Tag Archives: A to Z

Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: NBC

1 Jun

NBC

Well, there’s no point in making predictions if you’re not willing to revisit them later and see just how wrong you were. Now that the final decisions are in, let’s review how I did.

We’ll start with NBC. My fall predictions are here and my spring predictions are here, and in short, every show gets one of three predictions: that it will air 12 episodes or fewer, 13 episodes or more, or be renewed.

The Mysteries of Laura

Prediction: 12-

Reality: Renewed

Sometimes I’m wrong, and sometimes reality is wrong. That’s one of these times. I watched this show and I understand I’m not the arbiter of taste for network television but I still don’t really understand how this became popular. Admittedly, this isn’t quite as shocking as the fact that Undateable will have three seasons under its belt on NBC (which is legitimately incredibly shocking) but I still am surprised this happened.

Bad Judge

Prediction: 12-

Reality: 12-

This prediction game isn’t rocket science. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s easy. Bad Judge was one of the easier calls of the year.

A to Z

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 12-

A to Z was an okay show that I still think could have succeeded on the right network in the right timeslot, but it’s getting harder and harder for comedies on networks, particularly on NBC, which will be down to a record low number this fall. There just wasn’t enough support or appeal to make this happen.

Marry Me

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 13+

A series by the creator of Happy Endings starring one of the stars of Happy Endings and my beloved Ken Marino! I may have been too optimistic, about both the success and quality of the show. NBC gave it a shot, but no go. It’s a bad time to be a network sitcom.

Constantine

Prediction: 12-

Reality: 13+

Everything about this series, including when it was airing, led me to believe it was in for a short run. NBC surprisingly gave it a little more support than I anticipated, and it made it to 13 where the lack of ratings finally did it in.

State of Affairs

Prediction: 13+

Reality: 13+

 

Hey, I got something else right. I didn’t see an early cancellation with the amount of stock NBC put into this series, but I didn’t see it as a success either, and for once, I was right.

Spring:

Allegiance:

Prediction: 12-

Reality: 12-

Another easy one. Midseason shows mostly fail, which makes them generally easier to predict than fall shows, though the few breakouts that happen often come out of nowhere. This was so obviously a poor man’s The Americans rip-off that was destined to fail and did.

The Slap

Prediction: No renewal

Reality: No renewal

This was a limited series, so odds are it was never returning unless it was such a huge hit that it forced NBC’s hand to develop some sort of sequel. Still, The Slap, from just the name alone, was destined to fail, despite an impressive amount of star power in the cast.

One Big Happy

Prediction: 12-

Reality: 12-

This show looked terrible, was pretty bad, and as previously discussed, it’s hard out there being a sitcom these days. Not a difficult call, and now that Elisha Cuthbert’s back out of work, along with Marry Me’s Casey Wilson, we’re two actors closer to the Happy Endings reunion.

A.D.: The Bible Continues

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 12-

People love the Bible, and people loved The Bible, so I suppose I overestimated that love; what counts as a hit for History Channel registers as something less on NBC. I underestimate religious fervor too often that I overestimated it this time in an attempt to compensate.

American Odyssey:

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 13+

I have absolutely no justification for predicting this as a renewal, other than I was trying to balance out my spring forecast with another renewal or two, in spite of the fact that’s just not how spring works. While I don’t regret this pick too strongly, this is one I’d be most likely to change if I made these predictions again.

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Fall 2014 Review: A to Z

3 Oct

A, Z, and A's friend

A to Z is almost too cute for its own good. Desperately earnest in the day of where most sitcoms starting 20 and 30-somethings are snappy and ironic, A to Z may claim otherwise, but the show it most closely imitates is CBS’s recently departed How I Met Your Mother, and while, based on my overall impressions of How I Met Your Mother (with exceptions, fairly negative), that might sound like a bad thing, I actually don’t mean it that way. A to Z actually handles this earnestness, which could easily be too much, in a positive, optimistic manner that even made me, a pessimist born and bred, hopeful for a moment.. Because of this and the charisma of its two leads which leads to those positive feels, A to Z, while not being a show which demands viewing, and while, perhaps most importantly for a comedy, not being particularly funny off the bat, actually makes a halfway decent case for repeat viewership.

Of course, because it hews eerily close to How I Met Your Mother, there’s a clever storytelling gimmick that surrounds the show. A to Z is omnisciently narrated by TV superstar Katey Segal (in a slightly less violent role than her current job on Sons of Anarchy) who tells us that she’ll give us the whole story of the relationship between the two title characters, Andrew, and Zelda, over the entire course of their eight-month relationship, or again, from A to Z (groan at the pun, please). The already-knowing-how-long-the-relationship-is gimmick also reminded me of 500 Days of Summer.

Segal’s narrator tells us a little bit about the characters as well, giving us cute backgrounds of the two main stars. Andrew is the Ted – he’s the romantic, working for a rather cynical online dating company because he actually believes in helping people meet, which feels like something Ted would approve of heartily. Zelda is a career-oriented, lawyer, well-organized and conservative personality-wise, not particularly interested in going out on a limb. When they meet, he’s convinced he shared a destiny-type moment with her at a concert years ago (again, think Ted), creeping her out initially. Even though it may not actually have been her, eventually she’s persuaded to gve him a second chance, due to his sheer force of enthusiasm, which carries her more cynical self, along. They each have wacky side character best buds, straight out of rom com 101, who are goofier and louder than either of the two leads.

A to Z feels like a ten-years later update of its spiritual predecessor, How I Met Your Mother.  Slightly more twee and hip; the near decade difference in debuts shows in the types of young people at the heart of the show. The other difference, at least in the pilot, is that How I Met Your Mother, in its first couple of seasons, for all I rag on it, could be hilariously funny – Barney and Marshall, particularly – and that’s why I watched it even when I already hated other aspects of the show. A to Z isn’t particularly funny, though it also didn’t have the patronizing let-me-tell-you-how-life-is edge that so rubbed me, but few others, the wrong way on How I Met Your Mother.

To sum up, it’s sweet, and it’s earnest and it’s cute. It’s not very funny. That’s okay if it offers enough elsewhere; Girls and Enlightened are half hours both well-worth watching despite between being very often not very funny, and sometimes (moreso on Enlightened) out and out depressing. There’s something of value on A to Z, but I’m not sure if it’s enough for me, while it might be for someone who likes this stype of stuff more.

Will I watch it again? No. I seriously considered it, because the two leads did make me want to root for it and them, but the show didn’t quite win me over enough to keep watching, because it wasn’t either funny, or clever or engaging enough for another episode.

Fall Previews and Predictions: NBC

15 Sep

NBC

(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)

NBC ties ABC with a high of six new shows, and outside of the early debut of The Mysteries of Laura, pushes more of its shows slightly later in the fall than the other major networks. There are three comedies and three dramas. A comedy from Happy Endings creator David Caspe, a dramedy starring Debra Messing, a Keither Heigl political thriller, a Kate Walsh legal comedy, a lesser known DC comics property, and a romantic comedy. To the shows we go.

The Mysteries of Laura – 9/17

The Mysteries of Laura

TV vet Debra Messing plays a cop who must apprehend perps while at the same time dealing with two unruly children as a single mom. I’m not sure if the mysteries refer to each case, or to how Messing manages to be such an expert detective while taking care of her kids. It smells like a dramady, light-hearted humor about how Messing does it all while also dealing with serious whodunnits that will be solved on a weekly basis.

Predictoin: 12- I may be underestimating the power of Messing who seems to be on TV just about every year, but it looks bad (which of course is not enough in and of itself to get a show cancelled usually) and I’m just not sure how it fits. It almost feels like it’d have been better sold as a USA show.

Bad Judge – 10/2

Bad Judge

 

Prviate Practice’s Kate Walsh plays a judge who doesn’t have her life together; she’s drinking, having sex in her office, and doing all sorts of silly behaviors we don’t normally associate with members of her profession. Apparently, shockingly enough though, deep down, she has a heart of gold; when a young boy whose parents she put in jail calls about her, she goes out of her way to help, dishing out the kind of unorthodox advice that makes her actually a better mentor than most grown ups. It does feature the always enjoyable Ryan Hansen of Veronica Mars fame, who also appeared in the short-lived Bad Teacher; make of that what you will.

Prediction: 12- It looks bad. NBC has cancelled comedies for less.

A to Z – 10/2

A to Z

Katey Segal is clearly narrating this trailer. I needed to get that out first. Ginsberg from Mad Men is a guy’s guy, and the Mother from How I Met Your Mother is a girl’s girl, and they’re destined to meet and make romance, etc, etc. Watch out for falling cliches everywhere. I’m not sure I got what the A to Z hook was from the trailer, unless that’s a pun on their last names. This seems more like a straight forward rom com than the other romantic comedy this fall, Manhattan Love Story, as there’s more romance than humor in the trailer..

Prediction: Renewal – NBC if it wants to keep airing comedies has tokeep some of them right? Maybe we’ll end up in a land with only NBC dramas; considering every single attempt at comedy by the network seems to generate no viewiers, but presumably they’re not ready to give up yet.

Marry Me – 10/14

Marry Me

Wait a second. A show that might actually really be good! Of course, I was biased in a positive way before even watching the trailer. Marry Me is created by Happy Endings creator David Caspe, and stars Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson and Party Down’s Ken Marino, I very much like all of these people, and the trailer gives me no reason not to the thing the show might actually be good. Marino and Wilson play a couple who have been together for a long time and finally become engaged, and the hilarity that ensues thereafter. It’s not really an uproarious trailer, but being a constant cynic is tring and I’m desperate to give a show the benefit of the chance and might as well to one whose people I all love.

Prediction: Renewal – I’m not sure this is a good prediction, but I’m supporting people I like, and since this may be the only time this year, I’ll take a chance. After all, Happy Endings got three seasons with no one watching, and NBC renewed Community and Parks & Recreation a surprising amoutn of times for shows no one watches, so maybe NBC will be patient if it’s good.

Constantine – 10/24

Constantine

A highly successful long running Vertigo comic series, it’s already been adopted into a terrible Keanu Reeves movie, and I”d like to think that at the least this show has to be better than that film. Constantine is a mouthy British excorcist with his own share of figurative demons. I’ve read seperately that being on a network means that Constantine can’t, say, smoke, which is a fairly prominent feature of the comic book character, which just reminds me again of the stupid restrictions of network television, but I’ll try to hope the show can be decent because I like the character even though the alternative seems more likely.

Prediction: 12- I’m not sure this show makes sense for NBC, and I’m not sure they care a lot about the success of this show. I think Fox would make more sense as a home for Constantine, worked around maybe Sleepy Hollow or Gotham. It seems like a bad network fit regardless of the quality of the show.

State of Affairs – 11/17

State of Affairs

Katherine Heigl is a super duber CIA agent with, you’ll never guess, problems in her personal life that equal her professional successes. It’s hard not to imagine State of Affairs outside of its post-Homeland context; obviously the show is different by Heigl seems a Carrie analogue. Alfre Woodard plays the president who has a special relationship with Heigl; in additional to being the most brilliant CIA analyst out there, Heigl happened to be in a relationship with Woodard’s son, a humanitarian aid worker who died in shady circumstnaces. The most important thing I learned was that Heigl seems to be at least half a foot taller than Woodard.

Prediction: 13+ I think there’s too much invested in this to cut the cord quick unless it’s a total disaster; the trailer screams tentpole show, and as it seems to have connections to people behind The Blacklist, NBC’s biggest new scripted hit in ages, you know NBC’s going to want it to succeed. Still, there’s something about me that strikes me as not going to work. Maybe I’m wrong.