It’s time for one of my favorite column gimmicks of the year — the official PopRox fall TV preview. Good timing since the fall TV schedule gets going tonight. It’s the place where you can hear things like How to Be a Gentleman “might be the greatest sitcom cast assembled in at least the last 10 years and it’s got a cushy spot right behind Big Bang Theory.” HTBG was canceled after two episodes, then pulled from the Saturday schedule when it was being burned off. Buckle up, it gets a little bumpy.
This year, there’s a bonus. I’ve actually watched a bunch of pilots of new shows before they air thanks to OnDemand and some press credentials, so I can actually talk somewhat knowledgeably about a bunch of these shows and will have full reviews coming.
If you haven’t been around for one of these, we do it in two parts — breaking down the Monday through Wednesday schedule today, and Thursday to Sunday tomorrow. We have some ground rules/conditions:
–This is only how I envision my viewing schedule would look in a perfect world. But that perfect TV viewing world doesn’t include kids who won’t go to sleep when they’re supposed to, the Phillies, the Sixers, the baseball playoffs, Seinfeld and Friends reruns, random movie viewing nights or whatever else would distract me from my normal TV schedule.
–There are three categories for shows. “Watching it live” means a show in my first position in that time slot. These are the shows I almost always watch that night, no matter what. “DVR-ing it” is my first stage of catch-up, but I will almost always catch up on it, usually on a Friday or Saturday night. “OnDemand” is the last resort. These are the shows that easily could get lost in the shuffle of trying to keep up with everything. I used to include “watching it online” but that’s a waste because I almost never watch anything online. Just can’t get into it yet.
–Since the CW still isn’t OnDemand on my Comcast system, none of its shows can be listed there. Beauty and the Beast would be a show I’d normally check out OnDemand, because it’s not beating out The Office/Parks and Rec or Glee at 9 p.m. Thursdays in the watch it live/DVR-ing categories. So it gets dropped. Wake up, CW.
–If something isn’t listed, then I’m ignoring it completely. If it’s a new show, I may check out the pilot just in case, but I won’t be holding out hope.
–You will notice no reality shows will be mentioned whatsoever. I’ve said this about a million times, but if you’re looking for thoughts/news on reality TV, you’re in the wrong place. 99.99999 percent of the time, this is a reality TV-free zone.
–I don’t make enough to pay for premium channels. That means no HBO (Treme, Boardwalk Empire), no Showtime (Homeland, Dexter) and no Starz (Boss) shows will appear here. You’re on your own with those. I probably couldn’t fit them in my schedule anyway. Every other show is on the table.
On to the the preview, Part 1:
Holy crap I almost nodded off just reading the schedule. What the hell? How did Mondays get so boring? Isn’t Monday supposed to be one of the biggest TV nights of the week? I’m only watching one show, one stinkin’ show, on Mondays, and that’s Revolution (10 p.m., NBC starting 9/17). And from the pilot I watched OnDemand last week, I might not be watching that very far into the season. I’d like to thank the networks for giving me a day at the start of the week to clean out my DVR from the last week and watch Monday Night Football guilt-free. You guys are too sweet.
This is more like it. Suddenly, Tuesday night has become the battleground for TV comedy with ABC, NBC and Fox all rolling out full sitcom lineups. The best part is they actually all look pretty good, but not all of them are going to be able to survive.
Watching live: Raising Hope (8 p.m., Fox, starting 10/2), Ben and Kate (8:30 p.m., Fox, starting 9/25), New Girl (9 p.m., Fox, starting 9/25), The New Normal (9:30 p.m., NBC, preview episode tonight, starts tomorrow), Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX, starts tomorrow)
DVR-ing: Happy Endings (9 p.m. ABC, starting 10/23), Don’t Trust the B— (9:30 p.m., ABC, starting 10/23), Vegas (10 p.m. CBS, starting 9/25)
OnDemand: Go On (9 p.m., NBC, pilot repeat tonight, starts tomorrow), The Mindy Project (9:30 p.m., starts Fox, 9/25), Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC, starts tomorrow)
Battles: At 9 p.m., New Girl and Happy Endings are really, really close. New Girl gets the nod just for continuity sake, but it’s a coin toss. Go On isn’t close to those shows right now, maybe it could be. Hopefully I catch it OnDemand enough to see if it happens, but already I see that being a problem.
At 9:30, The New Normal gets an early vote of confidence for one reason — creator Ryan Murphy. The guy is a TV genius, I just don’t know any other way to say it. Maybe we just share the same sense of humor, I don’t know. Don’t Trust the B is a really funny show, and the pilot for the The Mindy Project is pretty promising. I’m going to try to keep up with both of them. But for now, Murphy deserves my respect for bringing me Nip/Tuck, Glee and American Horror Story.
Wait a second … am I actually excited about a CBS show? Yes, yes I am! It’s the first time since Smith in 2009. That didn’t go well. CBS has been pretty dreadful developing good serial shows, pretty much abandoning the format completely over the last couple years. But Vegas looks like it could be not the worst thing ever. How’s that for a compliment! Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, mob movie about Las Vegas, sign me up! If this fails or sucks, I may never go back to CBS again. It’s still not beating out Sons of Anarchy on the watch it live battle — few shows would — but I’d be watching it live if it were on at 10 pretty much any other night of the week. I still somewhat enjoy Parenthood, my viewing of it is based on whether I’m home while my wife catches up with it.
Watching live: The ABC comedy schedule from 8-10 p.m. (starting 9/26, except for Suburgatory at 9:30, which starts 10/17 for some reason), then South Park (10 p.m., Comedy Central, starting 9/26)
DVR-ing: Arrow (8 p.m., the CW starting 10/10), Nashville (10 p.m., ABC, starting 10/10)
OnDemand: Animal Practice (8 p.m., NBC, starting 9/26)
Battles: Another big night. It seems like I’ll be dumping some of these shows rather quickly because there is too much to watch, but I’m pretty excited about most of them. Arrow is my #1 new show I’m looking forward to, I liked the Animal Practice pilot and I’d rather do a 24-hour Oogieloves marathon than miss a Connie Britton show (Nashville). Maybe The Neighbors (8:30 p.m. ABC, starting 9/26) is the one I’d eventually drop. Not a fan of the pilot, nor do I think Jami Gertz should be accepted as a comedic actress. How did that happen, anyway? One rather unfunny guest spot on Seinfeld and she gets to be a comedienne? Not on my watch.