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The New TV Season: On Broadcast TV, Not Much Fresh TV Worth Watching
August 5, 2010  | By David Bianculli

Next month -- by which time this site will be in its newly redesigned incarnation -- we'll roll out a fall preview feature in which all our critics can weigh in on the new broadcast slate. Meanwhile, a handful of critics, myself included, were interviewed by Broadcasting & Cable for a sneak preview. The general consensus: Fall 2010, for broadcast TV, presents a disappointingly ho-hum roster of new shows...

Marisa Guthrie, my former colleague at both Broadcasting & Cable and the New York Daily News, has gathered a critics' roundtable in years past, but this year she interviewed us individually. So until the article came out, I had no idea of my opinions meshed, for the most part, with my respected cohorts in criticism: Matt Roush of TV Guide, Robert Bianco of USA Today, Brian Lowry of Variety, Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News and Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune.

They did. The new season, on broadcast TV, provides very little about which to get excited.


Even the retreads are infuriating. How dare CBS take a new, lighthearted legal show starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell, shown here, and title it The Defenders? That's the name of one of the most respected and revered courtroom dramas in TV history -- the controversial 1961-65 series starring E.G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed (seen at the top of this column).

Recycling that series' title for a tossaway piece of pap, for those of us old enough to treasure the memory of the original show, is astoundingly insulting.

Why not just take a multi-generational sitcom and call it All in the Family? Or do a comedy about newlyweds and call it The Honeymooners? Why not launch a cooking show devoted entirely to the potato and title it M*A*S*H?


And why bother to remake Hawaii Five-O, as CBS is doing (shown here) if you botch the instrumental theme with a less powerful musical version?


But I digress.

Below is a link to the original article, where you can read our early reactions to such things as William Shatner in CBS's $#*! My Dad Says ("an abominable show," says Bianco), J.J. Abrams' new Undercovers spy series ("just didn't do it for me," says Gray), and Fox's oil-magnates drama Lone Star ("made me wonder what would happen next," says Roush).

And thanks, Marisa, for keeping me as part of the pack. Read her article HERE.




Eileen said:

The "real" Defenders was must see tv in my house back in the day. Every time I see that promo picture of Jerry O'Connell I want to punch him out. They should have called this show The Ambulance Chasers, as that's what they both look like in every promo I've seen.

Hawaii Five-0 just might find a completely new, young audience. Otherwise, I can't imagine why you would retread a real classic, music especially.

Blue Bloods might be good; Tom Selleck has an excellent tv track record. But Dear Lord, Friday night? Better to put in on Sunday night when football is on and grab the female audience, who really like Tom.

$#*! My Dad Says looks like Frasier -- minus the top notch cast and excellent writing.

All in all, this season looks pretty dismal.

Comment posted on August 5, 2010 12:46 PM

Tausif Khan said:

Daniel Fienberg of Hitfix.com has a penchant for renaming series and shared his renamed version of the Shatner sitcom at TCA calling it "Feces My Dad Says" and said he would only revert to calling the show by its proper title if after watching more episodes he sees the show has improved.

I have said this before on Diane's post before she went off to TCA but it is worth repeating The Defenders looks like CBS execs were wondering what Jim Belushi's character from According to Jim would be like as a lawyer. Yuck!

I am excited about No Ordinary Family and a whole slate of returning shows Sons of Anarchy, Parenthood, Glee and a resurgent How I Met Your Mother.

Comment posted on August 6, 2010 4:16 AM

Gregg B said:

I find this new season very disconcerting. I thought the networks would learn from the breakout shows from last season and the cream of the cable shows that trying new ideas (Glee) and different spins on old ideas (Modern Family) really worked for audiences. Then I see retreads like Jim Belushi and more superhero shows and I really have to wonder if they even know what they are doing at the networks. Very disappointing.

Comment posted on August 6, 2010 9:43 AM

Tausif Khan said:

This is a comment for the TV Worth Watching section. I watched the first episode of Haven because Jose Molina (writer of Firefly, not the Yankee catcher) was a part of the staff but I found it boring and haven't continued. This week's episode looks like it was based on last week's episode of Warehouse 13, where an artifact was aging women of beauty. I am far from impressed.

Comment posted on August 6, 2010 3:13 PM

Tausif Khan said:

@ Gregg B Superhero shows offer some of the most interesting commentary on modern day society so I hope you are not dismissive of the entire genre. Academics are now buying DVDs of Buffy the Vampire and Angel and analyzing their cultural impact. Academic tomes have been penned as a result of some of those innovative shows. Most importantly the Incredibles is a great commentary on the Modern Family. No Ordinary Family with a similar premise has the possibility to create innovative social commentary.

Also Glee owes a huge debt to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Glee has many different parts: Drama, Comedy, Singing and Dancing. Buffy on the WB (Ryan Murphy's first show as was Popular also on the WB, Joss Whedon creator of Buffy directed an episode of Glee saying its ambiyion was similar to his show) made its mission to have Drama, Comedy, Action, Horror and social commentary. If you are looking for innovation what more can you ask for?

Comment posted on August 7, 2010 12:38 PM
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