It was the year that Seven didn’t slide, but didn’t improve as much as Nine did. An end of an era for Packed to the Rafters and the beginning of a new empire with House Rules and A Place To Call Home. But was it enough? Their News product is now nationally only held up by Adelaide and Perth (and occasionally Brisbane, and even that’s slipping) so something’s gotta give. Is the time of the 6pm News hour truly upon us for 2014 – the same as we started 2013 thinking? There’s certainly some work to be done to offer some depth and breadth to Seven’s schedule… It’s great to say they’ve got number one rating programs but not if everything else is a distant fourth or fifth.
Much more of a mixed bag for the home of the “big red train” in 2013…
The Blacklist – A stellar pick up from the US upfronts mid-year, and even smarter to (kind of) fast-track it to us through to the end of S01. A perfect vehicle for James Spader and a great story make it excellent prime time TV.
Revenge – It just gets crazier season to season and yet people are flocking in their droves to watch this show. I was hooked but now I’m just lost with who’s who in this crazy zoo.
House Rules – An attempt at stealing The Block’s thunder that didn’t quite succeed but has established a strong new franchise for Seven. It’s charming and enjoyable and won me over.
Downton Abbey – The way Seven treat their audience with the scheduling of this show they almost don’t deserve to have it, though we will always tune in to see Maggie Smith be the best character ever in an ensemble period drama.
A Place To Call Home – While Noni Hazelhurst spent too much time pretending to be Maggie Smith Bevan Lee did manage to open a whole new world for Seven to capitalise on now that PTTR has finished.
The X Factor Australia – With no AGT to compete with on the same network (and it thrashed AGT on Nine), X Factor proved again that sometimes just the right person comes along that makes this format work. Congratulations Dami Im.
SlideShow – Stupid, crazy, ratings-winning fun. And Grant Denyer.
Sunday Night – Now established as a competitive and important long-form current affairs program and a Sunday staple.
My Kitchen Rules – Somehow even bigger than last year, even though it seemed to vanish up it’s own creative arse in the process. MKR is now the cooking show to enjoy and snark about on social media. Bon appetit!
Bones/Castle – People keep watching. I guess it’s good. Are they married yet? Aren’t they the same show?
Dancing With The Stars – The stars realigned when Edwina Bartholomew joined Dan MacPherson on set to co-host this year. Any ill-feeling from that one year dalliance with what’s-her-name is now long forgotten and they just need to find some other stars for a new season.
Sunrise – Even though we said goodbye to Mel and hello to Sam in her place, the audience barely dipped. It remains the benchmark in Aussie brekky TV and that’s saying something.
7pm News on 7Two – Mel Doyle popped up here (as well as the 4:30pm News) after scoring sleep-ins since leaving Sunrise. Importantly it’s starting to show that Seven are finally taking their alternate channels a little bit seriously.
Packed To The Rafters S06/finale – All high-rating shows must come to an end, even if it’s two seasons too late. Dave & Julie and their new daughter drove off into the sunset to see Australia and who knows… they might bump into Scott and Charlene on their travels?!
Winners and Losers S03 – It just didn’t fire, even with the new inclusions (notably Katharine Hicks into the main female lead group). If it doesn’t sort its shit out next year it is done. A wasted cast.
Mr Selfridge – It was billed as sexy and it just turned to be bland though Jeremy Piven seemed to enjoy himself.
Once Upon A Time – Bumped to 7Two with little ceremony or support but at least for fans it beat cancellation. Still a great family fantasy drama.
Last Resort – Seven’s “Hit New Show” had been cancelled unceremoniously in the US before they started airing it here. The spin you gotta spin.
Beauty and the Geek Australia – James Tobin is a nice guy… almost too nice to get involved with a show that is anything but squeaky clean (it’s barely that in its premise).
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – HOW COULD SOMETHING THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SO AWESOME GO SO HORRIBLY WRONG!?
Anh Does Anything – Just stop. Please. Stop doing any countries. Stay at home.
The Mole – Thinking we’d hang in for THREE episodes a week with only one elimination was stupid, and then moving it to 10:30pm was stupider still. Perhaps The Mole was on the programming team.
Celebrity Splash – It did what it was supposed to do and that was spoil the ratings for a few episodes of The Voice Australia, but beyond that it was car crash TV (which made it eminently watchable at times).
Formal Wars – Pretentious, self-absorbed Year 12 kids given the chance to have their dream formal experience but only if they let their parents do everything. Just give everyone involved with the show a smack and send them to their room.
Please Marry My Boy S02 – Less whory and way less interesting the second time around.
Mrs Biggs – Nobody cared what happened to the Great Train Robber’s wife… people barely still care about him.
Red Widow – Will she or won’t she continue on her mob husband’s work? I don’t think anybody tuned in to find out after episode 1 (SPOILER: She kind of does, but then she got cancelled).
Mrs Brown’s Boys – It’s not a comedy, it’s a tragedy.
The Daily Edition – Self-indulgent, self-referential tripe masquerading as “News” at its absolute worst.
Citizen Kahn – MAKE IT STOP!
Zero Hour – It just never surfaced which never bodes well.
Overall Result: B minus. The spread is too great. There’s more shows here that missed than at Ten (and they’re fourth!). If things don’t get fixed at 6pm for Seven – and fast – their time at the top is indeed over. They also need to look at their fading stable of stars and inject some fresh new blood into the mix.