Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Fates of Network TV Shows in 2017-2018

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The Upfronts are something I look forward to much more than the average person. In fact, I should probably explain to the average person that the Upfronts are a series of presentations in New York where television networks (both cable and broadcast) showcase what they plan to air the following season. Sometimes new pick-ups are announced, but in recent years those stories tend to break before the official event. It's the hard line where shows are renewed or canceled. (well, except when it's not...cough cough Timeless...)

Many new shows tank every year. I've seen many a laughable pilot that is kicked to the curb after a second episodes. Networks have been more generous in the past few years, but pulling things mid-season and then burning them off during terrible programming time still is not uncommon. There are trends that tend to help understand if a show will be pulled in subsequent years, but surprises still slap me in the face.

What returner slapped me in the face this year? Scorpion's cancellation. The ratings had gone down, but if it hadn't been on CBS (which houses some really well-performing dramas), it's fate might have been different.

What rookie slapped me in the face this year? The Brave's cancellation. It wasn't my favorite new show, but I was always happy to see a new one pop up on the DVR. Three military dramas premiered this season, so the competition was steep. The Brave aired right after The Voice, and I'm not sure if that programming choice was ideal to retain viewers. Not only will I be sad to not find out what was going to happen next, I'll also be sad that the actors won't be appearing alongside one another again, as I felt the casting for that series was a strong point.

Moving on, here are other first-season cancellations that I find worth noting. (and by "worth noting," I mean I had some sort of vested interest in them at the start of the season.)
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
was good but not great. It was always the last thing I'd catch up on while surfing my DVR.
Ten Days in the Valley was really tough for me to get into, as I had to watch the first two segments of the pilot three times before I figured out what was going on.
9JKL had horrible writing at times.
Wisdom of the Crowd started off strong for me but after five episodes or so I had lost interest in the concept.
Living Biblically was good for two or three episodes. I was mainly upset about how far it strayed from the book, but also found the episodes pretty lackluster.
I truly enjoyed what was aired of Me, Myself, and I, both in writing and in concept, but its super-short lifespan (only six episodes aired) also made it nearly forgettable by now.
Rise was terrible and not realistic, so no tears were shed here.

And, interestingly, I ended up deciding not to check out The Crossing, and found LA to Vegas absolutely horrendous, so gave that up early. (well, that one technically isn't canceled yet, but the ratings are abysmal. 5/22 Update: yep, it was canceled.)

Renewals for a second season that I'm happy to share...
The Good Doctor will return, and I can't get enough of how good Freddie Highmore is in that!
Young Sheldon will give us more insight into the captivating Cooper.
We'll continue to see the crazy drama that is Dynasty.
We'll get to see Nic's reputation restored on The Resident.
More ridiculousness will occur in Mr. Griffin's A.P. Bio class.
I found the return of Will & Grace superior to that of Roseanne, but still look forward to both continuing next season.

I really didn't care for The Gifted, and probably won't tune in for the second season. Similarly, I found Ghosted so terrible that I deleted the series recording after about four airings. I forgot about Good Girls (I mean, a 2/26 premiere? c'mon!), so that and The Mick are two things I need to catch up on this summer.

While there is a lot of shake-ups there, series that I was continuing this season did very well for the most part. We all knew going in that it would be the final season of The Middle (HOLY COW! Flashback to the first episode I ever saw!), but otherwise nothing I watch is actually ending (aside from the aforementioned Scorpion)! That's right, here's the renewal list for what I watch:
for a third season: Speechless (I love Minnie Driver SO MUCH), American Housewife (this is so realistic I can't stand it), This Is Us (counting down already!), Man with a Plan (it's lighthearted comedy if nothing else)
for a fourth season: Superstore (it's so different from everything else that it works)
for a fifth season: Black-ish (it's getting rough, though...), Fresh off the Boat (this is also getting stale), How to Get Away with Murder (it's getting out of control), Jane the Virgin (it'll be the final season, and I'm ready for that)
for a sixth season: The Goldbergs (I can't believe it's been on this long already!)
for a seventh season: Last Man Standing (which was canceled by ABC a year ago but is going to air new episodes over on FOX next season)
for a ninth season: Bob's Burgers (I'm kinda surprised this is still going)
for a twelfth season: The Big Bang Theory (I like it but I no longer look forward to it)

Well, technically there's still fates to be decided for Trial & Error, which doesn't even premiere its second season until July, and Code Black, which I was surprised to see even get a third season (of which only four episodes have aired to date). (5/24 update: yep, it was canceled.)

What about you - any slaps in the face? Anything you can't believe is still on the air? Should I share what I watch on cable these days?
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