We Watched The New Shows So You Don’t Have To!
One of the perks of being in the media connections department is that we have access to the broadcast networks’ new shows starting in May. We host a New Show Lunch each Friday during the summer and invite our agency co-workers to watch them with us. Watching the pilots gives us a good idea of whether the content is appropriate for our clients and whether it’s worth putting our support (and our clients’ money) into the new shows.
Here are a few that are vying for the first cancellation of the year.
Dr. Ken (ABC) – Actor Ken Jeong was actually a doctor before he became an actor so naturally this sitcom centers on his work as a physician as well as his home life. Sitcoms are supposed to be funny – this wasn’t.
Life in Pieces (CBS) – This show is about four branches of the same family led by James Brolin and Dianne Wiest as the patriarch and matriarch. Although it has some likable actors (Colin Hanks), as a group, they just don’t gel and I was just embarrassed for all of them. Modern Family has done it better for years.
Grandfathered (FOX) – John Stamos (aging fairly well) stars as a restaurateur who discovers at age 50 he is a father as well as a grandfather. The plot is routine and stereotypical. Unless Stamos’ character is more fleshed out, this show is a goner.
Supergirl (CBS) – If this show were on the CW or FOX it might have a bigger chance, but it doesn’t seem like a fit for CBS. I had high hopes because of creator Greg Berlanti’s success with other shows in the genre on other networks but it just came across far too cheesy and hackneyed.
But, there are some pilots that show some promise.
Blood & Oil (ABC) – Although the pilot had some serious plot holes, the show has enough going for it to make it a possible winner, including the charm of its leading men, Don Johnson (also aging well) and Chace Crawford. The story takes place in present day North Dakota after the biggest oil discovery in American history.
Code Black (CBS) – Starring Oscar winner, Marcia Gay Harden, as the residency director, this is the story of four first-year residents in the nation’s busiest ER. The pilot, though intense and exciting, had a surprisingly graphic and gory scene that felt a little gratuitous. We’ll see if that will be the standard or just a ploy to draw people in.
Quantico (ABC) – This show’s unique premise focuses on a group of new FBI recruits at Quantico. The biggest attack since 9/11 hits New York and one of the recruits is suspected of being responsible. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this show and ABC has high hopes for it.
Blindspot (NBC) – The pilot does a good job of pulling the viewer in with its enticing storyline. A woman is found naked and covered in tattoos in Times Square but she has no memory. An FBI agent’s name is tattooed on her back but he doesn’t know her. The show seems well-cast and well-plotted but the question is if the show can maintain the intensity from the pilot. Considering the amount of promotion they are putting behind it, NBC must be confident in the show’s success.
The Muppets (ABC) – The pilot was a short 10-minute taste of what the show will look like and it looks good. The show focuses on the Muppets’ personal lives and it’s filmed in the same documentary style as “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” It’s a whole new way of looking at the Muppets.
The Grinder (FOX) – This show stars Rob Lowe (yes, aging well) as TV’s most popular lawyer, whose show has come to an end, and Fred Savage as his brother, a real small-town lawyer. Lowe moves back to their hometown, confident that he can contribute to the family law firm. This show has a certain charm and the chemistry among its cast could really contribute to its success.
A few other shows that looked good and will likely appear in midseason – “The Catch” (another Shonda Rhimes show on ABC) and “You, Me and the Apocalypse” on NBC (starring Rob Lowe and a nearly-unrecognizable Megan Mullally).
“Empire” was a huge hit for FOX during midseason last year so maybe one of these shows will prove to be a surprise hit this year.
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