Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Amazon Comedy Pilots - January 2015

With Transparent garnering rapturous reviews and already racking up some love from awards groups (including a Golden Globe win for Best Comedy Series), Amazon has released a new assortment of pilots for its users to watch and rate, in an effort to help decide what will go to series in the future. So far, Amazon has only dabbled in comedy (though that changes in a few weeks when Bosch releases), so that's where I started my viewing binge with this latest crop of shows, and it was an easy start since there are only two in consideration, as opposed to four dramas.

Click through for my reviews of Down Dog and Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pilot Review: Backstrom

Backstrom (Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: an unlikeable narcissist storms around his workplace insulting people and making a fool of himself, but he gets to keep his job because he's also something of a genius. The anti-hero trend is still in full force, especially on Fox; Backstrom is just the latest, following last year's epic failure Rake. The show's title character is yet another quirky, somewhat obnoxious leading player a la Bones, House, The Finder, and others. There are probably about a dozen shows you could compare Backstrom to, and I guarantee they're all better than it is.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Midseason Schedule: The CW

Better late than never, The CW has, at last, finalized its midseason plans.


8:00 - The Originals
9:00 - Jane the Virgin

No changes to the Monday night schedule, which hasn't exactly been lighting up the ratings, but critical darling Jane the Virgin will soon be getting some exposure after its featured on the Golden Globes (with many even predicting leading lady Gina Rodriguez to win) this weekend.


8:00 - The Flash
9:00 - Supernatural
9:00 - iZombie (NEW - beginning March 17)

The newest DC comics adaptation, iZombie, will be following the hit DC comics adaptation The Flash. Will having three comic book shows on the air on back-to-back nights be a windfall or a detriment for The CW? We'll find out in March.


8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - The 100
9:00 - Supernatural (beginning March 18)

After The 100 wraps its second season on March 11, Supernatural, the CW's ultimate utility players, transfers over to Wednesdays.


8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Reign

Despite being one of the lowest-rated dramas on the network currently, Reign stays put on Thursdays.


8:00 - Hart of Dixie
8:00 - Cedric's Barber Battle (beginning April 10)
8:30 - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (beginning April 10)
9:00 - Repeats through April 3
9:30 - Masters of Illusion
9:00 - The Messengers (NEW - beginning April 10)

I was holding out hope that The Messengers would be good, but apparently not: it gets a terrible, throwaway timeslot and debuts very late in the season so that nearly half its episode will air in the summer. It's all but dead already. And the network's newest reality series, Cedric's Barber Battle, could not sound worse: "Each week, the show will visit different barbershops in cities, including Los Angeles, Queens, Harlem and Austin, where the best barbers will go head-to-head in a hilariously unfiltered, no-holds-barred arena.  Creating hair sculptures that feature elaborate designs ranging from images of a person’s face to grand cityscapes, the barbers will use nothing more than their clippers and a few coloring tools to create intricate works of art that are both imaginative and location-centric." No, thank you.

This leaves only Beauty and the Beast, returning for its third season, without an airdate, which will likely be sometime this summer as it was last year (along with the new seasons of Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller: Fool Us).

For descriptions of The CW's new shows, see the 2014 schedule announcement from upfronts in May.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pilot Review: Empire

Empire (Wednesdays at 9:00 on Fox)

This has been an incredible year for diversity on the broadcast nets. The biggest show on network television has a black female lead (Scandal), and the biggest new show of the year does as well (How to Get Away with Murder). The biggest new comedy of the year is about an all-black family (Black-ish), and now you have Empire, with its entirely African American or Latino cast, sweeping in to tie How to Get Away... for the biggest premiere of the season. And the best part about all of this? Each of these shows is actually good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pilot Review: Agent Carter

Agent Carter (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC)

Agent Carter is, in almost every way, the exact opposite of Marvel's other television series, Agents of SHIELD. Whereas that series started with a massive bang (and a budget to match), focusing on visual effects and extending the sensibility of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the small screen with its ensemble cast, Agent Carter enters the field with little more than a murmur: it's a relatively quiet (by comic book adaptation standards) period piece more interested in creating dynamic characters than dynamic explosions. Not everything works, but what does is a huge step up from the misfire that SHIELD turned into after its entertaining pilot.