Best and Worst Decisions of 2013 Upfronts

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Done. The fates of pilots and returning shows are sealed. The new fall schedule has been revealed. And the week of network sales presentations to advertisers is over. Here’s some of the best and worst of the past week and what it means for this fall.

Highest concept (figuratively): Mixology — a sitcom where the entire series takes place during one night in a bar. Cheers only felt like that.

Highest concept (literally): Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. You see that trippy trailer? Might as well call it the Bong Hit Fairy Tale Hour.

Most-deserved cancellation: Where to start? Animal Practice, Guys with Kids, Partners, Do No Harm, The Mob Doctor, Golden Boy, and a bunch of others that are already fading from memory.

Least-deserved cancellation: Probably Happy Endings — not because ratings were good enough to continue (they weren’t), just because of the passion fans feel for the show. Also: Go On? Only because we feel sorry for Matthew Perry.

Luckiest show: Nikita. With only 1.4 million viewers (including DVR), fans are fortunate that The CW continues to give its showrunners a chance to craft an ending (and sister-studio Warner Bros. a chance to make a six-episode order worthwhile). In contrast, CBS wouldn’t even let CSI: NY shoot a one-episode finale for a drama that’s been on for nine seasons and averaged 11.2 million viewers. Have a nice life, Gary Sinise!

Luckiest show runner-up: NBC’s Community.

Luckiest actor: Zooey Deschanel. New Girl may be down in the ratings, but it’s getting Fox’s post-Super Bowl slot.

Smug mother-f—ers: CBS.

Desperate motherf—ers: ABC.

Pouty motherf—-ers: NBC.

Manly motherf—-ers: Fox.

Repetitive motherf—-ers: The CW.

Biggest Trend (industry): Shorter seasons. The nets are finally catching up to what cable nets have done for years by ordering fewer episodes and stacking them in clusters to avoid repeats. Examples include CBS’ decision to air back-to-back runs of the new drama Hostages (pictured above) followed by the Josh Holloway-starrer Intelligence, and ABC clustering serialized shows like Grey’s Anatomy into 12-episode batches.

Biggest Trends (content): CBS-style cop dramas (two with robots!), and comedies about boomerang kids.

Biggest stealth cancellation: The Dancing With the Stars results show, which got merged into the performance show.

Show we’re glad got cancelled but wish one of its stars would stay: The New Normal, and Ellen Barkin.

Pilots the interwebs were most surprised didn’t make it: Beverly Hills Cop, Delirium, Backstrom, The Sixth Gun, Mulaney.

Most offensive trailer: Fox’s Dads, which comes courtesy of Family Guy creator (and professional misogynist) Seth MacFarlane.

Best original show title: Mom. (Shocking that such a simple but effective moniker has never been used before). Also: Intelligence and Almost Human.

NEXT: Worst new show title, best/worst scheduling moves and presentations

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