Alibi V.24 No.42 • Oct 15-21, 2015 

Idiot Box

The Dead Pool

Which new shows are ghosts?

Minority Report
“Minority Report” on FOX: So dead.

October is a fine month for murder. So it’s no surprise—before all the new fall shows have even premiered—to see the networks talking about which series will be the first to get the ax. We’ve got some fine candidates already. So which of these new network shows will be the first to bite the dust? Let’s examine the possible victims.

“Blood & Oil” (ABC)—ABC’s soapy “Dallas” knockoff is set in North Dakota. (That’s way more glamorous.) Throw in the revenge plot from “Revenge” and ... you’ve got a derivative nighttime drama. The modestly rated show has already slid from a 1.4 rating to a 1.2 rating (barely cracking the 3 million viewer mark). That makes it ABC’s lowest-rated drama on competitive Sunday nights.

“The Player” (NBC)—This high-profile, high-concept action series (about an ex-FBI agent fighting crime while billionaires in Las Vegas bet against him) came into fall with some of the biggest hype of the season. But it’s barely pulling in a 1.0 rating (around 3 million total viewers). Ratings don’t go a lot lower than that—not for the networks, anyway. Sadly, it’s just another “magical crimesolver” series in which our hero relies on impossible supernatural or technological means to solve every crime. Add to that the fact that this is an undoubtedly expensive series (shot, partially, in Albuquerque), and it’s hard to imagine NBC shelling out big bucks to continue the season. Expect a timeslot change and then a cancellation.

“Minority Report” (FOX)—It’s based on a popular Steven Spielberg film ... that came out 13 years ago. Also, this sci-fi procedural—in which futuristic cops use psychics to stop crimes before they happen—seems to miss most of the film’s moral. Instead of concluding that arresting people for crimes they haven’t yet committed is heinous and totalitarian, the TV show figures—what the hell—crimes are a lot easier to wrap up in 48 minutes if you don’t have to write all that complicated detective work into the script. The premiere pulled in a 1.1 rating (worth about 3 million total viewers), and it’s dropped to a .7 since then. And let’s not forget FOX has canceled countless sci-fi series after one season (“Terra Nova,” “Almost Human,” “Firefly”). You don’t need to be a psychic to see where this is going.

“Scream Queens” (FOX)—Having this campy horror series by Ryan Murphy (“Glee”) premiere in October seemed like a no-brainer. But the recent premiere of Murphy’s other horror series (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) probably took a lot of the steam off this similar property. It’s pulling in under 3 million viewers at this point, which is less than FOX’ John-Stamos-with-a-baby sitcom “Grandfathered.” Given that it has a short-term storyline, FOX will probably let this play out for the season, making it a one-and-done.