January 16th, 2011


The TV Survival Scorecard

It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that the first half of this TV season has been deemed surprisingly lackluster. Readers of this blog know I've been saying that from the start; it just took a while for the entertainment media to catch up.

The verdict on the second half of the season remains to be seen, but with a roster of new shows that don't look like anything special (Mr. Sunshine, Harry's Law) or look downright unwatchable (Perfect Couples), I'm not holding my breath for any diamonds in the rough.

Still, it's never too soon to consider what the future holds, with the future in this case being next year's TV season. Over at the Entertainment Weekly site, not-Michael Ausiello has a handy list of which shows are sure shots for renewal, which are teetering on the fence, and which don't have a snowball's chance in Hell.

I'm not going to reprint the whole list here, you can hit the link above for that. But when it comes to the network shows I watch--and your faithful TV Nerd is watching surprisingly few these days, another sure sign that this season is weak--it's interesting to see where things stand.

When it comes to sure things for next season, I'm happy to see Castle on the list. That show seems to get better not just with each new season, but with each new episode. I'm also happy to see Family Guy, which I think is in the midst of a creative resurgence; Modern Family, which has become must-see TV for me every week; The Mentalist, which has really found its legs this season; and 30 Rock, which is arguably one of the best sitcoms ever made. I'm surprised to find The Office on the list, as I pretty much assumed the series would end with Steve Carell's departure, and The Cleveland Show, which is good but not as good as its progenitor Family Guy. However, I am not surprised to see The Simpsons is a sure thing. That show is the unkillable zombie of the TV world.

In terms of shows that are likely to be renewed but haven't been yet, I'm rooting big time for Community, which for me has become appointment television even more than its Thursday night compatriot 30 Rock. I think it's brilliant. I'm also rooting for Parks and Recreation, which has developed rather quickly into something good rather than just a clone of The Office. I am not, however, rooting for $#*! My Dad Says, which I find unwatchable. Also, what's up with Sunday night cartoon Bob's Burgers being on the likely list? That looked like a chore to sit through, so I skipped it.

For whatever reason, Chuck is once again "on the bubble," meaning its renewal chances could go either way. But this happens every year to Chuck and it always gets renewed, and it always gets a full season order after that, so I'm not really worried. On the other hand, I have no problem with Outsourced being on the bubble. That show looks like death.

I'm not surprised by any of the shows that are in serious danger of being canceled, not even Human Target, which I like. But it's a big budget show--all those exploding helicopters don't pay for themselves--and barely anyone is watching, so shocked I'm not. Nor am I shocked to see No Ordinary Family, V, and The Event are in danger of cancellation, because those shows are unwatchable nonsense.

And there you have it for the meager amount of network shows the TV Nerd is watching this season. (Add the cable shows I watch and the amount becomes a bit more respectable, even if the shows aren't. What Not To Wear and My Dog Ate What? Yeah, I'm ashamed, but I'm not going to stop.)

So, where do your favorite shows stand in the renewal/cancellation rankings?