Tuesday, May 07, 2013
SitcomsOnline.com 2013-14 Upfront Preview: Fox; Episodic Reviews: New Girl - "Winston's Birthday" and The Mindy Project - "Frat Party" Airing Tonight on Fox
Our upfront preview week continues! Today we take a look at Fox, who will present its schedule on Monday. Fox is coming off a a very slow season with its major hits declining like American Idol and New Girl way down from its freshman season. Fox also faltered with its second season of X Factor and the only real bright spot this season was the launch of The Following. Can they find another hit in 2013-14?
Here is the SitcomsOnline.com Fox 2013-14 preview:
New Series Already Picked-Up: Dads (multi-camera comedy).
Already Renewed Returning Series: Bones, The Following, Raising Hope, The X Factor, The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy, American Dad!, Glee, New Girl, The Mindy Project.
Other Likely Returning Series: American Idol, Kitchen Nightmare, Hell's Kitchen .
Likely To Be Canceled or Already Canceled: Fringe, Ben & Kate, The Mob Doctor, Touch, Cops.
Likely Additional New Series Pick-Ups (our picks): Friends & Family (comedy for fall), To My Assistant (comedy for fall), Rake (drama for fall), Human (drama for fall), Gang Related (drama for fall), I Suck at Girls (comedy for mid-season) and Enlisted (comedy for mid-season).
OUR FALL 2013 PREDICTION:
9:00PM Rake (NEW!)
8:00PM Friends & Family (NEW!)
8:30PM Raising Hope
9:00PM New Girl
9:30PM To My Assistant (NEW!)
8:00PM The X-Factor
9:00PM Human (NEW!)
8:00PM The X-Factor Results
9:00PM Gang Related (NEW!)
8:00PM Kitchen Nightmares
8:00PM College Football on Fox
7:00PM NFL Overrun / Animated Encores
7:30PM American Dad!
8:00PM The Simpsons
8:30PM Bob's Burgers
9:00PM Family Guy
9:30PM Dads (NEW!)
Comments: Fox needs to shake things up and gamble on some new shows because they really didn't launch anything last fall and really only had one hit in 2012-13 with The Following. With American Idol down, and veterans Bones, The Simpsons, Family Guy aging, they will need some fresh blood. They could for starters give New Girl some sort of support in comedy, as it is on an island of its own. Detailing night by night, on Mondays, 8pm will likely remain the same with Bones leading off. They should use the 9pm slot to try and launch a new drama like Rake starring Greg Kinnear, and save The Following for mid-season so it avoids Monday Night Football in the fall and airs repeat-free from Jan-May. The plan worked this season, one of Fox's few good moves this season. Moving on to Tuesdays, I think Fox will try to bring in some new comedies and still go with a four-comedy block. Raising Hope isn't strong enough to lead the block off, so perhaps something like the Jason Ritter/Alexis Beldel comedy Friends & Family based on the UK series Gavin & Stacey is the answer. If Fox plays its cards right, it could be an anchor type show and lead into Raising Hope at 8:30. New Girl of course will anchor the night at 9. Fox should try another new comedy at 9:30pm, perhaps the comedy To My Assistant starring Brittany Snow. That would draw fans of the lead-in, I think...come on it's Zooey Deschanel into Brittany Snow! Mindy Project could be brought in mid-season, since it wasn't pulling in the ratings anyway.
On Wednesdays, unfortunately The X-Factor will likely air on this night and continue to go down for Fox. They should cut the Wednesday edition from 2 hours to an hour and air one of its top drama pilots, like Human starring Minka Kelly and produced by J.J. Abrams. That seems like a good fit and the hour needs a good younger skewing drama, as there are only crime series right now. On Thursdays, X-Factor will likely be at 8pm still for its second night, but perhaps leading into another new drama like Gang Related which has Terry O'Quinn. I think Glee is one of those declining Fox shows and they don't need to air it on Thursdays at 9pm. I think they should rest it and bring it back mid-season or air it on Fridays. Fridays will likely remain the same as it is now at 8pm, with Kitchen Nightmares but then I suggest they air Glee at 9. It can't do any worse than Touch right? Or maybe it could, but I don't think so. Saturdays will be sports in the fall, with College Football most weeks. And Fox announced that Cops is ending on Fox and will move to Spike, so something will be needed in mid-season, but they will likely just air repeats. And on Sundays, animation domination will continue of course with a mix of the 5 series they have already, but likely one will be benched to January because I think Fox will launch a new multi-camera comedy, perhaps at 9:30pm following Family Guy. The comedy is from Seth MacFarlane and is called Dads and it could work on this night. No other night makes any sense. I think Cleveland Show will be the odd show out, as a result.
So, I think this is aggressive for Fox but they could do this. Launching three dramas might be a little much, but I think they will do at least 2. They might just focus on building the comedy block on Tuesday and try and launch a new drama on Monday and Wednesday. If that happens, then Glee will remain on Thursdays and they could air something cheaper on Fridays. In mid-season Idol will be back of course, but will it continue to fall in the ratings? If so, I don't think Fox will schedule it for two-hours every Wednesday, especially if a new drama hits. That's still too far ahead, as our focus right now is the fall. Fox needs to do better and they could with this schedule.
Remember, Monday (May 13) is the actual date when we will find out Fox's plans for the 2013-14 season. So, come on back next Monday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong). Stay tuned next week for the official fall line-ups for all the networks.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own!
Stay tuned tomorrow for our prediction for ABC!
On the next...New Girl:
Fox's Tuesday adorkable sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel airs Tuesdays at 9:00pm and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (May 7). In the episode airing tonight, "Winston's Birthday," Jess' dad, Bob (guest star Rob Reiner), arrives at the loft the morning after Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick's (Jake Johnson) night of passion. Then, Jess finds herself with a huge opportunity for a new job on the day before Cece’s (Hannah Simone) wedding, forcing a nervous Nick to spend the day alone with Bob. Meanwhile, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) must take a look in the mirror and confront his real feelings for Elizabeth (guest star Merritt Wever). Plus, Winston (Lamorne Morris) psyches himself up for his huge surprise birthday celebration, which no one seemed to remember to throw for him.
At this point in sitcom history, a will they/won't they arc is pretty much standard. Just about every sitcom has some variation of this plotline at some point in its run, to the point where many shows seem to put its characters through these obstacles simply because they feel they have to. The great thing about the Jess/Nick arc on New Girl has been that everything about it has felt completely natural. It doesn't feel like the writers are just throwing the two characters together because of some sense of post-Friends obligation. What makes their relationship even more interesting is that the show is constantly questioning it and whether or not it would actually work - Jess and Nick are polar opposites, and while that can be exciting, it can also be disastrous, as we've seen already seen many times on the show (Jess and Nick destroying Schmidt's exotic fish tank in the "Quick Hardening Caulk" episode a few months ago comes to mind).
What I loved about "Winston's Birthday" is that the show really made us think about why Jess and Nick could, indeed, be bad for each other, while also pointing out that those very same things are what could possibly make it work. The show brings back Rob Reiner as Jess's dad, the product of a relationship strikingly similar to Jess and Nick's. But his relationship failed, and he provides extremely legitimate examples as to why Jess and Nick's relationship could be just as much of a failure. And yet, there's undeniable tension between Jess and Nick, a feeling that they have to go for it, even if it might not work - even if it might ruin everything. This feeling translates well into the other plotlines of the episode, from Cece's upcoming wedding to Schmidt rediscovering his past with his college girlfriend Elizabeth. It's this feeling that's been driving New Girl for much of this season, and it's that feeling that makes me extremely excited to see what the show has in store for its season finale next week. A-
On the next...The Mindy Project:
Fox's Tuesday night comedy starring Mindy Kaling airs Tuesday nights at 9:30pm immediately following New Girl and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (May 7). In the episode airing tonight, "Frat Party," Mindy (Mindy Kaling) gets extremely upset when her boyfriend, Casey (guest star Anders Holm, Workaholics), tells her that he is moving to Haiti for a year. To blow off steam, Mindy goes to a frat party with her pre-med student mentee (guest star Francia Raisa, The Secret Life of the American Teenager), where she runs into her ex-boyfriend, Tom (guest star Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live). Meanwhile, Danny (Chris Messina) and Jeremy (Ed Weeks) plot a way to lure Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) away from the midwives.
"Frat Party" picks up where the show left off last week. To give a brief refresher, Mindy and boyfriend Casey (a minister) faced a few difficulties in their relationship when Casey asked Mindy (a follower of Hinduism) to convert to Christianity. Also, Danny fired Morgan when it is revealed that Morgan sent a letter that Danny wrote years ago to his ex-wife. However, if you missed all of that, this episode is still capable of standing alone. Now, after Mindy and Casey have resolved their religious differences issue, there is an even bigger problem: Casey is going away on a missionary trip to Haiti for an entire year. This doesn't settle to well for Mindy's rather selfish ways, and to ease her ego, she goes to a frat party with a pre-med student whom she is mentoring... even if she is a bit too "old" for that. Surprisingly, though, she isn't as old as she thinks when she finds ex-boyfriend Tom (Bill Hader) at the party, fresh off of a bad marriage and with a new eyebrow ring. Mindy tries to interact with Tom, but everything seems to go wrong once an uninvited (and unexpected) guest shows up at the party and turns it into a drunk brawl. Meanwhile, Danny is willing to do whatever it takes to get Morgan back... and in that effort, they also (along with Jeremy) manage to make it to the frat party.
I don't know how many times I have to say it, but here we have another episode of this series about... yes, Mindy's boyfriend(s). We understand that she seems to have some instability in her relationships (although Casey seems to be working out somewhat well, even though there are constantly horrible things happening between them), but I still feel that this sitcom could be coming up with other stories and other plots. I'm assuming we'll see less of Casey from now on, though, and we'll go back to the old "boyfriend of the week" format. It is a shame, because the series has so much potential if it could do without that just once in a while. I know that I'm sounding like a broken record by now, but I'd like to see more episodes focus on the actual character of Mindy and her co-workers, and if there are going to be guest stars, maybe not necessarily make them a boyfriend of Mindy's. Nonetheless, this episode is just another of the typical episodes with a few good moments (particularly at the frat party). C+
New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)
10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Saturday, December 10
Saturday, December 10
- Dennis Haskins (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Dennis will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
- Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Watch Jennifer Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats about the film Why Him? on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Matthew stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
- Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will talks about Collateral Beauty on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
- Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) - Megan is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.