17 November 2006

TV Round-up 11/17: FOX's fall season an almost bust

In what has turned out to be a troubling fall season for FOX, they’ve given the two of their remaining new shows the okay to continue production. The comedy series Til Death has been picked up for the full season, while they’ve ordered 6 additional scripts for the drama Standoff. Of course, like the now benched Happy Hour and cancelled Vanished, and with Justice being moved to Friday (beginning December 1, instead of 11th) to finish out its 13 episode run, Standoff and Til Death have never preformed well. But instead cancelling the entire new season schedule, they’ll stick with them. For now.

While I’m sure everyone on those two remaining shows are happy for work, its only a semi-vote of confidence that either show will survive until May. Hopefully, the cast and crew of those two shows will realize the small gift handed to them, and produce better scripts that don’t rely on the tried and true stereotypes of comedy and drama.

But then this is the FOX network, and they have a tendency to crush creativity. While they’ve had success, they have never been known to support shows (like Arrested Development) that show a very independent mind.

Cookie cutter comedies and bland dramas have been the norm for the past two decades over at FOX, and it will continue until someone shocks them with the idea that writing is the core reason -even beyond cast - that makes a show. Then you add chemistry of a cast to the great writing, then you got a show that works.

And while The Simpsons remains a loyal show for me -despite it no longer being what it once was - its continued support for crass shows like Family Guy, American Dad, The War at Home and a shameless pandering to dumb Americans who drivel over American Idol, the FOX network will never come out of the shadows of the other three networks. It even lets shows like Prison Break -brilliant drama in its first season - jump the shark with plots that go nowhere.

Bones remains one of its best dramas, but is so woefully under unitized. While I can say I have issues with the gore, the show is well written, with great characters and real sense of while it’s CSI, it takes a more wink, wink, nudge, nudge style that elevates above the boring and sometimes very predictable CSI franchise.

As for comedies, The Loop stood out from last season and is scheduled to return in 2007. But its another quirky comedy that some how manages to be a bit crass, but charming. But it’s the writing and the cast that make this show work. But, while I was surprised it was picked up back in May, I’m not sure it can survive again. Unless -as it was planned months ago - the show is teamed with American Idol’s results show, and can maintain its lead-in.

But The Loop is creative, so see Arrested Development.
Meanwhile, The CW has confirmed they've ordered 7 new episodes of Veronica Mars. No word was given why they did not order nine, which is the per usual pick-up for a full season. At now only 20 epsiodes this season, the last two mysteries of the season will have to be curbed to fit this new plan -unless The CW goes back and orders 2 more.

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