Battle of the Networks! Who’s Winning the 2015-2016 TV Season?

We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a ton of new shows hitting the network TV scene this fall. And that can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned TV connoisseur, so we’ve prepared a handy tool to help you sort through all this unfamiliar media. Below you’ll find a day-by-day breakdown of the five biggest networks, with grades for each show based on general ratings and reviews by critics and audiences as reported by IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Please remember that these grades are highly subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt; and keep in mind that this is by no means a serious critique of anything whatsoever. Rotten Tomatoes scores have been averaged between the Tomatometer and the audience score. Sound good? Let’s take a look.



Dancing with the Stars, 8:00-10:00: B

We don’t think we need to introduce the first of ABC’s fall lineup to anyone. DWTS has been around since 2005, and it’s been a success pretty much since day one. With past guests like Alfonso Ribeiro, whom you may remember as the incomparable Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, it’s no wonder the viewers keep coming back; but as with any show containing judges, there are often complaints with regard to the results.

Castle, 10:00-11:00: C

If you’ve ever wanted to see Nathan Fillion as a crime detective (sort of), your prayers have been answered with Castle, a series in which Fillion gets himself embroiled in all sorts of weird, murdery schemes. As awesome as that sounds, however, this is not Firefly, and Richard Castle ain’t no Captain Mal. Rotten Tomatoes: 65 percent average. IMDb: 8.3


Supergirl, 8:00-9:00: B-

Maybe a B- seems a little low for a show that seemed to have audiences thoroughly hyped for a new take on an old classic. As it turns out, Supergirl’s execution falls surprisingly flat. Critics love it, but audiences don’t. For the sake of optimism, we’ll just say that it is a new series; and if it lives past its inaugural trial by fire, there’s going to be lots of room for improvement. Rotten Tomatoes: 75 percent average. IMDb: 6.3

Scorpion, 9:00-10:00: B-

Scorpion had a few super intense promotional trailers last year before it came out, and its premise sounds interesting: an eccentric genius puts together a crack team of hyperintelligent individuals to fight against modern security threats. Going into its second season, it’s received tepid reviews from the professionals, but responses from viewers have been largely positive: 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and  7.2 overall on IMDb.

NCIS: Los Angeles, 10:00-11:00: C-

A spinoff of another series that needs no introduction, NCIS: Los Angeles follows a team of undercover agents in the titular city. The dedicated following of the original show don’t seem to like this one as much, but we suppose that’s to be expected. 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 from IMDb aren’t exactly shining recommendations, though.


The Voice, 8:00-10:00 (Tuesday 8-9): C

We were under the impression before now that people loved The Voice, but we couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it’s just the people we’ve been following on Twitter lately, because average reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb indicate that The Voice isn’t nearly as popular as we thought; that, or it makes its viewers really mad. Worth noting that despite the low numbers to follow, the show airs twice a week, so it must be pulling in something. Rotten Tomatoes: 62 percent average. IMDb: 4.1.

Blindspot, 10:00-11:00: B-

A lady turns up in Times Square with a serious case of amnesia and a lot of tattoos. Bonus: she’s played by the same woman who played Lady Sif in the Thor films; so if you’re looking for a tough female protagonist, this might capture your interest, at least for a while. The reviews, however, indicate that there may be a drop in quality after a relatively strong beginning, so be warned!  Rotten Tomatoes: 69 percent average. IMDb: 7.8.


Gotham, 8:00-9:00: B+

Here’s something that audiences seem to agree is solidly above average. Gotham takes place in a familiar universe with a well-loved cast of characters viewed from a unique perspective. Who hasn’t wondered what Bruce Wayne was like as a child, or what kind of person Jim Gordon was before he morphed into the no-nonsense Gary Oldman we know and love? We jest, of course, but the sentiment remains the same. This is very much a new twist on an old classic. Rotten Tomatoes: 86 percent average. IMDb: 8.0

Minority Report, 9:00-10:00: D

Is anyone surprised that the Minority Report TV spinoff isn’t nearly as successful as the film? Maybe it’s because the TV version came thirteen years later, but critics and audiences alike have rejected this take on the concept of a crime psychic teaming up with a grizzled (female) detective. Rotten Tomatoes: 39 percent average. IMDb: 5.9.

The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 8:00-9:00: B+

We have a soft spot for musical shows, so take that for what you will, but word of mouth as well as reviews have smiled upon this new series about a woman who gives up a stable position at a law firm to move across the country in search of love. If musicals aren’t your thing, you may want to steer clear, but it’s off to a solid start. Rotten Tomatoes: 89 percent average. IMDb: 6.8.

Jane the Virgin, 9:00-10:00: A-

This show is based on a telenovela, which should be obvious immediately upon reading the plot: A girl gets accidentally pregnant through artificial insemination and has to struggle with issues of family, relationships, and her devout Catholic faith. It is over the top, incredibly funny, and refreshingly multicultural. Definitely worth a chance. Rotten Tomatoes: 95% average. IMDb: 7.7.



The Muppets, 8:00-8:30: B

No doubt everyone recognizes Jim Henson’s beloved creations, but these aren’t the Muppets like we’ve seen them before. The new series takes on a much more adult feel with its mockumentary “Office”-type format, which may not be for everyone but is executed with the same old charm and style. Rotten Tomatoes: 67 percent average. IMDb: 7.5.

Fresh Off the Boat, 8:30-9:00: A-

We were slightly skeptical about this one; we thought it might be easy prey for cliches and “foreign family” jokes, but critics and audiences have been charmed by its honesty and truthfulness in depicting the lives of immigrants and their children as they try to assimilate into American culture. If that sounds dry, don’t worry; it’s a comedy! Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 8.1.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 9:00-10:00: B

Like us, you may have heard that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was pretty mediocre, especially coming off the heels of the MCU’s radiant glory. If the reviews are any indication, however, it’s gotten better; so if you gave up on it before, now may be a good time to pick it up again. Rotten Tomatoes: 88 percent average. IMDb: 7.5.

Quantico, 10:00-11:00: B-

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: There’s a bunch of FBI recruits, but one of them is a sleeper cell planning to betray them all and unleash an act of terror on the country. So it’s basically just another war story, but responses have been generally positive. One of the lead actresses was nominated for a People’s Choice Award, so there’s that too. Rotten Tomatoes: 77% average. IMDb: 7.4.


NCIS/NCIS: New Orleans, 8:00-10:00: B+

We don’t want to overly complicate things and pretend that NCIS and its New Orleans spinoff aren’t very closely related. The bottom line seems to be this: if you’re going to watch one, stick with the original. The spinoffs tend to generate more ire from the fanbase than anything else (see NCIS: Los Angeles above). Rotten Tomatoes: 89 percent average. IMDb: 8.0. (Ratings are for NCIS.)

Limitless, 10:00-11:00: B-

With the same brain-power premise that was last handled by Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, Limitless failed to impress critics, but its “shaky, hole-riddled narrative” doesn’t seem to bother audiences. Rotten Tomatoes: 72 percent average. IMDb: 8.0.


Chicago Fire, 10:00-11:00: B

Why should police have all the screen time? Chicago Fire lets firefighters in on some of the hot (sorry) dramatic action; and apparently, the general public approves. Rotten Tomatoes: 88 percent average. IMDb: 7.9.


Grandfathered, 8:00-8:30: C-

Did you know John Stamos is handsome? That seems to be the driving focus of this show, which is about a bachelor who gets surprised by a son he didn’t know he had, as well as an infant granddaughter. Presumably, he learns a lot of heartwarming lessons about how to be a better person, and there are some laughs along the way. Doesn’t look like anyone was too impressed by anything except how gracefully Stamos continues to age. Rotten Tomatoes: 61 percent average. IMDb: 7.2.

The Grinder, 8:30-9:00: B

Guys, we promise the sitcom isn’t over. Want proof? Here’s another one! A big-shot television lawyer moves home after his series ends, believing that he is now capable of running the actual law firm belonging to his family. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), his brother is there to challenge him. We think this sounds kind of hokey, but the reviews aren’t bad. Rotten Tomatoes: 86 percent average. IMDb: 7.2.

Scream Queens, 9:00-10:00: C

Ryan Murphy’s horror-parody project came with a lot of hype and high expectations that critics claim it doesn’t quite live up to. Called “too tasteless” and “too sill,” by the professional crowd, Scream Queens has found some validation in an audience, but probably not as much as Murphy hoped. Rotten Tomatoes: 68 percent average. IMDb: 7.2.

The CW

The Flash, 8:00-9:00: A

Another solid superhero entry by DC Comics, this iteration of Barry Allen’s story captured critics and audiences alike with a strong cast and compelling presentation. Rotten Tomatoes: 94 percent average. IMDb: 8.3.

iZombie, 9:00-10:00: A

We’ve talked about iZombie before, so we’ll keep it short this time. Are you sick of seeing the same old zombie shows with the same played-out situations? Look no further; iZombie takes those preconceived notions and hurls them into the sun with an engaging cast of characters and a much needed fresh spin on the zombie genre. Rotten Tomatoes: 93 percent average. IMDb: 8.0.



The Middle, 8:00-8:30: B

Sitcom veteran Patrician Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame returns to form in this cute little show about a weird family living in Indiana. We haven’t heard too much about it, but it’s been going for seven seasons, so it must be doing something right. Rotten Tomatoes: 81 percent average. IMDb: 7.5.

The Goldbergs, 8:30-9:00: B

Another solid sitcom about a wacky family, this one set in the mid ’80s. Apparently, it’s based on creator Adam Goldberg’s actual childhood; and apparently the first season isn’t very good, but reviews for seasons two and three are much brighter. If you’re nostalgic for the ’80s for some reason, The Goldbergs has you covered. Rotten Tomatoes: 77 percent average. IMDb: 8.1.

Modern Family, 9:00-9:30: A-

We know a lot of people who love this show, with good reason. The format is familiar, but still different enough to keep the family stories both compelling and funny. This is how the world fell in love with Sofia Vergara. It’s a good way to round out ABC’s family comedy block. Rotten Tomatoes: 90 percent average. IMDb: 8.6

Black-ish, 9:30-10:00: B-

If you’re looking for more culture in the land of situation comedy, Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish strives to deliver a new perspective on family comedy. The show has been criticized for being “uncertain of its target audience,” and audience ratings contrast sharply with critics’ reviews, but it ultimately comes up fresh. Rotten Tomatoes: 77 percent average. IMDb: 7.0.

Nashville, 10:00-11:00: B+

This is a drama about country music, in case you couldn’t tell from the title. It’s the classic old-vs-new storyline of an established (but fading) star clashing with fresh talent. As is the way of these kinds of shows, we’ve heard it gets pretty crazy, and three years into its run, we bet the craziness is nearing peak levels. Also, there might be singing, so if you’re not into the country scene, you’ve been warned. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 7.7.


Survivor, 8:00-9:00: C

Do you need us to describe Survivor to you? No? Good. It’s been running for so long that there’s no denying its staying power as one of the first true reality series, but we can’t bring ourselves to rate it higher than average at this point. There’s only so far the same basic concept can go in terms of holding our interest for a whole hour. Rotten Tomatoes: N/A (no, really!). IMDb: 6.9.

Criminal Minds, 9:00-10:00: A-

We miss Mandy Patinkin, but this series remains a perennial viewer favorite, and we suspect the trend will continue as long as nerd darling Matthew Grey Gubler is on the cast. Who can resist Spencer Reid’s geeky genius charm? No one on Tumblr, apparently. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 8.2.

Code Black, 10:00-11:00: B-

You would think that a drama centered around the busiest emergency room in the country would be rife with excitement and pulse-pounding action, but apparently Code Black failed to deliver the right atmosphere. There have been some complaints about production values and sound design as well, but mostly critics have called this drama fairly run-of-the-mill. Rotten Tomatoes: 63 percent average. IMDb: 7.2


The Mysteries of Laura, 8:00-9:00: C-

We’ve heard essentially nothing about this show, so we weren’t surprised to see that its reviews are pretty lukewarm. The portrayal of the children, particularly in the pilot episode, put a lot of viewers off, but some have returned to say that the series improves after an awkward introduction. We will say that this is the first show on the schedule that’s truly bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, so watch it at your own risk. Rotten Tomatoes: 44 percent average. IMDb: 6.5.

Law and Order: SVU, 9:00-10:00: A-

Law and Order’s first spinoff is still going strong. Olivia Benson reigns in the hearts of many crime-drama fans as an exceptional character who’s been carrying her show for nearly four hundred episodes now; no small feat. We do have to wonder if the format lends itself to predictability after all this time, but if so, it hasn’t stopped a whole lot of people from watching and enjoying the show. Rotten Tomatoes: 96 percent average. IMDb: 8.1.

Chicago P.D., 10:00-11:00: C

Remember how we said earlier that policemen don’t need to see all the action? Well it turns out that even when they don’t, they do. Chicago P.D. is a spinoff of Chicago Fire, and tepid reviews of the first season have us wondering just how necessary it is. There sure are a lot of cop shows out there (see above for a much more well-received example); maybe it’s time to turn the spotlight somewhere else. Rotten Tomatoes: 70 percent average. IMDb: 8.1


Rosewood, 8:00-9:00: D

We’re really hesitant to hand out failing grades on principle, but if anything comes close, it’s this uninspiring, unremarkable police procedural that’s currently sitting at a grimly hilarious seven percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Chock full of cliches and intense predictability, Rosewood brings nothing new to the table. Do us a favor: look up the promo art for this show and let us know what you expect. Rotten Tomatoes: 28 percent average (7 percent Tomatometer). IMDb: 5.7.

Empire, 9:00-10:00: B+

Did you ask for a hip-hop TV drama? Well, that’s too bad, because it’s here now; and according to reviews, it’s great. Lots of family scheming, double-crossing, and skulking in the shadows (we assume). And if there’s not at least one dramatic death scene before the new season is over, we’re calling shenanigans. Bonus points if the deceased turns out to have faked their own demise or something. We want this thing to go full soap opera, and we don’t care who knows it. Rotten Tomatoes: 84 percent average. IMDb: 8.0.

The CW

Arrow, 8:00-9:00: A-

Joining The Flash at the top to lord smugly over poor Supergirl, Arrow seems to have surged in both popularity and reception. We weren’t huge fans of the early seasons ourselves, but seeing its numbers now has piqued our interest. Yet another reliable horse in the DC television universe’s stable, Oliver Queen and company continue to thrive on the small screen. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 8.1.

Supernatural, 9:00-10:00: A-

Truly one of the long-standing behemoths of fandom, Supernatural doesn’t look like it’s slowing down for anyone. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are still a fangirl’s dreamy dream team, and the show is still rife with demons and angels and Misha Collins; or whatever it is that made it so popular in the first place. The bottom line: it’s still popular, still cool, and still has legions of terrifying fans. Rotten Tomatoes: 89 percent average. IMDb: 8.6.



Grey’s Anatomy, 8:00-9:00: B-

Not too long ago, showrunner Shonda Rhimes did something to one of the most beloved characters on this show and her fans got super mad at her, so we have to assume the ratings took a dip from that. Even before that particular catastrophe though, there were swirling complaints about the general coherence of the series and speculation as to how crazy Rhimes had actually gone. We think all the melodrama is a little intimidating, so…we’re just going to leave this letter grade here and back away. Please don’t kill us, Shonda. Rotten Tomatoes: 77 percent average. IMDb: 7.7.

Scandal, 9:00-10:00:  B+

Oh, Shonda Rhimes did this one, too? All right, we rescind some of what we said when we were talking about Grey’s. Scandal is smart, intense, and will make you fall in love with Olivia Pope; or at least her fashion sense and wine glasses. A word of caution: we don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe this show might eventually go as nuts as Grey’s Anatomy did, so maybe keep your seat belt buckled, just in case. Rotten Tomatoes: 88 percent average. IMDb: 7.9.

How to Get Away With Murder, 10:00-11:00: A-

The only thing we really need to tell you about this is that it has the kid who played Dean Thomas from the Harry Potter movies, and he is uncomfortably handsome. That, and Viola Davis kills it (sorry) as a brilliant law professor teaching the most metal legal course in history. Rotten Tomatoes: 91 percent average. IMDb: 8.3.


The Big Bang Theory, 8:00-8:30: B-

Yeah, we know. This show is super popular. It gets good reviews, generally. Jim Parsons is an age-defying wizard of the highest order. All of that might be true, but we can’t bring ourselves to feel anything other than neutral about it. It’s venomless and full of family-friendly, sort-of-geeky laughs, but we think the concept’s been tired for a while now. Rotten Tomatoes: 82 percent average. IMDb: 8.5.

Life in Pieces, 8:30-9:00: C

Are you sick of dysfunctional family comedies yet? This one has a scope similar to Modern Family, but its format is vastly different: each episode is comprised of four vignettes as seen through the eyes of different members of the family. Maybe it has some potential, but we don’t think it’s really knocked anyone out of the park just yet. Rotten Tomatoes: 55 percent average. IMDb: 6.9.

Mom, 9:00-9:30: B

As far as we can tell, Mom is the female version of Two and a Half Men, which was also created by Chuck Lorre. Coincidence? Probably not. As it stands, reviews paint it as at least decent, if sometimes crude, but always reliably funny. If you liked Two and a Half Men, you’ll almost certainly like this too. Rotten Tomatoes: 82 percent average. IMDb: 7.0.

Elementary, 10:00-11:00: A-

So lots of people weren’t very happy about the idea of a female John Watson, much less played by Lucy Liu. Fortunately, as ratings suggest, she and Jonny Lee Miller have surmounted the haters as a team and managed to eke out a place for themselves in the hearts of Sherlock Holmes fans. The cases have only improved since the beginning of the show’s run, which says great things about its long-term potential. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 7.9.


Heroes Reborn, 8:00-9:00: C-

Remember Heroes and its wild success? NBC certainly didn’t forget. The too-aptly-named revival of a beloved supernatural series failed to impress critics or audiences in the same way as its predecessor. It’s tempting to say “give it a chance anyway” if you liked the first Heroes, but know that the old cast isn’t returning, and that genuine intrigue seems to have been traded for flash and drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 51 percent average. IMDb: 7.2.

The Blacklist, 9:00-10:00: B

This is one of those series that subverts expectations by beginning with a twist: the FBI’s most wanted man walks into headquarters and surrenders, offering to help them catch another high-level criminal under one condition: he speaks only to his preferred contact. Audiences have been charmed by this one more so than critics, but it’s holding steady as an above-average crime thriller. Rotten Tomatoes: 86 percent average. IMDb: 8.2.

The Player, 10:00-11:00: C

We want to be enthusiastic about anything Wesley Snipes does, but the reception of The Player is concerning, as is its frankly ridiculous plot. Some shadowy kingpin-type is feeding Snipes clues to help him solve crimes, but the crimes are all part of some sort of game in which incredibly wealthy people bet on whether or not he’ll succeed? We…guess that’s cool? We don’t know. There’s likely lots of shooting and explosions, so if that’s up your alley, check it out and tell us how it is. Rotten Tomatoes: 57 percent average. IMDb: 7.2.


Bones, 8:00-9:00: B

If you’ve been watching TV at all in the past decade and haven’t seen an episode of Bones, we don’t know what to tell you. One of the institutions of procedural crime drama (and based on a book series by Kathy Reichs!), its formula hasn’t really changed much, and hasn’t really needed to. Rotten Tomatoes: 89 percent average. IMDb: 8.0

Sleepy Hollow, 9:00-10:00: B-

We’re weirdly attracted to Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane, so maybe that influenced our grading a little bit. In any case, this is a charming little fish-out-of-water type of story involving a resurrected Ichabod Crane who’s been put down in modern times. Does that sound dumb? Yeah, it might be, but it’s ultimately an inoffensive, generally pleasant watch. The term we’ve most heard used to describe it is “pleasantly surprising.” Rotten Tomatoes: 80 percent average. IMDb: 7.6

The CW

The Vampire Diaries, 8:00-9:00: B-

Are vampires still interesting? We don’t know, but this show is still getting above average ratings into its seventh season, so maybe undead hotties haven’t quite worn out their welcome. We don’t think it’s anything you haven’t seen before, and probably nothing you won’t see again in the future. But if you like brooding, angsty high school vampires, more power to you. Rotten Tomatoes: 84 percent average. IMDb: 7.9.

The Originals, 9:00-10:00: A-

This is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries that’s threatening to usurp its parent’s popularity. Apparently, there’s a lot going on and it might be a bit much for some viewers, but we dig the dynastic, melodramatic tone a lot more when it doesn’t have anything to do with high school. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 8.5.



Last Man Standing, 8:00-8:30: C-

The critics didn’t miss Tim Allen, but if you did, you’re in luck. The premise of a manly guy struggling to retain his manliness in an ever-more-feminine world strikes us as at least a little weird, and the first two seasons weren’t very well-received by anyone. We’d rather just keep our memories of Tool Time-era Tim Allen. Rotten Tomatoes: 51 percent average. IMDb: 7.3.

Dr. Ken, 8:30-9:00: D

We love to see television trying new things, but this series looks like a swing and a miss. Critics have slammed Ken Jeong’s new show for an astounding lack of humor and engagement, which, to a comedy, is pretty much a death sentence. Rotten Tomatoes: 15 percent average. IMDb: 5.4.

Shark Tank, 9:00-10:00: B

There’s a certain appeal to watching a crew of hopefuls appear in front of a panel that exists solely to make or break their hopes and dreams, and that’s exactly what Shark Tank is. Entrepreneurs either walk away with huge investment checks from the “sharks,” or nothing. And there’s just no substitute for that sweet, Schadenfreude-y reality tension, is there? Also, sometimes it’s worth watching just for the pitches.


The Amazing Race, 8:00-9:00: C+

We can certainly see the appeal of this show, if only to live vicariously through its contestants. The “race” aspect seems harrowing though; it really feels like it would undermine the amazing factor of the various locations. Who has time to appreciate Paris when you’re playing “Where’s Waldo” with a dude in a red hat? So, we don’t know. The whole premise stresses us out. There’s been 26 or 27 seasons of this, though, so maybe we’re just wrong about it. Rotten Tomatoes: 66 percent average (season 25). IMDb: 7.6.

Hawaii Five-0, 9:00-10:00: B

One might expect the reboot of a well-loved retro crime series to face some adversity as it tries to fill big shoes, but this iteration of the iconic Hawaii Five-o was received fairly well. It’s not new by nature, but most reviews are solid despite inevitable comparisons to the source material. Rotten Tomatoes: 85 percent average. IMDb: 7.4.

Blue Bloods, 10:00-11:00: B

A crime drama that also deals with family matters? It’s hard to imagine Blue Bloods as anything but successful, and yet, it’s equally hard to imagine it as a hit along the lines of NCIS or CSI. Appropriately, then, it occupies a position as a well-cast, reliably interesting vehicle for solid storylines. There are hints that the over-arching plot is a bit strange, but it doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted reviews too much. Rotten Tomatoes: 86 percent average. IMDb: 7.5.


Undateable, 8:00-8:30: B-

Can you guess that this show is about a guy struggling with his own commitment issues while trying to help his new roommate and the roommate’s weird friends get laid? Okay, so Undateable telegraphs its whole deal in the title, but surprisingly, audiences seem to think it’s all right. Put this one under “not as bad as we feared.” Still, it’s not going to win any awards. Rotten Tomatoes: 63 percent average. IMDb: 7.3.

People are Talking/Truth Be Told, 8:30-9:00: D

We’re not quite sure what this show is actually called, but we think the running title is Truth Be Told. That said, the truth seems to be that this series is really, genuinely bad. Although it attempts to explore the depths of sex and race, it’s ultimately an unfunny comedy that accomplishes nothing except a cringeworthy sitcom environment. Rotten Tomatoes: 28 percent average. IMDb: 5.7.

Grimm, 9:00-10:00: B+

Fantasy procedural Grimm made a name for itself by integrating roughed-up versions of the fairytales we love into the gritty world of police drama. We’ve heard that this isn’t for the squeamish or faint of heart, and though the premise might seem thin and hokey at times (cop gains supernatural beast-slaying powers and befriends the big, bad wolf), it’s engaging enough to keep audiences interesting. Rotten Tomatoes: 88 percent average. IMDb: 7.8.


Masterchef Junior, 8:00-9:00: B

You could be forgiven for thinking that putting Gordon Ramsay in charge of relatively small children wouldn’t be the best idea, but as it turns out, the notoriously brutal chef is way better with kids. Ramsay shows another, more adorable side of himself as he trains children between eight and 13 how to cook their best. Not for anyone who doesn’t like kids; that’s pretty much the whole point. Also not for anyone who watches Gordon Ramsay for their daily dose of Schadenfreude. There’s none of that yelling, cursing business here. Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent average. IMDb: 6.5.

World’s Funniest, 9:00-10:00: F

This show was born from a Youtube channel that posted clips of the funniest “fails” on the Internet; that should tell you just about all you need to know. Terry Crews hosts a panel whose job it is to analyze each clip, but he is a lackluster host at best, and the show can’t be supported by its weak, derivative premise. If you really want to see Terry Crews, just watch some Old Spice commercials instead. Rotten Tomatoes: N/A. IMDb: 3.8

The CW

Reign, 8:00-9:00: B-

Teen drama, historical style! Reign pretty much looks exactly like what it is: a convoluted romance story set at some point in history instead of the present. It’s essentially just The CW doing a period piece, and it seems to do all right at that, though critics have said that it fails to satisfy either its intended audience or the soap opera crowd. On The CW, it’s “go big or go home,” and Reign apparently doesn’t do either. It looks pretty, though. Rotten Tomatoes: 81 percent average. IMDb: 7.6.

America’s Next Top Model, 9:00-10:00: C-

The show that taught the world about smizing is still alive, if not thriving. 22 seasons in, the novelty of Tyra’s craziness has pretty much worn off, and we’re left with a show full of girls who are always having some sort of drama. And that’s it. That’s the whole show. At the end of it, someone always wins, but does that even matter anymore? Rotten Tomatoes: N/A. IMDb: 5.5.


Saturday is full of college football and reruns! We’re not going to grade these things individually, but Crimetime Saturday runs, as well SNL (now featuring guests like Donald Trump).



Once Upon a Time, 8:00-9:00: B+

Here’s another show that’s secured a faithful fandom through character development and intricate plotlines. Sort of like Grimm (but not really), it also relies upon fairytales in a more literal sense, exploring familial, friendship, and romantic ties within the fantasy universe. The series visuals are striking, and although it suffered a bit from the inevitable Frozen tie-in, it seems to have bounced back just fine. We really like this visual interpretation of Snow White! Rotten Tomatoes: 83 percent average. IMDb: 8.0.

Blood and Oil, 9:00-10:00: C

A drama centered on the modern-day Texas oil boom has serious potential for intrigue and complexity, but most reviews suggest that this series isn’t more than average, if that. Chace Crawford is still good-looking, so there’s that, but plain characters and an ultimately unexciting setting and premise mean it’s not destined for greatness anytime soon. Rotten Tomatoes: 52 percent average. IMDb: 6.7.


Madam Secretary, 8:00-9:00: C

Everyone knows how well political dramas can work. And just because Tea Leoni is at the center of this one doesn’t mean it can’t be good; in fact, critics have credited her as the major reason the show is solid enough. However, there’s not much beyond her performance that makes it stand out in a sea of procedural dramas and other thrillers. Rotten Tomatoes: 76 percent average. IMDb: 7.4.

The Good Wife, 9:00-10:00: A

See, this is what we were talking about. The Good Wife is a political drama about a woman that’s earned nothing but critical acclaim during its 6-year run. It’s smart, fairly unique, and its cases are often topical, adding another level of interest to the events in the show. Strong performances only add to its appeal. Rotten Tomatoes: 95 percent average. IMDb: 8.3

CSI: Cyber, 10:00-11:00: D

In case The Good Wife was too good, stick around and be refreshed by CSI: Cyber’s badness. On paper, the cast looks pretty good, but the series fails to do much except drag CSI into the digital age. We don’t know when people are going to understand that computers and typing aren’t inherently exciting. Rotten Tomatoes: 37 percent average. IMDb: 5.1.


The Simpsons, 8:00-8:30: B+

Is this really necessary? Do we need to talk about this cornerstone of pop culture? It’s The Simpsons; of course it gets high marks. It’s been shaping the face of television for 26 years. We didn’t give it an A because it’s not without its foibles and we didn’t want to look like sellouts, but the truth is that you know it and you probably love at least one episode. Surprisingly, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is only 71 percent, but just because everyone alive has seen it doesn’t mean everyone worships it as a media god. IMDb: 8.9.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 8:30-9:00: A-

Don’t give us a hard time for rating this slightly higher than The Simpsons, okay? It’s fresher, and popular without wearing the “classic” mantle. Also, we like Andy Samberg. Yes, it’s another cop show, but Samberg and company manage to change it up enough to keep the concept from feeling tired. Bonus points for a pleasingly multicultural cast and a young cop character who doesn’t need to be a tough guy all the time. Rotten Tomatoes: 93 percent average. IMDb: 8.3.

Family Guy, 9:00-9:30: B-

Younger, cruder cousin of The Simpsons, we really don’t have to talk about this one either. An over-the-top parody of the traditional family sitcom format, Family Guy fills a niche that The Simpsons can’t quite reach. A weird, often off-putting niche that tends to fluctuate in overall quality. Remember when they replaced Brian with a dog who was clearly inferior and then immediately brought Brian back? Yeah… Rotten Tomatoes: 66 percent average. IMDb: 8.3.

The Last Man on Earth, 9:30-10:00: B-

This show began with only one cast member playing a man who believed he was literally the last man on Earth. If that seems ambitious, please remember that works based around one person are typically dramas, not comedies. But then his solitude is cured by a band of other survivors who are described as “more than he bargained for.” Probably cute, definitely serviceable, good enough to garner above average responses from critics and audiences. Rotten Tomatoes: 82 percent average. IMDb: 7.5.

That’s it! Who won?

Well, we tallied it up, and it’s a pretty clear victory for The CW, despite some troublesome titles later in the week (we’re looking at you, ANTM). If you don’t agree with this or anything else here, that’s fine! We just did this for fun, so please feel free to totally disregard our opinions as we know you will anyway. Thanks for tuning in!


What’s your favorite network TV show? Who do you think we slighted the worst?



Skye Simpson
Skye Simpson
Writer, editor, proofreader, veteran of the freelance trenches. I read a lot of books and I'm trying to write one—ask me how that's going! No, don't. Currently based in Portland, OR.