There's no lack of people who want to criticize critics. That's not a bad thing we dish it out, we have to take it.
And, believe it or not, we are our own harshest critics. And sometimes we're (gasp!) wrong.
Although, in my own defense, sometimes a show turns out to be better than the pilot episode.
It's not always bad to be wrong. For example, I was underwhelmed with the "Friends" pilot, and that show turned out to be one of my all-time favorite sitcoms.In the interest of fairness (and the fun of kicking myself), here's a look back at how my predictions for the 2007-08 TV season turned out.
Could I have been more wrong about "Big Shots"? Not according to most other critics, who generally disliked a show that I wrote had a great cast with great chemistry, smart writing and great production. Well, I still liked it. But the prediction that it looks like a hit was just as big a miss as I could make.
"Life Is Wild" has the makings of a good show families can watch together was overly optimistic. As was the prediction that It won't be a big hit, but it could work well enough for The CW. Its last episode aired in February.
"Aliens in America" didn't turn out to be as good as I'd hoped the pilot was indeed fresh and funny, but it was the high point of the series. And even given The CW's somewhat lower ratings expectations, the show did not do well enough to survive."Samantha Who," on the other hand, exceeded my expectations. After a not particularly funny pilot, the show hit a bit of a groove and did much better in the ratings than I anticipated, and the prediction that ABC will have to be patient was wrong.
Right and wrong
"Chuck" did indeed turn out to be a very funny show. While the prediction that it could be at least a moderate hit was too optimistic, it has been renewed for a second season.
I liked "Reaper," and it improved as the season progressed. The prediction that this could work was sort of right the show struggled in the ratings, but The CW ordered 13 episodes as a midseason replacement for next season.
Calling "Bionic Woman" an iffy proposition was accurate after eight episodes, it never went back into production when the writers' strike ended. Calling it a vast improvement over the original was an overstatement although I'd still argue it was better but it was indeed too dark to hold up week in and week out.
Critics hadn't seen "Moonlight" when we wrote our fall previews, but we did see a pilot before it premiered. I wrote that it isn't bad and shows some promise but called it an iffy proposition. Despite another small-but-loyal following, the show never caught on and was canceled.I flat-out loved "Dirty Sexy Money." This isn't just good soap opera, however. It's good comedy. And it's smart enough to know how silly it is. The 10 episodes that aired only confirmed that impression. But predicting that it could develop into a success ... if ABC has some patience has yet to be proved. The network has, however, shown enough patience to relaunch the show in the fall.
On the mark
If not for the fact that "Viva Laughlin" doesn't premiere until the second half of October, it would probably be the first show canceled this fall. It was axed four days after it premiered. And it was the second show canceled, trailing only "Online Nation," which premiered four weeks earlier.
"The Big Bang Theory" absolutely did turn out to be laugh-out-loud funny. And star Jim Parsons was indeed a find he's perfect in the role of the sardonic geek. Better yet, it did, as expected, turn out to be a hit and has been renewed for a second season.
"Kid Nation" was indeed a rather distasteful "reality" show that completely lived up to expectations. I wouldn't be surprised if the show does fairly well in the ratings. But given all the bad press it's getting and how difficult it might be to find somewhere to shoot another season now that New Mexico has closed gaps in its child-labor laws I'd be somewhat surprised if there's a second season. CBS has not ordered one at this point.
"Pushing Daisies" was indeed nothing short of magicl. ... It's a silly concept, but it's fun and utterly charming. Quite frankly, even now the show remains a bit of a long shot in the ratings. After an abbreviated nine-episode first season, ABC picked it up for the fall despite iffy ratings. (Hurrah for ABC, by the way.)
While some critics liked "Back to You," I found it old and tired and called it the most disappointing new show this fall because, despite the presence of Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, it was just not funny. As for the ratings, the prediction that maybe it will be around for a while, but it's hard to imagine it becoming a big hit. And not just because it's not good, but this show is also completely out of place on Fox. Fox execs cited that as a reason when they canceled the show last month.
"K-Ville" did turn out to be a mediocre (at best) cop show cloaking itself in a false mantle of quality because it's set and shot in post-Katrina New Orleans. And the prediction that once people get a look at this, they'll quickly realize it looks nothing like the show Fox has been advertising was correct ratings were never good and it was gone after 10 episodes.
"Journeyman" had a small but loyal following, but most viewers who caught the show found it as boring ... dull and confusing as I did. It was indeed headed for a quick cancellation, hanging on for 11 episodes mostly because NBC had nothing else to schedule in its place.
"Cashmere Mafia" definitely benefited from the strike it might have gotten yanked (as predicted) earlier if ABC had had something else to go with. As predicted, nothing quite comes together. ... It's neither as funny nor as dramatic as it wants to be. And it lasted only seven episodes.
As a spinoff of "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice" was as close to a sure thing as you could get last fall. And, as predicted, it will return for a second season. But, also as predicted, it turned out to be pretty run-of-the-mill medical show stuff that was not bad, but not particularly good, either.
I'll stand by calling "Kitchen Nightmares" weirdly entertaining, in a deafening sort of way; sort of the equivalent of a car wreck you can't help looking at as you drive by. And, after being somewhat surprised by the relative success of "Hell's Kitchen," I wouldn't bet against it turned out to be correct. Fox renewed it for the fall.
As expected, "Gossip Girl" turned out to be a pretty good soap opera (even better than pretty good), and it also turned out to be a show parents had to be cautious about because of its portrayals of teenage drinking, drugs, sex and other bad behavior. And it did indeed appeal to the young viewers The CW chases after particularly young female viewers and got renewed for next season.
"Carpoolers" was just as bad as I thought it would be. And I thought it would be awful. This is the single worst new show on any of the broadcast networks this fall. Failure was quickly obvious, although the 13 episodes produced did eventually air in this strike-riddled season.
"Nashville" got no respect from me. Even if you like this (reality show) genre, "Nashville" is a bore. But maybe it got too much respect. Well, it's only supposed to be on for a few weeks, so maybe it will last that long. Nope. It was axed after two episodes.Some predictions are just so easy it's impossible to claim any insight was involved in making them. Like "Cavemen," which, to absolutely no one's surprise lived up (down?) to the forecast that sometimes terrible ideas turn into terrible shows. As for the question of whether it would work, Of course not. Do you really need to ask? It was like shooting cavemen in a barrel.