ABC: When Will That Veteran End?

The Ratings Junkie Friday, September 30, 2016
ABC: When Will That Veteran End?
ABC, quite frankly, has not had a good season when it comes to newbies in 2015-16. They renewed have gone fractional or near fractional. Meanwhile, ABC currently has three scripted shows that premiered outside of this decade, and all three of them were in their Top 5 scripted shows for the season. So while ABC has some promising veterans to boast, they're having trouble finding new ones. What will happen when they inevitably get too expensive to continue? It's going to happen sooner or later. ABC needs to find replacements. This question is: how long can they take before they adequately find one? Let's take a look into how many seasons realistically these veterans have left.
Quantico, and Dr Ken joined it, as did marginal players The Catch and The Real O'Neals, but everything, including these four,

Grey's Anatomy
Remember having "How to Save a Life" by The Fray stuck in your head? Pretty long time ago when you think about it, right? 2005 to be exact, and they used the song to promote early-day Grey's Anatomy, which premiered March 27 of that year (happy birthday Grey's!). The band hasn't had a top 40 hit since 2009, if that ages Grey's any more. Oh, and it's also ABC's highest rated drama.

Shonda Rhimes, who created the show long before she became a household name, has said she has no plans on ending Grey's Anatomy. Why would she, really? It's not averaging 9.x's like it used to, but nothing is. I don't see it collapsing anytime soon, and I think that they can always keep the storylines fresh. People keep returning for more. They could decide to end it after, say, 15 seasons, but at this rate it could even rival Law & Order (20 seasons) for the longest-running prime time drama ever. It'll end when Shonda says it'll end.

Modern Family
Not all of ABC's longest-running scripted shows are dramas. Modern Family, which premiered on September 23, 2009, was ABC's #1 comedy in its first season and never lost the title. The only comedy episodes ever to beat the same-week Modern Family episodes were the first couple of Cougar Town, and that flamed out relatively quickly. However, just because Modern Family remains ABC's #1 comedy doesn't mean it'll definitely be on for years to come. It appears that the series got "only" 22 episodes this season, as opposed for the 24 given to the rest of the Wednesday comedies + Fresh Off The Boat (which gets less than half the ratings of Modern Family). That most likely has to do with expenses--Modern Family is comprised of a large ensemble cast, and all but one have become household names since the premiere due to awards and high ratings. The one that hasn't been a household name through Modern Family? Yeah, he was the big star that ABC was able to promote the show with (Ed O'Neill from Married with Children). So basically, they're all big stars. Modern Family is also a huge player in syndication, except that ABC makes none of that money (distributor 20th Century Fox does). Ratings are down 20% year-to-year, and sooner or later it'll fall down to earth into the high 1s-low 2s. Modern Family will have a great legacy for years to come, but I don't think it has much left in the tank. Even Seinfeld ended after 9 seasons when technically they could have kept it going for many more years. Unless it comes to the point where ABC forces themselves to  retire many veterans in two seasons, I think that's all we are getting out of Modern Family. A 10th is possible, but it could very easily be using money at that point and only be sticking around for the sake of helping another show.

The Middle
The Middle premiered on September 30, 2009, right before Modern Family's second episode. They're essentially the same age. The Middle is currently on a better track record than Modern Family in terms of year-to-year declines, but like Modern Family, ABC isn't making any money off of The Middle's syndication (which is also a much smaller player in that respect than Modern Family). We know it's getting next season, and then assuming that ratings are still good, it's a question of if the Hecks will sign on for a ninth season. It's significantly less expensive than Modern Family (five regulars and a fairly small supporting cast, as opposed to 12 regulars and a supporting cast), so that shouldn't be the problem of it ending. I think it'll end after nine seasons, just like Patricia Heaton's other hit comedy (Everybody Loves Raymond), and extending it's run past 2000s ABC comedy According to Jim's. Could The Middle and Modern Family end the same season? I think it's entirely possible and will make for a bittersweet exits to the shows which revitalized ABC Wednesdays. But once again, we'll get a better picture once we see ratings and if it's even more necessary to retire other veterans.

Right now, ABC should worry about fixing problem slots that have been made as a result of failing new shows. But they also need to start thinking about a future without their hit veterans Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, and The Middle. It may be a while until ABC finds a show in the caliber of Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy, and The Middle is the little engine that could. All are clear staples to ABC's schedule. How do you think ABC should go about the big picture? Let me know in the comments below!

ABC Renew/Cancel September 30: Initial Predictions for Last Man Standing, Once Upon a Time, Secrets & Lies, and More

ABC Renew/Cancel September 30: Initial Predictions for Last Man Standing, Once Upon a Time, Secrets & Lies, and More

This week, ABC premiered five shows: Last Man Standing, Dr. Ken, Once Upon a Time, Secrets & Lies, and Quantico. Also, week two for some shows gave us an idea of where they will end up. So, let's get to my predictions!

Format for predictions:
Show title (average 18-49 rating, season low-high)

Certain to be Canceled
Notorious (1.1, 1.1-1.1)

Likely to be Canceled
Secrets & Lies (1.0)

Agents of SHIELD (1.0, 0.9-1.1)
Dr. Ken (0.9)
Once Upon a Time (1.2)
Quantico (1.0)

Likely to be Renewed
Last Man Standing (1.1)
Modern Family (2.5, 2.3-2.6)

Certain to be Renewed
Black-ish (1.8, 1.6-2.0)
Designated Survivor (2.0, 1.8-2.2)
The Goldbergs (2.0, 1.9-2.0)
Grey's Anatomy (2.5, 2.4-2.5)
How to Get Away with Murder (1.4, 1.3-1.4)
Speechless (1.9, 1.8-2.0)

Last Man Standing: In its season premiere, Last Man Standing matched the previous season's premiere. That seems to indicate that it is in a better position than it was last season, and last season it got renewed, so renewal should be certain. The thing is, last year Last Man Standing grew from its premiere rating, which is rare. So, I would say that Last Man Standing is probably going to be about as strong this season as it was last.

Secrets & Lies: After a long time off, Secrets & Lies returned to a 1,0, tying Quantico for the second lowest season premiere rating on ABC so far this fall, only behind Dr. Ken. Additionally, Quantico and Dr. Ken have advantages that Secrets & Lies doesn't in terms of syndication potential (either Quantico or Dr. Ken would need two more seasons, Secrets & Lies would need seven more), and Dr. Ken airs on Friday, so it is expected to be lower. It seems that Secrets & Lies is farther down on the network totem pole than every show except new series Notorious, which premiered a tenth higher with a large lead-in.

Once Upon a Time: Despite a premiere higher than Last Man Standing's, Once Upon a Time is a toss-up. There are two reasons for this, one is that Last Man Standing airs on a lesser viewed night, and the second is that a multi-camera sitcom must be much cheaper to produce than a fantasy drama. This 1.2 it earned matches many of the ratings that Once Upon a Time earned last spring, and with the decrease that comes from fall to spring, the ratings may end up not justifying the cost. However, we do not know exactly how much it costs to make the series, and if Secrets & Lies and Quantico fall harder, it makes Once Upon a time look stronger.

Dr. Ken: The 0.9 Dr. Ken premiered to this season matches the lowest ratings it hit during its first season. This is not a good sign, However, ABC studios is behind this show, so they could push for it to reach four seasons in order to enter syndication. We should keep an eye on Dr. Ken to see if it falls, stays steady, or even rises in coming weeks.

Quantico: Similar to Dr. Ken, the rating it premiered to is not great, but it could get renewed in order to make enough episodes for syndication. Also, Quantico airs in a difficult timeslot, and if it is canceled, the question of what replaces it arises. If Quantico gets canceled, most likely Secrets & Lies will end up canceled as well, and we do not know if Once Upon a Time or midseason entry Time After Time will get renewed. This means, if Quantico is canceled, that may create one hole too many in ABC's Sunday night line-up.

Speechless: This show held up well in week two. It dropped two tenths, 10%, while its lead-in dropped 1 tenth, meaning it went from 100% retention to 95% retention, That is one small week two drop, and considering that it is performing on par with the rest of the Wednesday night line-up, I see no reason why it wouldn't get renewed.

Designated Survivor: This show didn't have as small of a drop in week two, but its four tenth, 18% drop still isn't bad, and the 1.8 it earned is higher than what its lead-in earned, in fact the same number of tenths higher than its lead-in last week. The drop it experienced wasn't at all worrying, and the show is earning solid ratings, so it certainly will be able to return.

How to Get Away with Murder: After dropping one tenth in week two, I decided to move How to Get Away with Murder up to certain to be renewed. I only didn't put it there last week because I don't Like to put shows there after one week unless it is 100% certain, and I wasn't quite there with Murder. As it didn't face a large drop this week, I now predict its renewal with certainty.

What do you think of my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

TV Ratings 9/29/16: NBC shows lower, CBS Repeats do well, Pitch & Notorious Steady (UPDATED with Finals)

Grey's Anatomy was down a tenth this week, which was a pattern many shows this week (HTGAWM, Chicago Med, Pitch) followed. NBC had a pretty rough night, with all of its shows dropping at least a tenth. Superstore had the largest drop (.3), with The Good Place and Blacklist dropped .2. Rosewood was the only gainer this week, growing a tenth to a still-atrocious 0.8. Repeats of Big Bang, Kevin Can Wait, and Bull all did well, ranging from 0.9 to 1.4.

Finals Update: The Good Place and Superstore each adjusted up a tenth. All CBS reruns adjusted down between one and two tenths.

FOX Renew/Cancel Watch: Scream Queens Is Likely To Be...

The Ratings Junkie Friday, September 30, 2016
FOX Renew/Cancel Watch: Scream Queens Is Likely To Be...
Renewed. I know, it just hit a 0.7 and under 2 million viewers. Those are abysmal numbers, there's no way around it. But according to their press release, the premiere episode was up 73% in 3-day multi-platform audience. There is an audience for Scream Queens, it just isn't on linear television. Could it become a streaming-only show? Possibly. Move to FX? Possibly. Stay on FOX? Again, possibly. If it were hitting 0.5s and not seeing such big gains, I would probably have to change my prediction, but for now, I don't think another 10-13 episodes would hurt. Here's the full table and some more analysis:

Certain Cancelation
Likely Cancelation
Likely Renewal
Certain Renewal 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
New Girl

Scream Queens

The Last Man On Earth
The Exorcist

Son of Zorn
The Simpsons

Family Guy

Lethal Weapon

The Simpsons and Family Guy
Family Guy will go on as long as Seth MacFarlane wants it to, and The Simpsons may just go on until the cast physically isn't able to do it anymore. They don't rate what they used to, and nothing does. They're not going anywhere, and pretty much anyone could tell you that.

Son of Zorn and The Last Man On Earth
Son of Zorn collapsed in Week 2, all the way down to a 1.1 L+SD rating. But since it's airing with football for the next few weeks, I wouldn't get concerned just yet. Expect a quick decision due to its part-animated nature, so if it goes fractional it might go straight to likely cancellation, no time to put it in the 'Watching' category. Meanwhile, The Last Man On Earth actually premiered fractional, but Will Forte continues to get award nominations for them, and if it's still the streaming player that it was in its first season, I don't think it's leaving the schedule. But it's really starting to make other shows look good, and due to its serialized nature I can see it dipping even lower, hence the 'Watching' label.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is doing better this season than I expected it to, self-starting with a 1.0 on the troubled Tuesday night. While that's not necessarily good on the surface, it's definitely the strongest linear Tuesday show for the network. It could get hurt by The Middle, but the two shows are different enough that I don't think there will be much overlap. The only thing holding it in the 'Watching' category is the fact that they don't own it. 

What's Next?
Look to see how The Exorcist holds up in Week 2. Will its prediction change? Time will tell.

Quick Note
Bob's Burgers is already renewed, hence its absence from the table.

What do you think of my predictions? Let me know, and make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below! If you liked this article, make sure to share it with your fellow ratings friends! 

Most Popular Shows, According to Your Pageviews

The Ratings Junkie Friday, September 30, 2016
Most Popular Shows, According to Your Pageviews
As you may know, a defining new feature of The TV Ratings Guide is the addition of our 2016-17 TV Show Ratings Database, which provides color-coded ratings for every show in A18-49, A18-34,
M18-49, M18-34, W18-49, and W18-34. Now that we're two weeks into the season, which shows' ratings have you viewed the most? Let's take a look:

1) Sunday Night Football
2t) Son of Zorn
2t) Dancing with the Stars
4) Blindspot
5) This is Us
6) The Voice (Tuesday)
7) The Goldbergs

That's not to say you care for all shows. Here are the bottom seven shows, which are currently in a four-way tie:

-Code Black
-Hawaii 5-0
-Blue Bloods
-The Exorcist
-Once Upon a Time

Five Questions: End of September

The Ratings Junkie Friday, September 30, 2016
Five Questions: End of September
Welcome to the latest edition of Five Questions! Please make sure to leave your answers in the comment section below!

1) Which Thursday show has disappointed the most?
2) Will Dr. Ken rebound and hit a 1.0 A18-49 L+SD rating again?
3) Is Lethal Weapon a legitimate hit, or is Empire massively propping it up?
4) Which returning show has overachieved the most?
5) Which network has the smartest business plan in terms of new shows? Which network has the best new shows?

Bonus: If you could be cast in an upcoming midseason show, which one would you pick?

The Good Place S1E4 Review

This show has quickly become an excellent one, in my opinion, and I can tell it's a show I will be looking forward to every week.

S1E4 "Jason Mendoza"

The episode picks up right where it left off, and introduces some hilarious things, such as that Jianyu, who is actually names Jason, is Filipino instead of Taiwanese and is stupid. Eleanor has some more great moments, such as when she asks if "knowing yourself" means masturbation. Michael also has a great scene, when he says that he wants to wear suspenders.

Jason is very funny, and the story he wants to tell is funny. It was also funny how Eleanor didn't get a meal because her favorite meal was supposedly a hunger strike she went on.

Eleanor and Chidi try to get Jason to learn to become a good person, and there are some very funny moments here, such as when Jason refuses the offer for Chidi to help, and when Eleanor calls Chidi a nerd. Some of the scenes between Michael and Tahani aren't funny, and that includes the last one. At the end of the episode, Jason has some hilarious questions about Chidi's school.

This episode had a weaker storyline with Michael and Tahani, but there were still plenty of great moments from Eleanor and Jason to make this a really good episode.

Score: 8.5/10

What did you think of "Jason Mendoz"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Superstore S2E2 Review

This episode picks up where the premiere left off, with the Cloud 9 employees ending their strike and beginning to work again.

S2E2 "Back to Work"

Everything is back to usual at Cloud 9, except that the district manager is still there. Glenn is hilarious in his attempts to impress the district manager by being a hard ass. America Ferrera does a great job as well in her reactions to what the district manager says, and in the scene at the deli.

Dena decides to try to get everyone to like her, and this results in her leaving everyone hilarious presents. Amy's story gets very interesting when the thumb gets lost, and I loved when she was telling others about it, especially the line about how it could be in guacamole or it could not be in guacamole.

Cheyenne comes in to show people pictures of her baby, but ends up working, which is really funny. The thumb ends up being found, and Garrett is funny when that happens. The end of the episode is great, when Dena goes to help Amy.

American Ferrera had a great performance in this episode, and everyone else also did very well. It was an episode full of hilarious moments.

Score: 10/10

What did you think of "Back to Work"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Designated Survivor S1E2 Review

The first episode covered the night of the attack. This week, the episode covers the first day following it.

S1E2 "The First Day"

The episode shows Kirkman how much needs to be dealt with as a result of the attack, such as the economy potentially collapsing. It also explores racial tension, with the speechwriter getting stopped by police. This is expanded upon when Muslims are rounded up in Michigan, and the governor doesn't consider Kirkman to be president. A tension between him and a governor is a great one to explore.

The second act of the episode introduces the one member of Congress remaining, and she gets along with Kirkman at first, though I am immediately suspicious of her. When chaos erupts in Michigan, Kirkman sees how overwhelming the press can be, and then how dangerous being president is.

Kirkman cracks down on the governor of Michigan, and it is a great scene. He did a great job of taking control, Kiefer Sutherland acted very well in that scene. He has been acting very well throughout the episode, but that scene in particular stood out to me. Another scene that stood out is when he called the parents of the boy who died, though too much action in this show happens over the phone.

Kiefer Sutherland delivered an excellent performance this week. His performance is key to this show's success, so that is good. The biggest issues with the episode are how much news was given over the phone, and how predictable parts were.

Score: 9/10

What did you think of "First Day"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Modern Family S8E2 Review

Despite seasons six and seven having premieres that weren't great, the eighth season started out on a really good note. Read on to see if I thought that continued through the second episode.

S8E2 "A Stereotypical Day"

Some members of the Dunphy family are facing issues, with Haley having lost her job, Alex with mono, and Phil had a traumatic experience where he was trapped in a closet. Haley has a great line about how keeping her job loss a secret is difficult with Alex around, and the flashback to Phil in the closet is hilarious. Jay faces a classic Modern Family situation, with his security cameras going up on the same day as a black family moving in across the street by coincidence.

There are a lot of things going on in act two of the episode, which is something that the show does well. From more fleshed out stories like Jay trying to prove he isn't a racist to smaller ones like Joe wanting to live outside, they are all entertaining. An especially funny moment in this act is when Mitch and Cam realize that they might be hypocritical and not as tolerant as they thought they were.

Jay introduces himself to the neighbor, and everything goes right until he accidentally thinks that when they neighbor says "by the way" he is saying an African last name, which was hilarious. The episode also brought back the painting of Mitch and Cam on Lily's wall from the pilot, and it came up with a great way to keep Alex more involved in the stories throughout the season, after a hilarious and classic Modern Family scene where Alex discovers why everyone wants her to stay, except Haley who wants her to leave.

After a couple of weaker seasons where it had seemed that Modern Family was rapidly going stale, the eighth season so far has bounced back in a tremendous way, going back to the types of stories and the set-up that made the show so popular at the start. This episode is the perfect example of that, actually being even better than the best earlier episodes. I never expected to say this about this show again, but this is my new favorite Modern Family episode.

Score: 10/10

What did you think of "A Stereotypical Day"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Speechless S1E2 Review

After not being totally impressed with the pilot episode, I hoped that episode two would be an improvement.


The episode has an enjoyable start, with Maya testing the emergency services, and rewarding the faster ones. The episode introduces a story for the father and daughter, which is not funny. Also, Ray tries to find an opening to talk to the girl he likes, which has the potential to be funny, but isn't at first.

Maya, as expected, doesn't like Kenneth, even though J.J. does. There is also a hilarious scene where, when J.J. isn't there, Maya makes Ray do physical therapy in order to not waste money.

Maya intends to fire Kenneth, but that story comes to a very sweet conclusion when she sees how hard Kenneth is working to help J.J. Ray's story gets funny at the end when he becomes insecure about his walk.

I enjoyed two of the storylines this week, the main one and Ray's. The one with the father and the daughter really wasn't funny.

Score: 7.5/10

What did you think of "N-E-NEW A-I-AIDE"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

American Horror Story: Roanoke Episodes 1-3 Reviews

Because I only just decided to write AHS reviews, I will be giving short, summarized reviews of each episode and my thoughts on the season as a whole. Starting next week, there will be more in-depth reviews.

Episode 1

This was a very disappointing premiere. I was really hoping for some more action (or for SOMETHING to happen at least), but it didn't really go anywhere. This is my least favorite AHS premiere ever. I hated the documentary style.

Numerical Score: 5/10
Grade: D

Episode 2
This episode was certainly better. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes that Denis O'Hare appeared in. He's always a delight. I'm hoping for more scenes with him in it. The season is getting on the right track. I just want more Kathy Bates. The scenes with the nurses were also very good. I want to know more about them.

Numerical Score: 6.5
Grade: C+

Episode 3
I really enjoyed this episode. The documentary part is starting to get entertaining, and I loved the interaction between Lee and the Interviewer. I'm also in love with Cricket. He's my favorite character thus far. The scenes of The Butcher were also great. Kathy Bates is amazing. For the first time this season, I'm actually excited for the next episode. I can't wait to see the next few episodes. This was the best AHS episode since Freak Show.

Numerical Score: 9
Grade: A-

Loose Ends:
- I need to see more of Cricket. He's such an interesting character.
- Kathy Bates is so fantastic
- This season is getting so much better
- Why is Denis O'Hare barely a part of this season so far?
- Can you guys stop killing all of these pigs?
- Who the fork is Priscilla?
- Please, bring back the opening sequence.
- You got me hooked again, Ryan Murphy!

NCIS Los Angeles S08E01 & E02 Review

The season 8 premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles was a treat, with the first two episodes merged together to create a two hour movie; an epic adventure that ends in tragedy.  There may have been no cliff hanger at the end of the previous season but there were plenty of threads to be pulled, the main one being the mole, who has been floating around since season six.  That mole may have been captured but there is another  at large, one that has infiltrated the Office of Special Projects.  And that is where the opening episodes take us, running in parallel with the team’s investigation in to stolen radioactive material which leads them to Syria and a mission to capture a high value target.  And incidentally this target was in US Naval Intelligence, a Syrian born American national, who betrayed his adoptive country and defected to Syria.
Both parts one ‘High Value Target’ and two ‘Belly of the Beast’ are written by Scott Gemmill (as is next week’s episode) which creates a familiarity with the subject matter and a seamless continuity in a similar fashion to the opening of season six.  Then, Hetty was ordered to Washington and placed under investigation, with the Department of Justice interrogating the team in LA.  vlcsnap-2016-09-28-22h25m44s896This time, the Under Secretary of Defence Corbin Duggan and his team have stormed the Mission as Hetty and Granger have failed to root out the mole.  The consequences are that the entire staff are being replaced.  Instead of resigning, in the usual Hetty tradition, this time she has retired.  Such a situation is usually a cue for Callen to act like a rebellious teenager, to point blank refuse to obey orders from those he has no respect for or trust but to his (and the writer’s) credit, he just gets on with his job.
Duggan arrives in a fashion reminiscent of Granger’s back in season three’s The Watchers (interesting, also written by Scott Gemmill).  In addition to OSPs mole problem, Duggan also cites technological change as a driver, referring to both Hetty & Granger as relics from the cold war.  He even goes so far as to say Hetty should open a museum with her weapons.  Duggan is played with relish by Jackson Hurst.  vlcsnap-2016-09-28-21h55m07s289He is smarmy, smug and untrustworthy.  Hetty in her resigned state, adopts a resigned attitude but in response to Nell’s pep talk, she advises her to get as much information on Duggan as possible.  Does the man have a hidden agenda?  Or is Hetty looking for some blackmail material to use against him?  Whilst Hetty is playing a game known only to her, Granger falls victim to the very arguments he made to Sam and Callen about Hetty during his opening episode; he is old and now replaceable with new technology - drones and cell phones.  But instead of siding with him, Granger now fights to defend his team, dropping Duggan’s cell in a glass of water and stating that his gun still works if it's wet.
There is much talk about the future and change in this opener, initial driven by the bullpen banter of bucket lists, and Sam’s disbelief that Callen doesn’t have one.  Kensi does, openly admitting she wants to get married, have kids, go to Bali, buy a horse...Her bucket list becomes a talking point later with Deeks, this time the uncertainty of their jobs prompting them to discuss their future together.  Deeks states that Kensi should quit her job to become a mum - and it a testament to how far their relationship has progressed, that Kensi does not lose her temper for such an apparently sexist statement.  Deeks redeems himself by saying he would do the same as a father.  Having already sourced an engagement ring in a possibly dodgy deal with a Jewish man in a car park, Deeks is clearly preparing the ground for marriage.  Kensi may not be ready for kids and it seems Deeks is not yet ready to propose, ending up swallowing the ring...and then recovering it...
The banter is rife between all the characters and as was the case throughout season seven, Granger gets the best one liners, particularly when Duggan says he’s still waiting for his briefs, to which Granger replies that he’s more of a boxers guy and he doesn’t like to share!
Granger: This is my happy face.
Sam and Callen tease each other relentlessly, Callen hosing down Sam to put out his flaming leg and Sam saying he told their suspect in Arabic that he (Callen) finds the suspect sexual attractive.  The character interaction on the helicopter before the crash was also excellent, seeing all them all relaxed - maybe with the exception of Callen, taking on the role of ‘dad’.  Even the wonder twins had some uncringeworthy banter.

As well as humour there is an abundance of action throughout; there are bike chases (with Deeks, almost falling off and constantly talking), tackling suspects through windows whilst on fire (Sam), tackling suspects in to a swimming pool and head-butting them (Callen) and violently kicking a Syrian insurgent unconscious (Kensi - probably killing him).  The pivotal event though is the helicopter crash, which leaves Kensi trapped beneath the wreckage.  The men become solely focused on freeing her, working as a team. Sam takes the role of nurturer, taking charge of Deeks (dazed after banging his head), and looking after Kensi, with Callen also expressing serious concern.  Deeks to his credit did not lose his temper but contained his fears and emotions, reassuring and comforting Kensi.   He magnanimously volunteered to stay whilst Sam & Callen sought help, only to be shot down by the pair; they are a team and they would rather die protecting each other than leave someone behind.
With Kensi unconscious but finally free, Sam allows Callen to track and hopefully re-capture the High Value Target, Ahmed Han Asakeem, who escaped after they left him unconscious as they focused on Kensi.  This is the last action scene of the premiere; an intense fist fight that sees Callen smacked in the head with a rock and finally recapturing Asakeem, holding off the attacking insurgents with Sam and Deeks, and emerging unscathed from a targeted drone strike.  Callen is clearly demonstrating his invincibility - like a cat with nine lives.  vlcsnap-2016-09-28-21h55m36s465In reality, the crash was a clever move to ensure Kensi could be kept at a distance.  Her injuries will keep her in hospital and presumably rehab for a number of episodes, allowing actress Daniela Ruah maternity leave.  For much of the premiere, she is standing behind people, sitting down or trapped under wreckage.  It was a shock to witness her undercover as a pregnant woman with a buggy in one scene and for a moment it appeared the show had given up trying to hide her pregnancy.
The intense drama may have been unfolding in Syria, but the slow game was being played back in LA.  The remaining team, with Hetty and Granger sneak into Ops to assist their team, illegally use Duggan’s authority for the drone strikes, with Granger even showing he has a conscience by allowing Eric to sent a warning strike before killing anyone.  But in a move which was predictable, Hetty wrote Duggan a letter.  Not of resignation this time, but a confession that she is the mole.  He knows it is not true but accepts it anyway, ordering his minion Chen to cuff Hetty.
For a season opener, this had all the quality, tension, drama and cliff hanger of a season finale.  Yes there was a lot of familiarity with Hetty's actions, and the takeover of Ops was reminiscent of early season six, as well as the formulaic banter, humour and action.  The only character inconsistency was Eric getting seasick at the sound of the extremely close waves in their new / temporary boatshed.  In earlier seasons, Eric is repeatedly referred to as a surfer.  vlcsnap-2016-09-28-21h57m55s815Finally, the mole is being tackled head on, but Duggan may not be all he seems, and Nell was seen sneaking away and plugging / unplugging a flash drive to a computer in ops - was this really just the backdoor into their systems Eric referred to later?  More will undoubtedly be revealed in the next episode, aptly named The Queen’s Gambit, reflecting the move Hetty made, in sacrificing herself as a pawn for the sake of the large game at play.  But both the mole and Kensi's recovery have a long way to go until normality is restored - if it ever is...

Speechless & Designated Survivor Picked Up for Full Seasons by ABC

ABC's new comedy Speechless and new drama Designated Survivor have both been given back-nines, which brings their episode totals to 22 each. Both shows have been relatively good performers thus far, so these pickups are no surprise.

Are you excited for additional episodes of Speechless and Designated Survivor? Tell me in the comments!

TV Ratings Wednesday, September 28: UPDATED with Finals: Criminal Minds, Lethal Weapon, Empire Adjusted Up + More

TV Ratings Wednesday, September 28: UPDATED with Finals: Criminal Minds, Lethal Weapon, Empire Adjusted Up + More
Finals: Lethal Weapon, Blindspot, Criminal Minds, Empire, and Law & Order: SVU all adjusted up a tenth, to 2.0, 1.3, 1.9, 3.7, and 1.6. CW reruns of Penn & Teller and the 9:30 Whose Line adjusted down a tenth to 0.3.

Here are the preliminary ratings for Wednesday, September 28:

Show (Network)
18-49 Rating
The Goldbergs (ABC)

Survivor (CBS)

Penn & Teller: Fool Us - R (CW)

Lethal Weapon (FOX)

Blindspot (NBC)

Speechless (ABC)

Modern Family (ABC)

Criminal Minds (CBS)

Whose Line is it Anyway? - R (CW)
Empire (FOX)

Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Black-ish (ABC)

Whose Line is it Anyway? - R (CW)

Designated Survivor (ABC)

Code Black (CBS)
Chicago PD (NBC)

Only the most important things now, maybe more analysis later:

Criminal Minds and Code Black began their seasons last night. Criminal Minds earned a 1.8, even with the 1.8 it got in its season finale, and down from the 2.0 it premiered to last year. Code Black scored a 1.2, even with the 1.2 it got in its season finale, and down from the series premiere's 1.5 last year.

In week two, Speechless was down from its 2.0 last week to a 1.8, Designated Survivor was down from last week's 2.2 to a 1.8, and Lethal Weapon went down from a 2.2 to a 1.9.

NBC Orders 'Little Big Shots' Spinoff featuring Elderly Participants

NBC has greenlit a spinoff to their series "Little Big Shots', called "Little Big Shots: Forever Young". It is unknown when the series will air. The series will be the same as the original series, but with seniors showing off their talents.

TV Ratings Tuesday, September 27: UPDATED with Finals: The Voice Adjusted Up, Scream Queens Adjusted Down

TV Ratings Tuesday, September 27: UPDATED with Finals: The Voice Adjusted Up, Scream Queens Adjusted Down

Finals: The Voice adjusted up a tenth to a 3.3, putting it only a tenth lower than last week. Scream Queens adjusted down a tenth to an even worse 0.7. The table reflects the final ratings, but the analysis refers to the preliminary ratings.

Here are the final ratings for Tuesday, September 27:

Show (Network)
18-49 Rating
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)


The Flash – R (CW)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

The Voice (NBC)

New Girl (FOX)

Bull (CBS)

MADtv (CW)

Scream Queens (FOX)

Agents of SHIELD (ABC)

NCIS: New Orleans (CBS)

This is Us (NBC)

Almost every show was down Tuesday night. The two new shows, Bull and This is Us, performed well in week two for being new shows.

On NBC, The Voice earned a 3.2 rating, down from last week's 3.4. It was followed by the second episode of This is Us, which was recently picked up for a full season of 18 episodes. This is Us scored a 2.6 in week two, down from the 2.8 it started off with. These drops are small, and shouldn't be concerning at all.

On CBS, NCIS earned a 2.1, down a tenth from last week's 2.2. In week two, Bull scored a 1.9 rating, down from the series premiere's 2.2. NCIS: New Orleans earned a 1.5, which makes it up from last week's 1.4.

On FOX, things were much more concerning than NBC or CBS. Brooklyn Nine-Nine scored a 1.0, making it down from last week's 1.1. The drops got worse as the night went on, with New Girl, which was down from last week's 1.2 with a 1.0 rating and Scream Queens, down from last week's 1.0 to a 0.8.

On ABC, Dancing with the Stars scored a 1.3, down from last week's 1.5. Agents of SHIELD then rated at 0.9, down from the 1.1 it got last week.

On the CW, a rerun of The Flash got a 0.3, and the season finale of MADtv was flat with last week's 0.2.

Scream Queens Season 2 Episode 2 Review

The end of the last episode left us on a bit of a cliffhanger. Let's see how they resolve it this week!

Well, #5 is alive. She somehow was not killed by the killer (very fishy). The detective believes her to be the prime suspect, despite the fact that she was locked in the bathtub. Everyone pegs #5 as a suspect, because of their dislike for her.

We meet a new patient at the Institute, Tyler. He has tumors all over his (formerly attractive) body, and #5 believes this to be her chance to date someone attractive. They start to form a bond, and #5 even tries to help raise money for his surgery (aww, young love). But then, when at a restaurant, #5 goes full psycho on some guys that made fun of Tyler.

Chanel and #3 tested Tyler to see if he could actually form a romantic born with someone as hideous as #5. And he passed, which means that Chanel will pay for Tyler's surgery. Unfortunately, Tyler's surgery never comes to be, as her is murdered by the Green Monster just before the Chanels arrive.

Payday and Chamberlain check out the hospital's archives, and find out about a massacre that occurred their on Halloween night in 1986. They question Munsch about it, and she confesses that she had anterior motives for opening the hospital. You see, she's experiencing headaches and other symptoms, and nobody knows what the heck is going on. She wants to be able to find a cure, and think this is her only hope.

Zayday figures out (somehow) that Cathy has an incurable disease called a kuru, and that she's only got 1 year to live.  Cathy wants to keep this all a secret, but Ingrid, who suspected that something was up with Cathy, placed a bug in Cathy's office and hears everything (I smell trouble).

We also get to witness the glorious return of Chad (dressed as a Red Devil), and Chad discovers some troubling things about Dr. Holt. His hand is from a serial killing Squash champion.

Denise also returns, and (of course) talks about how awful she thinks Zayday is. (I just loved Denise's Quantico plug, as well. That was more entertaining than Quantico itself.) At her advice, Munsch and the Chanels go visit our favorite lunatic, Hester. Hester knows exactly who the killer is. There's one major problem, however- she won't tell us who it is. Not unless her list of demands is met.

In other Cathy-related news, she herself gets attacked by the Green Monster (this woman is really batting a thousand today). She fights him (or her?) off, but is unable to unmask them (thanks, Cassidy and #3).

This was a great episode. They've recaptured the magic of last season with the returns of Chad, Denise, and Hester. I never realized how awesome those characters are before, but they're a huge part of why this show works. Plus, I need a Denise spin-off. That would just be amazing.

Numerical Score: 9.5/10
Grade: A