8-10 p.m. Dancing With the Stars
10-11 p.m. CONVICTION
8-8:30 p.m. The Middle
8:30-9 p.m. AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE
9-9:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat
9:30-10 p.m. The Real O’Neals
10-11. p.m. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8-8:30 p.m. The Goldbergs
8:30-9 p.m. SPEECHLESS
9-9:30 p.m. Modern Family
9:30-10 p.m. black-ish
10-11 p.m.: DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
8-9 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy
9-10 p.m. NOTORIOUS
10-11 p.m.: How to Get Away With Murder
10-11 p.m. The Blacklist
8-8:30 p.m. Last Man Standing
8:30-9 p.m.: Dr. Ken
9-10 p.m. Shark Tank
10-11 p.m. 20/20
8-9 p.m. Once Upon a Time
9-10 p.m. Secrets and Lies
10-11 p.m. Quantico
MIDSEASON: Scandal, The Catch and American Crime will return later in the year; new dramas Time After Time and Still Star-Crossed will debut later, as well as new comedies Downward Dog (talking dog show) and Imaginary Mary (talking imaginary friend show).
NEW FALL AND MIDSEASON SERIES:
Lawyer and former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell, “Marvel’s Agent Carter”) is about to accept a job offered from her sexy nemesis, NY District Attorney Wayne Wallis, to avoid jail time for cocaine possession and avoid hurting her mother’s Senate campaign. Working with his team at the new Conviction Integrity Unit will let her use her brilliant mind to turn over cases, where there is credible suspicion of wrongful conviction, and give her a chance to turn things around with her high-powered political family.
In addition to Atwell, “Conviction” stars Eddie Cahill as Wayne Wallis, Shawn Ashmore as Sam Sullivan, Merrin Dungey as Maxine Barton, Emily Kinney as Tess Thompson, Manny Montana as Franklin “Frankie” Rios and Daniel di Tomasso as Jackson Morrison.
“Conviction” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. “Conviction” is co-created by writer Liz Friedman (“Elementary,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”) and director Liz Friedlander (“The Following”). Friedman and Friedlander will executive produce with Mark Gordon (“Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Saving Private Ryan”) and Nick Pepper.
Hashtag: #Conviction Twitter: @ABCConviction Facebook: facebook.com/ConvictionABC
Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland (“24″) returns to primetime in a conspiracy thriller as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington. He will struggle to prevent the country and his own family from falling into chaos, as he is thrust into one of the most difficult presidencies in history.
“Designated Survivor” stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Maggie Q as Hannah Watts, Kal Penn as Seth Wheeler, Adan Canto as Aaron Shore, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as James Ritter, and Tanner Buchanan as Leo Kirkman.
“Designated Survvor” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. David Guggenheim is creator and executive producer. In addition to Guggenheim, the series is executive produced by Simon Kinberg, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper, Suzan Bymel, and Aditya Sood. Paul McGuigan directed the pilot episode.
Hashtag: #DesignatedSurvivor Twitter: @ABCDesignated Facebook: facebook.com/DesignatedSurvivor
“Notorious” is inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, who serve as executive producers. The series is a provocative look at the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media. Josh Berman (“Blacklist,” “Bones,” “CSI”) is writer and executive producer, and Allie Hagan (“Suri’s Burn Book”) is writer and co-executive producer.
“Notorious” stars Piper Perabo (“Covert Affairs”) as Julia George, Daniel Sunjata (“Graceland”) as Jake Gregorian, Sepideh Moafi as Megan Byrd, Kate Jennings Grant as Louise Herrick, Ryan Guzman as Ryan, Kevin Zegers as Oscar Keaton, J. August Richards as Bradley Gregorian and Aimee Teegarden as Ella Benjamin.
“Notorious” is from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios. Michael Engler, Kenny Meiselas, Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry are also executive producers. Michael Engler directed the pilot.
Hashtag: #Notorious Twitter: @ABCNotorious Facebook: facebook.com/NotoriousABC
“Still Star-Crossed,” a period drama from Shondaland, picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate. The series is based on the book by Melinda Taub.
“Still Star-Crossed” stars Wade Briggs (“Home and Away”) as Benvolio Montague, Anthony Head as Lord Silvestro Capulet, Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldridge as Nurse, Torrance Coombs as Paris and Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence.
Heather Mitchell (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) is writer and executive producer. Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Michael Goldstein are executive producers. Michael Offer is executive producer and director of the pilot, from ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #StillStarCrossed Twitter: @StarCrossedABC Facebook: facebook.com/StillStarCrossed
TIME AFTER TIME
Based on the novel and movie “Time After Time,” executive producer/writer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream” franchise, “Dawson’s Creek”) delivers a fantastical cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. Once H.G. arrives in New York City, he finds a world he never thought possible and a young woman who captivates him.
The series stars Freddie Stroma (“Harry Potter” films) as H.G. Wells, Josh Bowman (“Revenge”) as John Stevenson/Jack the Ripper, Genesis Rodriguez (“Big Hero 6″) as Jane and Regina Taylor (“Dig”) as Vanessa Anders.
“Time After Time” is from Outerbanks Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. Williamson and Marcos Siega (“Blindspot,” “The Following”) are executive producers. Siega directed the pilot. Williamson wrote the teleplay. “Time After Time” is based on the novel written by Karl Alexander.
Hashtag: #TimeAfterTime Twitter: @TimeAfterABC Facebook: facebook.com/TimeAfterTimeABC
Katie Otto (Katy Mixon, “Mike and Molly”), a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring.
The series stars Katy Mixon as Katie Otto, Diedrich Bader as Jeff Otto, Johnny Sequoyah as Taylor, Daniel DiMaggio as Harrison, Julia Butters as Anna-Kat, Carly Hughes as Angela and Ali Wong as Doris.
“American Housewife” is written by Sarah Dunn (“Spin City,” “Bunheads”) and produced by Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. Aaron Kaplan, Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz are executive producers. Ruben Fleischer directed and was executive producer of the pilot.
Hashtag: #AmericanHousewife Twitter: @AmericanWifeABC Facebook: facebook.com/AmericanHousewife
Based on the web series, “Downward Dog” is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Emmy-nominated Allison Tolman, “Fargo”), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst they may be the best thing for each other.
The series stars Allison Tolman as Nan, Lucas Neff as Jason, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn, Barry Rothbart as Kevin and Mo Collins as Kim. Samm Hodges is the voice of Martin.
“Downward Dog” creators/writers Samm Hodges and Michael Killen will executive produce with Mosaic Media Group’s Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen, and Animal’s Kathy Dziubek. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky were executive producers of the pilot. The series is from Legendary Television and ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #DownwardDog Twitter: @DownwardDog_ABC Facebook: facebook.com/DownwardDogABC
Alice (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma & Greg,” “Friends With Benefits,” “EDtv”) is a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
The series stars Jenna Elfman as Alice, Stephen Schneider as Ben, Rachel Dratch as Mary (VO), Nicholas Coombe as Andy, Matreya Scarrwener as Dora and Erica Tremblay as Bunny.
The live action/CGI hybrid comes from “The Goldbergs” team Adam F. Goldberg (writer/executive producer), David Guarascio (writer/executive producer) and Doug Robinson (executive producer). Mary CG animation is designed by Patrick Osborne (creator of Academy Award- winning animated short, “The Feast”), who is also executive producer. The pilot was directed by Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum,” “Cheaper by the Dozen”), who is also executive producer. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison and ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #ImaginaryMary Twitter: @ImaginaryMaryTV Facebook: facebook.com/ImaginaryMary
Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver, “About a Boy,” “The Riches,” “Good Will Hunting”) is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy, and kids Ray, Dylan, and JJ, her eldest son with special needs. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves and searches for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.”
“Speechless” stars Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, John Ross Bowie (“The Big Bang Theory”) as Jimmy DiMeo, Mason Cook as Ray DiMeo, Micah Fowler as JJ DiMeo, Kyla Kenedy as Dylan DiMeo and Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth.
Scott Silveri (“Friends”) writes and is executive producer of the show, along with “Fresh Off the Boat”’s Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. The series is from Twentieth Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #Speechless Twitter: @Speechless_ABC Facebook: facebook.com/SpeechlessABC
THE CATCH (Season 2)
In Shondaland’s “The Catch,” Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is LA’s top private investigator – and the one woman you don’t want to mess with. But when her fiancé, Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause), conned her out of millions, Alice went on a private mission for payback. As Alice and Ben continue their game of cat and mouse, they realize the love between them is real, even if their worlds are destined to keep them apart.
“The Catch” is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Allan Heinberg and Julie Anne Robinson. Allan Heinberg serves as Showrunner.
Hashtag: #TheCatch Twitter: @ABC_TheCatch Facebook: facebook.com/TheCatchABC
DR. KEN (Season 2)
Ken is a cranky but loveable HMO doctor juggling medicine and parenting who realizes that even when he’s right, his unorthodox approach is often wrong. Allison, his wife and therapist, helps keep him in check while juggling responsibilities with their two kids – Dave, their youngest, is always making things interesting with his quirky attitude, plus their teenage daughter, Molly, keeping them on their toes. Meanwhile at the clinic, Dr. Ken’s loyal, but oh-so-irritating staff, includes Damona, the sharp-tongued receptionist; Clark, a faithful nurse who is a confidante and partner-in-crime; Julie, a sweet, na�ve resident who’s relentless optimism and quest for romance are a constant source of curiosity and irritation; and Pat, the hospital administrator, who never misses a chance to put the screws to Dr. Ken and his staff.
“Dr. Ken” stars Ken Jeong as Dr. Ken, Suzy Nakamura as Allison, Tisha Campbell-Martin as Damona, Dave Foley as Pat, Jonathan Slavin as Clark, Kate Simses as Julie, Albert Tsai as Dave and Krista Marie Yu as Molly.
“Dr. Ken” is executive produced by Mike Sikowitz, Ken Jeong, John Davis and John Fox. “Dr. Ken” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #DrKen Twitter: @DrKenABC Facebook: facebook.com/Dr.KenABC
LAST MAN STANDING (Season 6)
Tim Allen returns for a sixth season as Mike Baxter in “Last Man Standing.” New challenges greet Mike as he continues to be surrounded by forces seeking to test his ideas on just about everything he strongly believes in.
“Last Man Standing” stars Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, Nancy Travis as Vanessa Baxter, Molly Ephraim as Mandy Baxter, Kaitlyn Dever as Eve Baxter, Amanda Fuller as Kristin Baxter, Jordan Masterson as Ryan Vogelson, Christophe Sanders as Kyle Anderson, Flynn Morrison as Boyd Baxter, Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee and Hector Elizondo as Ed Alzate.
“Last Man Standing” is created by Jack Burditt and executive produced by Matt Berry, Tim Allen, Martin Adelstein, Becky Clements, Shawn Levy, Richard Baker, Rick Messina, Kevin Abbott, Kevin Hench and Michael Shipley, and is from Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Hashtag: #LastManStanding Twitter: @LastManABC Facebook: facebook.com/LastManStandingABC
THE REAL O’NEALS (Season 2)
The half-hour comedy returns for a second season, as the O’Neal family continues its journey of self-discovery and growth, resulting from Kenny coming out. Kenny’s parents, Eileen and Pat, continue to deal with their pending divorce while still living under the same roof. The O’Neals will continue to explore new relationships, friendships and acceptance of one another in the next, messier chapter of their lives.
“The Real O’Neals” stars Martha Plimpton as Eileen, Jay R. Ferguson as Pat, Noah Galvin as Kenny, Matt Shively as Jimmy, Bebe Wood as Shannon and Mary Hollis Inboden as Jodi.
Executive producers of the series are Casey Johnson, David Windsor, Stacy Traub, Dan Savage, Brian Pines, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Dan McDermott and Todd Holland. “The Real O’Neals” is produced by ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #TheRealONeals Twitter: @TheRealONeals Facebook: facebook.com/TheRealONeals
The ABC News primetime newsmagazine “20/20″ has distinguished itself as one of the most esteemed programs in broadcast journalism. Celebrating its 38th anniversary this season, “20/20″ continues to combine hard-hitting investigative reports, newsmaker interviews, and compelling human interest and feature stories. The program is anchored by award-winning journalists Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir. For more than three decades, “20/20″ has offered viewers reports and stories that have changed lives.
www.abcnews.go.com/2020 Hashtag: #ABC2020 Twitter: @ABC2020 Facebook: www.facebook.com/ABC2020
LIMITED SERIES, SPECIAL EVENTS
AMERICAN CRIME (Limited Series – Season 3)
Critically acclaimed limited series “American Crime,” nominated for 10 Emmys and winner of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Regina King, returns for its third season and will feature a new crime committed in a different setting, as told through the eyes of those affected.
The series was created and executive produced by Oscar-winner John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”). Michael J. McDonald also serves as executive producer. “American Crime” is produced by ABC Studios.
Hashtag: #AmericanCrime Twitter: @AmericanCrimeTV Facebook: facebook.com/AmericanCrimeABC
WHEN WE RISE (Limited Series Event)
“When We Rise” chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.
Written and created by Oscar(R)-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (“Milk,” “Big Love,” “J. Edgar”), the limited series event stars Guy Pearce as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker as women’s rights leader Roma Guy and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, social justice activist Diane. Also starring are Austin McKenzie as Younger Cleve Jones, Emily Skeggs as Younger Roma Guy, Jonathan Majors as Younger Ken Jones, and Fiona Dourif as Younger Diane.
The miniseries is executive produced by Black, Laurence Mark (“Julie & Julia,”"Dreamgirls,”"I, Robot,” “Jerry Maguire”), Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty,” “Milk”) and Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting,” “Milk”) for ABC. Van Sant will direct the two-hour premiere of the seven-episode-limited series event. “When We Rise” is from ABC Studios.
“Dirty Dancing,” the global pop-cultural phenomenon, becomes a three-hour filmed musical event this season on the ABC Television Network. An adaptation of the beloved 1987 romantic drama and instant music classic, “Dirty Dancing” will be produced by Lionsgate Television in association with Allison Shearmur Productions, executive produced by Allison Shearmur (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “The Hunger Games” franchise; “Cinderella”); Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the screenplay for the original movie; and Grammy Award-nominee Adam Anders (“Glee,” “Rock of Ages”), who also serves as executive music producer. Wayne Blair (“The Sapphires,” “Septembers of Shiraz”) is the director, and Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton,” “Bring It On,” “In the Heights”) is the choreographer.
“Dirty Dancing” stars Abigail Breslin as Baby, Debra Messing as Marjorie Houseman, Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Jake Houseman, Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, Colt Prattes as Johnny, Sarah Hyland as Lisa Houseman, Tony Roberts as Max Kellerman, Trevor Einhorn as Neil, Shane Harper as Robbie Gould, J. Quinton Johnson as Marco, Beau “Casper” Smart as Billy, Katey Sagal as Vivian Pressman and Billy Dee Williams as Tito.
UNTITLED DAVID BLAINE
David Blaine returns to ABC for his final primetime special to follow-up his critically acclaimed ratings smash “David Blaine: Real or Magic,” with a groundbreaking new primetime event. The special reunites Blaine with Emmy Award-winning director Matthew Akers, who helmed “David Blaine: Real or Magic,” and is executive produced by David Blaine, along with Justin Wilkes and Dave O’Connor for Radical Media.
ALI: THE CHAMPION (working title)
An athlete, a humanitarian, and a civil rights activist, Muhammad Ali will be honored for his goodwill efforts that have impacted individuals from different walks of life around the world. In a new, two-hour special featuring live musical performances, his closest friends and contemporaries, admirers come together to celebrate the man who’s known the world over as simply The Greatest. The project is executive produced by Ron Weisner.
[Read more at http://thefutoncritic.com/news/2016/05/17/abc-unveils-2016-17-primetime-schedule-193005/20160517abc02/#6gQblHXDKlFQ4OXg.99]
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 P.M. – “The Voice”
10-11 P.M. – “TIMELESS”
8-9 P.M. – “The Voice”
9-10 P.M. – “THIS IS US”
10-11 P.M. – “Chicago Fire”
8-9 P.M. – “Blindspot”
9-10 P.M. – “Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 P.M. – “Chicago P.D.”
8-8:30 P.M. – “Superstore”
8:30-9 P.M. – “THE GOOD PLACE”
9-10 P.M. – “Chicago Med”
10-11 P.M. – “The Blacklist”
8-9 P.M. – “Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon”
9-10 P.M. – “Grimm”
10-11 P.M. – “Dateline NBC”
8-10 P.M. – “Saturday Dateline Mysteries”
10-11 P.M. – “Saturday Night Live (encores)”
7-8:20 P.M. – “Football Night in America”
8:20-11 P.M. – “NBC’s Sunday Night Football”
“THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION”
In this thrilling new spinoff of NBC’s breakout hit series, undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave (Famke Janssen), the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.
The cast includes Famke Janssen, Ryan, Edi Gathegi and Tawny Cypress.
Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath serve as writers and executive producers. John Fox and John Davis also executive produce. Michael Dinner directs. Produced by John Eisendrath Productions, Flatwater Scribe, Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/the-blacklist-redemption Facebook: Facebook.com/BlacklistRedemption Twitter: @RedemptionNBC Hashtag: #BlacklistRedemption
Powerhouse creator Dick Wolf delivers a captivating new installment to the hit Chicago franchise. Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigate heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law. It all starts with a gut-wrenching case when one of Chicago’s finest is shot in the line of duty.
The cast includes Philip Winchester, Carl Weathers, Nazneen Contractor, Joelle Carter and Ryan-James Hatanaka.
Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt and Arthur Forney executive produce “Chicago Justice.” “Chicago Justice” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/chicago-Justice. Facebook: Facebook.com/ChicagoJustice Twitter: @chicagojustice Hashtag: #ChicagoJustice
In the blink of a tornado’s eye, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and a K9 police dog are swept into a world far removed from our own – a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio (“Daredevil,” “Jurassic World”) as the guileful Wizard and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh across three European countries, this is Oz completely reimagined – a place where familiar characters show up in fresh, unexpected ways, and where an unsuspecting young woman holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. As Dorothy navigates this dangerous world and uncovers her true destiny, we’ll see there’s no place like… Oz.
The cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Adria Arjona, Ana Ularu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jordan Loughran, Gerran Howell, Mido Hamada, Joely Richardson, Isabel Lucas, Stefanie Martini, Suan-Li Ong, Florence Kasumba and Roxy Sternberg.
David Schulner and Shaun Cassidy are writers and executive producers. Josh Friedman, Matthew Arnold and director Tarsem Singh also executive produce. “Emerald City” is produced by Universal Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/emerald-city Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCEmeraldCity Twitter: @NBCEmeraldCity Hashtag: #EmeraldCity
Welcome to a place where being normal is really quite strange. From Niels Arden Oplev, the visionary director of “Mr. Robot,” and based on the hit book series from author Charlaine Harris (“True Blood”), comes a journey into a remote Texas town where no one is who they seem. From vampires and witches to psychics and hit men, Midnight is a mysterious safe haven for those who are different. As the town members fight off outside pressures from rowdy biker gangs, ever-suspicious cops and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form a strong and unlikely family.
The cast includes François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Peter Mensah, Yul Vazquez and Sean Bridgers.
Monica Owusu-Breen serves as writer and executive producer. David Janollari and director Niels Arden Oplev also executive produce. “Midnight, Texas” is produced by Universal Television and David Janollari Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/midnight-texas Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCMidnightTexas Twitter: @NBCMidnightTX Hashtag: #MidnightTexas
From executive producer Luc Besson (“Taken,” “The Fifth Element”) comes a modern-day, edge-of-your-seat thriller that follows the origin story of younger, hungrier former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen, “Vikings”) as he deals with a personal tragedy that shakes his world. As he fights to overcome the incident and exact revenge, Mills is pulled into a career as a deadly CIA operative, a job that awakens his very particular, and very dangerous, set of skills. In 30 years, this character became the Bryan Mills that we’ve come to love from the “Taken” films.
The cast includes Clive Standen, Jennifer Beals, Brooklyn Sudano, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Gaius Charles, Michael Irby, James Landry Hébert and Jose Pablo Cantillo.
Alexander Cary serves as writer and executive producer. Luc Besson, Matthew Gross, Edouard de Vésinne, Thomas Anargyros and director Alex Graves also executive produce. “Taken” is produced by EuropaCorp TV and Universal Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/taken Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCTaken Twitter: @TakenNBC Hashtag: #Taken
“THIS IS US”
Sometimes life will surprise you. Starring Mandy Moore (“A Walk to Remember”), Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes,” “Gilmore Girls”) and Sterling K. Brown (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story),” this refreshingly honest and provocative series follows a unique ensemble whose paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways. We find several of them share the same birthday, and so much more than anyone would expect. From the writer and directors of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” comes a smart, modern dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know.
The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan and Ron Cephas Jones.
Dan Fogelman serves as writer and executive producer. Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak and directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra also executive produce. “This Is Us” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/this-is-us Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCThisIsUs Twitter: @NBCThisIsUs Hashtag: #ThisIsUs
From Eric Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”), Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and the producers of “The Blacklist” comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, soldier and history professor who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?
The cast includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit.
Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan serves as writers and executive producers. John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and director Neil Marshall also executive produce. “Timeless” is produced by Davis Entertainment, Kripke Enterprises and MiddKid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/timeless Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCTimeless Twitter: @NBCTimeless Hashtag: #Timeless
“THE GOOD PLACE”
From Michael Schur, executive producer of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, “Bored to Death,” “Cheers”), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. Directed by Drew Goddard, the Oscar-nominated writer of “The Martian.”
The cast includes Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden.
Michael Schur serves as writer and executive producer. David Miner also executive produces. Drew Goddard directs. “The Good Place” is produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/the-good-place Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCTheGoodPlace Twitter: @nbcthegoodplace Hashtag: #GoodPlace
Getting along with some colleagues can be rough, but working with your mom? That’s a whole other story. When Katie, an up-and-coming news producer, finds out her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin, “SCTV,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) has rejoined the workforce as an intern at the station where Katie works, it might just be the worst news ever. But, with her biggest cheerleader at her side, Katie might finally get the recognition she deserves. The laughs hit close to home in this new office comedy from executive producers Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and the producers of “30 Rock.”
The cast includes Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Kimrie Lewis-Davis, John Michael Higgins and Horatio Sanz.
Tracey Wigfield serves as writer and executive producer. Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and David Miner also executive produce. Beth McCarthy-Miller directs. “Great News” is produced by Universal Television, Little Stranger and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/great-news Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCGreatNews Twitter: @nbcgreatnews Hashtag: #GreatNews
Loosely inspired by the real life of star Marlon Wayans (“In Living Color,” “Scary Movie”), this update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but immature) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife. While his misguided fatherly advice, unstoppable larger-than-life personality and unpredictable Internet superstardom might get in the way sometimes, for Marlon family really always does come first – even if he’s the biggest kid of all.
The cast includes Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Notlim Taylor, Amir O’Neil, Bresha Webb and Diallo Riddle
Christopher Moynihan serves as writer and executive producer. Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg and director Andy Ackerman (pilot) also executive produce. “Marlon” is produced by Universal Television, Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Bicycle Path Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/marlon Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCMarlon Twitter: @NBCMarlon Hashtag: #Marlon
In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease Live,” “High School Musical”) plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It’s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it’s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn’t always require superpowers.
The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and Christina Kirk.
Ben Queen serves as writer and executive producer. Director Michael Patrick Jann (pilot) also executive produces. “Powerless” is produced by Warner Bros. Television and based on the characters from DC Comics.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/powerless Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCPowerless Twitter: @NBCPowerless Hashtag: #Powerless
“TRIAL & ERROR”
In this outrageous fish-out-of-water comedy, bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh Segal heads to a tiny Southern town for his first big case. His mission? To defend an eccentric, “rollercizing” poetry professor (John Lithgow, “3rd Rock From the Sun”) accused of the bizarre murder of his beloved wife. Settling into his makeshift office behind a taxidermy shop and meeting his quirky team of local misfits, Josh suspects that winning his first big case will not be easy, especially when his client is always making himself look guilty. “Making a Murderer” can be funny!
The cast includes John Lithgow, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd, Steven Boyer and Krysta Rodriguez.
Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller serve as writers and executive producers. Jeffrey Blitz directs. “Trial & Error” is produced by Barge Productions and Good Session Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/trial-and-error
Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCTrialandError Twitter: @trialanderror Hashtag: #TrialAndError
NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES
“BETTER LATE THAN NEVER”
Based on a popular Korean format, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy/reality show follows cultural icons Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on their greatest adventure yet. Deciding it’s better late than never, these four national treasures embark on the journey of a lifetime, traveling across Asia on their own with no schedule and no itinerary. The only help will come from Jeff Dye, a young tech-savvy comedian with an agenda of his own and who isn’t above leading the men off track. Each stop is packed with hilarious cultural experiences, heartwarming spectacles and unexpected twists as our legends take on this unforgettable adventure.
Craig Zadan & Neil Meron, Henry Winkler, Jason Ehrlich, Stephanie Chambers, Alex Katz and Tim Crescenti executive produce. Troy Miller directs. “Better Late Than Never” is produced by Universal Television and Small World IFT.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/better-late-than-never Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCBetterLateThanNever Twitter: @nbcbetterlate Hashtag: #BetterLateThanNever
Everyone can relate to the experience of a first date: the promise of potential love when it goes well and the hilariously awkward moments if it crashes and burns. From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by Drew Barrymore and based on the hit U.K. format, this new series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The daters are of all ages, backgrounds and from across the U.S. The audience will be along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy. At the end of each episode, we will find out if the participants want to see each other again for a second date or if they head back to love’s drawing board.
Ellen DeGeneres, Pam Healey, John Hesling, Anthony Dominici, Jeff Kleeman and Tim Carter executive produce. “First Dates” is produced by Shed Media and A Very Good Production.
Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/first-dates Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCFirstDates Twitter: @NBCFirstDates Hashtag: #FirstDates
Packed with drama and action, this is a game that the entire family can root for together. Executive producer LeBron James presents a challenge infused with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, where regular people can achieve their dreams with one bounce of the ball. Hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick and set in a large glossy arena centering on the colossal 40-foot wall, the gameplay involves quick thinking, shrewd strategy and a little luck. Played by contestant pairs, this is an unpredictable journey with giant swings of fortune and millions of dollars passing through the contestants’ hands throughout the hour.
LeBron James, Andrew Glassman, Maverick Carter and Chris Hardwick executive produce. “The Wall” is produced by Glassman Media in association with SpringHill Productions. Glassman Media developed the series with CORE Media.
Read more at http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2016/05/15/nbc-augments-its-stable-schedule-with-ambitious-new-dramas-high-concept-comedies-and-unpredictable-unscripted-series-191305/20160515nbc01/#pk2YbSA9vvOXQYxW.99
[information from thefutoncritic.com and NBC PR materials]
Thank The Stars The 2010-11 TV Season Is Over. No, Really, Thank The Stars. We Insist. (Micro-Spoiler Alert)
Originally published in 2011, this recap of the 2010-11 TV season also includes your popGeezer’s “TV Sit-Com 101″ class. That prominently features a rant on the importance of “The Larry Sanders Show.”
With news today of Garry Shandling’s untimely death, allow us to pay tribute again to his most influential and important work.
I don’t know how you feel, but I’m exhausted.
I’m in such bad shape, Lauren’s “Momma” song on American Idol reduced me to blubbering jelly. I’m in such a state that Hines Ward’s DWTS victory required me to grab a terrible towel (okay, a hankie), and Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry’s Wicked duet on the last Glee required nose-blowing and an eyeglass squeegie. Don’t even try and ask about the last four minutes of this season’s How I Met Your Mother. I’m still a mess. (Oh, Lilypad. [sniff])
The 2010-11 TV season was, frankly, just too darn exhausting. But now that Scotty McDreary has won Idol, it’s finally over. And with that, it’s time for a recap of the trends, the joys, the train-wrecks and the perplexing moments that broadcast network TV brought us this season. Take a breath, and let’s begin…
Good Lord, GLEE. Make Up Your Mind!
Perhaps the most bipolar scripted show on TV exhibited even more schizophrenic symptoms this season. When this show hits its groove – evidenced by episodes like “Funeral”, “Born This Way”, ”Never Been Kissed”, and much of finale “New York” - you get to enjoy solid performances, sensitive writing, and lovely covers of hit pop tunes. When Glee goes off the rails – in episodes like “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, “Prom Queen”, “Grilled Cheesus”, “Sexy” or some parts of “New York” – you get more laughs (usually supplied by Jane Lynch), a more diverse set of offbeat cover tunes, and mostly you get to experience what Time Magazine’s TV writer James Poniewozik so perfectly calls “Glee’s elastic relationship to reality”.
Here’s what we have to accept. Glee is a TV version of a classic musical comedy. There are conventions of that musical form which the show exploits, often to wonderful results. However, as we’ve pointed out here before, Glee started life in its first season appearing to reject those conventions – most obviously by forcing the on-screen music to have an organic, reality-based and visible source – but by 44th episode “New York”, those organic music sources have vanished. The aforementioned Berry/Hummel duet on Wicked’s “For Good” broke my heart with an imaginary full orchestra. The kids took to the streets of the Big Apple to delightfully re-imagine the fantasy of the iconic On The Town.
Here’s a simple way to illustrate that Glee makes us crazy by acting crazy. How is the Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) who prayed to a grilled cheese sandwich the very same kid who organized a breathtaking funeral for Sue Sylvester’s sister Jean? How can Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) have gone through an unplanned pregnancy, even surrendering the child to adoption, and then snap back to being the privileged brat she was at the outsetof the series? Even with the ret-con madness of the secret ”fat Quinn”, who saw this prom queen obsession coming? She went back to the Cheerios squad, after Sue Sylvester discarded her, then quit the squad in moving solidarity with the glee club. Despite that, she was ready to take steps to sink the club’s competition in NYC, until her other ex-cheerleader pals convinced her to behave after a two-minute conversation. And was I tripping, or did Sue actually join the glee club this year and sing My ChemicalRomance with them? Really?
While Finn and Quinn get the worst scripting whiplash of all the regular cast, both Monteith and Agron do a solid job of carrying out these dreadful assignments. And while they getsavaged with “who are we this week” from writers/co-creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennen, this trio gives Lea Michele’s Berry and Chris Colfer’s Hummel characters the most consistency and a progressive emotional development that is guaranteed Emmy-bait. (The exception being Kurt’s season one journey to Cheerios-land.) In addition, what they have provided for Heather Morris‘ Britney S. Pierce, has taken her from a cute dumb-bunny punchline to the most valuable player of the second-line cast. More than almost any other cast member, the last six episodes of the second season were just simply hers. Having been responsible for the writing of every episode so far, these three guys are obviously capable of something more effective than what they’ve produced in Glee’s second season.
Contrasting first season finale “Journey To Regionals” with season two closer “New York” is further evidence that something simply has to change here. Both are written and directed by co-creator Falchuk, who has absolutely shown he should be the series director of record. The act from “Regionals”, which is rivalgroup Vocal Adrenaline’s performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” intercut withthe birthof Quinn’s baby, was the best directed five minutes of TV in the 2009-10 season. The last act, featuring the club’s two-hankie performance of “To Sir With Love”, Morrison’s of the Israel Kamakawiwoʻole version of “Over The Rainbow”, and Sue and Shue’s new understanding scene, was an emotionally spot-on button of the first season. Season two’s “New York” ended with the cast in the choir room just looking at their tiny trophy, as the camera moved into the darkness of a wall. There was also no music in this “coda” of a final act. That’s a rock-solid metaphor for a show (or hopefully just a season) that’s run out of gas.
In two seasons, Glee has generated 11 albums or EPs, put some 148 tracks into the Billboard Hot 100 – setting an insane record that no other act will likely match or top – and stacks of DVDs. The second annual live tour just launched in Vegas, and that tour will become the Glee Live! In 3D movie to be released on August 12th. The magnitude of this cash-cow phenomenon is on a Simpsons-level, but in a post-modern era of maximum digital exploitation. Sony Music and FOX are not going to let this thing whither on the vine. How do you potentially right the ship – the TV show at the heart of this industry?
Well, for one thing, Glee’s writing staff is moving from trio to quartet. The first new hire is theatrical (and comic-book) veteran Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the book for the 2010 revised version of musical It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, and who was called upon to rework the book of the soon-to-be greatest Broadway flop of all time - Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Also of key consideration, this experienced scriptwriter is gay, as is co-creator Murphy, which is a major issue given the show’s emphasis on the challenges faced by openly-gay teen Kurt Hummelin the overwhelmingly stereotypical McKinley High. Also rumored for season three is a relocation of Blaine (Darren Criss) from his private academy to the public school the main cast calls home.
Thank y0u, Darren Criss. Thank you for being so charismatic, so talented, such a terrific performer. You lit this show up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. And, though I do like Cory Monteith, you not getting the role of Finn was a boneheaded decision on someone’s part.
And thank you, Chris Colfer. Though you are one of the youngest cast members of the show, with almost no professional experience before landing the role of Kurt Hummel, you are the heart and soul of this series. When Kurt fled the school for Dalton Academy, after being bullied and threatened, the split-school narrative resulted in episodes without you and/or Darren. We learned quickly that there’s no Glee without Kurt. And we think you have a darn good shot at the Comedy Supporting Actor Emmy, though your best work this year was far from funny. If anyone can watch you perform “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and not fall apart, they have no soul.
Which takes us to our final point, and possibly the biggest one. Glee got a two-season renewal after its first year. Co-executive producer Ryan Murphy has made it clear that we’re following real-time school years. In this week’s “New York” episode, Rachel, Kurt and Finn plainly pointed out that the coming year is their SENIOR year. Rachel, Kurt and Blaine all have an exodus to NYC after graduation planned. What would a fourth season of Glee portend? Option one – a mainly new cast continues like at McKinley High in Lima, Ohio? Option two – do we follow the kids we know and love – who maybe stay together in a big pack – to new adventures in NYC? (Did you see Saved By The Bell: The College Years?) Option three – a split narrative that tries to encompass both?
The bottom line here, if Glee cannot start to produce a more creatively consistent and satisfying product, it cannot survive a scenario where Michele, Colfer, Criss, Montieth, Agron, Morris… hell, et. al. departs the show after three seasons.
Driving Into A House on HOUSE? Really?
Another issue for FOX is the loss of House after next season. If we take this year’s seventh season as a whole, we’d say they should have gotten out this year while the show had a smidgen of its old spark. The renewal of House for season eight was such a nail-biter that this year’s finale had to hedge its bets, hence the “tropicalisland” closing. A nasty little war erupted between FOX (the network) and Universal (the producer and show owner) over the renewal. Rumors circulated that the post-Comcast Universal, who also owns NBC, would not have been sad to see the show leave FOX and go somewhere more synergistic. However, additionalrumors in late April and early May said that a tiny bit of language in the most recent license for the show looked to prohibit moving the show to NBC upon a FOX cancellation or agreement expiration. So, FOX and Universalmade their deal, leaving House having to dealwith a signficantly reduced budget for the last round-up. Star Hugh Laurie and co-star Olivia Wilde were already locked in for year eight, so the folks getting to bear the brunt of the costs for this looked to be Omar Epps (Foreman), Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson) and/or Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy). One of the these folks decided to… pass on that generous offer.
So, anyways, we get an eighth season of House, when season seven didn’t get me in a really fuzzy mood for that. If nothing else, the overwhelming sense of formula that shrouded season seven took the bloom off of the rose. We literally could start to call the point when Dr. Gregory House would come into the patient-of-the-week’s room (usually between 29:00 to 32:41 each week). The mechanics of the traditional episode plotting got so loud, you’d have to turn on your closed captions to follow the dialogue. But on the plus side, the less routine episodes still had something to offer. “Two Stories“, though cursed with a horribly obvious title, featured the fun of House let loose on elementary school students. “The Dig” brought back Olivia Wilde’s Thirteen (thankfully), put House and Thirteen on the road, featured an insane Damon Lindelof cameo, gave euthanasia a pretty reasoned hearing, and revealed House’s previously unkownpotato-based rivalry with a teenaged boy. And “After Hours”, capping off the left-field arc of House’s experimental drug self-testing, featured some of the most unpleasently intense footage surrounding House’s equally insane self-surgery on tumors in his already-damaged leg.
Which brings us to the finale, another effective outside-the-box episode titled “Moving On“, easily the high-water mark of this weaker season. The case of the week, featuring Shohreh Aghdashloo (24) as a dying performace artist turning House’s race to diagnose her into her last project, created the most House/patient interaction since last season’s formula-busting “Lockdown“. Making the case the most direct (or, obvious) metaphor for House’s current work/personal/psychological situation helps force House into confronting tons of supressed emotions – most specifically his real pain at having lost Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) after years of obnoxious pursuit. And while driving a car into Cuddy’s house is not the healthiest way of expressing this pain, at least it’s a direct expression of anger. Executive producer David Shore says the dramatic finish was not originally intended as the capper to send Cuddy into the sunset. But Edelstein’s decision to not return for season eight at a discounted rate has turned it into just that. Shore says House will come home to Princeton Plainsboro, but, for me, the island bit would have been a reasonably acceptable finish if season seven had been it. The order for a new finale is much taller, given the vents of sesaon seven and the more generic “case of the week” episodes.
But, before we forget… Thank you, Hugh Laurie, for playing the most unrepentant rat ba*tard on network TV. We may have Tony Soprano to blame for you, but at least he had a wife and kids.
Hard-Core Sci-Fi Is Dead on Network TV, Or Is It?
People just don’t watch hard sci-fi on network TV. As Fringe dove deeply into the theoretical physics pool this year, ratings plummeted from their modest season two levels, and the show was booted from Thursday to the legendary FOX fantasy/sci-fi ghetto of Friday nights… having to follow the least popular of Gordon Ramsay’s three FOX food-based reality shows. NBC’s The Event… wasn’t one. And ABC’s V, though vastly improved from its truncated first season, got its episode order cut back again- to ten from thirteen – and slowly leaked ratings weekly on Tuesday nights in early 2011. The new age of fantasy/sci-fi ushered in by Smallville, Lost and Supernatural is over, with only Supernatural still to be airing in Fall 2011, and a laundry list of semi-successful to failed shows stacked up like cord-wood – Firefly, Heroes, Dollhouse, Terminator:SDCC or The Cape have all come and gone.
The CW still has a solid commitment to the otherworldy genres. Smallville got ten seasons, becoming the longest running super-hero and sci-fi series in broadcast network TV history. Vampire Diaries and Supernatural are both major anchors for the CW schedule, but they’re fantasy, not true hard-core sci-fi.
But back to FOX – wow they’ve turned into the theme of this post, huh? The broadcast network which has shown the most enthusiasm for sci-fi has also cancelled a bunch of geek TV. For arguments sake, here’s FOX’s semi-complete sci-fi curriculum vitae, from TV.com:
So either a) FOX doesn’t know when to quit, or b) somebody out there thinks this genre has a hit waiting to happen. In terms of the latter, Terra Nova could be that hit. But, as we detailed a bit ago, finding out won’t come cheap.
And what of, at least in terms of the 2010-11 season, that last man standing? Whither Fringe? Deciding to totally go for broke, in creative terms, executive producers Bryan Burk and Jeff Pinkner (pick a Bad Robot show for their credits) and Oscar-winning consulting producer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Batman And Robin, Batman Forever) threw alternate realities, giant universe-eating machines, a computer-animated WTF, and a red-wigged sex bomb of an Anna Torv at us this season. Noted Twitter-dude the Masked Scheduler (@maskedscheduler), a reallive person inside the FOX TV machine, communicated with me after this season’s episode “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide“that the epectation at Fringe all season long was cancellation. So, with no expectations, nothing to lose, and getting abandoned on Fridays, Fringe’s decision to go bonkers and as hard-core sci-fi as any serious network show ever did, led them to a creative peak by indulging in unrestrained imagination.
But, in a genuine surprise, FOX renewed the ratings-starved show for a fourth year, despite the third season finale being the lowest-rated episode of the series ever. And after a mind-bending cliffhanger, where two universes were linked inside one building on Liberty Island and Joshua Jackson’s Peter Bishop winked out of existence, we are chomping at the bit for the show’s return.
Thank you, Anna Torv, for showing us that putting on a wig can make you hotter than anyone ever imagined. And thank you, John Noble, for doing Emmy caliber work on a sci-fi show, which means you’ll never even getnominated for one. And, hey, thank you Australia, for the both of these fine people. And a belated thank you to TV’s Pacey for getting his girlfriend Diane Krugerto play an unbilled victim of the week on Fringe in season two.
Who’s Laughing Now, And At What?
Network situation comedies break down into two big, basic formats. A single-camera sitcom is shot like a movie, scene by scene, and there is no audience. A multi-camera sitcom is shot by – usually – four cameras at once, and is performed more or less like a play in front of a studio audience. When there are problems or glitches, scenes are reshot, and most of these shows employ a scene by scene shooting breakdown anyway. After these two operationaldifferences, the actual show styles get a bit more complicated. Let’s break down the comedy sub-genres into four detailed flavors:
1. The mock-documentary format is most easily represented by The Office, but is also the format of Modern Family and Parks And Recreation. These are obviously cinematic, single-camera shows. The major bonus of doing a show this way is that you get to use pretend interviews, where a character or characters address the camera (and supposedly an interviewer) directly. If you regularly watch any of these three comedies, think about how many laughs and how much character information is presented in these fake interviews? And consider how much mileage John Krasinski (Jim) gets out of doing takes directly into the camera. But guess what all those takes don’t do for Kasinski? Earn him an Emmy nomination. Star Steve Carell (5 nominations) and Rainn Wilson (3 nominations) are the only two Dunder-Mifflin employees to get noticed by by the Academy. Prior to 2010, this type of sitcom did not generate the amount of Emmy buzz one would expect from this very exploitable sitcom format. However, Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguason and Ty Burrellall were nominated in 2010, with Stonestreet winning. What’s the trick? Well, performace and material matter a lot, but keep in mind that Modern Family is a post-modern approach to the family sitcom. And the extended family of this series is absolutely lovable. Does that sound like Michael Scott or Dwight Schrute? In terms of the overall series itself, Modern Family and The Office have each one for Comedy Series.
2. The classic four-camera wisecracker sitcom is about a family, or friends who are as close as a family, or co-workers who are like a family, or a gay man and straight woman living together who are bascially family, but it’s always about some kind of family. It often stars a stand-up comic who either pretends to be a doctor, a ex-tool salesman turned TV host, a working-class mom, or a thin, neat stand-up comic from New York. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The jokes come fast, are snappily delivered, and sometimes there is hugging. Think Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers, Cosby Show, Roseanne and even Seinfeld. Even though Larry David’s “The Contest”, from Seinfeld, is shocking and ground-breaking in its subject matter, it is above all a perfectly written four-camera sitcom episode. Today, the masters of this format are usually on CBS, and come from Chuck Lorre’s stable of shows – i.e. Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. The form and format is traditional, while the language, subject matter and execution is contemporary. Now they’re more about “special huggging” than traditional hugging. As the amount of network TV situation comedies have, in the main, moved away from this format in the past eleven years, it’s interesting to see how this format has done at the Emmys. With only three significant examples of their format, these mockumentaries have gone two for eleven in Comedy Series since 2000. The four-camera classicists have gone four for eleven – Everybody Loves Raymond (2), Will And Grace and Friends – from a much larger representation of the format actually on-air. In terms of all the acting categories, four-camera show castmates have won twenty-two out of forty-four possible statues. Though that fifty percent hit rate looks good on paper, only one of those winners – Jon Cryer – won for a show that is still on the air. And eight of these wins (18%) are for the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond. So the majority of the classic family four-camera wins came in the first five years of the 2000’s.
3. The cinematic single-camera show moves at much slower pace than the classic four camera sitcom, or the irregular rhythm of the fake documentary. The best examples of this genre in recent times are Entourage, Sex And The City, Nurse Jackie or Weeds. Notice the trend? The half-hour versions of these shows aren’t on broadcast network TV. They’re the children of premium cable TV. If you have to find network examples, you have to expand to an hour – Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewivesare, as far as the Emmys are concerned, the broadcast examples. If you go back into history, shows as different as Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, M*A*S*H, The Partridge Family, I Remember Mama and Hogan’s Heroes count in this category. Structurally, even Gilligan’s Island and Get Smartactually belong here. But we’ll come back to them in the next section thanks to their approach to their material. The modern examples can push at the boundary of “family” sitcoms, but the most well-recevied of them still value or revolve around some kind of family unit. Even Vince, when he’s not snorting coke and schtuppingporn stars, hangs with his brother and two childhood friends on Entourage. This is also the kind of show that is much more at home on basic cable. While these shows, and their stars, can gettheir share of acclaim, they don’t really dominate during awards season. In terms of the Emmy, actors win more often than the actual series do. This is where Tony Shaloub won three consecutive Emmys for Monk. If we do the overall math, performers have gone five for forty-four (Shalhoub’s three, Sarah Jessica Parker and Edie Falco’s one each). Only Sex And The City has won one series Emmy. So, if we’re counting awards, where can the single-camera sitcom really compete against the classic four-camera show..?
4. The “crazy make ‘em up” anything goes single camera comedy is, at its heart, free from sticking to the rules of any of these other formats. As we said, in terms of the “hellzapoppin’” approach to the scripts and performances, Get Smart and Gilligan’s Island might be among the pioneers of the form. But the (post-)modern mold was created in 1992, aired on HBO, and goes by the title The Larry Sanders Show. Shot with a lot of handheld camera, having the real world appear on film and the “TV world” appear on videotape, painting the tone of the TV sitcom deadly black, and gleefully evacuating itself on the spirit of “family”, Gary Shandling’s satire on late-night TV and the soulessness of Hollywood is the alpha and the omega of this revolutionary/radical/cranky form of sitcom. Here’s Wikipedia’s take:
The Larry Sanders Show is a satirical television sitcom that aired from August 1992 to May 1998 on the HBO cable television network in the United States. It starred stand-up comedian Garry Shandling as vain, neurotic talk show host Larry Sanders, and centered on the running of his TV show, and the many people behind the scenes. It is notable for featuring celebrities playing exaggerated, self-parodying versions of themselves, and for its character-based humor. Other series which subsequently aired on HBO, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, and Entourage, shared these traits.
The series, in which Shandling used his experience as a guest host on The Tonight Show, is ranked by various critics and fans as one of the best TV comedies of the 1990s. The series ranked #38 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, the only HBO comedy to make the list. It was also included in Time magazine’s list of the “100 Best TV Shows of All Time.”
The show won 24 awards, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, five CableACE Awards four American Comedy Awards, two British Comedy Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Satellite Award. It also received 86 nominations, including 56 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, five Directors’ Guild of America nominations, six Writers’ Guild of America nominations, six American Comedy Awards nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, three Satellite Awards nominations and a GLAAD Award nomination.
Todd Holland won for direction in 1998, while creating the visual blueprint of how this kind of sitcom looks. Shandling and Peter Tolan won for writing in 1998. And Rip Torn – while creating as indelible a character and doing work for the ages – won in 1996 for playing Larry Sanders’ executive producer Artie [no surname ever given]. Torn may be troubled by his demons, but this was epic, time-capsule work.
In general, this kind of sitcom cannot make use of the benefit of the “interview” gift of the mocumentary format – unless we are satarizing mocku- or documentaries – but otherwise, all bets are off. Integration of fantasy elements, using every gimmick arrow in the quiver of filmmaking, and generally having a bad attitude in the service of satire all combine to make this the most vital and contemporary of the sitcom forms. Our finest active examples come from network, cable and premium cable – 30 Rock, Glee, Community, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and South Park and Family Guy and Archer and Robot Chicken[animated division, cable exemption granted]. Other past classics of the form include Arrested Devlopment (surely the best since Sanders), Extras (Ricky Gervais’ follow-up to The Office), My Name Is Earl, Scrubs (which introduced an insanely fast-pace as well as the almost sketch-like approach to overall narrative) and The Monkees (pioneering for its integration of music and a 1967 Emmy award winner).
In terms of overall Emmy success, you see the academy granting a kind of begrudging respect to the form until the 2000’s. Arrested Development did win a series Emmy, but when 30 Rock arrived the genre could not be denied. Stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldinw won three, as did the series itself. The 2011 Emmy nominations will be a brand-new litmus test. Consider that the three mockumentary shows had particularly strong seasons, that Community spent their second season foucsing the satirical essence of this format on a brilliant deconstruction of TV comedy itself, that there are so many possible acting nominees that the cut-downs will be heartbreaking, and the best acting work on Gleethis year was either dramatic or in performance fo a song (i.e. Chris Colfer’s already praised “As If We Never Said Goodbye” or “Mama’s Turn” from Gypsy.
One has to stop just short of calling this a new golden age of TVcomedy, but things are looking pretty funny from here. And we have the second season of rapidly improving comer Happy Endings, a resurgence of the multi-camera format on NBC, and a third season of Community all to look forward to. And if we have to, Parks And Recreation was this season’s funniest, Community was the most ambitious, The Big Bang Theory was both the best multi-camera show and the show with best cast additions (a.k.a. TV’s Blossom is still a killer), and The Office had the single finest moment with the absurd and heart-rending version of “Seasons Of Love” in episode seventeen.
Thank you, Mindy Kaling, for imagining that moment in your script. Thank you, Steve Carell, for seven seasons of finding the sweetness at the heart of Michael Scott’s idiocy.
Thank you, Tina Fey. Still the best. Thank you, Dan Harmon, you’re a genius with an apparent dual PhD in TV Comedy Anthropology and Biology.
Thank you, F/X, for Archer. You’re not a broadcast network, but you have a naughty cartoon show that’s good enough to be on one.
Thank you, ABC Wednesday sitcoms, you make me laugh so much. Oh, sorry The Middle, I forgot you were on Wednesdays too. You don’t get any candy.
And thank you Eliza Coupe for just being you… a really filthy Twitterer.
The Surprises, Trends, and My Still-Loaded DVR
The less genre-specific procedural dramas/dramedies had a trend of the big shock ending this year – at least on the few I actually watch. Shocking gunfire ended the season on Castle and The Mentalist. Both of these closing sequences were surely WTF-ers, with The Mentalist being the most potentially game-changing… if we really saw what we thought we saw. Hawaii Five-0, whose greatest strength lay in the constant bickering of the best (unintentionally) gay married couple of the season, literally blew up the central premise of the show while telling you everything you knew was wrong.
Many of our favorite – and not-so-favorite – shows dropped regulars this year. TV Guide gives the significant ones a pleasant curtain call.
Some shows that many critics perceived as average, at least on first viewing, actually weren’t. The ones that come to mind are Happy Endings (which got better every week), Perfect Couples (which wasn’t ever as bad as we were told), and even Outsourced, which was well-intentioned while clearly questionable in terms of racially troubling jokes.
And some shows were as bad as promised, if not worse. Yes, I’m talking about you Paul Reiser, Matthew Perry, Bill Shatner, Forrest Whitaker and Will Arnett. I mean, honestly, what were you thinking?!?
But the biggest trend of the 2010-11 season is more operational than creative. The DVR is now a ubiquitous home entertainment device, and your set-top box not only has one of those, it likely links to some kind of “On Demand” server. Even a family that consumes as much TV as mine doesn’t have time to squeeze it all in. Between the DirecTV box and two cable DVR’s, Mrs. popGeezer and I have yet to completely clear the 2010-11 runs of Hawaii Five-0, Castle (though we jumped ahead to that finale), Chuck (no comment on quality here, as season four was TIGHT, yo!), Gossip Girl, Body Of Proof, Parks And Recreation, and a bushel of basic cable series. This technological trend has had such an impact on us that we avoid real-time viewing on most scripted shows. We just don’t have the time to wait/suffer through commercial breaks. Technology has also forced shows to integrate more product placement and virtual commercials into the show. I, for one, enjoy this, as most of the obvious ones are truly hysterical to see. Chuck has made comedic hay with Subway, the Sleep Sheep and carmakers a-plenty. And the early response to HBO’s HBO-Go, which offers practically the entire HBO series library to qualified PC, iPad and mobile tech users, could be the next monstrous game-changer by putting critical-path TV “on the cloud”. As an example, this is how I’ve watched Lady Gaga: Monster Ball NYC, part of Scott Pilgrim, and even some Game Of Thrones.
The future is here, geezoids.
A significant technical issue knocked us out in July of 2015, just as we posted Cadillac Jack’s review of Marvel’s Ant-Man. It didn’t take us offline, but a corrupted database left us unable to save ANYTHING until late yesterday.
Now, with accessibility restored, and a giant back-up of the entire site safely stashed away, it’s time for a quick update and a teaser of what’s coming in 2016 on your reawakened popGeezer.com.
First, we need to talk about popGeezer Radio….
From our high of net-casting on eight stations/streams simultaneously, we are now down to one… officially. Our own streams went offline in 2015. due to neglect and starvation. JDX1029.com went dark for several months, is now in a nascent re-booting phase, and the future of classic shows on the stream is undetermined.
The LateNightRockerNetwork.com is still pumping out the tunes, but I’m currently unsure how many streams are running. PlanetZ102.com still exists, and I think we’re about to lock down a Friday night slot for classic encores.
Our work with our dear, dear radio friend Peter Christian, on both his planned ZZQ1029.com and the location of a version of the “popGeezer Radio Weekend Experience” there, ended abruptly with Peter’s untimely death on November 10, 2015. While a stream continues at that location, it is in a sort of stasis, with no details on what may happen with that stream or that domain name. All love to the spirit of Peter C, though. [Pictured holding his first grandchild.]
While our new Christmas show ran on TCR1100.com, I’m not 100% sure what the fate of our encore shows are there for the future.
And our 17-month run on AbramRadio.Net’s WMCR ended on 12/27/2015. No rancor – No childishness was involved in this departure. The station ceased operation on 12/31/2015, due to the falling of the titular “Great Darkness“.
On December 16, 2015, the Copyright Royalty Board handed down a long-awaited decision on royalties to be paid by streaming net-casters to the copyright holders of recorded popular music. These net-casters are the small but proud operations where popGeezer Radio – the shows and the streams – have been heard since August 2009. Their decision, that these broadcasters owe $0.0017 per song they play to rights holders, doesn’t look that nasty does it. But it is enough of a change that, on 1/1/2016, as this policy takes effect, internet radio stations will wink out of existence like The Enterprise beamed them all up. WMCR is one of those that will shut down. The owner estimates a monthly royalty bill of between $1000 and $1500 a month. That’s not a fitting figure for a hobby, but is mortgage payment. There may be a legal battle, or some change to the decision, but these remedies won’t appear in time to stop the “Great Darkness” from falling.
With WMCR’s shut-down, both Cadillac Jack and myself have radio shows that end.
Which leaves us with NeighborhoodRadioNetwork.com, good old NRN.
They, too, are facing a new financial paradigm with royalties. As of this writing, “The Senator” plans on keeping NRN on-air as long as financially viable. This means that – for some time to come – the “popGeezer Radio Morning Show” continues from 6-11:59 AM ET every weekday.
Now, with radio resolved, what about this website???
Honestly, I can’t give you a huge long-term answer. The very special terms under which this site has operated will end in 2016. I’m faced with a new cost structure there, or moving this site to another host. While that host is already paid for 2016 and is standing by, the mechanics of successfully migrating eight years of content is a scary mystery to me. The last time the site had major work done, we lost all the graphics from our first six months of operation. If you ever navigate back to those posts, you can see many empty picture frames. I deleted a good chunk of superfluous content previously, and will probably hack at more of it in the weeks ahead. But I just don’t know….
I know that Cadillac Jack wants to resume supplying TV and Movie content. [Lord, don't you want to read a spoiler-laden "Double-Team" review of The Force Awakens??]
I know that I want to run a 2016 reader-voted “popGeezer Hall Of Fame” campaign and induction.
But I don’t know if we have any readership left after being silent since mid-July. So what are we to do……? Do YOU have an opinion???