Fall 2014 Previews and Predictions: CBS

10 Sep

CBS

(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)

CBS next. Four shows, all dramas, as all comedies not titled after universe-starting events on CBS and really all of network TV are struggling relative to hour long series. One spin-off of a long-running and fabulously successful procedural, one Criminal Minds-type brutal murder procedural, one procedural about a group of genius misfits, and one Good Wife-like adult political drama. Let’s get to work.

Madame Secretary – 9/21

Madam Secretary

Tea Leoni plays a former CIA higher up, out of the game and working a low stress job teaching a university, recruited to be Secretary of State by the president, her former boss at the agency, when the previous Secretary dies in a plane crash. She’s an original thinker. Actually more than that, as the trailer makes clear in one of my favorite trailer lines in recent history – she doesn’t merely think outside of the box, she doesn’t even know there is a box! She struggles to make her mark in the administration as the new face, battling a hostile staff, a hostile chief of staff, and a conspiracy which may have resulted in the death of the prior secretary and may go all the way at least near the top. It’s all very adult; think The Good Wife mixed with an ounce of Scandal.

Prediction: Renewal – This seems like a smart bet for CBS in the adult vein of The Good Wife, which has succeeded on the back of critical successs and just enough commercial success, and aired on the same day. I’m not sure it will be good, but I doubt it will be awful, and I think it’s a safe play, targeted at higher income viewers on a snug Sunday night spot.

Scorpion – 9/22

Scorpion

A group of super genius nerds who are crazy brillaint but struggle to relate to normal humans on a social and emtional level are recruited by the government to help solve different problems and diffuse difficult situations. Useless by themselves, they’re rediscovered by an old aquaintance of our main character, who puts them to work. They’re also joined by a normie, a waitress, whose young son is a future genius, to help them deal with regular people in social situations. It makes sense on CBS  as a variety of the superteam type shows where everyone has a specialty, except in this case, all the specialties are nerrdy, but with cool uses – think A-team or the more recent Leverage meets The Big Bang Theory.

Prediction: 13+ I’m not sold by any means on its success, but it hardly seems like an obvious bomb, and I think with only four shows and a largely settled line up CBS will be willing to give its new shows a decent amount of leeway. There’s nothing about Scorpion that screams disaster, and I could honestly see it going any way, so I’ll take the middle path.

NCIS: New Orleans – 9/23

NCIS: New Orleans

Same story, new city. Legendary TV actor Scott Bakula is at the helm, manning the Mark Harmon role. CCH Pounder and Lucas Black co-star. There will be no surprises here; you know exactly what you’re going to be getting. One case a week, covering the remarkable number of navy-related murders in the Crescent City, which seems an obvious place to set a procedural, as it makes up for its lack of size compared to some of the bigger US cities with an abundance of ambience and terrible accents.

Prediction: Renewal – Could it fail? Absolutely. Might America be sick of the NCIS franchise? Perhaps. Still, it would be folly to bet against the current king of the CBS procedural franchise family. The original remains shockingly strong after so many years and NCIS: LA is successful as well.

Stalker – 10/1

Stalker

 

Stalker is advertised next to Criminal Minds and for good raeson; the show seems to feast on the same kind of psychotic, sociopathic, insane murders which Criminal Minds does. The difference is simply that while they’re wanted serial killers in Criminal Minds, they’re, well, stalkers, in Stalker. Maggie Q heads a division in Los Angeles which tracks and aprehends stalkers and she pairs with doesn’t-get-along-with-others cop Dylan McDermott, fresh from New York, and looking to cleanse himself of some personal and professional demonds while still being a little bit of a pain in the ass. These stalkers are not the well-motivated villains of the CSI and NCIS franchises but rather true crazy persons who are to be extra feared and require a special division to stop. Oh, and Maggie Q knows this better than anyway, because it seems like from the trailer she was once stalked herself.

Prediction: 13+ I have the least faith in this show of the CBS debuts; if push was to come to shove, I would take Scorpion above it. Still, I’m betting that McDermott’s TV power and the fact that, as mentioned in my Scorpion prediction, CBS has just four shows, on it making it at least past midseason. That said, McDermott’s Hostages last year on CBS was a failure, so I may be giving him too much credit.

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2 Responses to “Fall 2014 Previews and Predictions: CBS”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: CBS | Television, the Drug of the Nation - July 24, 2015

    […] now. My fall predictions are here and my spring predictions are here, and in short, every show gets one of three predictions: that it […]

  2. Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: Fox | Television, the Drug of the Nation - July 27, 2015

    […] up next. My fall predictions are here and my spring predictions are here, and in short, every show gets one of three predictions: that […]

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