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The Losers Of Fall TV So Far

The fall is a big time of year for television, in particular for the broadcast networks who usually wait until this time to trot out their newest and highest budget shows. But with the ever-changing way in which viewers now consume TV, e.g. On Demand, DVR, and streaming services, it's become increasingly more difficult to tell which shows are a clear hit. Using a combination of aggregate reviews, ratings, and our own opinions on the shows' early plotlines, we've put together a list of shows that probably won't survive past the holiday break.

Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris

Setting aside the hubris of calling anything "the best ever," NBC's Neil Patrick Harris-led variety show leaves nothing off the table in another desperate bid to get viewers to watch live television. The result is a hyperactive smattering of pranks, games, and novelty acts that feels like the trying-too-hard entertainment crew of a cruise ship. Towards the end of the premiere, NPH actually does a backflip off of a pogo stick as if to punctuate the manufactured hype of a finale segment that basically fires celebrity cameos and random stage acts at the audience like t-shirts from a novelty gun at a sporting event. Right now, Best Time Ever feels like an excited puppy, but it won't be long before it's just another annoying barking dog.

The Player

Based on a plot that's way more complicated than necessary to be just a vehicle for Fast & Furious-style action sequences, The Player premiered poorly and hasn't improved. It's about a secret organization that bets on the outcomes of crimes—pausing here for the stupidity of that premise to stop flogging your brain—and stars Wesley Snipes, some other guy who was born for a Navy SEALS recruitment poster, and absolutely no one else recognizable. It's the kind of action/thriller show that networks have been futilely chasing since the success of 24. But with already-tired gambling quips like Snipes' "I'll take that bet," (horf.) it looks like The Player won't even make it past the bubble. See? We just came up with that. You should really be able to do better, NBC.

Minority Report

The TV spin-off of the Tom Cruise/Steven Spielberg collaboration took an already "high-concept" adaptation of a complex sci-fi story and dumbed it all the way down into a police procedural. With the critics declaring it DOA, and its ratings steadily declining—which started out awful, by the way—Minority Report will almost definitely be the first Fall TV show on the chopping block. Insert "How did they not see this coming?" joke here.


Another primetime network slot, another police procedural, this time about a flashy Miami pathologist played by Morris Chestnut who delivers his quips and medical jargon with the charisma of a biology textbook. Rosewood enjoyed solid ratings for its premiere, but it followed Empire, Fox's inexplicable breakout hit, so that explains the initial success. Everything about Rosewood feels like it's already been done better, most notably the voice-over narration from Beaumont Rosewood (yep, that's his name) in the form of his inner monologue, which sounds like he's phonetically stumbling his way through a freshman English major's creative writing essay. Our prognosis: terminal.

Heroes Reborn

One of the biggest criticisms of Heroes—aside from its inability to live up to it's admittedly amazing first season—was that it was basically a piecework rip-off of multiple comic book storylines. Now, almost ten years since the lackluster ending of the original series, NBC seems bent on repeating the same mistakes with Heroes Reborn, which they're calling a "TV mini-series" even though it's a standard 13 episodes they would undoubtedly renew if it was doing well. While Reborn's ratings aren't too bad, the reviews are coming in as a mixed bag, though all seem to agree that the original problems of "too busy" and "too derivative" seem to be hereditary traits. And a quick analysis of the plot summaries for the first few episodes reveals some well-worn territory regarding a group of people with special abilities being divided on how to handle an attempt at government control over them. It's pretty clear that this is yet another blatant, cinematic rip-off of the X-Men narrative, and that's already headed back to the dawn of civilization with X-Men: Apocalypse. So how much tread is left on these mutant tires?

Code Black

Based on the amazing documentary of the same name, Code Black is a show that takes the gripping intensity of a real-life overloaded emergency room and peppers in a ton of unnecessarily snappy dialogue written by people who must think snark saves lives. Code Black suffers from the same problems as the Minority Report adaptation in that it takes great source material and tries to reshape it into a comfortable TV format. ER and the slew of medical shows that came after it worked because the drama was in the relationships between the characters. But it would have been hard to care about who "Dr. Carter" was getting it on with in a supply closet if the triage area simultaneously had a riot going on. Code Black tries to combine both of these elements in an attempt to ratchet the tension to a fever pitch, but judging by the ratings and critical consensus, they're mostly flatlining.

Dr. Ken

As if The Hangover trilogy didn't pummel us with more than enough Ken Jeong to last a lifetime, ABC decided to build an entire comedy around the guy whose entire schtick is "Bet you didn't expect a me to do or say that!" Trust us, Ken, we did expect it. We've been expecting it since you leapt naked out of the trunk of that car, fully removing any doubts about where you will comedically take us. Not surprisingly, the reviews are across-the-board dreadful, but since Dr. Ken is sandwiched between the extremely popular Last Man Standing and Shark Tank, he may enjoy a brief ride on their coattails. Fun Fact: the word "ridonkulous" is used as a punchline in one of the promos for this show. Even grandparents who just figured out texting know that nobody uses that word anymore.

CSI: Cyber

CSI is CBS's wildly popular crime procedural that has now spawned a fourth incarnation with CSI: Cyber. Which is not to be confused with NCIS, CBS's other crime procedural that's the exact same show, but military-flavored. Anyway, CSI: Cyber is the only second season premiere on this list, but we included it because it's apparently so bad that it will probably be the first CSI division not to make it much past the first season. Its ratings are currently in last place, so the brand association that carried it through its first season has apparently worn off. Or maybe the show creators didn't realize that their previous spin-offs were just location changes, e.g. Miami and New York—places that all seem to have the same amount of criminals who carelessly, almost intentionally leave their DNA all over the place. This time, they switched up the type of crime being investigated, and we can all agree that chasing down hackers is never going to be as fun as real-life vampires, which is an actual plotline from the original series.