PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

News

The TV choices for fall are generating little heat

Rick Kushman
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

We're midway through the TV networks announcing their new fall schedules, and so far, the biggest news involves a couple cartoons, a spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210," and some guy named Jimmy Fallon

OK, yeah, I do know who Fallon is. Former "Saturday Night Live" player, starred in movies like, uh, something or other and that one with Drew Barrymore and the Red Sox.

Fallon was picked by NBC to take over the late, late night slot in 2009, when Conan O'Brien moves into the merely late night slot and inherits "The Tonight Show" from a kicking and screaming Jay Leno.

Leno would seriously prefer to stay, but that's a messy tale for another day. The point is, Jimmy Fallon is the biggest news in a week when broadcast television is trying to kick-start some excitement.

(One last thing abut Fallon. He appears to be a decent guy, and he's way, way - I mean, way - better known than when O'Brien got the 12:30 a.m. EDT slot in 1993. I'm just saying whatever thrills the nets want to create around the new season don't seem to be popping just yet.)

The problem for all the networks is a big one. Although they're hyping their shiny new season, the current one is banged up and tarnished, and network ratings are showing it.

There was, of course, that pesky writers' strike that stopped production for 100 days, and sent viewers elsewhere. It also cut down the number of shows the nets could develop for this coming fall.

But there's also a larger, over-arching sense of malfunction across the landscape.

None of the new shows last fall were instant hits, though a couple - like ABC's "Pushing Daisies" and NBC's "Life" - showed plenty of chops. And pretty much all the high-profile attempts, like NBC's "Bionic Woman," CBS' "Cane" and Fox's "Back to You," all turned out to be failures.

So for the coming season, the networks are in an uncomfortable spot. They're re-launching some of those younger shows like "Daisies" and "Life," and they're bringing back strike-sidelined veterans like NBC's "Heroes" and Fox's "24" (in January), which sounds a lot like last season again.

There are some new shows that could be promising - though at this stage, anything could be promising or a pending disaster since some of the new shows don't even have pilots yet.

Still, before we get to the new stuff, here's a partial update on current shows that were a coin toss for renewal. We'll get you a full list of what's been renewed and what's been canceled after all the announcements have been made, but here's some of the higher profile stuff that's certain.

ABC said on Tuesday that, as expected, it's picking up "Scrubs" from NBC and will show it midseason. ABC is also renewing the charming "Eli Stone" - can I get a hurrah? - and it's giving "Boston Legal" 13 more episodes in the fall to finish its run.

The network also confirmed that it did cancel the underrated "Women's Murder Club" and "Men in Trees," though "Trees" will get to play out its story starting May 28.

And here's one I cannot explain. ABC renewed "According to Jim." No one knows why.

CBS wasn't making it official until Wednesday, but word is it will renew "The Unit," "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "How I Met Your Mother" to go along with the returning stable of CBS procedurals.

It is not renewing "Shark," "Cane" or "Moonlight," although "Moonlight" producers had lobbied hard for another shot midseason if they dramatically cut production costs.

Fox doesn't get its turn until Thursday, but network brass have said they're canceling "Back to You" and "New Amsterdam." And, in the "According to Jim"-category of mystery renewals, Fox is picking up another season of "`Til Death." Also this is old news but people keep asking, so, yes, "Prison Break" will be back next season.

CW renewed "The Game," and in a very nice surprise, it's picking up the charmer "Reaper." Not many people saw that coming. It's also renewing its one real success story, "Gossip Girl." There's no certain word on "Aliens in America."

As for the new stuff, CW made it official that the "Beverly Hills, 90210" spinoff will be on its fall lineup, and Jennie Garth will be back as Kelly Taylor, but now she's a guidance counselor.

Fox has the most intriguing slate of new shows, starting with "The Cleveland Show." That's the "Family Guy" spinoff about Peter Griffin's neighbor, Cleveland Brown, and it does indeed seem weird to have an animated spinoff.

Fox's other animated new series is "Sit Down, Shut Up" from "Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz, who's throwing some voice work to his boys from that comedy, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler.

Fox also has said it will have a new drama from J.J. Abrams, one of "Lost's" creators, called "Fringe," and another from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" mastermind Joss Whedon called "Dollhouse."

The other major producer name behind a new series is Jerry Bruckheimer, the man connected to a pile of network shows, including CBS' "CSIs," "Cold Case" and "Without a Trace." Bruckheimer has a new series for, of course, CBS named "Elemental" that's based on a British miniseries about a science professor who helps capture bad guys.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.