Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall TV Preview 2015--Fox

Hey and welcome back in to another in my slowly-developing Fall TV Preview for 2015.

I'm sorry that I haven't gotten all of these posts done and live before the official launching of the shows--at least for all of the mainstream networks. BUT, I hope that you are enjoying my other Fall-related offerings over in the Football Counter-Programming area.

On to Fox!


Oh boy . . . the calendar looks daunting on this first night of the TV week! So many half-hour shows!

I'll never get all of these posts written if I have to give thoughts on everything or try to come up a joke or whatever it is that you guys are expecting me to come up with. (Oh, hey . . . what ARE you guys expecting me to come up with? If you want something changed, leave me suggestions in the comments below.)

But anyhow, what is Fox giving us to enjoy on Sunday night? The good news--for me--is that none of these programs are brand new. Bob's Burgers [returns 9/27 @ 7:30], The Simpsons [returns 9/27 @ 8], and Family Guy [returns 9/27 @ 9] are all part of the animation block. But there is also Brooklyn Nine-Nine [returns 9/27 @ 8:30] and The Last Man on Earth [returns 9/27 @ 9:30] to round out the night. I've never been a consistent watcher of The Simpsons or Family Guy and I haven't let my kids (or Dean) talk me into liking Bob's Burgers. The biggest challenge for me on Sunday is Last Man on Earth. I watched more than half of last year's premiere season, but the complete unlikeability of Will Forte's Phil Miller character drove me away from watching any more of the last month of the show. And that is too bad, because I liked Will Forte and Kristen Schall and even January Jones. And I liked the idea of the show. But the writers were determined to make me so uncomfortable that I just couldn't sit through it anymore.


Okay, but now . . . here on Monday are some choices! First, there is Gotham [returned 9/21 @ 8] and then there is the new show, Minority Report [premiered 9/21 @ 9]. And I really am conflicted about what to do with Gotham. As you already know, I'm a fan of the superhero genre. And I think--in general--that the DC-based characters have fared better on television than they have in movies. BUT . . . Batman is the very big exception to that rule. Now, it is true that I am basing this on the very successful Christopher Nolan Batman movie trilogy rather than the shambling mess of Batman sequels that originally followed Tim Burton's 1989 original Michael Keaton blockbuster. But, you want Batman to do well, right? He's a cornerstone of the genre. He's someone that everyone knows at least something about. He's more approachable than Aquaman or even Wolverine.

But Gotham--in all of Fox's and DC's wisdom--is NOT ABOUT Batman. It's about Muppet Baby Bruce Wayne and the Gotham Police Department and the proto villains that we'll one day get to know more. But is that what we want? Smallville tried to tell the story of Clark Kent before he was wearing the big blue underwear. But teenage Clark still had Kryptonian powers! The problem with young Bruce Wayne is that he's got nothing but anger and confusion and money. He's a depressive Ritchie Rich when we want him to be doing crime fighting or learning how to train or deciding he won't use a gun or whatever. The journey towards Batman is so far away that the show seems unfulfilled.

All of this could be overcome if the staff had done a better job of writing dialogue and story last year. And maybe this season will be improved? I'm going to keep watching and I hope to report better things.


All new shows. On the same night. Three of them!

Grandfathered [premieres 9/29 @ 8] is the return of John Stamos. He's a guy (that I sort of equate to Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson on HIMYM) who gets his life thrown out of whack by the sudden discovery of a child and that child's child (hense the name of the show).

If that sounds sort of typical, then maybe The Grinder [premieres 9/29 @ 8:30] would be better? It is different from Grandfathered because it is the return to TV of NOT John Stamos but rather Fred Savage . . . with the inclusion of a different version of Rob Lowe from the dude you liked a lot on Parks & Rec. What is The Grinder, though? It's about a successful lawyer that comes home to run the family law firm and finds himself in competition with his younger brother . . . also a lawyer. (I'd rather you take the interest in that concept and apply it to the MUCH better Better Call Saul [returns _____? 2016 over on AMC].

But . . . if you want something truly different--but also sort of familiar, then maybe you should give Scream Queens [premiered 9/22 @ 8] a try. It's different because it is a horror show about murder and victims and bad people. It's familiar in that it is by Ryan Murphy, who is the guy behind Glee and American Horror Story and its derivatives. So you see lots of that stable of actors and you can probably guess the style and feel of the show you'll be getting. (Kind of like when you decide to watch a Wes Anderson movie.)


One of the biggest hits in last year's TV schedule was Empire [returned 9/23 @ 9], a show about a family running a record label and filled with lots of drama and excitement. Truthfully, I didn't watch the show and while I know from headlines on social media that the show was a hit, I didn't click through the headlines to learn why it was a hit. But surely Fox hopes that success continues in its sophomore season. Did you watch? If so, what was good about it? Enlighten me in the comments.

The new show on Wednesday is Rosewood [premiered 9/23 @ 8], a show described thusly: "Private pathologist Beaumont Rosewood helps the Miami police department solve its toughest cases, whether they want his input or not, and teams up with maverick detective Annalise Villa to find clues where no one else can." Am I nuts or is this pretty much exactly how you might have described Rainn Wilson's Backstrom show last year? (Nobody watched that show either.)


If you are a fan of Bones you don't need me to prod you to keep watching the show or even to tell you when it comes back on [returns 10/1 @ 8]. And I suppose the same can be said for one of last year's most hit-and-miss efforts, Sleepy Hollow [returns 10/1 @ 9]. I am almost as conflicted with Sleepy Hollow as I was above with Gotham--with the crucial exception that I am much more ready to dump Sleepy Hollow from my DVR. (Actually, I think I already have.)

I guess I just don't care anymore? Will I be able to simply drop it and walk away? True . . . the show is pleasantly bonkers and very unpredictable. But sometimes it feels like I'm rubbernecking at the location of a car crash. I really want to look away, but if I do I might miss seeing something memorable.

Ugh. Typing that just made me feel dirty.


Ahh Friday. The day of castoffs, rejects, and reality.

But hold on, that is a pretty negative view of things. And MasterChef Junior [returns 11/6 @ 8] is one of the more positive reality shows. Because it is about cooking competition and it features kids. Who doesn't like to watch kids cook? Who doesn't want to root them on as they saute and whip up remoulade? (Yeah, I spelled that correctly on the first try!) Who can't smile when they try to fancy up something depressingly kid friendly, like hot dogs? And the judges tend to be nicer as well.

But what about World's Funniest Fails [returns 11/6 @ 9]? I don't remember this show from past years. But it feels like a show that falls on the Reality Mean Spectrum to the right of America's Funniest Home Videos and to the left of Jackass.

You get the idea . . .


And, well, mercifully that is it for Fox this Fall. On this weekend night you've got Fox Sports Saturday which could mean anything but it most likely means nothing.

Overall? Not too many shows that I'll definitely be watching. I think I'll give Minority Report a try. And I guess I'm going to grit my teeth and keep watching Gotham for a while longer. And I'll probably shame watch Sleepy Hollow a few times and see if there is anything there anymore. But that may be it.

Maybe that gif above represents more than just one of the world's funniest fails. Maybe it also represents Fox's attempt to entice me.

Better luck next time, Fox.

And to you, reader? Next time, we'll tackle NBC.

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