Battle Creek, yes. The Odd Couple, no. Predictions for every new show on CBS this fall

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CBS is the number one network on American television, which may explain why it only needs seven new shows in the lineup this fall (not counting Thursday Night Football). Will the big scary eyeball maintain its dominance through the second half of the calendar year? Pretty much everyone says the answer is “yes.”

Here are the official Happy Nice Time People predictions for the new additions to the CBS lineup:

Stalker

Description:

Two LAPD detectives track down obsessive lunatics who could be aptly described by the title. The Practice’s Dylan McDermott plays one, Nikita’s Maggie Q plays the other. The series was created by Kevin Williamson, who also came up with Dawson’s Creek, The Following, and Vampire Diaries.

Analysis:

Williamson will make sure the main characters are interesting, multi-dimensional, and have clever things to say. But the premise is so limiting. Since we’re dealing with stalkers week after week, the cases are bound to get either repetitive or ridiculous very quickly. Why not watch one of the other six dozen detective shows where the leads get to do something different every week?

Prediction:

Limps along throughout the season, is on everyone’s “bubble” list next spring, ultimately (but barely) gets renewed for Season 2.

 

Madam Secretary

Description:

Tea Leoni stars as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or a close approximation thereof. In the vein of The Good Wife, she has a complex professional and family life, only she’d dealing with international crises rather than criminal law. A stellar supporting cast includes Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, and occasionally Morgan Freeman, who also co-produces.

Analysis:

I love political dramas, so I want this to succeed. However, politics is tough sell in mainstream television. Only West Wing ever really worked. Geena Davis’s Commander in Chief and Sally Field’s First Mondays were both unsuccessful, and it’s hard not to see this following along the same path.

Prediction:

One full season, no more.

 

The Odd Couple

Description:

Friends’s Matthew Perry is a boorish slob. Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon is a fastidious neat freak. And they’re roommates, can you believe it?!

Analysis:

People who don’t get along aren’t fun to watch on TV, at least not as your two main characters. Just imagine if Joey and Ross really disliked each other and that was the focus of every episode of Friends. That show would’ve sucked. The new Odd Couple will only work if they immediately get past the odd couple dynamic being the source of all the conflict, which they won’t. That might have worked 30 years ago or more when TV characters could be broadly drawn and predictable, but we’ve moved well beyond that.

Hell, just look at the publicity photo:

the odd couple

Do those look like real people to you or lame caricatures? Wardrobe and hair by the West Lake High School theater department.

Prediction:

Cancelled midseason.

 

Battle Creek

Description:

It’s like the Odd Couple but with homicide detectives instead of roommates. One is a cynical dick who likes getting his hands dirty, the other is do-gooder who uses all the latest crime-fighting techniques and gizmos. Together, they patrol the mean streets of Battle Creek, Michigan. Oh, and did I mention it’s a collaboration between Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore?

Analysis:

These aren’t going to be broadly drawn characters going for the predictable laugh, so nothing I said about The Odd Couple applies here. (I hope.) Gilligan and Shore know how to make fascinating, complex characters play off each other even if they don’t necessarily like each other at first. This series has excellent potential.

Prediction:

Multiple seasons, easily.

 

Scorpion

Description:

Hey, you know how audiences like preposterously intelligent characters who are total dicks to everyone but, like, in a funny way and besides they can get away with it because they’re so fucking awesome at their jobs? Like House and Sherlock Holmes and every single character written by Aaron Sorkin since 2004? Well, what if we got like twenty of ‘em and crammed ‘em together into a CIA cyber special ops team? How would that be?

Analysis:

Excruciating.

Prediction:

Cancelled midseason.

 

The McCarthys

Description:

Sadly, it’s not about Joe coming home at the end of a long day and accusing his wife of communism because the meatloaf was dry. Instead, it’s a loud, Irish, sports-loving Boston family doing whatever it is that loud, Irish, sports-loving Boston families do, plus other traditional family sitcom stuff.

Analysis:

I’ve got huge faith in Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf as the overbearing mother of four. Plus, the show follows juggernaut The Big Bang Theory (where Metcalf plays Sheldon’s mom) so it’s gonna be pretty hard to flop.

Prediction:

A solid hit.

 

NCIS: New Orleans

Description:

Like NCIS: Los Angeles, but in New Orleans.

Analysis:

The other two NCISes are the third and fourth most watched shows on television so how do you not at least try another spinoff?

Prediction:

Great in overall viewers, mediocre in the demo. But still a hit.

 

One more note… CSI: Cyber starts next spring. (It’s going to suck.)

Come back for ABC’s new shows tomorrow, NBC on Thursday, and Fox on Friday.

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  • Ambignostic

    Darn, I was hoping Battle Creek would be a serialization of The Road To Wellville.

  • Edward M. Denton

    “The mean streets of Battle Creek” really?! did I miss something? Is POST supposed to the Crips and Kellogg’s the Bloods!!!