Tag Archives: Red Band Society

Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: Fox

8 May


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.

Fox up next. 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.

Red Band Society

Prediction: 13+

Reality: 12-

This was an exact example of a show I thought would make it through one full season before not being invited back for another, but it did not get that far.


Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

Comic books are hot, and while Marvel has been killing it in the movies, the Batman brand may still be the strongest of them all. Gotham only had to not be terrible to survive, and it was just not terrible enough.


Prediction: Renewal

Reality: No renewal

I really enjoyed Broadchurch, which Gracepoint was based on, and for some reason put my trust in an absolutely needless adaptation of a British show. This was always a 10-episode series, but poor ratings and being generally heralded as vastly inferior to the British version helped lead to its not being brought back.


Prediction: 12-

Reality: 12-

Mulaney, despite it’s eponymous creator’s obvious stand up talents, looked bad, bad, bad, and it was bad, bad, bad, and thankfully Fox’s discriminating viewers did not reward its brand of badness by watching.



Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

Fox put everything it had into Empire, leading me to feel pretty confident, and Empire rewarded Fox with the biggest network debut in recent memory.


Prediction: 12-

Reality: 13+

Backtrom looked generic and behind the times, hitting lots of tropes that had been hit within the last decade dozens of times before. It seemed dead on arrival, and somehow lasted long enough to air all its episodes before being cancelled, just long enough to screw over my prediction.

The Last Man on Earth

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

The prediction I’m most proud of. There was no reason to pick this as a renewal, as most had pegged this high concept comedy as instant network cancellation bait. Against all odds, it was a mild success, and will be returning next year.

Weird Loners:

Prediction: 12-

Reality: 12-

A pretty easy prediction. This aired midway through the spring, when nothing but shows that are doomed to be quickly cancelled air, and it reeked of being a poor man’s version of eight other similar shows.

Wayward Pines

Prediction: One Season

Reality: Undetermined, but probably one season=

This really shouldn’t be on here, as I didn’t know it was going to air so late, and there probably isn’t an option for a second season either since it’s miniseries-style. However, since I listed it initially, I thought I’d put it here now, if only to address how I can’t address it.

Fall 2014 Review: Red Band Society

17 Sep

Red Band Society pilot

Red Band Society is the story of a bunch of teens who live in the pediatric ward of an Los Angeles hospital, struggling with all the same hopes, fears, emotions, and bodily changes of normal teenagers, while constantly having to deal with the spectre of sickness and death.  There’s Leo, the popular kid who runs the ward, and has cancer, Dash, his running buddy, and Emma, his anorexic sometimes love interest. The two new kids are stuck up mean girl cheerleader Kara and good guy orphan Jordi who shows up hoping to get his cancerous leg cut off by a top doctor. These people, we’re informed, have little in common and would not have said as much as “hello” to each out in the regular world, but in the pediatric ward, they’re stuck with who they’ve got, and they simply learn to make due. The adults who watch over them are nurse Jackson played by Octavia Spencer, and Dr. McAndrew.

The show isn’t good. Instead of transcending cliché, it walks right into it. In trying to be different – and I’ll grant there’s not a show I can think of about a pediatric ward, which I should credit it for, since new subject matter is rare enough in network dramas –  Red Band Society instead feels the same. Everything about the show felt paint-by-numbers, rather than original; the show still felt like it was going through the motions. The writing wasn’t particular sharp, and for a show featuring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in top billing, she basically gets nothing to do in the first episode. The show felt Lifetime movie inspirational; it hit the notes that everyone knows will elicit emotion, of which sick kids are at the top of the list, without ever even attempting to being to earn it through story, build up, and plain old good writing. Obviously it’s very difficult to earn emotion in a first episode, but it’s certainly possible to work towards it.

As I spent the lash paragraph discussing, the show is mediocre, largely unremarkable, and will be easily forgotten. Here’s the one thing we need to talk about though. The narration. The show is narrated by a 12ish year old boy in the pediatric ward who is in a coma.  The boy tells us, the audience, all about the ward, and all of its residents within. He’s apparently omniscient while in the coma. He sees everyone in the hospital, and reports on their doings. What are the limits of his vision? It’s unclear. Can he see outside the hospital, throughout the entire hospital, or only within the ward? Is it assumed that everyone on the ward comes and talks to him in private as a sounding board? Is he a reliable narrator?

Not only this, but two of the characters meet with the narrator while they’re unconscious and he gives them messages. Apparently, there’s some magical nether world where people in comas can interact with those otherwise living people who are just temporarily below the surface of consciousness. The kid in the coma has the cheerleader give his dad a message about how the accident the put in him a coma wasn’t his dad’s fault fault and the kid commands her to bring him pizza, which he believes might break him out of the coma. We later find out that one of the other boys got an inspirational message from coma kid as well, making it seem unlikely that the kids are hallucinating and more likely that coma kid is actually transmitting messages. I’m going to take this bizarre coma kid narrator as the one memorable aspect of this show over anything else.

Will I watch it again? No. It wasn’t very good. They wanted us to feel feelings, but the feelings are cheap, manipulative and the show is poorly writter. There’s nothing to see here.

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.