As with every fall television season, there are some bad (awful) shows debuting this year. If you’ve ever caught yourself in the middle of a pilot wondering why you even turned the show on in the first place, this list is for you. Please heed my advice, and avoid the pitfall this season.
What Not to Watch This Fall:
Vegas on CBS, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
This series is based on the true story of rancher Ralph Lamb, who was entrusted with restoring order to the criminally rampant city of Las Vegas in the 1960s. With Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis headlining a period drama about cowboys and gangsters, this has all the makings of a massive failure for CBS. With big name stars and what looks to be fancy production, it is sure to be expensive. Couple that with the fact that it’s a period piece on network television, and CBS has a disaster on their hands. Pan Am proved last fall that period pieces are best left to cable television, where subtle nuances can be coupled with slower pacing than network television allows, and writers and directors don’t have to use Beatles references and ‘A Very Special JFK Episode’ to remind people that the show is set in the 1960s. I doubt anyone will stick around after NCIS: Los Angeles for very long to watch this show.
Animal Practice on NBC, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
NBC gave us a preview of this after the closing ceremony of the Olympics on August 12th. You can watch the full pilot here. If House and The Office had a baby, and the baby had pet wild animals that made people laugh with cheap wild-animal humor, it would be Animal Practice. Lead character Dr. George Coleman (played by Justin Kirk) is just downright obnoxious, and not a wildly infuriating Gregory House obnoxious, or an adorably endearing but uncomfortable Michael Scott obnoxious. Is he funny? Eh. I guess. But not funny enough to keep me watching.
Joanna Garcia plays his former (and eventual) romantic counterpart, and she is (as usual) absolutely adorable. It’s a shame to waste Garcia’s acting on this horrible show. The rest of the characters are even more clueless and obnoxious than Coleman, and with sprinkles of cliche animal funnies (Vet Tech Gets Python Wrapped Around His Neck, Cat is in Heat, Monkey Wears Scrubs and Throws Things at Angry Client) as time fillers, I was almost insulted watching this show. If NBC is trying to appeal to less “sophisticated” people with their new comedies, I guess this one would be a winner.
Guys With Kids on NBC, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.
After you’re done being insulted by Animal Practice, you can stick around for Funny Parenting 101 on Guys With Kids. Jimmy Fallon is the Executive Producer of this one – did NBC mention that? It has a great production staff as a result, but NBC should know that comedies solely about parenting just don’t work anymore. Maybe they think this one will be the exception. I admire their tenacity, but it’s not gonna happen. If the comedy were even mildly original, or less over-the-top, maybe I’d be interested. But funny voices, financial jokes, and pretending to chase your kid when you come home from work because you’re tired? Yeah – I do that all the time. If that’s the kind of parenting comedy that wins a sitcom, someone should bring a camera to my house. I could use a few extra dollars, because I’m so poor from having children.
The Neighbors on ABC, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.
If you preview Animal Practice and don’t like it, you can always scoot over to ABC on Wednesday nights and check out what looks to be the worst new comedy of the season, ABC’s The Neighbors. I’m not even sure how this one got on-air, except that I picture the fat cats over at ABC pouring brandies while laughing belly laughs and saying ‘Ho ho ho…why not? We can afford it!’ Following ABC’s current biggest comedy hit, Modern Family, The Neighbors is about a regular family that moves into a new neighborhood which is inhabited by a large colony of extraterrestrials. They cry green goop out of their ears, the males are the childbearers, and they have taken human monikers in the form of infamous American sports stars. It all sounds like a comic book my brother invented when he was eleven. Somewhere in this trailer is an implication that this show has a deeper message: The aliens are normal, and we must help them get back to their home planet! People are still okay, even though they may be different from us! The message is lost, however, amidst the cliche absurdity of the main plot. I’m guessing ABC should start digging The Neighbors a cemetery plot, right next to its similar counterpart from 2007, Cavemen.