News Column

TV Tidbits: "Timdini" predicts the fall season's winners and losers

September 22, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 22--If you've been reading the TV page the past week, you've seen my roundup of each night's new and returning shows. And if you haven't, you can find them online at www.journalnow.com.

Here is my latest installment of "Timdini Predicts," my forecast of the season's likely hits and errors. The list doesn't necessarily rate what I think are the best and worst shows. It's which ones are likely to catch on, which have tough time-slot rivals, which have incompatible companion shows, and so on.

Will succeed

"The Blacklist," "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "The Michael J. Fox Show"

"The Blacklist" is derivative at times -- try watching the premiere without thinking of "Silence of the Lambs" at least three times -- but it's fast-paced and intriguing, and James Spader is terrific as a scheming genius. The premiere of "S.H.I.E.L.D." is terrific fun, and if the show can keep going on all pistons it will be able to stick around and tie into future Marvel theatrical films. And Fox isn't coasting on his previous successes. He's doing something new. It's a family sitcom that doesn't rely on the family sniping at each other all the time.

On the fence

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "The Crazy Ones," "Hostages," "Ironside," "Lucky 7," "Masterchef Junior," "Mom," "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," "The Originals," "Sean Saves the World," "Sleepy Hollow," "We Are Men," "Welcome to the Family"

All of these shows have potential, but it's too early to tell which ones will go uphill or slide downhill.

"Ironside" is trying too hard to make its lead character edgy and different from the more low-key Raymond Burr version. "Crazy Ones" needs to get past just letting Robin Williams do his shtick, which could grow tiresome. "Sleepy Hollow" is pure hokum, but considering the success of NBC's "Grimm," I wouldn't count it out. Plus, being filmed in North Carolina, I'm rooting for it.

"Wonderland" is a stylish companion piece to the original "Once Upon a Time," but whether it's too odd for the general public remains to be seen; a full episode was not available for review, just a 20-minute demo reel.

Won't succeed

"Almost Human," "Back in the Game," "Betrayal," "Dads," "Dracula," "The Goldbergs," "The Millers," "Reign," "The Tomorrow People," "Trophy Wife"

One recurring theme in the new sitcoms is people being embarrassed by their obnoxious, needy parents. It's mildly amusing in small doses, but -- especially with "Dads" and "The Millers," the worst offenders -- it could get really old really quick.

As much as I enjoyed "Dracula," I suspect it's too odd for a major network and might have fared better on BBC America or Syfy. But NBC should be commended for trying something different. "Almost Human" also feels like a show that should be on Syfy, but the actors are better than the premise, which harkens back to the 1970s cop comedy "Holmes and Yoyo."

"The Goldbergs" could be a pleasant little sitcom if future episodes get away from the premiere's fixation on reminding viewers that it's set in the 1980s.

Will die quickly

"Super Fun Night"

Rebel Wilson can be very funny, but this show mistakes embarrassment for comedy and is downright hard to watch. Fox's miserable sitcom "Dads" should be on this list, but considering that it's from producer Seth MacFarlane, Fox is likely to cut it more slack than it deserves. After all, this is the network that let his mediocre "The Cleveland Show" last for four seasons.

tclodfelter@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-7371

Twitter: @tclodfelterwsj

Facebook: /tclodfelterwsj

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