New Show Superlatives (Fall 2012)

New Show Superlatives (Fall 2012)

Most of us have a high school yearbook somewhere among the other garbage that we keep for no real reason. If you ever dusted off one of your yearbooks, you could skip to the superlative section and get a pretty decent snapshot of that year. Brains, brawn, humor, drive, and beauty were all represented among the senior class. While high school superlatives don’t carry a lot of weight with people as they age, it’s a fun exercise for the student body to try to assess the latest crop of impending graduates.

Much like your high school class, I thought it would be fun if I assessed the latest crop of incoming TV freshman. While these superlatives are not the same as the ones in your high school yearbook, I can assure you that they carry the exact same amount of importance as your high school superlatives. I’ll let you decide for yourselves how important that is to you. Let’s hand out some superlatives.

Most Likely for Me to Watch and Defend…and Then Get Canceled: Last Resort

last resort show page

Last year, Awake was the winner of this superlative, and we all know how that one turned out. Sadly, I can’t help but see the similarities between the two shows. Both Last Resort and Awake starred two of My Guys (Andre Braugher and Jason Isaacs). Both shows feature high concept TV ideas (a renegade submarine and alternate realities). And both shows are stuck in horrendous time slots (8 PM Thursdays and 10 PM Thursdays). It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes (more on him later) to see that I’m going to have a similar experience with both shows. I really, really hope I am mistaken, but I have seen this story before.

Most Likely to Not be Watched by The TV Czar: The New Normal

the new normal nbc

No, I’m not taking a stand with Utah against gay marriage; I’m taking a stand with human beings everywhere against Ryan Murphy. Enough is enough. The New Normal‘s pilot itself isn’t horrendous, but given Murphy’s track record of taking shows completely off the rails (cut to Glee and Nip/Tuck fans nodding vigorously), it’s easy to see where this one is headed. Just like all Ryan Murphy shows, I’m sure it will have its moments, but it’s tough to find those moments while picking through the remnants of a train wreck. I’ll pass.

Most Likely to be the Worst New Show of the Season: Guys with Kids

I was ready to call it a dead heat with ABC’s The Neighbors, but at least The Neighbors isn’t borderline offensive with its choice in source material.

Biggest Difference Between Its Ceiling and Its Floor: Go On

Go On - Season Pilot

After watching the pilot during the Olympics, it was tough not to see the potential in Matthew Perry’s latest effort, Go On. It did a nice job of combining humor and grief and featured a heartwarming moment at the end of the episode. There were a few laugh out loud moments that stood out in the episode, and it established a capable comedic ensemble around Matthew Perry.

However, it was also tough not to see the potential for disaster in Go On. A fine line is walked when we are presented with a character with some really grating traits for whom we are supposed to feel sorry. Ask Skylar White how that one works out. Also, while the heartwarming moment at the end of the episode was fun to watch, it wasn’t done in a way that felt really earned. Finally, I did laugh out loud on occasion, but not frequently enough.

Go On has loads of potential. I’m just not sure if this creative team will be able to realize it.

Worst Use of Crystal the Monkey: Animal Practice

Animal Practice - Season Pilot

Yet another NBC show that premiered during the Olympics, Animal Practice is a show that everyone wants to like. Everyone likes monkeys, people genuinely like Justin Kirk, and everyone really likes monkeys. Unfortunately, the amusing moments featuring the Crystal the Monkey are not enough to make up for the strange writing and poor performances of a lot of the human characters on the show. Surely there was a better use for Crystal the Monkey this fall season. Maybe Annie’s Boobs can make a few guest appearances on Community.

Most Likely to Disappoint: Elementary


In the hands of a different network, I could see Elementary being every bit the US phenomenon that its PBS cousin Sherlock has become to US TV nerds. However, CBS is not in the business of taking risky, big splash swings. As a result, Elementary seems like another in a long line of well-done procedurals that’s well-scripted, well-acted, and well-shot. However, if CBS wanted up the ante on one of their procedurals, Elementary would be a good option.

Most Likely to be an Overhyped Flop: Revolution

revolution show page

After a great deal of hype was generated before anyone saw a pilot, the critics have gone out of their way to temper everyone’s expectations about Revolution. What’s amazing is that the problems with this show seem to mirror last year’s Overhyped Flop superlative recipient, Terra Nova. Both shows had a truly outstanding premise with some really interesting visual effects (the ivy overgrowing Wrigley Field is pretty cool). That being said, the same problem that plagued Terra Nova plagues Revolution: The people on it are not interesting. I’ll happily watch Giancarlo Esposito ride around on a horse and be menacing all day, but too much time has to be spent with people who can’t make a significant contribution to the show. NBC will give this show every chance, but the cost will probably be too great when compared to the ratings and buzz generated by the show.

Most Intriguing New Show: Arrow

Arrow CW

We covered Arrow in a fair amount of detail yesterday, but we didn’t cover exactly what makes this show so intriguing. It is niche programming for sure, but if this show is competent, it has a real chance to expand the CW’s brand. The CW has long been the place for teenage angst and really horrendous ratings, but Arrow doesn’t seem to be interested in teenage angst. In addition, the people on this show seem to be taking it very seriously. There is maybe a 5% chance that this show is a real game-changer for the CW. Even if that’s very small amount, it’s a better then the -23% chance that Ringer had last year.

Most Likely to Succeed: Nashville

nashville show page

Nashville has all the makings of a hit show. You’ve got catty women placed into immediate conflict. You’ve got attractive people set in a world that can utilize powerful music as exposition. And you’ve got the incomparable Mrs. Coach, Connie Britton. Nashville may not be a monster success right off the bat, but if the show is done right, more people will continue to gravitate towards the show. If people were willing to watch a ridiculous soap opera in Revenge in this time slot, they should be willing to watch a ridiculous soap opera starring Connie Britton. Clear eyes, full hearts… You know the rest.

What new shows are standing out for you this fall?