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Fall TV season

May 23, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Last week the TV networks announced new shows for the fall TV season, as well as the shows that have been canceled for lack of viewers this year. As I haven't had cable for several years, I am probably one of the few remaining people who bother to watch broadcast network TV. Numbers seem to be declining at a drastic rate. These days a show that gets 10 million viewers is considered a hit; 10 years ago, network shows were still garnering 30 million or more viewers. Television audiences are also getting older, which probably worries network executives, who put a much higher premium on young viewers than the people who actually watch their television shows.

My taste in TV runs more towards legal and crime procedurals and costume dramas than it does to reality TV, comic book heroes and singing and dance competitions, though I am surprisingly interested in a new show FOX has on the schedule called "Gotham." Maybe it looks more interesting because it sounds like no one will wear costumes or have super powers. It's a prequel about the early police detective days of Commissioner James Gordon, who investigates the murder of a young Bruce Wayne's parents and is involved in the investigation of criminals who will evolve into villains like Catwoman, The Riddler, and Poison Ivy. Bruce Wayne is, of course, the future Batman. If the series lasts that long, the final scene could be the young man putting on the Batman costume but we hopefully won't have to see it before that. The trailer for the series on YouTube looks appropriately noirish and the show runner is Bruno Heller, the guy who also came up with the HBO series "Rome" and CBS's "The Mentalist," both shows I liked. Heller appears to be more interested in telling a story about people than he is about superheroes and that sounds appealing. He sounds either confident or arrogant in the interview he did with Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. Heller claims the kid playing the 12-year-old Batman will be the best Batman ever and that the visuals will top the visuals in all the Batman films that came before it. The complete interview can be found at "Gotham" is supposed to air at 7 p.m. Mondays on FOX this fall, with the science fiction show "Sleepy Hollow" on at 8 p.m. Monday. It sounds like a natural pairing that will hopefully get some viewers.

CBS is also more than happy to oblige my TV tastes. Among its new programs, according to, are a show called "Madam Secretary," about a female secretary of state; "Stalker," a show about cops who track down stalkers; and "CSI:Cyber," a show about a cop who investigates cyber crimes. There's also a show called Battle Creek, starring Minot native Josh Duhamel, about cops in Battle Creek, Michigan. There's also a new NCIS spin-off set in New Orleans. CBS just really likes law enforcement. The only one I'm likely to watch is "Madam Secretary." I find it hard to watch any show that Duhamel is in since it's hard to forget he's from Minot. There's something about knowing too much about the actors that spoils the enjoyment.

ABC has more comedies, including one called "Black-ish," about a man who's concerned that his children are losing touch with their black culture and are too assimilated into middle class white suburban culture. There are also a couple of interesting sounding dramas. "How to Get Away with Murder" is about a law professor and a group of law students who become involved in a murder plot and "American Crime," is about a racially-charged murder and the ensuing crime investigation and trial and how the families of the criminals and victims are impacted. ABC's "Forever" is about a guy who seems to be immortal and also solves crimes. I doubt the show itself will be immortal, as it sounds too much like a few other shows that have been quickly canceled in recent years.

NBC has a show called "Bad Judge," about a misbehaving female judge, that could be funny or could be a real bomb. I'm betting on "bomb" since CBS just canceled a similar sounding show called "Bad Teacher."

There were a handful of new shows I was interested in last year but I didn't end up watching any of them longer than the first episode. Only time will tell whether this season will be any different.


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