2016-2017 Cancellations, Renewals, And Pick-Ups: Critical Writ's TV Round-Up

Once again, the time has come to dissect the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year's upcoming television news. First, I'm happy to report that the standard networks weren't as cancellation-happy as last year. It especially irked me because a lot of genuinely promising material wasn't necessarily given a full chance. The critically-acclaimed The Office, Parks And Recreation, and 30 Rock didn't necessarily have the best ratings going into the initial season, but with a bit of leeway, they soon became some of NBC's most popular comedy programs.

A lot of quality programs have been axed in the past purely due to ratings, even if the critics adored them. Thankfully, we don't have any Muppet documentariesawesome shows about a family of lawyers with enough meta content to rival Community, or unconventional follow-ups to sci-fi films to break our hearts by getting cancelled this year. Let's get to the round-up. As a disclaimer, this does by no means cover all of the news, just whatever I find interesting.

Hell yeah! We're done!
Making History and Son Of Zorn (FOX): Yeah, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. According to many reports, Fox had three shows produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and with ratings lagging for the trio, something had to go. I'll admit, I'm not as saddened by the departure of Son Of Zorn. It never really went past being just okay for my taste, but Making History was great. It had a semi-serialized plot and social commentary.

The Great Indoors (CBS): Starring snark-master Joel McHale, it's a show about a rugged outdoorsman who is pulled back into the office. How can he work with a group of millenials on an outdoors living magazine?! This calls for some irritating, laugh track-infused shenanigans! At the best of times, The Great Indoors simply felt like your average mediocre sitcom. At the worst, an offensive portrayal of the differences between generations. If you want to see a show that has a similar focus, but with a mostly positive manner, try Superior Donuts. It's on the same network and it got renewed earlier in the year.


The Last Man On Earth (FOX): Thank goodness! As always, the most recent season ended on a massive cliffhanger, so ending the drama-comedy now would be irritating. TLMOE, starring Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Cleopatra Coleman, and Mary Steenburgen focuses on a group of survivors after a virus seemingly kills off most of the world's population. Obviously, the title no longer reflects the cast, but it's still a darkly humorous insight into just how to survive and tolerate annoying people. If you don't count Gotham, then it's the closest thing Fox has to a high-concept comedy, and even then, Lucifer definitely beats it in that category.

Gotham (FOX): I'll admit, the show is getting more entertaining. I'm still bored whenever the show focuses on Bruce Wayne or Jim Gordon, but the villains are getting even more entertaining. Riddler finally has his alter-ego up and running, Poison Ivy has been entertaining (Editor's Note: albeit incredibly problematic), and it has one of my favorite live-action portrayals of Mr. Freeze. Really, as long as the bulk of the plot continues to focus on the villains teaming up, I'll be fine. Just, please, ditch the Court Of Owls. They don't even have the proper masks.

Great News (NBC): I'll avoid the obvious joke. From Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, the show is set to return for a thirteen-episode second season. In regards to my earlier rant about networks giving shows a chance, I find that this is a positive example.

The Goldbergs (ABC): Eighties nostalgia is alive and well! Say, I wonder if the upcoming Ready Player One film will cast anyone from the show as an in-joke. I haven't seen a lot of the show, but I like reading about it, especially because it's currently the most prominent example of a Jewish family on tv.

Agents Of SHIELD (ABC): I'm excited to see what the next season brings, especially if they continue with the specialized story arcs. Having three serialized villains over the course of a season really helps get us attached to the villains and really see them as a threat. AIDA is one of the best characters on the show, in that regard.

Timeless (NBC): Alas, the glut of time-travel focused programming didn't help out the noble crew in this program. They traveled throughout time to stop a mysterious organization from changing history for the worse. Sadly, I guess the Agents Of SHIELD-esque cliffhanger, wherein the finale ended with the team somehow working for the bad guys, will never be solved. (Update: Literally the very next day, it was renewed for a second season. Neat! Unexpected, but neat!)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl (FOX): About halfway through the season, I began to suspect that season six of New Girl might be the last wacky offering from the show. It seemed like the plot threads were quickly being wrapped up, especially with an increased amount of references to past episodes. Fox did officially announce that the show would be renewed, albeit for a shortened finale season, a la Parks And Recreation. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nine-Nine will return, which is good, because it ended on a massive cliffhanger.

*Early renewals include Superstore and Lucifer.


Unnamed Deadpool series (FX): Coming as a complete surprise to anyone not in the television industry or actively working on it, FX announced that a Deadpool cartoon would be coming to the airwaves next year. Community's Donald Glover will be working as the executive producer, showrunner, and one of the writers with his brother, Stephen Glover.

As of the time of this writing, ten episodes have been ordered. I don't know where the show stands in terms of rights to use MCU Marvel characters, but I hope that they make the most of whatever they can use. I do know that because the show will air on Fox's grittier network, the writers probably won't have trouble with adapting Deadpool's crass jokes on the air.

Unikitty (Cartoon Network): In even more unexpected news, The Lego Movie will be getting a television spinoff starring the eponymous Unikitty, with Tara Strong set to voice her instead of Alison Brie. I don't know how well a show about the ever-cheerful kingdom will hold up as a full-length show, but you can be sure that it'll be colorful.

Unnamed Black-ish spinoff: Zoey Johnson is set to be spun-off into her own show, but on Freeform, rather than ABC's main network. The show, if it does get picked up, will feature Yara Shahidi's character at college. Seeing as Black-ish is fantastic at covering social issues through a comedic lens, and just plain funny to boot, I see no reason why this potential spin-off wouldn't be just as good.

Krypton and Happy! (Syfy): Really? Okay, they're serious with this. Gotham might be laughably bad at the best of times, but at least it has a bit of a foundation to go on. You have your villains and a young Bruce Wayne training. (Disclaimer: It only has the villains. Yeah, I'm disappointed, too.) I get that they're going for a Game Of Thrones-type of vibe, but it's hard to believe that anyone could care about Superman's grandpa. Who are they going to use for villains? I could see Brainiac or even Darkseid, but that's a stretch. Hey, if the show ends with it being revealed to be Ambush Bug telling a bedtime story, then I might give it a chance.

As for Happy!, it's not an adaptation of Pharrell's song, but I predict it might be used in the marketing. It's an adaptation of one of Grant Morrison's weirder comics, and that's saying something. A foul-mouthed cop-turned-hitman survives a life-threatening injury and begins to see a talking blue horse, as voiced by Bobby Moynihan. Together, they fight crime. I promise you, none of that is a joke. I may have disliked the comic, but I'll gladly check out the pilot just to see how they pull this off.

Ghosted and LA To Vegas (Fox): First up, Ghosted stars comedy legends Adam Scott and Craig Robin as paranormal investigators, one cynical and one a believer. It will have a serialized element, but the show is primarily comedy-based. You might be thinking that this sounds like The X-Files, and you're right. It's set to air alongside the next revived season of the famed sci-fi drama. LA To Vegas has a fairly unique premise. Unlike your average cookie-cutter work-com, it takes place on an airline. How much do you want to bet that the pilot will be re-filmed to include a sprinkle of United Airlines jokes? It's being produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, leading me to hope that it'll be promising.

Black Lightning (The CW): The CW's adding another superhero program to their venerable lineup, along with a healthy dose of diversity. The show will feature Black Lightning coming back into the superhero game after retiring to be with his family. Formerly picked up as a pilot by Fox, it moved over to the CW. I have a feeling that it'll air after Arrow, due to the similar tones. On a personal note, I hope that this will lead to the DC characters embargo finally being lifted, if only for a Batman And The Outsiders reference.

By The Book (CBS): Fun fact: My synagogue actually has the book that this show is based on. Titled The Year Of Living Biblically, it chronicles the story of a man who attempts to improve his relationship with religion by living his life according to every edict in the Bible for a year. It's a humorous and educational book, and I definitely recommend it. The show is produced by The Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki. I'm not so sure how I feel about it being turned into a sitcom, potentially afflicted with a laugh track, but I do appreciate the increased representation for Judaism.

Deception (ABC): I've recently discovered that I'm something of a magic nerd. My nerdy interest was only increased when I heard about this new show from Greg Berlanti. Side note- Seriously, does he ever sleep? I don't know who has more shows in production, him or Ryan Murphy. It stars a disgraced magician who decides to use his powers of illusion for the FBI. I'll definitely watch it and I already hope for a Zatanna joke. Or a cameo, considering that the creator is helming the CW superhero gauntlet. (Now including Black Lightning!)

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.