The Cruelest Cut: Weeding Out Fall's Failures, Rewarding the Winners

'Revolution' (NBC)

Odds: 10-1

This is an appealing apocalypse series that might lure enough Hunger Games and mystery fans (provided some of the illogical elements are explained away convincingly). Plus, The Voice is a strong lead-in.

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TV Review: Revolution

It’s that time, people. (Quietly slips black hood over head.) Every new television season brings more and more shows to prance in front of your eyes or sit like little presents on your DVR. But even the most devoted television viewer has limits. There is a capacity to what can be watched. There are time issues -- because time is the most precious commodity in the lives of most viewers. So every year, it’s necessary to swing the ax and get rid of the dead wood.

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These are the cruelest cuts. But hey, they need to be made. A show gets added, it’s likely that another needs to be deleted. With an emphasis on new series, here’s my personal tally – so far.

New fall series that never made the cut: Go On (NBC), Animal Practice (NBC), The New Normal (NBC), Guys With Kids (NBC), The Mob Doctor (Fox), Partners (CBS), The Neighbors (ABC), Made in Jersey (CBS), 666 Park Avenue (ABC).

New fall series yet to premiere: Arrow (CW), Chicago Fire (NBC), Beauty and the Beast (CW), Nashville (ABC), Emily Owens, M.D. (CW), Malibu Country (ABC).

New fall series that made my initial cut: Revolution (NBC), Ben and Kate (Fox), The Mindy Project (Fox), Vegas (CBS), Last Resort (ABC), Elementary (CBS), Nashville (ABC).

And the first casualty from that last list? Revolution. I watched three episodes. The hope I had in the pilot is gone. Just … so much to complain about. The crush of shows means that it’s harder and harder to justify holding on to a series that’s not living up to its potential or has completely flat lined creatively.

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That leaves six new series on the list, which, if you think about it, is a pretty big haul on the network side, given there were only 21 new series. To make room, I’ve only made one permanent cut -- so far: Revenge on ABC. Liked it last year for three quarters of the season, endured the heightened cheese factor of the stretch run and finale but decided to make the slice after watching the season-two premiere. It’s no longer a guilty pleasure. It’s no longer on the DVR record list.

No doubt others – even on cable, yes, you cynics – will follow. Or maybe not. Sometimes you just pile good on top of great and try valiantly to make the time to follow.

But I’m a big believer in getting rid of series that are long in the tooth and are underperforming -- shows you’re watching out of habit or some ill-advised hope that they’ll recapture the glory. That’s how I cut The Office two seasons ago. And How I Met Your Mother last season (which, admittedly, was later than expected). And Glee in the third season.

Coming Thursday: A lengthy list of returning series I’m still watching and loving. Plus, some of them that are on the bubble (when the love starts to run out).

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