Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Popcorn Trick's Fall Television Preview: Tuesday

Anyone catch any of the new stuff last night? Monday Night Football was a yawner...The Voice already felt tired and stale for some reason, even with Aguilera shucking and jiving as hard as she could for her network bosses to infuse new energy into the charade.

I chose to watch The Blacklist and DVR Hostages. So, my thoughts on The Blacklist...

First: James Spader. I don't think he was crazy enough. I wanted more over the topness. But maybe that's just me. I liked the Duddley Do Right FBI agent from Homeland, and wish he was playing that character so we could have a crossover. The female lead? A bore. Her traits were the same as every female character in a law enforcement role on television. Tough as nails but she has her issues.

As is traditional with television pilots, I thought a lot of this episode was inconsistent. It moved so fast and broke so many reveals it was almost easy to check out at times because nothing was established. I enjoyed the reveal about the husband, but felt like that was something that could have been hinted out for a few episodes and then revealed later in the season for stronger resonance.

Also, all the family stuff is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. At this point I think the surprise would be that Spader WASN'T her father.

There was a lot to like, and the subject matter is in my wheelhouse, so I'll stick with it for awhile. But I really hope it slows down, just a little even, to let the stories and overall vibe breathe some more. This will in turn make the twists and turns even stronger.

What did everyone else think?

Ok, on to Tuesday...


CBS ain't fucking around on Tuesday. The acronyms are strong tonight. Both NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles are back and aren't taking prisoners. Tonight begins the long goodbye of Ziva from NCIS which is sure to grab a lot of viewers, possibly more than this show already attracts. The question then becomes will NCIS keep the audience once she's off the show. A popular character, Cote de Pablo's shoes are big to fill, and Emily Wickersham who is the supposed replacement, better be ready.

Rounding out the night is obviously the other NCIS, and Person of Interest, one of those shows that quietly gets the traction it needs from a dedicated audience, and I don't see any change in that. I'd be surprised if the other networks did much against CBS on Tuesday nights.


ABC looks to have the biggest changes for Tuesday, starting with the show with the seemingly biggest buzz this year, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Banking on the popularity of superheroes in the movies translating to television (albeit with minor characters and a minor budget), ABC hopes to see geeks/nerds and other fans turn in on a Tuesday night. Which...this just doesn't feel like the right evening for a show like this. Sunday night...Thursday night...even Wednesday...all better options in my book. The problem with a show like this, that seemingly has a built-in audience is that it has to be detailed enough to speak to that audience, but also broad enough to attract more audience. That is a delicate tightrope to walk. I think the show will premiere to a big number, but then gradually leak numbers, and then the tinkering will begin. Whether the tinkering will work is the million dollar question.

ABC also has two new sitcoms debuting tonight: The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and I'll say this about these shows: both boast really strong casts. The buzz for both has been generally positive; though I'm not sure about The Goldbergs. I know The Wonder Years worked as a period piece, but I think that had to do more tapping into the zeitgeist of the time. It also focused almost exclusively on the kids, which allowed viewers to feel nostalgic about their awkward years. Very relatable. The Goldbergs won't have that luxury, and is looking to be more of an ensemble. That worked for Modern Family of course, but so didn't work for Arrested Development (ratings wise, certainly not content wise). And I think that's what the Goldbergs is shooting for, the bullseye between Modern Family and Arrested Development. I just don't know how big that bullseye that is, and if it misses...

Trophy Wife sounds like one of those bland sitcoms with a silly premise, until you look at the cast, and then you start to ask what these people are doing in a show like this, until eventually you become intrigued enough to tune in.

I'm just not sure any of this matters since both these shows are up against night two of The Voice and NCIS: Los Angeles. Finding their audience will be difficult.

And at 10, it seems as though ABC has given up with the show, Lucky 7, about winners of a big lottery and old problems that didn't fix, and the new problems it's created. The over/under on number of episodes shown is 2.5.


So, tonight we have another 2 hours of The Voice. You certainly can't accuse network executives of holding back. Or looking to the future. Obviously, nothing was learned from burning out Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I'm not sure how long NBC is going to run 4 hours of The Voice every week, but I hope this is not the norm, because Voice fatigue is going to be a very real problem for NBC if this goes on throughout the show's run.

Chicago Fire will benefit from The Voice lead-in here, a perfectly bland show with firefighter hunks and recycled ER story lines.


Fox pairs its returning sitcoms of New Girl and The Mindy Project with Dads and Brooklyn 99, two shows whose buzz is going in opposite directions. It's a shame that Dads has such talent with the cast (at least the Dads), and none with the writing. But I see this show sticking around because it's from Seth McFarlane, and he is currently FOX's golden goose. Rather than piss him off, they'll keep moving Dads around at least for a season until people just forget about it.

Brooklyn 99 on the other hand boasts some decent buzz and Andre Braugher, who can do no wrong in my book. Thankfully his presence allows me to add this:

I hope Brooklyn 99 does well because I think the humor is clever and the people involved have something good on their hands. Even if the premiere last week was uneven, sitcoms need time to find their voice. I hope this one is given a chance.

Check back tomorrow for Wednesday's preview...

No comments: