Not as bad as it seems
|2008||Life on Mars||74|
It only seems like the fall television season has been worse than in recent years. Certainly, by some measures -- namely, ratings -- the new season has been a dud. Out of all 22 new network shows debuting this fall, not one has cracked the list of 10 highest-rated programs. Only two, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods, even appear in the season-to-date top 20 (through October 24th). Read more about the ratings for fall's new shows.
But this year's crop of new shows has not been inferior to last year in terms of critical success; in fact, if you average out the Metascores for all of fall's new shows, it equals the average (57) for the fall of 2009. And there have actually been many more new network shows receiving positive reviews this fall than last fall, by a margin of 13-7. So why does the general consensus seem to be that the 2010 fall season is so unimpressive?
Blame cable. Most of those new broadcast network shows with positive reviews were just barely positive (eight of them had Metascores between 62-65), meaning they were closer to "mildly entertaining" than "exceptional." For the first time since Metacritic's television section launched in 2005, the highest-scoring show of the fall season was not on one of the broadcast networks, but on cable. In fact, the four highest-scoring shows of the fall were all cable shows, including the only three shows to score above 80. These new series, combined with the continuing runs of acclaimed cable series like Mad Men, only served to make the broadcast networks' programming seem lackluster in comparison.
More on those shows in a moment. First, let's go back to the broadcast networks and see how they rank now that all of the new fall series have debuted.
|Network||Fall 2010 New Shows||Average
|Fall 2009 New Shows||Average
|All Fall 2010 New Shows:||57||All Fall 2009 New Shows:||57|
As you can see, as was the case in 2009, Fox once again has the highest average score for its new fall shows. The crown would have been taken by ratings champion CBS, however, were it not for its poorly-reviewed Twit-com $#*! My Dad Says; the network's average score for its four other new shows is 66.
The fall season's best and worst new shows
As we indicated earlier, only one broadcast network series managed to crack the top five: Fox's sitcom Raising Hope, which placed fifth. Critics and users both seemed to respond more positively to a varied lineup of cable offerings. The broadcast networks did, however, manage to lock up most of the spots on our list of worst-reviewed shows.
|Boardwalk Empire HBO||The Walking Dead
|The Walking Dead
|Boardwalk Empire HBO||Detroit 1-8-7
|$#*! My Dad Says CBS||Outlaw
|$#*! My Dad Says CBS||Mike and Molly
|Melissa & Joey
|Better with You
All new fall shows
Finally, here are the scores for all of the season's new shows with at least seven reviews from professional television critics, ranked from best- to worst-reviewed.
|1||Boardwalk Empire (HBO)||Drama||88||8.3|
|2||The Walking Dead (AMC)||Horror||85||9.2|
|3||Luther (BBC America)||Drama||82||7.3|
|5||Raising Hope (Fox)||Comedy||75||7.4|
|6||Lone Star (Fox) *||Drama||73||7.3|
|7||Teach: Tony Danza (A&E) **||Reality||72||n/a|
|8||Blue Bloods (CBS)||Drama||70||7.2|
|9||The Event (NBC)||Drama||67||5.8|
|10||Nikita (The CW)||Drama/Action||66||6.4|
|11||The Big C (Showtime)||Comedy/Drama||66||7.0|
|12||The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret (IFC)||Comedy||66||4.3|
|13||Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)||Drama||65||6.8|
|14||The Defenders (CBS)||Drama||65||6.6|
|15||No Ordinary Family (ABC)||Drama/Action||65||7.0|
|16||Better With You (ABC)||Comedy||64||5.3|
|17||Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC)||Drama||63||5.9|
|19||Mike and Molly (CBS)||Comedy||63||5.0|
|20||Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC)||Drama||62||7.9|
|21||Hollywood Treasure (Syfy)||Reality||62||n/a|
|22||The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo)||Reality||62||n/a|
|23||The Whole Truth (ABC) *||Drama||56||7.4|
|24||Melissa & Joey (ABC Family)||Comedy||54||5.3|
|25||Hellcats (The CW)||Drama||51||5.6|
|26||Running Wilde (Fox)||Comedy||48||5.9|
|29||School Pride (NBC)||Reality||45||n/a|
|30||My Generation (ABC) *||Drama||43||5.4|
|31||Big Lake (Comedy Central)||Comedy||42||n/a|
|32||Outlaw (NBC) *||Drama||36||3.2|
|33||$#*! My Dad Says (CBS)||Comedy||28||4.3|
What are your favorites?
What are your favorite and least favorite new shows of the fall season? What did the critics get right and wrong when first assessing these new programs? Let us know in the comments section below.