The Only TV Column That Matters™ isn’t one for bloodlust and death wishes … oh wait—yes, I am! … but where are all the cancelled shows? By this time in 2011, the broadcast networks had already killed off several dozen series, including The Playboy Club, Free Agents, Charlie’s Angels and How to Be a Gentleman; right now, we’re only looking at the fresh corpses of Made in Jersey and Animal Practice. I am not entertained!
Dead Shows Walking don’t count: ABC’s Private Practice is in its final season, as are Fox’s Fringe, NBC’s The Office and 30 Rock, and The CW’s Gossip Girl—if you’re just hearing about these now, uh, spoiler alert? Not everyone has my superhuman (occasionally referred to as “super-sad”) ability to keep up on the minutiae of the tube.
There is some blood in the water, as The CW’s sucktastic Emily Owens M.D. is struggling to even hold on to Hart of Dixie’s middling audience of pinheads, and things are looking no better for Fox’s Mob Doctor—the year of the lady physician, this ain’t. Similarly, ABC’s 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort are sinking, and Ben & Kate is the weak ratings link in Fox’s Tuesday comedy block. A couple of these might limp into 2013, but they’re less likely to see spring than a minor Game of Thrones character.
NBC’s hasn’t cancelled the low-rated Up All Night, but they’re doing their damndest to “fix” it into the ground: After a timeout, it’ll return next year as a multicamera sitcom with a live audience—just like the one everybody bitches about on Whitney (which returns Wednesday, Nov. 14, to replace Animal Practice, what with the circle of life and all). It won’t work, but that probably won’t stop NBC from adding laugh tracks to viewer-bleeding dramas like Chicago Fire, Law & Order: SVU and Parenthood to “save” ’em (“My cancer is back, our teen daughter is pregnant and now [tears] Whole Foods is closed on Sunday!”—Ha ha ha ha ha ha!).
Parks & Recreation and Grimm are solid untouchables, but the only new shows likely to wring another season out of NBC are semi-hits Revolution and (blech) Go On; despite orders for more episodes, Guys With Kids and The New Normal are bound to be one-and-dones. It’s not looking good for comedies that are actually funny, either: Tuesday’s Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 are getting bitch-slapped by New Girl and The Mindy Project, which are as safe as the rest of Fox’s lineup: Bones, Raising Hope, Glee, The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and American Dad are going to run forever, if not longer.
Same goes for CBS’ Big Bang Theory, Two & a Half Men, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds and CSI—and, not like the network needed another hit, but modern-day Sherlock Holmes re-reboot Elementary is the biggest new smash of the season. On the other hand, rookie Vegas and vets The Good Wife, The Mentalist and CSI:NY are toss-ups, and Partners should be dead before … this … sentence … is … over (just making sure).
ABC is similarly bloated with success: Modern Family, The Middle, Suburgatory, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Castle and Grey’s Anatomy are doing so well that moderate hits like Scandal, new critical darling Nashville and WTF? pickup The Neighbors are looking like relative flops.
The network that’s the living definition of relative flop, The CW, might actually have more contenders now than it ever has: The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Nikita and the new Arrow are all locks for next season, and even ratings stragglers 90210 and Beauty & the Beast are probably going to live to suck another day.
And now that your mind is blown/numbed with TV details, here’s this: NBC’s Community returns Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013! And will be cancelled by May.