Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poll Results - Which Of These Shows Will Be The First Drama Cancelled In The New TV Season?

All right, we have the results of the first of two polls about which new shows will be the first to be cancelled this season. There were thirteen votes cast for the shows you think will be the first of the sixteen new dramas to be canned. Unlike other polls I won't be listing the shows that didn't receive any votes. There are too many of them. Instead, here are the eight shows that actually got votes (hour indicates the first, second or third hour of prime time since, as the folks at the PTC keep reminding us, prime time is different in different time zones). With one vote (7%) each are Lone Star (FOX, Monday, second hour), Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC, Tuesday, third Hour), and Undercovers (NBC Wednesday, first hour). And in first place, with two votes each (15%) are Chase (NBC, Monday, third hour), No Ordinary Family (ABC, Tuesday, first hour), My Generation (ABC, Thursday, first hour), Nikita (The CW, Thursday, second hour), and Outlaw (NBC, Friday, third Hour).

In other words, gentle readers, there's no real consensus among the thirteen of you who chose to vote. I'm not sure if this is a good thing in that you think that the shows are all reasonably good, or whether it's a bad thing in that you think that these are the worst of a pretty bad lot. I've got to say, I'm not too sure myself. I think that it may very well be that a lot of what we'll be seeing next week, when most of the new dramas debut, is a floodtide of mediocrity. There are two, possibly three shows that might, might, rise above the crowd in terms of quality, but the bitter truth is that quality doesn't always – actually doesn't ever – trump popularity in the world of network TV. For the record, in my opinion those two or three shows are going to be The Event (NBC, Monday, second hour), Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC, Tuesday, third hour) and Blue Bloods (CBS, Friday, third hour). I might have added Lone Star (FOX, Monday, second hour) but there is something about that show that just seems to rub me the wrong way.

Before I weigh in on that I think will be the first drama to be cancelled I want to look at the comments that this poll generated. Ben had this to say:

I'm guessing My Generation. It sounds kind of interesting, but youth-oriented shows fail more often than they succeed. See Life as We Know It, Get Real, etc.

I'll talk about My Generation in a bit, but for the moment let's just say that this show has a ton of problems beyond it being "youth oriented" starting with its opposition in the time slot.

Todd Mason had this to say about his choice, Chase:

Going with historical trends...NBC has had a history of killing whatever they put up against CSI MIAMI in its crib.

At which point I reminded Todd that CBS had moved CSI: Miami to Sunday night and that Chase will be going up against Hawaii Five-0 which really could be worse. Todd responded:

Indeed. I'd forgotten CBS had decided to bury that thing on Sunday. But, yes, being against H50.3 and CASTLE, which is a sleeper with a devoted audience, will probably not help the apparently rather dull CHASE out. A cursed slot for NBC, maybe.

But Ben ain't wrong, either. However, CW or tween cable might try to grab it if ABC decides against it.

I'm trying to think of the last time that NBC had something that lasted more than a season in the Monday third hour time slot. Okay, I wasn't thinking about it, I had to look it up. The answer is Medium(!?) in the 2005-06 season. Still, that's a long dry spell and I don't think that Chase will break the trend. But I don't think it will be the first show cancelled either. In fact I think that it might limp through most of the season before expiring.

Looking over the shows that are in contention - based on your votes - for the dubious honour of being the first drama to be cancelled, the two shows that stand out to me as "vulture bait" in the drama category are My Generation and Outlaw. My Generation has a really tough time slot to try to conquer – the comedy combo of The Big Bang Theory and $#*! My Dad Says on CBS, Community and 30 Rock on NBC, Bones on FOX and even The Vampire Diaries on The CW. That right there gives it a tough hill to climb, but then you have to add on the subject matter. As Ben pointed out, "youth-oriented shows fail more often than they succeed" and while I'm not absolutely convinced that this show is as "youth oriented" as he seems to think I'm really concerned that the subject matter isn't going to click. The ensemble cast isn't going to help, particularly when it seems like you aren't going to get too much overlap between cast members. We've seen plenty of examples where shows with ensemble casts which tell the stories of individual ensemble members have fallen flat fast.

The other show that I think will be gone fast is NBC's Outlaw. The show has the advantage of Jimmy Smits as the lead, although we all remember how well Cane did a couple of years back when Smits was the lead. The time slot is a bit of a problem in that it is going up against CBS's Blue Bloods (with Tom Selleck) and ABC's aged news magazine 20/20, and NBC offers a weak lead-in with Dateline NBC while CBS has CSI: New York. But that's not why I think Outlaws will be gone quick. I think that the big problem for Outlaw is that people are going to have a tough time accepting the premise. I don't think they'll believe that a Supreme Court Justice would suddenly give it all up to set up in private practice to work for the downtrodden. And based on the fact that Smits's character is a womanizer and a gambler makes you wonder how he managed the confirmation hearings to get onto the bench – any bench – in the first place. Combine all of these factors – time slot, lead-in, Smits versus Selleck (in terms of actor popularity), the apparent absurdity of the premise, and just the way that CBS "gets" the sort of audience that they're dealing with on Friday evenings and I think that Outlaw is likely to be gone by the end of thirteen weeks.

I hope to have the poll for the comedies up sometime tomorrow … after I get back from the casino.



15 Gigs Live said...

I think its really difficult to vote because all of them are good.

Ben said...

When I said My Generation was youth-oriented, I mainly meant becaause of the flashbacks to the protagonists' high school years. How prominent those will be remains to be seen. Of course the competition is likely to slaughter it too.

But I'm starting to think Outlaw could be dead and buried sooner. The absurd dancing bear of a premise would need to be very well executed. From the reviews I've read it... is not well executed.