Upfronts 2014: FOX, NBC what are you doing?

Let’s start network-wide. Fox and NBC swapped for me in the past year, NBC going from a favorite, most watched network, to me having one show next season (the mid-season, finale season Parks debacle…). While FOX went from me abandoning several of it’s shows due to reordering episodes and demanding stasis in characters that achieved character development to the network I have the most shows I am interested in this fall. And FOX pulled me in with the commitment and success in diversity. So let’s talk about what they’re doing this fall.

NBC– honey, what are you doing? They’ve cancelled most of their comedies, leaving Parks and Recreation, their current longest running sitcom as a mid-season replacement in it’s finale season. According to the schedule listed in the link on Vulture, there are only 4 comedies on the schedule, split between Tuesday and Thursday 9-10 comedy hours. What? Has NBC given up on reclaiming it’s must-see-tv fame? I suppose it wasn’t working, but it kills me that not one of the four comedies is Parks. What a way to alienate your little comedy fanbase. Why not use Parks and the final season momentum to pull your existing fans over to new shows? You now have to do the work to get non-NBC comedy watchers (those who didn’t watch 30 Rock and Community and Parks in the hey-day of low-rated but cult favorite comedies). I suppose they no longer want those fans. They want new ones entirely. Or they’re trying to sustain the network on the Voice, Dick Wolf, and the Blacklist until they figure out something that works. But, to me, it doesn’t seem like they’ve found the formula yet. I’ll see you mid-season, NBC, when you put Parks and Recreation back on the schedule. (Let’s face it, it’s a cancelled-new-show replacement. As soon as one of the new comedies fail, they’ll stick Parks in the 9pm comedy spot until the rest of the season is done. More on Parks later.

 

 

FOX, homie, you’re doing a lot of things right, but one thing feels very wrong. I will be watching seven FOX shows this fall. That’s more than any other network and more than I’ve ever watched FOX. They’ve been getting some good, diversely cast comedies in these past couple of seasons. New Girl confirmed Damon Wayans Jr as the 6th member of the cast, rounding them out to Friends proportions, The Mindy Project had a strong finale with lots of possibility, and Brooklyn 99 came out of the gate with comedy, diversity, and heart. So why are they sending Brooklyn 99 to the Sunday animation slot?! It seems ridiculous to me. Vulture says,

There’s logic behind this year’s changes: Family Guy is pretty much a multi-camera sitcom that happens to be animatedand Mulaney is multi-cam; Brooklyn is sophisticated single-cam that could mesh with the sensibility of The Simpsons. And once Fox picked up both Brooklyn and The Mindy Project, it was obvious one would either move or wait until midseason: Fox simply doesn’t have the comedy strength to support a two-hour sitcom block on Tuesdays.

But that seems absurd. I definitely think they could sustain it. But even if it can’t, splitting the comedies into the animation block disturbs something that’s been working on FOX for years now. Animation fans won’t necessarily hold up these fresh comedies and when was the last time comedies aired on a Sunday night?! This makes me nervous for both BK99 and Mulaney (which I may watch), because they’re basically hiding it in the schedule. No one looks for comedies on Sunday nights. That’s typically a Feature film, Sports, Drama night. FOX made success with animation as alternative programming to this trend, but this upcoming change might break both the animation block and the comedies they want to succeed. Sigh. There are few shows I want to succeed more than Brooklyn 99. I hope they just suck it up and block the comedies together.

Schedules change, often by November sweeps when networks figure out what’s working and what’s getting cancelled. So we’ll see if this remains the schedule for the fall. But both networks are boggling my mind.

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Link: 12 Television Writers of Color You Should Know – Flavorwire

12 Television Writers of Color You Should Know – Flavorwire

Hopefully this list grows more and more as the 2014 pilot season arises.

Some of my favorites from this list:

Obviously Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. I am currently taking an TV writing class and decided to write a Scandal spec script. We’ll see how it goes.

Mindy Kaling – of the Mindy Project, obviously. I didn’t watch The Office, but I watch The Mindy Project and enjoy it’s rom-com style (when it sticks to it)

Aisha Muharrar writes for Parks and Recreation. She wrote the following episodes: “Kaboom” (2.06) “Park Safety” (2.19) “Camping” (3.08) “Born & Raised” (4.03) “Operation Ann” (4.14) “Bus Tour” (4.21)”Ms. Knope Goes to Washington” (5.01) “Ron and Diane” (5.09) and this seasons Recall Vote.

Yvette Lee Bowser wrote for A Different World and created Living Single. Two of my favorite black sitcoms. I need to check up on her other show Half and Half.

Check out the list for more, some of your favorite shows have writers of color you might not have known about. These writers are from Modern Family, The Killing, Hannibal, House, and Orange is the New Black!

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ConStar Watches New Girl: “The Captain” and The Mindy Project: “Magic Morgan”

Not a lot to say about Mindy, so I combined them, but I enjoyed both episodes tonight. Mindy picked up steam for me this week. I’ll explain why I think so below.

New Girl:

I was not ready for Evil Schmidt. I’m glad we dealt with that in one succinct episode; I was worried it would be a drawn out arc. But I love Winston teaching Schmidt how to live in the loft with Nick/Jess and kind of how to be single. I think there will be more of that in the episodes to come.

“And you don’t have time to learn all those dolphin sounds.”

“Did you talk to tightpants and eyebrows!?”

Nick loves Jess too much to let Schmidt break them up over their communication skills. I loved that scene where he begins to express his feelings and I really loved both Jess’ pleased face about it and Schmidt’s disgust. 

SCHMIDT IS SO CHILDISH AND SELFISH. But I see that this is the climax of his actions. He peaked during the birth control pill scene and now he’s in a jerk-phase denouement. Interesting that he only went to CeCe’s house to leave the apology letter. We know he loves CeCe more, but he stayed with Elizabeth too, apparently because he liked them both, not because he just couldn’t break up with Elizabeth. He legit thought he loved them equally, so it’s interesting to wonder on whether it was 1. intentional of the writers to just pick CeCe (seems obvious but there’s also) 2. they couldn’t get Merritt Weaver for the episode or 3. Schmidt is subconsciously choosing CeCe. If that’s the case, I’m going to need Schmidt to discuss somewhere how he clearly loves CeCe more and how he didn’t keep dating them both because he loved them both, but because he was just too chicken to break up with Elizabeth. (Maybe I don’t need it; I suppose it’s all therein subtext. But still.)

I love Nick and Jess. Those final scenes with them were so great. Especially when Jess got annoyed at Nick for talking too much. I’m glad they’re not (currently) in danger of breaking up. Happy one month, guys!

The Mindy Project:

I enjoyed this week’s Mindy Project. it seemed to go back to it’s romantic comedy roots, which really helped the tone and my enjoyment of the show. I hadn’t quite picked up on that being missing while she was dating Casey, but maybe it was? It wasn’t hitting Romantic Comedy tropes. It did in this episode, and I enjoyed it more than the other episodes from this season so far.

Also the scene with Morgan and Mindy had a lot of fun physical humor. Her wrapped in the pizza box was a great visual.

Now I just need them to figure out the new Bro!Doctor (and get rid of him? He’s gross) and maybe make use of their supporting cast? Or at least figure out what to do with them as well.

What I Watched Today – The Mindy Project “Music Festival”

I think I’m getting really ambivalent about The Mindy Project. It’s kind of on in the background. There might be a couple of funny moments, but I dunno, it doesn’t excite me as much as my other shows do.

But in this episode, I wasn’t fan of:

  • the Bro doctor. I get that he’s supposed to be annoying, but what purpose is it going to serve?
  • Pastor Casey becoming a DJ and then randomly (finally?) breaking up with Mindy. I get that it’s slightly a part of his character as the “cool” pastor, it’s still a random about face which was an obvious forcible set up for Mindy and Casey to break up. Why is he suddenly extra hip-hop pastor THEN an event planner after a trip to Haiti?? Suddenly he has no direction and wants to explore himself? It was too much of an obvious set up for tearing up their relationship. especially since it happened all in one episode. This is something they totally could have set up over 2 episode at least.
  • Why is Dr. British (I don’t remember his name) still randomly fat?

Also funny how her hair is growing so fast, time changes. She clearly wants her normal hair back lol.

I don’t know how I will continue to feel about The Mindy Project. It seems a bit all over the place sometimes, so I don’t know if it will find direction or if this is the path it will continue to take. Hope this isn’t a sophomore slump for them, as it might not survive it. I really want it to survive as it is one of the few shows with a non-white lead, but good storytelling is an important part of allowing a show with that extra factor to succeed.

What I Watched Today – New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Brooklyn 99

New Girl – Wow, this show is just so perfect. Almost too many jokes to mention. This show makes me laugh every commercial break, which is so important for a show. Genius move. Also cut on a hilarious joke and this show did that every act out for me.

I love the Nick/Jess moments. I love how much he wants to help her. I love watching Nick trying to juggle Jess’ AND Winston’s crazy. I’m really pleased with the Nick/Jess post hook-up dynamic. This has been a good year for couples I love getting together and getting better as characters/duos rather than falling flat or the writer’s trying to force them apart every moment they get. Let the characters get together and explore where that can take you! Too many shows give them 2 episodes together (this could be New Girl‘s approach, it’s honestly too early to tell, but I have hope) and then split them up and give them loads of angst. In this episode, you get the moments where they were together, but they also have the same dynamic as before which only makes watching their interactions even better. Great job to the writers.

I’m definitely Team CeCe. And I am so nervous for her and Schmidt’s dynamic when she finds out. She seems so pleased he picked her and happy to see him, her heart is going to be so broken. She really opened up her heart to him. Yikes, the angst will hurt. Hopefully they will keep Nick/Jess the way they are to keep me sane.

Poor Winston. But his “cat killer” crazy was hilarious and well-played. A broken heart made him a little psycho. Still thinking about how uncomfortable the licking sound the cat makes on Schmidt made me.

The Mindy Project –  One piece whipped cream suit was an amusing sight gag. Though I’m still having trouble seeing Mindy and the Rev together. I don’t know if it’s because I approve of Mindy/Danny or if they just feel forced together.

Also, as I tweeted last week, I am super over James Franco. So I don’t care about him on this episode. And I maintain that Mindy is always less funny after the brilliance of New Girl. If they switched the times, Mindy might be funnier in comparison. Or perhaps it’s Sophomore Slump? One day I will stop saying this, sorry.

The theme song remains the best thing about this show.

Brooklyn 99 – I enjoy the theme song for this too. They feel similar, so I wonder if they were done by the same person? Or one inspired by the other.  I liked the locker vs dumpster joke. Really good joke construction and delivery. Before the first act out, I laughed or smiled more than when I watched Mindy, but found myself not really caring about the plot. It was on in the background as I wrote these posts, but didn’t grab me to distraction from this task as trying to blog through New Girl did.