TV's Midseason Report Cards: Which Freshman Shows Are Making the Grade?

Winter is almost here, with just a handful of freshman TV shows having fresh episodes left to air before breaking for the holidays. But which members of the new class have scored good grades during their initial runs? And which are showing multiple areas for improvement?

TVLine Presents Your Guide to Fall Finale and Winter Return Dates

Are the Broke Girls delivering a wealth of laughs? Does Ringer still twin-pique our interest? Is an Unforgettable cop show proving to be memorable? We evaluated 19 of the newbies, though not all of them (meaning that fans of ABC’s Tuesday Man comedies, for example, must assign their own grades).

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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214 Comments
  1. em says:

    I watch OUaT, Suburgatory and New Girl regularly, and I agree with most of the complaints and compliments. However, OUaT should be bumped up imo. There are some storyline kinks to work out, but it has far exceeded my (somewhat high) expectations.
    I love New Girl, but I think there’s some consistency issues week-to-week, writing-wise and relationship-wise.
    I think Suburgatory is on a bit of a decline since it’s first eps. Tessa’s perpetual dislike of the suburbs (and the predictable life lesson at the end) makes me think I’m watching a teen movie (or an ABC Family show at least) every week and I’m not sure I can take any more of it.
    I also think some grades are a tad generous (2 Broke Girls, Gifted Man), but I completely agree with Up All Night. It’s improved a lot and it’s a much pretty consistent half-hour of comedy.

  2. Pinch diddy says:

    i agree with darcy im sick of people thinking theyre intelligent for watching shows. unless ur watchin whitney leave ur brain at the door. any show that hires sandy cohen for chrismakuh season? geniu

  3. fpv says:

    POI second worst grade? You’ve got to be kidding…

  4. Sarah says:

    Have we been watching the same Unforgettable? Because in my opinion Daya’s character is the one who’s completely USELESS. I can’t stand her character, if she wasn’t here it would be the same. While Roe (Kevin Rankin) has a really great dynamic with Carrie. Love them together.

    I’d give Unforgettable a B. Fav new show with Homeland and AHS.

    Poppy rocks!

  5. Alexis says:

    I’m just so glad and relieved that this fall season has been so much better than last year’s disaster.
    I am loving the socks off The New Girl and Revenge and I certainly plan on catching up on Once Upon a Time and Ringer.
    Terra Nova sounds very off-putting though. Think I’ll steer clear of that.

  6. ladyhelix says:

    Almost EVERY show could use more Julie Benz (re Gifted Man review)

  7. Sandra says:

    I don’t watch any of the other shows, but Once Upon A Time deserves an A. Nothing less.

  8. Emiline says:

    Can’t see the grade on my iPhone.

  9. Karen says:

    A pretty good grading – at leat of the shows I’ve been watching: Hart of Dixie, New Girl and Up All Night.

    If I ever get the time to watch other new shows, American Horror Story, Homeland and Once Upon A Time might be the one’s I would initially go for…

  10. AT says:

    I agree with a lot of these grades. Some I would give harsher grades, others less harsh. I do think you’re off on Pan Am though. While I agree the time jumps aren’t quite working I don’t think the male crew members are forgettable. And I love Dean and Colette. I think their personalities mesh perfectly together! What’s great about “Pan Am” is that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Frankly, it’s just fun. It’s entertaining fluff and it knows it. None of the female characters are annoying which on TV today is SHOCKING. Each episode is pure entertainment. So I’d give it an A-. They need to bring back Goran V!!!!! I think the people, not you, who complain about the series want it to be another Mad Men. Well it’s never going to be nor is it trying to be. Frankly, the series works because it’s popcorn. Too bad more people weren’t watching it!

  11. David says:

    As European I can tell that I watch with delight Once upon a time, Revenge, American Horror Story and 2 Broke Girls.. Grimm is not that bad and reminds me a ‘lil bit of x-files. I do not watch all the rest so I can’t judge, but as I love these shows I will gave them A just ’cause they do their job. They “entertain” me.

  12. Victor Hugo says:

    Wow, even I disagree with some grades I applaud you people at TVLINE for being brave enough to make grades for the shows even knowing that a lot of people would disagree with you!! Congrats!! :)

  13. Musica1 says:

    In your assessment of Einger, you failed to mention the best thing about the show: Bridget’s (SMG) blooming feelings for Andrew (the always wonderful Ioan Gruffold). Their tender scenes together make everyone in our house say “aww!”. The love really feels real.

    • Sam says:

      Yes, I like Ringer, but I really love the developing romance between Bridget and Andrew. In real life, it would be wrong for a woman to take advantage of her brother-in-law by pretending to be her sister, but this is a soap opera! LOL

      I’m glad Ringer cast someone like Ioan Gruffudd; he’s truly an underrated actor.

  14. Jake says:

    Really love 2 broke girls, once upon a time, revenge & person of interest. Not a big fan of Terra Nova, whitney, unforgettable & new girl. Sad about pan am, cause it really could have been a good show, but it’s kinda ‘bleah’…

    The biggest let down must be terra nova: great pilot, but the other episodes were kinda boring: too much family stuff, too little dinos.

  15. vhc says:

    I don’t agree about Once upon a time’s Emma at all, I like the fact that she is tough, she counters the too sweet and nice fairy tale princess types that we see in snow white plus her character is portrayed as a take charge, tough kind of girl and it doesn’t’ have to be because she “had a tough life”. I bet if it was a male character you would tell him to “smile every once in a while”.

    • Anon says:

      The problem with Emma is not that she’s tough, but that she is very stale and one-note. Regina is tough but plays different layers and tactics. Emma feels very phony and I don’t take her seriously at all. Ok if she was just a one-time guest star, but as a lead, it’s not acceptable moving forward.

      • ChrisGa says:

        I think Emma(and Jennifer Morrison)are great and completely disagree about Regina; if any aspect of that show is one-note, it’s that character, the Evil Queen , and the actress who plays them both.

        • Teresa says:

          I completely agree about Emma. She’s marvelous and Jennifer Morrison has blown me away by her portrayal (and before someone accuses me of saying that because I’m a fan of JM rest assured if she wasn’t doing a good job I’d be the first to mention it). The writers specifically chose her for the role, she didn’t have to audition, so they must think she’s good enough. The Evil Queen/Regina is good but she is starting to get whiny and too self-pitying and maybe that is because of the way LP portrays her.

          Also, I feel the reason Emma keeps calling Henry kid is that she is afraid to let down those emotional walls she’s built around herself to protect her from getting hurt. We saw those walls crumble a bit last night and I’m sure they will continue to as the season/series goes along.

  16. Kinsey says:

    American Horror Story is the only show on this list (that I watch) that deserves an A. I don’t know how anything on the list got a higher grade than AHS. Even Grimm, which I enjoy, is not deserving of a higher grade.

  17. Abby says:

    I love Hart of Dixie and I like Lemon just the way she is, over the top in places, I agree, but just as she should be. Zoe is the only weak link on the show and unfortunately she is the lead. I hope the actress can step it up soon. I’d love a second season. And Wade is FINE!

    • Brandy says:

      Zoe is not the weak link_ rb is the main reason a lot of people tuned in. I think Lavon, Shelly, ect are the weakest links. Zoe, George,Lemon & maybe wade and Rose are the only likable toberable characters. I want Zoe/George and dont feel chemistry with her & wade.

      • Sophia says:

        Rachel is hardly the weak link; the show is turning more into the Zoe and Wade show for me. And I know a lot of other people think the same. G/Z would make absolutely NO sense being together. Z/W would be a better fit, and the audience is loving them.

        • ChrisGa says:

          I’m all about Zoe and Wade, and yet it just seems like the producers insist on going back to Zoe/George almost every time; I think in their minds Zoe and George are the endgame with Lemon gravitating back to Lavon at some point. That latter part I’m okay with, but sticking Zoe with George is wasting so much spark between Rachel Bilson and Wilson Bethel(who, admittedly, could probably generate chemistry with a doorknob and make it work–that man is beyond smokin’hot). As for the whole Lemon-over-the-top thing, I tend to agree; small doses are fine but when she gets worked up it goes WAY overboard. And yes, it’s in the quieter moments that I forget that Jaime King used to be just another pretty model and that she actually shows some real talent as an actress. Wish there were more of those.

          • MM says:

            Did you see the last episode? I definitely don’t think the producers are “insist[ing]” that Zoe/George keep going back to each other. Maybe her “goodbye, George” will prove to be temporary (after all, a W/Z/G triangle is a fairly compelling storyline), but the way she and Wade were looking at each other at the end was just too good for words. I find it hard to believe that the writers would create a scene like that — and also make Lavon an ally for the Z/W relationship — just to throw it away with a Z/G endgame. (shudder) Also, I’d like to think the producers spend some time reading reviews, so if the endless stream of “OMG, ZOE AND WADE ROCK!” comments don’t clue them in to what the audience wants, I don’t know what will.

  18. Gretchen Jones says:

    The freshman shows still in my Season Pass list are:

    Pan Am
    A Gifted Man
    New Girl
    Person of Interest
    Up All Night
    Hart of Dixie

    I really tried to enjoy American Horror Story (boring, didn’t hook me in the first episode), Once Upon a Time (overwrought, annoying Disney-fied versions of the fairy tales and boring) and Grimm (poorly done). I don’t normally enjoy sci-fi/fairy tale genre, so I guess it isn’t shocking that those 3 ended up off my DVR.

    But then, I also didn’t like Bones and CSI when they were freshman shows, now they rank high in my Season Pass list, maybe I will come to love AHS and Once in 2 years, LOL.

  19. Michelle says:

    Tessa/George? No, just no. Why do you guys have to overlook into everything?

    I agree what you said about the Shannon’s son on Terra Nova, I don’t really care about the guest stars. But seriously, a C+? The show has improved a lot, the last episodes where amazing. I really hope it gets a second season.

  20. Bad Breaker says:

    I watch A Gifted Man mainly because it’s the only thing on at 8:00 on Friday night and would give it a C, but I might bump it up a grade if they would get rid of his passive-aggressive, annoying ghost of a dead wife. She’s served her purpose on the show now let her rest in peace. And yes, it’s criminal to under-use the amazing Margo Martindale.

    • Anon says:

      I really love this show without the wife. I was done with her after the first episode. Patrick Wilson and Rachelle LeFevre have hit their stride, let them do what they do best. And I love Margot Martindale!

  21. JD says:

    You’re right about Terra Nova. It deserves more than a C+.

  22. LuLu says:

    Homeland: A
    OUAT: B
    Revenge: B
    Grimm: C-
    AHS: B+
    Terra Nova: D-
    New Girl: C-
    S.hitney: F—-
    POI: B-
    Unforgettable: C

  23. Rhian says:

    Although I’m still watching Grimm, Once Upon a Time and Person Of Interest it is only Revenge that I absolutely would not want to miss. The other shows I could easily take or leave each week but no way would I miss out on Revenge!

  24. Babygate says:

    Nope. Don’t agree with everything. But I do agree that the pervy, weird cook in Two Broke Girls has got to go. I cringe whenever he’s on screen. I can only stand it because he’s on for like a second. And Han is not compelling enough to justify his presence but at least he’s not creepy…And ‘New Girl’ gets an -A? Zooey is adorable but let’s face it, the show is not funny at all. They try too hard and it comes across as being over the top and the characters are not likeable and there is no discernible chemistry between any of them. ‘Once’ is a much better show at every level: the casting is spot on, the writing is cohesive and engaging, the effects are not cartoonish (like in Grimm) and the cast works very, very well together. And the acting is superb, especially from Lana Parilla and the guy that plays Rumpelstiltskin. You can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen. How does Once get only a B?

  25. sandy says:

    American Horror Story is the nest show. A+++++

  26. sandy says:

    Up All Night A

  27. Carmen says:

    Totally disagree with your assessment of New Girl.

    Yes, there is no doubt that Zooey Deschanel has personality and charisma to burn.
    But once you get past that, the show is simply not very good. In fact, it is mostly mindless fluff.

    I have to take particular objection to your statements concerning the chemistry among the rest of the roommates.
    There is none.
    This is particularly true when Schmidt is involved.
    In fact, the moment Jess is not part of the scene, the entire thing falls apart.

    An A-?
    Question: Are you on the New Girl payroll??
    This show gets a C+ at best. . .and that is only because of Jess.

    • Christine says:

      I agree with mostly everything you said, although I think Schmidt is one of the stronger characters on the show.
      I know we shouldn’t expect too much character development from comedies, but NOTHING has really happened on this show. It’s the same mindless story lines every episode.
      I like the actress that plays Jess, however; I’m not sure if the character she’s playing in this show is suited for the main role. The character of Jess would be better as a side kick, or just in smaller doses.

  28. James says:

    You guys over at TV Line really need to re-watch all the shows!
    Person of Interest: A+++
    Homeland: A-
    American Horror Story: A-
    Once Upon A Time: B+
    New Girl: B+
    The Secret Circle: B
    Hart of Dixie: B-
    Terra Nova: B- (Heavily misdirected marketing)
    Grimm: C
    Whitney: F

  29. Elaine says:

    Once Secret Circle got a B (way too high a grade) I decided to completely dimiss the entire article. Our basic opinions are too far apart.

  30. Dessy says:

    Once Upon a Time- A-
    Homeland- A-
    American Horror Story- B+
    Revenge- B+
    Ringer (I can’t believe I’m typing this)- B
    New Girl- B
    Terra Nova- C+
    Person of Interest- C
    A Gifted Man- D+
    Whitney- F….F….F..F..F……..F!

  31. Anon says:

    A Gifted Man is so much more fluid without Anna popping in and out and Rachelle LeFevre as Kate is such a great addition to the show. I love the shaman guy also, he’s a great foil for Michael’s practical, black and white nature. Love Margot Martindale!
    I love Pan Am, especially the characters Kate and Colette, they are the best parts of the show!
    I completely about Once Upon a Time. Jennifer Morrison is bringing the show down because her character is so one note and feels so forced. I keep hoping to see qualities of Charming and Snow in her so I don’t have to keep reminding myself she is in fact their daughter and going to save everyone! I kind of hope the twist is that Henry will save them and Emma saved them by having Henry.

  32. ana muller says:

    1 word for the Suburgatory “chemistry” comment: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!

  33. T says:

    So let me get this straight. No “F’s”? What’s the point of rating shows if the worst review is just “average” (i.e. a C).

    Seriously, Whitney is a HUGE F. Tell it like it is. If something sucks, just say so. Don’t be a pussy and give the bad stuff and the average stuff all C’s.

  34. Rjrtist says:

    New Girl is rated right. American Horror Story deserves a higher grade. Revenge is rated too high, still has a problem with writing. Grimm deserves lower, needs a faster pace in storytelling.

  35. Luca says:

    I agree with many of the grades, some of which are deserved on the guilty pleasure that is still better than Reality TV trash.

    However. You got the grades for Gifted Man and Person of Interest reversed. And you still give Gifted Man too much credit. Unforgettable is so bad it deserves a G. And every sitcom should be down there with it for the lame ass laugh track if nothing else.

  36. Captain says:

    Agree with most of the grades but American Horror Story a B? It’s an A- and deserves AT LEAST a B+. Completely agree that the romance is so forced on Pan Am and I’m LOVING Revenge.

  37. Mark W says:

    PoI deserves better than a C, its a solid TV show that has so much potential.

  38. Yuck says:

    Should have given Whitney an F.

  39. Craig says:

    Did NBC pay you off? No one think Up All Night isnt a work in progress AT BEST? A B plus, higher than OUAT, sorry that makes zero sense. Your higher grade for Grimm over OUAT also doesnt conincide with fan or critic comments. Pan Am is a B- while ONCE is a B? The look and cast of PA is wonderful, but poltting is lacking. Ringer is a B- while OUAT a B? Ringer another mess

  40. CB says:

    Truly disagree with the rating of Secret Circle. Phoebe Tonkin’s acting leaves much more to be desired, and the angst ridden overtones turned me off from the show and caused me to remove it from my DVR. I think TSC takes itself a little too seriously. C-

  41. Linda says:

    I don`t agree here with Once upon a time. It clearly deserves at least an A-.
    I like Emma and JM. It`s not a one note character she brings a combination of strength and vulnerability to the roles. It is true Emmas pain and sadness is obvious but it is not overwhelming her. If so her relatiionships with Henry and Mary wouldn`t work. That needs some sort of ability to emphatize.
    Hm yeah and this “kid” thing is not Jennifers fault.

    From the other shows you reviewed i like Homeland and American horror story too. The other shows didn`t hold my interest.

  42. FernLaPlante says:

    B- seems high for Two Broke Girls. Not only do they need to ditch Oleg and Han but also Chestnut the horse. This show is full of one-note/one-dimensional characters.

  43. Christine says:

    Producers out there: please don’t listen to these writers from TV Line. We want to watch shows where the focus in on good stories, not on stars. I really don’t care who is playing the part as long as the story is good and well acted. There is nothing worse than someone’s star gets in the way of their character. Kudos for Person of Interest for focusing on the story. Did you ever think that maybe that is why it has such strong ratings?

    I read TVLine because I liked the editor’s old scoop columns and have disappointed that it has become the place where we find out who is being cast in certain roles. Who cares? TV has become so good because really good writers like Kurt Sutter and Vince Gilligan write shows that are not like anything that was on TV when I was growing up.

    TVLine seems to want to manufacture stars and put the focus on the actors instead of the stories they are telling. The actors should disappear into these stories. Take Tom Selleck. I have loved him in Magnum and his TV movies but can’t stand his pompous, self important police chief on Blue Bloods. That means he is a good actor. I don’t want to see him. I want to see some of the great characters he has created and not some of the others.

    On Revenge, I don’t want to see more of a specific actor, I want to see story lines that work.

    • lacey says:

      As far as Tom Selleck on Blue Bloods I love his character. It’s his youngest son that gets on my nerves and that’s probably from his lack of storyline than anything else. I’m not drawn to the show b/c of its star power but b/c of the stories and the family element of the show. TS as the police chief and head of the family bowls me over each episode.

  44. XK says:

    New Girl and Unforgettable are the only two shows on this list I even watch. Clearly, I’m not the target audience for this site.

  45. John says:

    Revenge is great, but the Tyler storyline is way too soapsy and annoying. The focus should stay on the main character’s revenge quest.

  46. sarah says:

    I like Hart of Dixie and I do buy Zoe as a doctor. I do think that Lemon is annoying. But the flashbacks with Levon were different she was tolerable.
    I love Ringer and I personally do not think that Juliette cried Rape, I think something happened with Mr. C. I have a feeling he is not 100% Mr Nice guy
    I really enjoy Person of Interest

  47. Julia says:

    New Fall Faves: 2 Broke Girls (don’t care how unbelievable or obnoxious- it never fails to make me laugh- & I need that on a Monday!), Hart of Dixie (I like the tongue in cheek humor of a small town & I miss Rachel Bilson on TV), New Girl (who doesn’t love it? We just want MORE of it!), Pan Am (love the stories of the female flight attendants and the intertwining of history- good period, historical fiction!), Once Upon a Time (fun!), Revenge (GREAT pace to this suspense, don’t kill Daniel!), Ringer (edge of my seat fun… so glad its not my life, but let Jason Dohring be in more of it!), Terra Nova (good action/intrigue), Unforgettable (like the Carrie character, worried what the series will be after the mystery of her sisters killer is solved- or if they draw it out too long), Suburgatory (which cracks me up) and one that wasn’t mentioned- LAST MAN STANDING– hilarious, especially because we grew up watching Home Improvement where Tim Allen had boys… :)

  48. cate says:

    OUAT – i like storybrook. I don’t like fairy tales
    ginnifer g. is a bit annoying and snow/charming stuff is so predictable
    my fav are rumpel, emma and regina/queen

    • Teresa says:

      I agree. I find Storybrooke much more interesting than fairy tale land which is weird because usually I’d be all about the fairy tale world. Snow/Charming/Mary/David are cute but as you said predictable. I love Emma and Rumpel/Mr. Gold too.

  49. Ms. Chanandler Bong says:

    I was bummed that Ashley on Revenge went team Grayson.

  50. I think you are missing the point in American Horror Story and it deserves an A – at least. I believe when the season is over we are going to be able to put together a plot that had a lot of foreshadowing with it’s many different facets. I think Ryan and Brad are doing something with TV that has never been done before and I’m so happy to be able to enjoy it.

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