Bad news: Fox's dreadful new comedy Dads — the one with all the racist and sexist jokes — didn't do too badly in the ratings last night. So any hopes we had for a swift cancellation are probably dashed. But this does pose an intriguing new question: What will be the first show cancelled this season? Let's take a look at six possible contenders.
Sean Saves the World
Why It Will Be: There's always at least one high-profile dud each season, and sadly for star Sean Hayes, this seems like the best bet. It's half parenting comedy and half workplace sitcom, two forms that are pretty hard to do anything new or exciting with at this point, especially in multi-camera format. There's also some concern as to whether Hayes can work as a lead. We're not hearing much buzz about this show beyond NBC's own PR trumpeting, and its presentation was tepidly received at upfronts this past spring.
Why It Won't: Might this show's major tweak — Sean Hayes is a single dad who's also gay — attract some interest? It's possible. And, hell, Hayes probably still has a lot of residual goodwill from the old Just Jack days. He's in strong form in this clip from the pilot, so if there's more like that on the show, this could be something. Also, the show costars the great Linda Lavin and Thomas Lennon, who presumably wouldn't sign up to do total junk. There are some flickers of hope here.
Why It Will Be: A remake of a 1970s cop show that not that many people remember, Ironside feels arbitrary, random. Clearly NBC wanted to work with Blair Underwood, but this is an odd vehicle for him. Non-CBS cop shows have had trouble finding an audience in the past few years — even when they're good, like Maria Bello's cruelly ignored Prime Suspect from two seasons ago. Beyond the conceit that Underwood's character is in a wheelchair, there's really nothing distinctive about this show.
Why It Won't: Maybe people are hungry for a new crime series. Law & Order: SVU is still going strong, but it can't last forever. Who knows, maybe this will be the random one that works. Underwood is always great, and the supporting cast, including Pablo Schreiber and Spencer Grammer, is likable. That will probably help. And maybe more people remember the old show than we think?
Super Fun Night
Why It Will Be: As much as we like Rebel Wilson, the Super Fun Night pilot is just not funny. The tone is off, it feels a bit strained, and only a few of the jokes really land. The chief problem, though, is that Wilson is completely squandered. Why have this dynamic comedy weirdo play such a boring, straight-woman role? Muting your main selling point is a really good way to get your show booted off the air quickly.
Why It Won't: Rebel Wilson is pretty popular right now, so maybe audiences will either see more in her performance than we do or will stick around hoping she'll start to do something more interesting in later episodes. (Because TV audiences are known for their patience...) And maybe with the success of New Girl and The Mindy Project we're underestimating the strength of shows about quirky, oddball young women and their hilarious hijinks. This could wind up tapping right into the zeitgeist.
We Are Men
Why It Will Be: Well, for one it's called We Are Men. With the exception of the obvious, shows with titles like that don't tend to do all that well, despite the networks' continued assertion that we all want to watch them. Beyond that, the pilot trots out some pretty hoary comedy cliches about men, as if we'll all of a sudden going to be delighted anew by the same old fast-talking lothario or older guy who gets divorced a lot. There's exactly nothing fresh or interesting here.
Why It Won't: It will probably get canceled eventually, but CBS isn't usually that quick to cancel. And, sigh, CBS comedies tend to do well. They just do. (Except for Partners. Shudder. Partners.)
Why It Will Be: The first-season success of Revenge convinced the networks that people wanted sexy, dangerous soap opera mysteries on TV, hence shows like last year's Deception and Red Widow. Neither of those worked, so we don't see much to suggest that this new one, about a complicated romantic affair involving big-city political and financial intrigue, will either. The second-season waning of Revenge might suggest that this was a very brief mini-trend that Betrayal has already missed.
Why It Won't: We may be putting the Revenge craze to bed too quickly. It can take a few copycat tries before one takes off. Revolution came seven years after Lost and is really the only of that show's descendants to thrive.
Back in the Game
Why It Will Be: This is a comedy about a newly single mom moving in with her hilariously gruff dad and coaching her son's little league team. Need we say more?
Why It Won't: If Jimmy Caan could sell Las Vegas, maybe he can sell this.