Is this the winter of our discontent? If you’re running a network and launching new shows, you might think so.
With the possible exception of “The Following” (8 p.m., Fox), starring Kevin Bacon, no new network series to emerge in 2013 has exactly soared.
‘‘Deception” (9 p.m., NBC) has received an icy reception. It’s easy to make fun of NBC for still airing the pathetic “Biggest Loser,” but that sad series had nearly twice as many viewers as “Deception” last Monday night.
Viewers had a sneak preview of NBC’s “1600 Penn” back in December, and they didn’t like what they saw. NBC’s new Thursday night medical mystery “Do No Harm” arrived all but dead on arrival, and was canceled after two airings. Over on ABC, the preposterous conspiracy thriller “Zero Hour” has had a similarly meager audience, but has not been canceled yet.
I found the CW’s new head-scratcher “Cult” deliriously gimmicky and fun. It’s a show that, once you watch it, cries out to be watched a second time, just to see all the clues you missed. Unfortunately for “Cult,” not enough people are watching it the first time around — at least on the CW. It debuted to a smaller audience than “Emily Owens, M.D.,” which it replaced.
Not even ratings-dominant CBS remains immune to the winter blues. The makers of “The Job” may have had the best intentions, but the show, about ordinary folks competing for mere employment, struck many viewers as demeaning and depressing. I think I used the word “grovel” in my review. It was canceled after two airings and replaced with additional helpings of “Undercover Boss.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• A new smarty-pants intern (Brian Klugman) irks Brennan on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).
• New evidence rattles Kiera on “Continuum” (7 p.m., Syfy).
• Hardy tries to avoid the clutches of new cult members on “The Following” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Michelle leaves for a Broadway audition on the season finale of “Bunheads” (8 p.m., ABC Family).
• John Ross needs Sue Ellen’s help on “Dallas” (8 p.m., TNT).
• A trip to Iowa on “Bizarre Foods America” (8 p.m., Travel).
• James Brolin guest-stars as Castle’s father on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).
• The “Independent Lens” (9 p.m., PBS) documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” profiles the contemporary artist and activist frequently at odds with the Chinese government.