Fox only had three bubble shows and over the weekend, we found out that “Dollhouse” would be returning. And we now know the fate of the other two bubble shows — it’s a yes for “Bones” (which was on the bubble because of high license fees, but things were worked out) and a no for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (due to low ratings and high budget harder to reign in than the “Dollhouse” budget). Too bad about “T:TSCC,” which had really turned into a solid show. In fact, I would’ve rather kept it for a third season, over a second season of “Dollhouse.” But such is life. Especially at Fox (and, really, we’re lucky to have even gotten a second season of the show).
On the other side of the coin, no real surprise as to the other returning Fox shows — “24,” “The Simpsons,” “House,” “Lie to Me,” “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “Fringe” (word of its renewals came down a few weeks ago), “Kitchen Nightmares” and “American Idol.” And the truly inexplicable return, yet again, of “Til Death.” Don’t ask me how or why, cause I just don’t understand.
Cancelled shows include “Do Not Disturb,” “Prison Break,” “Sit Down, Shut Up,” “King of the Hill” and, sadly, “Terminator.”
Meanwhile, we’ve known about a bunch of the new shows Fox had ordered up (all of about one of which sounded decent) for a while now, and with the full schedule being announced by Fox earlier today, we now know full picture. We’ve known for a few days that Fox had decided to pass on the Americanized “AbFab,” and I don’t see too many shed tears over that. Other shows Fox was considering but which do not appear to have made the grade include “Maggie Hill” (starring Alfre Woodard as a surgeon who winds up developing schizophrenia), “Masterwork” (which sounded like National Treasure without Nic Cage), “Cop House” (a comedy about messed-up-in-the-head cops who live in a Philly halfway house) and “The Station” (which was basically “The Office,” only replacing “paper sales” with “covert CIA office,” “Scranton, PA” with “South America” and “actors you’ve heard of” for “actors you haven’t heard of”).
But let’s take a look-see at what Fox is going to be dumping on us this year….
Sunday. In the fall, everything is approximate, timewise, because of football. But, regardless, it’ll be all animation, all night, starting at ~8 p.m. with “The Simpsons,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” We’ve known for a long time that “The Cleveland Show,” the “Family Guy” spinoff, was coming. When I watched “Family Guy,” back in the day, Cleveland was one of my least favorite characters, so I can’t say I find this remotely interesting, especially as “American Dad” is a turd, and I’ve seen nothing good out of the “Cleveland Guy” clips and commercials that are there. Case in point:
In January 2010, Fox will be changing things up slightly, adding a non-animated show to the Sunday night lineup. It’ll be cartoon reruns at 7, followed by “American Dad” and “The Simpsons.” At 8:30, it’ll be the new “Sons of Tucson,” followed by “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show.”
“Sons of Tucson” is a single-camera comedy about three rich brothers who hire a con man/hustler to pretend to be their father, while their real dad rots in jail. It stars Tyler Labine among others, which is great news, except that it makes it all the less likely that “Reaper” will be getting a third season (while it’s almost certain that the CW will not be bringing “Reaper” back, there’s a slim chance it could wind up in Sunday night syndication on the CW affiliate channels). No idea if this show will be any good (promotional clips for all of Fox’s new shows won’t be available until about 5 pm EST — you can check ‘em out after that, apparently, at www.foxflash.com).
Monday. In the fall, it’s “House” and “Lie to Me.” In the spring it’s “House” and “24.” Nothing new or of import to talk about here, so let’s move along.
Tuesday. In the fall it’s the “So You Think You Can Dance” performance show (two hours every week? fuck me), moving from the summer to the fall, and in the spring it’s the “American Idol” performance show followed by “Past Life,” one of the network’s new dramas. This show, which is based on a book called The Reincarnationist and was almost called the same, is about detectives who help people solve their problems by looking into their past lives. Or as the press release tries to spin it, they work “to explore and unravel mysteries that must be solved in both the past and the present.” Here’s one mystery of the future solved for ya’ — even though it stars Richard Schiff, I shan’t be watching.
(For those wondering where “Fringe” is, it’s been moved to Thursday nights, to take on “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy” in a Fox attempt to get some Thursday night traction, and while I don’t see “Fringe” beating either of these shows in the ratings, it will probably hold its own, so it’s probably a pretty good move by Fox.)
Wednesday. This fall, the 8 p.m. slot will have the “So You Think You Can Dance” results show (oy vey) followed by the new show “Glee.” The “American Idol” results show takes over the 8 p.m. slot in January, naturally, and in the winter it’ll be followed by “Human Target,” another new show and then, in the spring, the timeslot will go back to “Glee” (in theory — in reality, I think the show will be long cancelled by next spring).
“Glee” comes from Ryan Murphy (who created “Nip/Tuck”) and is about a high school glee club. Think “Fame” meets “90210.” The press release tells us it combines “biting humor with a soundtrack of hit music from past to present.” Well how can you lose with that? The only good thing about this show is that it stars, among others, Jessalyn Gilsig and Jane Lynch (although this means Lynch won’t be on much, if any, of the second season of “Party Down,” which hurts man). I suspect this show will blow, but we can all find out tomorrow night, when the pilot gets a sneak preview following the final “American Idol” performance show of the season (good riddance!).
“Human Target,” meanwhile, is based on a DC comic by the same name (haven’t read it, so I’ll leave it to the commentors to tell us if the comic’s any good). It’s about a bodyguard who takes on the identity of folks whose lives are in danger (see, he becomes a human target). “Human Target” stars Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley so, as I say, this has some potential and I’ll definitely be trying it out, although it must also be noted that the executive producers are McG and Simon West (ConAir and Tomb Raider), so it could wind up being an over-the-top mess. Fox is pretty big on it, apparently, giving it a special preview kick-off following the NFC Divisional Playoff game next January. So after the Eagles advance to the NFC Championships against whoever has the misfortune to face them in the Divisional game, we’ll see if this show’s any good.
Thursday. No changes, for now, between the fall and spring schedules, so it’ll be “Bones” at 8 p.m., all season, followed by “Fringe.” Hey, how about that “Fringe” finale, by the way? I didn’t love it the way some corners of the internet did, but I thought it was relatively solid, and am glad it will be back for a second season. Also worth noting that, next season, “Fringe” and “Dollhouse” will be airing with regular commercials, rather than “returns in 60/90 seconds” business (meaning the episodes will be several minutes shorter), as Fox realized its Remote-Free TV experiment was a failure (they sold ads for higher prices, but still less than they’d make with more ads at regular prices).
I’d be happier if Friday night was giving us some more “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” mind you. But instead, we get…
Friday. Well at 9 p.m., it’s the second season of “Dollhouse.” It’s on both the fall and spring schedule, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work, given that it only got a 13 episode order. I imagine we can expect something else to take over this slot at some point. Now at 8 p.m. on Fridays, well, oy vey. It’s the new “Brothers” followed by “Til Death.” Seriously, how is that show still on?
As for “Brothers,” fuck this show. It’s about a retired football player who comes home to hook up with his family, including a brother in a wheelchair. Whatever — I’ll stick with “Eastbound and Down,” thank you very much. Especially because the HBO comedy does not star Carl Weathers and motherfucking Michael Strahan, among others, which this turdblossom does (sure, I like Darryl “Chill” Mitchell, but that ain’t enough, brother, that ain’t enough). Michael Strahan can suck my nuts and that’s all I have to say about that.
Saturday. All year long, it’s “Cops” at 8, followed by “Cops” at 8:30, followed by “America’s Most Wanted” at 9. And at 11 p.m., Fox airs the new Wanda Sykes show (with a working title of “The Wanda Sykes Show” … fancy that). It will be an “irreverent” show featuring stand-up and roundtable discussions. I like Sykes, so I’d be inclined to watch this show except I guarantee I’ll never remember it’s on. And I suspect it won’t be on for all that long, in any event.
So there you go. Fox says that they’re “the first place viewers go to connect with the stories and characters they love.” So, uhm, yeah.