Murphy’s Law – Boob Tube Breakdown (Midseason Replacements Edition)

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

Back in September, I took a look at all of the new shows debuting this season in a little feature called Boob Tube Breadown.

Unfortunately, some of those shows I previewed weren’t long for this world. Many shows get heavily pushed by the network’s PR machine, but fail to capture an audience and are canceled before the end of the season. When that happens, these networks must scramble to find a replacement show – which often times is a show that they didn’t think was strong enough to debut in the fall, but somehow talk themselves into believing will work in March or April.

So, for those of you looking for a few programs to Tivo, here’s the skinny on all of the new shows. Check it out now and figure out which shows you want to get emotionally attached to before they are canceled …

Better Off Ted – ABC (Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)
Synopsis: Better Off Ted is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs an R&D department at a morally questionable corporation.

My Take: The show has a terrible pun for a title, which is already one strike against it. Add to that the fact that ABC has been running commercials for this show for months and I haven’t laughed at a single joke they’ve shown and let’s just say that I’m not terribly optimistic about Better Off Ted.

Castle – ABC (Mondays at 10 p.m.)
Synopsis: Wildly famous mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is bored with his own success. Then he learns that a real-world copycat killer has started staging murder scenes depicted in his novels. Castle is questioned by NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), a bright and aggressive detective who keeps her investigations under tight rein.

Though they instantly clash, sparks of another sort also begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance as Castle steps in to help find the killer. And once that case is solved, he and Beckett build on their new relationship as they look to solve more strange homicides in New York – as much fun as one can have with death and murder.

My Take: Much like Jerry Maguire, this seems like a chick flick in disguise. I’m betting guys get lured in by the promise of a crime drama, only to discover that it’s actually a love story. While my man-crush on Nathan Fillion has me wanting to believe that this show has a chance of being good, realistically I know that it’s nothing more than Stephen King falling in love, and who wants to see that?

Cupid – ABC (premieres Tuesday, March 31, 10 p.m.)
Synopsis: Cupid is a romantic dramedy about Trevor Pierce (Bobby Cannavale, Will & Grace), a larger than life character who may or may not be the Roman god of love, Cupid, sent to earth to bring 100 couples together before he is allowed to return to Mt. Olympus. As fate would have it, Trevor is under the care of psychiatrist and self-help author Dr. Claire McCrae (Sarah Paulson, The Spirit, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), who is also dedicated to helping lonely hearts find their soul mates. When it comes to true love, Claire believes it’s all about friendship and compatibility, but for Trevor, heat and passion conquer all. Only time will tell who will win the battle for love.

My Take: This is actually a remake of a Jeremy Piven show that lasted for 15 episodes in 1998-1999. The original gained a cult following after it was canceled, so since Hollywood is out of ideas, ABC decided to give it another chance. I won’t be giving it a chance, but maybe after it’s canceled and gains its own cult following, I’ll check out the 2019 remake.

Harper’s Island – CBS (premieres Thursday, April 9, 10 p.m.)
Synopsis: Harper’s Island is a 13-episode murder mystery about a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island for a destination wedding. They’ve come to laugh … to love … and, though they don’t know it … to die. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival. Abby Mills, whose mother was killed on the island by a homicidal maniac’s rampage seven years ago, journeys home for the first time since the horrific event for the wedding of her best friend, Henry Dunn. Henry, the boy next door, is marrying the woman of his dreams, Trish Wellington, a beautiful and wealthy heiress. But as the wedding week begins, people start dying. Every episode, someone is killed. Wedding guests and island locals, every person is a suspect. No one is safe. No one can be trusted. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.

My Take: This actually sounds like an interesting premise for a horror movie, but something tells me it won’t work as a 13-episode miniseries. Besides, if I want to watch a mystery unfold on an island, I think I’ll stick with Lost. Four-toed statues beat wedding nonsense every time.

Kings – NBC (Sundays at 8 p.m.)
Synopsis: Kings is a riveting new drama from executive producer Michael Green (NBC’s Heroes) about a modern-day monarchy. The series is an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances – and a young hero who rises to power in a modern-day kingdom. Kings stars Ian McShane (Golden Globe-winner, Deadwood), Chris Egan, Sebastian Stan, Susanna Thompson, Allison Miller, Wes Studi, Eamonn Walker and Dylan Baker.

My Take: I’m glad to see that cocksucker Ian McShane from that fucking Deadwood show land another cocksucking lead role on a motherfucking TV show. He did such an amazing fucking job playing that cocksucking son of a bitch Al Swearengen on Deadwood, so I’m as happy as a pig in shit to see him fucking play a king on this new show. Sadly though, the show is on a network, which means the cocksucker won’t be allowed to swear.

In the Motherhood – ABC (premieres Thursday, March 26, 8 p.m.)
Synopsis: Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) come to ABC in the new comedy In the Motherhood, which takes a look at the importance of family and friends while trying to juggle motherhood, work and love lives in an overly complicated modern world.

My Take: Between this and Better Off Ted, I’m beginning to wonder if one of the main requirements to get your show picked up by ABC is to have a terrible pun title that doesn’t really make any sense.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – HBO (premieres Sunday, March 29, 8 p.m.)
Synopsis: As a young girl growing up in the African nation of Botswana, Precious Ramotswe was encouraged by her father to follow her dreams, no matter what. Now in her mid-30s, Precious is doing just that — by opening her country’s first and only female-owned detective agency for the benefit of those who need help the most.

The first major film/TV project to be shot entirely on location in Botswana, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is based on the best-selling novels by Alexander McCall Smith and co-written and executive produced by Richard Curtis and the late Anthony Minghella.

My Take: It certainly sounds like an original concept and shooting it in Botswana seems like an interesting twist. Plus, unlike Kings, this show is on HBO, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Precious drops a few f-bombs.

Parks and Recreation – NBC (Thursday, April 9, 8:30 p.m.)
Synopsis: Parks and Recreation, from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC’s The Office, King of the Hill) and Michael Schur (The Office, Saturday Night Live) – is a new mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government. The documentary cameras follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Baby Mama), a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. In an attempt to beautify her town – and advance her career – Leslie takes on what should be a fairly simple project: help local nurse Ann Logan (Rashida Jones, The Office) take on defensive bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, real estate developers and single-issue fanatics – whose weapons are lawsuits, the jumble of city codes and the very democratic process that Leslie loves so much. Aziz Ansari and Aubrey Plaza also star.

My Take: Amy Poehler certainly has the comedic talent and ability to carry her own show and Greg Daniels and Michael Schur have a proven track record with The Office. However, as much as I love The Office, I hope this show doesn’t make the same mistakes that it has. I don’t want to see unfunny hour-long episodes, an overemphasis on the two leading character’s boring relationship or an overuse of the funny-in-small-doses Dwight character (who I’m guessing will be played by Aziz Ansari on Parks and Recreation, who was funny as a racist grocer on Flight of the Conchords, but unfunny and boring in his reoccurring role on Scrubs).

Sit Down, Shut Up – Fox (premieres Sunday, April 19, 8:30 p.m.)
Synopsis: From Emmy Award-winning writer Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (Two and a Half Men) comes Sit Down, Shut Up, an animated comedy that focuses on the lives of staff members at a high school in a small Florida fishing town (Go Baiters!) who never lose sight of the fact that the children must ALWAYS come second. We watch them grapple with their own egos, needs and personal agendas, their petty insecurities and prejudices, unrequited loves and ruthless battles for power – and that’s just at the staff meeting.

My Take: An animated series written by Mitchell Hurwitz that features the voices of Will Arnett and Jason Bateman – I’m in. My only concern is that, like Arrested Development, this show will be tragically canceled before it has time to find an audience. Then again, Fox kept King of the Hill on the air for years, so maybe they don’t pay much attention to their animated shows.

Southland – NBC (premieres Thursday, April 9, 10 p.m.)
Synopsis: Southland is a fast-moving drama that will take viewers inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families. Michael Cudlitz (A River Runs Through It) plays John Cooper, a seasoned Los Angeles cop assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie, The O.C.). Cooper’s honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer.

Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by other cast members including Regina King (Ray, Jerry Maguire) who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Her partner, Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott, Boiler Room) is an unhappily married father of three. Michael McGrady (The Thin Red Line) plays Detective Daniel “Sal” Salinger. Sal oversees fellow gang detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro, Drive, Ugly Betty) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy, Alpha Dog). Arija Bareikis (Crossing Jordan) plays as patrol officer Chickie Brown, a single mom who dreams of being the first woman accepted into SWAT.

My Take: Finally, what TV has been missing for all these years – a crime drama.

The Unusuals – ABC (premieres Wednesday, April 8, 10 p.m.)
Synopsis: Like a modern-day M*A*S*H, The Unusuals explores both the grounded drama and comic insanity of the world of New York City police detectives, where every cop has a secret. It also helps to have a twisted sense of humor, since every day could be your last.

Detective Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn) has just been transferred to the NYPD’s Homicide unit from Vice and is instantly thrown into a setting of bullets and bodies. As she begins her new assignment, Casey finds that the force is full of secrets, which serves her well, since she’s keeping a few of her own. But her first case is not an easy one, as she’s assigned to investigate the death of one of the department’s own, the former partner of Detective Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner), who is now her new partner.

My Take: Seriously, you Hollywood writers do realize that there are other types of shows besides crime dramas, right? There are eight million cop shows on the air right now. There are shows about the forensic teams who analyzes the evidence left at crime scenes, a show about a human lie detector who figures out when people are lying about crimes, a show about some chick who studies bones to figure out how people were murdered and even a show where some dude uses math problems to catch criminals. We don’t need any more crime dramas. STOP MAKING THEM! Pick a new profession to oversaturate the market with because I’m tired of fucking crime dramas, you uncreative hacks. Cocksuckers!

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at

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  1. Bill March 18, 2009
  2. Milhouse44 March 18, 2009
  3. J March 19, 2009

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