What can I say about this year’s FOX schedule? Well first of all, it’s the second consecutive year that ‘all year programming’ has been implemented, and in light of that concept, the network has been very ambitious this year, ordering 6 dramas to series, 4 comedies (plus 2 more possibly waiting in the wings) and many more dramas airing this summer in contention of being renewed as well. And after doing my research, which was thorough and extensive, I can say that this is probably the most ambitious crop of new series that FOX has proposed and unveiled within the past few years. However I believe that despite the high quality shows, the scheduling overall leaves much to be desired, with certain shows having stiff competition in their current timeslots.
The Good: A ratings hit, Sleepy Hollow, the supernatural fantasy time travel series with Ichabod Crane as the protagonist, is back for a second season this coming season with 18 episodes, and is a shoe-in for Mondays at 9pm. Competing with a couple of reality shows, and a couple of first season dramas, it may be a strong possibility that Sleepy Hollow wins the 9pm timeslot (although The Voice on NBC won’t be surrendering the night that easily…), and is probably going to be one of the sophomore returning shows that have high viewers and demo ratings this season. Gotham, easily the most talked about and interesting FOX fall 2014 drama, joins Sleepy Hollow on Mondays, and though I would have expected this to be on Wednesdays following the cancellation of the X Factor; having the DC Comics inspired series on Mondays leading into the most successful FOX show of the past season, is a very good move and a great way to kick off the beginning of each week.
The Indifferent: Bones, a veteran show now in its 10th season, has had a rough go of it the past few years in terms of ratings, with the show being moved around from Monday to Thursday to Friday all throughout the past few years, and sometimes moving days and times within seasons. Though I haven’t seen the series (which I may soon), it seems that Bones is on its last legs and may be ending soon, given that Hart Hanson is developing Backstrom (a light hearted detective show ala Monk, The Finder or Psych) for the midseason; hence I guess it may not matter where Bones ends up (maybe it’s the last season?). However moving it on Thursdays at 8pm isn’t the worst idea by any means, and I’m sure the show will gain more viewers than it would on Fridays last season. The beauty of a show this deep into the series is that it has found its core audience, so going up against The Big Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy may not have any effect on the viewers of Bones; and if it does, I am sure Hart has a plan to wrap up the series smartly. Comedies New Girl and The Mindy Project remain on Tuesdays at 9 and 9:30 respectively, like last season, and Masterchef Junior anchors Friday nights at 8pm, showing us that stability is a key attribute that FOX wants to carry on into this upcoming TV season. If viewers are stable, these shows shouldn’t need to change timeslots at all.
The Bad: Touted as one of the best shows over the past few years, I personally think that the British murder mystery series Broadchurch didn’t need an American remake, considering Season 2 is airing later this year. However what’s done is done- the trailer is just as tense as ever, and David Tennant’s acting is still quite remarkable, considering that his American accent is somewhat distracting. However letting the show air opposite Scandal, one of the highest rating ABC dramas, in my opinion was a mistake; granted FOX didn’t know ABC’s plans when they devised their schedule. However, if the show is a carbon copy of the superior 2013 series, no matter if later episodes diverge to show us a different killer, I’m afraid that Gracepoint won’t be renewed. The only saving grace for this show is that maybe it’s not supposed to be renewed, given that it’s been labelled as a 10 part limited event series.
The Smart: The sombre yet quirky Red Band Society, about a group of teenagers living in a hospital, supporting each other as friends, was one of the newer shows that took me by surprise, and is a heartfelt, poignant drama sure to pull at my heart and my emotions. Wednesdays at 9pm against Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds and Modern Family is a tough spot, but I have high hopes for this show. FOX has definitely made a smart move in my opinion.
The Puzzling: Almost every other scheduling decision this fall is puzzling and confusing, with the spitting up of reality competition Utopia on two separate non-consecutive days (why not air it in one 2 hour block instead of Tuesdays at 8pm and Fridays at 9pm?), the scheduling of Hell’s Kitchen on Wednesdays (Friday would have been better, and besides wasn’t the X Factor’s cancellation a sign for FOX to add more dramas in the fall, specifically on Wednesdays?!) as well as shoving Brooklyn 99 to Sundays, and also debuting Mulaney on that day as well (during what is usually touted as ‘Animation Domination’ night). It’s very weird, and I would have done things differently for those shows, however I’m not an executive, and hopefully for the sake of the shows aforementioned, they will survive and garner a following of fans, which is not totally out of the realm of possibility.
The Midseason Shows: There are a lot of them (inclusive of the 2013 announced Wayward Pines, which I actually thought would debut May/June of 2014), with some of them guaranteed to be pushed to the summer of 2015, joining Gang Related and 24 if they are renewed- namely the Ancient Egyptian fantasy show Hieroglyphs, which feels like an unfinished product when looking at the trailer. As Glee is in its last season, debuting it in the midseason makes sense, however I am very intrigued as to where these shows all go (I’m guessing Empire on Tuesdays, Backstrom on Wednesdays, Wayward Pines on Thursdays and Glee on Fridays, replacing Gracepoint/American Idol and the reality shows) and whether they will be successful in their time slots. Empire was one of the new shows that had a lot of buzz (the trailer is pretty good), so why was it shelved to mid-season? In my opinion, The Last Man On Earth should have never been made (it’s an ok concept for a movie, but the lead character acts a bit juvenile…), and it’s tough to assess Weird Loners when there isn’t a trailer available yet. Though overall these new mid-season shows may be better than their fall counterparts overall though… there’s plenty to look forward to at FOX this season for sure!
So take a look below, and see what the new Fox Schedule looks like. Comment below with your thoughts and opinions.
7:30: Bob’s Burgers
8: The Simpsons
8:30: Brooklyn 99
9: Family Guy
9: Sleepy Hollow
9: New Girl
9:30: Mindy Project
8: Hell’s Kitchen
9: Red Band Society
8: Masterchef Junior
The Last Man on Earth
24: Live Another Day (if renewed)
Gang Related (if renewed)