Fall TV Breakdown: Tuesdays

So, what’s on Tuesdays this fall, now that Happy Days is gone?

The Tuesday lineup (new shows in blue)

  7/8 8/9 9/10
ABC Dancing With The Stars The Knights of Prosperity(8/9)Help Me Help You(8.30/9.30) Boston Legal
CBS NCIS The Unit Smith
CW Gilmore Girls
Veronica Mars
 
FOX House Standoff
NBC Friday Night Lights
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Law & Order: SVU

With the exception of ABC’s first two hours, there’s basically two options on Tuesday nights: legal/criminal procedurals or serial dramas. True, these flavors sometimes overlap (e.g., Veronica Mars), but they seem fairly distinct. A serious night of TV, Tuesday is.

Again, with the exception of ABC’s first two hours. They’ll likely dominate with Dancing With The Stars throughout the fall, and their sitcoms might have a shot as counter-programming (lighter than anything else on at the same time). Boston Legal should hold its own, but only in second place, and maybe not for good, as CBS’ Smith is off to a pretty decent start. This seems about the point (Season 3) that David E. Kelley shows start to falter a bit anyway, so it’s standard operating procedure. ABC shouldn’t panic, but it may want to serve up a better lead-in.

Over on CBS it’s wall to wall macho men (and a few macho women). This is the kind of night you can envision your Dad or uncle watching each week: good puzzles, lots of action, much male melodrama, and some nice-looking ladies. It’s good solid stuff, actually, and with the likes of Dennis Haysbert, Robert Patrick, and Ray Liotta around, it’s in capable hands.

That said, however, this man is gonna be over at the CW for the “girly” shows. I’ve watched Gilmore Girls religiously since it started, and am a bit trepidatious about this season, the first without Amy Sherman-Palladino at the helm (aside from a bad stretch in Season 4). I really hope they wrap it up this year (as the rumors have it), and go out in their inimitable style, rather than drag it out. Meanwhile, Veronica Mars got picked up (yay!), though only for a 13-episode order (ooh!). It’s getting a fair amount of retooling, though the cast and storylines remain largely intact. The numbers between these two shows are the CW’s most anxious moment of the fall, and their most prominent “crossing” of the old WB and UPN streams. I’m hoping that the indomitable Kristin Bell is still indomitable by 2007.

Over on Fox, grouchy Doctor House continues glowering at everyone, amidst much ratings and buzz. I have to admit I know nothing about its follow-up, Standoff, aside from the fact that it’s not holding a big chunk of the House audience.

NBC, perhaps borrowing a bit of the CW playbook (get it?) opens with a hormone-infused high-school football serial drama, Friday Night Lights, based on the book and film of the same name. I’m skeptical of its chances with any demo (especially against Dancing and Gilmore), and convinced that it’s a lousy lead-in to the Law & Order-orama that closes the night, but this is probably the best night for it under the circumstances.

Likely winner: ABC
Runner-up: CBS
Won my heart: CW

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7 Responses to “Fall TV Breakdown: Tuesdays”

  1. Jason Mittell Says:

    To fill in a gap – Standoff is one of those shows that doesn’t really rise above a standard crime procedural except in terms of the cast’s charisma & chemistry. The leads make me care even when I don’t, which I expected from Gina Torres but not from anyone else involved. It might replace Medium for my TiVo slot of “procedural I really don’t need to be watching but kind of like anyway” – but any scheduling conflicts yield to watching to see if Veronica can defy the slump of high school shows heading off to college…

  2. Jason Davis Says:

    I watched the pilot of STANDOFF a few months ago before I knew it was following HOUSE, MD. I’m not terribly surprised to see audience erosion–I found it to be the very definition of banal and I’d like to think the fans of Greg House aim a little higher for their nine o’clock viewing…

    Of course, watching the JUSTICE pilot after SATNDOFF’s nearly put me off television all together…

  3. dkompare Says:

    There always seems to be a handful of these shows every year that look kinda interesting at first glance, but quickly start to pale. Anybody remember the attempted Remington Steele-ish retread with Scott Bakula and Maria Bello from about a decade ago?

  4. Travis Says:

    Again, NBC has my attention. Friday Night Lights is looking less interesting as I see the promos for it. However, I am going to give it shot next Tuesday. Then we will see what happens.

    As for Law and Order, I guess I am one of the people that is keeping it on the air, because it really has captivated me. However, I am definitely going to have to give Veronica Mars a shot. I have heard nothing but good about the show.

    As for CBS, the Unit is okay, but Smith and NCIS just aren’t my kind of show.

  5. Jason Davis Says:

    Surely you’re not dissing MR. & MRS. SMITH, Derek…shear programming brilliance I tell you…besides, if it had stayed on the air, it might have spared us Captain Jonathan Archer…

  6. dkompare Says:

    Thank you, Jason; that’s the show I was thinking of. I think I watched a couple of them, which was probably a third of their run.

    Alas, its success wouldn’t have spared us Jonathan Archer, just Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer. Mark my words, in some alternate universe, Tom Sizemore plays him…

  7. rikigohan Says:

    Standoff is fantastic. A new breed of crime drama. Well done


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