Feeny’s Fall Predictions
Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 2, 2009
We’ve given you the basic info. We’ve shown you the early trailers. You know what we know. (all those cheat sheets are on the Fall Premieres page..click here to open link in a separate window) So let’s make some predictions!
Now, our guesses are based solely on what we’ve posted. We haven’t seen any of these premieres (except Glee). But it could be fun to look back in December and May and see who got the most right. Of course, I thrive on competition…so I might care a little more than the others.
As a primer, let’s look at last year. Of the 21 shows that premiered in the Fall, only 4 returned this season: 90210, Gary Unmarried, The Mentalist, and Fringe. More mid-season replacements did get renewed (Castle, Lie to Me, Dollhouse, etc), but they sometimes have it easier. So keep that 4 for 21 track record in mind when looking at these 24 shows.
Actually, TheFutonCritic has a fabulous chart to depict this, updated through last year. 2008-2009 actually had a much lower success rate than usual…though even in good years only 35% make it through to the next season. Note that over the past 10 years, CBS has the best premiere success rate by far (and 2 of the 4 last year were theirs). I encourage you to read the whole series by TheFutonCritic’s Brian Ford Sullivan on new seasons. It’s very interesting.
Before I get to the predictions, here are my initial impressions of each show (the full list is on the Fall Premieres page).
Accidentally on Purpose (CBS) — I didn’t care for Jenna Elfman in Dharma and Greg, and this seems like a very similar show with a few different circumstances. Comedy viewers want more interesting twists these days…or the appeal of Charlie Sheen. One or the other.
The Beautiful Life (CW) — Does the CW air any shows that aren’t about pretty people? Not only featuring pretty people but actually about them being pretty. Somehow, they continue from year to year (Gossip Girl, 90210). But some fail (like Privileged). I think TBL will lack the universal appeal enough to have a short run.
Bored to Death (HBO) — I can’t figure out how this show will be done in a half hour. It definitely seems, from the trailer, to be a better fit in the hour format, ala USA’s detective shows. Danson and rising star Zach Galifianakis might be enough to keep it going.
Brothers (FOX) — Strahan’s acting seems serviceable in the trailer, though he’s no OJ Simpson. FOX’s attempts at comedy last year were pathetic, but several factors are working in their favor here. A lack of African American comedy, the unchallenged Friday night slot and the inexplicable success of ‘Til Death.
The Cleveland Show (FOX) — This show will almost certainly be an embarassment between The Simpsons and Family Guy. But as long as they stay in that slot, there will be more seasons.
Community (NBC) — As I mentioned, the only sitcom trailer I actually laughed at. As a commenter pointed out, I do worry all the jokes for that episode have already been heard. But it seems like this could have some good character development and heart…a great combo for a comedy.
Cougar Town (ABC) — Very few actresses these days can carry a show on their own. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is doing it. I thought Christina Applegate was doing it. But Samantha Who? was canceled and Cougar Town replaces it…with a similar fate ahead.
Eastwick (ABC) — Clever. As the world goes crazy for vampires, try to restart the love of witches from the Charmed/Sabrina days. This is much darker…but could do well enough in its timeslot.
Flash Forward (ABC) — It seems like four or five new shows over the past two years have involved the same type of time jump storylines. They all failed. What will make this one better? And what happens once they get answers to this year’s mystery. People might care enough to find out.
The Forgotten (ABC) — If the voiceover from the trailer is a feature of the show itself, this will fail quickly. If not, viewers will have a hard time distinguishing it from all the others on TV.
Glee (FOX) — With all the soap opera dramas for young adults out there, I think there’s a market for something lighter. And with music. I could do without the stereotypes, Glee’s just quirky enough to continue.
The Good Wife (CBS) — The reason Judging Amy worked for so many seasons is because the legal cases took a back seat to the life of the main character. I like this show’s chances…I’d like them more if Julianna Margulies wasn’t the star.
Hank (ABC) — I hate to say it since I love Kelsey Grammar. But this could be the worst comedy of the year. Nobody wants to see Frasier poor. Even the set looks like it was made under budget.
The Jay Leno Show (NBC) — NBC can’t take a huge public gamble like this and cancel the show midway through the year. Either in a PR sense or the practical sense of needing 5 shows to replace him. So Leno gets a full year…but will people want the same old stuff two hours earlier every day? It needs to be different from the Tonight Show to be a success. But even then, I’m not sure Leno’s well-liked enough to pull the ratings.
Melrose Place (CW) — This has all the CW-makings of success. Especially with 90210 as its lead-in. Regardless of the show’s quality, it’s what their audience wants. And it’s a clever retread by using a couple of the original characters, perhaps to bring in old and new viewers.
Mercy (NBC) — Medical dramas have had their day…and it was a while ago. There’s not enough interest in seeing a new hospital and meeting a whole new set of doctors, even if the focus is on nurses.
The Middle (ABC) — We know the parents are great. If the kids are likeable, this show might get a little following. Although the storylines are probably predictable, there is a lack of family sitcoms…which is probably why ABC went with three straight on Wednesdays.
The Modern Family (ABC) — A lot of critics are very high on this show. I wasn’t impressed by the premiere and didn’t understand how the three families’ lives interect, unless it’s just as neighbors. There seems to be a mix of moronic and intelligent humor, though.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) — This is the butter to CBS’ bread. A crime procedural, with a tinge of humor in the original NCIS vein. Although it seems more The Unit than CSI, remember that they all had/have long runs.
Three Rivers (CBS) — How do you make a show about organ donation interesting and new each week? It seems like they already hit half of the predictable plotlines in just the pilot. No matter how interesting the characters might be, if they’re doing the same thing every episode with a different body part, it won’t hold viewers.
Trauma (NBC) — One of our commenters pointed out that it seemed like this show’s trailer was more meant for a movie. Action works great in 24. But I don’t think viewers have the stomachs or stamina to keep up with traumatic events for an hour every week.
V (ABC) — Are aliens ready for primetime again? Perhaps, but not with this script. For the second time, production has been halted for retweaking. And the “hook” was already revealed in the pilot. We already know their intentions are less than friendly. Where do they go from there?
The Vampire Diaries (CW) — I don’t understand the dark vampire phenomenon. I’m loving Buffy, but it’s light-hearted. Twilight and True Blood have already sucked up so much of the base, I doubt they’re going to embrace this show as something new.
White Collar (USA) — A new character for USA, but an old concept. Still, if the characters are engaging and interesting, there’s no reason this show shouldn’t get another short season.
So, how will it all shake out? Between the hits, those good-enough-to-renew, the one-and-dones, and the early-canceled-flops. According to me, like this:
The Successes: Glee, Melrose Place, NCIS: Los Angeles, White Collar
The Renewals: Brothers, The Cleveland Show, Community, The Good Wife, The Jay Leno Show, The Modern Family
The Oners: Bored to Death, Cougar Town, Flash Forward, The Forgotten, Trauma, The Vampire Diaries
The Flops: Accidentally on Purpose, The Beautiful Life, Eastwick, Hank, Mercy, The Middle, Three Rivers, V
I’m probably a little too optimistic, especially considering that 30% stat. But we shall see. And like CJ, I’m not all that excited about most of them.