The Knee-jerk New Show Awards for Fall 2013

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It's human nature to form an opinion of something after looking at it for only a nanosecond, whether that opinion is valid or not. For example, that shirt you're wearing is lovely now that I'm used to it, but when I first saw it, I was like, "Bleeeerrrrchhhh!" So I thought I'd dish out some extra opinion-y knee-jerk opinions on the fall's fledgling shows. 

We'll get into the real categories like Handsomest Actor Under 35 But Older Than 2 and Best Show to Make Out During later in the season, once we've had a better look at what's out there, but for now, I'm creating awards off the top of my head based on quick reactions to the new fall shows. Please make up some of your own in the comments!

Best Upside-Down Camera Angles That Whirl Around to Right-Side Up

Sleepy Hollow 

I toldja these awards would be weird! Have you seen these transition shots that Fox's cheeky new supernatural drama is using? It's like you're a bat, and then you swing up like a trapeze artist, or maybe you're on one of those scary Ferris wheels with the swiveling cages, and for what? Does this POV represent the way that Sleepy Hollow's world has been turned upside-down? Is it a metaphor for looking at things in a different way, much like Ichabod Crane's old-timey perceptions offer a new perspective to present-day cop Abbie Mills? Or was the director of photography smoking the grass (kinda redundant; everyone on this crazy show must be wasted at all times) and said, "You know what would look cool, man?" Whatever it's for, it looks cool, man. Give that stoned director of photography a raise.

Most Graceful Return to Primetime TV

Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show

Alex P. Keaton hopped back on the sitcom wagon as if he'd never left, taking center stage on his new NBC sitcom while taking shots at his Parkinson's disease. His next order of business will be to make people laugh so hard at disease though family-oriented humor that it's eradicated from existence all together. Or at least until it can be cured by taking a pill.

Least Graceful Return to Primetime

Sean Hayes, Sean Saves the World

In the season's most difficult new show to sit through, Hayes' wacky performance makes him seem like he was possessed by the spirit of a dead Jerry Lewis impersonator. And that's an insult to dead Jerry Lewis impersonators. Robin Williams was the early favorite in this category, but Hayes snatched the trophy right out of his hands.

Best New Father/Son Relationship

Murray and Barry Goldberg, The Goldbergs

The screeching, screaming, and shouting that dominated the pilot slowed down slightly in Episode 2, giving our ears a break and letting the show's true standout act—the argumentative back-and-forth between man o' the house Murray (Jeff Garlin) and eldest son Barry (Troy Gentile)—shine through. Gentile, who's basically a copy of Garlin that was zapped with a shrink ray and dunked in the Fountain of Youth, might be the best surprise casting of the comedy season. Now if only The Goldbergs could make younger brother Adam less annoying, it'd be one of the better new sitcoms of the fall.   

Show Whose Title Most Aptly Describes How the Cast Must Be Feeling


After reading the script, did series stars Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott look at each other and reluctantly say "I'll do it if you do it"? Because so far, this highly touted CBS thriller is a supreme dud, and all we can think about is how the two leads, especially Collette, are being held against their will. Collette and McDermott are probably hoping Keanu rules apply here: Shoot the hostages!

Best Performance in a Drama Full of Worst Performances

Henry Thomas, Betrayal

Thomas, who found insta-fame as boy Elliott in everybody's favorite alien abduction movie E.T., plays TJ, a somewhat mentally challenged, drinking, whoring murder suspect who never ceases to look as if he's just seen a ghost. But he's the only member of Betrayal's cast who's putting a little theater and distinct physicality into his role, making his performance key in turning the series into a so-bad-it's-good show instead of just a really, really, really, really, really-times-infinity bad show. 

Best New Character Who Doesn't Exist in the Current Timeline of the Show

Captain McGinley, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

One of Brooklyn Nine-Nine's recurring gags is a cutaway flashback to the precinct's previously normal state of chaos, back when the former boss, Captain McGinley, let Jake Peralta and everyone else do whatever they wanted—be it a fire-extinguisher-powered roller-chair race or tasing a melon. But the funniest part of the bit isn't seeing what high jinks Peralta used to get up to, it's McGinley, who always just strolls out of his office looking the way he does, all like, "Whatever, carry on." Here's hoping he eventually makes an appearance in the present time. Although if that happens, we'll have to storm McGinley's house and take back this award. Sorry, McGinley, rules is rules!

Worst Use of a Non-Native American Accent

TIE!!! Rebel Wilson, Super Fun Night and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Dracula

Australian actress Rebel Wilson is saddled with a Yankee accent in Super Fun Night, destroying one of her simple charms. Her character doesn't even need to be American, making it all the more perplexing of a decision. Why is American television so scared of letting non-American people live in America as part of the premise of an American show? (Not you, Elementary, you're cool.) Maybe in a future episode she'll get hit on the head with a sharp object and develop an Australian accent, kind of like what happened to this woman. Seriously, write that in if you want to survive, Super Fun Night. And I know Dracula hasn't aired yet, but just wait until you hear Jonathan Rhys-Meyers try to talk like an American. It sounds like an American person trying to do an impression of a British person trying to speak with an American accent while his mouth is full of salt-water taffy.

Most Tolerable TV Kids

Back in the Game

Given that its comedy revolves around a Little League team, this show could've been a complete disaster; after all, child actors are one of the worst things to exist in this universe. But the little squirts and future liquor-store robbers of the new ABC comedy are so far so good, because they're smartly been used mostly as comedy props in the series' early innings. And did you catch that part when they left the prison and a few of them had pee stains on the front of their uniforms? THAT'S HOW YOU USE KIDS, SITCOMS! Pee jokes!

Hot Tub We're Most Likely to Accidentally Get Pregnant In

The hot tub in the (now-closed) We Are Men housing complex

Seriously, why would any woman even think of getting into that extra-large petri dish where horny old men like to simmer? If you raise your daughter to avoid stumbling upon the scenario pictured above, you're a great parent. If you don't warn your daughter about these predators, then you may as well throw her into the Rancor pit right now.

Best New Teen Drama

The show formerly known as Homeland

Okay so this isn't a new show, but it may as well be. Remember when Homeland was about catching terrorists? Now we're hanging out with a post-suicidal Dana Brody as she sends naked pictures to a boy she met in rehab and has sex all over previously clean sheets. No diss to actress Morgan Saylor, but is Dana smuggling Anthrax in that frown of hers? No? Then why are we spending more time with her than with her more interesting daddy?

What knee-jerk TV awards are you handing out during this early part of the season?

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