Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2016-2017 Shows and Final Update Regarding Spring/Summer Shows (2016)

At this point, the primary TV viewing season is over, the summer viewing season in all its limited glory is in full swing, and the calendar has struck the month of August…which means less than a month until the fall TV season begins again!  Thus, it’s time to shop for new pilots! Since up-fronts were held in May, new TV offerings by networks and some cable outlets have been announced. It’s time to examine them closely and choose which will be added to the extremely extended lineup covered by this blog!

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c, starting mid-season

WHO: Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead), Ashley Thomas (Black Mirror), Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Anna Diop (The Messengers), Coral Pena (Blue Bloods), Charlie Hofheimer (Mad Men), Sheila Vand (State of Affairs)

WHAT: Featuring an all-new cast of characters, the series centers on a military hero who encounters a troubled return to the U.S., compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Well, we don’t start the 2016-2017 preview well out of the gate, do we?  Hear me out.  I was incredibly devoted to the original 24and I also watched 24: Live Another Daywhich revived the 24 concept for an additional thirteen-episode event series. As I said in the latter review (click on the links), what made 24 work for this viewer in the end was one element: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.  24 became what it was because of its charismatic lead, who played a character besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Without Kiefer, and despite the “real time” ticking clock gimmick, I felt pretty certain that I would have stopped watching 24 long before it ended.  The writing was, at times, all over the place, the catastrophes and dangers were increasingly more preposterous, and the tension without Kiefer was flat, as evidenced by the first few episodes of “Live Another Day,” which were largely Jack-less.

So, now we have a new 24 after a year or more of rumors that a reboot was coming. There’s a new conflicted lead and a few other familiar faces, like Jimmy Smits and Eowyn.  But there is absolutely nothing new about this show other than the sheer lack of Jack Bauer. From what can be viewed of the previews, Corey Hawkins, despite his Walking Dead cred, does not offer the same engagement that Kiefer Sutherland did.  He’s just another guy, besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Will he be as good as Kiefer?  Arguably, no.  Kiefer did it first and did it well.  Who would want to top it?  And if they are not going to top it, what’s the point of watching it?

Perhaps, the trailer wasn’t well put together.  Or, perhaps people need their ticking clock fix.  I’m not ready to jump on board another 24 hours of terrorist plots and gunfire without a solid reason to do so, and I’m also reasonably grumbly that nothing original in Hollywood seems to be the status quo, though the lack of originality largely avoided television for a time. I guess that time is over.

If buzz or ratings give me a reason to doubt, I may reconsider. Right now, this just seems like a stale rehashing with new folks.  Thumbs down (for now).

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 11

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong (Black Box, Are You There, Chelsea?), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Julia Butters (Transparent), Johnny Sequoyah (Believe), Daniel DiMaggio (Supergirl)

WHAT: A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  I am not currently a wife, and I don’t have children. Traditional “family” sitcoms and other safe comedy fare tend to turn me off.  Based upon the strength of the trailer for this show, however, and the excellent comedic delivery of Katy Mixon, I actually think I might test the suburbs of American Housewife.  It checks off a few TV tropes, including the rich/skinny girls versus less endowed/fat girl motif, but it also mixes a few formulae together, seemingly, which might yield a new formula of fresh and funny.  Then again, it could be one of those jokes that wears thin if told too often, but I won’t know until I watch.  The “spanx” diatribe alone made me smile, though, so it’s worth a look-see.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c, starting mid-season

WHO: Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ernie Hudson (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Eric Winter (Witches of East End), Caitlin Stasey (Reign), Taylor Handley (The O.C.), Tamberla Perry (Boss)

WHAT: A tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder, but can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue blooded veterans?

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Maybe I’m in a generous mood on the day I reviewed this trailer, but this show is mildly intriguing.  While I think it has the potential, as all cop shows do, to veer into procedural territory, the lead character is incredibly charismatic, and the gimmick involves him introducing an app into the Chicago streets that allows normal citizens to report crimes on the spot.  Coupled with the futuristic, expensive technology he brings in, there is actually potential for this show to be at least somewhat engrossing. How long can it sustain, though?  Will it be told episodically, with story lines resolved after each hour of rich boy hi-jinks and cop resistance like a procedural/”crime of the week” show, or will there be an underlying thread pushing it forward? My guess is, since the premise includes the lead character becoming involved with the police because his friend was gunned down, that there will definitely be a connecting thread.  How strong that thread is will depend upon how they balance the premise with the hi-jinks.

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Famke Janssen (How to Get Away With Murder), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Edi Gathegi (The Blacklist), Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable)

WHAT | Undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  The Blacklist has been on my “to-watch” list for some time now. I have a few members of my inner circle who are devoted fans and praise it highly, and I do plan to watch it someday (and maybe even to cover it at CPU!).  Since this new entry is a spin-off of The Blacklist, however, I am not prepared to watch or cover it until I watch the original series.  If that happens in this next season, we’ll keep you posted.

Bull

BULL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 20

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio

WHAT: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Part of me wants to like this show, featuring a charismatic Michael Weatherly as an arrogant psychologist who can read juries and other court personnel in order to suss out cases, a character loosely based on Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil).  On the other hand, I was also somewhat turned off by the fact that he is an arrogant psychologist going toe to toe with arrogant defendants and arrogant attorneys. This show seems to offer a formulaic courtroom premise with a fancy gimmick, a shrink who can read people (and an algorithm of his making) to sway the outcomes of cases.  Since shrinks aren’t always better than lawyers, and since the premise seems thin – along with the likability of the main character – I am inclined to let this one go by.  If the show gains buzz, accolades, or steam, I may reconsider.  But even as there were some enticing moments in this trailer, most of it rubbed me the wrong way.

Case Closed

CASE CLOSED, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 18

WHEN: Airing over three nights — Sunday, Sept. 18, Monday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 25

WHO: TBA

WHAT: A six-hour limited “docu-thriller” examining the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey murder.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Vehement Pass.  I was alive at the time and still remember the media hullabaloo surrounding the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.  I have absolutely no interest in reliving it, even if just for six hours (and CPU! does not cover documentaries or reality television anyway).  Case closed.

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Philip Winchester (The Player), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Joelle Carter (Justified), Ryan-James Hatanaka

WHAT: Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, which is not a good sign.  In any event, this seems to be another procedural in the grand tradition of NBC produced procedural TV like Law and Order, and this viewer does not enjoy watching procedurals; or, it’s another courtroom drama resting on that formula.  Give me fantasy!  Give me escapism!  Don’t give me dramatic re-tellings with a realistic twinge.  If I hear something new, unusual, or enticing about it prior to its premiere, I’ll let you know, but this is not the kind of thing I normally watch, and there is nothing convincing me to start watching it.  Moving on.

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 3

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY), Shawn Ashmore (The Following), Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Manny Montana (Graceland), Merrin Dungey (Alias, Once Upon a Time), Daniel DiTomasso (Witches of East End)

WHAT: Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Let us all take a moment to get our pop culture bearings.  Agent Carter is some sort of devil-may-care type who is bribed by Tag, Rachel’s young boyfriend on Friends, to head some fictional agency investigating the wrongfully accused.  Phew. Okay.  After watching the trailer, this viewer was unimpressed by something that seems to have a message but little else going for it.  The premise feels somewhat schmaltzy, manipulative even, and quite thin, and the concept behind the premise screams procedural with some sexy television antics on the side for, you know, reasons.  Honestly, as I watched, I felt like it had all been done before.  So, I can’t see doing it again.  Also, it just makes me want to watch Agent Carter more, which I haven’t yet been able to see. The television obsessed never has enough time.  Anyway, sorry ABC and the folks behind this show.  If the ratings or the buzz suggest otherwise, I’ll take a gander but not until then.

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 21

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Kiefer Sutherland (24), Maggie Q (Nikita), Kal Penn (House), Italia Ricci (Chasing Life), Natasha McElhone (Californication), Adan Canto (The Following), LaMonica Garrett (Sons of Anarchy), Tanner Buchanan (The Fosters)

WHAT: Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  So, THIS is why Kiefer Sutherland can’t be on 24: Legacy! He’s too busy being a Designated Survivor…The trailer boasts high moments that create chills (mushroom clouds over DC!) and low moments that create squinty faces (Kal Penn’s character telling Kiefer to quit), but because the premise has, to this viewer’s knowledge, never been done before (a low level Cabinet member who must suddenly be president), and based upon the fact that Kiefer is so supremely watchable, and further acknowledging the fact that he has moved on from 24, I feel like this could be a very good program to choose for viewing in the coming season and possibly better than the aforementioned 24: Legacy, given that Jack Bauer is in this one.  I mean, I know that’s not his name, but that’s what I choose to think. The trailer leaves me with the feeling that this is movie quality television, at any rate; hopefully, it doesn’t descend into melodramatics.

Doubt

DOUBT, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Dulé Hill (Psych), Dreama Walker (Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Kobi Libii (Alpha House)

WHAT: Centers on Sadie Ellis (Heigl), a lawyer who becomes romantically involved with a client who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I pass on this one for two main reasons.  1) There is no trailer to entice me to want to watch it.  2) Katherine Heigl.  I’m sure she’s misunderstood and everything, but I am not a fan of hers.  She left Grey’s Anatomy in a huff and has made a few films and another recent show that was canceled pretty quickly.  I haven’t seen the most recent season of Orange is the New Black as I type this, but seeing Laverne Cox as one of the cast regulars for this show is worrisome from an OITNB perspective…there seems to be a handful of good people, but with so little information to go on and a lead actress that leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth, I’m just not convinced to watch it.  Also: the number of lawyer driven dramas so far is a bit disturbing.  Must be the flavor of the season.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart

WHAT: Based on the web series of the same name, it follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this might be my um…no of the season.  As much as I like Allison Tolman (her turn in Fargo was quite good, don’tcha know?), and as much as I related to a lonely thirty-something woman with a pet, I feel strongly that those who would find this show funny are dog-lovers who enjoy those weird anthropomorphized mouths on animals.  I love dogs but not enough to watch a whole season of a dog’s commentary, no matter how heartfelt, and I think the show MIGHT be racist to cats (I have a cat).  There were a couple of funny jokes in the trailer, but most of it landed with a thud.  It’s an animal buddy comedy; I don’t see how it could be funny after more than a few episodes (or roughly the number of episodes equivalent to a standard movie length).  Also, who is running the alleged web series – and who is watching it?

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Florence Kasumba, Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. This show has been delayed two seasons, but at least this time, we have an actual promotional snapshot and what looks like a cast.  I’ve picked it up for the past two falls; I will keep picking it up until if and when it gets dropped or finally airs. Let’s hope it’s the latter, as CPU! will remain committed to this dark re-imagining of Oz for as long as it’s a possibility. Let’s make it happen, NBC!  Third time’s the charm!

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy), Brianne Howey (Scream Queens), Hannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone), Kurt Egyiawan (Beasts of No Nation)

WHAT: A modern reinvention inspired by William Blatty’s original 1971 book, the propulsive, serialized psychological thriller follows two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though horror is a tricky genre for me (I have acute overactive imagination syndrome) and though I managed to avoid The Exorcist film until I was an adult, as I think it’s still a scary idea and premise, the original film influenced many excellent horror movie and TV tropes that are still used and reused today.  So, why not transfer the original concept to the small screen?  The only question is whether or not such a concept, originally distilled to the two hours or so for a film, can sustain over the course of several episodes, much less several seasons?  There is only one way to find out.  I am ready to confront these demons, along with their updated special effects.  But will be there be rotating heads and the vomiting of pea soup?

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 5

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Peyton List (The Flash, The Tomorrow People), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, American Horror Story), Devin Kelley (Resurrection), Daniel Bonjour (The Walking Dead)

WHAT: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now. To be honest, the trailer is pretty compelling, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Peyton List (I have watched or watch both The Tomorrow People and The Flash and have been turned off by her both times), even though the CW sure seems to be, I am reserving the pick up until I see the original film, which I never have.  I have a video game based on the film which I have never played either.  So, like Limitless, I feel that I need at least the baseline before giving the television show serious consideration.  Once I see the film, Ms. List aside, I will revisit the idea of watching the show.

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Preview on Sept. 19 at 10/9c; regular time slot debut on Sept. 22

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden

WHAT: Follows Eleanor, a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. She decides to turn over a new leaf by learning what it actually means to be “good” or “bad,” and then trying to make up for her past behavior.

Trailer Available at NBC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the “Good Place’s” resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer.  The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone. More than any other show on this list so far, I am quite excited to check this one out! Hopefully, cancel-happy NBC will allow this one the chance to find its groove – though, arguably, the groove will be there from the pilot, if the trailer is any indication.

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 27

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Joel McHale (Community), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Stephen Fry (Bones), Susannah Fielding, Shaun Brown, Chris Williams, Christine Ko

WHAT: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Oh look.  The first real sitcom to make fun of the generation gap between Gen X/Y and Millennials, and CBS of all networks grabs onto it.  Which means that most of the CPU!’ers will relate to the Joel McHale character, but many of them will find the supporting characters clueless and annoying.  Like I do.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will laugh along with their TV representatives at how antiquated ideals like spending time in the outdoors and using pen and paper to write stories, rather than Twitter and Tweets, are.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will be offended by the exaggerated depictions of their generation, unless they are open to seeing the humor.  I’m sure this will probably find an audience, but I just can’t see being in it (and the canned laughter didn’t help its cause). Also, I guess this means we won’t be seeing McHale on another season of The X-Files anytime soon.

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Briga Heelan (Undateable), Andrea Martin (Difficult People), Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology), Kimrie Lewis-Davis (Scandal), John Michael Higgins (Wilfred), Horatio Sanz (SNL)

WHAT: An already inseparable mother/daughter relationship becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Aside from the fact that no trailer exists to even attempt to convince viewers that the premise is potentially funny and not so recycled, the premise is so recycled and potentially rather unfunny!  A codependent mother and daughter team spend even more time together at work.  That’s what this is about.  Add to that very few recognizable names in the cast (weirdly, Horatio Sanz is the most familiar to me, and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and what you have is an easily avoidable sitcom.  Also, NBC, the most cancel happy of all the networks currently, has been especially unkind to its new sitcoms in recent years.  There is literally no reason to invest in this one based purely on a photograph, a cast list, and an extremely precarious sitcom foundation.  Someone talk me into it.  It’s the yearly challenge!

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Growing Up Fisher), Stephen Schneider (You’re the Worst), Nicholas Coombe (iZombie), Matreya Scarrwener (Canada’s Detective McLean: Ties That Bind), Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down), Erica Tremblay and the voice of SNL vet Rachel Dratch

WHAT: Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though the premise of this sitcom seems a bit more clever than some of the other offerings of this pilot season, my reaction still falls into the “pass” category. First, I only laughed once at the trailer, and it was most certainly not at the imaginary friend but at the husband when he was talking to his kids about Dharma when Dharma wasn’t there. Second, I’ve never been wild about Jenna Elfman – Dharma & Greg was saccharine and lacking something to which this viewer could relate, so I never watched more than a few episodes.  While the character of Mary may be different than Dharma, there is still an infused essence of Elfman that leaves me feeling “meh” about the proceedings.  Also, honestly, though there might have been entertainment potential to the later-in-life confirmed bachelorette finding true love with a family man motif by itself, adding the tiny imaginary friend creature made me think the character would be more sad than funny and potentially in need of some good counseling.  Sorry, Dharma.  On with the list.

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 19

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, moving to 8/7c on Oct. 24

WHO: Kevin James (The King of Queens), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey), Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones), Lenny Venito (The Neighbors), Gary Valentine (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A newly retired police officer looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids discovers he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Um…no.  This is the definitive “um…no” of the season.  Unless there’s more than one.  Anyway, first, let’s rap about the enigma that is Kevin James.  Someone somewhere out there obviously finds him funny.  I never have.  Not once.  Not even a little bit. Second, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate just how similar this new show is to James’ star-making sitcom, The King of Queens.  Did CBS air that one too?  I don’t remember.  Be that as it may, this version does not have Leah Remini, which is the only reason The King of Queens was ever funny, and, frankly, the odds of funny happening on the previous show were arguably slim.  I think The King of Queens lasted as long as it did because of the chemistry between Remini and James.  Erinn Hayes doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of appealing chemistry with the wisecracking but stout every-man, at least from the extended trailer available. Which means James is left hanging out there to carry the comedy by himself, and, frankly, I just don’t think such a feat is possible for him. Of course, lots of people found Two and Half Men funny, even when Charlie Sheen was still on it.  I believe fans of that sitcom will find something to like here.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like that one or The King of Queens, so I’m really left with one choice.  Next, please.

Kicking & Screaming

KICKING & SCREAMING, Fox

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | Tuesdays at 9/8c, starting midseason

WHAT | Ten expert survivalists are paired with non-outdoorsy partners to face the toughest race of their lives. While these survivalists are accustomed to fending for themselves, there’s one thing that none of their previous expeditions have prepared them for: their privileged partners, who think roughing it is going a week without a massage.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Without a trailer to verify one way or another, I am gleaning from the description that this is a reality show.  CPU! does not cover reality shows, and this viewer doesn’t actually watch them.  This also sounds like what you might have if you combined Survivor and Wife Swap. So, all in all, this viewer won’t go in on this one – kicking, screaming, or otherwise.

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 21

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

WHO: Damon Wayans, Sr., Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Keesha Sharp (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Johnathan Fernandez (Younger, Girls), Chandler Kinney

WHAT: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Would you believe that I have never once seen a Lethal Weapon movie?  It’s true.  No particular reason for it; I just haven’t found myself in a position to watch or to want to watch any of those movies, of which there are several. Now, the films had Mel Gibson (pre-crazy times) and Danny Glover.  This show has Damon Wayans and some charming Southern gentleman filling those rather hefty boots.  Before this viewer would feel comfortable with this selection, I feel I have to wear the original boots first before trying on the newfangled pair.  If buzz and accolades and steam swarm around this TV remake, I will, of course, make arrangements to get caught up.  If it’s enjoyable, let CPU! know (that’s why we have a Guestbook!).

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucas Till (X-Men), George Eads (CSI), Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

WHAT: A re-imagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. What the hell?  Oh, CBS.  Say it ain’t so!  That’s two remakes in a row!  At least, insofar as Kevin Can Wait seems to be a remake of The King of Queens.  So, in order for this show to be successful, anyone older than, say, 30 will have to be okay with a MacGyver that is not played by Richard Dean Anderson.  And anyone younger than 30 will have to be taken in by the premise of a man who is so resourceful, he can get himself out of most sticky wickets with a mere paper clip and some chewing gum.  As one of the over 30 crowd, I am somewhat turned off by this entry into CBS’ lineup.  I was no die hard fan of the original MacGyver, but I am pretty sure that half the appeal was Anderson’s crooked smile and rockin’ 80s mullet.  He was resourceful AND charismatic.  Lucas Till, TV’s younger face of this older character, doesn’t offer much in the way of charisma.  Either that or the trailer was edited terribly.  I don’t think it’s the editing, though, and, therefore, I don’t think this will end well.  On the other hand, and surprisingly, Hawaii Five-O survived for a while.  Someone convince me, and maybe CPU! and this viewer will reconsider.  Not until then.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c, starting midseason

WHO: Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Yassir Lester (The Carmichael Show)

WHAT: Three friends find a way to travel through time for truth, justice, and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Okay…this has the potential to be exceedingly stupid.  On the other hand, it could ultimately be sheer creative genius.  The time machine is a giant duffel bag. There is somewhat of a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure edge to the proceedings, but the main characters are college professors.  And one of them is played by Adam Pally, the erstwhile Peter from The Mindy Project, a character who grew on me thanks to the winning bro-ski comedic timing of Pally himself.  Plus, the premise is extremely original, or mostly original, at least for network TV, so I think it’s worth giving it a shot.  Fox – you be good to this one! Unless it’s stupid.  I’ll let you know.

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Matt Cook (Clipped), Grace Kaufman (The Last Ship), Jessica Chaffin (Episodes), Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

WHAT: A contractor whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: His little angels are maniacs.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. I…um…hm.  So, first of all, I think the Eye network is panicking.  Most of its mainstay sitcoms have either ended or are probably nearing their end (case in point, The Big Bang Theory and the afore named Two and a Half Men), as many of the sitcom entries on this list so far have been CBS pickups.

Now…the problems.  The cast list above glaringly omits the presence of Jenna Fischer, none other than Pam from The Office, herself.  Which isn’t saying much because she is clearly the straight man in the comedy and offered nothing funny in the trailer.  So, then we have Matt LeBlanc.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this, Matt, if you’re reading. I’m a big fan of Friends, which may be coloring my perspective of what I saw, but to me, Matt is playing the “grown up” version of Joey.  As in, what if Joey had quit acting and was put in the position of being the primary caregiver for his three children that he had with a nice, normal wife in the interim since Friends ended?  The line delivery is more deliberate; the motions more affected by age (LeBlanc should be around 50 by my estimation), but to me, it’s Joey. He’s Joey.  This is Joey, in 2016, with a family. Which might be okay if we didn’t already know that Joey by himself is not as effective as Joey with the rest of the Friends – which the spin-off Joey taught us.  I love Matt LeBlanc and Jenna Fischer, but this TV show, aside from it being another saccharine family sitcom, is Joey with kids.  I can’t do it.  Someone talk me into it?  I want to be talked into this one.  Out of my love for Matt LeBlanc.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a CPU!er that Jenna Fischer is not in the above cast list because her part was recast due to lack of chemistry with Matt LeBlanc.  Unfortunately, no updated trailer exists; hence, the confusion, as the original trailer still has Jenna in it. Also, the recast occurred recently (and I start compiling this article over the month of July).  So!  The recast doesn’t convince me to start watching it, however.  The trailer largely focused on Matt and his character…and I still don’t think it will work based upon the fact that he brings the Joey as noted above, but thanks birdie on my shoulder, all the same! 🙂

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Marlon Wayans (In Living Color), Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet?), Bresha Webb (Truth Be Told), Diallo Riddle (Silicon Valley)

WHAT: Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life, this multi-camera comedy centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. From the skeletal thin premise, what I’m reading is one part My Wife and Kids (oh hey, older brother Damon, already doing some stuff, only the wife was married to him on the show); one part The Bernie Mac Show (father not uncle, but close); and one part every Wayans brother comedy ever made.  I have no trailer to entice, and I’m positive there will be people sold on the concept of this one, but I, once again, pass.  Sheesh – there are so many sitcoms coming out this year.  And not very good ones, mostly and seemingly.

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c, starting midseason

WHO: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sofia Black D’Elia (Gossip Girl), Carla Jimenez, Thomas Barbusca, Jack Stanton

WHAT: A hard-living, foul mouthed woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what the rest of us already know — other people’s children are awful.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another sitcom?!  And this one doesn’t bring charm like Making History, the other Fox comedy offering reviewed so far.  I think this show is meant to give Kaitlin Olson a chance to capitalize on a strength she cultivated on It’s Always Sunny.  The problem is that there was not a single funny moment in the trailer.  This is another version of the poor person in a rich world trope, and this viewer predicts that the joke will get old very quickly.  It didn’t even sustain in the trailer’s three minutes.  Thumbs very much down here.

Midnight Texas

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · August 2

    Reblogged this on Reel Musings.

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