Monday, September 30, 2013

Pilot Review: We Are Men

We Are Men (Mondays at 8:30 on CBS; Premieres September 30)

Remember when comedies had leading men who were funny? When sitcoms could revolve around male characters who had charm, warmth and humor? When men on shows like these could interact with women without demeaning them and did not need to make homophobic or misogynist jokes to assert their masculinity? Good thing we have those memories, because We Are Men is the latest comedy to prove that that type of show is long gone.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pilot Review: The Michael J. Fox Show

The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC)

Much has been made in the media about this past Thursday's Robin Williams vs. Michael J. Fox showdown. It was for one night only, since The Michael J. Fox Show will claim its 9:30 timeslot beginning next Thursday, and Robin Williams came out handily on top with the biggest debut so far this season, but the real question shouldn't be which beloved TV star will draw in more viewers in his network return. The real question is, whose show is better? It's not a simple answer, because both shows are pretty weak.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pilot Review: The Crazy Ones

The Crazy Ones (Thursdays at 9:00 on CBS)

It feels kind of strange to review this pilot, because I don't really think it is indicative of what The Crazy Ones will become. The pilot serves mostly as a showcase for Robin Williams, and why wouldn't it be? He's the show's primary selling point. But so much of what made me enjoy the episode is centered around a truly hysterical, scene-stealing guest spot from Kelly Clarkson. What will the show be without her? Having to strike her presence from The Crazy Ones, I'm not sure how much of what's left I actually care to watch again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pilot Review: Back in the Game

Back in the Game (Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC; Premieres September 25)

I'm ready to christen 2013 as the Fall of Backward Comedies. We have The Goldbergs mining the 80s for comedic material; NBC's upcoming Welcome to the Family relying on a 1970s-ish setup and old stereotypes for humor; The Crazy Ones attempting to bank on Robin Williams's tried-and-true mania, if only because that made Mork & Mindy successful forty years ago; the "He-Man Woman Haters Club" mentality of We Are Men; and now Back in the Game, which is just a small screen translation of the 1976 film The Bad News Bears. And it's a bad one at that.

Pilot Review: Lucky 7

Lucky 7 (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC)

I'm a bit confused by Lucky 7. Not with the show itself; it's about as straightforward as a show can get. I'm confused about what it's doing on ABC's lineup. Lucky 7 is unassuming. Nothing about its concept, cast or execution is wave-making, earth-moving, or exciting. It's a small drama (bordering on soap) with a small budget and a big cast of small names. And to then stick it in the timeslot ABC has had some big issues filling with any success shows a total lack of confidence. To be successful, Lucky 7 would have had to be stellar entertainment. But it's not.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pilot Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)

The look and feel of ABC's new small-screen addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a reminder of how good broadtcast television can be with the right people (and enough money) behind it. Unfortunately, it's also a reminder of what can happen when there are too many cooks in the kitchen pulling a series in too many different directions. While Agents of SHIELD is quick-witted and visually stimulating, it's also a confusing blend of genres without much plot.

Pilot Review: Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30 on ABC; Premieres September 24)

Who would have thought a show with a title like Trophy Wife, which immediately conjurs images of trashy bottle blondes in short skirts on the arms of unattractive but wealthy senior men, would be the show with the most heart and warmth in the entire lot of new fall offerings?

Pilot Review: The Blacklist

The Blacklist (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC)

I was really excited to watch The Blacklist after hearing a ton of advance praise from critics and audiences alike (apparently it was NBC's highest-tested pilot since Heroes). The early previews made the show look slick and smart, and the prime slot out of The Voice relayed NBC's faith in it. So I was surprised when I found the pilot to be kind of a mess.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pilot Review: Mom

Mom (Mondays at 9:30 on CBS; Premieres September 23)

Chuck Lorre has a long string of successes at CBS: Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, the highest-rated show on broadcast television. Mom is his attempt at a fourth mega-hit, and it's a solid, if not always great, one. Falling somewhere below The Big Bang Theory in terms of laugh-out-loud moments, somewhere above Mike & Molly in terms of wit, and well above Two and a Half Men in terms of overall quality, Mom is a fun and often funny (imagine that!) vehicle for two very talented ladies.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions

I'm horrible at predicting the Emmys (at least compared to how well I can predict the Oscars), and I'm busy writing up a bunch of reviews for some of the new shows premiering this week, so I'm just going to post a list of my predictions, rather than going nominee-by-nominee and rationalizing my choices. Also, there are predictions, not what I hope will happen. That's a much different list.

Pilot Review: The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC; Premieres September 24)

The Goldbergs is not even close to being good comedy. The jokes are recycled; the premise is tired. But that's kind of the point, I think. It's a slice of 1980s-flavored nostalgia filtered through the dysfunctional family lens, and there's enough charm in that conceit to make The Goldbergs amusing for a split second, until you realize how mediocre it really is.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pilot Reviews: Dads & Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Fox kicks off its Tuesday night comedy block this fall with two new shows: Dads, executive produced by network wunderkind Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show) in his first live-action series commitment, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine from the Parks and Recreation team of Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Tonally and quality-wise, these two shows could not be further apart. The former is a low-brow multi-cam without an ounce of heart, and the latter is a quirky single-cam with a boatload of charm.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pilot Review: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox)

There will probably be no in-between with Sleepy Hollow: you will be on board with it, or you won't. This isn't the type of show that you'll need to give three or five episodes to decide if you want to commit to watching it. No, you will know by the end of this zany pilot whether or not the show is for you. I fall firmly into the "yes" camp.