These television previews and recaps are more popular than I thought they would be – but it’s always good to keep a continuing blog series going. The 2013-4 season thus far has been pretty strange to me, as a lot has changed both for new and returning shows. I did something a little bit different for the 2013-4 preview, breaking it up into “new” and “returning” shows. You can review my predictions and laugh at how inaccurate I was.

Let’s review the “new” first:

  • Super Fun Night – Given the premise alone, I thought it had huge potential. But potential is just that – and it went unrealized. Deleted this from my DVR list after the first episode. Would be shocked if it lasted more than another season at best.
  • Trophy Wife – With the dearth of comedy on television lately, it pains me to have to see the churn and turnover of new comedy shows. This one didn’t quite capture my heart, but was clearly better than Super Fun Night. I could see this one gaining steam over time, and gradually improving. For now, I’ll continue to give it a pass.
  • Welcome to the Family – Crashed and burned. Canceled after only three episodes had aired. Three! That beat the record of four by The Ex List (2008). Fantastic idea. The execution was abject failure, and as such, it was quickly put out of its misery. The Ex List finally lost its crown for “quickest cancellation of promising concept” by my estimation. It probably jumped the shark earlier than I predicted too.
  • The Tomorrow People – Lukewarm, not really interesting, but also not really offensive. Probably gets renewed. Abandoned this after the first episode. Probably best suited for a Netflix-style deal down the road, for binge-watchers. Doesn’t really quite succeed with the lag time between episodes in my view.
  • The Michael J. Fox Show – Probably way too meta for anybody. Just wasn’t funny. A comedy has to be funny. Gave it a lifeline of four episodes. Never got it going. Switched it off and haven’t looked back. It’s probably cancelled, but is trapped in that strange netherworld of “not officially cancelled, but you know it’s cancelled”.
  • The Crazy Ones – Now this is the first of the new television shows that I actually rather enjoyed. Unfortunately, it’s probably too niche of a show, despite the massive star cachet of Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Currently fighting for its life for a second season pickup. Never a good thing when a show changes time slots mid-season.
  • The Blacklist – Unqualified success. Permanent ticket on my DVR. I watch this series next-day, and each and every episode has been enjoyable. Structure of the storytelling reminds me of The Mentalist, but with its own quirks. Very glad to have this show added to the schedule. Was already renewed for a full second season way back in November.
  • Sleepy Hollow – Was renewed in October for a second season. I’d say it’s a partial success – I’ve enjoyed its episodes, but don’t mind missing an episode here or there. A solid B- contender for my time, which means that it’s good enough to be recorded once in a while, but not to get a full season ticket onto my DVR. Quite imaginative and creative.
  • The 100 – Too early for me to make any conclusions. Finally premiered on March 19. Only three episodes have aired and I have yet to see any of them, because I was too busy watching March Madness. That’s the downside of launching a new television show during my favorite time of the year for television, the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Will report back on this show in my Spring 2014 recap.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland – Oh My God. How did I spectacularly fail in tabbing this my number one pick for “best new show”. I watched the first episode live with eager anticipation. And I felt violated. And I felt bad for Lewis Carroll. Pass on this. It wasn’t cancelled, but instead announced that it would only last 12 episodes. I guess that’s sort of a way to avoid facing the truth – they fell on their faces with this adaptation.

Based on the above list I hit one home run (The Blacklist) and dribbled two singles (Sleepy Hollow and The Crazy Ones). One show was too early to review (The 100), but the rest was abysmal failure. Let’s hope I did better with the returning shows:

  • Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Immensely entertaining in its own way, with the returning players playing against their loved ones along with Redemption Island being in play. Rupert exited the game very quickly, and it was readily apparent that the final showdown would come down between Tina and Tyson. The rest of the season generally played out that way, and Tyson dominated the final half of the season en-route to his win. I’d rank this among the worst Survivor seasons ever, just due to the gameplay alone.
  • Person of Interest – Easily continuing its upward trend, this show has catapulted itself all the way into the top 5 shows of the 2013-14 season in my book. More backstory was revealed. The death of a major character strengthened the show. And finally the banishment of the HR story arc alone has only improved the show itself, as it’s begun to explore the technological aspects of the show, rather than the noir elements.
  • How I Met Your Mother – Easily on the list of the best shows due to its final season. The final episode angered a lot of people, but I rather enjoyed it a lot. It fit in with the narrative of the entire story. Everything fell into place. The final season as a whole was written pretty poorly by the writers, who chose to focus on a singular wedding weekend for the majority of the season. Oh sure, there were plenty of flashbacks, but part of the charm of HIMYM was always the hijinks they got into, not one extended soporific weekend.
  • The League – This season seemed a bit abbreviated and overdone. I can only wish that next season isn’t quite as bad as this previous one was. Everything seems a bit overblown and gone are the subtle jokes that made this series such a pleasure to watch. I’ll still hope for the best, but it’s begun a downward spiral.
  • The Big Bang Theory – Somehow gets better season after season. The current season is still ongoing and the last few episodes as of this writing have been some of the best episodes thus far in the series. Permanent ticket on the DVR if not a live-watch. One of the few shows that I can say that about.
  • The Mentalist – And here I thought the show would somehow get stale after the conclusion of the ‘Red John’ storyline. Instead, it’s morphed into an interesting procedural. But I honestly can’t see it going on for more than a couple more seasons. Too much relies on the cast – which is part of its charm and appeal, and also why it won’t be an ongoing series in the vein of CSI: ANYTHING.
  • The Good Wife – Eminently possible that The Good Wife became the best network television show of the decade with this season alone. So many plotlines, fantastic episodes, and great acting stuffed into a single season. If you need an example of what any television series aspires to – simply wait for this current season to come out on DVD and then buy and watch the entire season.
  • Revolution – Crashed and burned for me. I removed the series from my DVR after the first two episodes of the season. Descended into a strange amalgam of all the storylines it could or couldn’t be, all at once. Became unenjoyable for me to watch, so I quickly fired it.
  • The Americans – While it didn’t crash and burn, it was more of a slow-burning fire for me. I’ve reached the point where I simply fast forward through the show, hoping for fun scenes to watch. I was never a fan of slow-moving crime (or crime in general) shows, but made an exception for this one. It’s holding onto its DVR pass for its life but I could see myself removing it early in the next year.
  • American Horror Show: Coven – Why do I doubt that this will hold onto its throne as the best show on television? I don’t know, but Coven managed to be the best season of all thus far. I can’t wait for the next season to begin – the only downside of this series is that each season has a different name for your DVR. So you’ve got to remember when the season begins and then go find and add the new name to your DVR record list. That’s the only negative thing I can say about this show.

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