Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-09-30 Entry: "New Season Ratings"

Finally, tonight, the last of the shows I planned to watch (and the couple I stumbled in to without really meaning to) aired. And I'm ready to rate them on how swiftly they'll die. These ratings have nothing to do with what I personally think of the show (well, okay, that has a little bit of influence), but more how I expect the ratings to hold up and the networks to stick with. And we know the networks are keen to cull the herd after the total collapse of Head Cases - 2 episodes; didn't Skin manage to last 3 last season?

So, in reverse order (from least likely to most likely):

Number 11: Prison Break. Of course, it helps that they've just signed the agreement for the show to run to 22 episodes after it's initial half-season order, but this has been a great show so far, and although I expect the concept to dry up pretty quickly after the escape it'll easily last up until that point.

Number 10: Numbers. After not watching the first season, I stumbled on this and was thoroughly entertained. Good cast, good use of math (its amazing when a hit show can survive based on a usually dull subject), and the only weak spot is the preceding shows - if they don't hold up on a Friday, Numbers might struggle, but it got off to a good start for the death night of the week.

Number 9: Invasion. In the post Lost slot, this is pretty much a sure thing to last the season, even though it's completely rubbish.

Number 8: Ghost Whisperer. An absolutely perfectly pitched pilot, and great ratings for a Friday, Jennifer Love Hewitt should manage to pull in the viewers for a few more weeks. And with the network managing a reasonable line up on the night, they should be able to keep viewers around.

Number 7: Threshold. The weak point in the Friday night lineup. The death of this one might make the deaths of Ghost Whisperer and Numbers more likely, but as long as two of the three shows hold up, the third should just about stick around.

Number 6: Supernatural. Yes, it's rubbish. Yes, it appears to be going nowhere very, very fast. Yes, most of it has been done before. But with Charmed on its last legs, the WB need a replacement skiffy show, and they'll probably stick with it for a while yet. You never know, the writers might be able to find something original in the tired premise, but they probably need to expand the cast to do it.

Number 5: Charmed. A weak opening, and a show in its last season, can we really expect the WB to keep it around for the full year? I'm guessing we'll lose this one unless things seriously pick up.

Number 4: Surface. Please, giant mammalian aquatic creatures from outer space, come to the surface and eat the cast! Two episodes (that really should have been aired as a single part if they wanted to keep the audience interested) and I don't like anybody. The baby CGI creature is nice looking, and I'm glad we finally got a look at the darned thing, but this isn't very gripping...

Number 3: Bones. No chemistry, still. And a police procedural amidst a morass of the darned things. Please, either kill it now or bring in sister Zooey to provide some eye candy!

Number 2: Criminal Minds. Now, I really like this, and it has Mandy Patinkin, the guy out of Dharma And Greg, and A.J. Cook going for it (what is her first name anyway?). But can we really sustain a show about behavioural scientists for a full season? A lot of the second episode felt like they could have dropped it in to Profiler without pause.

Number 1: The Night Stalker. Dead On Arrival. Probably the worst skiffy pilot of the season, I'm not sure even I want to come back next week, so I can imagine how the casual viewer is feeling. Please, ABC, kill this now and put us out of our misery!

There'll be more actual reviews coming, but just in case the networks get trigger happy, there's my take - now I can see how I do (considering I usually completely misjudge these things, I doubt I'll get many even close).

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