TV Picks and Axes for 2013-14 Season

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As the television season winds down, this year so a lot of shows that saw the ax and some that should have seen it long before.  To add to that are several missteps this year of shows that just didn’t get it right.


Let’s start with “Jeopardy!” (syndicated).  This 30th season saw the multi-week contest of “Battle of the Decades”.  Over the years, we have seen other contests that somehow ended this same way.  Was anybody not surprised that the final battle would be once again between Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter?  Maybe they should stick with their other championships for a while.


The battle between “The Michael J. Fox Show” (NBC) and “The Crazy Ones” (CBS) landed both of these highly anticipated shows in the cancelled list after one season.  While I watched the latter show a couple of times, I felt this it was boring and just wasn’t funny.


While on that subject, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) had a season-long wedding weekend, which had to be the most boring season I have ever seen.  I was so confused by the time the series finale happened that I was thankful that it ended.


This year also saw the end of “The Carrie Diaries” (CW) and “Suburgatory” (ABC).  These shows which lasted 2 and 3 seasons respectively both were given 13 week runs instead of the normal average of 20+ weeks.  Unfortunately, both of these shows were doomed by the lack of a great storyline and bad time slots.


One of the worst shows of the year was “Super Fun Night” (ABC).  I watched about 5 minutes of the first episode and hated it.  It wasn’t super or fun, but I wish it was on late at night.  Its replacement of “Mixology” fared no better.


Of course, the worst show of the year was “We Are Men” (CBS), which lasted all of 2 episodes.  I cringed after less than 5 minutes, a new low for me.


On the other side of the fence, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC) was probably one of the best shows of the season as it featured more twists during its freshman run than most shows have during its entire series run.  One episode entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn” had more twists than anything I have ever seen in a very long time.  Hopefully, next season lives up to its first.


Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the aging “American Idol” (FOX).  Now in its unlucky 13th season, this show flew way under the radar and was very boring.  None of the contestants were interesting and putting Randy Jackson as a mentor didn’t help.  As in past years, I was on the losing end of the finale by picking the wrong person to win again.  Rumor is that next season will possibly be one day per week instead of the two or three from past years.  Maybe this is the boost that it needs to survive.


Overall, this year saw over 30 shows cancelled, many of them for their own good.  Others were never given a fair shake.  Hopefully, most should live on on video in the next year or so.






The Million Second Quiz and Double Standards

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Well, it is finally over.  After nearly a week and half, the show that started out interesting crashed and burned on its big finale.  I am talking about the Ryan Seacrest hosted and produced show “The Million Second Quiz”.


If you missed this 24/7 train wreck, congratulations you survived the mess that could have been interesting.  Unfortunately, given that only one hour of 24 aired on television and most of that was filled endless commercials, only about 20 minutes was actual gameplay.


Add to this that I watched the show in standard definition to zoom in closer to the questions at the bottom of the screen which was still too small even in this format.  Given that the television I used also has closed-captioning enabled and that the writing appeared right across the question area at the bottom of the screen, this show was impossible to read the questions or enjoy whatsoever.


Given that Ryan Seacrest wants to become the next Dick Clark, this certainly wasn’t the way to start even though Mr. Clark had many show failures over the years.  To make matters worse was that the big finale episode was such a lopsided game; it was not even fun to watch.  Hopefully this hourglass and chair get retired for an eternity.


My Score:  2


However, things were not much better for long-running shows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” during their premiere week.


On “Wheel”, a contestant misspoke the word “curio” in the phrase “Corner Curio Cabinet”.  Unfortunately, because of the error, he lost the round and his eventual chance at winning a million dollars.  On “Jeopardy”, a player mispronounced the word “Equus” in his response; however Alex Trebek corrected him and gave him credit for the answer.


Ironically, the “Wheel” video went viral and hit all the major talk shows, whereas the “Jeopardy” flub was never mentioned.  So it’s ok to screw up on “Jeopardy”, but not ok on “Wheel” unless you write the wrong spelling which should not matter (so they say) in Final Jeopardy as one kid did last year by miswriting “Emancipation Proclamation”.


I guess these shows pick and choose who they want to win or lose just by what they write or mispronounce.  At this rate, this double standard will cause both of these shows to join “Million Second Quiz” on the cancellation list.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in the near future and these shows should standardize how they handle what people say and write.