Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 The Year in Television, part II

Most Inexcusable waste of Time of the YearThe MAD TV reboot.

In its original incarnation on FOX, MAD TV was hilarious, filled with talented comics like
Key and Peele, Stephanie Weir, Will Sasso, Nicole Sullivan, etc.

But this year's version on the CW (who knew they were still around?) had not one funny person on it. Not one. This version of the show was so bad, and the producers knew it was so bad, that not only did each episode feature guest stars from the original version like Bobby Lee and Ike Barenholz, but each episode contained at least one clip from the original show. Often more than one. It was pathetic. So they knew before the first episode ever aired that they had nothing. And they put it on anyway. It's inexcusable.
You're recording this show in Los Angeles. You have access to the Groundlings who produced Will Ferrel, Jon Lovitz, Melissa McCarthy and others. You have access to the Upright Citizens Brigade which produced Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon, Rob Cordry and more. Hell, there are probably at least a dozen other sketch comedy groups in LA. Last time we were there, we saw a group called "House Full of Honkies" that included Wayne Brady. And Brady was like the fourth or fifth funniest guy in the group.
And there's nothing stopping you from getting on a plane and going to Chicago or Toronto to raid Second City. You could even come here to Atlanta to raid Dad's Garage, like FX did when it plucked Amber Nash and Lucky Yates to star in Archer.

There is just no excuse for plopping this turd onto your network and calling it MAD TV.

And speaking of Archer. . .

Biggest drop-off of the year: Archer

I don't know what happened. For six seasons, Archer was one of the funniest, sharpest, most clever shows on TV. This year, everything just fell flat. Like the joy had somehow gone out of it. I can't blame the move to Loss Angeles or the switch from Spy to Detective Agency, because the previous move from Spy Agency to Drug Trafficing Cartel didn't hurt the show one bit. Maybe they just ran out of jokes. Maybe they lost some writers. I don't know. Hopefully this was just an off year and they'll be back strong next year.

Programming Mistake of the Year: Cancelling The Grinder

Look, I'm not saying it was brilliant. It wasn't Curb Your Enthusiasm or Arrested Development. But it was consistently funny, and the cast was terrific. I don't know how long they could have run with this premise of an actor who thinks he's qualified to practice law and the sycophants who enable him, but it worked for one year. Why not give it one more to see what could happen? What else are you going to run in that time slot, FOX? Seth MacFarland have another "edgy" animation show in the pipeline?

Show that went off the air just in time: The Good Wife

It was time. I loved the Good Wife, but it was starting to verge on the silly. The constant changing partnerships, the political campaigns, the idea that a former D.A. who had just been released from prison could win his office back, go on to be governor and attract Democratic Party big-wigs who viewed him as V.P. material had gotten to be a bit much. It had a good run, and an oddly satisfying conclusion. It was time.

More tomorrow.