I never do any individual show criticism. For that reason, I rarely feature anything by TV critics, because it’s either mostly about the content of individual shows or insipid dreck, but this TV critics roundtable by Broadcasting & Cable has more about the networks and their strategy for the coming season, plus a few laughs.
It includes B&C Programming Editor Marisa Guthrie’s panel discussion with Robert Bianco (USA Today), David Bianculli (TVWorthWatching.com and NPR’s Fresh Air), Ellen Gray (Philadelphia Daily News), Matt Roush (TV Guide) and Maureen Ryan (Chicago Tribune).
Here are a few of my favorite things, but I’d read the entire piece if you’re interested.
Gray: There’s also the fact that you kind of wonder why they’re trying to copy the Lost blueprint since year-by-year it seems to be losing audience. They’re trying to copy something that every year a new group of people come to me and say, “I’m giving up.” Even my mother is giving up. Do they want something that complicated?
David Bianculli: [Referring to Wednesday night] Doing an entirely new evening of programming? I’ve only been a critic for, like, 33 years, but in 33 years I don’t think it’s ever worked.
Bianculli: “There are things that CBS does in its infinite greed and conservatism that won’t work, and others that will. With NCIS: Los Angeles, they’ll do just fine.”
Roush: They’ve done a smart thing by plucking Medium from NBC. I think Medium and Ghost Whisperer are going to be pretty powerful, and no one’s going to get any real traction with shows like [NBC’s] Southland and [Fox’s] Dollhouse.
On The CW:
Bianco: I don’t think you’re building a network at all. You’re building this tiny niche for 2 million white-girl teenagers. I can’t imagine who else would want to watch this stuff.
Ryan: Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I think they have a pretty strong-looking fall. The amount of interest I get from readers [about Glee], I think they’ve really successfully kept that buzz going. […] For Fox it’s a matter of standing pat until Idol comes back, but I think that they’re actually making the attempt to shore up the fall.
Ryan: My new slogan for NBC is “We Import Our Crap.” It’s like they can’t even come up with their own original ideas. They’re importing these half-baked shows from elsewhere, or they’re doing these co-productions of schlocky fantasy-whatever fare. I just find it appalling. They’re really out of ideas.
Bianco: What used to happen is a network falls into third or fourth place, and it begins to become less risk averse and take more chances. And instead we get Trauma and Mercy; Mercy looks like every other hospital show. Community, whether you like it or not, is just another version of the same comedy format that NBC has beaten into the ground. It just is such a cheap, risk-averse approach to getting out of [fourth] place. I don’t know how that possibly moves you forward.