Fall TV: The Good, The Bad And The Inexplicable With the fall TV season well underway, networks are making decisions on the future of their shows. What gets picked up? What gets canceled? TV critic Eric Deggans says quality isn't much of a factor.
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Fall TV: The Good, The Bad And The Inexplicable

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Fall TV: The Good, The Bad And The Inexplicable

Fall TV: The Good, The Bad And The Inexplicable

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We are six weeks into network TV's new fall season, and it is becoming clear which new shows will survive and which won't. And the winners and losers are surprising NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: This is something I never expected to say - ABC's "Dr. Ken" is one of the most successful new sitcoms on television, thanks to scenes like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DR. KEN")

SUZY NAKAMURA: (As Allison Park) Well, the credit card company called. Someone's trying to use our card at a jewelry store.

KEN JEONG: (As Dr. Ken Park) Oh, no, no, no, I'll take care of it.

NAKAMURA: (As Allison Park) OK, but I need you to actually take care of it.

JEONG: (As Dr. Ken Park) Why wouldn't I?

NAKAMURA: (As Allison Park) Because you didn't actually take care of our taxes or our mortgage payment or the life insurance.

JEONG: (As Dr. Ken Park) OK, the life insurance thing would've been a big deal had one of us died, but we didn't.

(LAUGHTER)

DEGGANS: Kim Jeong's formulaic sitcom about a doctor and family man got some of the harshest reviews of any new network TV show this fall. Still, ABC ordered a full season. "Dr. Ken" draws solid ratings on Fridays when people don't watch as much television. And it's not the only new fall show panned by critics that's doing well.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ROSEWOOD")

MORRIS CHESTNUT: (As Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr.) Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., considered by some to be the Beethoven of private pathologists.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Did you really just say that out loud?

DEGGANS: "Rosewood" is Fox's drama about a crime-solving pathologist in Miami and took hits for being too predictable and too superficial. And it also got picked up for a full season by Fox, which proves something important about the fall season - timeslots still matter. "Rosewood" features an African-American and a Latina as co-leads. It airs right before Fox's successful black-centered drama "Empire." ABC's "Dr. Ken" comes right after Tim Allen's solid comedy, "Last Man Standing." Both of these new shows benefit from audiences drawn to bigger, more established programs. Still, not all new TV shows connected to big names are doing well.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MINORITY REPORT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) When we were 9, they started testing us. They called it the pre-crime program.

DEGGANS: Fox's TV continuation of the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report" has floundered in the ratings. The network cut back its episode order from 13 to 10. This seems to be the new face of failure on network television. Rather than cancel shows outright, networks cut back episode orders, like Wesley Snipes' action drama for NBC, "The Player," and Don Johnson's nighttime soap for ABC, "Blood & Oil." Still, there's one welcome trend amidst all this mediocrity.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SUPERGIRL")

MELISSA BENOIST: (As Kara Danvers) When people see that red cape, they expect to see a certain someone, someone they know, but this isn't his story. It's mine.

DEGGANS: CBS's "Supergirl" is one of several new shows featuring a strong female hero. And it's doing quite well. NBC's "Blindspot" and ABC's "Quantico" are also in that club. At a time when gender equality is a major subject in politics and business, it's a pleasure to see these shows succeed in network television. I'm Eric Deggans.

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