After One Week, Which TV Shows Look Good and Which Seem Doomed? – by Josef Adalian
Congratulations, fellow TV viewers: We’ve survived another premiere week! The networks threw all manner of new shows our way and forced us to fill our DVRs to bursting with returning favorites. It seems only fair that we repay their kindness by rushing to judgement about how their new lineups fared out of the gate, from the obvious winners to the Romney-esque losers. Yes, yes: One week does not a season make, particularly in an era when shows debut year-round and many viewers watch shows on their own damn schedules. But that caveat aside, we still think there are some early lessons to be drawn from the early days of the new season.
It’s more important than ever to pay attention to time-shifted viewing...
NBC has emerged from the Dark Ages…
Fox is off to a rocky start...
We can already tell which shows are sticking around and which are doomed…
No point in guessing. Just compare it to the premises for the shows below. Remember, regardless of what their ultimate fates may be, all these shows had premises that got them to the starting line…and scripts that took them beyond:
The Premise-O-Meter: Ranking the New TV Dramas – by Margaret Lyons (Vulture.Com)
ABC’s submarine drama Last Resort premieres tonight, and it’s a doozy: action, adventure, shouting, you name it. It’s great! But man, the show is heavy on concept: There’s a submarine, see, and it’s given an order to nuke Pakistan, but the captain doubts the integrity of the order, so he refuses to go through with it, and then they take over an island, and renegades, and the president, and a secret submarine prototype, and on and on and on. It’s a lot of premise. Not every fall show has this problem, though — there’s the other end of the spectrum, too, the premise-less end, the end where the show is about nothing and has nothing to say. Here are all your new fall dramas, ranked in order of complexity.
ACK! THAT’S A LOT OF PREMISE
Last Resort: See above.
Revolution: A close second. There’s a global blackout, and 15 years later, everything is run by scary militias, and there are freedom fighters and people who want to turn the lights back on, and a lady with a secret internet in her attic, and a girl whose parents are dead, and there’s sword-fighting and a few jokes. So far, the show is heavy on concept and light on character.
666 Park Avenue: An attractive young couple moves into the Manhattan apartment of their dreams, only to discover that the building and its residents are possessed by dark, supernatural forces. It’s sort of like Revenge, but with the devil instead of vengeance.
Nashville: A country music legend grapples with her fading stardom and there’s a young up-and-comer who’s trying to push her out of the spotlight. Enough of a hook to be a soap, but not so much nonsense that it feels like a bad episode of Melrose Place.
Elementary: Sherlock Holmes is now a British ex-pat living in present-day New York; Watson is now a woman and is Holmes’s sober-living companion. It’s fancy, but it’s still just a procedural.
Vegas: Just a ’70s cop show.
Chicago Fire: Dick Wolf made a show about firefighters. It’s sort of like Third Watch, except much dumber.
Emily Owens, MD: She’s a doctor. Mean girls exist.
The Mob Doctor: She’s a doctor. The mob exists.
Made In Jersey: She’s a lawyer. New Jersey exists.
ACK! THAT IS NOT ENOUGH OF A PREMISE
Yes, you’re right. The networks do not practice what they preach. Ask your teachers in the film-TV department what that means. Let us know if they can even pretend to have an answer.
Well, going by his track record. Sure, THE SHIELD was hot. But TERRIERS? And THE CHICAGO CODE? (Although CODE did bring a heterosexual Jennifer Beale to us and that’s a major plus.)
Shawn Ryan Talks LAST RESORT, the New ABC Drama Series Centering on a Rogue U.S. Submarine Crew -by Christina Radish
The new ABC drama series Last Resort, premiering on September 27th, tells a suspenseful, emotional and action-packed story about what happens when a U.S. submarine crew receives an order to fire nuclear weapons at a foreign country, and then ignores that order.
While at the ABC portion of the TCA Press Tour, show creator/executive producer Shawn Ryan(The Shield) talked about telling such an ambitious story, how the characters will come first, how realistic and technical the show will be, why director Martin Campbell was the perfect person to bring the series to life for the pilot, putting their very healthy budget on the screen, how much edge they can bring, how the special effects elements will come into play, and what shows he’s currently enjoying on TV.
Question: Following The Shield, you did Terriers and then The Chicago Code. Have your ambitions been increasing, over the last couple of years, or have you had this story in your pocket for awhile?
SHAWN RYAN: My ambitions have grown, and the story started with Karl [Gajdusek]. I want to give Karl credit. The initial nugget of this story was his, and then we joined forces. But, when we pitched this to Paul Lee and his cohorts at ABC, last summer or fall, I described it as the show that I couldn’t make five years ago because I didn’t possess the skill set, and that I felt like the shows I had done, up to this point — with the ongoing serialization of The Shield, combined with the production value of The Chicago Code, and combined with this buddy thing that we had done in Terriers — all got me to this place where I felt I could do something this ambitious. It’s not like I didn’t want to do something of a huge scale like this before, but this is a really difficult show, from a storytelling standpoint and a production standpoint. We have the production in Hawaii and have to manage that. It’s a big-budget, very huge, monstrous-scope show that I don’t think I would have been capable of doing before. So, it’s not like my ambitions have grown, but my feelings about my capability to live up to those ambitions has grown.
Yep, a submarine series definitely needs a big budget to do justice to all those claustrophobic little spaces. We get it. Sure. And about that title – so this isn’t a sitcom about 2 shlubs crashing an exclusive island hideaway for the 1%?
TV, we love everything about you. Especially the self-deluded writers and directors and actors and producers. We know you have to be that way because otherwise what would you do? Face the fact that there’s just no damn hope…?