Talking Television: Endangered TV List

With the Fall television season soon coming to a close, Mike Duke and Travis McCollum give their thoughts on what shows may or may not be returning for another season.


Mike Duke:

IGN posted an update to their annual (?) Endangered list this weekend, and here’s the thing: while there is some good news on it for once, I can’t say that anything here is really a surprise. Am I paying more attention to TV, or are the networks making it that obvious?

I’m not going to address the whole list–there’s just too much here–but I do want to talk about a few shows.

Almost Human-
This is the series that I feel bad for not watching more often. But here’s the thing, while the show is solid sci-fi, and probably the best looking show on TV, it’s all been done before. The only real surprise and genuine joy of the show is co-star Michael Ealy as Dorian. While a second season would give them an opportunity to grow to the size of their world, I knew that this show was going to be a toss up unless it got stellar ratings based solely on the production value.

I’m beyond excited that Community seems to be all lined up for a sixth season, especially for as bad as the season 5 launch was handled. But again, it doesn’t surprise me. You can feel it out there in the ether: this show is being talked about and watched again like it hasn’t since the early seasons. Bringing Dan Harmon back was the best decision NBC could have made, and even without Troy (Donald Glover) the show is thriving like never before.

Dads is looking like it’s headed out the door, and as much as I hate to say it, I’m okay with that. I wanted to love this show–Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green were enough to draw me in–but the trite jokes and standard sitcom staging just made the whole thing feel like a bad Big Bang rip-off.

Dracula is a complete anomaly to me. I’ve seen pretty much all of the episodes up to this point, and while the whole thing works on paper, it just misses the mark somewhere. It’s a great premise, a solid cast, and a beautiful looking show, but something doesn’t work, and it seems like audiences agree with me. This one’s not dead yet, but it doesn’t look like it has much of a chance of undeath (get it?)

Enlisted is sort of the little guy in this fight–the one you want to win. While it’s not a perfect show by any means, it’s a good show, and one that has tried to live outside the sit-com box more than others. It’s got good characters, a quirky but not problematic premise, and is shot like a real show–you know, outside and everything. I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s on the chopping block, but I’d like to see it get another season to see if it can live up to it’s potential.

The Goldbergs-
Does anyone really believe that the Goldbergs is going to be axed? This is the show that everyone wants right now, and seems to be hitting all of the right notes. I personally can’t watch it because it hits a bit too close to home (I looked exactly like young star Sean Giambrone when i was that age) but this seems like it will be the next #1 sitcom in the coming seasons. I don’t think this one’s going anywhere.

Hannibal is another series that I just can’t see going away yet. It’s too much of a critical darling for the network, especially in this age of cable TV shows vs networks. I personally think this one will get one more season, maybe two, and then they’ll bow out of their own accord, on their own terms.

Intelligence was another show that was neat, but so what. Just not enough extraordinary about it to keep it in competition. Good premise, so-so characters, a neat gimmick, but too expensive to keep, I think.

Mind Games-
I am a bit sad to see Mind Games go before it really got a chance. Again, this was a really solid premise based in some fascinating science, but apparently something wasn’t working. I know that I’m getting a little weary of the “mentally ill genius” bit, but I know quite a few people who were not fond of Christian Slater–just all around. Either way, it looks like it’s gone and not coming back.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-
I found it interesting that IGN has Agents of SHIELD listed as “renewal expected” with no other comment. I hadn’t seen the show’s future as quite that positive, but if it is, then so much the better. It’s possible that a definite verdict may depend on the last few episodes of the series, which will start airing this week, but either way, I’m not going to uncross my fingers yet.

Well, that’s all for me. Brooklyn-99 is done until next season, Castle’s got a few more episodes left, my SHIELD reviews will be up on the site, Orphan Black comes back in April… and then I can go back to holding my breath until Doctor Who comes around in what, September?


Travis McCollum:

I am a devout student of television, and one thing that’s always fascinated me was studying ratings and ratings patterns, especially in the main Adults 18-49 demographic that Nielson lives and dies by. The problem that comes with that is equal parts jaded and sadness at the reality that your favorite show is probably not going to be coming back. It’s happened enough times that after the initial sting I become indifferent to a shows fate and move on, but sometimes I look back and wish that a show just had one more season or one more episode to wrap everything up. As we near the May Upfronts, where all the final decisions are made as to what is and is not coming back, a lot of people/websites are giving their final thoughts as to what the fates of some of the shows might be. I’m no different

I’m always intrigued by ABC when it comes to their thought process behind when to air all their shows. On paper, the perfect Wednesday night would have been The Middle followed by The Goldbergs followed by Modern Family followed by Trophy Wife and then whatever drama they wanted to stick in at 10 (in this case Nashville). All four of those shows share a thematic unity and use the same kind of humor (to varying degrees of success), but ABC never took the chance on that line-up. I’m not saying that it would have been perfect, but ABC is now at an impasse when it comes to their comedies. The only shows that have a chance of surviving are The Goldbergs (Tuesday), The Middle (Wednesday), Modern Family, (Wednesday) and “Last Man Standing (Friday). All their other comedies (Trophy Wife, Super Fun Night, Mixology, Mind Games, Suburgatory, The Neighbors, Back in the Game) have either already been cancelled, or are on the verge of cancellation. It’s a mess for ABC comedies and though their pilot season is ripe with comedies, to lose that many shows in one year is definitely disconcerting. To compare, the only drama in trouble is Betrayal, and that was de facto cancelled a while ago. Otherwise, everything else is coming back. They are operating at over 70% of the scripted average for the network and will all be returning.

My analysis of Fox will be a lot shorter than ABC, mostly due to the fact that Fox has more or less solidified their line-up for next Fall, especially in light of recent events. Enlisted was pulled from the schedule, Rake is being burned off on Saturdays, Surviving Jack bombed out of the gate and Dads was the lowest rated Tuesday comedy of the Fall season. All are de facto cancelled or awaiting official confirmation that they are. The only show with even an iota of a chance of making it (and still by no means a guarantee) is Almost Human. It matched or bettered the already renewed The Following every week that it was on and averaged 6-9 million viewers (adjusted to fit DVR numbers), but it wasn’t a smash hit out of the gate like Sleepy Hollow and production costs for the show are incredibly high, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. That being said, selfishly I would like to see it return.

Another quick one since, like Fox, CBS already renewed all the shows it’s planning on bringing back. This was solidified by their choice to bring an unprecedented 18 shows back for another season, leaving only Intelligence, The Crazy Ones and The Mentalist to stew. The only show that COULD come back would be The Mentalist, due to its syndication rights and it’s low production costs, but more likely than not, we’ve already heard all the news from CBS that we’re going to this year.

The CW:
I can never predict The CW. It’s a network that baffles ratings aficionados, defies logic with some of their renewals, and never has any clear frontrunners, save for The Vampire Diaries (and by proxy The Originals), Arrow and Supernatural, all of which have already been renewed. That being said, The CW has one spot left open on their Mon-Fri schedule and it’s a fight to see if it will be Hart of Dixie, The 100 or The Tomorrow People. My money is on the first choice, since it’s one season away from syndication, but you never know. Whatever show lives though, the others will all go away.

The term “up a creek without a paddle” comes to mind whenever I think about NBC, and most of the time it hurts my head. The network that was once the most watched network in every household has now become the laughingstock of the television community. Out of the 19 shows that aired this Fall, four have been cancelled (The Michael J Fox Show, Sean Saves the World, Welcome to the Family, Ironside), four more are close to cancellation (Dracula, Believe, Crisis, Revolution) and the others are either complete toss-ups (Community, About a Boy, Growing Up Fisher), longtime veterans (Law and Order SVU, Parenthood) or air on the network for next to nothing (Hannibal). With so many pilots in the works, NBC’s schedule is getting pretty full for next Fall so I wouldn’t be surprised if 10 shows end up getting the boot by the time May comes around.

So those were our thoughts on what shows may or may not be returning for the Fall television season. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let us know what you think.

Mike is a husband, father, writer, gamer, and all around geek. His life’s ambition is to write the fictions, either in film, books, or comics. He is currently working on a couple of comics with artists local to his home in Denver, Colorado, which will be…

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