We’re tackling the new fall TV schedule night by night, moving onto Fridays.
Let’s bitch it out…
The following table does not include online / streaming series from Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. These will be addressed at the bottom of the post on the appropriate days.
FRIDAY TV DEATHMATCH
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Hourly Breakdown: 8pm EST
- ABC kicks off the night with another season of the Tim Allen sitcom, Last Man Standing (Sept 25) because, yes, the show is still on. Allen’s got a new bunkmate at 8:30 where Ken Jeong fronts his own sitcom starting Oct 2 called Dr. Ken (imaginative title!). Loosely inspired by Jeong’s own experiences as a doctor, this traditional sitcom looks…pretty unfunny. Fridays are a slog for the vast majority of shows, but if Ken proves compatible with Man, then it may not prove to be a problem.
- Despite complaints from fans and a significant drop in viewership, CBS leaves The Amazing Race (Sept 25) to languish on Friday nights. The spiel remains the same as always, so the new season’s only talking points are the destinations and the teams. This year’s race kicks off in LA (Venice Beach to be exact) and includes stops in Poland, China, India, France, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Netherlands. As for the teams: we have pairs of dancers, the usual smattering of couples and families and a big focus on media (reporters, TMZ-ers and paparazzi). Most exciting is the introduction of a little people team (the first since Charla participated in S5 and All-Stars) who will hopefully stick around to prove their mettle like other non-traditional contestants of years past.
- A few years ago FOX struck (Friday) ratings gold with Masterchef Junior (Nov 6) and has used it to plug Fridays ever since. Like most reality series, don’t expect any dramatic changes in the format, especially since Gordon Ramsay yelling at kids is already a perfect recipe.
- NBC also devotes its 8pm hour to sitcoms, moving the raucous comedy Undateable (Oct 9) to Fridays. After a successful sample during last year’s live episode, NBC made the unconventional move to renew the sitcom (the only one to survive the peacock’s sitcom massacre last spring) on the condition that all episodes air live. This could make for some very unexpected episodes, which we’re sure the network will welcome if it generates buzz. Paired with Undateable starting Oct 16 is NBC’s sole new sitcom, Truth Be Told (formerly People Are Talking – way to swap one generic title for another). If we’re telling truths, this one is already DOA.
- The CW continues to use Fridays as its dumping ground for series with extremely low ratings and passionate fan bases, which explains why Reign (Oct 9) is making its third season debut. This historically inaccurate period drama introduces a second queen to up the cattiness when Lost Girl‘s Rachel Skarsten makes her debut as Queen Elizabeth. We’re only interested if someone gets porked out a window again.
Hourly Breakdown: 9pm EST
- ABC‘s plays to its reality strengths on Sept 25 as Shark Tank‘s millionaires return to dispense cash and snarky remarks to aspiring entrepreneurs.
- CBS Hawaii Five-0 (Sept 25) will feature a different kind of villain this year as Gabriel, the “bad because he’s a bad guy” (according to TVLine), is set to cause the team difficulty. Elsewhere genre vet Julie Benz will show up to romance Chin, which is nice because Julie Benz is always welcome on our TV.
- FOX goes cheap with World’s Funniest Fails (Nov 6), its lazy comedy clip show hosted by Terry Crews (at his most obnoxious). Tune in for hits to the nuts.
- NBC debuts the eagerly anticipated fifth season of Grimm (Oct 30). Last season the series fully embraced its gonzo storytelling by turning Juliette evil and then SPOILER killing her off in the finale END SPOILER. S5 is all about vengeance, and it looks awesome. Friday numbers are always low, but Grimm has powered through on this night for years, so it’s in no danger moving forward.
- The CW‘s reality TV staple America’s Next Top Model shifts from its Wednesday berth (Sept 23) to Fridays (starting Oct 2). Let’s all hope that by that point Mikey or Devin (or both) will have been eliminated because MD
Aneeds to go down.
Hourly Breakdown: 10pm EST
- ABC keeps it regular (yes, that’s a elderly joke) with another season of news magazine 20/20.
- CBS aims to keep Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg employed indefinitely as Blue Bloods (Sept 25) returns for another season of Boston cases that presumably appeal to its octogenarian audience.
- NBC aims to compete with ABC as Dateline joins the news magazine fray.
- Over in cable land, Pivot releases the third season of Australian import Please Like Me (Oct 16), which follows the (mis)adventures of a group of twenty-somethings as they navigate life and love. That description is awful, but everyone who watches this hilarious and bittersweet award-winning series completely falls in love with it. Just do yourself a favour and watch, OK?
- Steven Soderberg continues to direct the hell out of Cinemax entry The Knick (Oct 16) which ended S1 with Clive Owen’s Dr. Thackeray trading in his cocaine addiction for heroin in rehab (oh 1900s medicine!) and the hospital on the cusp of closing. Expect these and the many other bleak cliffhangers to get resolved in the 10 episode second season.
Hourly Breakdown: 11pm EST
- The fourth and final season of Syfy’s Continuum (Sept 11) debuted last week and it’s already on track to be a headscratcher. This reduced six episode final season aims to wrap up all of the time travel loopholes Kiera and Alec have opened up in recent years, plus there are new threats from Kellog and the new time travelers working with Brad Tonkins. All in all, it’s gonna be a busy (albeit hopefully satisfying) final ride in future Vancouver.
- This show has the potential to become Amazon’s most successful series ever. The Man In The High Castle (Nov 20) is an adaptation of the Philip K Dick novel of the same name, set in a near-future dystopia where Germany and Japan won WW2 and now rule the US. Amazon’s audience polling confirmed that this is their highest testing series to date, so expect big things courtesy of showrunner Frank Spotnick (of X-Files fame) and executive producer by Ridley Scott.
- Later in December, Amazon debuts the much awaited second season of Transparent (Dec 4) which continues to document the lives of the Pfefferman clan as they adjust to Moira’s transition. In a single year trans-issues have moved from the margins to dominate the pop culture landscape, so it will be interesting to see how one of its most influential series fits into this new landscape.
- The online giant that redefined TV watching only has one new series in October and that’s the third and final season of Hemlock Grove (Oct 23). Reaction to this gonzo vamp vs werewolf series has never been as positive as Netflix’s other top tier series and that shows with this muted 10 episode final season.
- November is a huge month for Netflix; the streaming service drops three big new series. The first is a comedy series developed by Parks & Recreation star Aziz Ansari called Master of None (Nov 6). The logline, however, is a bit thin: Ansari plays an aimless actor living in NY. With no trailer released, that’s not a lot to go on!
- Netflix’s next (unofficial) revival is beloved sketch comedy series Mr. Show, though this reunion is actually called With Bob and David. Stars Bob Odenkirk (of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul) and David Cross (of Arrested Development) return for all four episodes, which drop Nov 13.
- The third, and possibly biggest series of Netflix’s November series is the second (of four) collaborations the streaming service has with Marvel. Jessica Jones (all episodes Nov 20) stars Don’t Trust The B*tch in Apt 23‘s Krysten Ritter as the title character, as well as former Doctor Who David Tennant and The Matrix‘s Carrie Ann-Moss. Based on the acclaimed adult graphic novel, the series centers around a damaged superheroine who can’t handle the pressure and retires to become a private eye. Look for Mike Colter as Jones’ love interest, Luke Cage, before he goes on to star in the third Marvel/Netflix collaboration next spring. Don’t expect Daredevil-levels of excitement due to the decreased brand awareness, but we’ve got our fingers crossed big time for this one.
That’s it for Friday. Check back tomorrow for our final deathmatch, the all-cable, all-the-time Saturday TV schedule.