The TV business is built on the idea that most shows will fail, but when you get to the end of a given broadcast network TV season (the latest one ended last Wednesday), it can still be startling to realize just how wasteful it can be. A year ago, the five broadcast networks ordered around 50 new shows. Of those, a dozen were renewed for next season, nearly three times as many were canceled, two will never air and the rest were pushed into this summer, some as part of genuine pushes for year-round programming (FOX's “Gang Related”), some just being dumped where they can cause the least damage (CBS' “Reckless”). There were two different failed shows about prolonged hostage crises in and around Washington D.C. starring one half of Derbel McDillett; both failed.. There were returns to television for the likes of Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox; ditto. There were lazy and obnoxious FOX comedies that failed (“Dads”) as well as funny and heart-warming FOX comedies that failed (“Enlisted” and “Surviving Jack”). It's a brutal business.
How many of the shows ordered at this year's upfronts will still be standing when next May swings around? It's going to be ugly, I imagine. But before we push into the summer season, and then start dealing with the fall newbies, it's time for what's become our annual HitFix tradition: making funeral plans for all the new network shows that were born and died at some point in the 2013-14 TV season. Bow your heads, and let's begin.