It took me awhile, but I’ve seen (practically) every new scripted drama and comedy for this fall, to the detriment of my mental health. Judging by the first two weeks, this is one of the worst new seasons in recent memory, or maybe that idea is exacerbated by actually watching all the awful attempted sitcoms that litter the networks primetime lineups rather than just the shows I know I’ll like.
What follows is the first of what I hope to be a weekly series delving into every show that I watched during the week, ranked in terms of excellence. The rankings will be made in accordance to past performance, the most recent episode (what have you done for me lately?) and the whims of my whimsy and/or bowels. The list will be decidedly shorter in the coming weeks, even as new shows join the mix, because I will be extricating a great deal of these shows from my frontal lobewatch list after just one (or two) episodes. That might not be fair…but rare is a show so obviously bad and awful in its pilot, yet somehow rebounds to greatness (I would say PARKS & RECREATION is the only one in recent memory that is close to qualifying). For the first (or last) fifteen shows on this list, I knew they were shit by the time the title credits rolled. Getting to the end credits was a heroic feat.
So go forth and read up on what shows you should or shouldn’t be watching…and be sure to yell at me if you disagree. I love to argue about TV.
38. DADS (FOX)
It’s been awhile since I watched a show that threatened to tear out my soul and stomp on it like this sexist, misogynistic, hateful piece of “television.” When you look around and see all the stunning dramas and clever comedies on the air today, and you gobble up the “golden age” of TV chatter, its shows like this that move back progress twenty years, with an insultingly juvenile premise that likely makes TWO AND A HALF MEN seem like a walk through the Louvre. I only recently discovered why people liked Seth Green, as I binge watched BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER last year, but before that, I had never understood why. Its shows like this that makes it even harder to. I’ve never seen a fall season so stacked with talented and relatively big name actors than this one. After watching as much as I could…I’ve never seen so much wasted talent. The idea that Green and FRIENDS and AVATAR star Giovanni Ribisi have talent might soon prove a faulty assumption.
If you were worried that ubiquitous kooky latino woman Tonita Castro wouldn’t find a gig after GO ON, don’t be. She’ll be playing maids in sitcoms long after we’re all dead and the hamsters have taken over the planet (and that’s sad).
If there was a saving grace about this show (and there isn’t), it’d be Brenda Song of NEW GIRL fame, who definitely has the chops for an ensemble sitcom gig.
37. LUCKY 7 (ABC)
This was the only show, besides BETRAYAL, that I didn’t get a “chance” to watch, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s also the first show cancelled this fall. If you didn’t believe that I have pull in Hollywood, now you should. I honestly thought a CRASH-like show featuring a motley, disparate group of people who won the lottery had some potential going on face value, but that’s clearly false. Obviously the 6 people who accidentally watched this show hoping it was a LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN spinoff were disappointed.
36. THE 100 (CW)
I could give you 100 reasons NOT to watch this show, but that would be devoting far too much time to such a sophomoric show. It’s another in a long line of HUNGER GAMES rip-offs, about what happens after a nuclear holocaust only kills off ugly and fat people, leaving just the sexy and chiseled Canadian actors of the CW to wage a LORD OF THE FLIES like war on an Earth that can only now sustain life. Charles Darwin in action.
The “He Needs A New Agent” award goes to LOST fave Henry Ian Cusick, who plays the villainous military leader of the 100 in this one. I wouldn’t say that GREY’S ANATOMY cast-off and homophobe Isaiah Washington landed on his feet with this one, but I’m also not too broken up about it. X2 star Kelly Hu’s also around for the ride, for whatever reason. ARROW has more important guest stars up their sleeve.
When I started to type the show’s name into IMDB, not only does it not show up on first glance (an ominous sign), but the far more compelling Swedish film THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED did. It comes out this Christmas, and has this lovely synopsis:
Based on the internationally best-selling novel by Jonas Jonasson, the unlikely story of a 100-year-old man who decides it’s not too late to start over. For most people it would be the adventure of a lifetime, but Allan Karlsson’s unexpected journey is not his first. For a century he’s made the world uncertain, and now he is on the loose again.
35. SUPER FUN NIGHT (ABC)
When CBS passes on a show that stars “it” comedy star Rebel Wilson, it likely means something. For whatever reason, Rebel Wilson has been the symbol of the big funny woman in Hollywood, and I don’t get it. It doesn’t matter to me what a comic actor looks like, as long as they’re funny. I don’t think Rebel Wilson should be getting raves because she’s large and unapologetic for it. I applaud the sentiment and imagine she’d be a fun person to hang out with, but I can’t stand her persona, and this is coming from someone who loved BRIDESMAIDS and liked PITCH PERFECT. Melissa McCarthy has a ton of talent and deserves the accolades, whether she looked like Angelina Jolie or Roseanne Barr. But Rebel Wilson is one-note, and that note is awful. At the very least, this show seeks to serve a hunky dory message, that weirdo nerds deserve to have fun too, but that hardly masks the problem that there isn’t a funny line in it (if you think it’s clever that Rebel’s character Kimmie’s last name is Bubier, or Boob-e-ay, then by all means, DVR this).
The show will add TRUE BLOOD and PITCH PERFECT stud Anna Camp to it, so there is that. I also liked that the British put upon love interest was actually nice and fond of Rebel and her friends rather than the awful Kendall bitch.
34. SEAN SAVES THE WORLD (NBC)
Since WILL & GRACE ended, Sean Hayes has reinvented himself as a successful producer with GRIMM and HOT IN CLEVELAND, and after watching this pilot, I wish he had stayed there, or at least chosen a better avenue for his return to sitcom-ville. If you think a show about a single parent dealing with parenting for what apparently is the first time (when the daughter is in H.S.), where the struggling parent in question has to make inane remarks about that very same fact, is breaking new ground, then you likely think the GOLDEN GIRLS is still ongoing (alas, it is not). You also probably thought that sentence was convoluted, and you’d be right about one thing at least.
Linda Lavin plays a wannabe Lucille Bluth, and CHUCK’s Lester (Vik Sahay) has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo. RENO 911’s Thomas Lennon likely has the same agent as Henry Ian Cusick, as he has the misfortune to play Sean’s boss, and has the most unconvincing real mustache ever, or the least convincing fake mustache ever. If that sentence confused you, you’re not alone.
The “you need more self-esteem” award goes to Megan Hilty, who gets an even more insulting role than the one she had in SMASH. The 13 people that are still upset that SMASH wasn’t renewed might have gotten that comment.
Also, since when is Sean Hayes a big enough actor to just cash off his first name in show titles, or gets to play “versions” of himself on TV with his same name a la Charlie Sheen? If it doesn’t work for Andy RIchter, it won’t work for you Sean.
LAUGH COUNT: 1. Total.
33. THE TOMORROW PEOPLE (CW)
This show is an unapologetic theft of X-MEN, with young purdy people gaining the trifecta of superpowers (telepathy, telekinesis and perfect nipples/teleportation), a mysterious leader, and a government agency seeking to track and corral them. It’s like every TV show you’ve ever seen that involved superheroes and people with powers, as we hammer the “people hate and fear what’s different” truism into the ground. There’s a point where a character actually laughs at the notion that they’re called tomorrow people…like that’s supposed to make it better.
This show will likely be a huge hit, or whatever that means in terms of CW land, because this show features Robbie Amell. Yes, the younger brother of Stephen Amell, the star of ARROW. While he’s remarkably similar in looks, and he does have some of the charm, the acting ability isn’t there.
Because he’s seeking to appear in every single genre TV show ever made, Mark Pellegrino plays the government agent trying to catch the hotties. He’s awesome, but oops. Peyton List of MAD MEN fame is really pretty…which is why she’s on this show.
This show is apparently a refurbishing of a 70’s British show with the same title, where British teens purportedly go “Jaunting,” or teleporting. Another reason why the Brits are better than us. The show had a second incarnation in the 1990s…so this show is even LESS original than even I thought. Wow.
32. THE MILLERS (CBS)
In many ways, Greg Garcia is the working class version of Chuck Lorre, with RAISING HOPE and MY NAME IS EARL mining laughs from the decidedly less affluent. He ditches that aspect here. It’s pretty hard to separate any of the crappy new sitcoms, but this one gets the boot because it’s so clearly the biggest waste of talent of them all. Will Arnett seems like a smart guy…but then you have to explain RUNNING WILDE and UP ALL NIGHT. And letting Amy Poehler out of his grasp. If there’s any guy who has earned an awesome sitcom, it’s Mr. Gob Bluth, but THE MILLERS better not be it. I feel like since this is on CBS it’ll somehow survive, an even worse fate, because not only is it wasting Arnett, but this show has somehow wrangled Beau Bridges and the FANTASTIC Margo Martindale (DEXTER, JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS) to play dopey, newly divorced parents. The show also has GLEE’s Jayma Mays, who is in danger of no longer making me feel cuddly inside. The cherry on top of the bloated sundae is that this show has somehow nabbed CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM’s J.B. Smoove. You’d think all these elements would make for something great…instead it makes it all the more painful and cringe worthy.
LAUGH COUNT: 2.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, THE MILLERS has been picked up for a fullseason, meaning this show has officially taken a year out of the professional lives of Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges, J.B. Smoove and Jayma Mays. Oof.
31. WE ARE MEN (CBS)
A good rule of thumb to live your life by: if it has Jerry O’Connell in it, run far, far away. Has he done something good since STAND BY ME? Put him, Kumar, Monk and a freshly left-at-the-altar’d man in a temporary apartment complex with biddies aplenty, and that’s the concept of this sitcom that seeks to showcase men at different stages in their “recovery” from divorce. It’s along the same vein as DADS; if “get-laid” comedies were fresh and new, this might be hilarious. Instead, it feels more dated than THE GOLDBERGS.
The “WHY GOD WHY” award goes to the wonderful Tony Shalhoub, who has tumbled far below his threshold of suck with this one. At least he’s doing something new…as he’s a ladies man going for hot women in their 20’s (with a predilection for Asians that is supposed to be…funny?), but that sentence just made me sad. Maybe this is just where his career’s at right now…but I don’t want to believe that. Tech Sergeant Chen… Tech Sergeant Chen.
UPDATE: As of 10/9, WE ARE MEN became the second show cancelled this fall, failing to capitalize on its MOTHER of a lead-in. So far, the networks have gotten the cancellations right, at least. Perhaps more troubling is the idea that WE ARE MEN was not only envisioned as an heir to TWO AND A HALF MEN, but that CBS is looking for heirs to TWO AND A HALF MEN in the first place. Be better TV watchers, people. [EW]
30. MOM (CBS)
A lot of people have awesome famous celebrities that were alums of their high school. I have Anna Faris. Along with the fantastic Allison Janney, they both dumb themselves down for this new Chuck Lorre sitcom about recovering alcoholics getting a hang of their lives and each other, again.
What you might not know is that this show is actually a BREAKING BAD spinoff, as it not only features a meth cooking reference, but Matt Jones (Badger to you) is Baxter, the father of one of Anna Faris’ children. He certainly plays the same character, his name is similar and he might’ve had to go on the lam…it all makes sense.
The “He’s Still Alive” award goes to 3RD FROM THE SUN’s French Stewart, who seems even more like a cartoon villain than he was before, if that was possible.
LAUGH COUNT: 4.
UPDATE: Apparently, MOM is the 3rd highest rated new comedy, and has been picked up for a full season. This makes it more likely that Chris Pratt will guest star as his real life wife’s other baby mama at some point. [CS]