Brow Beat

Breaking Down the Next TV Season

Mork and Buffy, together at last.


Now that the CW has officially released its 2013-14 schedule, we have the full picture of what next TV season’s program grid will look like—at least until the first cancelations occur. Since a couple of minutes of highlights are all we’ve seen of the new shows, it’s silly to spend too much time speculating—oh, who am I kidding, there’s no better time to pontificate!

The first thing to note is that Sunday will be just as much of a headache as it has been for the last two seasons. It’s not just that there are numerous clashes of quality programs, especially at 9 p.m.—as long as HBO, Showtime, and PBS slot their best and most prestigious shows on that one night of the week, that’s inevitable, and it’s been less of a nightmare since Revenge lost its must-see mojo. It’s that sports play havoc with the start time of The Good Wife. With the possible exception of Scandal, the buzzy Good Wife is the closest a procedural currently comes to must-watch-live TV. That’s why I was hoping it would get a new slot.

But CBS is the No. 1 network for a reason. It makes the least effort to facilitate online catch-up viewing. If sports mess with a show’s start time and DVR recordings are endangered, maybe more viewers will make the effort to watch live—which is more valuable to advertisers. In other words, CBS = Canny BastardS.

Monday boils down to a faceoff between reality competitions—ABC’s Dancing With the Stars vs. NBC’s The Voice—and between updates of the classics: Fox’s modern take on Sleepy Hollow against the CW’s version of Beauty and the Beast. This probably bodes well for CBS’s comedies, especially for the final season of How I Met Your Mother, which will take place over the course of Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend.

Sunday aside, Tuesday might be the most intense battleground. Person of Interest has been moved from Thursday, which means that CBS’s lineup features the three most-watched dramas on television one after the other. At 8 p.m., ABC has chosen to schedule its most anticipated new show, Joss Whedon’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., against NCIS, the No. 1 scripted show on television. This nerds v. oldsters rumble could be the matchup of the season.

On Wednesdays, Nashville has now shifted to the No. 2 priority in the 10 p.m. slot in my personal grid. I own only one TV show on DVD—Raymond Burr’s classic Ironside, so I’ll definitely be watching NBC’s remake with Blair Underwood in the chair.

The Thursday schedule, meanwhile, is the reason I bought a DVR that can record four channels at once. At 9 p.m., viewers must choose between Shonda Rhimes’ medical melodrama; Mork and Buffy, i.e., a sitcom starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar; a CW bodice-ripper about the teenage Mary Queen of Scots that will no doubt break TV’s shirtless-dudes-in-kilts record; the chronicles of an Ohio show choir whose members now live in New York City; and the return of two comedy veterans so massive that their names are in their show titles (Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes).

Friday offers perhaps the biggest surprise of this week. Buoyed by the relative success of Grimm and Shark Tank, networks have moved a couple of medium-sized hits to a night long home to crickets and tumbleweeds, ratings-wise. ABC has shifted The Neighbors from one family comedy spot (behind The Middle on Wednesdays) to another (following Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing); CBS has moved Hawaii Five-0 from Mondays, and the CW seems to think its viewers will have The Carrie Diaries in the background as they attempt to memorize the birthdate on their fake ID before they head out clubbing.

Saturday? Saturday is still a wasteland. But if it wasn’t, when would we find time to watch the shows we taped during the week?

Correction, May 16, 2013: This post originally misstated who is getting married over the course of the final season of How I Met Your Mother. It is Robin and Barney, not Ted and his (no longer) mystery bride.