Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall TV Preview--CBS

Maybe it's because I sitting down to write this on a Sunday and maybe it's because my hit counts indicate that no one cares about NBC or The CW. But, for whatever reason, after taking two days off to relax, recharge, procrastinate, and do other things, I'm ready to tackle another network's offerings and existing schedule for the fall TV season.
As always, these opinions--such as they are--are mine alone, except for Dean's views on Cable, of course. If you would like to catch up on what I've written about this year, or examine what I've written about networks and shows in the past, all you have to do is click here or take the Fall TV Preview page link at the top of the blog.

Tonight, we'll take a look at the schedule of shows for CBS. As you may know, CBS has been the ratings winner for the past several years. I suggest that these ratings wins are the result of the mass market appeal of Chuck Lorre's comedic writing style combined with a style of drama that appeals to the nation's older TV viewers. For whatever, reason, it works for the Tiffany Network. And I think this Fall is more of the same. Let's take a look . . .


After showing nothing but football from noon until 7ish, CBS leads its Sunday night with 60 Minutes, which has been on TV longer than God. It's not primetime, per se, but I felt I should acknowledge it like one acknowledges the sun when you get out of bed in the morning by squinting in its general direction.

The Amazing Race (9/29 @ 8) continues to bring whatever class can be found to the reality genre. It has won Emmys and continues to be an interesting show, I guess. Me personally? I've never watched it.

I've also never watched The Good Wife (9/29 @ 9) or The Mentalist (9/29 @ 10). But if you want to watch them, they start in a week.


CBS shifts from Sunday night dramas to a variety of comedies at the start of the work week. First up is How I Met Your Mother (9/23 @ 8) which finally lived up to its name in the waning seconds of last season, introducing us to Ted's future wife. I've been sort of hot and cold on this show in the last few years, continuing to watch out of obligation. Here's hoping that this final spin through the Ted Moseby memory bank will justify some of that obligation.

We Are Men (9/30 @ 8:30) takes a comedic look at men facing divorce, modern marriage, fatherhood, and all those sorts of issues that men didn't used to have to worry about at all. I don't know if it will be funny, and I sort of expect it to be rather ordinary.

Speaking of rather ordinary and not funny . . . 2 Broke Girls (9/23 @ 9) most likely doesn't care at all what I think about its show. But what about Mom (9/23 @ 9:30), a show starring Anna Faris. She's not broke but she is a single mom who is battling her previous alcoholism. Faris got some critical acclaim for her role in The House Bunny and she played everyone's favorite weatherperson in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1 and 2). Also this is another Chuck Lorre show, so I would not be surprised if it is successful. How will the show play recovering alcoholism for laughs, I wonder?

The last new show of Monday night is Hostages (9/23 @ 10), which I've seen many commercials for in the last month. It involves the coercion of a surgeon and her family into tanking the next days schedule operation on the president of the United States! It stars Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott and kind of makes he think of Panic Room mixed with Dave? I don't know where it goes from the first few episodes, but maybe it'll be like a female 24? Or maybe it'll be something else entirely.


Tuesday night is NCIS night! The original (9/24 @ 8) and the LA one (9/24 @ 9) will draw its share of viewers. But I expect it'll get crushed by Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on the same night, starting at 8. (More on it in a different post.) But if you are settled in to watch NCIS, then you'll maybe want to also watch Person of Interest (9/24 @ 10). I gave PoI several tries in its first season, but it just didn't click with me. I wanted Michael Emerson to succeed post-Lost and I was sort of interested in Caviezel, post-"Jesus." But the concept of the show just didn't grab me.


Mid week is like Homecoming week for CBS. The shows offered have been on for a looong time and you likely know all that you need to know about them. This seems like the 300th season of Survivor (9/18 @ 8). The hook this time around is all stars versus their family.

Then there is Criminal Minds (9/25 @ 9). I honestly don't know how to describe this show. I've never watched it and I think it is just another police procedural drama similar to NBC's Law & Order:SVU that is its Wednesday night opposite. Why not switch over The CW at nine and give The Tomorrow People a try?

And speaking of 300th season, here is CSI (9/25 @ 10) for another season of intricate laboratory work and evidentiary examinations. Who is the William Peterson/Lawrence Fishburne/Ted Danson lead of the show nowadays? Are the junior CSIs still toiling in semi-obscurity? Wouldn't this show be that much more engaging if Joss Whedon wrote it?


Like Monday, this night is fronted by a block of comedies and anchored by a 10 o'clock drama. First, The Big Bang Theory (9/26 @ 8) asks you to wonder how things between Penny and Leonard will be while he is still at sea on some research trip. Will Raj ever learn to talk to girls without having to get drunk first? Is Sheldon learning to display human emotion in a convincing fashion . . . outside of his love for flags?

The Millers (10/3 @ 8:30) probably makes me sadder than almost any other show on any night for any network. And that is because it will most likely be yet another opportunity for Will Arnett to not be as good as we want him to be--either because of bad writing or maybe because he's turning into the Jim J. Bullock of recent television (he's in many things and not entirely successful at most of them).

And then there is The Crazy Ones (9/26 @ 9), starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams. I would have sworn that this show was an hour-long dramedy . . . and now I see that it is only 30 minutes? I was already sort of skeptical, but now I'm more so. I would like Gellar to succeed. I gave Ringer a try a few years ago. But I'm sort of ambivalent to Williams. He's an easy target at times, so I guess I should be sympathetic. Maybe it'll be okay.

I'm going to skip Two and a Half Men (9/26 @ 9:30) as it needs no help from me or you. Rather I suggest that you watch Elementary (9/26 @ 10). It is not up to the quality of BBC's Sherlock and Jonny Lee Miller & Lucy Liu do not a Cumberbatch & Freeman make. But it's still an engaging hour-long drama/procedural with some flair to it.


Ugh. Undercover Boss (9/27 @ 8)--what? Yes?!  Hawaii Five-O (9/27 @ 9) and Blue Bloods (9/27 @ 10) are the forgettable shows being served up on Friday night. These have all been on for a few years--in the case of Boss . . . an unconscionable number of years at this point--so there is probably not much in the way of new things here. I suggest you spend your fall Friday nights attending the local high school football game and only rooting for the marching bands that perform at halftime. Those musical athletes have practiced hard for your entertainment and that stuff is harder than it looks.


Take a walk on your neighborhood bike paths while the weather is still good. The tv will be there when you get back.

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