We’re going to start this week off with the obvious: if you aren’t watching the Doctor Who season 8 finale this week (Saturday 11/8 at 9PM ET on BBCA), you are dead to me. Also, I would like you all to watch it no later than Sunday night so that I can post freely about it on Facebook and Twitter beginning Monday afternoon. I know that there is a somewhat standard one week rule for things like this, but I’m reasonably sure that I won’t be able to contain my excitement and/or grief and I will need to vent it (at length) on social media.
In large part because Who is the only thing we’re all caught up on (DVR backlog, the struggle is real, particularly when I’m on my second trip in three weeks), we’re going to take a slightly different approach to this week. Mid-season is typically the time when the press starts talking about “bubble shows” and predicting the imminent demise of shows that aren’t pulling in a lion’s share of the ratings. So this week, I asked the What’cha Reading staff what they thought of this trend, if there were shows that we felt had been unfairly “bubbled” and also if there were shows that hadn’t lived up to our expectations. I got some interesting answers.
According to TV Guide, Constantine, Forever, and Gracepoint are all bubble shows (they talk about others in this article, but those are the only ones I have a vested interest in) and I’ve heard similar rumors about the numbers for Sleepy Hollow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. making network execs doubt that it has staying power.
We’ll go show by show, starting with Constantine (Friday 11/14 at 10PM on NBC). It’s only a few episodes in, so it’s early days yet. Add to this that the show is so well done that I have no idea what the execs (or TV Guide) are thinking calling this a bubble show. Papa Midnite makes his debut this week, and there are many, many characters still to be introduced. My verdict: Keep this one around, it does not deserve to be on the bubble.
Forever (Tuesday 11/11 at 10PM on ABC): Granted, I’m a few eps back on this show, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of what I’ve seen so far. If you’re a fan of mysteries like me and you haven’t checked this one out yet? Do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s like Elementary if Sherlock wasn’t such an ass—really well done mystery with excellent deductions, and the bits of Henry Morgan’s back story that are teased out in each episode are like icing on the cake. Should not be a bubble show, go watch this if you haven’t yet.
Gracepoint (Thursday 11/13 at 9PM on Fox): Disclaimer, I haven’t seen any of these yet (DVR backlog strikes again). Nancy says that she never made it through the British version (Broadchurch) because it went on too long and she didn’t care about the mystery enough to keep watching. Since the American version is a shot by shot remake, she doesn’t feel compelled to watch it. Chuck, on the other hand, finds it really well done, “but the fact that it’s billed as a 10 episode mystery made me think it wasn’t going to work well in an American TV market.” My take, as much as I love David Tennant, is that they’re both right: unless it’s on Masterpiece Classic or Masterpiece Mystery, American audiences don’t go for that type of miniseries. I also think that if you’ve seen Broadpoint, you’re probably not tuning into Gracepoint, which may spell the end for this series. My verdict: This one might not last the season, but time will tell. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and watch this video of a very clueless David Letterman interviewing David Tennant about Gracepoint and Doctor Who and being Scottish.
Sleepy Hollow (Monday 11/10 at 9PM on Fox) (you are very welcome for the yoga Ichabod picture, fangirls): No way in hell should this show be a “bubble show,” and that’s not just a knee jerk reaction. I am a hardcore Sleepyhead, it’s true, but I can’t think of another show that offers this kind of entertainment: it’s smart, engaging, scary as hell (be real, do you watch this show alone after dark? Didn’t think so), the acting is fantastic, the special effects are great, and the story and the characters are continually going new places. They manage to bring out the scariest stories you can remember from childhood and do complete justice to them. The wendigo legend has scared the hell out of me since I first read it in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and when Sleepy tackled it, I was not disappointed in the slightest. They even managed to add another horrifying layer that I hadn’t heard before: that someone can be cursed into being a wending now. Add to this really compelling story lines and a great season arc. My verdict is hell no, not a bubble show. It deserves to run for decades, or at least as long as they manage to keep it this fresh.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesday 11/11 at 9PM on ABC) is of course the final member of my holy TV trinity, but I’ll let Juan give his perspective: “I wish Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be pulling in bigger numbers. I would just love to have AoS around for the MCU movies to add that extra bit of flavor. Besides it’s not that often when you go to the movies on a Friday and see the ramifications of it on TV on Tuesday.” I’ll add my two cents to that: if Sleepy Hollow is the most original show I’m watching on a regular basis, then S.H.I.E.L.D. is the second only to Sleepy. Like Juan, I love the tie-in to the MCU (where is our Loki crossover, S.H.I.E.L.D.???), but I’m also deeply invested in these characters. My verdict: Should not be a bubble show in any way, shape, or form.
And that’s this week’s What’cha Watchin’: you should be watching all of these, even Gracepoint. Save them in the ratings! Make sure they stay on the air for at least another year! (And if you disagree with my verdicts, I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below of find me on Twitter (I’m @julz91).