Heroes isn’t the only returning series having big problems with ratings and storytelling this season. Here are five other shows that have fallen on hard times — and how we’d get them back on track.
Lipstick Jungle (NBC)
Down 11.1% in viewers vs. last season
What’s wrong: Attempts at saucy story lines (Nico’s G-spot Botox) come off as stunts that keep the star trio separate and do nothing to move their combined story forward.
How we’d fix it: Stop juggling screen time for all the ladies and anoint one of them — we’d suggest bright-eyed Victory (Lindsay Price) — as the star, while simultaneously lavishing Nico (Kim Raver) and Wendy (Brooke Shields) with memorable plotlines and character quirks. Also, serve up more of what the show’s title suggests: Big Apple glamour and sudsy trysts.
Private Practice (ABC)
What’s wrong: This collection of pretty and love-crossed doctors never clicked quite the way they do on that other soapy medical drama from the House of Rhimes. And the story lines can feel less than fresh. Newlyweds find out they’re brother and sister? That’s so third-season House.
How we’d fix it: Bringing down Addison’s (Kate Walsh) kooky quotient a bit has definitely helped. Practice seems most comfortable tackling ethical dilemmas, so the writers should steer the series in that direction and introduce a little staff turnover. May we suggest a Bailey-like voice of reason?
Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)
What’s wrong: DSM used to be a witty, delicious delight. This season, it’s flailing with unbelievable plot twists (Peter Krause’s Nick is now representing his father’s alleged killer and running the Darling business?) and weak stabs at humor (a Kenny G cameo?).
How we’d fix it: Dump the romances that don’t work (basically anything involving Seth Gabel’s Jeremy). The good news is, they’ve brought back the one that does: Patrick (William Baldwin) and his transgender mistress, Carmelita (Candis Cayne). Plus, Nick is one of us, so he needs to hate the Darlings just a little bit, like we all do.
What’s wrong: Creatively? Not much. This season’s episodes — especially the Oct. 20 Grosse Pointe Blank homage — have balanced nerd humor with cracklin’ action, while the mission-threatening puppy love between Chuck (Zachary Levi) and his CIA handler, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), continues to blossom adorably.
How we’d fix it: It’s time to rebrand. NBC shoved Levi down our throats before last fall’s premiere, but Strahovski’s knife flinging, Adam Baldwin’s poker face, and the Buy More staff’s antics are worth their weight in Intel chips. Sell the ensemble, not just the geek.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)
What’s wrong: Simply too many Terminators (including Shirley Manson as a diabolical, shape-shifting T-1001) and side stories. In addition to the core group of John Connor (Thomas Dekker), his mother Sarah (Lena Headey), and their protector-bot Cameron (Summer Glau), we’ve got to keep tabs on Uncle Derek (Brian Austin Green), former agent Ellison (Richard T. Jones), and Mom’s EMT ex (Dean Winters).
How we’d fix it: Drop the dead weight (we’re looking at you, ambulance boy!) and stick to the Terminator mission statement of a big metal guy trying to find and kill John Connor.