Burn or Succeed: Midseason TV

By Playboy.com Staff

Check out the ultimate battle for supremacy with Playboy.com's Burn or Succeed! First up, Mid-Season Television!

Each week we break down a topic of interest by survivability rate compared to its competitors. You will even have a chance to weigh-in on our choice via a poll. Have a dispute to settle? Your team versus your girlfriend’s making the playoffs? Pepperoni or Hawaiian Pizza? - Bring it on, let us be the judge of what will ultimately BURN or SUCCEED!

This week, we bring you the network-injected life supports for primetime TV: The Mid-Season Replacements.

Mid-season television shows are brought in for a variety of reasons; some are planned to take over the spot after a reality series concludes while others are a last-chance shot to save a network’s ratings following a disastrous performance of a fall show. Some networks like the CW have all their scheduled shows still in place, while others like FOX have four shows debuting.

Ladies and Gentleman, prepare for your new favorite shows to BURN or SUCCEED.

THE DRAMAS: THE FINDER vs. TOUCH The Finder (FOX - Thursday @ 9 p.m.)

Now heading into its fourth week, this Bones spin-off features Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), as a former military man with a sixth sense for finding the impossible. In a quirky way, this show is geared towards those who enjoy a good mystery but want to be entertained outside the usual trifecta of detective settings (lab, courtroom, or interrogation room). While enjoyable to watch in action (cue shark helmets and paintballing crime lords), Sherman lacks a certain element of empathy, but only because we get more out of his partner Leo (The Green Mile’s Michael Clarke Duncan). While the show got off to a slow start, its ratings have starkly improved since its lead-in switched from Bones to American Idol. As long as henchman keep wearing yellow tracksuits and the hot female villain dons her bikini while tooting her trumpet; we’ll keep watching for the sheer absurdity and crafty plot lines.

Verdict: More likely to Succeed than not.

TOUCH (FOX - Premieres March 19)

Watch the Pilot: HERE

Bridging a fine line between a human drama and a supernatural show, Touch tells the story of Martin Bohm (24’s Kiefer Sutherland) as he tries to understand the strange Fibonacci sequences his mute 11-year old son Jake has been creating. To the viewer, Jake acts as a narrator of this powerful and sentimental story; one that reaches from America, to Baghdad, London, and Tokyo. Almost a continuation of the 2006 film Babel, this drama is well acted, plotted, and offers just as many groundbreaking moments as it does questions. The show develops the human condition, and exemplifies it on a global scale. We can’t wait for it to continue in March, and based on the numbers from the pilot preview last week, neither can you.

Verdict:  Very likely to Succeed past its 8-episode first season.

Next Up: The Comedies, click below


Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC - Wednesday @ 8:30 p.m.)

Based on the hilarious book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by comedian Chelsea Handler, Are You There, Chelsea? is yet another retelling of the lives, antics, and escapades of a local watering hole’s staff. Chelsea (That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon) seems to be at home recycling a familiar character. This show is just another sitcom that can go straight to DVR for the after bar comedy lineup. This isn’t a jab at the acting, but the scenario just isn’t funny anymore. Though, if NBC were to completely restructure it around Chelsea’s awesomely innocent roommate Dee Dee (Laren Lapkus), we would be on our couches five minutes early each week: bring on the cat whisperer!

Verdict: Based on the ratings and slowly-declining audience, we’re going to have to say the show is about to Burn.

 Napoleon Dynamite (FOX - Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.)   

A follow-up to the 2004 cult-favorite film, the animated Napoleon Dynamite fits at home in FOX’s ever popular Sunday lineup which has kept even The Simpsons alive for a record to-be 25 seasons. Continuing the inarticulate adventures of Napoleon and his rural Idahoan friends, the show is genuinely 30 minutes of senseless humor. Lacking the depth of Springfield, and the adult themes of American Dad or Family Guy; Napoleon finds its audience with those in the Dumb and Dumber crowd. After seeing a couple million viewers drop off after the first episode; this may end up on the back burner faster than you can say Liger.

Verdict: Needs to add some adult laughs to keep its audience, or will eventually Burn (may get a renewal this year though).

Next up: The Paranormals, click below

THE PARANORMALS: THE RIVER vs. ALCATRAZ The River (ABC - Premieres February 7 @ 9 p.m.)

Coming from the lord of all jungle-based endeavors  (Steven Spielberg), and the horror-pacing mastermind behind the Paranormal Activity films (Oren Peli); The River tells the story of world renowned explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Star Trek’s Bruce Greenwood, channeling the late Steve Irwin), who goes missing aboard his ship in the Amazon basin. Coaxed by a TV network into investigating a rescue beacon that goes off six months after his disappearance, Emmet’s wife and son head into the midst to discover Emmet had been toying with things that are far worse than man-eating anacondas or venomous spiders. Shot in the style of a documentary movie, we are forced into a world of historic exploration, South American myth and enough creepy occurrences to keep your skin crawling for hours. The addition of interlaced clips of film, both from the “lost six months,” and from years past on Emmet’s TV show gives viewers an intriguing view of how the world of this seemingly perfect family could go so deadly wrong.  Remember: if you go looking for the unknown, you may not like what you find…you know, unless it’s the captivating Eloise Mumford as Lena.

Verdict: Potential to Succeed, but no ratings until next week’s premiere.

 Alcatraz (FOX - Monday @ 9 p.m.)

From the moment we hear Emerson Hauser (Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill) utter his opening monologue about the historic prison outside of San Francisco, you are drawn into a web of interconnected enigmas of what happened in a fictional 1963. A great mystery story that brings together a relative newcomer (series lead Sarah Jones), a fan favorite (LOST’s Jorge Garcia), and a disturbing intellectual (Niell); Alcatraz succeeds in its mission of combining a villain-of-the-hour show. The paranormal aspect is omnipresent, with the blatant question of how this occurrence is happening and who is behind it. With over 300 people disappearing in one night, we are left with enough potential storylines for at least 10 seasons. That being said, if the ratings hold at their current values, we may have to wait a while before getting more background on this.

Verdict: Potential to Succeed if enough paranormal hints are dropped to avoid becoming NCIS: San Fran.



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