Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sunday Best: New Fall TV Shows 2018

With August over, it is time to look forward to a whole new slate of Fall TV Shows.

We have a number of returning shows, but let's take a moment to examine the new shows this Fall.  It is a grueling process to get a show to pilot and the to get that pilot picked up for a series and then to have that series survive to renewal.  The odds against every new show making it are mountainous.

So let us look at what is coming new to TV


Neighborhood (CBS, Oct. 1)

A racial politics comedy with a twist: Cedric the Entertainer plays the patriarch of a family in an upper-middle class black neighborhood.  But then a white family moves in the house next door and it throws him for a loop.  This could be a funny inverse of All In The Family.  It was interesting in the trailer to see that even though Cedric's character is the one who keeps spouting racial stereotypes, it is the white neighbor who ends up apologizing to everyone for being racially incensitive.  I'm worried that funny concepts will be stepped over in favor of political lecturing.  (**)

Happy Together (CBS, Oct. 1)

Damon Wayans Jr. plays an agent to a Justin Bieber-ish pop star, played by Felix Mallard.  Amber Stevens West plays Wayans wife as they enjoy middle-class, suburban boring bliss.  But his pop star client wants to escape his celebrity life and live in their boring home, their world is turned upside-down.  The premise is silly and the writing doesn't seem very good.  But Wayans and West have good chemistry and they made me laugh despite the poor writing.  I might give this one a try. (***)

Magnum PI (CBS, Sept. 24)

Jay Hernandez plays Thomas Magnum in the reboot.  And, TWIST, Higgins will now be played by a woman: Perdita Weeks.  The preview looks fine, but not terribly intersting.  Hernandez is a decent actor, but he lacks the charisma of the iconic Tom Sellick.  (**)

Manifest (ABC, Sept. 24)

I like high concept shows.  Here, we follow a family that has to take seperate flights home from a failed cancer treatment for their young son.  But one of the flights disappears and returns 5 years later with no explaination and with no time passing for the passengers on board.  I will give this one a try, but if I get the feeling that they are making it up as they go along, I will drop it quickly.  (****)


The Kids Are Alright (ABC, Oct. 16)

The is the story of a working class family of 5 boys growing up in the 1970's.  It looks crude and rough, but that was what it was like growing up in that time.  I'm hoping for some humor based on classic, chaotic family dynamics and not reliant on nostalgia.  There is a subplot with a son who enters seminary but wants to leave.  I am nervous about how the Catholic faith will be treated, but I will give it a try (****)

The Rookie (ABC, Oct. 16)

I have loved Nate Fillion since Firefly.  And he looks like he got into terrific shape for this role as a middle-aged man becoming a rookie with the LAPD.  Some of the encounters in the trailer look cheesy, but Fillion's charm and talent can go a long way for me.  (*****)

FBI (CBS, Sept. 28th)

This looks like they jammed every single big city crime trope into the pilot.  The performances look pretty awful.  The main lead reminds of Katie Holmes passing herself off as a DA in Batman Begins.  She has no gravitas.  And everything else feels like a by-the-numbers procedural with no surprises.

New Amsterdam (NBC, Sept. 25)

I am a sucker for hospital shows.  I will be willing to check out the pilot.  But so far, there is nothing in here that distinguishes itself from anything else that's come out these last few years (***)


Single Parents (ABC, Sep 26)

This show has a really good cast and I think it has more potential than the trailers let on.  I think this is going to be one that will get good only if it has a little room to grow.  (****)

A Million Little Things (ABC, Sept. 26)

This looks like a strange combination of This is Us and 13 Reasons Why.  My biggest problem is that looks like (I could be wrong), a group of friends comes together and grows after a friend commits suicide.  Anything that in any way glorifies suicide is something that I find noxious.  I will check out the pilot to see if that is the case (***)

All American (CW, Oct. 10)

This looks like a classic "Poor Kid in a Rich School" story combined with Friday Night Lights.  It also looks like it's filled with all the possible cliche's that go along with this genre.  However, the performances are surprisingly strong from all of the leads.  And scenes which should be cheesy might be affective.  I will check it out (****)


Legacies (CW, Oct. 25)

A spinoff to The Vampire Diaries.  I didn't watch any of the shows in this franchise.  The idea might work, but I probably won't check it out. (*)

Murphy Brown (CBS, Sept. 27)

In today's hyper-partisan political climate, this show is intending to delve right into the fray, not stay above it.  I think it will suffer because of that (*)

I Feel Bad (NBC, Oct. 4)

This show has potential, but there is a fine line between making fun of a disturbing thing and being a disturbing thing.  In the trailer, the parents are appalled by the way that a children's dance team has sexualized choreography.  I understand the humor of the joke, but in order to do that, the children have to dance on screen in a sexualized way and that is incredibly awkward and problematic, like the end of Little Miss Sunshine. (*)


Cool Kids (FOX, Sept. 28)

This has a likeable cast and I think the premise of hijinks in a retirement community has potential, but this is another one that needs time to breathe to see if there is something really there or if it has a single gag.  (***)


Dancing with the Stars Juniors (ABC, Oct. 7)

I am usually pretty uncomfortable with children competition shows because of the pressure it puts on the kids.  I don't think I'll watch this one.  (*)

God Friended Me (CBS, Sep 30)

When I heard the premise of this show, I thought it sounded terrible.  But the trailer convinced me that there is something here.  Not only was it more complex and compelling than I had thought, the actors turned in excellent performances.  I will be checking this one out (*****)

Rel (FOX, Sept. 9)

I don't think I laughed once during the trailer.  Pass. (*)

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