Tag Archives: State of Affairs

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: State of Affairs

17 Nov

State of Affairs - Season Pilot

Is it reasonable to say that something is a cross between Homeland and Madam Secretary after having only seen one episode of Madam Secretary? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but I’m saying it. Perhaps more simply and clearly, it’s just a network TV version of Homeland – the Madam Secretary simply refers to the broadcast-appropriate national security cases-of-the-week that the main character discusses with the president. Otherwise, Katherine Heigl’s Charleston Tucker is the Carrie Mathison analogue. Let me count the ways.

Charleston starts the episode in her psychologist’s office. She’s dealing with a tragic personal traumatic event that happened deep within the middle east. Her fiancé (who turns out to also be the president’s son; that’s different, I suppose) died in Kabul at the hands of most-wanted terrorist Omar Abdul Fatah, the Abu Nazir of State of Affairs. There’s also more than meets to the eye to that integral event; Charleston wasn’t warned of a traitor, but she has gaps in her memory and has secret information about the events that only one other person knows that could implicate her personally and ruin her career. An unidentified person texts her throughout the episode, aluding to knowing details about the terrorist attack which she does not.

In order get over these tragic events, she works hard and she plays hard. She’s promiscuous (I’m not judging her by any means, but her psychologist does) and she drinks a lot. She’s a high ranking CIA official; unlike Carrie she has direct contact with the president. She’s very sensitive when people accuse of her letting her personal life of getting in the way of her professional decision making. She’s a rogue; she gets in trouble with her bosses, and bucks them, even if it means getting suspended, which happens in the first twenty minutes of the first episode. She has friends and colleagues who believe in her, respect her, and trust her with their careers – she uses these connections in the pilot to work her way out of her suspension, prove that she’s right, and embarrass the CIA director, her direct higher up.

So, yes. She’s pretty much Carrie in most of the ways that count. How is she different? She’s not actually crazy, it doesn’t seem like, though she may have some PTSD or survivor’s remorse. She was engaged to the president’s son and thus has the president’s implicit trust, which is probably more than Carrie had, leverage-wise. But that’s about it.

Of course, the show isn’t as hardboiled or hardcore as Homeland in any number of ways – it’s on NBC and not on Showtime. There’s probably going to be much more of a case per week to go along with the running plot to catch Fatah and figure out what happened the night her fiancé was killed (In this episode, Tucker makes some unpopular calls but ends up saving an American doctor taken hostage).

Being a Homeland rip off  isn’t exactly something you want to wear on your sleve these days, but Homeland did have a truly all-time rookie season (the Mark Fidrych of TV shows? I’m still working on it), which can be hard to remember I know. Still, Homeland’s pilot, Carrie’s character even aside, was a lot more intriguing and well-executed than State of Affairs. After that, State of Affairs feels like an extremely neutered, generizied version, that’s only one step away from a typical CBS police procedural. That’s not the worst thing in the world to be, but it’s not particularly close to engendering repeat viewing either. I’m not sure if NBC thinks it’s being at all daring with State of Affairs, but it isn’t. Madam Secretary, which, to be fair, I’m not watching either, screams broadcast show and knows what it is even if that has a lower ceiling than most better cable shows. State of Affairs seems to want to fly closer to what airs on premium cable these days, but never anywhere close enough to make you actually believe it could.

Will I watch it again? No. While not State of Affairs’ fault, anything which reminds me in any way of Homeland right now is pretty poisonous. Homeland, as mentioned above, had one of the all-time great first seasons, and then went downhill from there, and a Carrie analogue is the last new character I want to see. Charleston probably won’t be as unwatchable as Carrie gets,  (seriously, who can be?) which is absolutely worth noting, but the start of State of Affairs is also a lot less intriguing than the pilot of Homeland was all around.

 

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.