Can’t Always Pick a Winner

By Erin Clarkeelementary-lui-miller-325

At the beginning of the 2012/2013 I began to write for Connect and made a prediction of what I thought would be the Top 3 new dramas on network television.  At the end of this season I am 2 for 3 with one cancellation, one huge hit and one doing well.  I said that I believed Nashville, Elementary and Vegas would be the hit dramas for the year and used mainly the “star power” as my compass.  These shows had movie stars coming to TV, in the case of Dennis Quaid and Lucy Liu, veteran TV stars with huge past successes, such as Michael Chiklis and Connie Britton and also had good concepts with what seemed like the full support of the networks pushing everything they had behind them.

Well Vegas has had its lights put out officially and has been cancelled after its freshman season.  The show just didn’t thrive at all and I really don’t think that a Friday night time slot in the later part of the season helped it at all.  The couple of episodes I saw, and yes, I did watch a few but didn’t like it at all, were kind of like hour long Battle Royales of acting between Quaid and Chiklis, and to be honest I just didn’t buy it.  Also, the previews were a bit off when I started watching, nowhere in any of them did I get the reference that the show was taking place in the 60’s, it didn’t hit me as a period piece in any way, so that threw me off a little.  In the end, it just wasn’t for me and I have to say I was disappointed because I love me some Chiklis.

In the case of Nashville, I must plead that I recorded the first 5 episodes and got ¾ of the way through the first when I realized it wasn’t for me.  “I’ve seen this somewhere before” I said to myself, “oh that’s right, it was called Dallas” I answered.  Very reminisant of the classic 80’s and 90’s evening drama with updated glitz and glamour and no shoulder pads, and the music business has taken the place of the oil business…..but other than that, not a big difference….sex, corruption, fashion, fights and cheaters about sums up Nashville and I have to admit that I was surprised it got picked up for a second season.

The one genuine hit of my 3 has got to be Elementary.  This re-imagining of a Sherlock Holmes story is very good and the real star of the show is Johnny Lee Miller, who has been in numerous films but is still an underrated character actor.  As a past consultant to Scotland Yard who is now a recovering addict in need of a sober coach (Watson) when he moves to NYC, Holmes has been played to a tee by Miller, with wit, quickness and social awkwardness of a seeming genius. I really like the way the show flows and the talented Lucy Liu playing a surgeon turned sober coach turned Holmes apprentice in addition to some textbook sexual attraction and mutual respect the characters seem to have for each other, I think this show will be on for a while.

As I stated in a few previous pieces, network shows get the axe way sooner that the audience is done giving the show a chance.  Cable does give it’s shows more chance to grow its audiences, but with the big 4 networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) there are so many frenzied ideas and trends that they have to keep up with, the shows that may struggle in the first year are just not nurtured in the same way, they crank those suckers out like no one’s business.  So the winner this year is definitely the audience, with a vast array of shows to chose from, it comes down to a re-imagined character from 1887 literature……as my Mom used to tell me when I thought I found something new and cool that was a part of her past “Everything old is new again.”