2013 Fall TV Pre-Review

It’s almost a tradition, me trying to wrap my head around the new fall TV season. We shouldn’t let a good tradition die. Or, you know, this one.

The fall TV season is looking to be super crowded. I count 45 new shows. (Though, admittedly, some of these are set for mid-season. I didn’t take the time to separate those out.)

This year I tried to do a little more research and looked up as many trailers as I could find. What’s kind of interesting to me is that the form of a TV show trailer is somewhat different from a movie. It’s not a tease. It’s a condensed version of the pilot, twists and all. I guess if you want people to watch, you might as well give them enough information to be interested in episode two.

I will put an asterisk next to shows that I was forced to review based only on a text description. I will also label the shows that employ the Theme Of The Season! (TOTS = Grown people dealing with their troublesome, eccentric parents.)

The other thing I noticed was how many people from shows I really like are back. See if you can tell what my two favorite dramas are…

ABC

Back in the Game (TOTS) – A single mom has to deal with her cantankerous dad! And there’s pee-wee baseball! Yikes, this season already doesn’t look good…

Betrayal – An uncharismatic woman has a fling with a guy who looks so much like her husband, I got confused just watching the trailer. And the two guys are opposing lawyers in a mob trial? I got bored watching the preview. Thumbs way down.

The Goldbergs (TOTS) – A remake of The Wonder Years, but this time set in the 80’s. Also, Patton Oswalt in the Daniel Stern role. But that’s not enough, because it looks really not funny.

Killer Women – Number Six is now a Texas Ranger in a show that looks like it’s trying to be a TV version of a Tarantino movie. And not necessarily one of the good ones. Pass.

Lucky 7 – I’m not sure a show about down-and-out folks winning the lottery is a great idea. Because I know it’s going to turn into that whole “money doesn’t make you happy” thing. Boring.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Clark Gregg, Ming Na and a bunch of pretty unknowns will attempt to keep our Marvel fix coming while we wait for movies. I really, really want this to work. I really, really think it’ll implode. **West-Wing-Alert**

Mind Games – Christian Slater (who is awesome) and Steve Zahn (who is more awesome) are brothers who have a business where they change people’s minds. Silly premise, but man was that a good trailer. I’ll be watching. **West-Wing-Alert** (Yes, Christian Slater’s three episode guest arc counts. Don’t judge me.)

Mixology – I think having an entire season take place in one bar on one night is way too “clever” an idea to actually have the room to breathe. Think about watching these people wear the same clothes for twenty episodes. This won’t work.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland – Interesting. Trying to recreate the “magic” of the original Once by co-opting a different fantasy story seems greedy. On the other hand, setting the “real” part of the story in Victorian England makes it a bit more interesting. Still, this looks like a money grab.

Resurrection – Anything with Kurtwood Smith is worth a look. And I like Omar Epps, too. I’m not sure if a story about deceased loved ones returning 4400-style can sustain a TV show (without them having super powers, that is). But I’ll give it a shot to find out.

Super Fun Night – I don’t get Rebel Wilson. I’m supposed to find her funny. Since I don’t, this show about her and her friends finally learning how regular people spend their nights out doesn’t interest me.

Trophy Wife – This show about a guy’s third wife (Malin Akerman) gets one shot from me, because it also stars Bradley Whitford. Make it count, pilot episode! **West-Wing-Alert**

CBS

The Crazy Ones (TOTS) – Let’s be honest. I’ll give this a shot just because it has Robin Williams in it. Sarah Michelle Gellar as his long-suffering daughter is less interesting. An advertising comedy with real companies is… I don’t know. Edgy and realistic or the most obnoxious product placement generator in history? We’ll see.

Hostages – Looks like one of those shows where time gets compressed to the breaking point, as an armed team holds a doctor’s family hostage so that she’ll screw up the President’s surgery and he’ll die. Sometimes that format works (24, Prison Break) sometimes not (The Event). I have mild interest.

Intelligence – Sawyer from Lost and Ruby from OUAT make an engaging team. Putting sci-fi connectivity directly into a spy’s brain means cool stuff will happen. Looks like a more epic sort of Person of Interest. I predict moderate awesomeness. **Lost-Alert**

The Millers (TOTS) – Recently divorced guy has to deal with his out of control newly divorced parents. Snore.

Mom (TOTS) – Anna Faris is an alcoholic in recovery, a single mom, and a waitress. Allison Janney is her train wreck of a mom. (Hence the title.) The premise is snooze-worthy, but the cast is excellent. I will watch the pilot, at least. **West-Wing-Alert**

We Are Men – A guy I’ve never seen before falls in with three other dudes who are unlucky in love: Tony Shaloub, Kal Penn and Jerry O’Connell. Now, that’s a great cast, but man, the trailer does not make it look funny.

CW

The 100 – It’s 97 years after a nuclear war, and humanity has survived in a space station. Now they’re sending 100 impossibly attractive young criminals to the surface as a kind of canary in a coal mine to see if the surface is livable. I really like the premise, but if the show gets too “CW”, I’ll have to give up on it quick. **Lost-Alert** (Henry Ian Cusick is one of the few not-20-yr-olds.)

The Originals – Never watched The Vampire Diaries. Won’t watch this spinoff either. Blech.

Reign – Think The Tudors filtered through the teenage glasses of the CW. Looks impossibly boring.

Star-Crossed – Aliens who look exactly like humans are chastised, despite their extraordinary bone structure. Oh, and a human girl falls for one of them. Even the trailer was bad.

The Tomorrow People – It’s basically Jumper the TV Show. But less charismatic. (Yes, less.) Still, teleportation is cool. This falls into the “If the TiVo isn’t too overloaded” category. **Lost-Alert** (Jacob is the bad guy.)

Fox

Almost Human – Karl Urban playing a cop in the future: that’s enough for me right there. Throw in a decent revamp of Data as his partner, and this one is definitely going in my TiVo schedule.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Andy Samberg is going to be the funniest thing about this cross between NYPD Blue and Barney Miller. But the genius is letting his boss (Andre Braugher) be funny, too. “That is a terrible robot voice.” Awesome.

Dads (TOTS) – Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi are funny. Are they funny enough to make this show about how crazy their dads are work? Uncertain.

EnlistedStripes the TV Show. Except, you know, without Bill Murray. Pass.

Gang Related – This looks like a Wire retread, but with Terry O’Quinn on one side and Cliff Curtis on the other, I’ll be checking it out. **Lost-Alert**

Rake – Greg Kinnear looks funny as a brilliant lawyer with some messed up personal issues. On the other hand, after watching seven thousand episodes of crazy legal shenanigans back in the 90s, do I need more now?

Sleepy Hollow – This qualifies as the show of the season that will either be awesome or terrible. When your main character is a resurrected Ichabod Crane, chasing after the Headless Horseman in present day, there’s simply no middle ground. I predict awesome. I also predict quickly cancelled. I will be sad.

Surviving Jack* — A tough guy becomes a full time parent. Hilarity (I assume) ensues. Oh, and it takes place in the 90s for some reason. Meh.

Us & Them (TOTS) – I like the idea of a show that’s just about a romance, not a whole will-they-or-won’t-they dance. Also, Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel? Love them.

NBC

About a Boy* – A man-child bonds with a real child and learns valuable lessons, I guess. Based on the book by Nick Hornby. Which I didn’t read. And there was a movie. Which I didn’t watch. Sensing a pattern?

Believe* – A ten-year-old girl with unbelievable powers is on the run with a falsely accused criminal protector. They travel the country, evading bad guys, and doing good on the way. So, it’s like Firestarter crossed with Kung-Fu. Sounds terrible.

The Blacklist – James Spader plays a Hannibal Lecter-ish super criminal who’s helping the FBI track down the worst of the worst, while cultivating the career of a young female nobody agent. I accept it might fall apart by episode three, but I’ll be watching when it does.

Chicago PD* – There are these cops. In Chicago. Because, you know, crime. Boring. **Lost-Alert** (Tania Raymonde was Alex in Lost.)

Crisis* — Kidnappers take a school bus filled with the children of super powerful DC muckity mucks. This is another one of those improbable time compression shows, but at least it has Gillian Anderson in it!

Dracula – It looks pretty, but I don’t know if I really need a lavish Nineteenth Century drama about a vampire with excellent bone structure.

The Family Guide* – A blind guy and his hippy wife get divorced, and the kids learn some valuable lessons? I guess? Not even J.K. Simmons (who is awesome) will save this one.

Ironside – Blair Underwood is cool, but do I really want to watch him rolling around in a wheelchair every week? (No. The answer is no.)

The Michael J. Fox Show – Well, this will be a tightrope. Mining Parkinson’s for laughs? Kudos for the attempt, Mr. Fox. I think it might be a little too edgy, though.

The Night Shift* – This is not a TV version of the Michael Keaton movie, sadly. This looks to be a mashup of ER and Scrubs, and it takes place in San Antonio. So they can shoe horn in some Latinos, I suppose. Pass. **Lost-Alert** (Ken Leung is the Lost alum in this one.)

Sean Saves the World – Jack from Will and Grace calms way down and raises a daughter. Cute. Also, not extremely funny.

Undateable* – So, there’s this guy who’s a player, and he tries to help this crew of “undateables” to learn how to not be losers. This is probably the winner for Most Depressing Premise of the Season. (They should have a crossover episode with Super Fun Night!)

Welcome to the Family (TOTS) – Crazy goings on with two families brought together by unplanned pregnancy. This show falls into the “if there’s nothing else on, and I don’t feel like getting up to turn on the Playstation” category. **West-Wing-Alert** (Mary McCormack is one of the moms.)

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One thought on “2013 Fall TV Pre-Review

  1. Re: Hostages – What I want to know is: did somebody read the script for the episode of Person of Interest based on this exact premise and said, “hey, let’s make an entire TV series out of that!”?

    Re: Tomorrow People – This one is also interesting to me in that it has the rare distinction of being the second second rebooting of a TV premise, based as it is on multiple BBC series going back to the 70s.

    Re: The Michael J. Fox Show – This could certainly done badly, but there’s a certain genius about Fox’s solution to his personal challenge here: if you’re an actor and you’re stuck with an obvious and incurable disease, you can quit (which he did for a while), or you can embrace the reality of the hand you’ve been dealt, and work it into your work. This one feels to me like it could go either way: it could be terrible–or it could be genius.

    Re: Crisis – And Dermot Mulroney!

    After eliminating the family shows and situation comedies I will hate and/or never watch, there still seem to be quite a few shows left, some that look quite promising. With any luck, they won’t all suck!

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