(Disclaimer: For the people following my blog from places like the Russian Federation, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, and Australia, this post is about bad American television, which would only be broadcast in your countries as a prelude to war. Please feel free to skip this post entirely, and thank you for your continued support. The informative discussions of cosmic butterflies, space dinosaurs, and other issues of the day will continue shortly.)
Every year, I try to predict which new fall TV program is going to get cancelled first. My track record isn’t great, but usually my pick is in the first 3. As always, it’s tough, because Hollywood can really crank out derivative, shallow crap. My early frontrunner was Mork and Buffy (aka The Crazy Ones). I suspect it will be as bad as I predict, but I don’t think it will be the first to be cancelled. The audience for the show will be divided between people who are disappointed that Robin Williams is still playing Mork, and people who are disappointed that Robin Williams isn’t playing Mork well. I also think that Sarah Michelle Gellar will not fare well without Joss Whedon writing her dialogue. But my guess is that CBS has too much money invested in Williams and Gellar to kill this off quickly. I expect it to be “retooled” over the holidays, and cancelled at the end of the season.
My dark horse pick would be NBC’s new Dracula, which has the Transylvanian count pretending to be an environmentally conscious American businessman in Victorian England. The concept makes perfect sense if you’ve read Bram Stoker’s novel, which describes the Carpathian mountains as being more and more desolate and dead as you approach Castle Dracula. But only Hollywood could come up with Enviro-Drac (aka Count Planet) squaring off against Big Victorian Oil (John D. Rockefeller, I guess). I suspect the “Are you kidding?” factor will keep this on for 4-6 weeks.
My first runner-up is Mom, featuring Anna Faris and Allison Janney as unpleasant human beings. Janney always plays the same abrasive, unlikeable character, but Faris usually plays light and cheerful. I’m not sure her fans are going to want to see her doing dark comedy, and I am sure that the television industry has not figured out that recovering alcoholics/drug users are not interesting characters, certainly in the hands of the alcoholics and drug users that seem to control the creative community. I give this one 4 weeks, but if I’m going to be wrong about any of my choices, this will be the one. I may be underestimating the sobriety of the audience.
Which brings me to my choice, Dads. I’m not sure I can add anything to the horrible press this has gotten. I just know that today I saw a commercial where they were interviewing what are supposed to be people coming out of an advanced screening of Dads, and basically saying, “All the hideous things you’ve heard are not true! Pay no attention to the reviews from everyone!” When your marketing campaign boils down to trying to defend “offensive” and “tasteless”, I think you realize your days are numbered. I’ll be surprised if this gets to 4 episodes. The over/under is 2.