Saturday, October 19, 2013

State of the Union: Fall TV Shows

There was a huge flurry of news today regarding many of the new shows this fall, so I thought I'd put all the information about each new show in one place so any readers who haven't seen the individual announcements would know where each series stands.

I will update this list periodically, as more shows' fates are revealed. (Updated: December 6, marked with *)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pilot Review: The Tomorrow People

The Tomorrow People (Wednesdays at 9:00 on The CW)

The Tomorrow People has a lot working against it: it's on The CW, its title sucks, and its premise is a rip off of a dozen (or more) more popular works. Just off the top of my head, The Tomorrow People bears more than a passing resemblance to X-Men, Heroes, Misfits and Alias, to the point that the pilot sometimes feels like a pastiche of old scripts and lines from these superior serials. But it also has a sense of humor about itself, and it moves at a quick, action-filled clip so that we don't really get the sense of deja-vu that is lurking around every corner.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pilot Review: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC)

After a messy, convoluted, bloated, cheesy, mostly unsuccessful second season, Once Upon a Time needed an injection of new blood. So creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz did it; but rather than giving the jolt of energy to the flailing ABC drama, they put it into a new show instead: the clunkily-titled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. More of an extension than a spin-off, since it doesn't feature any characters from the parent series, Wonderland is nonetheless the shot of espresso this now-franchise needed to seem exciting again. And despite some stumbles, it's just that: exciting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brief Reviews: Betrayal, Super Fun Night, Hostages, The Millers

Even though I've seen all the pilots that have aired so far (and one that hasn't), I've fallen behind in reviewing them because there was a glut these past couple of weeks. So below are a few reviews for shows I never got around to writing in-depth reviews for: Betrayal and Super Fun Night on ABC, and Hostages and The Millers on CBS.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pilot Review: The Originals

The Originals (Tuesdays at 8:00 on The CW; Premieres October 3)

I gave up on The Vampire Diaries very early into its most recent season (its fourth). After a rocky beginning to season one, the show grew into one of television's more entertaining primetime soaps. Some of that fun got lost by the end of the third season when the show took the inevitable turn of making its leading human lady into a vampire. That's about the time I stopped watching it, though not solely because of this turning point. I also hated vampire Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who originally boarded the show in the second season and just never left, despite the writers constantly running his storyline into walls. Now he's getting his own spin-off, and I'm about as taken with it as I was with the later seasons of the parent series... which is to say, I'm not really taken with it at all.

Pilot Reviews: Welcome to the Family & Sean Saves the World

With the departure of The Office and 30 Rock, NBC has begun to restructure its Thursday night comedy lineup as family-centric rather than workplace-centric. The centerpieces are the returns of beloved sitcom stars Michael J. Fox (whose show last week didn't do as well, critically or commercially, as I'm sure NBC had hoped) and Will & Grace's Sean Hayes. Joining them are Parks & Recreation, the sole survivor of the workplace comedies, and Welcome to the Family, a much less ballyhooed, nontraditional family sitcom starring Emmy nominee Mike O'Malley (Glee, Yes Dear) and Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight). They're a mostly uneven blend, and mostly uneven in quality as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pilot Review: Ironside

Ironside (Wednesdays at 10:00 on NBC; Premieres October 2)

When NBC's schedule was announced back in May, many (including myself) scratched their heads at the inclusion of Ironside, a low-key remake of the successful 1960s/1970s cop show starring America's favorite investigator, Raymond Burr. Burr had already established himself as a huge television draw in Perry Mason, and Ironside proved his lasting popularity. NBC's remake, the newest in a long string of questionable television updates (see: CW's Melrose Place; ABC's L.A. Dragnet, Night Stalker and Charlie's Angels; and NBC's own Bionic Woman and Knight Rider), does not have the same pedigree in its leading man, Blair Underwood, nor does it have much appeal to a young audience. After viewing the pilot, considering all these factors, I'm even more confused by what Ironside is doing on the fall schedule. To overcome such obstacles as a passe concept and a leading man who has never successfully carried his own show, I would have thought something in Ironside was great. I'm still left looking for that greatness.