CBS could air it at 2 a.m. on a Sunday and no one would notice/care.
Hey, there are other shows actually coming back, you know! They’re just on cable. Most excited for Justified, which returns Jan. 17. Loved last season, it will be in my top 10 of the year (other locks — Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, then some surprises), and I love the commercial/trailer with Raylan and Boyd looking like they’re going to shoot the shat out of each other, then they’re actually running down an alley shooting together. Awesomeness.
I’ve been trying to stay a little light on Awards Season ’round here so that I don’t burn out by the time Oscar nominations are announced in January. I totally did last year and was a cynical, babbling baboon by the time the awards actually happened. But we’re starting to get in to it pretty hard as the Spirit Award nominees were announced earlier this week and then Thursday the National Board of Review announced their award winners for the year. We’re getting a pretty good road map of what movies we need to see come Oscar time. In fact, that’s probably going to be a post for next week, the essential movies of Oscar Season. I’m hitting up the Descendants on Sunday and have Tree of Life sitting on my TV still in its mailing, I’m hoping to cross both of those off this weekend. Other than that, I’m pretty sure the only other quality things I’ve seen this year are Cedar Rapids and Win Win. A lot of my TV has already wrapped up for the year (Vampire Diaries, Fringe) or is going to wrap up this week (Sons of Anarchy, Glee) so I’ll have time to hit my Blockbuster queue and Redbox pretty hard over the next few weeks.
Then again, perhaps you’re already over the 2012 Oscars. Maybe you’re looking for what’s coming at the 2013 Oscars? Your first sneak peek came this week when the 2012 Sundance Film Festival announced its competition movies. I’m not going to pretend to know anything about them, other than the Alison Brie-Lizzy Caplan movie that almost crashed the Internet permanently when it was announced on the mere possibility their lips may touch. As Per the usual, Poconos extended family member Paul Dano has a movie in competition and I’m trying to figure out how to get Smashed into my queue this early since it’s about drinkin’ and the cast is Aaron Paul (Jesse on Breaking Bad) and Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson on Parks and Rec).
(SONS OF ANARCHY POSSIBLE SPOILER ON THE WAY, WATCH OUT)
Another show that’s making its way into my top 10 TV this year — or re-entering — is Sons of Anarchy. Season 3 was a complete mess, I wrote about that a zillion times last year because I was so pissed about it. It was a great show the first season, a very good show in season 2, but an utter disappointment in season 3. Not exactly trending up there. But the way it’s come back this year has been fantastic, easily its best season. Without seeing Homeland at all this year, it’s right with Breaking Bad for being the most intense show on TV even though the two shows deliver the intensity in completely different ways. We’re four days away, and I’m already salivating waiting for the second part of the finale. What is going to cloud my vision of it, however, is …
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT, PLEASE DON’T READ THIS IN CASE I’M RIGHT AND YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED
OK I’M GONNA SAY IT NOW
… when the show reveals the assistant US attorney guy as John Teller. It’s been an Internet rumor for months, and I was starting to think it even before it started popping up more and more as a theory. The show has been pushing this theory somewhat sneakily the last couple weeks until this week when it blatantly showed pictures of the 70s John Teller and it looked exactly like 2011 (presumably) John Teller. It’s some good sleight of hand by showrunner Kurt Sutter (who also plays Otto, in case you didn’t know that), who has been thinning the ranks of SAMCRO all year to the point where you have to think, “Geez, how are they even gonna have a season next year?” John Teller actually being alive — if that is him — will turn the show upside down, hopefully in a good way. But I’m going on pre-record as saying I’m calling BS on it. I have a bunch of reasons I’ll disseminate Wednesday if it turns out to be true.