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The Blogulator Presents: Fall New Scripted TV Preview, or, Who Will Suck The Least This Year (Part II: Tuesday and Wednesday)

Of the ridiculous amount of new scripted shows that are premiering this fall, twelve of them are attempting to transform your Tuesday or Wednesday evenings into "appointment viewing." And yet, while two years ago I wouldn't have dared watch a reality show, I do believe that the only thing that might turn into "appointment viewing" for me on a Tuesday or Wednesday night this year will be Top Chef: Just Desserts. Call me pessimistic, call me the reason why the networks keep giving up on scripted dramas and new sitcoms (hint: the real reason is because they're idiots), but while I will attempt to watch most of the shows discussed below, the truth is all I really want is Netflix Watch Now access to stuff that critics have already lauded from the past and a spin-off reality show starring dark chocolate accoutrement and fancy whipped cream. Nevertheless, let's take a look and see if any new Tues/Wed shows have the oh-so-slight potential of becoming something great...


Tuesday
ABC
No Ordinary Family
What it's about: Michael Chiklis (The Shield) and his family slowly realize they're superheroes after they survive a plane crash during an exotic vacation. "It's Heroes meets The Incredibles," creator Greg Berlanti likely muttered half-jokingly to an exec over his fourth drink in a hotel lobby while trying desperately to squeeze his way back into a full-time TV job. Fast-forward to this fall and the hour-long dramedy series is one of ABC's most hyped new shows.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: As will be the recurring theme with this post, until I get sick of it. And while when I first heard of the concept I was intrigued, especially with Romany Malco (Weeds) involved, after seeing the bright and shiny ABC gloss attached to the previews, I have only a glimmer of hope for this being anything more than another lame attempt at capitalizing on a pop culture craze that saw its final glory moments almost a year ago now.

Detroit 187
What it's about: Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) leads this ensemble cop drama whose only distinguishing feature is that it's set (and filmed) in...Atlanta. Wait, no. Detroit. That's it. The title confused me for a second. What it also does in attempt to distinguish itself, not from all of TV but from other cop dramas, is it has the (stomach quivering as I type) characters talk to the camera. Not sure if this will be episodic or self-contained, but my best guess would be a lifeless combination of the two.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: Depends on how right I am with regards to that pre-emptive lifeless comment above. Southland did the half-serial/half-crisis-of-the-week formula and it worked for about half of a season, then got stale. That said, it was and likely still is (its new home is TNT) better than so many of those other cop shows out there that are kinda quirky but mostly melodramatic and have characters who start talking like this AND THEN TALK LIKE THIS when the criminal is apprehended. THAT all said, it's still another cop show, and David Simon is nowhere in sight.

FOX
Raising Hope
What it's about: These descriptions are starting to have a trend. I mention an actor I like and then proceed with a plot synopsis that is eye-rolling to the max. Here we go again - Garret Dillahunt (Winter's Bone) is father to a 20-something slacker who has to raise an unexpected baby after his one-night-stand baby mama gets sent to prison. Cue a quick cut with a swooshing sound effect to someone not knowing how to change a diaper and then getting peed on in the face.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: As long as it takes me to realize that this isn't actually the plot to a sparse minimalistic indie movie where the characters don't talk to each other very much but when they do it's moving and curious. Imagine that - a world where an idea can be cultivated without messages and meaning being hit over your head, and without pee-in-the-face jokes, and with a nice ambient soundtrack to soothe the soul.


Running Wilde
What it's about: Will Arnett (Arrested Development) walking aimlessly through a world that cannot break it to him that he simply cannot be a leading man, but instead has to suffer as the brilliant supporting actor that steals scenes and wins hearts without anyone ever asking him to step and have a protagonist's role. Oh, also, he's rich and Keri Russell is an environmentalist, so you know, Odd Couple blah blah.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: Mitch Hurwitz's name alone got me to watch 1.5 episodes of that dreadful animated show about a wacky school faculty, and there's all these (quite possibly empty) promises about the show workings its kinks out after the first couple episodes, so it basically all depends on my mood after watching the pilot, which I will not be able to keep myself from watching, though I anticipate laughing only 1.5 times.

TBS
Glory Daze
What it's about: This doesn't premiere until November and it's on TBS, a station whose original programming I have never watched a full episode of, but it's an hour-long dramedy about going to a Wisconsin college in the 1980s. And I keep wanting Tim Meadows to do good things, even though I have no real reason to.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: I don't trust TBS's ability to program original scripted TV that doesn't fit within their parameters of Tyler Perry sitcom or generic crime show, so this will most likely fall by the wayside pretty quickly, but I applaud their attempt at trying something new. It won't be as good as Undeclared, which you should Netflix right now if you haven't already, but college life is way less overdone than high school life, so I'm always interested when someone attempts it.

Comedy Central
Pretend Time With Nick Swardson
What it's about: Another stand-up comic that didn't quite become a movie star (Nick Swardson of Grandma's Boy) is attempting a sketch comedy show on Comedy Central. It's directed by one of the Human Giant guys (the one that's not Aziz and the one that's not on the VH1 things), so that's a plus, but it's produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison company, which is a minus.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: Well Comedy Central doesn't put their shows on Hulu, otherwise I'd say at least an episode. Unless this gets huge post-premiere buzz I don't imagine myself seeking it out too desperately in other ways.


Wednesday
ABC
Better With You
What it's about: Known in the industry as the Friends clone made by one of the Friends writers/producers that has changed names a billion times only to settle on the interminably forgettable Better With You, this is one of those traditional multi-camera sitcoms that aims at making people forget that there was a reason traditional multi-camera sitcoms have gone the way of the dodo (add that to your list of phrases that should go away, by the way, Qualler) in the first place. Actual plot synopsis - a couple that has been together forever is friends with a couple that only been together for a little while and relationship hilarity ensues.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: Until Doktor Peace tells me how horrible it is (he told me how horrible it was earlier this summer when he saw a free preview of it on an airplane).

The Whole Truth
What it's about: A courtroom drama starring Maura Tierney (ER) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that allegedly (see what I did there) covers both sides of a case, showing just how hard it is to escape storytelling conventions enough so that viewers actually care. I say this because the ads still make it look like just another lawyer show.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: If any critic says it does what it actually purports, I will attempt the pilot, but otherwise I was spurned last year pretty hard by the concept of lawyer shows by trying to watch ABC's last attempt - The Deep End.

CBS
The Defenders
What it's about: Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell are defense attorneys in Las Vegas and that "How You Like Me Now?" song blasts in the background every time one of them does something irreverent, like take a drink when they probably shouldn't be or when they raise their eyebrows after rolling some craps dice.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: As long as that song remains in my head, I will never attempt to google "defenders hulu" for the rest of my godforsaken life.


NBC
Undercovers
What it's about: JJ Abrams brings us another spy show, except this time it's with a married couple. I never watched Alias, but from what I know of it, Undercovers does not look like an Abrams production at all. It looks stale, by-the-numbers, and very NBC-y.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: It's already gotten middling reviews and during that whole Heroes time period I pretty much watched ever NBC pilot that got uploaded to the Internet, so I think I've finally learned my lesson. Until the tiger changes its stripes, I won't get tricked again.

Law & Order: Los Angeles
What it's about: Apparently there's this thing that these formulaic cop shows do where they get really popular, then instead of just resting on their laurels, they create a replica of the show almost note-for-note but just cast new actors and set it in a different iconic American city. If you guys are ahead of me on this trend, I apologize, but my mind has just been BLOWN.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: For a long time I considered myself a Law & Order: SVU apologist, but honestly I haven't spent any time with Stabler or Benson in almost a year now. So while there's a chance I'll check this out to sate my curiosity, it's a small one.

The CW
Hellcats
What it's about: Cheerleaders in college get catty and schemey. Apparently the only way this girl can save her scholarship is go all Bring it On and get caught up in the dangerous politics of college cheering. I had a class with a cheerleader in college once and I don't like to stereotype, but she was insufferable. Just saying.
How long will it stay in my Hulu queue: The CW also chooses not to partake in the Hulu TV coup of the late 00s/early 10s, so as long as I've got discs of the original 90210 to borrow from Brigitte and Qualler and as long as Veronica Mars: Season 4 isn't a possibility, I will be staying away from original CW programming.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 6:36 PM |  

    It's funny that the show I am most enthusiastic about here is "The Defenders". Like I said yesterday, CBS totes has the best/least crappy looking new shows this year. At least Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi are playing essentially what we think of them in real life -- kinda sleazy and low-rent.

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 6:39 PM |  

    I maintain my standing that CBS is the worst. I'm gonna take the Wipert position and dial the problems down to the editing. I can't stand things like How I Met Your Mother on even the most base level because of production values.

  3. Blogger DoktorPeace | 7:59 PM |  

    Also, Better With You is horrible!

  4. Blogger qualler | 8:46 PM |  

    I do think "Better With You" will not be great, but it looks less terrible than, say, NBC's "Oursourced". Now that is definitely the worst looking show of the year. I'm telling you, CBS is merely inoffensive, whereas NBC is dreadful.

  5. Blogger DoktorPeace | 9:19 PM |  

    Nope. I'd rather watch something explode in flames than simply exist and fizzle.

  6. Blogger chris | 5:57 PM |  

    I agree with DoktorPeace. Offensive is better than boring. At least that's what I think after doing the fall TV preview. I could definitely change back to Team Qualler after inevitably watching Outsourced after the rest of the NBC shows tomorrow night.

    Also, even with the dip in quality in The Office and 30 Rock, NBC is still much better at sitcoms than any other network.

    I can't help but be astonished by your interest in The Defenders, Qualler. Sleazy and low rent might suit both actors better, but I can't imagine it won't still be a boring lawyer show where terrible men are presented as heroes and all problems get resolved way too quickly.

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