Fall TV Preview: Friday Night’s Only Show

Shark Tank

Ahh, the weekend. A time to get out of the house and enjoy our beautiful world, even if you’re only going outdoors because there is absolutely nothing on TV during this time of the week.

You never see worthwhile television programs on Saturdays unless you like sports (both the main stream sports like college football and the obscurities like the World Track & Field Championships) or movies that you should have seen on HBO months ago. There’s nothing else.

Fridays are generally where TV shows go to die. When a network show is really struggling in its Monday-Thursday timeslot, oftentimes you’ll see it moved to Fridays to play out the string before cancellation.  

But there’s one show that’s bucked this trend over the past four years. It’s a show that works perfectly for Friday nights because it’s not something you ever feel you have to watch right away. You can DVR it and still go enjoy your Friday night. But once you get sucked into this show like I did three years ago, I have a feeling you’ll be making excuses to leave the bar early in order to watch this fantastic show.

Shark Tank

When & Where: 9:00pm on ABC

What: A reality show where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to a group of potential investors (known as “sharks”). Quite simply, someone comes into the shark tank with a product they’ve only recently begun selling and try to entice at least one investor into buying a stake in the company in exchange for a chunk of cash (known in the business world as an investment). The sharks either laugh the business right out of the tank or start negotiating with the person for a better deal.

Who: The only name you’d recognize on the panel of sharks is Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner. There’s a shark who is well known on QVC. The founder and CEO of FUBU clothing company is also a shark.

Ross’s Take: Typically I’m not a reality show person, but Shark Tank is an exception. Part of the attraction for me is the David vs Goliath feel to the show. You’ve got these five billionaires staring down these cute little business people who just want some investment money and a business mentor for their homemade vegan cookie business (or their “sweatshirt that doubles as a blanket” business), and you always feel so good for the entrepreneur when they get a deal. In the classic reality competition blueprint, they show some ideas that are fantastic and immediately get offers from the sharks, and other ideas that are TERRIBLE and get ripped to shreds by the sharks. It’s the business version of watching a horrific singer during the American Idol tryouts.

While I’m fascinated by the negotiation when it’s a good idea, I tend to enjoy the people who bungle their sales pitch or just have a crappy idea a lot more. You can see a quick list of all the ideas that have been pitched on the show and whether or not they got a deal by going HERE.

Here are a couple of my favorite ideas that did not (shockingly) get deals:

  • A “lunchable” for dogs where the guy essentially splits up regular dog food into a compartmentalized plastic container. He puts a small amount of water in there too and says it will revolutionize the way dog owners travel. One of the sharks points out that a plastic Ziploc bag could do the same thing.
  • A couple guys who want money to make a movie based on motorcycling called “Track Days”. They don’t have a script, actors or anyone to produce it. But they have lots of motorcycle sound effects.
  • And my favorite: The Sullivan Generator, which produces energy from the earth’s rotation while providing pure drinking water from ocean water AND spitting out gold as a by-product. A simple product that creates usable energy, drinking water and gold. How could that not be a slam dunk?

I give the Shark Tank a 4 out of 5. It’ll never get old because we get to see new crazy idea after new crazy idea. You will not be disappointed if you start watching this show. And for those of you who already watch this show and want to spice it up a bit, I found a blog that created a drinking game out of the show. It’s pretty entertaining.

Julie’s Take: “It’s my favorite show. Robert is my favorite shark from a personality standpoint, but Mark is my actual favorite shark because he always makes offers on things and Robert almost never does. I also think two of the sharks are having an affair (Kevin and Barbara). I like watching the good ideas more than the bad ideas. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. It’s only not a 5 because I don’t feel like I have to watch it immediately when it airs.”

(Side Note: I wonder how many times during all these TV preview blogs Julie’s going to say “It’s my favorite show” or “it’s the best.” I’m thinking at least 15.)

Summertime TV Blues: Sifting Through the Junk That You’ll be Seeing on TV Over the Next Three Months

Do you hate the summer TV schedule as much as I do?  Are you confused by why the best TV shows all take their hiatus from June – September?  I actually tried to research why all the TV stations give their best shows the summer off, but I couldn’t find any legit info.  My best guess is that back in the times before DVRs, TiVo and On Demand, these networks realized that summer is when families take vacations and spend a lot of time outside…meaning that’s when people are least likely to be sitting in front of their TVs every night.  But now with so many different options to tape your favorite shows, doesn’t it make sense that the schedule would adjust and there would actually be decent shows on during the summer months?  Apparently not.

I took the trouble of monitoring Entertainment Weekly’s “What to Watch” section for three weeks in May to see what new summer shows they were promoting.  Sadly, here they are:

United Stats of America – Twin comics make statistics about the USA interesting (doubt it) – History Channel, Tuesdays

The Devils Ride – Inside look at the conflicts and drama of a motorcycle club in San Diego (there was already a show like this that I didn’t bother to watch, wasn’t there?  Sons of Anarchy?) – Discovery Channel, Tuesdays

Around the World in 80 Plates – Competing chefs travel the world and learn about international cuisines, then try to cook the local flavors (sounds like every other cooking show) -Bravo, Wednesdays

Common Law – Cop partners have a problem—with each other.  So their captain sends them to couples’ therapy (what an incredible twist on the typical cop show!   Two men that have to go to couples’ therapy!  Groundbreaking stuff!). – USA, Fridays

Mom Caves – An attempt to show the world that moms need their private spaces for relaxation just like men need their man caves (every woman I know relaxes by watching trashy TV and reading gossip magazines.  So this show is about a room with one TV and a bunch of magazines?  Boom, show over) – HGTV, Saturdays

Pregnant in Heels – A “pregnancy guru” helps expecting moms through the joys and perils of having a baby (I’m not sure I even have a comment here.  This woman apparently helps pregnant women deal with major dilemmas…like how to go on a date when you’re eight months pregnant.  Sounds awesome) – Bravo, Tuesdays

Duets – A play on those other singing competition shows…only this time the judges actually sing with the contestants (I don’t listen to Kelly Clarkson or John Legend sing regularly, and I don’t even know who Jennifer Nettles or Robin Thicke are.  So it’s doubtful I wanna hear them sing with wannabe singers) – ABC, Thursdays

I Cloned My Pet – This might have been just a one-episode show, but basically it follows people who had an obsession with their pets, and those pets died, and now they’re trying to clone the dead pet, or something.

Hip Hop Squares – A hip hop take on the old Hollywood Squares show (seems like it’s geared towards a specific viewer, and it’s not me) – MTV, almost every day

Men At Work  – Four men navigate work, friendship and women (I’ve actually watched a couple episodes of this show as it’s the only sitcom on this list.  It’s pretty terrible…recycled jokes about one of the guy’s girlfriends wanting to have sex too often…there’s the stereotypical ladies’ man, the nerd, the guy who just got dumped and is depressed, and the normal guy.  Don’t waste your time) – TBS, Thursdays

It’s a sad list of shows.  But do me a favor and let me know if there are any shows on this summer that are actually worth watching.  And do yourself a favor and go see some movies instead of watching Pregnant in Heels.  Specifically go see The Avengers in 3D.  You won’t be sorry.