Welcome back, kiddies, to the pit of disappointment and bad puns that marks the start of a new season of mediocre television. And by mediocre, I do mean mediocre. Once again I have delved into the teeming pile of half-baked pilots and sigh-inducing season premieres on your behalf and have emerged scared and shaken but full of things to say and a platform on which to shout them. Because I have an opinion that won’t be kept silent! Prepare yourself.
Holy crap on a cracker, but this season is dull. How can an alternate universe where all electricity ceases to exist be boring? You’ve got a talented showrunner with a unique voice telling a story with an intriguing premise that is unlike anything else currently on air. Yet it still makes me want to start stabbing people in the face. Then again, I thought the same thing about Terra Nova and Grimm, so precedence and what not. But nothing quite takes the cake of awfulness like the new batch of sitcoms. You know what’s funny? Guys taking care of small children. I mean, because they’re, like, dudes. With kids. Just imagine the wacky hijinks that would ensue. Hi-larious! That’s almost as funny as gay men. Even better, let’s take two gay men and give them a baby. Comedy gold! I’ll take that Emmy now.
This year it’s like networks just decided to stop trying and pretend they’re back in the good old days of Must See TV. As far as new shows are concerned, if you’re not a melodrama/procedural or sitcom that would’ve been dated in 1980 then you can piss off or turn yourself into some tacky night-time soap about sexy people being sexy who also happen to have sexy (magic) powers. I hope you’re happy, ABC. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.
It’s already mid-October and absolutely nothing has been cancelled, though a few outliers are hovering on the bubble (Animal Practice and Made in Jersey, you’ve been warned). A lot of the old stuff from last season was renewed, but just as many of last year’s new shows were cut down before their prime. If by prime you mean given the axe before achieving their goal of destroying America with meh (i.e.: The Secret Circle). In the last few years the networks have been willing to try—albeit half-heartedly and with pathetic results—to tell the same old stories in slightly newish/creative ways, but this go ‘round they’re desperate for ratings, and boy howdy does it show. Jeremy Renner, please demonstrate for the class my exact feelings toward the 2012 season:
(Shows with an “*” are new this season. Keep an eye out in the next week or so for more in-depth coverage on shows with a “†”.)
†*666 Park Avenue (ABC, Sun 10p): No. Just. No.
†Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, Mon 7:30p)
Alphas (Syfy, Mon 8p)
†*American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, Wed 10p – premieres Oct. 17): Without a gimp suit-sporting ghost rapist assaulting Connie Britton or Dylan McDermott cry-masturbating (crasturbating?), I’m simply not interested.
†*Arrow (CW, Wed 8p – premieres Oct. 10): Honestly, the whole thing reeks of Smallville, but I’ll probably still give it a few chances before I write it off entirely.
†*Beauty and the Beast (CW, Thurs 9p – premieres Oct. 11): STOP KILLING MY CHILDHOOD, HOLLYWOOD.
Doctor Who (BBC America, Sat 9p): Oswin! Oswin! Oswin! Also, “SuperWhoLock” is one of the greatest fandom crossovers ever. But now it’s on hiatus again until Christmas.
Fringe (Fox, Fri 9p): Last call.
†*Gravity Falls (Disney Channel, Fri 9:30p): Add this to your cartoon intake immediately.
†Grimm (NBC, Fri 9p): David Giuntoli: Giving the talentless, big-eyed, shiny-haired, sexy soap stars a run for their money.
Haven (Syfy, 10p)
*The Neighbors (ABC, Wed 10p): Sweet zombie Jesus. I can’t. I can’t even. I am unable to can.
Merlin (Syfy, Fri 10p): I’ll let Tor.com’s Emmet Asher-Perrin take this one. [SPOILERS AHOY]
†Once Upon a Time (ABC, Sun 8p): Once upon a time there was a show about fairy tales but it was on ABC which meant it was stupidly campy but took itself way too seriously and Alex had better things to do with her time so she just added the discs to her Netflix queue and told herself she’d get to it eventually. Then she re-watched her favorite episode of Supernatural and went to bed a happy kitty. The end.
†*Revolution (NBC, 10p): Revolution is the Terra Nova of 2012.
†Supernatural (CW, Wed 9p): CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!!!!!!! *Alex succumbs to inconsolable sobbing until she dies from all the feels* [tumblr reaction gif] [tumblr reaction gif in response to the first one]
†The Vampire Diaries (CW, Thurs 8p – premieres Oct. 11): Need a silly teen melodramatic fantasy to fill the void until Teen Wolf season 3?
The Walking Dead (AMC, Sun 9p – premieres Oct. 14): I will once again be reviewing this show for Tor.com. Still haven’t decided if I’m happy about a new season or am simply filled with so much dread that I can no longer distinguish between emotions.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sun 9p)
*Call the Midwife (PBS, check local listings): “Were having a baby, my baby and me / You’ll read it in Winchell’s / That we’re adding a limb to our family tree / We’re pushing our carriage / How proud I will be”
*Copper (BBC America, Sun 10p): Between this and Hell on Wheels, I think we’ve got late-19th century America covered on the “not as good as it could be but also not terrible” TV show front.
Downton Abbey (legally: BBC America – not sure when it premieres): I want Maggie Smith to be my grandmother. She can adopt me and yell at me about week-ends and swivel chairs and indoor picnics and I will love her forever.
Hell on Wheels (AMC, Sun 9p)
The Hour (legally: BBC America, Wed – premieres November): You want Mad Men in England? You got it! And without the quality loss to boot.
*Vegas (CBS, Tues 10p): One day CBS will discover there are other types of drama besides procedurals. That day is not today.
2 Broke Girls (CBS, Mon 9p): Fingers crossed they make a “47%” joke this season.
30 Rock (NBC, Thurs 8p): The last time I was summoned for jury duty I told them I really didn’t think it was fair for me to be on a jury since I’m a hologram. I was excused. Thank you, Liz Lemon. You are a true American hero and you will be missed.
*Ben and Kate (Fox, Tues 8:30p): One of the best new sitcoms this season. That is not a compliment.
†The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thurs 8p): Sometimes I really love this show, sometimes I violently loathe it, but no matter how I feel I still harbor a passionate crush on Sheldon in all his nerdy glory.
†Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30p): Tina Belcher has a butt obsession. This is awesome.
Children’s Hospital (Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Thurs 12a)
†Community (NBC, Fri 8:30p – premieres… someday): Great show or the greatest? I think you already know the answer to that. Also, Jim Rash is directing an upcoming episode.
Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23 (ABC, Tues 9:30p): Bitch. Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch. BITCH.
Glee (Fox, Thurs 9p): You could watch Glee, or you could just watch this.
*Go On (NBC, Tues 9pm): If NBC can pretend it’s still the late nineties, then so can I. Now bring me *NSYNC and a Trapper Keeper and all the Daria I can watch.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8p): Possibly last call.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX, Thurs 10p – premieres Oct. 11)
The Middle (ABC, Wed 8p)
*The Mindy Project (Fox, Tues 9:30p): Apparently the networks used up their quota on creative television show titles last year.
Modern Family (ABC, Wed 9p): This show functions for me in the same way Glee does: I’m glad it exists because there’s a whole swath of the country that needs to get comfortable with “the gays,” but I still have absolutely no desire to watch it.
New Girl (Fox, Tues 8p): I’m so not hipster enough for this show.
*The New Normal (NBC, Tues 9:30p): See my opinions of Modern Family and add to it my take on Partners and that’s how I feel about The New Normal.
NTSF:SD:SUV:: (Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Thurs 12:15a)
The Office (NBC, 9p): Who knew that having most of the cast quit before the final season would reinvigorate a dying show?
Parenthood (NBC, Tues 10p)
†Parks and Recreation (NBC, 9:30p): “The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.” Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Swanson.
*Partners (CBS, 8:30p): It’s 2012. Do we really have to keep going back to the “gay people are funny because they talk weird and dress nice!” stereotype?
Raising Hope (Fox, Tues 8p)
Suburgatory (ABC, Wed 10p – premieres Oct. 17)
The Thick of It (Hulu.com, Sun 7p): Hilariously, perfectly British. And if you still haven’t seen In the Loop, now’s the perfect time to watch it and add “Fuckity bye!” to your daily vocabulary.
Up All Night (NBC, 8:30p): I tried to watch this show, but then I remembered Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are getting a divorce and love is dead and what’s the point and God I need a drink. *puts Jamie O’Neal’s “All By Myself” on repeat and curls up in a ball with a bottle of Jack*
Bones (Fox, Mon 8p): Whenever I think of David Boreanaz I think of Angel. When I think of that I think of the wee little puppet man. Which reminds me of all that nancy boy hair gel he likes so much. And then I remember Angel can’t dance.
†Castle (ABC, 10p): Please tell me this season they’re finally going to cast Alan Tudyk in as a recurring guest star.
Criminal Minds (CBS, Wed 9p)
CSI (CBS, Wed 10p): This show is still on? Seriously?
CSI: NY (CBS, Fri 8p): I’m convinced this show is just Gary Sinise’s fever dream.
†Dexter (Showtime, Sun 9p): Now there’s the sociopathic serial killing blood spatter analyst we all know and have hot sexy dreams about.
†*Elementary (CBS, Thurs 10p): Elementary!Sherlock is kind of a dick. But in a good way. And full of tattoos. In a very good way. More importantly, we cannot let Lucy Liu beat Martin Freeman in the Great Watson Sweater Wars.
Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 10p): After two years I think I’ve exhausted all my “shirtless Alex O’Loughlin solves shirtless crimes shirtlessly” jokes.
Homeland (Showtime, Sun 10p)
*Hunted (Cinemax, Fri – premieres October 19): Something something spies.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Wed 9p)
The Mentalist (CBS, Sun 10p): This is a show that exists.
Person of Interest (CBS, Thurs 9p)
Revenge (ABC, Sun 9p): REVEEEEEEENGE! *twirls moustache and squints maniacally through monocle*
Touch (Fox, Fri 8p – premieres Oct. 26): This is also a show that exists.
Hart of Dixie (CW, Tues 8p): Seth: “Summer and I are at war.” Sandy: “A pirate war?”
*The Mob Doctor (Fox, 9p): Anyone have any idea what this show is about? Mimes in love? Space pirates? Is it a copera or a policical? God, the title is soooo vague!
*Nashville (ABC, Wed 10p – premieres Oct. 10): Robert Altman! I loved McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Gos—what? It’s about country music singers? The cheerleader from Heroes sings in this? Well, never mind then.
Nikita (CW, Fri 9p – premieres Oct. 19)
Sons of Anarchy (FX, Tues 10p): Remember when this show was Hamlet on motorcycles?
Treme (HBO, Sun 10p): I could watch an entire season consisting of nothing but scenes of Antoine going to the Piggly Wiggly and still find this show utterly intoxicating.
Alex Brown is an archivist, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.