For those of you who have been reading my musings at TV BY THE NUMBERS welcome to my blog which I started when I was at FOX. I was asked to shut it down which I did but when I retired from the network I started it up again so here we are.
I enjoyed my year and a half at TVBTN but posting on my own blog will give me a bit more freedom .
Well I finally made it through the nine Fall drama pilots on the broadcast networks. Fortunately, only four networks offer Fall dramas with FOX holding off until mid-season when it will introduce its two contenders. Overall, the pilots were competent and there were a few attempts at some wild swings but none of them flew out of the ballpark for me. Seven of the nine were pretty premisy so it’s hard to tell where they will be in a few episodes.
This crop includes reimaginings of past series (CHARMED and MAGNUM PI), an effort to capitalize on the return a popular actor (THE ROOKIE), some obvious attempts at replicating the success of past series such as BEVERLY HILLS 90210/FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR (ALL AMERICAN) , HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN/TOCHED BY AN ANGEL/EARLY EDITION/PERSON OF INTEREST (GOD FRIENDED ME), LOST (MANIFEST), THIS IS US/THIRTYSOMETHING (A MILLION DIFFERENT THINGS) and a few generic popular franchises in FBI and NEW AMSTERDAM.
Long winded way of saying there was nothing like 24 or JANE THE VIRGIN where I leaned forward as the pilot progressed and literally stoop up and gave a standing ovation to at the end. I actually did. EMPIRE also gave me the chills.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t shows here that I might check out beyond the pilot. There are three that may become part of my weekly lineup. I know you all think I am a total mark for them and I might be but the two most likely are both on the CW which is easily my favorite broadcast network.
I really liked ALL AMERICAN and they did a great job of setting up a lot of dynamics and stories (especially that little surprise at the end) to hook me in. I was not a viewer of the original CHARMED but loved the three sisters and I’m up for a good demon of the week show mashed up with the sorority and ME TOO elements. This one is going to be fun.
Although it was a bit overacted, hammy and stocked with stereotyped characters, I thought FBI was a solid procedural and it’s Dick Wolf so we got a story with some interesting twists and turns.
GOD FRIENDED ME has potential but the idea of an atheist son of a priest confronted every week with making a difference in someone’s life based on a friend request suggested by “GOD”, while continuing to question the existence of a higher power could get tedious. I hope they clean up the underlying premise real fast and just get on to the do-gooding.
Every year a network tries a high concept show where there is an unanswered question and one of two things happen. Either they never quite explain to you what happened or. when they do you call bullshit and stop watching. This format never works and this season’s winner is MANIFEST. The plot is full of so many holes that within 20 minutes I gave up yelling at the TV and just let the pilot just play out (I always stay to the end hoping for something to happen to change my mind). LOST succeeded because of characters. They ain’t here. Move on.
The only pilot that had me screaming “Kill me now” was A MILLION DIFFERENT THINGS. It was horrible and manipulative but not in a good way and I really didn’t like any of these characters and, you know what, I don’t think they liked themselves or each other. I could go on forever about this one but I won’t.
So here are the nine fall dramas and their grades. I think there’s a solid chance six might make it to a second season so I guess that’s good news.
ALL AMERICAN (CW) B+
CHARMED (CW) B+
FBI (CBS) B
NEW AMSTERDAM (NBC) B-
MAGNUM PI (CBS) B-
THE ROOKIE (ABC) C+
GOD FRIENDED ME (CBS) C+
MANIFEST (NBC) C
A MILLION DIFFERENT THINGS (ABC) D+
Now on to the mid-season dramas.
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