But there's no reason one bad project should banish '24' veteran Mary Lynn Rajskub or 'Flight of the Conchords' genius Rhys Darby from our TV screens -- or, perhaps worse, relegate them to one-off-guest-star obscurity.
To remedy this situation, AOL TV has some free advice for casting directors: together, we can find new homes for the undeserving victims of fall 2011.
Check out the gallery below, and tell us if you agree with our choices.
'Free Agents' (Wed., 10:30PM ET on NBC) is a perfectly acceptable new comedy. It's just also rather unremarkable so far. For the most part, it's another office ensemble, but so far no one in the office has managed to break beyond the second dimension.
Even Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn are so deep in their individual, but very similar, character quirks, that they forgot to be well-rounded characters we could believe in. There were a few laughs, though, like when Alex (Azaria) was put on the spot in the morning meeting about his exploits the night prior and he made up a series of sexual positions he supposedly explored.
So how emotional is Azaria's character? "He is profoundly sad," said Azaria. "There's an exchange in the pilot where Kathryn is telling me, 'You're too emotional to do anything,' I'm like, 'No I'm fine,' and she's like, 'Are you aware that you're crying right now?'"
First and foremost: creator John Enbom, who shared creator credit on 'Party Down' with Paul Rudd, Dan Etheridge and Rob Thomas, whom Enbom first teamed up with after working in the writers room on Thomas' other other cult favorite series 'Veronica Mars.'
But possibly even more important than pedigree here is set-up. Much like the Casey-Henry 'Party Down' romance rollercoaster, 'Free Agents' PR execs Alex (Hank Azaria) and Helen (Kathryn Hahn) get the wham-bam-thank you ma'am out of the way really early on. It's the "what now?" that drives their relationship -- at work and in the bedroom -- as opposed to the more popular "will they/won't they" dilemma. They did already, and as Enbom, Azaria and Hahn all promise, they will again and again.
And thirdly, well, let's just say they'd welcome any 'Party Down' alums to stop by for a guest spot.
It's true that the broadcast networks' half-hour offerings for fall are not strong, but I'm not trying to damn these two shows with faint praise. Given time to work out a few kinks and settle into a rhythm, they may provide some quality guffaws going forward.
To their credit, neither show overindulges in sentimentality. It's hard to walk that fine line between sincerity and sarcasm in a comedy, and though each show is a bit broad here and there, neither of these shows overindulges in the kind of false, cynical patter or the unearned, warm-and-fuzzy mawkishness that sinks so many network sitcoms.
I caught up with star Hank Azaria who plays Alex on 'Free Agents' (previews Wed., Sept. 14, 10:30PM ET), a PR exec whose unlucky-in-love personal life starts to bleed into his work life. We talked a lot about the show -- more to come closer to premiere -- but he also had a few tidbits to share about some of the 'Mad Men' cast.
In a brief moment of 'Simpsons' conversation, Azaria talked about guest stars for the show's upcoming season (premieres Sun., Sept. 25, 8PM ET on Fox). "We're actually recording our 23rd season now, and it's hard to remember anything, because we don't memorize anything, and we've done so many. I just assume every major recording and movie star and television star has been through there -- and they pretty much have -- but I run into John Slattery a lot, and I know he did a voice this year."
AOL TV hit the red carpet of NBC's 2011 Upfront Presentation to get the dish on how these new shows will help shape NBC straight from the stars themselves.
What's new? More comedies! Edgier dramas! The network is touting brand new shows with fresh concepts and old favorite stars.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the series pickups.
'Are You There, Vodka?' is based on Chelsea Handler's life and best-selling book. It stars 'That 70s Show' veteran Laura Prepon with Handler involved as an executive producer and playing Prepon's older sister.
'Free Agents,' a workplace romantic comedy based on the popular UK series, comes from 'Party Down' co-creator John Enbom. Hank Azaria stars in the series about two co-workers who fall in love.
Amanda Peet stars in 'Bent,' a comedy about a divorced mom who does her best not to fall in love with her contractor. Jeffrey Tambor also stars in the sitcom, which may be held for midseason.
According to TVLine, Azaria will play Alex, a public relations professional on the rebound. 'The Simpsons' voice actor recurred on 'Friends,' 'Mad About You' and starred in 'Imagine That.'
Singer Marc Anthony has joined the cast of 'Hawthorne.' TNT announced he'll reprise the role of Detective Nick Renata. Anthony appeared on the final two episodes of season 2.
'The Walking Dead' veteran Emma Bell is heading to NBC's 'Reconstruction.' The show, formerly titled 'The Crossing,' is set in post-Civil War Missouri. Deadline also reports 'Stargate Universe' actor Robert Carlyle will play Rumplestiltskin in ABC's 'Once Upon a Time.'
Brandon T. Jackson will star opposite Minnie Driver in 'Hail Mary.' According to Deadline, Jackson will play KZ, the best friend of Driver's character's dead son.
In other TV news ...
• 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' is back on the beat in April. The struggling drama will return -- with several casting changes -- to NBC on Mon., April 11 at 9PM. [TVLine]
• Sean Young is going from 'Skating with the Stars' to 'Celebrity Rehab.' Young joins Michael Lohan, Bai Ling, Michaele Salahi, Jeremy Jackson, and Amy Fisher on the VH1 reality series. [Entertainment Weekly]
• TLC is adding another 'Say Yes to the Dress' show to its growing franchise. 'Say Yes to the Dress: Randy Knows Best' will follow Randy Fenoli as he dishes wedding advice. [EW]
While everything today is compared to The Simpsons, The Simpsons were being compared to The Flintstones, a prime-time cartoon that lasted six seasons in the 1960s. Nobody was doing animation for adults when The Simpsons came on the air, and they got a lot of grief for what they were doing. But The Simpsons put FOX on the map, and made it okay to have a cartoon for grown-ups, too.
(S02E13) Last week I said I expected this finale to be "one helluva storm." Well I was almost right. It was a storm. Just a calm one that played out very methodically with a few things that you almost half expected anyway.
We pick up right where it left off: Russell tweaking out on his couch and Huff sitting on the floor next to Pepper's lifeless body. The cops arrive and it comes as no surprise that Russell is cuffed and brought in. The guy was high as a kite and suspicions are aroused when traces of coke are seen in Pepper's nostrils.
The following scene was incredibly well laid out as it jumped back and forth to Russell being booked and sent to his cell while Craig checked into a hotel. It's a wonder these two have maintained a relationship over the years because they are complete opposites.
Sad news here. This morning Showtime announced that Huff will not be back for a third season. The decision was made after numbers for the second season didn't exceed the low ratings of the first. I suppose it's nice that we at least got two seasons because if you recall, Showtime president Robert Greenblatt gave the second season a greenlight before the pilot even aired. If that hadn't happened, I might have been posting about this a year ago.
Hank Azaria and the rest of the cast were notified of the news earlier this week. They should feel proud of what they did accomplish though. A best supporting actress Emmy for Blythe Danner and nominations for Azaria and Oliver Platt are nothing to be ashamed about. And who knows if they'll get any more nods this year.
I'm especially disappointed by this as are some of my fellow TV Squadders. Heck, we even interviewed show creator Bob Lowry twice! Everyone should tune in to the
season series finale this Sunday though. I've already had the opportunity to screen it and you won't be disappointed.
(S02E12) And thus begins the downfall of Russell Tupper. We've watched him destroy his own body with drugs since day one and now finally, it seems that Russell might be in a position where he absolutely, positively has to clean himself up. As if Kelly being pregnant with his child wasn't enough. The man is a wreck and it's about time something happened. The question that remains is will he rise to the challenge?
More on this after I lay out everything else first because next week's finale is going to be one helluva storm.
(S02E11) I'm speechless. Every week I just watch this show and I'm so impressed. Shows like this are the reason I hardly read books. This is better than a book. Way better.
Taking a cue from Six Feet Under, the episode began with Huff dreaming that he was back home with Beth and Byrd. Until Byrd pulled a gun on his father. Dream sequence over. It's starting to seem that Huff is regretting his decision to leave Beth and these dreams are how he's dealing with it. It happened to him again during a session with a patient later that day. He just keeps spacing out. I'd like the think that the rest of this season will be about Huff finding himself and making amends with Beth. But after this episode, I seriously doubt we'll see that happen in the final two episodes.
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