Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Handicapping Series Premieres 2012

Every fall brings a new batch of shows looking to gain mass appeal and through that first year a number of those series get cancelled. I suppose that is how the sausage gets made in some respects - throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. As a fan though, how depressing is it see a new show that you invest time in, get cancelled?

I've also developed a bit of a success meter for sniffing out the likely winners and losers of each year's crop - don't kid yourself, it's very much a talent. So, with the season upon us this month, here's how I'll handicap the changes of series premieres in 2012.

Feel free to agree or disagree and please drop in a comment below if you do!

Revolution (Mondays NBC)
-          The Show:  The US goes dark and every single piece of technology is rendered useless. A family struggles to reunite amid chaos against a militia that kidnaps their brother.
-          Gut Reaction: Cool looking show that for some reason reminds me of Heroes right down to the same channel and night. I’m guessing this one starts fast and has some success early while trying to avoid a quick flame out. It seems like you should have a chance if you have JJ Abrams and Jon Favreau on the team, but I’m not wow’d by the cast (too pretty for the apocalypse). -
-           The Guess: Count them in for a second season w/ some big changes for the cast in year two.

Go On (Tuesdays NBC)
-          The Show: Matthew Perry is a sports talk radio host and recently became widower. He wants to get back to work after the loss of his wife, but his boss forces him to join a support group to deal with the loss.
-          Gut Reaction: I’ve always liked Matthew Perry, so there is that. AND, I’ve actually watch the pilot and it made me laugh a couple of times – the group dynamic was fun. BUT, my assessment is that there is not enough here to get laughs every week for 20+ episodes a year.
-          The Guess: Find something else to do at 8pm Tuesday. I’d be surprised if it didn’t make it through year one, but shocked if it went beyond that.
Vegas (Tuesdays CBS)
-          The Show:  Inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher tasked with bringing order to Las Vegas in the 1960s. Lamb wants to be left in peace to run his ranch, but Las Vegas is now swelling with outsiders and corruption which are intruding on his simple life.
-          Gut Reaction: This seems like the perfect match of idea and network. I don’t think Vegas is a show that I’ll watch each week, but it seems to speak to the same core group that tune in for other CBS staples (CSI Franchise, NCIS, Blue Bloods, Hawaii 50, etc).
-          The Guess: Chalk it up, this one is the biggest ‘hit’ of the new season.

Animal Practice (Wednesdays NBC)
-          The Show: "Animal Practice" is a new comedy centering on Dr. George Coleman, a top veterinarian with an impressive list of famous animal patients at the Crane Animal Hospital - a bustling New York City veterinary practice where it often seems as if the patients are running the place. Despite his unorthodox style, George has an undeniable gift with animals of all kinds - except the human kind.
-          Gut Reaction: I really like the main character (Justin Kirk) on “Weeds,” so I was holding out hope, but I don’t see how this could be a winner. If the show is going to focus on the animals (as the title would have us to believe) then how long before those story lines get old?
-          The Guess: I’m going to put another one in the loss column for NBC who seems to have too many there already.

Elementary (Thursdays CBS)
-          The Show:  A modern-day spin on Sherlock Holmes who teams up with Dr. Watson to form a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD's most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare - a sober companion, Dr. Watson. A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance.
-          Gut Reaction: To be honest, I have little to no read on this show. Part of me thinks they are trying to cash in on the Holmes resurgence and the other part thinks it’s a way to capitalize on the goofy crime fighter phenomenon (a la The Mentalist, Psych, etc).
-          The Guess: I’ll watch the pilot, but I’m not hopeful. If forced to wager, I’d guess this is a loser.

Nashville (Wednesdays ABC)
-          The Show: A legendary queen of country music struggles to maintain her place in the spotlight while dealing with an ambitious rising pop-country vixen who wants to knock her off the throne.
-          Gut Reaction: As much as I love Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights, I can’t get on board with Nashville. I’m guessing too much bad music and drama filled story lines that I won’t care about. That said, I truly believe there is an audience for this show between Hayden Panettiere bringing teeny-boppers or Desperate Housewife’s fans looking for a new show.
-          The Guess: This has guilty pleasure all over it – the show will find an audience and stick in the schedule.

666 Park Avenue (Sundays ABC)
-          The Show:  Welcome to The Drake, Park Avenue's most devilish address, where evil, obsession, and supernatural occurrences are all included in the rent.
-          Gut Reaction: The guy from Lost + Vanessa Williams + Creepy Things + Weird Hotel = Big Time Loser. The previews seem to be a mess for me and I don’t get how this show could become successful.
-          The Guess: The show finds no audience and gets cancelled before the end of the season.

Quick Hitters –
Guys with Kids – probably would have been good in 1999 (Loser)
The New Normal – any show with NeNe Leakes can‘t be good, which sucks because I like Justin Bartha in National Treasure and The Hangover (Loser)
The Mindy Project – Liked the pilot, but hate the bad accent – Fingers Crossed (Winner)
The Mob Doctor – seems like they should do it as a comedy (Loser)
Last Resort – This could be interesting for a month, then nothing (Loser)
Made in Jersey – Sorry, full up on lawyer shows; try again next year (Loser)
Partners – Good lead in gives it a chance, plus I like the guy from Numbers/10 Things I Hate About You (Winner)