Fall 2014 Previews and Predictions: Fox

8 Sep


(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

We’ll kick off this season’s previews and predictions with Fox, one of two networks airing their first premiere of the season on Wednesday, September 17. Fox, which still doesn’t air programming in the 10 o’clock hour, has fewer hours of programming than any network this side of the CW (which is kind of a half network, as is), and thus has fewer new programs, with four. There’s not a ton in common amongst the group. There’s a comedy by a prominent young stand-up, a make-you-have-feelings drama,  a small town murder mystery, and a DC spin off. Let’s dive in, shall we.

Red Band Society – 9/17

Red Band Society

Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer is nurse on a pediatric ward where a lot of sick teenagers live long term. They live, they lean, they love, always on the precipice of death, facing the challegnes of puberty along with far more serious challenges than most teens fade.They laugh, they cry, they inspire you, themselves, and each other while Olivia Spencer presumably keeps them in line.

Prediction: 13+ I’ve seen more ads for this than any of the other Fox shows, but I’m just not feeling it. I don’t have a better reason than that, but that’s kind of how predictions work.

Gotham – 9/22


Batman origin story. Commissioner Gordon is a young rookie cop, just exposed to the cesspool which is Gotham, rife with crime, organized and isolated, premeditated and psychopathic. We get to meet all your favorite characters that we know and love from the Batman comics/tv shows/movies before they are those characters, including Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler, and not least among them Batman, who is merely a kiddie Bruce Wayne, learning from Gordon after the shocking murder of his parents. Yes, the thought of making a show about Gotham without Bruce Wayne was probably always impossible.

Prediction: Renewal. I don’t think it looks great, but hell, the Batman name can do no wrong right now – this might be the first chink in its armor, but I’m not about to call it.

Gracepoint – 10/2


An American adaptation of British show Broadchurch, Gracepoint is the story of a small, peaceful beachfront tourist town that is torn asunder by the murder of an innocent child. Everyone, as you might imagine, is a suspect, and it turns out, also unsurprisingly, that everyone’s got a secret. For as potentially clichéd as that sounds, the British version was actually a pretty darn good little murder mystery, and it was greatly benefited by having just one short season, something it looks like Fox has learned from, giving Gracepoint an unusually short 10 episode order. Hopefully they’ll be bold enough to avoid a Killing and end the mystery in one season.

Prediction: Renewal. The 10 episode order screws up my normal system, but since I’m going Renewal it doesn’t really matter. This looks fairly faithful to a pretty solid show, and while that’s no guarantee of a good translation I’m hopeful.

Mulaney – 10/5


John Mulaney is an indisputably talented stand up and a former Saturday Night Live writer, a position which is obviously impressive in spite of the often mediocre SNL output. All this personal promise makes it all the more disappointing that his namesake sitcom looks simply awful. Mulaney portrays a comedy writer for a legendary game show host played by Martin Short, who has always been a bit much for my taste. Elliott Gould and fellow SNLer Nasim Petrad also co-star. There’s a laugh track which is never a good sign and absolutely none of the jokes hit in the trailer. The show looks like a sitcom dug up from an earlier era, and I mean that in a bad way; it looks dated in every sense from the look to the humor. Maybe the trailer is inaccurate, but I’m not expecting much.

Prediction: 12- This looks bad, and while Fox has been willing to give a decently long leash to comedies it has faith in, I’m betting that is if the show is as bad as the trailer, the audience will dwindle quickly.  Mulaney is a very promising comic and should have another chance one day.

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