The Best and Worst Things About the New TV Schedule

Every year during the upfronts, the major TV networks reveal their schedules for the next fall season—and every year, we find ourselves nodding along with their good decisions and shaking our heads at their bad ones. There are always good pickups and bad cancellations, there are always exciting, innovative ideas as well as forced trends, and there's always as much promising progress as there are foolish steps backward. This season was no different. Here are five things about the 2011-2012 season to get excited about, and five things we can only hope will improve.

BAD: Friday's Genre Logjam
NBC's Grimm—a dark, twisted procedural about a cop who learns he's from a long line of hunters that protect humans from supernatural creatures—has caught the eye of sci-fi fans. So when does NBC decide to schedule it? Fridays at 9 pm, against Fox's Fringe and The CW's Supernatural. Both Fringe and Supernatural already boast die-hard sci-fi audiences, and battled for viewers this season. Just how many DVRs do these network monkeys think we own, and how clueless are they to think we don't have personal lives? Why not plant one of these shows in the wide open expanse that is Tuesday night?

GOOD: Some of the Networks' Best Decisions Were Non-Pickups
Congratulations go out to some networks for finally showing restraint. NBC takes the prize with its decision to pass on the reboot of Wonder Woman, which was a disaster from the minute it was announced and turned into more a laughable trainwreck with every additional detail that was released. Props to CBS for passing on both sitcoms based on ESPN personalities, to ABC for shunning Carrie Ann Inaba's dancing family drama Grace, and to The CW for saying "no" to the angel lawyers of Heavenly. Some stinkers snuck through though, including ABC's Bent and Work It.

BAD: Edgy Women Overload
Have you noticed the tidal wave of new shows centered on edgy women? Comedy or drama, it doesn't matter. Just look at Prime Suspect, Whitney, Hart of Dixie, 2 Broke Girls, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, and Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea. Shall I go on? Okay, Revenge, Charlie's Angels, Missing, Smash, Good Christian Belles, Scandal, Apartment 23. We love seeing the stereotype of women as docile homemakers get crushed to pieces, but this is a TV trend that's overloading our eyeballs. And when they're not edgy, they're hyper-sexualized, in Pan Am, Charlie's Angels, and, of course, The Playboy Club. As for the men, they're headed in the opposite direction, struggling to prove their manhood on shows like Man Up, How to Be a Gentleman, and Last Man Standing.

GOOD: New TV on Fridays and Saturdays
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, you've got company. Friday is no longer the television graveyard it used to be. Networks started putting good, new shows on a weekend night last season after relatively successful experiments in the years prior. Among the shows airing on Friday nights this fall: Chuck, A Gifted Man, Blue Bloods, Supernatural, Nikita, Grimm, and Fringe. (Now if only someone would do something about the competitive 9pm time period for genre shows.) And CBS is going one step further by scheduling new episodes of the comedy Rules of Engagement on Saturdays. Will other networks follow suit in the future? We hope so.

BAD: The Hunt for a Network Version of Mad Men... With a Twist!
The buzz and attention bestowed upon AMC's Mad Men, a well-dressed drama set in the 1960s, got major networks thinking: "How do we steal that idea and repackage it for mass audiences?" The result is ABC's Pan Am, which follows the pilots and flight attendants of the titular airline in the '60s, and NBC's The Playboy Club, which is set in a smoky gentleman's hangout in 1960s Chicago. But both those shows get a twist, since network execs think a keen examination of the era and complex characters aren't enough. In Pan Am, some of the airline employees reportedly double as spies. In The Playboy Club, the murder of a mob boss by a Playboy Bunny sets things in motion. It's as if espionage and mafia ties were tacked on at the last second to give the shows some punch.

GOOD: Lost Actors Will Be Found Again in Primetime
We spent six seasons living on an island with the best ensemble cast ever assembled, and then last May they left us. But next season, Hurley (Jorge Garcia, Alcatraz), Ben (Michael Emerson, Person of Interest), Michael (Harold Perrineau, Wedding Band), Richard (Nestor Carbonell, Ringer), and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick, Scandal) will all return with regular primetime gigs. And no, we didn't forget Charlotte (Rebecca Mader); we just choose to pretend that the awful-looking comedy Work It doesn't exist.

BAD: Where's the High-Profile Cross-Genre Mind-boggling Serial?
Every season since 2004, we've been able to ask "Which new show is the next Lost?" Even though several have tried to carry the torch and failed spectacularly (FlashForward, The Nine, The Event), the anticipation and hype surrounding these mysterious shows gave us something to look forward to. This year? Terra Nova is WYSIWYG, Once Upon a Time (from Lost producer/writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis) looks soft, and everything else isn't even close—except for Alcatraz, and who knows where that show's focus is going to be. I guess the networks finally figured out that there will never be another show like Lost, so why bother?

GOOD: The Midseason Is No Longer Replacement Time
Once upon a time, when a show was held for midseason, the reason was that it was considered inferior to those on the fall schedule—and so midseason shows only existed to fill in gaps left by shows that faltered. But Fox took the lead with a strong midseason based around American Idol, and now we have new high-profile and promising shows to look forward to all season long. Among the new and returning shows held for 2012 are Awake, One Tree Hill, The 2-2, 30 Rock, Alcatraz, Touch, Apartment 23, The River, Scandal, and Good Christian Belles.

BAD: TV, White as the Driven Snow
Though activist groups rightfully complain every season, white people still rule television. Networks promise to improve the spectrum of the stars of their shows; it never happens. This season boasts 39 new shows by our quick count, and guess how many feature a major lead who isn't the color of Barbie (before she diversified)? If you're trying to think of a show besides Shonda Rhimes' Scandal (starring Kerry Washington, who is African-American—as is Rhimes), or Alcatraz (starring Cuban-Chilean Jorge Garcia as one of the primaries in what is actually an ensemble cast), don't bother. By our count, it's just those two. And with period pieces Pan Am and The Playboy Club set in the 1960s, we worry about how minorities will be represented in those shows. Where's Outsourced when you need it?

GOOD: Kyle Killen Gets a Second Chance
Awake creator Kyle Killen should by all rights be unemployed. His impressive drama Lone Star garnered early critical acclaim, and its greenlight to series gave us hope that network television could be more than just empty, satiate-the-masses "entertainment." But the show lasted all of two episodes after performing horribly in the ratings, we figured network execs would be scared off by intelligent, thoughtful television. That's why it was such a surprise that NBC went forward with Killen's impressive-looking Awake, a drama about a cop who lives in two realities: one in which his wife died and one in which his son died. We're hoping that Awake gives executives trust in emotional, conceptual dramas. And if it doesn't, then we hope Killen ends up where he belongs: at FX or AMC.


What do you think are the best and worst things about the upcoming TV season?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I'm picking up 2 Broke Girls, How To Be A Gentleman, The Playboy Club, Up All Night, Grimm, Awake, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, Once Upon A Time, Pan Am, Suburgatory, Revenge, The River, Ringer, H8R, The Secret Circle (maybe Charlie's Angels & Are You There Yet Vodka? It's Me Chelsea) All the other shows looks & sounds terrible. I miss Medium, V, No Ordinary Family, Outsourced, Breaking In & Mad Love more that anything else on TV.
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ABC made a bad decision in not renewing V, and of course another BAD decision by NBC in not picking up Wonder Woman, Bad decision by The CW not giving One Tree Hill a full season, looking forward to the Charlies Angeles reboot also to Hart of Dixie with Rachel Bilson
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I want to see Person of Interest and Awake...
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is every one forgething about Falling Skys this summer . WTF up with that its finaly a scifi show that cuts out we come in peice shot to kill and goes right for the kill. Can't weaght for the first epp to hit TNT on the 6th of june.
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The only shows I want to see this season are "Breaking Bad", "True Blood"", "Louie", "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "America's Got Talent." The rest can all be canceled for all I care.
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I am OD excited for AWAKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its ashame I have to wait for MIDSEASON :(!!! And thats about it none of the other shows look promising. Except for the one with Zooey Deschanel but its not mentioned here.
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I am OD excited for AWAKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its ashame I have to wait for MIDSEASON :(!!! And thats about it none of the other shows look promising. Except for the one with Zooey Deschanel but its not mentioned here.
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what annoys me is they are still airing the do seques sp? knockoff commercial of hell cats when its cancelled. why advertise a cancelled show?
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i will admit awake looks interesting and is a different spin on the usual crappy cop show clones. but i doubt it will last. meanwhile is it sad that i'm actually excited for the summer shows coming back? eureka i can't wait for, in plain sight, burn notice, royal pains, covert affairs ( i like the show but the trailer for the new season spoiled it so i'm not a happy camper) rizzoli and isles (i hated how they didn't think the show was going to get renewed and thus prettymuch killed the mc in the finale) love the show but the finale was crap. and warehouse 13 which used to be a good show but what with the female lead leaving the show and being replaced by a male lead i'm just not happy about its return.
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Where's "Damages"?

My PVR has been mystified this past few months because shows that were supposed to arrive mid-season, still haven't. What's going on?
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Best: Renewal of Supernatural.

Worst: Cancellation of V.

Bad: Renewal of all 3 CSI. Miami needs to go for years! And it was time for the 2 others, more than time for Vegas.
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Bring back Rubicon, Lights Out, V, Breaking In, and Terriers. That's all I have to say.
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the only new show i'm looking forward to is awake. hopefully it doesnt get cancelled before it has a chance.
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SYFY summer season is almost here with Eureka, Warehouse 13, & Haven. Fall is to far away.
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Very disappointed in the loss of V and Lights out on Fx
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I too will miss Lie to Me and Law & Order LA. Even with Skeet Ulrich gone, I still like the show. I also liked Human Target, Chicago Code and Detroit 187, the last two having good ensemble casts. I must be one of the few who liked Criminal Minds:Suspect Behavior. I refuse to get excited about ANY new shows as the networks always screw us over, so it does not pay to get invested in any of them. As for AMC or FX taking on a show like Awake, this year the Killing on AMC is very awesome, but I remember that AMC cancelled Rubicon, and it was a great show, so now I feel they are network ninnyhammers too. Totally untrustworthy. I am beginning to feel that if a show doesn't get 20 million viewers an episode, they toss it in the rubbish heap, and it is no longer worthy of their time. $$$ Baby, that's all that counts.
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I will miss LIE TO ME and Law & Order LA. L&O LA might have worked if they had cast a Chris Noth/Jamie Bambur-type newbie instead of two older cops who are not very attractive. I'm still waiting on the new season of Law & Order UK.
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Where is Kathy Bates in this schedule??? Harry's Law is one of the best shows on...if one has a brain that is...since most of America is sitting around watching people dance with the stars, they have stopped thinking...explains the state of this country anyway!!!!!
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Bad cancellations: Human Target, Chicago Code, Detroit 1-8-7, Defenders
Good cancellations: Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior - Forrest Whitaker & Janeane Garofolo are horrible. (JG is horrible in anything.) and most of the rest, including some shows I once liked but have passed their time.
TBD: If CSI: Miami can't get back to the form of a few seasons ago, they should pull the plug.
Most of the new shows look awful. I guess I'll be watching more hockey.
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I still can't believe they pulled off more than 40 shows at the same time (including 12 that I used to love) and then come out with this crappy fall line up. It's really sad that only money matters to this people and they finish any show that it's not making them millions and millions, meanwhile feeding people stupid "reality" shows... I'm about to start watching movies only and no more tv... Wait! Hollywood is crap too... damn!!
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The only thing I have to say is shame on ABC for dropping Detroit 1-8-7. It had shown what the real life cops deal with in the real city! So I am DONE with ABC. I will wait to see who will pick it up and they will get me watching their channel!!!!!!
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Looks like one of the worst fall seasons ever, to me. Thank God for Supernatural. I agree with gnatrap that there's no sense in canceling a solid show like Chicago Code for a pig in a poke. I give Awake about 2 episodes and, frankly, "critical acclaim" is pretty meaningless when the shows suck (which Lone Star did). Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those that can't do or teach become television critics.
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bad: cancelled criminal minds:suspect behaviour, off the map and hellcats. ABC getting rid of their two big soaps....nothing good....the only new show i might watch is alcatraz and that's a big might....i'm sick of watching new shows and liking them then the networks deciding to cancel the show. i think i might start watching movies every night
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The best: That "Supernatural" is coming back for Season 7. Best show on TV--on several levels. It's way more a drama (with lots of deep issues that really make you think) than a "horror" show.

The worst: That the Friday night "logjam" will weaken ratings and therefore chances for a Season 8.
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THE Bad: NO "LIE TO ME"

The Good: CBS Rules with the CSI series, NCIS series and now Hawaii 5-0 and Blue Bloods are running in front of the pack
Still wishing "Mercy" and "Trauma" were still around also
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There doesn't appear to be much of interest in the new shows. Why cancel shows like Chicago Code or Lie to Me for what appears to be a Russian roulette style of programming?
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Best thing, Supernatural is still around. Worst thing, if they cancel a good show they won't even bother to write a wrap up episode.
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98% of this trash is just that TRASH.. About time to can the Cable TV.., And stick with the DVD's.
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Grimm just seems to be ripping on Supernatural. I might give it a chance, but Awake kind of sounds intriguing.
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I love the film-style shows that AMC makes. It makes them so much less campy and predictable. I wish that the networks would at least look into doing them. It would actually make me excited about a show instead of mildly interested.
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But there IS a new Lost...FRINGE!
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All the cop shows suck.. they drag on to long (all the CSI shows) and are to repetitive.
Also spinoffs are just lazy..theres no need to make a remake of a show thats still airing. Why are all the doctor shows romantic comedies? Glad to see the competition om Friday, but still think Fringe should go to Mon at 9 since the last 2 shows in the time slot got cancelled (lie to me and chicago code). It worked there before and could work again
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Good thing: most new shows aren't cop shows, doctor shows, or lawyer shows. P.S. Isn't The River the new Lost?



FringeNetwork and InNoSuperman32, were you two waiting to be raptured on Saturday to be saved from scary black presidents who've taken "your" America away from you?
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Worst thing: no good cop shows (eg. Detroit 1-8-7)
Good thing: I'll have a lot more time without tv.
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As a former Lostaway and a big Jennifer Morrison fan, I'm excited about Once Upon a Time. I don't care if it looks "soft," whatever that means. Fairy tales are always fun. :)
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I really did not see too much that interested me. I might check out "Grimm". Awake sounds like it might go down the same crash & burn as "Lost" and "Heroes": starts off great and then (season after frickin' season) KA-BLAMO! Everyone is going "Huh?!?"
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I am Super Excitec to see the Lost Cast back on TV!!!
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Wow, WHO CARES about the ratio of black/white people. For gods sake, black people have their own channel. When's WET coming out? There are plenty of television shows featuring black people. I'm by no means racist at all and have many black friends, but we have to stop trying so hard to put blacks in the spotlight simply to 'make them equal,' when in reality, that just turns into a whole new form of racism. Some people made excellent points in here too about all of the "minorities" given jobs on TV. They're EVERYWHERE, so quit complaining. This is one of the most frustrating things in today's world.
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Can anyone please tell me when does Revenge and Alcataraz airs this year which moth??
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White as the driven snow??? I don't know about the new shows coming out yet but these are some of my favorite shows and leading stars in them that's on now: Richard Ayoade plays moss on IT Crowd

Shemar Moore plays Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds

Laurence Fishburne plays Dr. Raymond Langston on C.S.I. Not to mention Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown for 8 years.

Forest Whitaker plays Sam Cooper on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

Adam Rodriguez plays Eric Delko on C.S.I. Miami

Tracy Morgan - 30 Rock

Kunal Nayyar - Big Bang Theory

Sacha Dhawan, Rizwan Manji, Anisha Nagarajan, Parvesh Cheena and Rebecca Hazlewood all leads in Outsourced.

Delroy Lindo - Chicago Code

Omar Epps - House

Hill Harper - C.S.I. New York

Eva Longoria - Desperate Housewives

George Lopez

It's just a few I know there are many more out there.
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Here's the bad: America's Most Wanted being cancelled. Guess Fox wants more crappy sports on Saturday nights.
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"Awake" will get cancelled just like "Journey Man" did 'cause the mainstream audience consists of a bunch of people who park themselves in front of a television to watch other people do karaoke.
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Dexter season 6 - say no more.
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Best things: more J.J. Abrams shows will air and hopefully last longer than six episodes! Worst things: all of the shows that won't be back next season (Yes, I am looking at you FOX and ABC!!!!!)
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Interesting article
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But other than that I really enjoyed this article!! I like the idea that hit shows will finally start airing on Fridays again. Besides, for the past year or two all of my favorite shows were on Mondays and Thursdays leaving the rest of the weak void of all entertainment. It was sad. haha
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It's "black" not "african-american." We don't call caucasian people "european-american." don't buy into all that politically correct nonsense. since when were any politics or politicians correct anyway? Ok, so Pres. Kennedy was correct but that sadly didn't last long. Anyway I don't know any black people who insist on being called African-American unless they're actually FROM Africa.
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Why is it that when I click on the image for Awake, it takes me to the page for The Event?
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Looking forward to see Pan AM. It is what it is, why the worry?
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i think grimm has potential, could be quite good, but could also be a train wreck
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