Pre-Season 2009 TV Report Card: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The Good: The dramas are what keep us coming back to ABC. Grey's Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, FlashForward, and V are worth looking forward to. The one comedy that stands out and may hold itself against NBC's stellar comedies, Modern Family, is worth a few episodes past the pilot.
The Bad: Dancing With The Stars is extremely popular, however sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. Flooding the schedule with multiple blocks of this show will be detrimental in the long run. Private Practice would be fantastic if they gave it the narrative attention of "Grey's." The cast could not be better, so why not push a little harder for better writing?
The Ugly: Desperate Housewives is getting, well, desperate. The show is a melodrama, but it is reaching a pitiful end. The show should have ended on a high note a season and a half ago.
Other shows on the network: Castle, The Forgotten, Hank, The Middle, Cougar Town, Eastwick, Ugly Betty, Shark Tank, Supernanny, Extreme Makeover Home Edition
The Good: NCIS, The Good Wife, and How I Met Your Mother defy all conventional logic. "NCIS" has continually gained viewers as the seasons progress. Granted, with the best ensemble cast on TV, how could you not? "How I Met Your Mother" is in the old three-camera formula for sitcoms. It has proved disastrous for the genre and it only seems to work for this show. "The Good Wife" will work. Trust us.
The Bad: The CSI crew is getting a bit stale. The other crime dramas have a problem when they are stacked against brother show, "NCIS," - they just are not as good. The other sitcoms on CBS are examples for why three-camera sitcoms are dead and should stay dead.
The Ugly: The Mentalist. Sure it receives great ratings, but that is because it plagiarized a successful show, Psych. And for this we cannot forgive. If not for this show CBS would have earned an A-. If you like "NCIS," please, please do not waste time with NCIS: Los Angeles. Bad idea. Horrendous cast. Someone should have told the head honchos over at CBS that Chris O'Donnell is the grim reaper of film and television. And for those who would like to start watching "NCIS" and tune into "NCIS: Los Angeles" first, please just don't.
Other shows on the network: Accidentally on Purpose, Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, CSI Miami, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, Criminal Minds, CSI New York, CSI, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Numb3rs, Three Rivers, Cold Case, Survivor: Samoa, 60 Minutes, Amazing Race
The Good: Comedy is the only saving grace of NBC's lineup. Without it, including rookie comedy Community, NBC would be a dead channel. 30 Rock just cleaned up at the Emmy awards.
The Bad: Needs to play a little game of Red Rover with its other channels, like Bravo, Sci-Fi, and USA. Why they haven't brought over Top Chef to counter Hell's Kitchen, we will never understand. Law and Order SVU needs a breath of life, and by that we mean new writers and the banishment of Dick Wolf and his stodgy ideologies. If David Simon (think his work with The Wire) had a crack at Benson and Stabler, and made the show more realistic than childlike, it would be a phenomenal success.
The Ugly: Jay Leno. Wasting prime space, the 10 spot, for all five weeknights may save money, but it will not last. We give it a year at best. The other networks would be dense to book their actors on a show that runs as competition to their own programming.
Other shows on the network: Heroes, Trauma, Mercy, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Law and Order, Southland, "The Jay Leno Show," The Biggest Loser, "SNL Weekend Update Thursday," Sunday Night Football
The Good: Fox is getting its groove back. House, Glee, Bones, Fringe, Dollhouse, The Simpsons. This is what dreams are made of.
The Bad: See the above? Fox does not know how to juggle such a variety of generic hybrid narratives. They placed "Dollhouse" on Friday nights. Any network with some sense would place it with "Fringe" and move "House" and "Bones" together.
The Ugly: Sure, Seth MacFarlane is funny, but practically a whole evening of Seth spewing his ideological rants? Thankfully it is reserved for Sunday.
Other shows on the network: Lie to Me, Brothers, Til Death, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad, 24, So You Think You Can Dance
The Good: Supernatural. It's the anomaly male narrative amongst a wave of teenage soap operas. Surprisingly, America's Next Top Model is addictive as well.
The Bad: Everything else.
The Ugly: Dawn Ostraoff. She's the Power That Be at the CW who is trying to recreate her high school days using the primetime lineup. The larger problem is aligned with the fact that she wants to stretch "Supernatural's" run past creator Eric Kripke's stated five seasons. The rest of CW's programming has a clear female narrative base, which relies on the melodrama formula of multiple storylines with no end. Rule of thumb: never stretch out a solid series long plot, it will only end in tears.
Other shows on the network: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place, The Beautiful Life, The Vampire Diaries, Smallville
The Good: They have held consistently well-made, original programming without overstuffing themselves with reality shows.
The Bad: The network does not have the viewership it should for such a strong year-round lineup.
The Ugly: WWE Raw.
Shows on the network: White Collar, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Law and Order CI, Psych, Monk, In Plain Sight
The Good: The Closer. It's one of the most solid crime drama ensemble casts ever to grace the silver screen. One suggestion: Provenza needs a permanent camera from his POV. Make it a companion show, we don't care.
The Bad: The other shows come in at just about average. We wouldn't program our DVRs or buy any of them on DVD.
The Ugly: The haircuts of the cast of Leverage.
Other shows on the network: Dark Blue, HawthoRNe, Raising the Bar, "Men of a Certain Age" (buddy comedy tv premiering in December), Saving Grace
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