Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pilot Review: Constantine

Constantine (Fridays at 10:00 on NBC)

Just in case you didn't have your fill of comic book adaptations almost every other night of the week, NBC is here to remedy that situation by bringing the DC series Hellblazer to the small screen as Constantine. It's a late entry in the comic adaptation game (and in the fall season), and it's not an entirely successful one. But in terms of sheer enjoyability, this latest offering ranks high.

Friday, October 17, 2014

State of the Union: Fall 2014

We're now four weeks into the new television season, and networks are starting to make decisions on the futures of some new shows. Click through below to see where the newbies stand.

Additionally, CBS has pulled the plug on comedy The Millers after airing just four episodes of its second season. Shows being canceled so early in their runs that are not new series is relatively unheard of, especially since The Millers was pulled just one day after a lower-rated freshman show got an order for more scripts. (Updated December 1 - Fate of all Fall 2014 shows now known)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pilot Review: Marry Me

Marry Me (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC)

NBC is batting zero with me this fall. Of the three new shows they've premiered (this one, Bad Judge, A to Z), none of them made me want to return for another episode. Maybe because they're all about annoying douchebags, especially the erratic Marry Me. What is the impetus to watch a show about awful people? I'll never know, and I won't be starting with Marry Me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pilot Review: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin (Mondays at 9:00 on The CW)

With a title like Jane the Virgin, you know exactly what you're getting: something a little risque with a bit of silliness. Make that a whole heap of silliness, once we hit about the halfway point of the absurd CW pilot based on the Venezuelan series Juana la Virgen. That's when the show embraces its melodramatic, over-the-top roots as a telenovela adaptation and takes a nosedive into near-nonsense.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pilot Review: Cristela

Cristela (Fridays at 8:30 on ABC)

The family sitcom has been done to death, but Cristela has the "twist" of being about a Mexican family. That little word makes all the difference in a television landscape that under-represents minorities, even as Univision gives the broadcast networks a run for their money in the ratings department: star, writer, and producer Cristela Alonzo is one of very few Latina/Hispanic (she shares the character's Mexican-American nationality) actors on broadcast television, and the only one in a leading role. For that alone, Cristela is admirable. And while "admirable" doesn't always translate to "good," the laughs in ABC's newest pilot land more often than they miss.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pilot Review: The Flash

The Flash (Tuesdays at 8:00 on The CW; Premieres October 7)

The second of three new DC Comics-based shows is The CW's The Flash, starring Grant Gustin (Glee) as the titular superhero. While technically a spin-off of the network's popular Arrow, as Gustin had a two-episode arc in that show's most recent season, this new take on the World's Fastest Man differs heavily in tone and execution. The Green Arrow and The Flash may exist in the same television universe, but they couldn't be more different. Whereas Arrow is dark and brooding, The Flash is silly and over-the-top, the way comic book adaptations used to be

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pilot Review: Mulaney

Mulaney (Sundays at 9:30 on Fox)

Remember Seinfeld? Of course you do, it was one of the most popular and most celebrated sitcoms of all time. Fox is hoping that you not only remember it, but that you miss it enough to want to watch another up-and-coming comedian blatantly rip that show off in his own bid for sitcom stardom. Prove to Fox that you're smarter and more discerning than that by skipping this mess.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pilot Review: Stalker

Stalker (Wednesdays at 10:00 on CBS)

Let's first clear the air on something: Stalker is not the misogynistic, heinously violent series that many reviewers have made it out to be. Anyone who has blasted the show for its opening sequence, in which a woman is trapped in a flaming car that then explodes, simply has not watched it. While this scene is creepy and suspenseful and suggestively violent, the actual murder is not shown. That goes for the entirety of Stalker. While it tackles a subject that is inherently disconcerting and voyeuristic, the show itself is actually relatively tasteful. There was more on-screen violence in this week's second episode of Gotham, and the torture scenes are almost all mental rather than physical, so it doesn't even compare to creator Kevin Williamson's last show, The Following. The show itself may not be the most progressive or the most unique, but it's better and more timely than its early detractors have suggested.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pilot Review: A to Z

A to Z (Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC; Premieres October 2)

There is such a thing as trying too hard to stick out. Comedies like Veep, Arrested Development, and others develop rabid followings because their characters (and the actors playing them) are a little off; Pushing Daisies stuck out because of its bold visual style and perspective; and there are countless other examples of shows that had a quirk to them that audiences and critics could latch onto. NBC's new romantic comedy A to Z tries to put all of them into one show, and it fails.