After perusing the summer 2014 schedule over at TV Guide, it has occurred to me that there is a crap-ton of quality new and returning programming this summer which is continuing a year-over-year trend of the broadcast and cable networks dedicating quality content to the until recently largely under-appreciated television audience looking for new content. Gone are the days of summer being a wasteland of reruns and reality shows as the networks have finally figured out that after forty years of processed foods and decreasing exercise as a culture during the summer, we are now more likely to park our collective fat asses on the sofa and watch TV instead of doing things that require physical exertion. So, thank you network and cable television executives for encouraging our eventual physical demise as a society.
All snarkiness aside, the renaissance of the summer television schedule has its origins in the economic downturn throughout the last decade and families looking to save money on their entertainment by forgoing things like family vacations and multiple trips to the their local multiplex during the year. Families in general began to look at home entertainment as an alternative expense and began to invest for the long-term instead of spending frivolously with no return. During the late 2000s sales of large screen televisions and home theater system skyrocketed whereas other industries remained stagnant and lost ground.
This change in consumer attitude has created an opportunity for a tremendous amount of programming that would have never seen the light of day in years past. Needless to say, I’m all for it.
So, here’s how this going to work:
This is one part of a multi-part series that will post over several weeks. Some parts (like this one) will have more show recommendations than others simply for the fact that I’m trying to avoid giving you a heads-up on a show that has already begun (not much of a head’s up if it’s after-the-fact) and I don’t want to get more behind than I already am. You will notice that there is a lack of comedies on this list. The reason for that is simple: summer comedies usually are f*cking horrible. There are a few exceptions which I will note but don’t expect a lot from me in that department.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why your favorite drama or drama you’re looking forward to isn’t on the list, it’s because you probably have sh*tty taste and those shows you want to see mentioned are awful or certainly will be.
For new series, I will include commentary on what a series has going for it and what it has going against it.
24: Live Another Day (FOX – Mondays, 9:00 p.m. beginning May 5th)
Jack Bauer and IGN’s fifth greatest show of all time returned on May 5th after being canceled four years ago for what the producers have called a “limited run event.” 24 was always one of my favorite shows on television but a couple of things occurred to me after I crammed in all eight previous seasons over the course of four weeks; first, there is a lot of unnecessary filler content throughout the 24 episodes of any given season that was completely unnecessary in order to advance the story and they dragged down the series (see: the entire Kim Bauer storyline in season two). Second, the major subplots were also great but they were also used as filler to get the season through 24 episodes. That extra content could have been recrafted into an entirely different season but they crammed in no less than four major plotlines into one day and it was absurd at times. I remember watching season six thinking they could have ended the whole season at episode 18 and that was without removing the other filler that polluted that season.
This realization of all of the unnecessary content forced me to conclude that 24 is probably far better suited for 12 to 13 episodes just as 24: Live Another Day is by design. It’s simply more efficient storytelling for a very frenetic series that could use a little more structure and precision. There’s also the other issue that the reason that 24 was canceled in the first place was not because the ratings were particularly bad, it’s that the show was incredibly expensive to produce, was getting more expensive every year and the returns on the investment just weren’t there any more. You cut that order in half and you saved half the cost of your series right there and you can make your franchise profitable again.
So far, Live Another Day has been as advertised and what you would expect from the franchise, despite the fact that I was a little concerned because of the slow start (FFS, Bauer didn’t even say a word until 45 minutes into the first hour) and what was appearing to be too much time once again dedicated to filler early on. Since episode three it has picked up dramatically and I expect the remaining episodes of season nine to live up to its expectations but if they really want to impress the f*ck out of me then they need to bring back Tony Almeida and I don’t care how they do it.
Motive (ABC – Wednesdays, 10:00 p.m. beginning May 21st)
I saw a grand total of one episode of this show last year and I actually liked it a lot but my schedule was full and didn’t have the time to fit it in. I despise police procedurals for the most part but the concept of the series, showing different aspects of the crime from different characters perspectives, is reminiscent of the short-lived but brilliant NBC series from 2002, Boomtown. I think it’s safe to say that if Boomtown had a short-order 13 episode summer schedule it would have run for several seasons but, alas, that kind of programming didn’t exist in the early 2000s so we all lost. Motive cleverly fills that hole in for this generation of television audiences and does so nicely.
Gang Related (FOX – Thursdays, 9:00 p.m. beginning May 22nd)
Gang Related is a complex serialized drama revolving around a former gang member turned cop and the war between the police and organized crime in Los Angeles. The premise seems to ooze with clichés and recycles elements of other similar stories (see: The Departed) but it has a strong cast (Lost‘s Terry O’Quinn and The Shield‘s Catherine Dent in particular) and goddammit if those trailers don’t make it look compelling. The first two episodes are still sitting on the DVR so I can’t give an assessment but like the title of the article says, you might want to check it out.
What it’s got going for it:As noted, the series has a strong cast and it’s probably not that expensive to produce considering the shortened summer scheduling. Audience reaction has been positive thus far.
What it’s got going against it: Incredibly mixed reviews from critics noting the same problems that I expressed without having seen a single episode. It’s also on FOX and FOX has a tendency to sh*t their pants and cancel shows if they show any signs of losing their audience.
The Wil Wheaton Project (Tuesdays, 10:00 p.m. beginning May 27th)
Do you like clip shows? Well, if you do, The Wil Wheaton Project is for you! That is, of course, if you’re a big Science Fiction/Genre geek like I am. The easiest way to describe this series is to think of The Soup but specifically for nerds and when I say think of The Soup, I mean it’s EXACTLY like that series. I haven’t looked closely into it but there’s no doubt that the two series are using the same producers and writers as the style, writing and format are IDENTICAL. No, complaints here, though. This isn’t just one of those shows I suggest checking out, I highly recommend this series.
What it’s got going for it:I watched the first episode the other day and it was absolutely hilarious and done in such a manner that it doesn’t alienate a non-SciFi/Genre audience. This is an incredibly inexpensive show to produce and SyFy like cheap shows. Wil Wheaton’s ScifFi pedigree gives the series instant credibility (having Chris Hardwick make an appearance on your pilot doesn’t hurt either).
What it’s got going against it: Nothing. Shut up and enjoy it.
Rogue (DirecTV – Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m. beginning May 28th)
Wednesday marked the beginning of the second season of DirecTV’s original drama, Rogue. I only became a subscriber to DirecTV about a month ago and since I think torrenting is the equivalent of setting live puppies on fire and beating up old ladies I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, suggest anyone do anything, like say, perhaps visit a site like The Pirate Bay to get caught up. That being said, as described, the series looks pretty compelling (if not particularly original) as far as serialized detective shows are concerned with an undercover cop that gets entangled with organized crime. If, like me, you haven’t seen this series yet and you want to get caught up… oh, I’m sure you’ll find a way.
Crossbones (NBC – Fridays, 10:00 p.m. beginning May 30th)
Until recently, my only interest in pirates was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland which to this day is my favorite ride of all time. I have seen several pirate movies over the years including the Disney films of the same title and I’ve enjoyed them but once again, I’ve had no interest in the genre. Perhaps that’s because my only exposure to Pirates has been through the fantasy colored lenses that Disney provides but honestly, after becoming immersed in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I have really come to appreciate the history surrounding West Indies pirates. Crossbones is a series revolving around the legendary Blackbeard and stars John Malkovich in his first lead role on television. Looks like fun.
What it’s got going for it:Pirates are popular right now and John Malkovich brings a level of gravitas to the series that will get the attention of audiences.
What it’s got going against it: Mixed reviews so far and period pieces are expensive to produce. I’m not particularly comfortable with the Friday night slot during the summer, either and NBC is unpredictable with their programming choices.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The newest addition to our staff, Redeye Rogue has some opinions of his own regarding my recent preview of the new fall additions to the CBS schedule. Since we’re all about diversity, I thought it only fair that we let an eight-foot cycloptic toaster chime in… even if it is after the fact. So, below see what I had to say and then what Redeye Rogue thinks about my dumbass opinions.
Shawn’s Take: When we first heard about Elementary, we wanted to repeatedly punch ourselves in the face because we are kind of tired of seeing the U.S. television industry lazily copy the success of magnificent BBC programming by stealing their shows and then thoroughly screwing up what has made the BBC versions so great to begin with. To make matters worse, someone thought it was a great idea to send Holmes to New York and making matters even worse, casting Lucy Liu in the Watson role. So, unlike the BBC’s Sherlock, which we’ll go as far to say may be the best show on television regardless of what side of the Atlantic you’re on, this adaptation of Doyle’s masterpiece not only has set the characters and the story in the modern era, but they’ve also gone so far as to change the locale to a completely different continent, ergo, destroying part of what makes Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes, and they’ve changed Doctor Watson from a male, British Army Doctor to a female Asian-American surgeon. Fantastic. Despite that, after watching the trailer, it really doesn’t look bad. Don’t get us wrong, it’s no Sherlock, but it doesn’t look awful. That being said, don’t fool yourself, the lame suits at CBS have brought us, yet again, another police procedural with a gimmick (see: Numb3ers, Unforgettable, CSI and The Mentalist for recent examples of CBS doing this).
Redeye’s Take: Lucy Liu in what could be a compelling crime procedural show. Only problem is, it’s a crime procedural show. Won’t someone please tell CBS that those are played out already?
Shawn’s Take:This actually appears to be really good but we have two big problems with it. First, the trailer seems to have just a whole bunch of random action scenes thrown together to make the show seem more exciting than it really is. Second, the show is filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico, NOT Las Vegas, Nevada and the landscape isn’t even close to matching the majestic mountains of Southern Nevada (yeah, we’re biased on this issue). For crap’s sake, at least use some CGI and fake it.
Redeye’s Take: Come on dude! It’s the same guy who wrote Goodfellas and Casino. It’s got Dennis Quaid. Could it possibly be anything other than awesome? If CBS can resist going all ‘procedural’ on this one there might be hope.
Shawn’s Take: This looks so horrible we don’t want to waste any effort commenting on it further because it’s not worth our time. It’ll be lucky to get a two-paragraph review when it premieres. Watch the trailer and understand why. Next!
Redeye’s Take: Despite Shawn’s immediate dismissal of the show as looking “…so horrible [he doesn’t] want to waste any effort commenting on it,” I’d like to say that out of all the shows on the line-up, the one with the most heart and soul is quite possibly Made In Jersey. Not only does it score points with RedEye for having heart, but it seems to be a quirky “ethnic” comedy, vis à vis class comedy/legal drama. The comedy seems well-played. I don’t think this one is going to be as bad as everyone is expecting. Hell, it doesn’t even look like a CBS show.
This is what you call your ‘Truth in Advertising’
Shawn’s Take: Partners looks absolutely awful on every level conceivable. Not only is it filled with the most ridiculously stupid gay stereotypes and corny and predictable jokes, it is also a typically awful CBS comedy.
Redeye’s Take: I’m sorry to say that Partners doesn’t look very good. It looks very, very sitcom-y which I guess is standard fare from CBS. Shawn said that on any other network it would be gone quickly while I say that no other respectable network would have touched it. I’m embarrassed for everyone involved. It did bring back fond memories of Bosom Buddies, though… which I wish they would bring back.
Really late on the draw on this one, but better late than never. CBS’s new show schedule looks awful in comparison to the other networks. It’s a good thing they already have a decent lineup. We’re only doing the fall schedule this time around because CBS has three new shows coming out midseason and only one of them has a trailer available and it’s not even official.
Elementary — ELEMENTARY stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr. Watson. A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance. However, the restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs. But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator. Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it’s simple deduction that he’s going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it’s elementary that it’s a job for Watson. Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. – CBS
Our Take: When we first heard about Elementary, we wanted to repeatedly punch ourselves in the face because we are kind of tired of seeing the U.S. television industry lazily copy the success of magnificent BBC programming by stealing their shows and then thoroughly screwing up what has made the BBC versions so great to begin with. To make matters worse, someone thought it was a great idea to send Holmes to New York and making matters even worse, casting Lucy Liu in the Watson role. So, unlike the BBC’s Sherlock, which we’ll go as far to say may be the best show on television regardless of what side of the Atlantic you’re on, this adaptation of Doyle’s masterpiece not only has set the characters and the story in the modern era, but they’ve also gone so far as to change the locale to a completely different continent, ergo, destroying part of what makes Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes, and they’ve changed Doctor Watson from a male, British Army Doctor to a female Asian-American surgeon. Fantastic. Despite that, after watching the trailer, it really doesn’t look bad. Don’t get us wrong, it’s no Sherlock, but it doesn’t look awful. That being said, don’t fool yourself, the lame suits at CBS have brought us, yet again, another police procedural with a gimmick (see: Numb3ers, Unforgettable, CSI and The Mentalist for recent examples of CBS doing this).
Chance of Renewal: It’s a police procedural on CBS with a well-known title character debuting in the fall. Elementary will more than likely be picked up for a second season unless it’s just completely unwatchable, but you never know… with Lucy Liu in the main cast, it may be.
Vegas– Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis star in VEGAS, a drama inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher tasked with bringing order to Las Vegas in the 1960s, a gambling and entertainment mecca emerging from the tumbleweeds. Ralph Lamb (Quaid) wants to be left in peace to run his ranch, but Las Vegas is now swelling with outsiders and corruption which are intruding on his simple life. Recalling Lamb’s command as a military police officer during World War II, the Mayor appeals to his sense of duty to look into a murder of a casino worker – and so begins Lamb’s clash with Vincent Savino (Chiklis), a ruthless Chicago gangster who plans to make Vegas his own. Assisting Lamb in keeping law and order are his two deputies: his diplomatic, even-keeled brother Jack (Jason O’Mara) and his charming but impulsive son, Dixon (Taylor Handley). Ambitious Assistant District Attorney Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), who grew up on the ranch next to the Lambs, also lends a hand in preserving justice. In Vegas, two powerful men – Lamb and Savino – are engaged in a fierce battle for control of the budding oasis, and for both of them, folding is not an option. Nicholas Pileggi, Greg Walker, Cathy Konrad, Arthur Sarkissian and James Mangold, who also directed the pilot, are the executive producers for CBS Television Studios. – CBS
Our Take: This actually appears to be really good but we have two big problems with it. First, the trailer seems to have just a whole bunch of random action scenes thrown together to make the show seem more exciting than it really is. Second, the show is filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico, NOT Las Vegas, Nevada and the landscape isn’t even close to matching the majestic mountains of Southern Nevada (yeah, we’re biased on this issue). For crap’s sake, at least use some CGI and fake it.
Chance of Renewal: Tough to call at all because the information in the trailer is so limited that we we aren’t even speculating on this one until we actually see it and review it. In theory it looks good and we like the premise but it could all be smoke and mirrors. Then again, the cast is magnificent and A-listers like that usually don’t sign up for a crap show.
Made in Jersey– MADE IN JERSEY is a drama about a young working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete among her pedigreed Manhattan colleagues at a prestigious New York law firm. Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery) finds her firm’s cutthroat landscape challenging, but what she lacks in an Ivy League education she more than makes up for with tenacity and blue-collar insight. After just a few weeks, firm founder Donovan Stark (Kyle MacLachlan), takes note of Martina’s ingenuity and resourcefulness, as does her sassy secretary Cyndi Vega (Toni Trucks). With the support of her big Italian family, including her sexy older sister Bonnie (Erin Cummings), Martina is able to stay true to her roots as a bold, passionate lawyer on the rise in a new intimidating environment. Jamie Tarses, Kevin Falls, Julia Franz and Mark Waters, who also directed the pilot, are the executive producers for Sony Pictures Television in association with CBS Television Studios. Pilot was written by creator and co-executive producer Dana Calvo. – CBS
Our Take: This looks so horrible we don’t want to waste any effort commenting on it further because it’s not worth our time. It’ll be lucky to get a two-paragraph review when it premieres. Watch the trailer and understand why. Next!
Chance of Renewal: ZERO. Made in Jersey will be canceled by Thanksgiving.
Partners– PARTNERS is a comedy based on the lives of creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, about two life-long best friends and business partners whose “bromance” is tested when one of them is engaged to be married. Joe (David Krumholtz) is an accomplished architect who leads with his head and not his heart, especially in his love life. That’s in stark contrast to his gay co-worker, Louis (Michael Urie), who is spontaneous, emotional and prone to exaggeration. Both have found joy in their love lives: Joe is newly engaged to Ali (Sophia Bush), a beautiful and sophisticated jewelry designer, while Louis is dating Wyatt (Brandon Routh), a vegan nurse who Louis insists is just a promotion away from becoming a doctor. As news of Joe’s engagement settles, time will tell if their business and personal bond can adapt to the addition of two other important relationships. Emmy Award winners David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television. Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot. – CBS
Our Take: Partners looks absolutely awful on every level conceivable. Not only is it filled with the most ridiculously stupid gay stereotypes and corny and predictable jokes, it is also a typically awful CBS comedy.
Chance of Renewal: 50/50 and only because CBS audiences are incredibly stupid when it comes to their comedies. Don’t believe us? Consider the fact the Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and How I Met Your Mother are still running strong and $#*! My Dad Says and ¡Rob! were almost renewed. On any other network, this would be gone quickly but you can never tell with CBS.
Well, we know it’s been a long time and that we promised to get all of these done for each network the same week that we announced schedules but you know what? Sometimes we just suck. We’re unreliable and we break promises. There… we said it.
So, here we go: ABC’s new shows for the 2012 – 2013. ABC included so much production information in their press release that it’s going to take up the whole blog to repost it so if you want more info about these new shows, go here.
666 Park Avenue — At the ominous address of 666 Park Avenue, anything you desire can be yours. Everyone has needs, desires and ambition. For the residents of The Drake, these will all be met, courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But every Faustian contract comes with a price. When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, are offered the opportunity to manage the historic building, they not only fall prey to the machinations of Doran and his mysterious wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams), but unwittingly begin to experience the shadowy, supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents inside. Sexy, seductive and inviting, The Drake maintains a dark hold over all of its residents, tempting them through their ambitions and desires, in this chilling new drama that’s home to an epic struggle of good versus evil.
Our Take: John Locke is now Satan, himself… whoopty doo! Honestly, we were skeptical to begin with when we read the show description but we were completely non-plussed when we saw the trailer and it turns out that we aren’t the only ones. The folks at Comic-Con in San Diego had a chance to screen the pilot last week and their reaction was equally as mixed. Park does look like it has potential, but it looks very slow with many of the same horror themes we’ve seen many, many times before. We’ll certainly give it a shot but it had better be a lot more compelling than it appears.
Chance of Renewal: This type of genre programming has been finding some moderate success lately and if it gets the ball rolling out-of-the-gate, it could hook a loyal fanbase very quickly, but it’s got to move fast or genre-skeptical audiences will stop watching it after a couple of episodes.
Last Resort– 500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado receive their orders. Over a radio channel, designed only to be used if their homeland has been wiped out, they’re told to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan.
Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) demands confirmation of the orders only to be unceremoniously relieved of duty by the White House. XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) finds himself suddenly in charge of the submarine and facing the same difficult decision. When he also refuses to fire without confirmation of the orders, the Colorado is targeted, fired upon, and hit. The submarine and its crew find themselves crippled on the ocean floor, declared rogue enemies of their own country. Now, with nowhere left to turn, Chaplin and Kendal take the sub on the run and bring the men and women of the Colorado to an exotic island. Here they will find refuge, romance and a chance at a new life, even as they try to clear their names and get home.
Our Take: Seriously… no joke. This is on your television this fall. Shawn Ryan returns to television in what looks like to us perhaps to not only be the best new series this season, but the best new American series in a decade. This looks beyond fantastic with an all-star cast and production team that puts feature films to shame. You wanted a high-octane thriller and replacement for 24, well you got one. Now, stop complaining.
Chance of Renewal: We have a hard time believing that audiences won’t instantly become attached to this. But then again, let’s be honest; American audiences in general are pretty stupid.
Mistresses– Welcome to a provocative and thrilling drama about the scandalous lives of a sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends, each on her own path to self-discovery, as they brave the turbulent journey together.
Meet Savi (Alyssa Milano), a successful career woman working toward the next phase in her life — both professional and personal — simultaneously bucking for partner at her law firm while she and her husband, Harry (Brett Tucker), try to start a family of their own. Savi’s free-spirited and capricious baby sister, Josselyn (Jes Macallan), couldn’t be more different – living single, serial dating and partying, and regularly leaning on her big sister along the way. Their common best friend, April (Rochelle Aytes), a recent widow and mother of two, is rebuilding her life after tragedy and learning to move forward, with the support and guidance of her closest girlfriends. And friend Karen (Yunjin Kim), a successful therapist with her own practice, reconnects with the girls after her involvement in a complicated relationship with a patient goes far too deep.
“Mistresses” is a salacious new drama about a group of friends caught in storms of excitement and self-discovery, secrecy and betrayal, and bound by the complex relationships they’ve created.
Our Take: This show is offensive on every level possible and no one at ABC seems to have a problem with it. We hate everyone on this show including the now very fat Alyssa Milano (Seriously… WTF happened?). The show is a deliberate affront to marriage that seeks to give some kind of glory, stature and moral high-ground to women who intentionally violate the sanctity of marriage. Sorry, but we don’t feel sorry for you that a married man chose his wife over you, in fact we think that the only redeeming thing that this show could possibly do would have to have all of these characters off themselves – and graphically – in prime time. We were waiting for a vomit-inducing show and we thought that NBC’s The New Normal might fit that bill. Nope… not even close. The New Normal is Shakespeare compared to this. Congratulations, ABC… YOU WIN!!!
Chance of Renewal: This is another failed attempt to try to recreate the magic of the now canceled Desperate Housewives and to bring a sexually-charged British drama to an American audience that hasn’t shown any interest in them. ABC tried the former course of action last year with GCB and it didn’t work and GCB was far less offensive. They need to learn that the key to recreating that kind of success isn’t by making the characters and situations more salacious, it’s by making the characters likable and the storylines well-written. Stop just trying to push the envelope. It’s cheap and it’s lazy. This is a midseason replacement and we expect ABC will try to shove it in on Sunday like they did with GCB for the DH nostalgia audience or if Scandal tanks (as we suspect it might) it will go into that timeslot on Thursday. Regardless, we don’t expect this show to last beyond its original 13 episode order and we really don’t expect it to last more than five or six episodes before it’s dumped into the Saturday night burn-off slot.
Nashville– Chart-topping Rayna James (Connie Britton) is a country legend who’s had a career any singer would envy, though lately her popularity is starting to wane. Fans still line up to get her autograph, but she’s not packing the arenas like she used to. Rayna’s record label thinks a concert tour, opening for up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music, is just what Rayna needs. But scheming Juliette can’t wait to steal Rayna’s spotlight. Sharing a stage with that disrespectful, untalented, little vixen is the last thing Rayna wants to do, which sets up a power struggle for popularity. Could the undiscovered songwriting talent of Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) be the key to helping Rayna resurrect her career?
Complicating matters, Rayna’s wealthy but estranged father, Lamar Hampton (Powers Boothe), is a powerful force in business, Tennessee politics, and the lives of his two grown daughters. His drive for power results in a scheme to back Rayna’s handsome husband, Teddy, in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against Rayna’s wishes.
Our Take: Is it just us, or is this the country music version of NBC’s Smash? Proving that there is really hardly anything original in network prime-time drama, any more, Nashville, recycles a million and one film and television clichés in order to hobble together a weekly soap that all things considered, although not our cup of tea, doesn’t look particularly awful.
Chance of Renewal: Looks just compelling enough to attract a broad audience and we are pretty confident in saying that this will probably be a big hit.
Red Widow — When Marta Walraven’s (Radha Mitchell) husband is brutally murdered, her first instinct is to protect her three young children. Her husband’s business partners – Irwin Petrova (Wil Traval), Marta’s scheming and untrustworthy brother, and Mike Tomlin (Lee Tergesen) — were involved in an illegal drug business deal with rival gangsters, and Marta’s husband paid the ultimate price. She already knows the violent world of organized crime; her father, Andrei Petrova (Rade Sherbedzija), and loyal bodyguard Luther (Luke Goss) are gangsters too. She and her sister Kat (Jaime Ray Newman) had always wished for a safer life without bloodshed and fear. For a while Marta lived happily as a stay at home housewife in San Marta’s cooperation, FBI Agent James Ramos (Mido Hamada) now promises justice.
Marta discovers a tenacity she never knew she had, and takes on the gangsters and the FBI to unveil the truth about her husband’s death. As she digs into this dark underworld, she’ll test her own strength, relying on her resourcefulness, determination and family ties like never before. To get out of this mob, she needs to beat the bad guys at their own deadly game.
Our Take: First, this isn’t 2000 and sorry, but since The Sopranos, audiences have kind of lost interest in shows revolving around organized crime (which is yet another reason why FOX’s The Mob Doctorwill fail… along with the fact that it looks stupid.). Second, seriously what the crap is this show about? We cannot discern any plot or main premise for this show from the trailer or show description. It’s like it’s just a bunch of ideas for a show about what a drama about organized crime should have in it thrown up on a white board and then filmed.
Chance of Renewal: Very difficult to tell because it’s nearly impossible to make any kind of assessment based on the show description and the trailer. Right now, we’re leaning toward “not likely” but again, there’s so little information to go on that we really have no idea. We’re looking forward to watching it just because we’re so damned curious as to what’s going on in this confused madness.
Zero Hour– As the publisher of a paranormal enthusiast magazine, Modern Skeptic, Hank Galliston has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and solving conspiracies. A confessed paranormal junkie, his motto is “logic is the compass.” But when his beautiful wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is abducted from her antique clock shop, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries.
Contained in one of his wife’s clocks is a treasure map, and what it leads to could be cataclysmic. Now it’s up to Hank to decipher the symbols and unlock the secrets of the map, while ensuring the answers don’t fall into the wrong hands – a man they call White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist). With his two young associates, Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster), in tow, along with Becca Riley, a sexy FBI agent (Carmen Ejogo), Hank will lead them on a breathless race against the clock to find his wife and save humanity.
Our Take: Mother Goose is back on TV, folks! That’s right, the least likely leading man in the history of cinema and television, ER‘s Anthony Edwards, returns to prime time midseason for what honestly looks like a fantastic and epic action/adventure SciFi/supernatural series with a whole ton of mystery and suspense. Just based on the trailer, Edwards’ everyman persona would seem to fit the bill for this role perfectly.
Chance of Renewal: As great as this looks, American audiences tend to shy away from shows as grand as this on network television and they especially shy away from serials. That being said, ABC is smartly debuting this midseason which means a shortened schedule (less for audiences to keep up with and minimal hiatuses) and less competition from premiering shows. So, 50/50 on this one, however ABC’s smart scheduling may just pay off.
How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)– Polly (Sarah Chalke) is a single mom who’s been divorced for almost a year. The transition wasn’t easy for her, especially in this economy. So, like a lot of young people living in this new reality, she and her daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), have moved back home with her eccentric parents, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). But Polly and her parents look at life through two different lenses. Polly’s too uptight. Her parents are too laid back. Polly’s conservative when it comes to dating (no action, whatsoever), while her parents are still sexually adventurous. They think Polly turned out okay, so what’s the big deal? Well, they say it takes a village to raise a child…and in Polly’s case, this village is on fire. But with help from her best friend Gregg (Orlando Jones), her lovable yet irresponsible ex-husband Julian (Jon Dore) and her cool and fun assistant Jenn (Rebecca Delgado Smith) Polly takes her first steps toward getting a life, starting with a social one.
Our Take: Our regular readers know how much we hate comedies but this actually looks very funny. Good writing and an excellent cast can go a long way. Not really a whole lot more to say.
Chance of Renewal: This should be a hit considering that it’s in the same vein as ABC’s recent comedy successes.
Malibu Country– When Reba Gallagher (Reba) discovers that her husband, Bobby, (Jeffrey Nordling) a country music legend, has a cheatin’ heart, her world is turned upside down. Reba dreamt of becoming a country star herself, but put her career on hold to raise a family. Now she’s questioning all of that, big-time. With the ink on her divorce barely dry, Reba packs up her sharp-tongued mother, Lillie May (Lily Tomlin), her two kids and the U-Haul and heads for sunny California to begin a new chapter. Leaving Nashville in the rear view, they start over at their Malibu residence — the last remaining asset they have. Reba gets to know her new open and loving neighbor Kim (Sara Rue) and her son, Sage, but also discovers that relocation to Southern California is going to be quite an adjustment for a traditional southern belle: the West Coast seems like the polar opposite of Music City, and Reba feels like an outsider. Still, with the support of her family she sets about finding her voice, jump-starting her music career with the help of her new music agent, Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez), and embracing this chance to begin again.
Our Take: Not for nothing, but hasn’t this show been done before and isn’t it a bit self-aggrandizing and arrogant to not only keep having Hollywood write shows specifically for you, with the lead character’s name the same as yours, pretty much based on your idealized version of yourself as just a regular person despite the fact that you’re an international celebrity and multi-millionaire? Reba, we’re sick of you and so is America (except for the dopiest of country western fans). You don’t bring anything to the table and you really never have (except for the fact that you were kind of hot one time and we guess you could sing). No one’s impressed with your sassiness anymore. It’s tired and so is the whole fish-out-of-water-southerner-moves-to-upscale-southern-California-and-shows-them-a-thing-or-two-about-good-old-country-wisdom-and-hilarity-ensues premise. The first time it was tried was on the Beverly Hillbillies and it’s the last time it worked. Sorry, Reba, but we knew Jed Clampett, and you’re no Jed Clampett.
Chance of Renewal: This show looks absolutely horrible and we sincerely hope that audiences are smart enough to see through the Reba crap and recognize this show for what it is: a pathetic attempt at resurrecting a TV career of someone who shouldn’t have had one to begin with using the typical stupid crap that all the sitcoms use while throwing in a little southern zing in for flavor. We predict that Malibu Country will get a full season and then be canceled. Sorry, but not even the return of Lily Tomlin can save this.
The Neighbors– How well do you know your neighbors?
Meet the Weavers, Debbie (Jami Gertz) and Marty (Lenny Venito). Marty, in hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, recently bought a home in Hidden Hills, a gated New Jersey townhome community with its own golf course. Hidden Hills is so exclusive that a house hasn’t come on the market in 10 years. But one finally did and the Weavers got it!
It’s clear from day one that the residents of Hidden Hills are a little different. For starters, their new neighbors all have pro-athlete names like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), Dick Butkis (Ian Patrick) and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman). Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo from their ears.
The Zabvronians have been stationed on Earth for the past 10 years, disguised as humans, awaiting instructions from home, and the Weavers are the first humans they’ve had the opportunity to know. As it turns out, the pressures of marriage and parenthood are not exclusive to planet Earth. Two worlds will collide with hilarious consequences as everyone discovers they can “totally relate” and learn a lot from each other.
Our Take: Stupid, dopey, and corny yet seemingly charming, heart-warming and endearing at the same time. We thought this was cute yet utterly repulsive. Kind of an odd dichotomy for an odd little show.
Chance of Renewal: The biggest problem with this is that although it may actually be decent, the weak casting of primarily no-names isn’t gong to give audiences a reason to stick around and find out. Canceled after six episodes.
The Family Tools– Mixing family with business is never easy, and Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) is about to learn that lesson the hard way. When Jack’s father, Tony (J.K. Simmons), has a heart attack and is forced to hand over the keys to his beloved handyman business, Jack is eager to finally step up and make his father proud. Unfortunately Jack’s past career efforts have been less than stellar, so everyone seems to be waiting for him to fail. His new job isn’t made any easier by Tony’s rebellious, troublemaker assistant, Darren (Edi Gathegi), and Darren’s flirtatious sister, Liz (Danielle Nicolet), who works at the local hardware store. Yet with the support of his Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) and his oddball yet endearing cousin Mason (Johnny Pemberton), Jack Shea may just find his true calling right at home.
Our Take: Oddly enough, but even though the trailer isn’t anything special (and the fact that we generally hate comedies), for some reason we have this gut feeling that this will be very funny.
Chance of Renewal: Unlike The Neighbors, the casting on The Family Tools is brilliant and we expect that it will at least complete its first season. It will be on the bubble until May and we give it a 50/50 chance at renewal.
It’s FOX’s turn! FOX is strangely confident in their existing lineup having picked up a grand total of only five new scripted series for the 2012 – 2013 season. So, this is going to be obviously a lot easier than the preview we did for NBC and this time, we’re just going to introduce them all in one piece.
Oh, and BTW, in case if you’re reading this in a couple of months and there’s no video, well, you can thank FOX for that. Y’see, normally we just download a video off of YouTube and upload it to our channel so we don’t have to worry about whether or not the host channel decides to pull it. Other networks don’t seem to mind when we give them free advertising for their shows, but FOX has a bug up their butt and every video we tried to upload was rejected due to copyright claims. So, we’ve been forced to use the embed links directly from FOX’s YouTube channel.
BEN AND KATE –What happens when an exuberant, irresponsibledreamer who always says “yes” moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? BEN AND KATE, a new single-camera young ensemble comedy, follows these odd-couple siblings as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life. KATE FOX (Dakota Johnson, “The Social Network”) followed the rules all her life…until she got pregnant in college and dropped out just shy of graduation. After the birth of her daughter, MADDIE (Maggie Jones, “We Bought a Zoo,” “Footloose”), Kate put her twenties on hold. Now working as a bar manager to make ends meet and maximize her time with five-year-old Maddie, she’s uber-prepared for every possible catastrophe – except for the arrival of her older brother, BEN FOX (Nat Faxon, “Bad Teacher”). Ben likes trouble a lot more than his sister does. His infectious energy makes you want to follow him into any number of bad ideas. He’ll totally screw up your life, but somehow, you’ll feel good about it. Where Kate is all about planning and preparing, Ben is big on spontaneity and out-of-the-box ideas. But don’t let the Velcro wallet fool you – he’ll probably be a millionaire someday. When Ben comes to crash on Kate’s couch for a few days, he finds a sad state of affairs. Kate’s surviving, but not living. Ben realizes that for the first time in their lives, Kate needs hishelp and he’s determined to bring some much-needed chaos into her overly stable world. He starts by offering to help look after Maddie so Kate can get back to experiencing her mid-twenties and makingmistakes, since the one real “mistake” she’s made turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. Always there to help with Ben’s crazy schemes is his partner-in-crime, TOMMY (newcomer Echo Kellum), who worships Ben like a hero and nurses a serious crush on Kate. Kate’s British best friend, BJ (Lucy Punch, “Bad Teacher”), is a cocktail waitress at the bar that Kate manages and an all-around hot mess who would do anything for Kate, even if her advice is often questionable and occasionally illegal. From writer/executive producer Dana Fox (NEW GIRL, “What Happens in Vegas”) and executive producer/director Jake Kasdan (NEW GIRL, “Bad Teacher”), BEN AND KATE is a heartwarming story of deeply mismatched siblings: a sister who needs to go for her dreams and a brother who needs to get his head out of the clouds.
Our Take: As we noted with NBC’s Next Caller, it’s never a good sign when you start your show description with, “What happens when ________ , ” but on the upside this show is noticeably Dane Cook-free. On the other upside, this show looks incredibly charming and really looks like it’s destined to be a big a hit for FOX. All of the sudden, FOX has seemed to have figured out comedies.
Chance of Renewal: Ben and Kate honestly looks at least as good as Raising Hope and New Girl which have both become big hits for FOX so we expect it should easily become a favorite and get renewed.
The Mindy Project– THE MINDY PROJECT is a new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producerand New York Times best-selling authorMindy Kaling (“The Office”) that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, desperately needs to break bad habits in her personal life. After all, how many doctors make inappropriate toasts at their ex-boyfriend’s wedding, nearly drown at the bottom of a stranger’s pool and get arrested for disorderly conduct just moments before having to deliver a baby? Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books – all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman…who can meet and date the perfect guy. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN and shares a practice with a few other doctors, none of whom make life any easier for her. JEREMY REED (British writer/comedian Ed Weeks) is the walking definition of total bad news. He not only shares a practice with Mindy, but sometimes her bed as well – despite her best efforts to resist. He is funny, self-absorbed and super sexy. In contrast, DANNY CASTELLANO (Chris Messina, “Damages”) is a hothead and guys’ guy who has a habit of stealing Mindy’s patients. Danny criticizes her for everything, including her struggling love life and her lack of professionalism – even though it’s obvious to everyone except Mindy that he secretly admires her work. His blue-collar childhood gives him a big chip on his shoulder, but he is a dedicated physician, which Mindy can’t stand to admit because he’s always getting on her case. Rounding out the office staff are the receptionists – BETSY PUTCH (Zoe Jarman, “Huge”), young, earnest and easily excitable, who thinks the world of Mindy and is always trying to impress her; and SHAUNA DICANIO (newcomer Dana DeLorenzo), a self-assured Jersey Girl who is indifferent to Mindy, always knows where the cool party is and carries a poorly concealed torch for Danny. Mindy is in constant communication with her beloved best friend from college, GWEN GRANDY (Anna Camp, “The Good Wife”), who also happens to be the governor’s daughter. Gwen is a hilarious, sometimes too-blunt friend, and secretly a former carefree party girl (which only Mindy seems to remember). Although Gwen is now happily married to a financial analyst, with a six-year-old daughter, this lawyer-turned-Pilates mom remains squarely in Mindy’s corner. As Mindy attempts to get her career off the ground and meet a guy who passes her red flag test (no drug habits, no skinny jeans and no secret families, among others), only time will tell if she gets her romantic comedy ending.
Our Take: Just when we think FOX has comedies figured out, they hit us with this. We’re not really sure what the big deal with Mindy Kaling is. She was funny on The Office but even that wore thin over the years and to be blunt, she’s kind of impossible to look at and we don’t mean that in a good way. So, that being said, we’re a little perplexed as to why anyone would think that she’s prime material to have her own series. As awful as Whitney is, Whitney Cummings is at least smoking hot and actually is quite funny. It makes sense that she would get her own show. This really doesn’t and not for nothing, this show doesn’t look completely horrible if you judge it exclusively on the merits of every other performance besides hers. She’s not just bland and again, difficult to look at, but she’s just playing the same Kelly Kapoor character that she played for eight years on The Office. Also, just from watching this clip, does it honestly look particularly original?
Chance of Renewal: If we were to judge The Mindy Project based on the merits of the performances of the supporting cast, we’d lean toward renewal but the problem is that if you don’t have a strong lead, your show is destined for failure. For crap’s sake, they’re dragging out Ed Helms in the pilot to give the show some credibility. That’s not very reassuring. Who’s next, Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson? So, despite the contrived popularity surrounding Mindy Kaling created by Hollywood, we don’t expect audiences will fall for it. We expect it to get a single season and that’s it.
The Mob Doctor– For most physicians, the Hippocratic oath is sacred. But for one Chicago doctor, who is indebted to the mafia, saving lives isn’t her only concern. THE MOB DOCTOR is a fast-paced medical drama featuring a brilliant young female cardiothoracic surgeon who is split between two distinct worlds as she juggles her promising medical career with her lifelong debt as a doctor to Chicago’s Southside mob. DR. GRACE DEVLIN (Jordana Spiro, “My Boys”) is a top resident at Chicago’s Roosevelt Medical Center. Smart and self-assured, she’s heralded as one of the country’s most promising young surgeons. But family ties keep her glued to her Southside roots. To pay off her brother’s life-threatening gambling debt, she makes a deal with the devil and agrees to work “off book” for the mafia men she once despised. During the day, Grace must deal with the emotionally compelling cases at Roosevelt Medical – a toddler in need of a heart transplant, an elderly man desperate to donate a lung to his sick wife, the mass chaos in the wake of a two-train collision on the ‘L.’ But in her other vastly different world, she must juggle an onslaught of mob-related demands, including operating in mob-sanctioned locations, removing bullets from dead bodies to hide incriminating evidence, saving a juiced-up race horse and covertly helping an aging mobster with his erectile dysfunction. All the while, Grace must keep her dual life a secret from everyone: her protective best friend, NURSE ROBERTA “RO” ANGELI (Floriana Lima, “Glory Daze”); her handsome, blue-blooded boyfriend, DR. BRETT ROBINSON (Zach Gilford, “Off The Map,” “Friday Night Lights”); her boss at Roosevelt Medical and Chief of Surgery, DR. STAFFORD WHITE (Zeljko Ivanek, “The Event,” “Damages”); her rival, DR. OLIVIA WATSON (Jaime Lee Kirchner, “Necessary Roughness,” “Mercy”); even her well-meaning screw-up brother, NATE (Jesse Lee Soffer, “As the World Turns”), and her overly dramatic mother, DANIELLA (Wendy Makkena, “NCIS”). The only one who knows the true scope of Grace’s activities is the man to whom Grace owes her debt: the charming and diabolical Southside mob boss CONSTANTINE ALEXANDER (William Forsythe, “Boardwalk Empire”), an oddly compassionate killer whose relationship with Grace is more than it seems. Recently released from prison, the former head of the Chicago mob looks to reclaim his place in the organization, with the help of his right-hand associate – and Grace’s ex-boyfriend – FRANCO (James Carpinello, “The Good Wife”). As Grace tries to heed the demands of these two conflicting worlds – not to mention the needs of her own slightly dysfunctional family – her moral center comes into direct conflict with the very immoral things she’s asked to do. But with nerves of steel and a tough-as-nails exterior, she somehow manages to make it all work – at least for now.
Our Take: Oh, how we really wanted to look forward to this show… then we got a minute into the trailer. This is just going to be stupid. It looks like an idiotic and cartoonish attempt to combine The Chicago Code and Prison Break. Let’s just dispense with the dopey premise right off the bat: the Mafia doesn’t kill people who owe them money because you can’t collect from a dead guy, ergo, there is no life-threatening gambling debt as described above. If you need a television reference for this, we refer you to how the Newark crew dealt with Danny Scatino’s (Robert Patrick) gambling debt in The Sopranos. And holy crap did they honestly just use the quote, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” While we’re at it, let’s quote some clichéd bits from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War because that hasn’t been done enough in film and television, either.
Chance of Renewal: Forget it. It’s a serial that’s lousy writing and dialogue is going to quickly make audiences lose interest. We expect a maximum of four episodes before FOX pulls the plug. Heck, this could be this season’s Lone Starbut the difference will be that The Mob Doctor is going to suck.
The Following– The FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the “Scream” franchise). When notorious serial killer JOE CARROLL (James Purefoy, “Rome”) escapes from death row and embarks on a new killing spree, the FBI calls former agent RYAN HARDY (Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Bacon, “X-Men: First Class”) to consult on the case. Having since withdrawn from the public eye, Hardy was responsible for Carroll’s capture nine years ago, after Carroll murdered 14 female students on the Virginia college campus where he taught literature. Hardy is a walking textbook of all-things Carroll. He knows him better than anyone; he is perhaps Carroll’s only psychological and intellectual match. But the Ryan Hardy who broke the Carroll case years ago isn’t the same man today. Wounded both physically and mentally by his previous pursuit of this serial killer, it’s been a long time since Hardy has been in the field. This investigation is his redemption, his call to action. In contrast to nine years ago, Hardy isn’t calling the shots on this case. He works closely with an FBI team, which includes all-business and tough-as-nails JENNIFER MASON (Jeananne Goossen, “The Vow,” ALCATRAZ) and young, razor-sharp MIKE WESTON (Shawn Ashmore, “X-Men”).
The team considers Hardy to be more of a liability than an asset. But Hardy proves his worth when he uncovers that Carroll was covertly communicating with a network of killers in the outside world. It quickly becomes obvious that he has more planned than just a prison escape, and there’s no telling how many additional killers are out there. The FBI’s investigation leads Hardy to CLAIRE MATTHEWS (Natalie Zea, “Justified”), Carroll’s ex-wife and mother of the criminal’s 10-year-old son, JOEY (newcomer Kyle Catlett). Close during Hardy’s initial investigation, Hardy turns to Claire for insight into Carroll’s next move. The tension rises when Carroll’s accomplices kidnap his intended last victim from nine years ago. Hardy becomes ever more determined to end Carroll’s game when he realizes that this psychopath intends to finish what he started. The thriller will follow Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, masterminded by the devious Carroll, who dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his protagonist. The reinvigorated Hardy will get a second chance to capture Carroll, as he’s faced with not one but a cult of serial killers.
Our Take: Well, you had us at Kevin Bacon but this looks insanely good. There’s not a whole lot more to say on this one. This is feature film-quality stuff here as noted by the fantastic trailer below.
Chance of Renewal: Normally, we aren’t keen on serials that are mid-season replacements because they just have not historically done well on the major networks, however, this is a different story altogether. Not only does it have the Kevin Bacon star power, but it also has the amazing production values and let’s be completely honest, audiences do love their thrillers that revolve around serial killers. So, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that The Following will likely be picked up for a second season. We’re pretty sure that Kevin Reilly won’t have it any other way.
The Goodwin Games — Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when that will’s worth more than 20 million dollars, you can bet someone’s going to find a way to get the cash. From the executive producers of “How I Met Your Mother,” THE GOODWIN GAMES is a single-camera comedy that tells the story of three grown siblings who return home after their father’s death, and unexpectedly find themselves poised to inherit a vast fortune – if they adhere to their late father’s wishes. If any of the Goodwin kids feel like they deserve the money, then it’s HENRY (Scott Foley, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Felicity”), the eldest child and an overachieving surgeon. He sees himself as a role model for his less successful siblings – and reminds them every chance he gets. Returning home will force Henry to question the choices he’s made, especially as he reconnects with his first love and true soulmate, LUCINDA (Felisha Terrell, “Days of Our Lives”). Middle sibling CHLOE (Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”) was a child prodigy in math, and her unofficial role as “the smart one” of the family still sends Henry into fits of jealousy. But long ago, Chloe gave up academics in favor of being the popular girl. Now, through a series of hidden messages, her late father will lead Chloe back to her old love of numbers – and back to the person she’s meant to be. Of the three siblings, the youngest, JIMMY (Jake Lacy, “Better With You”), could use the inheritance the most. A small-time ex-con and dull-witted guitarist who’s deep in debt to a loan shark, Jimmy may be the family screw-up, but he has more heart than anyone. Like his siblings, Jimmy’s also returning to something in this town: his eight-year-old daughter. Pulling the strings from beyond the grave is the children’s late father, BENJAMIN (guest star Beau Bridges, “The Descendants”), a college math professor. Guilty over not parenting his kids better, Benjamin has left behind a series of unique challenges – administered by his estate attorney APRIL (newcomer Melissa Tang). Through these tasks, Benjamin hopes he can get his children to rediscover their true selves and learn the lessons he failed to instill in them while he was alive. Their potential reward? More than 20 million dollars – a fortune that they never knew their father had – and the chance to become the people their father wanted them to be. So let THE GOODWIN GAMES begin!
Our Take: Well, this is certainly a clever and unique little show, isn’t it? This looks surprisingly entertaining and it has kind of a My Name is Earl vibe to it… y’know… before it got stupid. We hate comedies, but this looks like fun.
We’re back for round 2 with NBC, this time introducing you to the new shows for mid-season 2012-2013. Now the problem with these mid-season shows is that all we have to go on is show descriptions and clips from the shows, not trailers, which makes it a little difficult to make an assessment as to quality because show descriptions are usually completely full of sh*t and make a show sound way better than it is and clips don’t show you anything in context. So, kindly bear with us as we muddle our way through this.
Save Me – Welcome to the Midwestern suburbs, where exciting things never happen. Well, almost never. After a near-death experience (choking on a hero sandwich), Beth (Emmy nominee Anne Heche, “Hung”) is revived only to realize she now has a direct line to God. Of course, her husband Tom (Michael Landes, “Final Destination 2”) is skeptical and dismissive – and his mistress (Alexandra Breckenridge, “American Horror Story”) is stunned to learn that her lover’s wife is now a prophet! But when inexplicable things begin to happen, everyone’s beliefs are tested. Beth starts to say and do things that shock her family and entrance her friends, but she isn’t going to be your typical “fire and brimstone” prophet. Let’s just say, if God had a desperate housewife as His mouthpiece, Beth would be it! She is the absolute last person on Earth who would be chosen. Then again, they say He works in mysterious ways. And this one is a real mystery! Heather Burns (“Bored to Death”) and Madison Davenport (“Shameless”) also star. “Save Me” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd (“Henry’s List of Wrongs,” “The Days”) is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant (“Breaking Bad,” “True Blood,” “Californication”) and executive producers Neal H. Moritz (“The Big C,” “Prison Break,” “Fast Five”), Vivian Cannon (“The Big C”) and Alexa Junge (“Friends,” “Sex and the City”).
Our Take: *Sigh* Why does NBC seem to have bug up their butt about the Midwest? It really seems as if they are going out of their way to either alienate middle-America completely or remind all of the west and east coasters just how superior they are to them. First, of course was The New Normal and now we have this. Similarities: Midwesterners are stupid/ignorant. Ellen Barkin’s character is an ignorant bigot/homophobe on The New Normal and Anne Heche’s character is an idiot who choked on a sandwich and now she thinks that God is talking to her. Next, Midwesterners are conservative hypocrites. Is it really a shock that both spouses of the female leads on both of these shows are cheating on their wives? Beyond that, on its surface if you took all of this away, this would seem to be a charming little show, but we can’t help to think that the premise is probably not presented in a manner consistent with portraying faith in a positive light. Call us cynical, but the clip and the show description aren’t helping it. Beyond that, though, this is a very recycled premise and it seems like every time it comes a long it doesn’t last particularly long. Off the top, think Joan of Arcadia, Eli Stone and most recently A Gifted Man and those shows were generally uplifting and not cynical as this appears to be.
Chance of Renewal: Based solely on the fact that this premise hasn’t caught on over the last decade that it’s been tried, we’re going to have to say that this will probably not make it past a handful of episodes, despite the semi-star power of Anne Heche.
1600 Penn– The Gilchrists are just the average American family dealing with all the everyday issues – like a grown kid who’s forced to move back home, children who are smarter than their teachers and a stepmom (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma and Greg”) desperately trying to win over the kids. They’re loving, fun and a little crazy. In other words, just like everybody else. With one exception: they live in a very special house. The White House! Whether it’s entertaining foreign dignitaries, sneaking away for a night out, dealing with middle school crushes or putting out fires – figuratively and sometimes literally – there’s never a dull moment in the Gilchrist White House. For example, the First Son (Josh Gad, star of Broadway sensation “The Book of Mormon”) is one of the administration’s biggest liabilities, but also the glue that holds this family together. The President (Bill Pullman, “Independence Day,” “While You Were Sleeping”) knows too well that the only thing harder than being Head of State is being head of the family. Also starring are Martha MacIsaac (“Superbad”), Andre Holland (“Friends with Benefits”), Amara Miller (“The Descendants”) and Benjamin Stockham (“Sons of Tucson”). “Modern Family” meets “The West Wing” in this election-year comedy from Emmy-winning executive producer/director Jason Winer (“Modern Family”). The executive producers are Winer, Gad and Jon Lovett (former White House speechwriter). Winer also directed the pilot. “1600 Penn” is produced by 20th Century Fox.
Our Take: Yes! Our prayers have finally been answered. Bill Pullman is President of the United States, once again. This is something we’ve wanted since Independence Day… we just weren’t expecting it to happen in comedy form. Despite the limited information from the clip below, just reading between the lines on this gives us a lot of insight as to the quality of this offering. First, you’ve got two big leads in Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman and you know they weren’t signing on to a crap show because they can be more selective with their roles. More importantly, though, is the fact that the show is from the brains behind Modern Family which hopefully will mean nothing but good things.
Chance of Renewal: Very difficult to tell from the clip and the show description on its face but if it’s as good as we think it will be based on the aforementioned factors, this will be an easy hit for NBC.
Next Caller– What happens when a foulmouthed satellite radio DJ – played by the multi-platinum selling artist and outrageously charming Dane Cook (“My Best Friend’s Girl”) – is forced to share the mic with a chipper NPR feminist? It’s anyone’s call in this sharp new comedy from producer Stephen Falk (“Weeds”) and Emmy-winning director Marc Buckland (“Grimm,” “My Name Is Earl”). It’s her first day in New York City, and 26-year-old Stella Hoobler (Collette Wolfe, “Young Adult”) is ready to take on the world. After a stint on public radio, she’s been hired to co-host the no-holds-barred show “Booty Calls with Cam Dunne.” Smart, spunky and passionate, Stella is determined to elevate the show beyond its boy’s-club-locker-room humor into a respected debate about men, women and the state of human relationships. But there’s a problem: Cam! She’s going to find out the hard way that he’s got no intention of sharing the spotlight, especially with someone like her. It’s going to be a tense fight, but with the station’s one rule being “make some noise,” Cam and Stella could be a winning combination – as long as they don’t knock each other out on their way to success. Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”), Joy Osmanski (“True Jackson, VP”) and Wolé Parks (“Premium Rush”) also star. The series is created and executive-produced by Stephen Falk (“Weeds”) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Marc Buckland (“Grimm,” “My Name Is Earl”), who also serves as executive producer on the pilot. “Next Caller” is produced by Lionsgate Television and Universal Television.
Our Take: First, any time a show description begins with “What happens when a _______ ,” you know you’re in trouble. Second, any time your lead is Dane Cook, you know you’re in trouble. Hasn’t this guy gone away, yet? No offense to Mr. Cook, but as fun as his comedy routine was (like a decade ago) he’s kinda worn thin and really has no business in film or television. Truthfully, based on that show description and the clip below, we really have no idea what this mess is about, nor do we really care.
Chance of Renewal: We aren’t the only ones who aren’t impressed with Dane Cook and as noted there’s not a whole lot being brought to the table with this. We expect this to last three or four episodes at the very most.
Do No Harm– Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, “Rescue Me”) is a highly respected neurosurgeon who has it all – a lucrative career, confident charm, the gift of compassion. But he also has a deep, dark secret. One morning when he wakes up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room amidst several near-naked women he’s never seen before, he knows one thing: it’s happening again. Every night at the same hour, something inside Jason changes, leaving him almost unrecognizable – seductive, devious, borderline sociopathic. This new man is his dangerous alternate personality who goes by the name of ‘Ian Price.’ For years he’s battled Ian, keeping him in check with a powerful experimental sedative. But now his – their – body has developed a resistance to the serum, setting Ian free once again. And to make matters worse, after being suppressed for so long, Ian’s hell-bent on taking revenge on his oppressor. With everyone Jason cares about at risk – patients, friends, coworkers and even the woman he loves – he’s got to stop Ian once and for all. Will they find some common ground, or will they bring each other down? Hell hath no fury like an alter ego scorned. Also starring are Alana De La Garza (“Law & Order”), Mousa Kraish (“Superbad”), Michael Esper (“A Beautiful Mind”), Ruta Gedmintas (“The Borgias”) and Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”). “Do No Harm” is produced by Universal Television and Traugott Company. The executive producer/writer is David Schulner (“Desperate Housewives,” “The Event”). Peter Traugott (“Ringer”) and Rachel Kaplan (“Ringer”) also are executive producers. Michael Mayer (NBC’s “Smash”) is the co-executive producer and director.
Our Take: Well, we don’t know about you but it’s pretty obvious that this is a reboot/re-imagining of the classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and it seems very close to Stephen Moffat’s Hyde from the BBC in 2007 starring James Nesbitt. Can’t blame NBC on two fronts, here; first, after the success of Grimm, they’d be stupid not to venture down the road of rebooting classic horror. Second, hey, if CBS can bring Sherlock Holmes to New York City and call it Elementary in response to Stephen Moffat’s success with the BBC’s Sherlock, then why can’t they get in on the action, as well, but if anyone even thinks of doing a U.S. version of Doctor Who, we will stop watching American television altogether. All things considering, this looks really good and quite creepy.
Chance of Renewal: If it’s as it looks and it can get that Grimm audience, easy winner on this one if it isn’t hurt by the fact that it’s a mid-season replacement. Check out the two clips below. They were so good we couldn’t decide which ones to post.
Infamous — When wealthy socialite and notorious party girl Vivian Bowers is found dead of an overdose, no one is really surprised. The heiress to the Bowers pharmaceutical empire has been tabloid fodder for years: wild, pretty, privileged… and now dead at the age of 32. But for FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso, “Avatar”), things don’t add up with this suspicious dynasty. Convinced that the troubled girl’s death was a homicide, he has a clever plan to get to the truth. Her name is Detective Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good, “Think Like a Man”). Twenty years ago, she was Vivian’s best friend, having grown up in the Bowers’ home as daughter of the family housekeeper. And when she appears at Vivian’s funeral, the family re-embraces her and no one is the wiser. Joanna quickly begins to uncover dark secrets and clues about why Vivian’s life was very much in danger. At the same time, she rekindles an old romantic relationship and rediscovers the allure of the luxurious lifestyle she once knew. She’s about to see once again just how the other half lives… and dies. Also starring are Victor Garber (“Alias”), Tate Donovan (“Damages”), Katherine La Nasa (“Alfie”), Neil Jackson (“Quantum of Solace”) and Ella Rae Peck (“Gossip Girl”). “Infamous” comes from executive producer/writer Liz Heldens (“Friday Night Lights”) and director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dirty Sexy Money”). Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein are also executive producers. The series is from Universal Television and BermanBraun.
Our Take: We’ve now seen two clips of this show and it just looks like a completely horrible version of Revenge, minus the… well… revenge part of it.
Chance of Renewal: This show not only looks awful but it’s a mid-season serial. Forget it.
Hannibal — One of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this new drama from Bryan Fuller(“Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”), based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ classic novels, we see where this incredible story began. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, “The Big C”) is a gifted criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI. Graham’s unique way of thinking gives him the astonishing ability to empathize with anyone – even psychopaths. He seems to know what makes them tick. But when the mind of the twisted killer he’s pursuing is too complicated for even Will to comprehend, he enlists the help of Dr. Lecter, one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country. Armed with the uncanny expertise of the brilliant doctor, Will and Hannibal (known as a serial killer only to the audience) form a brilliant partnership and it seems there’s no villain they can’t catch. If Will only knew… Fuller is writer and executive producer. Martha De Laurentis (“Red Dragon,” “Hannibal”), Sara Colleton (“Dexter”), Jesse Alexander (“Lost”, “Heroes”), and Katie O’Connell also serve as executive producers. David Slade is the director/executive producer for the series pilot. ”Hannibal” is produced by Gaumont International Television.
Our Take: No clips available yet for this one so we have to go based on gut instinct and the show description. In theory, it looks great. In reality, NBC tried doing a popular fiction book-to-film-to-television series adaptation already just this season with The Firm and it was an absolute disaster.
Chance of Renewal: Unlikely success with the whole history repeating itself thing going on. It might have a chance as a serial if it were to premiere in the fall but new serials just don’t work mid-season. It’s unfortunate, but this show probably will not survive.
It that time of year again, folks; the time of year when the networks introduce to us all of the new shows they picked up for the upcoming television season and we guess which two will actually remain on the schedule by this same time the following year.
The first victim this year is NBC if only for the reason that they were the first ones that showed up in the TV-Tastic inbox. All things considered surprisingly with the exception of a couple of new series (one of which doesn’t look horrible, just… redundant), it looks pretty good. Below is the skinny on all of the shows that will premiere in the fall. We’ll be doing another piece to cover the mid-season shows tomorrow.
Go On — Misery loves company. Unless you’re sportscaster Ryan King (Matthew Perry, “Friends,” “Mr. Sunshine”) who thinks misery should just be left alone. After taking some time off, Ryan – who recently lost his wife in a car accident – is now ready to get back to work. And while he seems like his same old charming, cocky self, his boss won’t set him back on the air until he seeks counseling. So, Ryan reluctantly joins a support group with one goal in mind: get in, get out and get back on the radio as quickly as possible. Played by the fast-talking, sarcastic, and charismatic Perry, Ryan gives grief a real run for its money. Within one day of group therapy, he hijacks the meeting and suddenly the downtrodden are cajoled into playing a game of “who’s got the best sob story?” And in no time all of them are battling it out, trying to one-up each other’s despair. Now, this is fun! Ryan’s total lack of interest in healing might be just what this group needs – and maybe, exactly what he needs to move on with his life. Also starring are Tony winner Laura Benanti (“The Playboy Club”), Julie White (“Transformers”), Suzy Nakamura (“Dodgeball”), Khary Payton (“General Hospital”) and Allison Miller (“Terra Nova”). From the Emmy-winning writer and executive producer Scott Silveri (“Perfect Couples,” “Friends”) comes a new series that proves grief can be good. Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) and Karey Burke (“Free Agents,” “Miss/Guided”) also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland. “Go On” is a production of Universal Television, Dark Toy Entertainment and Silver & Gold Productions.
Our Take: Art imitates life apparently, because, as we suggested the last time we had to review a Matthew Perry vehicle (Mr. Sunshine), his projects are simply an acting-out of his own issues with depression and other related mental illnesses (and addiction). Go On appears to be his therapy and unlike Mr. Sunshine, it actually looks quite promising despite that even in its trailer there are some cringe-worthy moments for anyone who actually has ever had any involvement in actual therapy. It looks like this is what you call your “dramedy” and Perry actually looks quite comfortable in this new role which is something he wasn’t with Mr. Sunshine.
Chance of Renewal: Tough to call. Audiences could either become very attached to this show or dismiss it after the first episode. We’ve noted before that Perry is very milquetoast and doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table as far as being a draw is concerned so it’s going to be up to him win audiences over.
The New Normal– These days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, “Girls,” “The Book of Mormon”) and David (Justin Bartha, “The Hangover”) are a Beverly Hills couple and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed and loving partnership, the one thing missing is a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, “One Day”), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin, “Ocean’s Thirteen”), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke – but also fertile – Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. “The New Normal” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Productions. Murphy serves as creator/executive producer and director along with executive producer/creator/writer Ali Adler (“Glee,” “Chuck”) and executive producer Dante Di Loreto (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”).
Our Take: Remember how we said all but a couple shows look great? Well this is the first one that looks horrible. Ryan Murphy is simply not content with having a show without a a political agenda that serves to mock and insult middle-America. The problem we have with this obvious and vulgar attempt of one-upping the brilliant Modern Family is that even in the trailer it’s done with such a sense of mean-spiritedness and political preachiness that it puts David E. Kelley’s crap to shame. Don’t believe us, simply watch the trailer. Three times they made a point to focus on the Ohio license plates on the car (perhaps this is a not so subtle attempt by the producers to make Ohio voters feel guilty and remind them they are in a battleground state this November?) and then they made the point to portray the main character’s grandmother’s as a small-minded white bigot and homophobe… because, of course, all white people from the Midwest over 30 are bigoted homophobes. And the loudmouth stereotypical black woman (who admits that she’s a thief, thereby promoting yet another stereotype) bawling out the grandmother and making a reference to Calista Gingrich (a name for when 95% of the audiences hear it they will collectively say, “who?”) was a nice touch, as well. So, the bottom line is that people from Ohio are small-minded bigots and homophobes and will do anything for money and that Calista Gingrich is one as well because of her haircut. Fantastic. Oh, did we mention that all the agenda advancing aside, the show looks like an absolute disjointed mess filled with nothing but bad sitcom clichés. So, yeah, it’s got that going for it, as well.
Chance of Renewal: Slim to none, in fact we wouldn’t be surprised if this gets canceled mid-season or sooner. First, audiences, are sick of tired of being preached to and they particularly don’t like it when the producers are intentionally trying to alienate them. Second, as noted, this looks like a typically bad sitcom and audiences are going to quickly figure out that it’s a cheap copy of Modern Family.
Animal Practice– Meet Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk, “Weeds”), a top-dog New York veterinarian. With an unorthodox style of operating, George’s success comes from his undeniable gift with animals of all kinds. That is, all but the human kind. Dorothy Crane once held the key to George’s heart, but today she also holds the key to the family business as she takes over Crane Animal Hospital. Not only is she George’s new boss, but her romantic history with him and her lack of experience with animals is seriously cramping his style. Dorothy is whip-smart and ambitious, and she’s going to make George pay for the past. Needless to say, he’s determined not to make any changes in his (animal) kingdom — which includes poker games with a resident capuchin monkey. Also starring are Tyler Labine (“Reaper,” “Sons of Tucson”) as Dr. Doug Jackson, a vet who’s great with animals but hapless in matters of the heart, Bobby Lee (“Harold & Kumar”) as Dr. Yamamoto, and newcomer Betsy Sodaro as Angela. “Animal Practice” is a production of Universal Television and American Work Inc. The executive producers are Scot Armstrong (“The Hangover Part II,” “Old School”) and Ravi Nandan (“Best Friends Forever”) of American Work Inc. (“Best Friends Forever”) along with Emmy Award winners Joe & Anthony Russo (“Community,” “Arrested Development”). “Animal Practice” was written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (“The Sitter”), who also serve as executive producers. Gail Lerner (“Happy Endings”) also is an executive producer. Directed by the Emmy-winning Russo brothers, “Animal Practice” is a comedy where the animals are running the asylum.
Our Take: OK… we really hate to admit this, but this show looks insanely funny. It’s certainly a new take on the standard comedy. It’s ridiculously irrelevant and sarcastic and it seems quite brilliant. Without even looking at the show description, it was pretty obvious that there was involvement from the folks at Community because it definitely has that kind of vibe to it. Honestly, the funniest moment in any television trailer ever is in this clip at the end with the turtle races. Not going to spoil it, but you’ll know why when you see it.
Chance of Renewal: If this show is as funny as it looks, 100%. For crap’s sake they renewedWhitney over there at the Peacock, didn’t they?
Guys with Kids– From Emmy winner and executive producer Jimmy Fallon comes a new comedy about three thirty-something dads trying to hold on to their youth, while holding onto their new babies’ hands. Easy, right? Thankfully, Chris (Jesse Bradford, “The West Wing”), Nick (Zach Cregger, “Friends with Benefits”) and Gary (Anthony Anderson, “Law & Order”) have each other to help navigate their survival as new dads, while still trying desperately to remain dudes. Balancing work or staying at home, painfully married or happily divorced, they know that taking care of the little ones while maintaining a social life is a daily challenge. Whether it’s hosing the little squirt down in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with a baby björn, these guys are on a roller-coaster adventure – parenting like you (and they) have never seen before. Also starring are Jamie Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) and Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”). Someone once said it is much easier to become a father than to be one. These three guys are about to find out just how true that is. “Guys with Kids” is produced by Universal Television and Holiday Road. Fallon (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) serves as executive producer/creator along with executive producer/creator/writer Charlie Grandy (NBC’s “The Office”) and executive producer/creator Amy Ozols (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) as well as executive producers Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz (“Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” “American Dad”). Emmy-nominated director Scott Ellis (“Modern Family,” “30 Rock”) is the director.
Our Take: As far as standard, multi-camera sitcoms go, this really doesn’t look bad. We actually found ourselves laughing four or five times during the trailer which is far more than we did during any episode of Whitney or $#*! My Dad Says. That, in and of itself gives it some hope despite the fact that we also face-palmed it several times because of the typical sitcom crap that we hate.
Chance of Renewal: 50/50 on this one. This could be decent or this trailer could be the only thing entertaining about it. Plenty of shows have done that to us (see The Playboy Cluband Pan Am for examples of this). We should know by episode three.
Revolution — Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future. From director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Person of Interest”) and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally. The series stars Billy Burke (“The Twilight Saga”), Tracy Spiridakos (“Being Human”), Anna Lise Phillips (“Terra Nova”), Zak Orth (“Romeo + Juliet“), Graham Rogers (“Memphis Beat”), J.D. Pardo (“A Cinderella Story”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), David Lyons (“The Cape”), Maria Howell (“The Blind Side”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man”) and Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me”). Kripke, Abrams, Favreau and Bryan Burk (“Lost,” “Star Trek”) serve as executive producers. “Revolution” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was directed by Favreau.
Our Take: Fact: we like everything with J.J. Abrams’ name attached to it so we’re ridiculously biased about this, however… c’mon, now! This looks awesome… despite the fact the fact that it looks a whole lot like Terra Nova. Let’s be honest: this is post-apocalyptic/new-earth stuff going on here, so, even though the basic concept is novel, the overall premise is pretty recycled… but that’s OK. As we’ve noted, all Science Fiction today is recycled, it’s how it’s packaged that counts. This is feature film quality all the way around with Abrams, John Favreau and Bryan Burk attached to it and it is great to see Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) getting a regular gig, again. We can only imagine how much this costs to produce and props to NBC for picking it up.
Chance of Renewal: Honestly, very iffy, and that’s generous. We really don’t doubt that this show is going to be fantastic, but the problem is that Science Fiction as a genre (epsecially big-budget epic Science Fiction) continues to struggle on major network television and NBC is a struggling network to begin with. Let’s hope we’re wrong, but if recent history (Terra Nova, The Event, FlashForward… to name a few) is any indication of what’s to come, it’s unlikely that Revolution will last more than a season.
Chicago Fire– No job is more stressful, dangerous or exhilarating than those of the Firefighters, Rescue Squad and Paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51. These are America’s everyday heroes — the courageous men and women who forge headfirst into danger when everyone else is running the other way. But the enormous responsibilities of the job also take a personal toll. Big reputations and hefty egos, coupled with the pressure to perform and make split-second decisions, are bound to put squad members at odds. When a tragedy claims one of their own, there’s plenty of guilt and blame to go around. In the middle of a divorce, Lt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer, “House M.D.”) tries to go about business as usual but can’t help butting heads with the brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney, “The Vampire Diaries”) of the Rescue Squad – and each blames the other for their fallen team member. When it’s “go-time” though, they put aside their differences and put everything on the line for each other. “Chicago Fire” is a look inside one of America’s noblest professions. Also starring are Eamonn Walker (“The Messenger”), Charlie Barnett, (“Law & Order: SVU”), David Eigenberg (“Sex and the City”), Monica Raymund (“The Good Wife”), Lauren German (“Hawaii Five-O”), Teri Reeves (“Three Rivers”) and Merle Dandridge (“Sons of Anarchy”). “Chicago Fire” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films. Emmy Award-winning creator/ producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand), Derek Haas (“3:10 to Yuma”), Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”), Peter Jankowski (“Law & Order” brand) and Danielle Gelber serve as executive producers. Haas and Brandt wrote the pilot, which was directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (“Homeland”). From renowned Emmy-winning producer Dick Wolf and the writing team behind “3:10 to Yuma” comes an edge-of-your-seat view of a dirty job that often means the difference between life and death.
Our Take: As much as we admit our bias in favor of J.J. Abrams, we are as equally honest about our bias against Dick Wolf who really hasn’t done anything creative in over twenty years. But our biases aside, we would have the same opinon of Chicago Fire regardless of who developed it because anyone could have developed this cookie-cutter series. It doesn’t really seem much different from anything that’s come before. It’s simply a bland procedural with generic characters thrown in and an attempt to portray some kind of personal drama between the characters. Sorry, Dick, but we’ve seen all of this before, we’re not impressed. It’s not awful it’s just nothing new.
Chance of Renewal: Tough to call. Audiences generally lap up this crap because it’s simplistic and easy for the masses to get into week to week but lately, Dick Wolf’s projects have been so completely lazy that they have have seen right through them and stopped watching mid-season (see: Law & Order: Los Angeles, Law & Order: Trial By Jury).
We’re doing something a little different this time because it’s been a couple of months since our last programming update and there have been some changes since then announced so it just doesn’t make sense for us to keep updating a piece we did back in January.
So here’s a complete list (at least as complete as we can get, currently) of all the new and returning shows coming in March and April.
Thursday March 1st
NBC 10:00 p.m. Awake YES! – STAFF PICK
Awake simply has so much going for it. It stars Jason Isaacs who we think is great in everything he does plus it’s a compelling detective drama with a SciFi, metaphysical twist and it’s one of those shows like Lost where audiences will already be invested in it before they even realize it’s a SciFi show. We have seen the pilot already and are very excited for this show. We hope NBC is smart enough to promote the crap out of it, because if they don’t, it’s going to disappear as quickly as it premieres.
Below is the extended trailer, if you want to see the entire pilot episode ahead of the premiere click here!
Sunday March 4th
A&E 10:00 p.m. Breakout Kings YES!
We loved this better-than-average unique procedural when it aired last spring and if the damned DVR hadn’t crapped out, we would have seen more than the first four episodes. The upside is that it’ll be on Netflix streaming soon and the discs will be available in March 13th. Great show, has a bit of an arc to it, but if that’s not your thing you won’t have to worry about getting lost if you miss an a episode here and there.
ABC 10:00 p.m. GCB NO!
FKA, Good Christian Bitches, FKA Good Christian Belles, all we can say is way-to-go in “let’s-alienate-78%-of-our-audience-before-a-single-episode-has-aired-with-the-title-alone” department, ABC. Despite this, however, just watch the trailer to figure out on your own what a total sh*tfest this is going to be. That combined with the fact that it’s an idiotic soap that’s trying to clone Desperate Housewives in order to pick up the mantle after it ends this Spring, provides a compelling enough reason for us to never watch it. That being said, we’re sure it’s going to be massive a hit for that crowd.
Tuesday March 6th
Breaking In 9:30 p.m. YES! – STAFF PICK
Against all odds, Breaking In has done what only one other show in the history of television has done: it was renewed after being canceled, not once, but twice. If history has shown us anything, maybe that’s a good spot to be in considering that the only other show to hold that distinction is Family Guy. We absolutely loved Breaking In (our favorite new comedy of last season) when it came out last Spring and after it was cancelled in May and rumors immediately started flying that FOX was looking for a way to work something out with Sony to bring it back, we predicted that the rumors were probably true and that it probably would happen despite what many of the other outlets claimed. Of course, we were right and it looks as if FOX is reading our blog because they permanently moved Breaking In to the bottom of the hour slot post-Raising Hope instead of the top of the hour post-Idol. With Will and Grace‘s Megan Mullally joining the regular cast, let’s hope it can keep the ratings up and get picked up for a third season.
Thursday March 15th
ABC 8:00 p.m. MissingYES!
Mixed emotions on this. Spies, non-stop action, Ashley Judd… what’s not to love, right? We thought so, too, but then we noticed the timeslot and we’re slightly concerned over the description of the plot and it’s very clichéd nature. The timeslot is an issue because at 8:00 p.m., you can expect a very watered-down show. Still looks great, though.
NBC 8:00 p.m. Community YES!
Communityfinally comes back for another semester to the delight of fans everywhere. We knew it would, but nobody seemed to believe us. The question is whether or not it will survive and get picked up again for next year. We certainly hope so.
Monday March 19th
FOX 9:00 p.m. Touch YES! – STAFF PICK
The Tastic says: Kiefer Sutherland returns to television with Danny Glover in this fantastic looking, high-concept, SciFi drama from Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes. If you saw the pilot on January 25th, we don’t need to tell you how good this show is. We are predicting that this will be the best new show of the 2011 – 2012 season… yes, even better than Showtime’s Homeland.
Sunday March 25th
AMC 9:00 p.m. Mad Men YES!
After an obnoxiously long hiatus reminiscent of The Sopranos, the 1960’s throwback period-piece that put AMC on the map as a player in the dramatic television game is back for its fifth season. If you haven’t done it already, you can still catch up with the first four seasons on Netflix streaming.
Sunday April 1st
AMC 10:00 p.m. The KillingYES! – STAFF PICK
AMC doubles-down on their hit The Killing, a show that either you got or you didn’t. We did and appropriately gave it a rare perfect score for its first season, especially, and not in spite of the twist-ending in the season finale. For all of the haters out there that are still pissed because they didn’t wrap up the season in the nice and tidy, vanilla, generic and clichéd way that you expected them to because you’ve been so numbed by bad American police procedurals, don’t worry, the producers have assured us that Rosie Larsen’s murderer will be revealed this season …you big babies.
As promised, The ‘Tastic is proud to present the first-look trailers for all of The NBC’s new shows what little there are. Yes, we are aware that we are late to the party on this, but NBC released their schedule last Sunday, and they didn’t include any trailers on YouTube. Along with synopses and videos, in true TV-Tastic-style we’ll give you a preview assessment of each of the new series (in other words, we plan to pretty much rip most of them apart) letting you know what we think about them and if it’s worth your time to check them out this Fall and just to give everyone a heads up: it looks really good for NBC.
Also, since we didn’t do it initially, here are some programming notes:
Comcast has sunk an extra $200 million into NBC’s programming for this season. Whether or not this means that the quality of the programming will increase remains to be seen.
NBC is doing a lot of rebooting of other shows or carbon copying other networks’ programming this Fall in their dramas and comedy. It’s kind of weird but it actually looks like it may work.
These new shows are all very diverse in content and should attract a very wide audience.
Without a doubt, overall, (amazingly enough) NBC has the best-looking new programs on network TV. We sincerely hope that the new shows will be watched.
2011-12 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
Prime Suspect: Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, “Prime Suspect” has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (“Desperate Housewives,” “NYPD Blue”), director Peter Berg (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) — and stars Maria Bello (“A History of Violence”) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the prime suspect.
The ‘Tastic says: We really liked the British version of this show and the big difference between the two is that this version is trying to be a lot more cool and fast-paced and there seems to be a very heavy office-politics angle that wasn’t present as much before. However, it does look pretty decent, all things considering for a show that at its heart is a vanilla cop-procedural.
The Playboy Club: From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, “The Playboy Club” is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, “Take the Lead”), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, ”Numb3rs”), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of the Playboy club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, “American Virgin”), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, “CSI: Miami”), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton (“Fame”) and Leah Renee (“True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”).
The ‘Tastic says: So, it seems that since ABC jumped on the Madmen 1960’s-hip bandwagon with Pan Ameveryone wants to get in on this action (NOTE: this isn’t the only time this season that NBC will follow ABC’s lead). Heck, they even have a Sinatra song in the opening of the trailer. TPC does look pretty interesting, though, and it seems like the kind of show that Mrs. ‘Tastic would enjoy as well. That will increase the number to three that we share in common. Keep it up, NBC. You’re two for two.
Smash: “Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire — to be a “Smash.” The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe — written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, “Legally Blonde: The Musical”) and Julia (Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee, “American Idol”) — who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds — and stage veteran (Megan Hilty, “9 to 5: The Musical”), who’s determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Oscar winner, Anjelica Huston, “Prizzi’s Honor”) discovers the “Marilyn” project and jumps on board with a brilliant director (Jack Davenport, “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) — whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality.
The ‘Tastic says: NBC’s answer to Glee with a whole lot of Fame thrown in for good measure. Not our cup of tea by any stretch of the imagination but it seems again like it’s right up Mrs. Tastic’s alley so we’ll probably wind up watching it. With Steven Spielberg’s name behind it, it looks like this could be a hit, but then again, it is on NBC. But hey, Three for Three!
Grimm: “Grimm” is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli “Turn The Beat Around”) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, “Grey’s Anatomy”) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real.
The ‘Tastic says: NBC’s answer to both ABC’s Once Upon a Timeand FOX’s Fringe. Actually, NBC is trying to put this up against Fringe on Friday nights and that may be a very big miscalculation, going for a genre audience that is already very loyal to another series. We think it looks like a good guilty pleasure (not sure about great, yet), but we are very concerned about this questionable scheduling. No matter to us as we have a DVR and aren’t a Nielsen Household. Four for Four, though in the quality department.
Awake: “Awake” is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs, “Harry Potter,” “Brotherhood”) who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality. When Detective Michael Britten (Issacs) regains consciousness following his family’s car accident, he is told that his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, “Terriers”) perished but that his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, “Saving Grace”), has survived. As he tries to put the pieces of his life back together, he awakens again in a parallel reality in which his wife is very much alive — but his son Rex died in the accident. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities in parallel worlds, which churns up confusion — in one moment, Michael and his wife debate about having another child to replace their son, while in the other reality, he is attracted to his son’s tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, “The Vampire Diaries”), to fill the void from the loss of his wife. Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to police work and solves crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners — Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “That ’70s Show”).
The ‘Tastic says: This show is one of the best-looking new shows on the entire Big-5 network primetime schedule and is by far the best looking show on NBC this season. This is what we mean when we use the phrase, “high-concept,” not this, ABC! It’s a bit like CBS’s new drama, A Gifted Man, in which a self-centered physician is conversing with his dead ex-wife, the only woman he ever loved, who is guiding him through his life. In both cases, as the audience, part of the mystery is whether or not our leads are really experiencing what they claim to see or if these visions are all brought on by some sort of mental/emotional instability… or worse, if all of this is just in the imagination of a little boy with autism who stares into a snowglobe all day that has a little replica of a hospital in it. Awake simply has so much going for it. It stars Jason Isaacs who we think is great in everything he does plus it’s a compelling detective drama with a SciFi, metaphysical twist and it’s one of those shows like Lost where audiences will already be invested in it before they even realize it’s a SciFi show. We can’t express how excited for this show we are. We hope NBC is smart enough to promote the crap out of it. A resounding five for five, NBC.
The Firm: Based on the blockbuster feature film and best-selling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham (“The Pelican Brief,” “The Client”), “The Firm” continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob — and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future — only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere.
The ‘Tastic says: In principle we hate this concept even worse than we hate the concept of Napoleon Dynamite the animated series and for all of the exact same reasons, just ten-fold. Seriously this movie came out in 1993 when we were seniors in High School for goodness sake and the novel was released in 1991. This reeks of recycling dated material. That being said, the show description above and the John Grisham’s own video statement about the series, here, make a compelling case for The Firm as a suspenseful series. As long as Grisham is as heavily involved as he seems to be, this should be pretty good. Six for Six, NBC.
(Since this is a midseason replacement, NBC has not released a trailer for it yet.)
Whitney: A hilarious look at modern love, “Whitney” is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, “Chelsea Lately”) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, “The Other Guys”) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, “The Starter Wife”) — and then snaps into action. A few awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them.
The ‘Tastic says: Just when we were ready to claim that NBC had a flawless score on new pick-ups for the Big-5 networks, they hit us with this piece of crap. Besides the fact that it’s obviously just a typically horrible sitcom using all of the standard clichés, canned laughter and plot-devices, the overall premise is simply offensive. We don’t normally get excited about the variety of political and social messages that permeate primetime television programming but we have to draw a line here. Where the Hell do they get off creating a series with the general premise of disparaging and minimizing the value of marriage as if it’s “no big deal.” We hate to be the ones to break this to the producers, but marriage is far more than “just a piece of paper” and no, unmarried couples living together for five years should not be afforded the same stature in society as married couples. Regardless of this, though, it seriously looks almost as bad as $#*! My Dad Says. All of these characters are clones of Friends characters. Seriously, that guy, Alex… he’s effing Chandler except he looks like he needs a bath and rehab. The only joke we laughed at in the trailer was when they were role-playing and she gave him the new patient information forms to fill-out and the only reason that we paid attention to that is that we were completely distracted by her ass in the red panties so unless they intend to dress her in those every week, expect this show to die a quick death. Total Fail.
Up All Night: From Emily Spivey (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on Parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who?”) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part.
The ‘Tastic says: Well, at least they made up for Whitney with this. This is one of the few sitcoms that we’ve seen trailers for that actually make the show worth watching. Anyone who is a parent can relate to pretty much everything in this show. It’s the golden rule of first time parents: no matter how much you think you know, no matter how much you think you’ve prepared, and no matter how much advice other parents have given you, you have NO IDEA what you’re in for. Christina Applegate is always charming and it’s good to see Will Arnett in a role that he’s actually likable and endearing in as opposed to most of his roles where he’s usually known for being – and we’ll say it – a complete prick. One of the few sitcoms we’ve ever actually looked forward to seeing.
Free Agents: “Free Agents” is a crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, “The Simpsons,” “Huff”) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, “Hung”) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, “Love Bites,” “Modern Family”) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Gary, Unmarried”), and Stephen (Anthony Head, “Merlin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully awkward relationship.
The ‘Tastic says: Yet another series from the U.K. rebooted for NBC. We’re not familiar with the U.K. version and we’re not particularly interested in this, either. It doesn’t look horrible, it just doesn’t look original (obviously it’s not if it’s a reboot of a U.K. series) or worth investing a whole lot of time in. Seriously… middle-aged guy, recently divorced, going through mid-life crisis? C’mon, now. What is this really bringing to the table? Also, it’s kinda hard for us to take Moe Szyslak seriously as the recently divorced stud.
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea: Inspired by the best-selling book from comedienne/talk show host Chelsea Handler (“Chelsea Lately”), the new comedy “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” follows the exploits of twentysomething bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon, “That ’70s Show”) a strong-willed force of nature who is determined to live life to the fullest and make no apologies. Her friends are along for the ride but they all know it is Chelsea’s way or the highway. Mark (Jo Koy, “Chelsea Lately”) is a charming bartender whose wit makes him the perfect foil for Chelsea while Shoniqua (Angel Laketa Moore, “ER”) is a smart and sassy fellow waitress who looks out for Chelsea’s best interests. Close friend and fellow bartender Todd (Mark Povinelli, “Water for Elephants”) has a wry sense of humor that keeps her in check.
The ‘Tastic says: Without a doubt, this is this season’s $#*! My Dad Says. New comedy series loosely based on an observational humor book, so yep, there it is. It looks like they may have gotten it right this time by having it be written by Chelsea Handler and her staff as opposed to $MDS in which the creator had zero experience in television writing and wasn’t responsible for the actual writing. We shouldn’t want to like this show because it does contain all of the sitcom clichés that we always complain about, however, just from the little bit that we saw, there is no question that this show has Handler’s unique sense of humor and therefore we’ll begrudgingly watch this and see what happens.
Best Friends Forever: “Best Friends Forever” is a single-camera comedy that takes a look at what happens when best friends promise to support each other — no matter what the cost or circumstances. When Jessica’s (Jessica St. Clair, “In the Motherhood”) husband files for divorce, she immediately seeks comfort and flies across the country to move back in with her best friend, Lennon (Lennon Parham, “Accidentally on Purpose”). Unfortunately, Lennon’s boyfriend, Joe (Adam Pally, “Happy Endings”), has just moved into the apartment and has turned Jessica’s old room into his perfect home office. As Lennon and Jessica fall into their old routines — beloved traditions, Steel Magnolia marathons and epic girl-talk sessions — Joe begins to feel as if he’s the odd man out. While Lennon struggles to find balance between her previous life with Jessica and her new life with Joe, Jessica’s reentry to single life is complicated by the unresolved feelings that an old friend, Rav (Stephen Schneider, “The Funniest Movie Ever…Just Kidding”), has for her and the fact that pleated khakis aren’t the most flattering single girl look.
The ‘Tastic says: It’s difficult to judge this show without a little more context than the video below. Although what can be said is that the setup for the joke at the end was very good and for that alone we’ll check it out. No promises, though. This goes into the column of “Maybe.”
Bent: “Bent” is a new romantic comedy about two people who suddenly find themselves attracted to the qualities that typically repel them. On the surface, Alex (Amanda Peet, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) and Pete (David Walton, “Perfect Couples”) could not be more different. The recently divorced Alex is a resilient and tough lawyer who now is raising her eight-year-old daughter, Charlie (Joey King, “Ramona and Beezus”), as a single mom. Unwilling to let anything get in her way, she downsizes into a smaller house, and she hires Pete, a recovering gambling addict and unapologetic womanizer, as the contractor to re-do her kitchen. The remodeling job is Pete’s last chance to prove that he is no longer a screw-up — but he doesn’t know what’s about to hit him when he encounters the force of nature that is Alex — nor does she realize that she’s met her match in Pete, a man unafraid to call out her flaws. Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) also stars as Pete’s father, Walt, an out-of-work actor, while Margo Harshman (“Sorority Row”) stars as Alex’s wild younger sister Screwsie. This romantic comedy from writer and executive producer Tad Quill (“Scrubs,” “Spin City”) and director Craig Zisk (“Nurse Jackie,” “Weeds”) will prove that these resilient characters are “bent, not broken.” The series is produced by Universal Media Studios.
The ‘Tastic says: Well, hot damn, yet another comedy on NBC that we think actually looks really enjoyable. Bent has an excellent cast and some really quick and sharp comedy timing as well as characters who actually – God forbid – seem well-written and likable. Surprisingly enough, this is looks like another winner for NBC.
As promised, The ‘Tastic is proud to present the first-look trailers for all of The CW’s new shows what little there are. Along with synopses and videos, in true TV-Tastic-style we’ll give you a preview assessment of each of the new series (in other words, we plan to pretty much rip most of them apart) letting you know what we think about them and if it’s worth your time to check them out this Fall and just to give everyone a heads up: Yuck. This channel and everything about is awful (except for Nikita and Supernatural and the jury is obviously out on Ringer.).
Hart of Dixie: Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will. She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiancé. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there.
The ‘Tastic says:This is so awful we don’t know where to begin. It is puke-in-your-mouth awful. Let’s start with the obvious and that this is a less endearing recycling of the 1991 Michael J. Fox film, Doc Hollywood, however, we are so used to premises being recycled on television (and of course the typically clichéd “fish-out-of-water” premise), that this is the least of our problems. Could this show be any more offensive with its stereotypes and mean spiritedness? Seriously, this seems like a show that David E. Kelley would come up eith about the hip, young progressive doctor who goes down south to give them all a lesson in Northeast political sensibilities. Seriously, what the holy f*ck is this? And is there anyone that’s not heavily medicated that believes that Rachel Bilson is A.) a doctor and B.) a “fast talking New Yorker?” Where’s the accent? Oh, that’s right… she’s from L.A. and is a mediocre actor who can’t learn accents. This is so bad that we decided to present both the preview clip and the trailer just so you can see how horrible it really is.
Ringer: Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. Bridget is six months sober and starting to turn her life around when she is the sole witness to a professional hit. Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget knows her life is on the line. She flees to New York, telling no one, not even her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Malcolm. In New York, Bridget reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan. Wealthy, pampered and married to the strikingly handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be a fairy tale life – a life where no one knows that Bridget exists. The Sisters seem to be mending their frayed relationship, until Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the split decision to take on her sister’s identity. She discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma, and Gemma’s husband, Henry. And when someone tries to kill Bridget in her sister’s penthouse, she realizes she is no safer as Siobhan than she is as herself.
The ‘Tastic says: It’s very difficult to tell if this series is going to be any good or not. The trailers are very confusing but on paper, the show seems like it could be a very good thriller even it is convoluted. There are several different sneak preview clips on YouTube for you to explore if you want to try to make heads or tails of what’s going on with this show. Check them out, here.
H8R: Celebrities go head-to-head with civilians who hate them to win their “haters” over. Hosted by Mario Lopez, H8R is from Horizon Alternative Television with executive producers Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey (“Extra”), Jeremy Spiegel (“Extra”) and Mario Lopez.
The ‘Tastic says: This series looks silly, but not awful. We wouldn’t exactly call it appointment television, though. Great show description, too, by the way. There’s no YouTube video available for it but you can watch the trailers at The CW’s site, here.
The Secret Circle: Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.
The ‘Tastic says: It’s very hard to be overly judgmental about crap like this, and make no mistake, it is crap, but it certainly appeals to a certain segment of the audience, the segment of the audience that the CW is targeting with all of their programming: young women in their teens and early twenties. If you like The Vampire Diaries you’ll probably like this because it’s based on the books from the same author as that stupid series. We won’t as we prefer shows that are for adults.
Re-Modeled: Modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher is planning to bring together hundreds of small agencies around the world in a new venture called The Network. The Network will give Paul the leverage to change the industry from the inside out. He has two missions: to make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed, and to empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives.
The ‘Tastic says: Next… and of course, The CW is hiding this from YouTube. Watch a clip, here.
The Frame: What happens when your whole life is reduced to one Frame? There’s only one rule: if you’re out of the Frame, you’re out of the game. Ten teams of two, chosen for their dynamic personalities and their existing deep-rooted relationships, are selected to compete in this wild social experiment. These teams will each live in one Frame – a stripped down version of their home living space – for up to 8 weeks, with the entire world watching their inter-personal soap operas play out atop a highly formatted game. Couples cannot physically see one another, but each “frame” is rigged with plasma screens & communication devices that allow for visual and verbal interaction. The teams will face outrageous challenges, punishments, head-to-head competitions, and eliminations, all while isolated from the outside world. With 24/7 web cams streaming content live, and a bi-weekly television show, audiences will vote for – and have control over – many elements of the show, from rewards to punishments to eliminations. The last couple standing will be America’s favorite pair, and walk away with a cash prize.
The ‘Tastic says: Seriously, what the Hell is wrong with this network? Is it humanly possible to air more crap than what they air? The CW won’t even put a clip up on their own website for this so we’ve got nothing for you. Somehow, we don’t think we’re missing much.