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Four Questions About the 2013-14 TV Season

Posted on 10:18 pm, 14th May 2013 by | Email the author

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Now it’s my opportunity to play Armchair TV Programmer! I discuss big new shows coming to three of the four major broadcast networks: ABC, FOX, and NBC. All times Eastern, no time like the present.

Will Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Be The Highest Rated New Show?

Coulson lives, but will he and his agents have longevity on TV? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. looks to be the crown jewel of ABC’s rookie class. (Sorry, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.) ABC has placed the show at Tuesday at 8PM. I had predicted on Facebook that Agents will be slotted on Thursdays at 8, but my mistake is that Agents isn’t compatible with the Grey’s Anatomy-Scandal duo.

From the long trailer released Tuesday, there will be superpowered people on the show. There’s nothing to indicate that the appearance of any Marvel Cinematic Heroes (Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye). There are extended peeks at the hooded guy in the trailer. My fanboy-sense guesses that it could be Luke Cage/Power Man, but it could be an original character. Nah, I don’t think the rights to Luke Cage are tied up and I don’t expect Marvel to waste opportunities showing off C-list heroes and villains.

TV shows easily suffer declines in the important 18-49 demo rating, but I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will captivate a big audience in its first season. The challenge for ABC and Marvel is if they can hook casual viewers to a part of the Marvel Universe led by average people in suits. Ming Na Wen’s Melinda May may be the scene-stealer, but will Clark Gregg’s Coulson provide the heart?

Will Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human Be Watchable?

All the elements are there for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow to be the cheesiest new TV show in the Fall: obligatory deep conspiracies, “buddy cop” dynamic (It’s Ichabod Crane partnering with a black female cop! Isn’t that teh kool?), a creepy antagonist. Yes, heads will roll, but will it result from the Headless Horseman or Fox executives?

Almost Human seems to be a bit more promising because Karl Urban (movie Dredd) is the star. His partially synthetic lawman of the future is paired with a mandatory cyborg partner (Michael Ealy). After watching the trailer, I’m convinced that using dark humor will help is stand out from other sci-fi and police procedurals. Fox may have the ultimate sci-fi police procedural! What should concern fans is the mostly-troubled 9PM, Mondays time slot where Terra Nova and Alcatraz failed.

But, hey! Almost Human is from J.J. ABRAMS! You know, that guy that brought you FRINGE! Cult nerd show appeal!

Sleepy Hollow trailer:

Almost Human trailer:

Will NBC Thursday Nights Be Must-See TV Again?

NBC made one of the oddest scheduling decisions in putting The Michael J. Fox Show at 9:30 instead in the more important 9PM slot. Sean Hayes, not Dwight Schrute and his farm, gets the honor of anchoring Thursdays. I can see Michael J. Fox’s new comeback sitcom about a comeback being a mild success because of his likeability. In the trailer, there are shades of Modern Family. Mr. Fox needs a foil that will compel viewers to watch. Parenthood gets the 10PM slot instead of some new show few will care about.

Sean Saves the World is a ridiculous title given NBC’s ratings struggles, but if Hayes’ sitcom makes NBC competitive again then the title will be golden.

Parks & Recreation is at 8PM. Will Big Bang Theory take a bite out of Parks’ viewership such that the Pawnee saga sinks to low 1-point-something rating? Whatever the result, the NBC Thursdays of 2013 will be a pleasant night of pleasant family humor. The NBC Thursdays of 2010 (30 Rock, The Office, Parks & Recreation. I’m even including Outsourced) was just quirky.

The quirky Community crawls towards the fabled “six seasons and a movie” by sitting on the bench until a sitcom fails. (cf. Rules of Engagement) I like Community, but my anticipation for its next season is low. NBC will probably go on beyond Community in Fall 2014.

Has Grimm Found Its Tag Team Partner in Dracula?

Keeping Grimm on Fridays at 9PM and putting Dracula at 10 is a clear move that NBC hopes Grimm viewers will keep watching. The trailer shows Dracula and company in Victorian London. I was surprised that there are no scenes in the modern day. NBC actually has a chance to win the 10PM slot as the only scripted competition is Blue Bloods.

Dracula should push the boundaries of broadcast network TV. A tame vampire appeals to no one.

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