Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Fall TV Preview 2017: New Shows on Big Box Broadcast

Each year that I begin a new series of posts on the Fall TV season, I pause to consider how to present the information. By day? By network? By some other arbitrary theme? I've tried them all over the years. And no one is better than the rest.

This year? Well, as I sit here typing this on a Wednesday evening I don't know for sure. Last year's traffic light theme helped me cut down the sheer volume of entries. But I didn't love it. And if I follow Dean's straightforward (and always enjoyable) pattern, then there are simply too many entries for me to cover.

So . . . no answer yet.

Let's start by simply doing some research and see what I'm struck with.

[flips open some tabs and starts clicking around]

Okay . . . here is some inspiration. Let's broaden out and try to go with some big themes that can capture lots of stuff at once.

Returning Stars
(This category is for people whom you first liked in some other--likely more successful show of the past. It's my job to judge whether or not this new spin on your old tube-mate is worth your time. Think Matt LeBlanc in Joey.)

911 (Fox) Angela Bassett is a emergency-call operator. Basically, its just another procedural, dressed up in a new suit. This all comes down to the writing. Most likely the overall effect of the show is ordinary. And in a world of Peak TV and prestige, big bucks . . . why bother?
She was better in . . . ? I'm gonna say E.R.

Alex, Inc. (ABC) Zach Braff is back in TV, but in a new show based on a real podcast called "Start Up." It's very meta feeling and very of the now. But Braff is neither of those things--at least I don't think so.
He was better in . . . ? Scrubs, of course. But I liked Garden State as well, though that is outside the confines of this tv-centric post.

Dynasty (The CW--Wednesday, October 11) True that none of the character actors in this show fit the category. But . . . the entire show fits the category since it is a retread of one of the most infamous prime time soaps of the 1980s. If any episode of Dynasty even approaches one-tenth of the influence of "Who Shot J.R.? then everyone working on this show should get a raise.
It was better when . . . ? The original was awful. But most people didn't have cable and we had nothing better to do. So it was better than this pale retread will be. (And I'm wondering how much the election of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous President Trump had to do with getting this made?)

Ghosted (Fox--Sunday, October 1) Starring those guys you loved from NBC shows--Craig Robinson and Adam Scott. A true believer and a skeptic are tasked with investigating paranormal and extranormal happenings in dank and dingy parts of . . . Los Angeles?
They were better in . . . ? I didn't watch The Office, so I can't definitively say Robinson was better there. But I will say that I loved Scott on Parks and Recreation. Heck, his 20 minutes of screen time on The Good Place might be better than whatever happens on this show.

Good Girls (NBC--waiting in the wings as a midseason replacement?) Three suburban housewives "break bad" as it were to get their lives back on track. I would have put this one a few categories below in the "Inspired by Something Else" bucket if not for the presence of Mae Whitman as one of the housewives.
She was better in . . . ? I will always love her as the voice of Katara on Avatar: The Last Airbender. But she also took advantage of every chance she got as Anne (Egg?) on Arrested Development.

Rise (NBC--waiting in the wings as a midseason replacement?) I don't know what this is about and I'm not spending time to figure it out. It has Josh Radnor in it and unless the TV show is actually about Ted Moseby, Sex Architect, it can't possibly be better than How I Met Your Mother of which Radnor was definitely better in.

(Every network has them. They are vital to all entertainment programming. Some of them are worth watching even. But they are very hit & miss.)

Black Lightning (Do I even need to tell you what network? If you didn't already guess The CW, why are you even reading this post? But--please, don't leave!) It's not quite the DC version of Black Panther. But the creators of this show will probably happily let you make that mistake as many times as you want.

The Gifted (Fox--Monday, October 2) Mutants might not necessarily be the same as superheroes. But this fits best in this category. Don't watch this show, however, if it is going to take time away from what is certainly the far superior Legion. But, since Legion won't be back for a while, I guess you can watch this. They are built on the same X-Men bones. But this feels a bit like Fox was trying to ride the wave of Stranger Things.

Marvel's Inhumans (Fox--Friday, September 29) The actor that plays Ramsey Bolton (Game of Thrones) is definitely Better in . . . ? Game of Thrones than he will be in this show. The only reason I'd watch this is if they turned it into a televised version of the excellent comic Ms. Marvel. (Kamala sometimes works with the Inhumans. Sorry! I meant Marvel's Inhumans.)

Things That Feel Like They're Inspired By Something Else
(Kind of like what I described above with Black Lightning.)

Deception (ABC) A magician who's career is ruined starts working with the FBI as the only outlet for his mind, skills, deceptive personality. 
Comps: This feels like it was dreamed up after someone watched Catch Me If You Can and then cried about the fact that Limitless is no longer on TV.

The Good Doctor (ABC--Monday, September 25) A gifted young doctor with Savant syndrome is hired to work at a pediatrics hospital. Can his detached manner be allowed purely because of his brilliance?
Comps: Equal parts House MD and Elementary. It must be hard to come up with yet another way to justify a medical drama. But here is my first suggestion . . . has anyone ever considered casting the brilliant acerbic doctor as a female?!

The Orville (Fox--Sunday, September 10) Inspired by Star Trek, but as twisted through the parody movie Galaxy Quest. I have a visceral rejection of this show because it won't be better than even the worst Star Trek and it is entirely built by Seth McFarlane. Set phasers on kill . . . and either point them at me or at this show's future.

Roseanne (ABC) Inspired by Roseanne Barr and John Goodman's original star vehicle . . . because it IS that same show with as much of the same cast as can be convinced to show up again for an eight-episode revival.

Will & Grace (NBC--Thursday, September 28) see above. But make it twelve episodes instead of eight. (And increase the changes that more of the cast will return.)

Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS--Sunday, October 1) Jeremy Piven on a CBS show?! I guess everyone gets old some day. But I put it in this category because the premise (tech genius/bereaved father creates crowd-source app to help solve his daughter's death) feels like it was inspired by Person of Interest.

(Show premises that defy logic and expectation--either good or bad. But most likely bad.)

LA to Vegas (Fox--waiting in the wings as a midseason replacement?) Why would anyone choose to set a comedy on a there-and-back airline flight between LA and Las Vegas? I guess it will cut down on sets that are needed, since the majority of the episodes are just rowed seating? But still. Are people going to want to watch a TV show about an experience that is a.) universally hated--commercial airlines, but also b.) unrelatable--gambling in Vegas? This premise can only last four episodes without becoming insanely predictable. But it will never even last that long.

Young Sheldon (CBS--Monday, September 25, later moving to regular Thursday night) Just gross. Please reject this show.

Untitled Gray's Anatomy Firefighter Spin-off (ABC- I just hope that they a.) make this show and b.) never actually come up with a title. This is the best.

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