It is fall TV time once again and this week was chock full of new series vying for out attention. But which ones really deserved it? Let the following list guide you on your small screen journey.
This Is Us (NBC): This show has no right to be as good as it is. Billed as a drama following the lives of three people who happen to share a birthday, the show could easily have drowned in schmaltz, but instead struck the perfect balance between heart and humor. And that ending! While I can’t say it was completely original (I mean, we’ve all seen the Modern Family pilot right?), it was done so well it more than ensures future viewings.
Speechless (ABC): This new family sitcom starring Minnie Driver as the mother of a special needs boy, and some regular needs kids, takes home the most coveted prize a comedy can win during premiere season: it gave me the most laugh out loud moments of the week… by far. And what else is there to say to sell this show? It’s a comedy and its funny as hell.
Designated Survivor (ABC): One of the most buzzed about new shows of the fall, Designated Survivor (mostly) managed to live up to the hype. Sure, the pilot had a few typical bumps such as clunky, exposition heavy dialogue and an over dependence on clichés, but the hour still managed to be an entertaining one. The performances were great across the board, but Kiefer Sutherland was particularly strong; a good sign for the show’s lead. The conceit of the premise promises us a political thriller and a compelling mystery (I mean, who is behind this attack?) all wrapped into one. Hopefully future episodes will feature writing worthy of the premise.
Pitch (FOX): In this fall TV premiere race Pitch has a clear advantage: a genuinely unique and original premise. The show follows the journey of the first female player (Kylie Bunbury) in Major League baseball. It suffers from the usual pilot pitfalls such as awkward exposition and somewhat stilted dialogue (honestly though, Mark Paul Gossler needs to tone it way down), but it still delivered a beautifully shot, entertaining piece of television. Given some time I trust they can work out the character relationships to resemble something a little close to human interaction, but for now they’ve already proved adept at producing a moving piece of entertainment. And that alone is half the battle.
The Good Place (NBC): I really wanted to like this comedy starring Kristen Bell as a terrible person who dies and accidently ends up in, well, the title of the show. And there was a lot that I did enjoy. It had a lot of great jokes and a stellar supporting cast (including Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper and Jammela Jamil). However, I found myself thinking about how things were funny rather than actually laughing at anything happening on screen. Not a great sign, but not lethal. It’s a good premise and a good cast; the good laughs may still be coming.
Bull (CBS): Every TV season attempts are made to revitalize the procedural crime drama. CBS’ attempt comes in the form of Bull, starring Michael Weatherly as the titular jury whisperer in the business of trial science. He’s able to manipulate trials through his magical powers of observation and vague computer programs. Clearly CBS understands the formula to creating a hit show. Unfortunately “formulaic” is exactly the word that comes to mind while viewing Bull. A word that don’t come to mind? Charm. The entire premise is wasted on a paint-by-numbers approach that leaves little room for actual revitalization.
Lethal Weapon (FOX): Perhaps its too much to ask a TV show based on a film series to be innovative, however the utter lack of any originality exhibited by Lethal Weapon shocked me. It’s a buddy cop drama, and much heavier on the drama than the trailer indicated, which means if you like it comes down to how much you like the buddies in questions. In this case Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans each play their stereotypes well and perhaps if they’re given more to do they’ll rise to the occasion. But I for one will not be sticking around to see if that’s the case.
Notorious (ABC): Notorious represents the very worst of what television has become. The pilot contained nothing but shallow characters encountering one “shocking” twist after another. The entire concept for the show, a TV news producer (Piper Perabo) and a lawyer (Daniel Sunjata) work together to manipulate the news and benefit his rich clients, is so gross it boggles the mind that the show ever got green lit. Obviously, ABC believes that as long as they throw enough good-looking people, unnecessarily sexual situations and dead bodies into a TV show it will spit out gold. Perhaps its time we inform them how incorrect they are.
Let me know what you thought of the premieres in the comments and check out more new fall show reviews here!
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