TV D.O.A. 

A premature assessment of the current TV season

Sleepy Hollow - FOX
  • Fox
  • Sleepy Hollow

Too early for a fall-television death watch/report card? Not for The Only TV Column That Matters™! After crunching the ratings numbers and several plates of nachos, I’ve semi-scientifically determined where all of the shows currently sit—the new ones, the old ones, the ones you didn’t even realize were on anymore, etc. Keep in mind, the following doesn’t account for yet-to-return series like Community, Raising Hope, Grimm and whatever The CW hasn’t tossed back yet, or upcoming debuts like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Almost Human, Dracula and NBC’s visionary remake of Baretta (just kidding … or am I?).

Already Renewed
Fox has already signed on for a sixth and probably/hopefully final season of Glee next year, as well as a fifth for Bob’s Burgers, but the network surprised everyone last week with an early renewal for the new Sleepy Hollow, a solid Monday-night performer despite a wacko premise and the occasional decapitation. The Simpsons is set for Season 26 in 2014, and Family Guy will likely outlive you (American Dad will be moving to TBS full time after this season on Fox).

Don’t Worry
Underwhelmed by 21 S.H.I.E.L.D. Street, er, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Count on ABC to give it a full season to fix itself, with or without the clingy Avengers cameos. ABC standards Modern Family, The Middle and Grey’s Anatomy are also locks; somehow, so is Tim Allen’s cockroach of a sitcom, Last Man Standing.

CBS vets 2 Broke Girls, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and (blech) The Big Bang Theory aren’t going anywhere, nor are newer series Elementary and Person of Interest. Newcomer The Millers could be a keeper, but only because of the millions who still tune in to watch the played-out nerd show right before it.

Fox’s creaky Bones will be moving to Friday nights, but it’s still safe; critic/fan favorite New Girl will also be around for a while and, once it shakes the lead-in stench of Dads, newbie—and contender for Best New Comedy—Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to be just fine.

Since the mouthbreathers who watch The Voice apparently can’t work the remote, The Blacklist has become a slosh-over hit for NBC—good news, because the rest of the net’s freshman dramas and comedies are being met with a wall of indifference usually reserved for new Activia flavors. Dick Wolf joints Chicago Fire and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit are still going strong, as is Parks & Recreation … well, strong-ish.

Maybe Worry
ABC’s kinda-funny The Goldbergs and CBS’s definitely-lousy The Crazy Ones premiered big a couple of weeks ago, but then audiences found fresher shows to watch—like Benson reruns on Antenna. Speaking of the classics, Two & a Half Men is about done roaming the earth and, thanks to the one-two suck-punch lead-in of Welcome to the Family and Sean Saves the World, The Michael J. Fox Show is on shaky … nope, not gonna go there.

Dig a Grave
It’s a weak launch season for ABC: New series Back In the Game, Betrayal, Lucky 7 and Trophy Wife probably won’t see 2014, or even Thanksgiving, and it’s looking only slightly better for second-year shows Nashville and The Neighbors. (As I was typing this, Lucky 7 was canceled, so there.)

Monday CBS newbies Mom, Hostages and We Are Men are biting it hard—in particular, Men was the lowest-rated CBS comedy debut ever, and this from the network that once built a TV show around a talking baby from a commercial (Update: We Are Men was just canceled, like, a minute ago). Hawaii Five-0, displaced from Mondays to Fridays, is just begging for an Aloha joke here.

Sadly, two of NBC’s best dramas, Parenthood and Revolution, are going to need some of the net’s other shows to fail even more violently in order to survive. In the plus column on that front, no other Peacock pilot in history has debuted to fewer eyeballs than Ironside, which bested (worsted?) even 2011’s The Playboy Club on the Meh Scale.

Oh, Dads—how have you lasted this long? Way more surprising, the once-hot (OK, just warm) Mindy Project is bleeding Fox viewers faster than The X Factor: Walmart Parking-Lot Auditions Round. 

Twitter: @Bill_Frost

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