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WTNT On Second Thought – New Shows from Sept 8-14

Hello all! Welcome to a brand new weekly column written by your’s truly, Trey Elliott, where I’ll take a look at Evan Swafford’s great “Watch This, Not That” column and see where all these new shows stand after two weeks on the air. The column will be broken down into two basic parts.

First, I’ll look at how the show is doing in terms of raw numbers. I’ll be using the show’s ratings in the adult 18-49 category and the estimated number of viewers to see how the show is stacking up against other shows on its network. Keep in mind, a show is really only competing against other show on the same network, not shows from other, competing networks, despite the fact that it often feels that way.

Second, I’ll give you my own personal thoughts on each show. Consider this a more summarized version of the First Impression reviews we used to do here at Free For All. This, of course, has little bearing on whether the show will live or die on the small screen, but it may give you a sense of why a show is tanking or let you know that, despite possible cancellation, you should watch a particular show (think Trophy Wife from last year).

This is all just a guessing game, and there’s a little luck involved, but Evan and I love television, and love making bets, so this is basically our favorite part of every week. Feel free to play along and guess which or your favorite new shows will survive!

Evan’s initial “Watch This, Not That” post can be found here!


Utopia (FOX)

My First Thoughts: Watch This
Evan’s First Thoughts: Not This

What the Ratings Say:

Utopia premiered on a Sunday night to a fair 2.0 rating in the adults 18-49 category and 4.63 million viewers, and continued on its normal Tuesday and Friday nights with a 0.9 rating and 2.48  mil viewers, and a 0.7 rating and 1.99 mil viewers, respectively. As of now the show is performing on par with many other new shows on the network, and just slightly behind returning shows New Girl and The Mindy Project. The show will stay on Tuesdays and Fridays, but with FOX’s well received Masterchef Jr. returning soon, one could see that taking the popular Tuesday spot and FOX sitting Utopia into a terrible Friday night slot. One can only hope…

My Second Thoughts:

All reality shows are terribly scripted. It’s always been this way, as far as I know. But at least back in the early days, when The Real World and Road Rules were at the peak of their game, they didn’t feel scripted. This is where Utopia fails completely. I don’t watch a ton a reality TV admittedly, but this just feels like a terribly stereotyped cast of fools who have been asked to deliver lines in the most unconvincing way. The “preacher” in the show holds a bible at one point and they added a glowing, golden light to it in post. Why?! Well, it may have to do with the premise of the show being inherently flawed. The idea behind the show is to start a new society from scratch, the problem is, they’re still doing it within the United States, and must still follow the law, so the freedom to actually do anything new and significant here basically doesn’t exist. I called this a show to watch assuming that most reality TV does pretty well, especially on FOX, and the numbers tell me I may still be right, but even if I am, don’t watch this show… I beg you.


Z Nation

Z Nation (SyFy)

My First Thought: Not This
Evan’s First Thought: Watch This

What the Ratings Say:

First off, I think it’s important to note that cable networks (SyFy, USA Network, FX, AMC, etc.) and the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW) operate very differently, for many reasons. Because of this, the rating don’t always tell the whole story, and make these predictions much more difficult. Yes, I did just spend that long padding myself for a likely bad predictions record, and no, I’m not ashamed.

That all being said, Z Nation is doing pretty well for a Friday night SyFy Original. It’s Sept 15 première saw 1.57 million viewers, and had a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 category. It was also the eighth most watched Friday cable show (that’s out of hundreds, mind you). It’s second episode even got a little bump (something that’s not all that common) with 1.61 million viewers and another 0.5 rating.  To put this in perspective, SyFy’s Face Off saw only 1.3 million viewers that same week, and Haven saw only 1.0 mil. Those are both into their fourth season on the network., and have better time slots.

My Second Thoughts:

Z Nation clearly isn’t suffering from the over-saturation of zombies that I thought it might, which lead me to my suggestion to not watch the show. The show itself isn’t terrible and feels very much like the rest of SyFy’s lineup. It is very campy, meant to feel like a B horror movie, and succeeds in achieving that feel. The acting is mediocre and the story doesn’t have the same  hook as something like Helix, but if you really need more zombies in your life, or you really love intentional camp, then definitely take a look at Z Nation.


Check back next Tuesday when we cover another week’s worth of shows, including The Mysteries of LauraMadam Secretary, and Red Band Society. Also, if you need a refresher on ratings, you can find a very quick and easy explanation here.

About Trey Elliott

Trey Elliott

Trey is a video game enthusiast, movie junkie, and cultivator of one fantastic beard. He loves to write original Gregorian chants, play the spoon harp, and speak of whatever comes to mind on the Free For All podcast.