The 2014-5 fall television season has extended well into summer for me. All the new shows that fall into this category have aired, but it’s time to review my predictions and consider how accurate my soothsaying was (here’s a hint, it hasn’t been doing very well as of late). There were a number of pleasant surprises with this past season, some epic bombs, and fond farewalls to old reliables. As usual, most of the studio executives pulled the trigger too quickly on some shows, while giving a few others unusually long (and unreasonable) leashes. Without further ado, let’s examine my predictions:
- A to Z (Cancelled, but did get to air all its 13 episodes): I was a bit off with my prediction for it being cancelled after 4 episodes. It took 11 episodes. Pulling a 0.7 in the Thursday 9:30 PM slot was pretty much a death sentence for this comedy, even though it was just getting its legs after the first few episodes. I’ll give myself a B+ for predicting its fate, although I was rooting for it to succeed by the end of its run. It metamorphosed into a pleasant enough comedy, but we’ll never know if it fulfilled its potential or not.
- How to Get Away With Murder (Massive hit): Definitely a grand slam. The first season was a whirlwind of emotions, and somehow this show became more than just another legal procedural. It of course helps a lot that there were fewer episodes than a series usually airs on a major network, making the whole storyline more taut as a whole. They still managed to fit in secondary stories while progressing the overall season-long story.
- Gotham (Likely flagpole for FOX from now on): Because Batman. That’s all you really need to say. It doesn’t hurt that Jada Pinkett Smith nearly steals the thunder from the entire series with her exquisite portrayal of Fish Mooney. Extended and then renewed for a second season in January, Gotham seems set for a long life on FOX. But as past history has shown, nothing is ever sacred for FOX apart from possibly The Simpsons.
- Scorpion (Popular hit): Mainstream television has been waiting for something that could replace Lie to Me* and other shows of the same ilk. While the veracity of the source material might be questionable, it’s a easy-watching formulaic thriller that also blends in elements from the geek genre, making it more approachable by a wider audience.
- State of Affairs (Massive disappointment): OK, I missed completely on this one. The premise itself was interesting. Execution wasn’t so interesting. It got messy quick and just stayed sloppy. But don’t worry, Miss Heigl will be returning to the small screen again real soon. Like this coming season soon. Just on a different show.
- Person of Interest (Surprising success): The stories kept building off of the tension that was present throughout the season. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if the writers could keep this show compelling. And yet somehow they did. The only issue I have is that due to the arc of the story itself, it’s likely going to have to be the final season coming up. I just don’t know how this stays relevant without turning into a global-hopping dark-net crusading war.
- Awkward. (Continued excellence): Probably this generation’s version of My So-Called Life, only it managed to last the full four years of high school. We’ve gotten to see a wonderful female bildungsroman, which is rare enough in movies much less as a television series. The last two truly great series like Awkward. that I can recall would be Felicity and the animated Daria. We’ll be blessed with a fifth and final season that explores what happens during graduation and that lost summer between high school and college. No high school television show has every truly made the “leap” from the high school years to the college years. Even the standard-bearer failed with its own spin-off series (Saved by the Bell: The College Years).
- Forever (The 2014 award winner for “series that got cancelled too soon”): What a breathtaking show Forever was. Sure, some people might point to it as simply being a remake of New Amsterdam or even a variant of Highlander. Whatever the case is, the one season we got of Forever was a treasure, something that couldn’t be killed off. It just wasn’t the home-run hit that someone somewhere decided it had to be in order to be renewed.
- The Good Wife (Personal struggles): I completely hit a wall with this show this past season. It just got to the point where I no longer enjoyed watching the show. And that had nothing to do with a major character’s death. I just didn’t enjoy watching the show – it didn’t offer enough entertainment or escapism for me.
- American Horror Show: Freak Show (Reversal of Fortune): While this was the most popular AHS installment by far for the public, I just couldn’t get into this show. Maybe it was because so much of it was based in Florida. Nothing that happens in Florida is horrifying anymore. Have you read the news lately? I kid… (mostly). But while the upcoming Hotel season probably will be more promising, I just couldn’t get into the whole clown-baiting horror. Plenty of others enjoyed the season though.
So for the 2014 television predictions, I was batting .700 personally. I’ll take that success rate anytime! If you’re considering the list in strict terms of shows being cancelled, the success rate rose to .800. Far better than the past few seasons for sure.
But wait, that’s not all! There were also 3 wonderful mini-series and show that I felt compelled to comment on in addition to the results provided above. The surprise hit of the season was probably The CW’s Jane the Virgin. Such a ridiculous premise, and yet it completely worked out for everybody involved. It doesn’t hurt that it’s photographed beautifully and uses over-the-top tropes from telenovelas as well. My favorite mini-series of the season was the brilliant Galavant, which I would actually rank as my favorite show of the entire season. That’s how good it was – it was definitely a Comedy Extravaganza (as it was advertised to be).
The final notable show I enjoyed was the BBC’s wonderful mini-series adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. While the novel has gotten acclaim on its own, I personally couldn’t read the book due to its pastiche and diction. I just can’t take seriously anything in print that keeps the spelling “magick“, among other literary choices that gave me a sour taste in my mouth. I put the book down, but the mini-series has none of my concerns, and is a fantastically done adaptation of what is a remarkably dense & thick book. That mini-series capped off the entire 2014-5 television season, and it was probably the best possible show that I could have chosen to mark the end of a single season and the start of the upcoming 2015-6 season.