Tag Archives: Battle Creek

Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: CBS

13 May

CBS

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.

CBS now. 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.

Madam Secretary

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CBS invested heavily in this series, and it was a sensible match for its adult Sunday night lineup. Combined with the fact that CBS was debuting fewer shows than any other network, backing Madam Secretary seemed like a smart bet.

Scorpion

Prediction: 13+

Reality: Renewal

Scorpion looked hackneyed to me (and it was) and while it’s the type of show that could (and did) succeed on CBS, I didn’t think it had what it took. I was wrong and that’s okay.

NCIS: New Orleans

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

NCIS remains, after all these years, one of the most successful shows on TV, and the Los Angeles spin off is quite successful as well. Taking the over on NCIS: New Orleans was definitely the safe bet and worked out as expected.

Stalker

Prediction: 13+

Reality: 13+

Stalker looked like the worst show in the CBS line up, and was, and also the one that made the least sense with existing CBS properties, being a little too horror-oriented; closest to Criminal Minds, but still not quite right.

Spring:

The Odd Couple

Prediction: 12-

Reality: Renewal

This show was terrible and it looked terrible, and I know it’s CBS, but Matthew Perry has a couple of post-Friends network failures already and this looked like an obvious continuation of that sequence. I’m still a little surprised it will be back.

Battle Creek

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 12-

Battle Creek also looked not quite right for CBS (more Fox like, being procedural but silly, like Bones), but more on brand than Stalker, and came from a CBS-ized vision from superstar creators Vince Gilligan and David Shore. I banked on the star power carrying the show to at least one more season; I was wrong.

CSI: Cyber

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CSIs have faded in the wake of triumphal NCISs, but each of the three editions had a very successful run, and I figured that picking a CSI led by Patricia Arquette was just another smart wager. This one was almost, almost cancelled, but just held on.

Advertisements

Spring 2015 Review: Battle Creek

6 Mar

Battle Creek

Battle Creek is a cop drama which is the joint product of two heavyweight television creators – David Shore, who was behind House, and Vince Gilligan who created Breaking Bad and co-created its spin-off Better Call Saul. And for all that talent, what Battle Creek amounts to is, well, nothing.

Here’s the set up. Dean Winters plays a big detective fish in a small pond, the king of the chronically underfunded Battle Creek police department. Battle Creek, a mid-sized town, seems to have a disproportionate amount of crime, and its cops are strapped by their lack of resources – in the a bust in the opening scene of the show, both their recording equipment and tasers don’t work. The FBI swoops in for the rescue in the form of the preternaturally perfect Josh Duhamel. The golden child, he’s good-looking, great at just about everything, and brings a winning attitude along with access to forensics and proper equipment that the department desperately needs. Everyone else at the department is overwhelmed and excited by Duhamel personally and the resources he brings but Winters is struck by jealousy and a nagging obsession that there has to be something wrong with Duhamel for him to be sent to Battle Creek. Who is this outsider, he wants to know, why is he so friendly and consistently unfazed, and why is he getting all the credit for what they could have been doing with proper resources.

Of course, they’re partnered up and banter back and forth, Duhamel relentless upbeat, Winters the constant cynic, with their contrasting approaches making them a formidable team.

Battle Creek is not a particularly serious police procedural. It’s light, and makes active attempts at humor. It’s really not far off from an USA procedural, and much closer to USA or Fox than to the rest of the CBS procedural family. Nothing is all that serious. It’s purposefully silly and humor is mined from just how strapped the Battle Creek department is versus how flush Duhamel and the FBI are.

There’s really not even a lot to say about it. There’s just nothing to it. It was watchable, but eminently forgettable. Everything is competent enough but no more. There’s simply no hook to keep a viewer interested in coming back week-to-week. Battle Creek doesn’t appear to have been crafted with the kind of care one would expect of Shore or Gilligan. There’s no ambition. It’s the same problem that often haunts USA shows, but it doesn’t have the sense of fun or style that propels the better USA shows, though it’s certainly going for it.

Will I watch it again? No. There’s really no need to. Battle Creek came in and out with a whimper.

Spring 2015 Previews and Predictions: CBS

16 Feb

CBS

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) 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 (spring, again)(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

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

Only three new shows for CBS, since they just don’t have as many spots to fill in their schedule. One comedy remake, one drama spin off, and one drama from two highly esteemed TV minds.

The Odd Couple – 2/19/15

The Odd Couple

I watched the preview, but as happens with a few new shows every year, I didn’t really need to. Of course, this is particularly obvious here, because The Odd Couple’s two primary characters have been in the pop culture conscience for half a century now; the current show is a remake of a tv show of a movie of a play. It features the pretty standard time-tested tropes of the obsessive-compulsive neat freak (Felix Unger, played here by Thomas Lennon) and the easy-going slob (Oscar Madison, played here by Matthew Perry). They’re opposites, so they constantly put each other in awkward situations, but they’re also friends at the end of the day! You know how it goes. Who was actively calling for an Odd Couple reboot, I haven’t the faintest idea.

Prediction: 13- Matthew Perry is developing an impressive reputation as a show-killer since Friends (Studio 60, Go On, Mr. Sunshine) and I sure wouldn’t want this show to end the streak.

Battle Creek – 3/1/15

Battle Creek

Battle Creek is a procedural that seems like maybe, just maybe, it could be better than your average CBS procedural. It’s co-created by heavyweights Vince Gilligan and David Shore, and while this is not going to be Breaking Bad, the fact that names like those are attached still carries some weight. Josh Duhamel stars as a perfect, handsome FBI agent who comes to assist the underfunded police in the town of Battle Creek, Michigan. Dean Winters plays the gruff top dog whose position is in danger when golden boy Duhamel comes to town. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it being good, but it might not be awful, which already puts it above most CBS pilots.

Prediction: Renewal – it’s on the right network, and it’s got the pedigree. Every stroke CBS makes these days still seems to work out. I really want to dock it for the tagline “You Can’t Fight Crime without Going to Battle” but I just can’t.

CSI: Cyber – 3/4/15

CSI: Cyber

You know the brand. It’s been almost 15 years since the original’s debut and it’s long past time to bring on the fourth show in the CSI universe. “I’m a Cyber Cop” is a real line Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette utters in the trailer. Later she utters, “You work dark alleys. I work the dark net.” The Who plays. There is a self-acknowledged silliness to CSI; to its credit I don’t believe takes itself all too seriously. Still, I’m almost certainly never going to watch this show again after the debut until it starts showing in syndication at weird hours on weird networks.

Prediction: Renewal – Granted, NCIS is the new, currently more popular CSI, but still the shortest-tenured member of the CSI franchise, CSI: New York, lasted nine seasons. I’m not ready to bet against Cyber lasting two.