How “High Concept” Does Your Concept Have to Be?

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.

CBS Fall 2012 Premiere Dates

Honking press release:

CBS ANNOUNCES 2012-2013 PREMIERE DATES

Wednesday, Sept. 19

  • 8:00-9:30 PM SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES (25th edition premiere)

Monday, Sept. 24

  • 8:00-8:30 PM How I Met Your Mother (8th season premiere)
  • 8:30-9:00 PM Partners (Series Debut)
  • 9:00-9:30 PM 2 Broke Girls (2nd season premiere)
  • 9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & Molly (3rd season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Hawaii Five-0 (3rd season premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 25

  • 8:00-9:00 PM NCIS (10th season premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM NCIS: LOS ANGELES (4th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Vegas (Series Debut)

Wednesday, Sept. 26

  • 9:00-10:00 PM Criminal Minds (8th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (13th season premiere)

Thursday, Sept. 27

  • 8:00-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory (6th season premiere)
  • 8:30-9:00 PM Two and a Half Men (10th season premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM Person Of Interest (2nd season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Elementary (Series Debut)

Friday, Sept. 28

  • 8:00-9:00 PM CSI: NY (9thseason premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM Made In Jersey (Series Debut)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Blue Bloods (3rdseason premiere

Saturday, Sept. 29

  • 10:00-11:00 PM 48 Hours Mystery (26th season premiere)

Sunday, Sept. 30

  • 7:00-8:00 PM 60 Minutes (45th season premiere)
  • 8:00-9:00 PM THE Amazing Race (21st edition premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM THE Good Wife (4th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM THE Mentalist (5thseason premiere)