California Literary Review

CBS: The 2012-2013 Television Season

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May 16th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

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CBS Logo

Photo by: CBS

Today we go through the ridiculously popular CBS, which is also the network I watch least. This year, the network canceled CSI: Miami, which is terrible news for that guy who is very late on Internet memes. Let’s see what we have.

MONDAY:

8-8:30 p.m- “How I Met Your Mother”
8:30-9 p.m- “PARTNERS”
9-9:30 p.m.- “2 Broke Girls”
9:30-10 p.m.- “Mike & Molly”
10-11 p.m.- “Hawaii Five-O”

CBS’ biggest comedy night says good-bye to what was once its most popular, and headline grabbing, show- Two and a Half Men (it moves to Thursday). That important slot is given to sophomore series 2 Broke Girls rather than to something more proven such as How I Met Your Mother. Though if they’re trying to re-engineer a line-up, it makes sense not to do it with an eight-year-old show, especially one that has enjoyed success in its current position for years.

Partners

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The new show, Partners, is about what happens when two bros/business partners/best friends find their bromance challenged when one bro becomes engaged. Further adding to this premise is that one guy is straight (David Krumholtz of Numbers and the Harold and Kumar series) while the other is gay (Michael Urie). The straight one is super serious while the homosexual one is more of an emotional free spirit who is “prone to exaggeration.” I said “way to go against stereotypes” from the plot description alone, but the promo really shows how dependent the show is on that humor. And I have nothing against that type of comedy, but the jokes in the promo are pre-Archie Bunker stale. Their significant others are played by Sophia Bush and Ramona Flowers’ ex Brandon Routh, respectively.

CBS generally has a commercially successful track record with its comedies, and those that fail, fail quickly (How To Be a Gentleman). While the show doesn’t sound particularly interesting, the network does show confidence putting it between two of its comedic powerhouses.

TUESDAY:

8-9:00 p.m.- “NCIS”
9-10:00 p.m.- “NCIS: Los Angeles”
10-11 p.m.- “VEGAS”

Vegas

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Since when has Jason O’Mara become the go-to guy for back-in-time TV shows.

Not to be confused with Las Vegas, Vega$, or pre-Glee musical failure Viva Laughlin, Vegas sounds interesting, though difficult to predict its longevity.

Starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis, Vegas is a period drama about real life Sheriff Ralph Lamb’s (Quaid) attempts to bring law and order to 1960s Las Vegas while running afoul of crime lord Vincent Savino (Chiklis). Executive produced by Goodfellas and Casino writer Nicholas Pileggi, Vegas has the potential to be a good crime drama, the type of which only exists on cable television today with series like Justified and Boardwalk Empire.

Unfortunately, CBS has not shown a willingness to stick with non-procedural dramas, and boiling a series like this down to a crime-of-the-week would do it a great disservice. Also, last year saw network television’s attempts at series set in the 1960s (Pan Am, The Playboy Club) crash and burn. Hopefully, Vegas tones down the cowboy angle of Lamb’s character and doesn’t make him a saint.

WEDNESDAY:

8-9:00 p.m.- “Survivor”
9-10:00 p.m.- “Criminal Minds”
10-11:00 p.m.- “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”

Survivor Logo

Photo by: CBS

No new times, no new shows, but why would you screw with a line-up that has worked for years? The only question left is who is the new head of the CSI team, since the show seems to rotate leaders in every season.

THURSDAY:

8-8:30 p.m- “The Big Bang Theory”
8:30-9 p.m- “Two and a Half Men”
9-10:00 p.m.- “Person of Interest”
10-11 p.m.- “ELEMENTARY”

Putting its two biggest comedies together, CBS pairs The Big Bang Theory and the still Ashton Kutcher-enhanced Two and a Half Men. Maybe it’s better that Community moved to Friday.

Elementary

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It worked for Hollywood with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and for the BBC with the terrific pairing of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, so it was about time for American television to jump aboard the Sherlock Holmes train. A train that can apparently lose 80 percent of its cars without the conductor being aware in the slightest.

Like the Steven Moffat show, Elementary brings Sherlock into the 21st century, but now he’s in New York City and a former homicide detective (what?). This time played by Jonny Lee Miller of Trainspotting, Hackers, and a Danny Boyle-directed theatrical production of Frankenstein with Cumberbatch and him alternating the roles of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster. The Dr. Joan Watson in this case is Lucy Liu (a woman), who has lost her medical license following a patient’s death.

Unlike the other incarnations, Watson and Holmes are forced together by Holmes’ wealthy father (what?) who hires addiction specialist Dr. Watson as a baby-sitter/”sober companion” for his wayward son following his latest rehab stay. Although the other two modern Holmes have referenced his addictions, neither of them have made it a focus like this show seems to. The “forced together” angle between Holmes and Watson also takes away from the “meant to be together” angle present that has made the Steven Moffat (and Guy Ritchie) franchises so notable.

While this show will probably adopt a procedural format, that shouldn’t be as much of a problem because what matters is Miller as Holmes and, to a slightly lesser extent, his relationship with Watson. Holmes must not just be quirky, but a powerful personality that transcends traditional protagonists. From the promo, Miller-Holmes doesn’t have the strength we’ve come to expect from the character. That special outsider quality is missing in his scenes; there’s more to Holmes than an ability to recite facts and clues and a bad bedside manner. Also, giving Holmes and Watson a “will they/won’t they” relationship already gives the series an unlikeable foundation. But perhaps the biggest misstep in the three-and-a-half minutes is that he actually apologizes for being Sherlock in a scene that presumably comes in the pilot.

FRIDAY:

8-9:00 p.m.- “CSI: NY”
9-10:00 p.m.- “MADE IN JERSEY”
10-11 p.m.- “Blue Bloods”

Made In Jersey

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Starring Janet Montgomery, an actress who had a bit part in Black Swan and a recurring role as E’s surprisingly competent assistant on Entourage, Made in Jersey is about a working-class woman (with heavy accent) who must prove herself in Big Law against the blue bloods (not the people from the following show) and stuffy fuddy duddies. Using her “blue collar insight” and “big Italian family,” one must wonder if this is better suited for USA.

SATURDAY:

8-9:00 p.m.- “Crimetime Saturday”
9-10:00 p.m.- “Crimetime Saturday”
10-11:00 p.m.- “48 Hours Mystery”

48 Hours Mystery Logo

Photo by: CBS

The ridiculous amount of encores on Saturday across the networks makes you wonder why some station wouldn’t attempt to put something original on that night. Even simple, stupid family programming.

SUNDAY:

7-8:00 p.m.- “60 Minutes”
8-9:00 p.m.- “The Amazing Race”
9-10:00 p.m.- “The Good Wife”
10-11:00 p.m.- “The Mentalist

60 Minutes Logo

Photo by: CBS

The Mentalist moves to Sunday, but CBS seems to know what it’s doing on this night.

Coming This Midseason- Dramas

Golden Boy

Theo James The Star of Golden Boy

Theo James, the star of Golden Boy

Done in a flashback structure a la Serpico but in an interview style like the Mafia video game, Golden Boy goes through the rise of Walter William Clark Jr., the youngest person to become the police commissioner in New York City history. Seemingly based on the real Bill Clark due to the “three years before getting his detective shield” timeline, Clark never became police commissioner but retired as a First Grade Detective and entered television as a consultant and producer with NYPD Blue and other series. Clark is not listed as a behind-the-scenes person for Golden Boy. Unknown is the timespan, though it should encompass decades.

No promo was available, though the lead was originally set to be played by Ryan Phillippe.

Coming This Midseason- Comedies

Friend Me

 Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Friend Me

Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Friend Me in Superbad

Friend Me stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicholas Braun as Indiana-to-Los Angeles transplants striving to make their way in life. Fighting against modern socialization tools such as Facebook and Twitter, Braun’s character posts a friendship flyer declaring his want to meet with real people instead of Internet characters. Zaniness ensues. I wonder if the male duo concept is an attempt to replicate the success of 2 Broke Girls, albeit with a different gender. I wouldn’t be surprised if this replaces Partners.

Coming This Midseason- Reality

The Job

 A Money Bag representing CBS’ The Job

A Mark Burnett and Michael Davies reality series, The Job features contestants attempting to get a job at a major corporation as they deal with contests, deadlines, and opposing companies wanting to offer them a deal. From the description, it sounds as if it’s a different company and a different series of contestants every episode rather than one sole competition for the entire season. I have zero interest in watching it, but NBC has shown us with The Apprentice v. The Celebrity Apprentice that people don’t want to watch real people fight for jobs, they want to watch quasi-celebrities act stupid.

Tomorrow, we conclude with the CW and an overview of the season as a whole.

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