If you’ve ever wanted to get an intimate view of colossal effort, of the Sisyphean will at work, take a look at the networks’ fall push of new series. It’s like watching Olympic weight lifting in slow-motion.
Every year, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the CW thrust a few dozen shows our way all at once, coinciding with the “fresh start” of September and the more hearth-bound lifestyles of winter. Every year, they work to sell us a new bill of goods, some of them actually good (this year, the soap opera “Nashville”), most of them not (this year’s worst: the aliens sitcom “The Neighbors”). Every year, they fight to grab our attention, hold onto it, and raise it to unparalleled Nielsen heights, using every muscle at their disposal — publicity, focus groups, programming blocks, viral previews, and hyperbolic ads.