Winners and Losers of TV Fall 2014: from 'Gotham' to 'Selfie'

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, which means that we are already approaching the middle of the 2014-2015 television season. This year hasn’t been without drama, as the broadcast networks have all struggled to launch new shows. However, there have been a few big winners.

Let’s get right to it and start with the biggest winner:

Winner: DC Comics

Without a doubt, DC Comics has beat Marvel at the television game. Arrow has been nothing short of a huge success for The CW and The Flash saw the network’s best premiere in ages. But Warner Bros. TV is also providing another big hit - Fox’s Gotham.

Sure, Gotham isn’t always that great, but it continues to show promise and is getting better. The show needs to strike a balance between being a “case of the week” crime drama and a serial drama. It can succeed with episodes that don’t have cases in the way, but self-contained cases shouldn’t be frowned upon either. The episodes where they try to do both are the worst ones, but as the fall finale showed, it’s best if they don’t try to jam pack too much into a single 43-minute episode.

The only loser in DC’s line-up this season was Constantine, which of course is on NBC. The peacock network has decided not to order a back-nine, so it isn’t completely dead. But it’s chances of getting renewed at the end of the season are very slim.

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Loser: Fox’s Utopia

Fox dumped $50 million into Utopia and it was reported that some within the network weren’t so thrilled with it. If only those executives could have stopped Fox alternative programming chief Simon Andreae in time. Utopia was a disastrous attempt to create a new Big Brother and no one cared. The show somehow made it to the end of October.

Fox hasn’t been able to succeed with any reality shows that don’t star Gordon Ramsay in years. American Idol is floundering, although the network seems to finally understand that the show’s glory days are really gone. And The X Factor experiment failed after three seasons.

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Winner: Fox comedy

How on earth can I consider Fox’s comedy slate a success if (a) no one is watching and (b) the only new one is going to get cancelled anyway? It’s because the returning shows are really good. New Girl is back with something to prove, now that Nick and Jess aren’t together any longer and Brooklyn Nine-Nine continues to get better. Someone give Andre Braugher all the awards now!

Also, The Mindy Project is getting a few more episodes so, someone at Fox must like it.

Fox is still overall a loser. Gotham is its only new show to get a full season.

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Loser: Everyone else’s sitcoms

Boy, this was an awful year for sitcoms. ABC cancelled both Selfie and Manhattan Love Story, while NBC nixed A To Z and Bad Judge. CBS decided to kill off The Millers at the start of its second season and Fox’s Mulaney isn’t getting a full season.

The only sitcom I wish got some more time was Selfie. Hulu users will get to watch the rest of the 13 episodes ABC ordered and, based on the first one they posted, it was only getting better. I swear, that stupid title was to blame.

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Winner: new CBS drama

CBS only launched one new sitcom this fall - The McCarthys - and its future is unknown. However, the network’s new dramas were all picked up. Yes, even Stalker got a full season. There was no question about NCIS: New Orleans getting a full year, but it was surprising to see that both Scorpion and Stalker get full seasons.

Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni, was also picked up for a full year.

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Winner: ABC sitcoms not on Tuesdays

Congratulations, ABC! You finally found a show at 9:30 on Wednesdays that people will watch after Modern Family. Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish has earned a full season. The network has struggled to find a show to fit that slot and Black-ish is finally the right fit.

ABC is also home to the only other sitcom to get a full season, Cristela with Cristela Alonzo. The show airs on Fridays, paired with Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, and is doing well enough to get a back nine.

What’s left?

The jury’s still out on Katherine Heigl’s Hollywood comeback, NBC’s State of Affairs. Fox and ABC also have their own ambitious dramas debuting this midseason. In January, we get to see Fox’s Empire, while ABC will test out John Ridley’s American Crime.

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