Friday, September 28, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 6. Titanic Animated Movies

Number 6 -- Titanic Animated Movies


(Seriously, MaroBot's a great CG artist. He even made the set pieces and exteriors for Linkara's spaceship!)

Titanic: The Legend Goes On
Release Date: September 15, 2000
Posting Date: March 24, 2009
The Legend of Titanic
Release Date: April 17, 1999
Posting Date: May 17, 2011

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 7. The Haunting

Number 07 -- The Haunting

(Seriously, check out MaroBot's DeviantArt! He's also a brilliant CGI artist!)

Director: Jan de Bont
Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liam Neeson
Release Date: July 23, 1999
Posting Date: October 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 8. Tom and Jerry: The Movie

Number 08 -- Tom and Jerry: The Movie


Director: Phil Roman
Richard Kind, Dana Hill, Anndi McAfee
Release Date: July 30, 1993
Posting Date: September 1, 2008

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 9. Kazaam

Number 09 -- Kazaam


Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Shaquille O'Neal, Francis Capra, Marshall Manesh
Release Date: July 17, 1996
Posting Date: October 06, 2008

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 10. Junior

Number 10 -- Junior

(Check out artist MaroBot's DeviantArt for more NC title cards!)

Director: Ivan Reitman
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson
Release Date: November 23, 1994
Posting Date: January 12, 2010

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 11. Saved By the Bell and Full House

Number 11 -- Saved By The Bell and Full House

(Full House title card by MaroBot. Check out his DeviantArt page for more NC title cards!)

Release Years: 1989-1993 (SBTB); 1987-1995 (Full House)
Networks: NBC (SBTB); ABC (Full House)
Posting Dates: August 25, 2008 (SBTB); May 26, 2009 (Full House)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- Criteria and Index

When compiling this list of the best Nostalgia Critic reviews, I set a few points of criteria by which I would make my judgements. This is also evident in the Honorable Mentions section.

Read More after the jump.

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- Honorable Mentions

Before I bring out the Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews, I would like to go over a few honorable mentions. I will admit, the shortlist for this countdown had about 75 reviews on it. If that sounds like an outrageous sum for such a small, cult Internet show, that's because it kinda is, I'm not gonna lie. Still, it was hard to choose the best reviews for this list, because there were a few common traits to all of them, all with the same positive vibes.

And so, beyond the Top 11, here we have some of the reviews I enjoyed the most.

Revolution -- A Review of the New NBC Drama

Revolution premieres tonight, September 17, 2012 at 10/9c on NBC


In recent years, the television drama has seen a real rise in quality and substance, the standards for series all around reaching new heights. This success started off with premium cable networks offering more substantial, more elaborate shows as a perk to subscribers. They would only grow in popularity and run a long time, and even eventually influence the more freely-available networks like basic cable and even the once-mighty broadcasters. One subgenre that benefited in particular from this boom was the post-apocalyptic setting, often containing survivalist themes. As far as recent examples go, the trend can be traced back to Jericho, which aired on CBS in 2006 and followed a small farming community in Kansas, cut off from society by a crippling terrorist attack and trying desperately to hang on by itself. Since then, more successful examples of this genre have popped up on cable. Chief among them is The Walking Dead, AMC's intense zombie apocalypse smash hit, and the Steven Spielberg-produced Falling Skies, a show on TNT just past its second season about a band of rebels fighting invading aliens. And now, NBC throws its hat into the ring with Revolution, from producer J.J. Abrams.

Revolution is set fifteen years after the world is thrown into turmoil by a mass blackout. In this inexplicable event, all forms of energy cease to function, and it's more than just all the power going out at once. Nothing works, not batteries, cars stall dead on the road, airplanes fall from the sky. In the setting proper, we're left with sprawling ruins all over the globe covered in dominating plant life, as depicted in Life After People. We follow Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), who was a little girl when the lights went out and now dreams of exploring the world outside her neighborhood, which looks like a small agrarian development over an old suburb. But one day, the local warlords come in, kill her father and take her brother, Danny (Graham Rogers) prisoner. This propels her to start on a journey to find him, first going to the ruins of Chicago to meet her tough, hermit-like uncle Miles (Billy Burke, the dad from Twilight).

All the promos you've seen NBC throw around for Revolution (considering the network's woes, it shouldn't be so surprising that a lot of energy goes there to generate a lot of substantial material) look to make a great first impression. If you look into the archives of this blog, you will find that the initial trailer for this show as soon as it was picked up this past May made me very excited. I could easily relate to a show that suggested that we are a little too closely connected to our electronics, because I thought it was a good point and still do. In fact, producer Abrams suggested that one of the major conflicts on this show is said to be the debate of whether or not the power should ever come back on. We even have a promo of Charlie, out protagonist saying that she doesn't think it should, stating that "When the world lost power, I found mine." I'm not sure if I can go that far, but I won't deny Abrams words either, saying that we may need to get away from it all.

But aside from that, we also get the images of a great-looking show. Another executive producer is our pilot's director Jon Faverau, the Iron Man director who I think might be the best actor-turned-director working. We get an intense opening sequence of all the power going off in the opening scene of the pilot, showing real reactions of people observing the world essentially coming to a halt. It all goes from two kids desensitized by bright flashing images off a TV and a smartphone to the chilling image of airplanes stalling midair and falling into fiery explosions. Equally as frightful is the last image on the TV, showing Bugs Bunny looking like he's trapped in a close-up shot as the image sputters around and flickers off. And the world of ruin is also great-looking. I already mentioned the History Channel's Life After People, but the same inspiration could also be found in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. The first montage of this world promises great atmosphere as a benefit of the time-jump from the initial cataclysm, in the suitable nomadic setting and premise the show will offer. The only problem I have is in the wardrobe. Everyone's clothes look like their in good shape, and are surprisingly well-tailored. This is a world where all governments and economies failed, right? There is no Kohl's or Target to get these clothes from, much less factories to make them. It really is a nitpick and the show shouldn't be judged completely on it, but I felt like bringing it up.

But this world, covered in vegetation that is eating through all remains of the city, isn't the only one we'll see. I will admit, I initially thought that we were skipping a lot of potentially interesting stuff by jumping ahead fifteen years to the main setting. To my pleasant surprise, the pilot offered a few flashbacks to immediately after the initial blackout. An article in Entertainment Weekly also shows a picture promising to see how the family of our main heroes copes in the brave new world without power. I'm not saying either time period is better than the other. But, the initial narration talking about the inferred holocaust almost felt like a cheat, like they were leaving out some real juicy stories. Now though, I can say that the potential of this show is double the size you would expect, offering the potential for great survivalist themes on two accounts. The first being about people hoping to get by on limited resources, having just been sapped completely in a single fell swoop. And the other being a war zone where the survivors of the last fifteen years constantly pick up their arms and ward off any direct threat, like from that militia.

And finally, let's compare and contrast for a minute. Both Jericho and Falling Skies started off showcasing characters trying to survive in what seemed like a dead world, Falling Skies with some sense of a direct threat. Both shows however, would find direct conflict in their second seasons. The Walking Dead only sounds like it could be about direct conflict, given the presence of zombies. But you can argue that zombies aren't that exciting to watch as villains, and the greatest strengths of that show come to light in other ways as a real display of survivalist action and suspense. So far, all of these shows have really raised the bar for this genre, and Revolution has a long climb to make. But, while we do have one big, direct source of conflict hanging over the show, the potential for some serious survivalist overtones still hangs high. With any luck, it'll hit a strong chord both in storytelling and with audiences.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews Intro -- A Saulte

It all happened so fast. There were hints dropped months in advance, and the evidence seemed to have piled up like crazy. And yet, this big shift feels like it happened at the drop of a hat.

It was over so abruptly.

Indeed, internet comedian and film reviewer Doug Walker has just announced that he is not going to do any more Nostalgia Critic videos. This announcement comes on the heels of the conclusion of To Boldly Flee, the eight-part special celebrating the fourth anniversary of the website.
From my personal perspective, the first hint at this revelation was the initial teaser for the special released back in June, around the same time Spoony's departure from the site was announced. I had my suspicions when the next Nostalgia Critic was for the Digimon movie, a crossover with anime critic JesuOtaku. Doug made it clear that the cartoon was far outside of the span of his childhood and that he didn't want to review it (even though it wasn't on his "Top 11 Nostalgia Critics I'll Never Do" video), and this was evident as far back as the April  2008 review of Pokemon: The First Movie. If anything felt like crossing an item off a figurative bucket list, that review hit the nail on the head. Several reviews in the following weeks seemed to have followed suit, especially with all the crossovers that cropped up (and there were plenty in the year so far as well).

Still, I just shrugged those feelings off. But then came the Scooby-Doo movie review with its feelings of finality, in homage to the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale. And even then, I didn't really fall back into such suspicions until To Boldly Flee ended.

As he said, Doug intends to move on to new projects. Based on the footage of his new studio, they look to be more ambitious than he's ever been in his videos. As someone who's been watching the Nostalgia Critic since his humble YouTube beginnings and never missed an episode, I look forward to this new venture. But with this chapter coming to a close, I feel like I should follow suit with what Doug has planned for the immediate future and reflect on what was, through-and-through simply a fun ride.

Over the next few days, I intend to post commentaries on my absolute favorite Nostalgia Critic reviews. First off, I'll post a list of honorable mentions, going over some of the great, memorable and very funny reviews that only barely made the final cut. And then, I start on my list of the Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews.

Keep watching this space!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ABC's Fall 2012 Schedule & Followup

As far as things are concerned at ABC, this season actually marked a significant improvement over previous years. For the last several seasons, ABC could only at best launch one new drama a season, and their most recent success was Castle in 2009. However, this year saw two new dramas come out big. Once Upon a Time proved to be the biggest draw in the genre this season, and Revenge got all the people on the social networks talking.

So, even after you account the overall viewership declines, ABC really had a good year. And this upcoming season looks to be very ambitious, with a wide variety of appealing new shows.

On standby for midseason are new dramas Mistresses (actually intended for next Summer with an inseason launch possible), Red Widow and Zero Hour with returning drama Body of Proof, which was incredibly lucky to have been spared the axe despite dismal ratings in its second season. (Reportedly, it's a big seller overseas.) In addition, some interesting choices for proposed follow-up schedules are listed amongst the lineup below.

Check Out the Whole Preview Here


8/7c - Dancing With the Stars (Reality Competition; 8th Season)
10/9c - Castle (Drama; 5th Season)

January Follow-Up

8/7c - The Bachelor (Reality Competition; 11th Season)

Well, this may be the single most conservative detail on the entire lineup. Two reality shows that have proven immensely successful for the network, and both followed at 10 by good ol' Nathan Fillion and his crime drama success story. And given the note we've seen the most recent season end on, I'm not sure if this show even needs to move.


8/7c - Dancing With the Stars Results Show
9/8c - Happy Endings (Comedy; 3rd Season)
9:30/8:30c - Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23 (Comedy; 2nd Season)
10/9c - Private Practice (Drama; 6th Season)

January Follow-Up

8/7c - HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (New Comedy; A single mother moves back in with her parents)
8:30/7:30c - THE FAMILY TOOLS (New Comedy; A man takes over his father's handyman business)

The biggest change associated with Dancing with the Stars just may be moving the results show up an hour. It really shows how ABC's still willing to shake things up a bit, since they did manage to launch at least one sitcom in the 8/7c time slot...sort of. Meanwhile, they're still going to try comedies on this night, hoping that series that have had time to find their footing on a little later would work out. The primary concerns I have heard involved the fact that NBC and FOX are airing comedies in this same hour as well, with some wondering if this is overcrowding the broadcast landscape. One wonders how these three blocks competing with each other will work out, since it hasn't been seen in a while. If nothing else, I at least say Happy Endings is still pretty funny and that I hope it doesn't really flounder here. As for the follow-up plans, I admit  I was surprised when I saw the trailer for How to Live With Your Parents, misinterpreting from some reports that it was a multi-camera comedy. But, I saw that it was the single camera standard for ABC, resembling a comedy film more than a traditional sitcom. As for whether or not it was funny, I didn't feel anything special out of it. Still, you've got a veteran cast going for it, at least, but we'll still have to wait a little while longer to see it. The Family Tools remakes the British comedy Old Man Van by offering JK Simmons, a great character actor in the vaunted role of the father in this father-son dynamic. And the trailer seems to rely a little too much on slapstick and physical humor for its own good. On top of that, I don't know what good I can make of that title, both in the pun and the exact words it's playing on.


8/7c - The Middle (Comedy; 4th Season)
8:30/7:30c - Suburgatory (Comedy; 2nd Season)
9/8c - Modern Family (Comedy; 4th Season)
9:30/8:30c - THE NEIGHBORS (New Comedy; A family moving into a neighborhood learn that their new neighbors are aliens)
10/9c - NASHVILLE (New Drama; Soap about country musicians, focusing on a legendary veteran and a young, new artist)

Joining the primarily established slate of comedic hits on Wednesday is The Neighbors, a high-concept sitcom from a well-established writer (Dan Fogelman, of Crazy, Stupid Love and work on more than one Disney/Pixar animated feature). The trailer is funny enough, and establishes a premise that's an interesting twist on the fish-out-of-water scenario. This time, we have fairly ordinary people moving into a strange, surreal environment full of weird characters. I would say that this seems to have the most potential of the new comedies set to launch. However, I also acknowledge that very rarely in its history has ABC launched a high-concept sitcom very well. Looking back, I consider that Happy Days spun off Mork and Mindy into a successful show. There was also Doogie Howser, MD, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch on TGIF toward the end of the 90s. And we also got The Wonder Years, and while I couldn't call it a "high concept show" it did buck so many trends in sitcoms with its more dramatic tone. But otherwise, the best I can think of include The Charmings, the comedic answer to Once Upon A Time back in the 80s which only ran for one season. And in 1997, TGIF had a genie on You Wish along with Teen Angel, both of which only ran for that one season. And a few years earlier was Aliens in the Family, which quickly got itself dumped to Saturday Mornings (it was a different time) from TGIF. So, I can't deny that it's also a bit of a gamble. The primetime soap Nashville also seems okay, with ABC hoping that it can launch in the Wednesday dramatic slot the same way Revenge did this year.


8/7c - LAST RESORT (New Drama; A nuclear submarine becomes embroiled in a conflict with the government after questioning orders to attack)
9/8c - Grey's Anatomy (Drama; 9th Season)
10/9c - Scandal (Drama; 2nd Season)

On Thursdays, we swap the Grey's Anatomy spinoff Private Practice (that's moving to Tuesdays, where it'll likely conclude its run) for another series from the same creator. That show, Scandal has shown substantial legs since launching in April, giving a greater impression than just the whole "Last show to debut gets spared" detail with Body of Proof last season. And leading off the night is Last Resort, which acts as both a military and politically-themed thriller, aiming for even greater heights and wishing to push the envelope in ways that most other ABC dramas never seemed to dream about. (Well, one Castle episode this past season dealt with a supposed lynchpin to launch a nuclear war and destroy the USA, but even that was never confirmed nor denied.) Suitably enough, it makes for a hell of an exciting trailer, promising a dynamic setup with betrayals, heated debates and questions of morality abound. It does just what a trailer should do, giving exciting scenarios and leaving you itching for more.


8/7c - Shark Tank (Reality Competition; 4th Season)
9/8c - Primetime: What Would You Do? (Newsmagazine)
10/9c - 20/20 (Newsmagazine)

November Follow-Up

8/7c - Last Man Standing (Comedy; 2nd Season)
8:30/7:30c - MALIBU COUNTRY (New Comedy; Reba McEntire plays a wife who leaves her husband after he cheats on her)
9/8c - Shark Tank (Reality Competition; 4th Season)

The only thing that's getting remotely shaken up here is a likely change in November, and one that could easily be rescinded. We're going to start out with the same lineup offering one reality show and the social experiment newsmagazine. Then, What Would You Do is supposed to be pulled as network Paul Lee hopes against reason to get the ball rolling on bringing back TGIF by putting an hour of traditional-styled sitcoms. Aside from the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing, which seemed to have done well enough last year, we also have Reba McEntire as a divorced single Mom on Malibu Country. At least, the idea is to bring back TGIF, and I will remain skeptical that they will even go through with this plan. I have fond memories of the block too, but times are different and we've gotta face reality.


8/7c - Saturday Night College Football


7/6c - America's Funniest Home Videos (Reality Competition)
8/7c - Once Upon a Time (Drama; 2nd Season)
9/8c - Revenge (Drama; 2nd Season)
10/9c - 666 PARK AVENUE (New Drama; A young couple take up running an apartment building in Manhattan only to find out its dark, supernatural secret)

And what better way to try and keep the ball rolling on one freshman hit by putting it on after the other? In the case of Revenge, which is more than a touch different from new lead-in Once Upon A Time, it may have been an even bigger risk for it to stay on Wednesdays than if it tried a different night altogether. And that leave the new show, 666 Park Avenue is a new drama brimming with potential like some of the other new entries. This supernatural thriller about a supposedly eee-vil NYC apartment has the atmosphere of a ritzy housing complex going for it, and makes for a potentially surprising entry outside the young adult comfort zone of TV/book series producer Alloy Entertainment, of Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars.

Cougar Town has been picked up, but not by ABC. Instead, TBS will air a fourth season of the Courtney Cox sitcom next year, and has the option of a fifth. And the ABC shows that aren't coming back are Charlie's Angels, GCB, Man Up, Missing, Pan AmThe River, and Work It.

Monday, May 14, 2012

FOX's Fall 2012 Schedule

Next up is the Fox Broadcasting Company, and this year they come off as one of the easiest schedules to program this side of cable TV. Some declines have impacted their performance, but on the whole they've held up well. Still, the impact was felt in plenty of places, especially in the freshman shows. And we're gonna see a couple of big changes take place on the lineup this year.

Oh, and I must apologize for posting this so late. FOX didn't post the trailers for their new shows up until about the time the Upfronts started in the afternoon. I was literally waiting all day and wasn't expecting this curveball, along with some additional tasks I needed to take care of towards the end of the day.

For midseason, we have American Idol, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and The Cleveland Show on standby. And in regards to confirmed schedule plans, FOX intends to put the new Kevin Bacon drama The Following on Mondays and comedy The Goodwin Games, from the creators of How I Met Your Mother, on Tuesday. Cops is also slated to return midseason on its traditional night and time.

Click Here to See the Full Fall Preview


8/7c - Bones (Drama; 8th Season)
9/8c - THE MOB DOCTOR (New Drama; A major Chicago doctor needs to maintain her career despite her debts to the mafia)

On Monday nights, we have the first year FOX must press forth without veteran acclaimed drama House. In its place, a new drama with an admittedly immense premise. But really, The Mob Doctor just may have the strongest trailer I've seen so far, giving us a fast-paced look at the inherent conflict of the series and reflecting the proverbial thin ice our protagonist is on.


8/7c - Raising Hope (Comedy; 3rd Season)
8:30/7:30c - BEN AND KATE (New Comedy; An optimistic but awkward single father and his girl move in with his somewhat uptight older sister)
9/8c - New Girl (Comedy; 2nd Season)
9:30/8:30c - THE MINDY PROJECT (New Comedy; Mindy Kaling is a doctor attempting to bring order to her personal life)

Here's one of the biggest changes we see FOX undertaking, an all-comedy night with the biggest freshman success, New Girl as one of the anchors. What's interesting is that one of the new shows, Ben and Kate comes from the same producer as that show, and its pilot episode even has the same director, Jake Kasdan. I really thought the trailer for this new show shown a great deal of promise, as well as some genuinely funny bits. It really feels like we're getting the same amount of inspiration on this new show as the Zooey Deschanel hit. Now as for The Mindy Project, the trailer was a little funny but nothing outstanding. This show comes from the same actress who brought us Kelly Kapoor of Dunder Mifflin on The Office. I'm among friends expecting something plenty special, but the best she seems to have brought to it was funny bit roles for fellow NBC comedians Bill Hader and Ed Helms. But, I still have faith. A show like The Office seems like a natural prerequisite for starting a new comedy on one's own, and we can only hope for a funny show.


8/7c- The X Factor (Reality Competition; 2nd Year)

Not much to say here, except "Please, when has a sitcom launch squeezed in here ever worked?" And as I Hate My Teenage Daughter and some mishaps with American Idol have demonstrated, it is indeed a needlessly complex, messy issue.


8/7c - The X Factor Results Show
9/8c - Glee (Drama; 4th Season)

The ratings declines really have seemed to hit hard at home for Glee, which is also starting to face plenty of creative backlash over the last season. And with this, we have the other half of FOX's major changes this year. As some of the kids of the glee club move on from high school, the show itself tries another night of the week. And the network hopes to at least see ratings improvements by putting it on with the most obvious choice of compatible show in The X Factor.


8/7c -Touch (Drama; 2nd Season)
9/8c - Fringe (Drama; 5th Season)

Touch is the only freshman drama returning from last season, and this decision comes off like ABC's decision to renew Body of Proof last year. (Not to be confused with this years renewal of it, which we'll get into during the ABC preview.) And with it, FOX will hope that leading it into the final season of Fringe on Friday nights will yield...well, something or anything good. We will have to wait and see.


8/7c - Fox Sports Saturday

But perhaps the most interesting change of all just may be what FOX is doing on Saturday nights. Last year, we got a real bombshell of an announcement when America's Most Wanted was called off as an ongoing series and demoted to specials, yielding Lifetime's eventual pickup of it. And just last month, FOX decided to pull Cops from its Saturday night stead, one running for almost as long as the network existed. Instead, they decided to dedicate almost all of the time on this night of the week until at least November to various sports programming. At the time of the upfronts, FOX says that Cops will return midseason to its original night and time. Still, I must consider whether or not they'll actually do so. After all, times have changed, and so have these broadcast networks. FOX was the last one to consistently put fresh, new shows on every Saturday night (when people are the least inclined to watch TV), and the fact that they were so inexpensive only helped matters. And now, they can't even do a show like Cops anymore. They may say that Cops may return, but it still really just feels like the end of an era.


7/6c - The OT/NFL Overrun
8/7c - The Simpsons (Comedy; 24th Season)
8:30/7:30c - Bob's Burgers (Comedy; 3rd Season)
9/8c - Family Guy (Comedy; 11th Season)
9:30/8:30c - American Dad! (Comedy; 8th Season)

Ah, good ol' Animation Domination. Hello, beautiful. I may feel like I'm starting to outgrow you, but you still have a place in my heart. It would also appear that your efforts over the last year of growing new animated shows away from Seth MacFarlane's garden has failed. We have Bob's Burgers, which got a big 22-episode renewal last year to keep the show going well into the next season leading out of The Simpsons, which itself saw a brush with certain death early on into the past season. And those remain the only shows on this night outside of Fuzzy Door Productions and Family Guy territory going into the new season. But Allen Gregory simply crashed and burned on takeoff, giving a genuine impression of as one internet cartoonist aptly put it, an awful show that was picked up because it was created by a famous comedian. Then there was Napoleon Dynamite, an exponentially faster-paced version of the 2004 movie which didn't impress well enough to keep going. And now, we're not trying any more Sunday cartoons for at least another year. Oh well, at least we'll still have that Adult Swim-like block on late night Saturdays to look forward to. "Animation Domination HD", I believe it's called? Is the whole "HD" part of the name even supposed to make sense? Oh well, who cares?

And now for the shows that have been cancelled -- Alcatraz, Allen Gregory, Breaking In, The Finder, HouseI Hate My Teenage Daugher, Napoleon Dynamite, and Terra Nova.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

NBC's Fall 2012 Schedule

As I said last Monday, NBC isn't doing any better this season then they were last season. In fact, as I said in excruciating detail they seem to be doing even worse, what with broadcast TV declining in viewership overall. The best this network seems to be doing is making more creative efforts with their business strategy, which they've been doing for several years now. This year, we have plans for some season and series premieres in late August riding off the Summer Olympics, along with shorter season renewals for more comedies than one would expect. In fact, we're getting four nights of comedy this season, including both the standard single-camera shows as well as two multi-camera sitcoms.

Like they did last year, NBC announced their schedule first and on Sunday afternoon at that. However, there's only one new show represented with a trailer, the fall drama Revolution. As such, I have to admit that the rest of the crop won't be too easy to judge, since there's only so much I can gleam from an out-of-context clip. I suppose the same can be said of a trailer, but at least those try to give you the premise. Or maybe proper trailers will be posted later in the week, we'll see.

As far as Midseason is concerned, the comedies include Save Me with Anne Heche, a fictional First Family of the United States in 1600 Penn and Next Caller with Dane Cook, and the dramas in waiting include Infamous and Hannibal, the latter being about exactly what it sounds like. The reality shows debuting midseason are Stars Earn Stripes, Howie Mandel's White Elephant, Ready for Love from Eva Longoria, and Surprise with Jenny McCarthy, with returning reality shows Betty White's Off Their Rockers and The Biggest Loser similarly on standby. With that, we go to the Fall Schedule for the Peacock.

Click Here to See the Full Fall Preview


8/7c - The Voice (Reality Competition; 3rd Season)
10/9c - REVOLUTION (New Drama; Follows a band of survivors in Chicago fifteen years after a cataclysm wipes out all electronic technology)

Reportedly, NBC intends on doing two cycles of The Voice this season. That's the first I've ever heard of from a talent/singing competition, adding a surprise to the more expected decision to put the show on in the fall. With that, I can never again fault NBC for not being ambitious enough, and wish them the best. And following this show, we have a truly ambitious premise for a new drama. It wasn't just the trailer of Revolution that got me hyped as all hell, but the teaser image showing the cast over a fauna-covered city. All I could think of as the trailer went on about how "We used technology for everything in our lives, and then it disappeared" was "Yes! Yes! Quoted for truth! Epic win!" That is exactly how our American civilization works. It got me totally excited. After cooling off for a while, I was able to consider the finer details therein. This show, from executive producer J.J. Abrams and created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural), represents the first survivalist, post-apocalyptic drama on network TV since Jericho. Since then, we've been honored to see cable dramas offering similar scenarios like The Walking Dead or Falling Skies, the latter from Abram's partner on last Summer's blockbuster Super 8, Steven Spielberg. I shouldn't have to tell you about why Walking Dead is pure awesomesauce, but I will say that Falling Skies is a solid show with high stakes and a serious conflict at hand with the extraterrestrial invaders taking full advantage of the children of Earth. By comparison, the trailer showcases human survivors in a world without technology with still well-tailored and designed clothing, and practically no tatters in sight. This is against production design (in a pilot helmed by Iron Man director Jon Favreau) clearly having seen Life After People, allowing the Earth to reclaim the cities rendered useless by the cataclysm. On the whole, it seems to have a less edgy, more light, Hollywoodish feel than Falling Skies, but that's just the trailer. I can certainly say that not only do I want this series to succeed, I also want it to deserve to succeed.


8/7c - The Voice Results (Reality Competition; 3rd Season)
9/8c - GO ON (New Comedy; Matthew Perry is a radio host who goes into counseling before he can go back on the air)
9:30/8:30c - THE NEW NORMAL (New Comedy; A gay couple recruits a mother having moved in from the Midwest as their surrogate)
10/9c - Parenthood (Drama; 4th Season)

Interestingly, we don't see The Biggest Loser here in the fall for the first time, instead putting it on standby and trying two new comedies to go with The Voice. Matthew Perry's new show seems okay, and I'm honestly hoping that The New Normal turns out well. The latter has Ellen Barkin, who I thought did really well on Modern Family earlier this season as Phil's real estate nemesis, as the surrogate's closed-minded mother. As for the casting on the main couple, we have Justin Bartha of The Hangover, and I look forward to my first experience with one major actor from The Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells. (Incidentally, another actor from that Broadway musical, Josh Gad will surface on the midseason comedy 1600 Penn.)


8/7c - ANIMAL PRACTICE (New Comedy; A major veterinarian must confront his new boss at the hospital)
8:30/7:30c - GUYS WITH KIDS (New Comedy; Three new Dads must balance their social lives with their newfound responsibilities)
9/8c - Law and Order: SVU (Drama; 14th Season)
10/9c - CHICAGO FIRE (New Drama; From Dick Wolf, about the personal and professional lives of members of a Fire Company)

What catches my eye on this night is the sole surviving Law and Order series, moving from its 10/9c stead like it did when NBC gave Jay Leno a show in prime time. This time though, we have a more interesting show to follow it. From the same famous creator we have a show about firefighters, a group that doesn't appear on TV very often. At best, they get movies and we see shows about cops and doctors, but we almost never see TV shows about firemen. Speaking as someone whose brother-in-law is a volunteer firefighter, I can honestly express hope that we can get a good show out of this, especially with someone like Dick Wolf at the helm. As for the two comedies, Animal Kingdom has decided to promote itself with a monkey. This time though, that image has a point as the monkey appears to play a major part on the show. Contrast with Unhitched, which aired on FOX in 2007 and gave us a stupid teaser with a monkey approaching one of the main characters whilst on a date. As far as the show itself is concerned, it at least has the Russo Brothers backing it up. Those two have three strong comedies under their belt, including NBC's Community. The other comedy, the multi-camera Guys With Kids seems to be riding on the same train as the movie, What to Expect When You're Expecting. The most distinctive thing I've seen associated with the show is not unlike the Dad gang in that upcoming comedy film.


8/7c - 30 Rock (Comedy; 7th Season)
8:30/7:30c - Up All Night (Comedy; 2nd Season)
9/8c - The Office (Comedy; 9th Season)
9:30/8:30c - Parks and Recreation (Comedy; 5th Season)
10/9c - Rock Center with Brian Williams (Newsmagazine)

For the most part, the composition of the former "Must See TV" night is intact. 30 Rock will return for a final, truncated season, ultimately running for as long as Growing Pains did. Up All Night managed to get by with a renewal, and Parks and Recreation is enjoying a well-earned full, 22-episode season. But standing out most of all here is that NBC isn't even bothering with a new drama at 10/9c. Instead, they seem to be hoping that Rock Center, a low-rated newsmagazine hosted by Nightly News' Brian Williams will stick here and potentially improve.


8/7c - Whitney (Comedy; 2nd Season)
8:30/7:30c - Community (Comedy; 4th Season)
9/8c - Grimm (Drama; 2nd Season)
10/9c - Dateline (Newsmagazine)

On this night, Grimm seems to have held up best by the standards of this part of the week, or at least by the standards of NBC and shows that floundered much worse on more-trafficked nights of the week. Either way, we have a solid show here. With any luck, it might improve over the next year. Especially since NBC has actually axed the unscripted entry on this night, Who Do You Think You Are? Surprisingly, they're going to take a gigantic risk and actually try comedies on this night. Of all things that could've been programmed, we have Whitney leading into Community. I haven't seen Whitney since the pilot episode last September, and I remember being unable to watch a whole second episode. It seemed like such a boring, apathetic, completely lifeless show, and it made Rules of Engagement look like Seinfeld. Naturally, I guessed that it wouldn't live to see another season after its viewership seemed to evaporate after moving to Wednesdays. But go figure, I guess it wasn't so bad considering NBC's woes. Now I want to make something clear, I don't think multi-camera comedies can't work in today's TV landscape. Hell, I've actually been watching CBS' How I Met Your Mother for five years now, and remain a loyal viewer of it. But this is a horse of a different color, and I'd be very surprised if I came across an episode of Whitney from later in the season and saw that it improved. (It should be mentioned though, that the president of the networks believes it improved in the last third of the season.) Reports seemed to have indicated that its renewal would compliment the pickup of another multi-camera show, Guys With Kids potentially forming a block to maximize ratings. Instead, Whitney gets put on before a vastly superior comedy like Community, forming perhaps the oddest couple on TV. This show with little concept of "effort" is meant to lead into one of the most successfully creative and ambitious shows around. And while I've brought Community up, I remain thankful that it's on for at least one more year, if on during a death slot. But hey, I didn't expect Grimm to fare as well as it did last season, airing every episode except one on a Friday, so honestly who knows? I'm well aware that either Chevy Chase or creator Dan Harmon will probably depart the show before it returns in the fall. I'd hate to think that such a scenario would impact the show in a bad way.


More Encores of Popular Shows


7/6c - Football Night in America
8:15 - Sunday Night Football

Sunday (After Football)

7/6c - Dateline (Newsmagazine)
8/7c - Fashion Star (Reality Competition; 2nd Season)
9/8c - The Celebrity Apprentice (Reality Competition; 6th Season)
10/9c - DO NO HARM (New Drama; A highly-regarded neurosurgeon must combat a psychotic alternate personality)

This time, I will cap things off with a look at the Sunday night schedule planned for the end of football season. We have two reality shows returning, Fashion Star managing to get a vote of confidence and looking like it'll help shake things up for NBC's reality slate. But perhaps the most interesting choice is taking long-runner The Celebrity Apprentice and only putting it on for an hour this time. Instead, a new drama Do No Harm will try itself out in a tight, potentially deadly timeslot. With that premise, I genuinely have to wonder if the creators are aware of My Own Worst Enemy, which had a similar premise with a man's dark alter ego.

And the shows that aren't returning are Are You There, Chelsea, Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Chuck, Fear FactorThe Firm, Free Agents, Harry's Law, The Marriage RefThe Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, The Sing-Off, and Who Do You Think You Are?

Monday, May 7, 2012

That Time of Year, Again -- Pre-Upfronts

It's time to dip back into that blog I never write on. (Seriously, the last thing I wrote on this was that creative piece objecting to the infamous anti-piracy bills, all the way back in January.)

But yeah, on the upside this is a special occasion, one that has enraptured my interest since I was in high school. Perhaps the one event that represents May best for me. It's the end of the main television season, more specifically the last week before the Broadcast Network Upfronts. Sure, they don't hold as much water in this age of online streaming like Netflix and fantastic dramas made for cable. In fact, broadcast viewership overall seriously plummeted this season, adding more stress to a business that was already declining for a while now. Still, this upfront business is all pretty exciting and makes for a big annual event that can't help but stand out.

And of course, this means a turning point for many a viewer's choice of programs. Some will continue, and others will cut off (and some already have).

Let's look back at each network, consider the season that has passed, and where everything stands. Which shows have already been renewed, which won't be coming back, and how each is doing overall.

NBC -- To start off, we have one of the weaker performing networks, one that has been floundering for years now. And with the afore-mentioned declines, things have only gotten worse this season. Some shows couldn't even average a 1.0 rating in the key demographic of Adults 18-49, with only the smaller CW network doing worse. The only real bright spot they have is The Voice, the American Idol-esque that premiered big last season and has done about as well this year.

Overall the Peacock network, once at the top of the world is in a crisis mode. And in such a state, they have had to get creative, and have done so in past seasons in response to continuous declines. In fact, at the time of this writing NBC has already picked up several new shows for the fall. Literally as soon as I started writing, the comedic pilot The New Normal and the J.J. Abrams-produced drama Revolution both got full-series pickups, and other pickups were announced since then. It gives me the impression that I should have done this last week. Anyway, NBC at least has the Summer Olympics to help them this year. Reports point to a late August launch for some shows, both new and returning in the immediate ratings heat following the Olympics. Examples that have been thrown out for this practice include Go On, a new comedy with Matthew Perry.

With the network already picking up new shows well before the competition, it's already the moment of truth for a lot of existing NBC shows. Of them, so far only two dramas have been renewed. One is Smash, the DreamWorks-produced musical drama that has been a modest success and stood out against the rest of the lineup. The other is Grimm, which has also been rumored for a premiere in the post-Olympics heat. Furthermore, the way it's been holding on Friday nights (especially considering the big premiere out of the minuscule Chuck premiere back in October), and especially with the even worse numbers on higher-traffic nights makes it a regular ratings dynamo.

Of the rest of the lineup, we have a mixed bag. Long-standing reality shows are likely to return, like The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Apprentice, as will Betty White: Off Their Rockers, a stand-out performer. Sole franchise survivor Law & Order: SVU is also inclined to stick amongst dramas. Parenthood has not been seen since February, but it has performed consistently and stands out well compared to the network's declines since the finale. It is likely to return, but one may still be surprised here. Otherwise, The Firm and Awake are both considered failures, whilst Harry's Law is likewise too weak a performer in the sweet spot demo to get renewed.

And now we get to comedies, and only now do I realize the risks of writing at this point in time when the important stories develop on the spot. (Really, the entire rest of the post has already been finished and I'm rewriting this one section to update it!)

Anyway, I was about to point out here about how the sitcoms seemed to have performed equally as well but the older shows all stood a better chance at renewal. In particular, Community wouldn't get the axe with as much well-deserved support has it has received. Well since I started writing, NBC has announced the increasing likelihood that all their biggest comedies would be renewed. Specifically, 30 Rock will get a renewal for a final season. On top of that, it will be an abbreviated one, running only 13-14 episodes. With this decision very well in the bag, NBC may do the same for Parks and Recreation and Community. And I thought the whole "Post-Olympics Premiere Week" was a creative alternative here. This also gives Up All Night a better chance for survival than I previously anticipated. But Whitney has a much bleaker outlook, as do Are You There, Chelsea and Best Friends Forever. And Bent only ran quickly for three weeks, and I consider this giving it the shaft.

And it will be interesting to see how The Office pans out, especially with the mixed critical reception this whole past season and plans for a spinoff about Dwight. I can say anything goes at this point, especially considering rumors of a reboot.

CBS -- On the plus side, I can say there's less to say about this network. Not only have they been hanging tough overall with some popular new shows, CBS has already renewed the majority of their lineup. The most obvious cases for renewal are already on tap for next season, from my father's choices of NCIS, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, and Friday favorite Blue Bloods, to my mother's choices of new drama Person of Interest and critical darling The Good Wife. The same could be said for Mike and Molly and new hit comedy 2 Broke Girls, while The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are in the midst of multi-season renewals. Same goes for NCIS: LA and The Mentalist.

That leaves Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement and Rob among comedies. The latter two have some question to them, but Men is a shoe-in as long as Ashton Kutcher (who replaced Charlie Sheen) is game. As far as dramas go, the flagship CSI series is the only one in the franchise renewed for next year. Only one other of the two, Miami and NY, will continue, with the more expensive Miami lacking much of an edge despite higher ratings. No other drama is likely to proceed. On the reality front, all three of the big ones have been renewed, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Undercover Boss.

The CW -- It's funny, because I've been looking up UPN and The WB on Wikipedia, TV Tropes and YouTube this past week. I've been on a nostalgic trip for these long-lost networks of the late 90's and can easily write about how radically different they were, but I still don't really care about their successor. And I don't think it cares about me.

I'm not even sure if it matters anyway, since there's a long way to go between their ratings and even the horrible ratings of NBC. But relative to their low standards, they really only have hits in the already-renewed Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the former a beloved cult drama and the latter the best performer on the CW. Modernized continuation 90210 was also renewed last week. Heart of Dixie (in the first season) and Nikita (second season) were the weaker performers earlier, but only now is freshman drama The Secret Circle starting to bomb. And since Circle comes on after Vampire Diaries, that seems to doom the show outright. Gossip Girl, which has been on for five years is curiously missing from the recent renewals, which sort of helps to level the playing field. And how ironic is it that I only bothered to write about the Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle Ringer back in September as far as CW shows were concerned (what with its anticipation at the time), and that's the show least likely to get renewed.

Oh, and I am aware of The LA Complex, a Canadian import that did worse in the rut of the main season than the similarly imported comedy 18 to Life did in the Summer.

FOX -- The home of American Idol and Animation Domination appears to be all set for the Upfronts, with the obvious choices for renewal already determined. Glee will return next season, as will the solid veteran Bones. Raising Hope is also a go for next season, as is smash hit freshman, New Girl with Zooey Deschanel. FOX has already made up its mind on Terra Nova, dropping the ambitious prehistoric action drama after one 13-episode season. They've also decided to close House after eight years. Touch is the remaining freshman drama still on the schedule and left undetermined, although the way the ratings have changed over the season don't inspire confidence. Things are considerably bleaker for Alcatraz and The Finder, the latter in particular a massive flop left to finish on Friday nights.

And on the same night is Fringe, which got a vote of confidence last season with a full 22-episode renewal. Now, FOX is willing to let the show down easy, allotting a 13-episode season to wrap things up. I can say the show has been lucky this whole time to keep going and last long enough to sustain potential in syndication and tell a full-circle story. Not many sci-fi shows on FOX are lucky, and this J.J. Abrams production earned its support from such a successful, and otherwise highly competitive network.

Much of Animation Domination is a go for next season, and this includes the two fellow Seth MacFarlane comedies to Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. No decision seems to have been made on Bob's Burgers, even though it has a 22-episode season season that could lead it into next year. Still, it is only one of two shows going beyond the standard repertoire of The Simpsons and MacFarlane shows on this popular lineup with an equal chance to proceed. The other is Napoleon Dynamite, a loose adaptation of the 2004 cult favorite with the same creative team and cast, plus Simpsons veteran Mike Scully backing it up. This lineup also saw Allen Gregory from comedy star Jonah Hill, which seemed like a failure right out of the gate. Of course, that one has already been cancelled.

ABC -- And now let's finish this off. ABC isn't necessarily doing any better as a whole now than previously. Previous reality titan Dancing With the Stars has softened considerably in recent years, and now comedy Modern Family really stands out as the network's biggest hit. But at the same time, they have shown plenty of improvement and increased degrees of success. Leading into the final season of Desperate Housewives, we have another big fairy tale hit like Grimm in a different form, Once Upon a Time. And that's not the only solid smash hit ABC's seen this season, as audiences can't stop talking about Revenge.

As of this writing, ABC has not renewed any of it's shows yet. No, none at all. Still, it seems pretty obvious which ones will be, and I just mentioned the two new standout shows. **Wink-Wink** Also looking good for a renewal is Castle, holding up well as the dramatic tension on the series progresses. Grey's Anatomy is also cruising for a renewal, standing out well against the rest of the network's shows, and spinoff Private Practice is no slouch either. That will likely see at least one more season, and it's been solid in a move to Tuesday nights in what's otherwise something of a death slot. By the way, Body of Proof says hello, and likely is going to say goodbye. Among other dramas, the ambitious horror series The River hasn't really held any water, and Missing is similarly bound for cancellation. On the upside though, the other midseason debuts have been quite solid. GCB has held up well during its run, only slipping the weekend of the Titanic miniseries (and that's a debacle in and of itself). It could get vote of confidence. And Scandal has been an even stronger performer, standing an even better chance for renewal.

And on the comedy side, we have nothing but strong, well-supported hits. The Middle and Suburgatory are certainly a go for next season, while Happy Endings also looks great and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 is also standing firm on its own two feet. The only real failures here, Work It and Man Up got the axe long ago. There is a lot of positive speculation regarding Tim Allen's show Last Man Standing, which opened very well especially considering the fact that it's a multi-camera sitcom in a single-camera world. But I'm not too sure about that one, since it has declined considerably and certainly in the most recent airing. Most people expect it to return and I can understand if the network has faith in it overall. But I'm not gonna lie, to see it renewed would honestly surprise me. And that leaves Cougar Town, which has been performing weakly despite some much-deserved critical success. Over the weekend, TBS has offered to pick up the show in ABC's stead for not one, but two seasons. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but that's something important to consider.

So there you have it. And really, all I can say at this point is thank you. Thank you for reading through that entire, long-winded post of my rambles.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Exclusive Scoop -- Leaked Memorandum from Disney about PIPA

The following is quoted from a Memorandum distributed within the Walt Disney Company to its employees. The studio's Executive Attorney, Betty Van Poole wrote the following in support of the impending Protect IP Act currently floating in the US Senate.