The amount of new shows FOX has picked up (5) is remarkably small compared to the 12 discussed yesterday during my piece on NBC’s new schedule. I guess that’s the benefit of being a network with ratings. Not only that, but they tentatively know the days of their midseason replacements.
Let’s go through the week.
8-9 p.m. – “Bones”
9-10 p.m.- “THE MOB DOCTOR” in the fall and “THE FOLLOWING” in midseason.
With House going off the air a week from today, FOX Mondays (and FOX itself) has lost one of its longest running and most popular shows. Additionally, neither of its high profile Monday shows from this year- Terra Nova and Alcatraz (both of which I recapped for this site)- earned a second season. Deservedly so.
To begin the week, FOX gives us Bones, which I presume now holds the title of the network’s flagship drama. That will be followed by both The Mob Doctor and The Following.
The Mob Doctor
The uncreatively titled The Mob Doctor (somehow The Good Wife works while The Mob Doctor just sounds lazy) stars Jordana Spiro late of My Boys and Dexter Season 6, which was probably the worst thing on television in 2011.
As the title suggests, The Mob Doctor is about a mob doctor. By day, Dr. Grace Devlin (Spiro) is a resident at Chicago’s Roosevelt Medical Center, but at night she performs patch-up work for the local mob in order to pay off her brother’s gambling debts. Doing it to pay off her “brother’s gambling debts” is the type of bad excuse shows use when they are too scared to give the lead character the dysfunction necessary to make him or her stand out from other protagonists. See, it’s not her fault, it’s beyond her control and she loves her family, so you can’t fault her for doing illegal work. Even the plot description refers to her normal patients as “a toddler” and “an elderly man” just in case we couldn’t get that she is a saint caught up in a bad situation. It’s this type of dedication to “goodness” that causes me not to have faith in the series.
Also of concern? “Covertly helping an aging mobster with his erectile dysfunction” gives too good of a sense of the awkward, unfunny humor that this show will employ. Some of The Mob Doctor will also deal with the double life Dr. Devlin must lead as she hides her night time activities from her friends and co-workers. The double life concept has proven exceedingly difficult for most television series to pull off.
At least it has Zeljko Ivanek.
As I talked about in my NBC article, serial killers are in this year, and The Following is FOX’s entry into the genre. The Following stars Kevin Bacon as retired FBI Agent Ryan “Not Will Graham” Hardy who once arrested major serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) in a case that has “wounded [him] both physically and mentally.” Again, he is not Will Graham. Will Graham is on NBC. But now, Carroll has escaped from prison and he’s guiding a network of serial killers to do his bidding- Serial killers do not work that way!- and only Hardy can stop him. Also, Hardy begins to fall for Carroll’s ex-wife played by Natalie Zea of FX’s amazing Justified.
It’s a ridiculous premise that can probably only make sense if Carroll uses some sort of Child’s Play-esque mysticism, which would either make the show far more ridiculous or significantly better or both. The procedural angle for the series is also cause for concern.
Speaking of ridiculous, apparently Carroll “dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his protagonist.” If this show wasn’t premiering in midseason, I’d say it would be the first to get cancelled.
8-8:30 p.m. “Raising Hope”
8:30-9 p.m. “BEN AND KATE”
9-9:30 p.m. “New Girl”
9:30-10:00 p.m. “THE MINDY PROJECT” (formerly, “IT’S MESSY”)
“THE GOODWIN GAMES” in midseason.
It’s taken awhile, and the deaths of several good shows like Action– set adrift on a desolate landscape, but FOX has finally established themselves a full night of non-animated comedy.
Ben and Kate
“What happens when an exuberant, irresponsible dreamer who always says “yes” moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter?”
A terrible sitcom? Dharma and Greg: Redux? The Not Really That Odd Couple? Bert and Ernie and Incest? Yes, Ben and Kate returns to that tired well- the mismatched duo. It might be unfair to condemn a show on premise alone, but if you can’t do it with the uptight, responsible partner v. the slacker, dreamer one, what can you do it with? It’s hard to take a show seriously with the line “I have a very important date tomorrow night!”
Without a strong pedigree or cast (Ben and Kate are played by Broken Lizard regular and Oscar-winning co-writer of The Descendants Nat Faxon and bit-part-in-The Social Network Dakota Johnson, respectively; Lucy Punch also stars as the friend), Ben and Kate needs to offer something to make it overcome its oft-trod concept. A five-year-old (read: precocious) kid is not the answer. Though, to be fair, from the preview clip, Ben is a lot better composed than I expected.
Additionally, Ben and Kate is not only a bland title, but one that calls to mind Jon and Kate of Plus Eight notoriety.
The Mindy Project
From The Office’s Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project stars the former Kelly Kapoor as a woman/OBGYN seeking her happy ending and Prince Charming while aiming to end her quirky bad habits. Her zany life is populated by a collection of sitcom regulars, the guy who uses her as a booty call, the hothead who has a begrudging respect for her (I predict some sexual tension), the super-happy secretary, the always-saying-what’s-on-her-mind secretary (described as a Jersey Girl), and the loyal best friend. It’s difficult for me to make an accurate assessment of the show since any series that uses “skinny jeans” and “can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists” in its plot description probably isn’t for me. But don’t a lot of these ideas seem a bit antiquated?
After viewing the clip, the funniest thing about the show was probably It’s Messy as the original title for a series about an OBGYN. However, from those three minutes, Kaling appears to have the presence to be a lead in a show like this. I wonder how many appearances Bill Hader will make.
The Goodwin Games
From the creators of How I Met Your Mother and starring current How I Met Your Mother regular Becki Newton, The Goodwin Games is about three siblings forced to jump through hoops for their inheritance. Although the “family is important” message is tired and the show seems like it should have an end date- after 9 years, you’d think at least one of them would say enough with this madness- it does seem the most promising of FOX’s offerings, which shouldn’t be read as an endorsement.
Surprisingly, this is also the last of FOX’s new series.
8-10 p.m. “The X Factor” (fall) / “American Idol” (midseason)
As I am not a fan of reality contest shows, I don’t have any commentary to give about these series. This line-up has worked for the network in years past, so I presume it will work for the network in years future. I will add that the addition of Demi Lovato and Britney Spears as judges on The X Factor matters not in the slightest to me.
8-9 p.m. “The X Factor Results Show” (fall) / “American Idol Results Show” (midseason)
9-10 p.m. “Glee”
For the 8:00 hour, same thoughts as above.
I don’t watch Glee so I don’t know how or if the timeslot will affect that show. All we know right now is that it’s going up against The Office and Parks and Recreation, and I have to assume it could defeat both those shows.
8-9 p.m. “Touch”
9-10 p.m. “Fringe”
“Hell’s Kitchen” returns in midseason.
So Touch, the one new FOX mystery drama that I don’t recap, is the one that makes it another season. The cult-favorite Fringe is returning for a 13-episode, final season. On a personal note, after putting it off for way too long, Fringe will be my summer catch up series.
7-10:30 p.m. “Fox Sports Saturday” (fall)
“Cops” returns in midseason.
“Animation Domination High-Def” will join late-prime in 2013.
I wonder if that means Animation Domination is not broadcast in high definition on Sundays. I did hear rumors of really-long-running Cops being canceled, so I don’t know if that’s still true or if it’s just going to be a filler in the slot until they can get the technology to broadcast Animation Domination in HD. (You’d think they’d have that by now.)
7-7:30 p.m. “NFL Game” (fall) / Animation Domination (encores)
7:30-8 p.m. “The OT” (fall) / “The Cleveland Show”
8-8:30 p.m. “The Simpsons”
8:30-9 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers”
9-9:30 p.m. “Family Guy”
9:30-10 p.m. “American Dad”
We have The Simpsons? We have Bob’s Burgers? We don’t have Allen Gregory or Napoleon Dynamite? I’m satisfied.