With all of the new Fall TV shows out there, it can be a process of trial and error to know which ones are actually worth your time. Now that most of the new shows of the season have premiered I did the homework for you (your welcome 😉 ) to the new shows that aren’t going to last, the shows that I’m thinking will get a very early renewal and all of the shows that fall in between.
There are 23 new shows this fall season, so I have spread them out into three posts: The Best, The Worst and The Filler. This first post marks the worst because I want to have my say before all of these shows are canceled, which could really be any day now!
The Worst New Shows Of Fall 2014
“Project Runway: Threads”
My Rating 2.5 out of 10 Stars
This is a spin-off series based on “Project Runway” (one of the only two reality shows I watch) where three young designers compete for a prize package worth over $25,000 every week. Each prize includes $10,000 to use at any Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store or on their website; a scholarship to the summer program at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles (including travel expenses), a top-of-the-line sewing and embroidery studio courtesy of Brother International and the winning designer’s look will appear in Seventeen Magazine.
First, I must say that I loved the concept of this. The idea of finding young and budding talent and awarding them the tools and opportunities to get started and pursue their dreams… what can I say, I’m a sap. Christian Siriano who was one of my favorite “Project Runway” winners ever (and the youngest, so that fits) is a regular judge on the show. But for all this show had going for it, the execution is abysmal. I mean, I watched one episode, and every other show on this list I at least stomached two episodes, because I didn’t want a weak pilot to tarnish the show if they could turn it around in the second episode. But I just couldn’t with this.
While the host (Simmons) is not helping matters, the bigger issue is that everything is so hokey I gagged throughout the hour broadcast. I don’t think judges should tear people apart or even necessarily tell it how it is, bluntly, but there needs to at least be constructive criticism. The point is to discover and encourage budding designers and how can they do that if they pussyfoot around these kids, with nothing of substance to say. These clothes are good for their ages (12-15) but K-Mart could do better. Rather than say this to the kids, tell them what they should do differently, be honest about their strengths and weaknesses.
This show wins the prize as the absolute WORST new show of the Fall 2014 season. I think even Tim Gunn would agree, I’m not sure there is a way to “Make it work,” besides scrapping what they have and starting over from scratch.
My Rating 3 out of 10 Stars
This sitcom is about a comedian named John who is living in New York City with his roommates Jane, a personal trainer, and Motif, another comedian. John’s life changes when he is hired as a writer for Lou Cannon, a legendary comedian and game show host.
So this show easily takes the prize of Second Worst show of the season. It is a total rip off of “Seinfeld.” Now “Seinfeld” worked, I’m not exactly sure why, but no one can argue that it didn’t. This tries to copy everything about the 1990’s sitcom and hopes that in doing so it will have the same magic, but it’s not even close. First of all, John Mulaney, at least in the show, is not that funny. Nothing close to Jerry Seinfeld. But everything about this show screams “Seinfeld” so that anyone can see what they tried to do, and that can’t work either. When a show is transparent about copying every aspect of another show, it makes me think that they only need to do this, because they had nothing in the first place.
When I say everything, I mean that George, Kramer, Elaine and Nelson have all been reincarnated on this show, so it goes beyond the standup before and after which was the staple format for “Seinfeld.” Sometimes imitation may be flattering, but in this case it is just sad. I highly doubt NBC will even air all of the episodes that have already been produced. Watching “Mulaney” is not nostalgic, it’s pathetic.
My Rating 4 out of 10 Stars
This sitcom follows Eliza Dooley, a woman obsessed with the idea of achieving fame through the use of different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where she posts countless selfies. But she begins to worry that “friending” people online is not a substitute for friendship in real life. She enlists the help of Henry Higgs, a marketing image guru at the company she works for.
This show is based on “My Fair Lady” but unlike “Lady” it has little entertainment value. Eliza Dooley is utterly unlikeable because she takes clueless to an extreme that is the very definition of a lost cause. Think sociopath airhead who doesn’t understand she is being a sociopath or an airhead. The jokes are expected and tired and while John Cho who plays Henry Higgs and Da’Vine Joy Randolph who plays receptionist Charmonique Whitaker are fantastic, even their wonderful performances can’t stop this show from floundering about so pathetically that you just want to put it out of its misery.
“A To Z”
My Rating 4.5 out of 10 Stars
This series follows the lives of Andrew, an employee at an internet dating website who wants nothing more than to meet the girl of his dreams, and Zelda, a no-nonsense lawyer who was raised by a hippie mother and has a rebellious streak. By an accidental chance of fate, Zelda meets Andrew to resolve a mismatch dating dispute and these two single people suddenly find themselves falling for each other. From there, the series chronicles their relationship timeline “from A to Z” and is narrated by Katey Sagal.
Right away I think the premise kind of gives the show a limited scope and best case can only get 26 episodes out of the premise. With the exception of a miniseries, networks and viewers prefer shows that have lasting power. That aside the show has everything it needs to be short, but sweet. But it’s not. The show stars Cristin Miliato (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Ben Feldman (“Drop Dead Diva” and “Mad Men”) who are both brilliant and hilarious – I’m still trying to figure out why exactly this didn’t work.
I want to blame the writing, and I think that is definitely part of it, but I also think there was a lack of chemistry, because there just was never any magic that one would expect from two such wonderful performers. Or perhaps the limited premise was culprit. An idea that can’t work is not likely to become a show that ever has a chance.
“Manhattan Love Story”
My Rating 5 out of 10 Stars
This sitcom chronicles the journey of a new couple and the questions they are actually thinking from the moment they begin a relationship.
This show is about a young woman from a small town who moves to New York and is set up with her sorority sister’s husband’s brother and once they meet it is basically a comedy of errors. This show isn’t bad actually; it just isn’t being all that it should be. Analeigh Tipton stars as the lead, Dana Hopkins, and is cute, quirky and incredibly likeable. She moves to New York to start over, and is in the publishing industry so I could definitely relate, while Jake McDorman stars as her soon-to-be beau who is her opposite and funny enough. And the two have a nice chemistry. But it’s just nice. Just like he is just funny enough and Dana is just quirky enough.
This show is coasting on “just enough.” It could be fantastic but it is stuck in the stride of “just being okay.” And it’s a real shame.
My Rating 5.5 out of 10 Stars
This sitcom is about an upper-middle class African-American family and deals with a wide range of cultural issues.
I’ll be honest, the critics and a good chunk of viewers seem to like this show, but I just don’t understand why. Here is what I like about it: it features an African-American family that goes against so many stereotypes and that is awesome. And it does deal with so many different cultural and universal things, often from a new perspective that it is relevant. So why am I not crazy about something that I’ve built up as wonderful and something I would love to see all of the time? It’s just not funny. It’s a sitcom, I am supposed to laugh, but while the perspectives of these characters are fresh, the issues current, and the premise fantastic, there doesn’t seem to be laugh-worthy bit in the first few episodes. And with a show that should be wonderful, not being funny is just plain sad.
My Rating 6 out of 10 Stars
This sitcom is about a longtime couple, high-strung Annie and easy-going Jake and how their deeply committed relationship turns into a very bumpy ride as soon as the question, “Will you marry me?” is popped. After six years together, the couple struggles with whether a flurry of fights and disastrous marriage proposals spells doom for their relationship. After Annie and Jake are faced with proposals gone awry and a string of other unfortunate coincidences, they still find themselves destined to be together, even if they can’t get it together.
I keep debating on whether I should include this show on this list or not. When I saw the pilot it was just too much. It was funny, the two leads had chemistry and it was certainly something I (and so many others) can relate to (type-A marrying type-B). My opinion on this sitcom seems as unstable as the show and Annie (the leading female character) does. It’s like that person who is incredibly annoying because they are trying way too hard. I think this show gets in its own way, and the antics are often bizarre while the characters are so out there, they become nothing more than caricatures. And who wants that?
But I will say the second episode was much more tolerable, as the show seems to loosen up and bring its characters into the Earth’s stratosphere. And the third episode was even better, almost bringing them down to Earth. So for now, this gets a solid six stars. The first impression made it a solid four or worse, but it keeps working its way up from the bottom where it started. If first impressions are everything, this show is not for you. But if you’re willing to give it time and an open mind it might just become something wonderful, even if it isn’t quite there yet.
I wrote this blog two weeks ago, but did not post it and as such a few of these shows have already met their predictable ends.
“Manhattan Love Story” was the first cancellation of the season. I don’t think it was the worst show on TV, and in fact I think one of its problems was that it was after “Selfie” which in my opinion bombed so much harder. BUT it was just okay TV, and in this day and age, just okay just doesn’t cut it.
“A To Z” was also cancelled. I’m not surprised, but hope to see both leads in another series soon. They are both stars as far as I am concerned, and deserve their own shows, even if for whatever reason, this just didn’t work.
Finally, “Mulaney” is likely to be cancelled. The original series order was for sixteen episodes, when the network pulled the plug on the last three episodes, bringing the season order to thirteen episodes. What is especially telling about this move was that it was done just after episode thirteen completed production. It’s likely to be officially canned soon, and so far only the first seven episodes actually have air dates.
It was obviously a bad season for sitcoms. I’m not sure why, when last year’s fall season had so many promising sitcoms (like “Mom” or “The Millers” and don’t forget “The Goldbergs”). There are three sitcoms that hold their own and don’t deserve “The Worst” as a label, but whether or not they live up to their true potential remains to be seen.
When it comes to critics and viewers I know that sometimes my opinion was popular and other times when I thought a show left a lot to be desired, the viewership and critics mostly disagreed. What did you think of my list?