2012-13 Up-Fronts: Fox (which cancelled Firefly)

In my continuing series (rants?) on the network TV up-fronts, I’ll be taking a look at the Fox Broadcasting Network (not sure if it’s actually called that, but you know what I’m talking about).

Fox is a bit of a conundrum in that they take more chances on shows but then yank them off the schedule just as quickly. For instance, last season they took a chance on a high concept serial drama in Lone Star. The show was critically acclaimed, launched to a nationwide audience that could fit in my bedroom, and then was yanked the following week.

Though the ratings were horrible, you’d think a show with such good reviews might be worth floating for a while, and seeing if it could develop an audience. While all over-the-air networks are guilty of this in some way, Fox is by far the worst offender.

Fox has cancelled two Joss Whedon shows (don’t know him? Check out The Avengers) in Firefly and Dollhouse; the former now considered a classic despite only 14 episodes and the latter a very high level concept that was just getting good when they gave up on it. There’s countless others; just off the top of my head (you know I don’t do research), there’s The Good Guys, Sliders, Family Guy (three times, I think), Terra Nova (not a classic, but kinda fun) and many others.

One thing I do tend to like about Fox however is the fairly limited reality shows they employ during the prime parts of the season. While it’s summer is generally a wasteland of reality programming and each spring is centered around the fading American Idol, Fox does have a nice slate of scripted programming and, with the quick hook, there’s generally always something new coming down the pike.

Finally, Fox is unique within the four major networks (I don’t count The CW, as its demo has just recently graduated from Nickelodeon) in that it only has two hours of prime time programming each night rather than the usual three. Generally Fox affiliates move to news at 10pm ET, while the alphabet soup networks move into their heavier dramatic shows at that hour.

This poses both easier and harder programming choices. It’s easier in that shows simply need to be paired with another like-minded show for a solid night of programming. It’s harder in that if you have a unique show, you might not find a good match for it.

Without further ado…

OFFICIALLY RENEWED: BACK FOR 2012-13
American Dad – Seth Macfarlane owns Sunday nights on Fox.

Bob’s Burgers – Never seen it, probably never will, but someone must like it.

Bones – Police procedural combined with soap opera…any wonder I’ve never seen an episode?

The Cleveland Show – A bad parody of Family Guy, which is now an even worse parody of itself.

Family Guy – Speaking of…(see above)

Fringe – Brought back for a 13 episode final season. Frankly, I got a bit tired of this show and stopped watching. I liked the high-concept sci-fi (hard to find anymore), but really never liked Anna Torv, either as an actress or as a character. Maybe I’ll give it another show down the line.

Glee – I stopped watching this after Quinn’s miraculous recovery from her accident. Maybe I overreacted, but a close friend was in a motorcycle accident and is years away from recovery. I was insulted and pissed off at the comic handling of the situation. I might watch the season finale and the occasional “big competition episode”, but I’m done with this show otherwise. It’s really just become musical porn anyhow: bad stories to set up musical numbers (in place of sex).

Kitchen Nightmares – Really America?

New Girl – Almost watched. Passed because I knew it would become a soap opera. From all indications, it did. This show is going to lose its luster soon.

Raising Hope – Don’t have much to say about this one. Never seen it. Doesn’t look bad.

The Simpsons – Renewed for a long time to come, 2014-15 season. I stopped watching years ago, but mad respect.

So You Think You Can Dance – Ugg…more reality.

The X-Factor – As far as I can tell, this is an Idol clone that will shortly supplant the mothership.

LIKELY TO BE RENEWED
American Idol – Is J-Lo worth $16 million a year? I don’t think she’s worth $0.16, but hey, that’s just me.

ON THE BUBBLE: CAN GO EITHER WAY
Touch – I like the concept, am happy so far with the execution, but it needs to make a serious move very shortly otherwise I’m going to start to lose interest. Also am seriously tired of the will-they-or-won’t-they put Jake in the ha ha house. It needs to stop; too distracting. Also not sure how much I trust Tim Kring after the debacle that was Heroes Seasons 2-4.

PROBABLY GOING TO BE CANCELLED
Alcatraz – The high concept was much better than the procedural portion of this show. Also wasn’t a fan of the chick in the lead role; just never felt like a good fit.

Breaking In – Anyone hear about this one? Me either.

The Finder – I actually thought this show might have been interesting…then heard it was a Bones spinoff. Pass.

Napoleon Dynamite – One of the worst movies in history. No surprise that it becomes one of the worst shows in history.

6 FEET UNDER

Allen Gregory – This doesn’t even SOUND like a show.

House – Should have ended this last year. I stopped watching, but will tune in to see how it all ends (HINT: episode is called “Everybody Dies”).

I Hate My Teenage Daughter – A wonder that this show was cancelled…

Terra Nova – Loved the concept, liked the show. Felt like it was too light; too forgettable.