Before their pilot episodes will even air this Fall, two lead cast members from two of FOX’s new series are leaving their respective shows. Saffron Burrows, who played Ike on the Bones back-door pilot for the new series The Finder is exiting as producers are re-imagining the character. In related news, Damon Wayans, Jr.’s role on the Zooey Deschanel comedy, New Girl will also have to be recast as Wayans’ other show, ABC’s Happy Endings, was renewed for a second season.
Via Press Release:
FLINTSTONES! MEET “THE FLINTSTONES” ON FOX
Modern Stone-Age Family Returns to Television in
New Animated Series from Seth MacFarlane,
20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros. Television
Yabba dabba doo! FOX has picked up THE FLINTSTONES, a 21st century version of the classic animated comedy from executive producer Seth MacFarlane. In a cross-studio collaboration, THE FLINTSTONES will be produced jointly by 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros. is home to THE FLINTSTONES via its ownership of the Hanna-Barbera collection of animated titles. Dan Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”) and Kara Vallow (Family Guy) will also serve as executive producers. THE FLINTSTONES will begin production in fall 2011 and will be set in stone on the FOX schedule in 2013.
“The very first cartoon character I drew at age two was Fred Flintstone,” said MacFarlane. “So it’s appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat, stupid guy with a wife who’s too good for him.”
“The Flintstones are among the funniest and most beloved characters in television history, and we can’t wait to introduce them to a whole new generation on FOX,” said Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “FOX has long been home to iconic families like the Simpsons and the Griffins, so I have no doubt that the Flintstones and the Rubbles are going to fit right in on our air.”
The (pre)historic return of THE FLINTSTONES will feature MacFarlane’s modern-day take on the lives of the Flintstones and the Rubbles, two hard-working middle-class families living with contemporary conveniences in the dinosaur-era town of Bedrock. The series centers on hard-headed patriarch FRED FLINTSTONE and best friend and sidekick BARNEY RUBBLE. Fred’s Stone-Age clan includes wife WILMA, daughter PEBBLES and pet dinosaur DINO, while Barney’s brood consists of wife BETTY and son BAMM-BAMM.
MacFarlane’s lineup of animated series continues to dominate Sunday nights. Everyone’s favorite families from Quahog, Langley Falls and Stoolbend will be back for more laughs as Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show were recently renewed for a 10th, seventh and fourth seasons, respectively.
THE FLINTSTONES will be co-produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros. Television. MacFarlane and Palladino serve as executive producers of the series and co-writers on the pilot. Vallow will serve as executive producer on the series. Voice actors for the series will be announced. THE FLINTSTONES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of © Hanna-Barbera.
Here it is, folks, direct from the FOX Upfront Advertising Event, FOX’s 2011 – 2012 Primetime Programming Schedule (scroll down for complete schedule). Please note, if you don’t see your favorite show from this season, recent cancellations have been covered here, however as we reported, the status of Breaking In is reported to be still up in the air.
If you have any questions about other shows, post them below.
Some programming notes:
- Some solid scripted shows, however the new comedies seem weak, despite the star power behind them.
- The elephant in the room that is Terra Nova: The Big Gamble. Depending on how well or poorly this does could change the direction of the entire schedule. Read why we believe TN is such a big gamble, here and here. Believe us, we’re rooting for it, we’re just nervous about it and we think FOX is too. We’re still trying to figure out if they plan to run this for an entire 22 episode run because it’s nowhere on the mid-season schedule. So it’s either going for 13 episodes (which we believe would be the smarter move) or it will have an abbreviated 19 episode season non-stop through December.
- New J.J. Abrams, series Alcatraz to premiere mid-season. Perhaps the smartest move of the schedule to avoid hiatuses and loss of interest by audiences of what no doubt will be a Lost-type serial.
- After 24 seasons, America’s Most Wanted is no longer a regular series. It will now be shown as four specials throughout the year.
- The Cleveland Show has swapped places with American Dad, going to the less desirable 7:30 – 8:30 PM spot on Sunday and putting AD back into its longstanding 9:30 – 10:00 PM for the first half of the season. New series Allen Gregory will be in the 8:30 – 9:30 PM slot, a slot that was filled by The Cleveland Show for the first half of the season and Bob’s Burgers for the second half. This gives credence to our suggestion that we made when the announcement for AD‘s renewal was made in which the press release claimed that an order had been placed for 22 episodes, however it contradicted itself by stating that the show was renewed through 2013. We suggested that one of the only ways this would make sense would be if AD was going to get half-season treatment, although we did find that scenario the most unlikely. This could change, however depending on the success/failure of AG and ND.
- We’re not expecting a whole lot from AG and ND and we don’t think FOX is either. We explain why here. We expect these shows to both be canceled pretty quickly as the two had seven and six episodes orders, respectively. We hear that FOX has at least two more animated shows in the hopper waiting to go, though, just in case.
- Finally, keep in mind that an NFL lockout is looming. This could send ripples through the entire FOX schedule.
So without further adieu:
FOX FALL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM Terra Nova (NEW!)
9:00-10:00 PM House
8:00-9:00 PM Glee
9:00-9:30 PM The New Girl (NEW!)
9:30-10:00 PM Raising Hope
8:00-9:00 PM The X-Factor (Results Show) (NEW!)
9:00-10:00 PM Bones
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM (Encores) / America’s Most Wanted (Specials)
FOX MIDSEASON 2012 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM Glee
9:00-9:30 PM The New Girl (NEW!)
9:30-10:00 PM Raising Hope
8:00-9:30 PM American Idol
9:30-10:00 PM I Hate My Teenage Daughter (NEW!)
8:00-9:00 PM American Idol (Results Show)
9:00-10:00 PM The Finder (NEW!) / Bones (Spring)
8:00-9:00 PM Kitchen Nightmares
9:00-10:00 PM Fringe
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM (Encores) / America’s Most Wanted (Specials)
We just got word that FOX has renewed both Family Guy and The Cleveland Show for a tenth and fourth season, respectively, entrenching them long-term into FOX’s Sunday Animation Domination block. FOX had already renewed both of these MacFarlane shows for a ninth and third season, respectively, along with American Dad, for a seventh season (as well as Bob’s Burgers) for Fall 2011. Recently, we speculated that FOX has ZERO faith in the success of their two new mid-season 2011 -2012 animated shows, Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory and this move by the network only goes to reinforce that opinion. We don’t blame them because we don’t either.
Press release forthcoming.
Hi, folks. Thanks for coming back for part two of this very special feature on FOX where Blossom ponders losing her virginity, yet again. No, no, no, obviously we’re going to talk about FOX’s recent surprising schedule moves and what we think is going on over there. Yesterday, of course, we reported on the renewal of Bob’s Burgers for a second season and left our readers with a cliffhanger as to the significance of this renewal for the network as a whole and why we are actually pleased about the renewal despite that we don’t like the show. So now it’s time to explain why and we’ll bring you back to when we fist heard about FOX moving Fringe to Friday nights.
As noted by our two pieces on Fringe‘s move to Friday (here and here) we’ve been very critical of FOX’s history of jumping ship on shows (especially new shows) that have had a run of, not even horrible, but average to mediocre ratings. Seriously, c’mon, FOX… Seinfeld wasn’t immediately a hit. It wasn’t even in the top 30 for its first three seasons and in its fourth season it was #25.
Anyway, in these pieces, we also expressed our skepticism with FOX’s stated commitment in the past to fan-favorite shows and of course this directly related to their campaign in January expressing the same commitment to Fringe. But, then, a few weeks ago, Virginia found out that there is indeed a Santa Claus and the announcement was made that Fringe not only had been renewed for a fourth season, but it was given a full season order… in March. We speculated as to why this occurred as EVERYONE, including us, assumed that after the ratings decline, the move to Friday and of course, FOX’s history, this show was destined for Cancellationville.
And of course, there is American Dad, a show that FOX execs have not historically supported and have been trying to replace for years and it got renewed for a seventh season… in February, again with a full season order of 22 episodes, no less.
When we heard the announcement about Fringe, we speculated as to the many reasons it may have been spared cancellation but came to the conclusion that we really didn’t care, we were just happy that the show was saved. But now, we’re hearing that FOX is on the verge of losing House, as well.
The network remains in last-minute negotiations with Universal Media Studios, which owns the series, in hopes of signing a new deal for an eighth season. The two sides are far apart in determining the percentage each will pay for the show’s costs.
UMS, owned by NBCUniversal, has given Fox an extension on the window of negotiation exclusivity. That ends Friday. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, UMS will offer the show to competing networks including, of course, the Peacock, which would likely be more than happy to take the series away from Fox.
So thanks to all of these developments, we’ve been dragged into the speculation game and we’re guessing that there are several issues at play here:
First, FOX has some serious issues with original scripted program scheduling coming this Fall and this is just based on what we know. Four new shows from 2010 – 2011 have already been canceled (Running Wilde, The Good Guys, Sons of Tuscon and Lone Star) and Traffic Light is certain to be canceled by May 16th. So, that’s five down right there (and chances for The Chicago Code being renewed for a second season seem to be getting slimmer by the day) and Human Target and Lie To Me are more likely to be cancelled than not. Add to that the fact that as of this posting FOX hasn’t been able to come to a deal to keep the perennial hits Bones and (as earlier noted) House (the deadline for a deal for House was last Friday), the network faces potentially being down nine scripted programs from 2010 – 2011 (Even though we are still trying to forget about Sons of Tuscon as if it never existed, and of course we aren’t counting 24 which was at the end of its run).
And here’s the thing about House: Universal may not come to a deal intentionally and may just turn House over to NBC who is desperate for a strong scripted drama, or strong scripted anything at this point. Whereas FOX axed four of their new shows (with a fifth coming for sure), NBC has axed five of their new shows with at least a sixth certain to be on the way out the door (Sorry, but as much as The Event has improved by following what we suggested it needed to do, it was too little, too late…so, adiós!). Let’s also not forget Chuck, which is on its way out the door as well. It’s so bad at NBC that less-than-positive performers such as Law & Order: Los Angeles and Harry’s Law are almost guaranteed to be renewed because, well, frankly, theyz gots nothin’ else and they certainly don’t have American Idol or Simon Cowell’s new series, The X-Factor, that is destined to be a ratings juggernaut, so at the end of the day, NBC is in way worse shape than FOX. So, here’s our bold prediction: House will be on NBC come Fall 2011 and a deal with Bones (in desperation) will be made and it will return to FOX.
But the effects of losing House on FOX will be devastating and even if they keep Bones, that show has seen a sharp decline in ratings over the past two season which means there will be only one truly strong live-action veteran scripted show and that would be Glee. Can FOX really be comfortable going into the new Fall season with the The Animation Domination Block, Glee, The X-Factor and American Idol being the only programming that is guaranteed to be stable? We don’t think they possibly could be satisfied with that situation.
So taking this a step further, based on what we know for sure about the Fall schedule and the three shows that were renewed – not only unexpectedly but early, as well – (Fringe, American Dad and now Bob’s Burgers), here’s what we think is going on and it crossed our minds when we first heard about Fringe‘s renewal: FOX is not just uncomfortable with the new scripted programing they have ordered for Fall 2011, they’re downright nervous and they expected to have had more success with their new shows from 2010 – 2011. They also certainly didn’t expect the possibility of looking at Fall 2011 with no House and to a lesser extent no Bones.
This brings us to the Stephen Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment produced, epic Sci-Fi series, Terra Nova, which as we noted when we reported Fringe‘s renewal, has been delayed yet again and is set to debut in Fall 2011. There are some serious issues with Terra Nova that we think FOX is starting to get as concerned about as we are. First, the delays are insane and we are not confident at all that it will debut in the Fall as promised. Second, Terra Nova may be the most expensive show in history with the first two episodes alone costing $16 million and whereas the average episode of scripted drama costs $2.5 million, Terra Nova per episode cost will come in at $4 million and the show is rife with rumors of cost overruns although the producers deny this.
Third, this is the biggest risk that FOX has ever taken on any series, nevertheless a Sci-Fi series, in an era where epic Sci-Fi is DEAD on network television. And we’re sure that it doesn’t help when veteran television Sci-Fi writer and producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise) who is exec. producing/writing Terra Nova is doing the “pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain” Great and Powerful Oz routine denying the fact that it is indeed a Sci-Fi series when you’d have to be blind not to see it:
But it’s not a sci-fi show.
“It’s really about this frontier family trying to survive,”
Centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization.
No, there’s absolutely nothing Sci-Fi about that premise at all. It’s just like Little House on the Prairie… but with time travel… and dinosaurs… and automatic weapons… with lasers.
So, if we go with the premise that FOX isn’t really sure whether or not Terra Nova is going to actually debut on the Fall 2011 schedule as planned and it finally occurred to them that this kind of Sci-Fi is highly questionable for network television and of course there’s the issue of the costs involved, we can come to only one conclusion: FOX is worried that they aren’t going to have much going on this Fall, Monday through Friday, other than Glee and The X-Factor and they’ve decided that keeping some of these shows that have established, stabilized audiences even though they’ve seen ratings drops, may be their only option. For goodness’ sake, and we cannot stress this enough, they saved three shows that everyone expected to be canceled, and again, this is FOX we’re talking about.
We alluded to this theory yesterday, in part one, our commentary on the Bob’s Burgers renewal:
We think FOX is starting to realize that it may be better for them to deal with the devil that they know as opposed to the one they don’t…
So, that’s where we think all of this is going and in our opinion, this is nothing but a positive turn of events. FOX has lived very well over the past decade with their scripted programming, reality program and sports. If new show, “A” didn’t work out as well or as quickly as they had hoped, they’d just dump it and replace it with new show “B” and if that didn’t work out they’d replace it with show “C” and so on and they’d usually find gold eventually. But let’s be honest about this; the crop of decent scripted shows out there over the past couple of years on ALL of the networks has been thin to say the least. So considering the lack of quality, sustainable shows, all the losses in shows that they’ve had in the past year, the possible losses of their perennial hits to other networks, and a questionable Fall 2011 lineup, it appears that FOX execs have been forced to put on the big boy pants and change their strategy so that they have something that’s at least slightly stable in their lineup, and will actually work to build up those shows by subsidizing them with their juggernauts, particularly American Idol and The X-Factor.
Now, although FOX may not be particularly happy about taking this approach (because of course, everyone likes the quick and easy buck), all of these developments and this new approach is nothing but positive for viewers and fans of the many quality scripted programs that FOX does have to offer, but probably wouldn’t have been given an opportunity like this if this was, oh, say, two or three years ago. Heck, we suspect that if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were in its second season in 2011 instead of in 2009, it already would have been renewed for a third season by now.
And this is EXACTLY why we are so happy about Bob’s Burgers being picked up for a second season (as much as we dislike it) because it’s show number four that was not only renewed by FOX but picked up early when no one expected it to be. This in turn gives up hope for the remaining three likely to be canceled shows, Lie to Me, Human Target and The Chicago Code. We can almost guarantee that FOX will not cancel all three of these shows, in fact, they may only cancel one of them but we are going to go with the premise, based on everything we’ve laid out over the past two days that they will keep at least one of them and we think it will be a toss-up between Lie to Me and Human Target.
Don’t get us wrong, we love The Chicago Code and we don’t particularly like the clichéd and predictable Lie to Me but we have to be objective about this. If FOX or any other network is going to pick up an underperforming show to keep for another season, they are going to pick one that has an established audience for at least a couple of seasons over a mid-season replacement that hasn’t been able to find any stability with their audience. The fact that The Chicago Code is a serial doesn’t help its chances of gaining a stable audience a season later, either. Now, obviously, Bob’s Burgers doesn’t have a multiple-season established audience BUT it did have the highest ratings of any new show premiere of the season and its audience numbers, though not great, have stabilized and it does have very strong lead-ins and lead-outs with The Simpsons and Family Guy, respectively, whereas The Chicago Code dos not.
So there you have it. Our wild speculation on why the big change in strategy at FOX. You can take it for what it’s worth, and call us crazy but do the research for yourself and see if you come to any other conclusions because we’d love to hear your take. Remember folks, May 16th is the big day for FOX. That’s when we find out who’s going and who’s staying.
It’s that time of year again, folks. The time where we come together to say good-bye to an old year and we usher a in a new one. At TV-Tastic, it’s also the time of year where we review the Fall 2010 television lineup, tell you what was good, what sucked and everything in between and why as well as where all of these shows are going to be in the new year (if they haven’t gotten canceled already). Keep in mind that it’s only the stuff we watched for the most part so not every piece of schlock is in here. So let the games begin.
We gave up on The Simpsons around 2000 because frankly, it had gotten to the point where they were abusing the social commentary satire that they were famous for and basically began preaching and not being funny. The biggest problem really was that strayed away from the old format of filling every obscure situation with a good joke. That being said, we’ve been dipping our toes back into the Simpsons water for the last couple of years and we have to say that this season is one of the funniest in a very long time. It is as brilliant and original in this its 22nd season as it was during its first ten. They’ve brought back everything that made The Simpsons great and we love it.
We have to be honest: we don’t like The Cleveland Show. We think it’s incredibly poorly written, a poor rip-off of Family Guy and ridiculously exploits racial stereotypes with little-to-no comedic value. We’re still trying to figure out why Cleveland Brown was given his own show to begin with. The random Cleveland appearance on Family Guy was always funny but the character was never written to be a major presence even on that show so why would the producers think setting him or any secondary character up with their own series is a good idea? The only positive statement we can make about Cleveland this season is that it is slightly funnier than it was last season, but we seriously don’t know if you can call going from a 1 to a 3 on a scale of 10 an accomplishment. Anyway, apparently we’re the idiots because FOX has already renewed it for another season. Waitaminute… this is FOX we’re talking about, after all. Maybe we’re not the idiots after all.
We’ve been devoted fans of Family Guy since its pilot episode on Fox in 1999. Needless to say, we were heartbroken when it was canceled by the idiots at FOX in 2002, and subsequently rejoiced when it was resurrected again in 2005 (thank you, Cartoon Network). When it first came back after the hiatus, we were kind of disappointed as it just didn’t feel like the same show. The jokes weren’t as funny, weren’t as fast and more importantly, the musical numbers had all but disappeared and any true fan will tell you, the musical numbers were what made old-school Family Guy so damned good.
After a couple of seasons of kind of boring us to death (with the exception of a few standout episodes) there was something else that we picked up that was really starting to bug us: Family Guy was becoming very mean-spirited with their jokes. Now, Family Guy has never shied away from controversy and we’ve never had a problem with the shock-value material, but some of this stuff was just downright awful, alienating and again, very mean-spirited. Old-school Family Guy, as controversial as it was, was NEVER mean and it didn’t have to be because the material stood on its own. It was becoming very clear to long-time fans and objective viewers that Family Guy was resorting to these tactics because the writing frankly wasn’t that good and they knew it.
Near the end of the 2007 – 2008 season, we had decided that as much as we didn’t want to do it, we were going to remove Family Guy from DVR schedule in the Fall of 2008 if we didn’t see marked improvement.
We can honestly say now that we’re certainly glad we gave Family Guy a chance because like The Simpsons, Family Guy began to go back to what made the show great and left the mean-spiritedness behind. The show has gotten progressively better over the past two seasons (with more musical numbers to boot) and this season is one of the funniest in history.
We normally just erase shows immediately after watching them off the DVR but Family Guy has become so good again that you literally have to watch an episode at least twice to catch the jokes you missed the first time around because you were laughing so hard and so long at one joke that the next one blew right by you. THAT is what Family Guy was all about. This season’s episode, Excellence in Broadcasting guest-starring (of all people) Rush Limbaugh may be the funniest episode in the history of the series… I’m not kidding. It’s definitely up there with the greats such as Wasted Talent, Petarded and PTV. We don’t care if you love Limbaugh or hate him, if you can’t appreciate how brilliant that episode is, you should not be watching Family Guy.
Watch that full episode here.
Here is one of the funniest scenes ever done on Family Guy from the episode Baby, You Knock Me Out, again, from this season and available in its entirety here.
We did a review the night after the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire where we proclaimed that it was the best show on television (the review can be read here.). After watching the entire first season there is absolutely nothing I would change about my analysis of this series, it is the best show on television… period. That being said, as ana aside, there is something that I have noticed on the series for some time now that viewers really should be aware of. The show isn’t completely historically accurate. In the aggregate, yes, the overall story is true, but many of the nitty-gritty details have been dramatized… A LOT. For example: there’s a whole storyline about Warren G. Harding’s mistress who had his baby. In reality, this story of the mistress and the baby was a rumor that was never historically confirmed yet Boardwalk Empire puts it into the storyline as if it were fact. We have no problem with creative license, but there should be full disclosure especially from a fictional show that revolves around actual historical figures. Just sayin’, is all.
Well, Dexter has officially gone 24 on us. Allow us to explain: After four seasons of improving storylines, 24 had its masterpiece season in season 4. The problem is that there was absolutely no way the producers could ever top that season so the next three seasons seemed disappointing by comparison. This is exactly what happened with Dexter in season 5. Season 4 of Dexter with John Lithgow as “The Trinity Killer” was one of the best seasons in television history and had one the best shock-finale of any series in recent memory and that hurt season 5. The anticipation was so built-up because of season 4 that this season, although very good, was a bit of a let-down and nowhere near as satisfying as season 4. We still love the series and we can’t wait until season 6 airs but the fans need to understand that season 4 was the defining season and its never going to get any better than that.
American Dad has been the one consistent bright spot in the FOX ‘Animation Domination’ lineup on Sunday night. The show is absolutely hilarious and every now and then they throw in an episode that completely breaks from the sitcom fare and goes into the column of “epic event.” If you’ve seen the Christmas episode from season five Rapture’s Delight, you know what we’re talking about.
Unfortunately, it seems as if American Dad is always on the list of shows to be canceled each year and this season is no different. I blame the time-slot and usually I would just say “don’t worry, it will be picked up next year,” but this year we were a little concerned because of the mid-season replacement, Bob’s Burgers looked VERY funny based on the sneak-preview we saw on the Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Blu-Ray. That being said, FOX has had a history of trying to upset the apple cart in recent years on Sunday night and it hasn’t worked. Besides the fact that none of the shows they’ve tried to knock off American Dad with have been very good, I think audiences have gotten very comfortable with American Dad and though its audience numbers haven’t been as huge as Family Guy, they’ve been consistent.
Also, now that we’ve had a chance to see Bob’s Burgers, we think it’s safe to say that it won’t be around long. Read the full review of Bob’s Burgers, here.
Next, we take a look at Mondays.
BOB’S BURGERS is a new animated series about a man, his family and a burger joint.
A second-generation restaurateur, BOB (H. Jon Benjamin) is a dreamer with big ideas about burgers. Despite his greasy counters, his lousy location next to a crematorium and the occasionally spotty service, Bob is convinced his burgers speak for themselves.
Bob’s wife, LINDA (John Roberts), supports Bob’s dream through thick and thin, but has some dreams of her own. Their oldest daughter, TINA (Dan Mintz), is a 13-year-old hopeless romantic with minimal social skills. Middle child GENE (Eugene Mirman) is a self-described musician, class clown and all-around entertainer. Their youngest, LOUISE (Kristen Schaal), is the most enthusiastic about her dad’s business, but her imagination and scheming make her somewhat of a liability in the kitchen.
The restaurant is situated in an eastern seaboard town, complete with an oceanside amusement pier called Wonder Wharf. Next door to BOB’S BURGERS is the It’s Your Funeral Home and Crematorium – owned and operated by Mort the Mortician, one of Bob’s most faithful regulars. And across the street is Jimmy Pesto’s, Bob’s main competition and one of the many thorns in Bob’s side. – FOX
3 out of 10
We had very mixed emotions going into the series premiere of Bob’s Burgers. On the one hand, we’re always excited about a new animated series on FOX (yes, it’s the one thing we like about FOX at this time) and this one genuinely looked VERY funny based on the sneak-preview we saw on the It’s A Trap! Blu-Ray but on the other hand, it’s been a poorly kept secret that FOX has been trying to replace American Dad since about the second season and Bob’s Burgers would be in all likelihood, the heir-apparent. We really are not sure why FOX treats American Dad like the proverbial red-headed step-child, either, but they always have. The audiences numbers haven’t been as big as Family Guy, however, they have been good enough and consistent over the last six seasons to keep FOX from just arbitrarily dumping it like the do with so many other of their shows.
That being said, it’s with a heavy heart and overwhelming joy at the same time that we declare this:
BOB’S BURGERS SUCKS.
There… we said it… and we want our readers to realize this before they start investing a whole bunch of time into this dopey show expecting the show to become enjoyable. It’s not going to happen. The jokes are lame and incredibly dated and it’s really just a whole bunch of recycled crap from other prime-time cartoons with a smattering of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim comedy thrown in for good measure. The truth is that if they couldn’t pull off more than three good jokes in the premiere, it’s never going to happen.
Another thing about this is that there’s really nobody likable or relatable on this show except for maybe Bob himself. His wife, Linda, reminds of Pickles Oblong from the short-lived WB series, The Oblongs, without being funny or endearing. All three of the kids are just a bunch of gross weirdos and the writers just keep jumping back to these gross/weird kids in an attempt to exploit their grossness/weirdness into a joke. It’s not working at all as it’s all very predictable and you just wind up a little more grossed-out. To give you an idea about how predictable and unoriginal this show is, they actually did a “Whatever-you-do-don’t-touch-that-red-button” joke. Pure, puke-in-your-mouth, suckitude©.
Believe us when we say that we really wanted to like Bob’s Burgers, despite what the ramifications of a high-quality animated show on FOX means to the fate of American Dad. We really tried. We’re firm believers in letting the best show win at the end of the day and its self-defeating to root for a show to suck, even if it means losing another beloved show.
We even brought Mrs. ‘Tastic in to watch this who normally stares through the television like she’s trying to see the hidden image of the sailboat like in one of those ‘Magic Eye’ pictures whenever one of our shows is on. She confirmed our worst fears when she said at the end, “Was that supposed to be funny?” Then we contemplated turning on MTV’s Teen Mom to make us feel better about our lives after having to sit through Bob’s Burgers.
So, in the end, the downside is that Bob’s Burgers is really not very good at all but the upside is that it looks like American Dad may have dodged the FOX bullet for yet another season and for that… we rejoice.
And before anyone starts talking about how Bob’s had the highest rated season premiere of any new show this season, keep in mind that the show was heavily promoted by FOX and oh, yeah… it had the benefit of having an NFL wild-card game as a lead in. We would not expect similar numbers next week because we simply find it impossible for anyone who watched that mess to think it was good enough to tune in to a second time.
An outrageous “Family Guy”-style remake of Return of the Jedi, this Star Wars spoof finds Chris Skywalker and Princess Lois attempting to rescue Peter Solo from Jabba the Hutt, defeat the mighty Stewie Vader and blow up the second Death Star. This wacky animated parody features off-the-wall Star Trek: The Next Generation guests including Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf. – Netflix
4 out of 10
This is the third installment of the Family Guy spoofs of the original Star Wars films and it is the worst by far. In the opening scrolling text sequence in the beginning of It’s a Trap! the writers tell a tale about how they literally put no effort into the writing of this because they were so exhausted after having done Something, Something, Something, Darkside that they just didn’t care… this is not a joke, it is the absolute truth. It’s even admitted to by Seth McFarlane in the commentary, and it’s apparent from the first joke that they completely phoned it in.
It’s a Trap! is boring and unfunny for the most part and the jokes are generally predictable and nowhere near as good as Blue Harvest or Something, Something, Something Darkside (with Blue Harvest being the best of the three). There is one truly hilarious scene in the film but that’s it (and unlike some other reviewers, we’re not going to spoil it by telling you what that is. You deserve to get some enjoyment out of this mess). The rest is pretty much a waste of time from a comedy standpoint and what’s going to be disappointing is that this is that is going to be this season’s season finale because that’s what they’ve been doing with these direct-to-video movies for the last four years. It’s really a shame because, It’s a Trap! is going to tarnish what has been the best season of Family Guy since the relaunch. This episode seems more suited to second or third season post-relaunch Family Guy with the unfunny jokes and jokes that just got dragged on forever than it does for the 2010 -2011 season. If you need any further proof of how bad this is or how the writers mailed it in, they threw in a Conway Twitty scene… again… but this time they gave him a Darth Vader helmet (no, I’m not kidding).
The only reason it’s getting a four instead of one is because the special features, albeit limited, are pretty decent (the commentary is funnier than the film) and the animation is fantastic. This is the first of the Family Guy Star Wars spoofs to be produced in 16:9 and it is quite visually stunning and in fact it is the most visually stunning of the three spoofs. That being said, quality of animation is not why we watch Family Guy, though.
Unless you are a die-hard Family Guy fan and you must have this in your collection, we wouldn’t recommend this. The only reason we purchased it is because it came in the trilogy and we needed the Blue Harvest Blu-Ray and the trilogy was just $4.00 more than just the one film. Also, for the record, the Blu-ray not only comes with the Digital Copy but it also comes with the DVD copy as well so at least it’s a bargain.
If you haven’t heard already, Fox has moved the J.J. Abrams fan-favorite Sci Fi thriller, Fringe, from the Thursday at 9:00 p.m. slot to the dreaded Friday at 9:00 p.m. slot. Now as much as we here at The ‘Tastic love Fringe (to the point where we consider it to be one of the top five shows on television), we weren’t necessarily surprised by this because as we’ve pointed out, FOX pisses their pants every time they see a ratings drop.
We also noted that while the other major networks are starting to take Friday nights seriously once again, FOX has decidedly NOT taken this approach, designating the night for reality shows and as a dumping ground for shows that haven’t done as well as they had hoped which is usually the fault of FOX to begin with (see: The Good Guys for the most recent example of this and our analysis here). So, we’ve come to accept that no show is ever safe on FOX and that without fail, if a show is designated for Friday night it will not be renewed at the end of the season or if it is, it will wither pretty quickly the following season. Now, with Fringe, there’s been a bit of a twist in this whole saga this week, which we’ll get to shortly, but first, it is necessary to address a fact of life that we’ve really been holding off on admitting for a long time but here it is:
FOX is an awful network and quite possibly the worst network ever… period. End of discussion. FOX is worse than The CW and it may possibly be worse than UPN or The WB ever was. The network is poorly run, they make terrible, amateurish decisions regarding their programming, they have absolutely no idea how to market quality programming in order to pique interest and they don’t give shows a chance to build an audience or even maintain a modest one. We will remind you that this is the same network that canceled Family Guy and the only reason it came back after a three-year hiatus is because The Cartoon Network aired the 49 episodes it had acquired the syndication rights to at 11:00 p.m. nightly and it gave THAT network the highest ratings in its history. So, to make this clear, a show FOX cancelled after only 49 episodes put another network on the map when they aired them… at 11:00 p.m.
The only reason FOX has had any success is because they have had a handful of successful shows that they have MILKED TO DEATH. Here’s the thing about that: a successful show should be able to give a network a lot of leeway with their programming and give a lot of other shows a chance to build an audience and become successful. What this means is that a show, for example, such as American Idol, can make enough money to basically support the growth of shows that are critically acclaimed however struggle in the ratings. This is not a new concept in either film or cinema.
Think of it like this: why do major studios invest money in relatively low-budget films with little-to-no anticipated payoff? Well, that’s because the film industry although motivated by profit like any other industry, still sees the value in the art they produce for the sake of the art itself and they believe that every now and then, the quality of the art for art’s sake may just turn into gold. A prime example of this is Paranormal Activity which Paramount/Dreamworks picked up the rights to for $300,000. Why would a major studio throw $300,000 away on a low-budget ($15,000), genre film that had little-to-no chance of making them any money? Well, first, because Stephen Spielberg REALLLLLLY liked it and second (and probably more importantly), because between G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek, Paramount grossed $1.5 billion domestically at the box office in 2009 on just those three films. So what it comes down to is that studios can afford to take more risks when they have money makers like that. Of course, with Paranormal Activity, that risk paid off nicely, grossing $194 million globally. Not a bad bet for a lousy $300,000, eh?
The same principle applies to television and even FOX has actually had success with this principle when they’ve applied it but they’ve only attempted it once and that was with 24 and that was nearly a decade ago. They stuck with that show early on despite the fact that the ratings had slipped in the first season and they even used American Idol as the lead-in and it worked.
FOX simply has no foresight or vision when it comes to the potential value of good TV, despite slipping ratings and quite frankly they are missing a much bigger point and that is that due to their 20 year history of reckless programming decisions, generally speaking, audiences don’t want to give FOX a chance any more when it comes to scripted programming. Why would they bother to ever consider getting invested in a scripted show on FOX when it’s more than likely not going to last for any significant amount of time? It’s a vicious cycle. FOX cancels shows (or dumps them into Friday) because the ratings slide, the ratings slide because the audiences don’t have any faith that FOX won’t cancel their show.
Now, back to the big twist in the news this week regarding the moving of Fringe to Friday…
Last week a whole bunch of blogs and entertainment news sites a lot more reputable than The ‘Tastic all had basically the same thing to say about the move. To put it simply: they all contend that the move marked the beginning of the end for the series which certainly isn’t a stretch, particularly with FOX.
Well, the FOX execs didn’t like that too much so they came up with this little trailer that addresses (and quotes) the cynical (albeit realistic) commentary from the writers at Collider, Ain’t It Cool News, IGN, TV Overmind, and Fringe Bloggers who for some bizarre reason just don’t seem to have any faith in FOX’s support of this show.
How cute is that, right? We’re convinced. Aren’t you?
Entertainment Weekly, who apparently has no problem being a corporate shill for FOX and perpetuating B.S., did a nice little puff-piece where they quote FOX’s senior VP of marketing and special projects, Dean Norris, explaining what prompted the trailer:
We started getting feedback from the viewers that basically said, ‘How could Fox do something so cool for a show they’re going to kill?’ We started reading these things and said, ‘Wait! We have to address this!’” The mission was to produce a piece of communication that dealt with the situation in a self-deprecating fashion, yet also assuaged fan fears. The message, spelled out in the promo: “You May Think Friday Is Dead… But We’re Gonna Reanimate It.”
Well, that sounds great because after all if there is one thing FOX is good at it’s animation… and RE-animation for that matter (see: Family Guy).
Now, standby in 3… 2… 1… for the big lie:
The promo is the beginning of a larger effort by Fox to shore up Fringe’s existing fanbase and hopefully grow the audience by targeting teen viewers who might be at home Friday night… “We are trying to rebrand Friday, and what we’re trying to do with this show specifically is make it kind of like forbidden fruit,” says Norris. “We want that teen demographic that might not be our audience right now to say, ‘That this is a show my parents might not want me to watch — but I’m going to watch it, anyway.’”
…And this is exactly why we don’t trust FOX and neither should you. First, and foremost let’s just examine this entire quote, shall we?
Mr. Norris, please explain to us how FOX plans to “shore up” its existing fanbase by alienating it, yet again. The problem that we pointed out earlier is that it’s not even necessarily the fact that it’s on a Friday night… the problem is that it’s on FOX on a Friday night and their history with television shows – ESPECIALLY Sci Fi shows! – on that night.
Our first hint of skepticism regarding this sudden change of heart was in that dopey little promo itself. It’s the quote from Roco at Fringe Blogger that they cite:
This is indeed the night… others were cast out to die.
Anytime we see a quote cited and there is ellipsis in the middle of the quote, we always research the actual source to find out exactly what the quoter wanted to leave out in order to advance their agenda. Here’s the actual quote by Roco:
This is indeed the night the likes of Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly and others were cast out to die.
And there it is, folks; what FOX wants you to forget about. The fact is that not only has FOX been brutal to Sci Fi shows that they’ve abandoned to Friday night, they’ve also spun similar stories about support and similar clever promo campaigns that REALLY made people think they gave a crap. I refer you to the Dollhouse/Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles promos from spring of 2009.
Here’s our favorite… when Summer Glau and Eliza Dushku actually hosted the “Double Feature Friday” of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the series premiere of Dollhouse.
Three months later Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was canceled and six months after that Dollhouse was canceled. Obviously, this is an example of FOX fully supporting their friday night Sci Fi shows.
To add more salt into that particular wound and prove the point about the total lack of vision at FOX, in May of 2009 those two shows had identical audience numbers, but FOX, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, decided to cancel Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles which had 11.4 million viewers during its first season before being dumped into Friday, was incredibly well-received by critics, had an established franchise brand-name and a built-in audience in favor of renewing the Joss Whedon mess called Dollhouse that had none of these attributes going for it. Once again, nice job, FOX.
We won’t even discuss what they did to one of the greatest and regrettably short-lived series of all time, Firefly (also a Joss Whedon show).
As for the last big lie in that quote… who are they kidding? Are we really supposed to believe that teenagers are going to stay in on a Friday night to watch a Sci Fi serial? Furthermore, the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to expand the base for a show like this.
We know exactly what they’re thinking or at least the premise that they are going for in trying to promote this big lie and that is that Fringe is like The X-Files (as it’s been compared to that hit series since it debuted) and that it can appeal to everyone on that level. Wrong. They aren’t the same show at all and the reason why it doesn’t work is that roughly 2/3 of the 202 episodes of The X-Files were standalone, “monster-of-the-week” type episodes that were literally disconnected from the main storyline arc of Mulder’s quest for the proof of alien abduction so he could find his sister.
Fringe’s main story arc is omnipresent in every single episode whether it’s integral to the story of that particular episode or not and as much as we love The X-Files, Fringe’s main arc is a helluva lot more complicated than The X-Files alien arc ever was. As a viewer, you cannot just jump into a show like Fringe halfway through its third season. It would be the equivalent of jumping into Lost halfway through the third season. You’d be lost and Norris must know this and if he doesn’t he’s completely incompetent.
So that’s what we’re left with. TPTB at FOX are either completely incompetent or completely dishonest and what’s ridiculous is how many other bloggers and various media outlets are falling for this sudden change of heart by FOX regarding their dedication to a Sci Fi show that they have parked on Friday night. Seriously, how dumb are they? This is “battered viewer syndrome” (…and I’m not going to explain that particular metaphor) if we’ve ever seen it. Do not trust FOX and their claims of unmitigated support for Fringe or any other show they move to Friday until they can be proven to be trustworthy. The first step in doing that would be for them to order the remaining episodes for this season and order an entire fourth season and promise to air all of the episodes. At this point, that would be the only way we would ever trust them and that’s not going to happen, so all we can do is hope for the best but plan for the worst which means expect Fringe to be canceled in May. Let’s just hope that they bring some closure to this great series.
And, by the way… we really hope we’re wrong but we doubt that we are.
Raising Hope is a new single-camera family comedy from Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia that follows the Chance family as they find themselves adding an unexpected new member into their household. At 23 years old, JIMMY CHANCE (Lucas Neff) is going nowhere in life. He skims pools for a living, parties every night and still lives at home with his family, including his MAW MAW (Cloris Leachman); his mother, VIRGINIA (Martha Plimpton) and his father, BURT (Garret Dillahunt). Jimmy’s life takes a drastic turn when a chance romantic encounter with LUCY (guest star Bijou Phillips) goes awry once he discovers she is a wanted felon. Months later, when Jimmy pays a visit to the local prison, he learns Lucy is pregnant with their baby, and after she gives birth, he is charged with raising their daughter. – FOX
The Preview (originally posted on 9/15/2010):
Shawn: I didn’t think it was possible but Rasing Hope has given me whole new reason to hate sitcoms. You see, what’s pissed me off thoroughly is the lie perpetuated on show’s Official Page that I posted above. It’s leaving out a crucial detail and the omission is by design. The little baby’s mother, isn’t just a wanted felon, she’s a serial killer and her big joke in the trailer is that they would never execute a mother of a seven month-old baby. Then, they cut to a scene with Jimmy sitting on the other side of the glass with the baby on his lap watching her get electrocuted and about halfway through the process he covers the baby’s eyes. I’m sorry, and you can call me old-fashioned, but a baby being separated from its mother and then forced to watch her get executed in an electric chair is not exactly what I would call charming or endearing. FOX has been doing a very good job of hiding that little piece of information on their website and their regular TV spots for this show. Gee, I wonder why? What I saw is not nearly as bad as the fact that they are trying to hide it.
Beyond, that, of course this show is as stupid, clichéd and as recycled as any other sitcom. Seriously, though, the rule of thumb for FOX should be to assume all of their sitcoms are going to suck. It’s just a question of to what degree of suckitude (© 2010, TV-Tastic). Raising Hope is certainly no different from any other FOX sitcom and they brag about why it sucks. The claim to fame of this show is that Greg Garcia created it and of course he was the award-winning writer who came up with My Name is Earl. What no one wants to admit about My Name is Earl is that it wasn’t funny after the first season and to be honest, the novelty wore off after the first 10 episodes. And of course, this show isn’t even much different from Earl with the portrayal of the stupid, white-trash and downright depressing family. Again, recycled crap. It’s seems like a shame too because the main cast includes Cloris Leachman, Martha Plympton and they FINALLY got a lead role for one of my favorite character actors of all time, Darren Gillahunt (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Deadwood), an actor that is so talented that he played TWO different characters on Deadwood and no one noticed it was the same guy. So, yeah. we’ll be passing on this. Oh and if you watch this video, you’ll the scene in question.
7 out of 10
Well, like Detroit 1-8-7, we have another case of I was exactly right yet I was dead wrong at the same time.
First, the mea culpa: the scene that I was most concerned about in the trailer with the mother being executed in the electric chair wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed in the trailer. When taken in context with the ridiculous tone of this show and although I would have preferred that it not be in the episode, it flows pretty well in a cartoonish sort of way. In fact when I think about it, cartoonish is the perfect way to describe that scene. It was like something on Family Guy and South Park where, yes, under normal circumstances it would be processed by your brain as being horrific, but in context it’s pretty tame, because it’s really just slapstick. I’m guessing that the reason that FOX decided not to air that spot on TV was because it screened as poorly with their test audiences as it did it with your friendly neighborhood test-critic.
Now, on to where I was right and what I hate about this show. Raising Hope is exactly what I thought it would be: a typical Greg Garcia show about a family of really dumb, loser P.W.T. (that’s po’ white trash for the unenlightened) who are completely ridiculous and just like the aforementioned scene, absolutely cartoonish. It’s style and tone is very much like My Name is Earl and it goes to show that Greg Garcia is really kind of a one-trick pony which is something I suspected all along.
That being said, the show is pretty funny and despite its flaws is very charming. The characters, although cut from the ‘Earl’ cloth, are endearing and all very well-cast. There’s a lot of good humor here and even though they’re resorting to the same Bundy-style adversarial family that has been used a hundred times before, they all seem believable in their caring for each other.
What has really sucked me into Raising Hope show is Hope herself. That cute little baby is irresistible especially for anyone who has kids and honestly, you forget about the flaws of this show when you see that precious little face. She reminds me of my own daughter at that age and I seriously just melt when she’s on-screen just being cute. You will too.
Watch complete episodes of Raising Hope, here.