The biggest TV season of the year has returned. With the summer season giving us hits like Mr. Robot and UnREAL (we covered these shows here) and The Carmichael Show, a lot is expected of this fall season. Let's see how this new batch of shows stack up.
Okay some disclaimers:
- With the amount of new shows coming in, I've decided to split this Fall season review in parts. The shows I'll be covering in this post are those that were aired last week. I'll cover the 2nd week shows like Grandfathered, The Grinder, Code Black and Dr. Ken next week.
- Naturally, I only have the pilot episode to judge each show. With so much TV offered, I don't have the luxury to give equal attention to each one. If you feel I've misjudged a TV show, just hit to the comments section and tell me why. I'm open to second opinions!
- Oh and watch out for some slight spoilers
So here we go!
Bye felicia! (Not worth your time)
Genre: Anthology Horror-Comedy
Length: 42 mins
Gist: Coming from Glee and American Horror Story producer Ryan Murphy, Scream Queens is billed as a limited series with each season having a different story. But unlike its thematic horror big sister AHS, Scream Queens prefers to be a homage to the campy slasher horror of the 90s. The first season centers around a sorority plagued by a masked killer in a Red Devil costume.
But why? I am game for campy slasher horror but the Ryan Murphy-ness feel and direction of the show killed it for me. It felt like Glee had an extended Halloween special where they dropped their family and sexuality drama and doubled down on stereotypes. The first 10 minutes were a flashback to 1995, a time when stereotypes in film and TV were more accepted. I understand that it's needed to make the scene authentic to the 90s but these stereotypes made no sense existing when the show time jumps to 2015. The writing focused more on fast and snarky quips than laying down the groundwork for proper character development in the future. Maybe I'll give it another look if it gets picked up next season.
Genre: Sci-fi Police Procedural
Length: 42 mins
Gist: Based on Philip K. Dick's short story, the TV version of Minority Report is set after the events of the Tom Cruise-led film of 2002. The TV version centers on one of the Precogs from the film who assists authorities in solving crimes. Because you know, after relying so much on Precogs for a time, the police forgot how to go about investigations.
But why? The show benefits from having good source material but squanders it on flat acting and characters. Also, there's no Tom Cruise cameo here. If you're looking for a good Philip K. Dick TV series, wait for The Man In The High Castle in November. You can watch the pilot at Amazon.
IT COULD WORK BUT...
BEST TIME EVER WITH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
Genre: Variety Show
Length: 44 mins
Gist: Best Time Ever really wants to be THE best time ever. It's a big budget affair that involves A-list celebrity guest announcers, guest singers performing their karaoke-staple songs, NPH doing stunts and then Nicole Scherzinger.
But why? I honestly don't know how long they can maintain its shtick. By the definition of "best", you can't always have the best time ever on a weekly basis. Sometime in the future, probably due to a bad ratio of ratings and budget, it will eventually slip. It also hinges on NPH, demanding his 110% effort on every segment, every stunt in every show. And to be honest, as much as I love NPH, his hosting style isn't the most personable at times. He's a good host for an award show, but not in a show with so much interface with regular audience members still starstruck from the thought of NPH.
Continue to watch this If you Like: Ellen's, Kimmel's or Fallon's viral segments.
Genre: Police Procedural
Length: 42 mins
Gist: Limitless is a sequel to the Bradley Cooper-starred thriller, but less of Bradley Cooper. Jake McDorman plays Brian Finch, a down-on-his-luck musician living with his parents. Thanks to his former bandmate, he gets his hands on the smart-drug NZT-48 and becomes like Bradley Cooper. But also like Bradley Cooper, he gets entangled with the FBI but eventually decides to work with them to do some good in his life. And no, you don't need to watch the film to understand this. Bradley Cooper.
But why? The pilot was okay. The tone was okay. McDorman comes off as a good lead especially when supported by Dexter's sister (Jennifer Carpenter). However it doesn't offer anything new that can distinguish it from the other procedurals in its network. CBS already holds all the NCISes, the remaining CSI, Scorpion, Criminal Minds, Hawaii Five-O and especially Elementary. It's a shift + F7 version of Elementary: smart aleck genius with a drug habit teams up with a female with a past. It's supposed differentiator? Having Bradley Cooper pop out every now and then. It can work for certain people, but ultimately it has to make it self more interesting
Continue to watch this If you like: Elementary
Genre: Procedural Thriller
Length: 43 mins
Gist: Jaimie Alexander play as a woman covered with tattoos left in a bag in Times Square with no memory of her past. She teams up with the FBI to unlock the meaning of her tattoos and her past.
But why? Jaimie Alexander's great. The premise can hook people. However, the show suffers the same problem as Limitless--we've seen this thing before. Action and characters with unknown pasts and unclear motives have been the bread and butter of The Blacklist.
Continue to watch this If you like: The Blacklist or Lady Sif from Thor
Genre: Procedural, Thriller
Length: 43 mins
Gist: Security expert Alex Kane (played by Phillip Winchester) becomes a pawn in the high stakes gambling ring wherein the richest bet on the outcome of real life crimes.
But why? The concept is so absurd that it can hook you. The format is also easy to understand. It has action, so much action than Blindspot or The Blacklist. But somehow, I feel it lacks substance like aimless fun. I'm honestly on the fence with this one. I think I'll watch the second episode of this one.
Continue to watch this If you like: Strikeback
Genre: Superhero, Thriller
Length: 43 mins
Gist: Set a couple of years after the last season of Heroes, Noah Bennet tries to piece together what happened in a terrorist attack that could have brought peace between the humans and the evos. And with rising tensions, new evos come out.
But why? True story, I liked the first season of Heroes. It was different. It came first, way before Marvel and DC littered TV with its superhero shows. It had a central mystery that was intriguing. But after season 1, Heroes's story felt too convoluted. Its characters, didn't progress enough. And that's how I also feel with Heroes Reborn. It had an interesting Big Bad, but the new characters felt flat. There's trouble in the pacing of the story. You know how in Game of Thrones, sometimes Jon won't show up in an episode? Or Dany, or sometimes Arya? It helps viewers focus on the story and at the same time, provides the program to explain in detail each story. Well here in Heroes Reborn, they set all the storylines in motion. By the end of hour 2, a few storylines have intersected but some like Mexican Luchador and Japanese Katana Girl haven't added anything to the story. This can work for Heroes fans who have been waiting for the franchise's TV return but I'm not sure with the others
LIFE IN PIECES
Genre: Family Sitcom
Length: 21 mins
Gist: Life In Pieces revolves around John and Joan Short and the families of their three children. Each episode is split into four short segments.
But why? Life In Pieces tries to imitate the success of Modern Family. It has a good ensemble cast but is less effective than Modern Family. Modern Family has an ongoing theme of family and cohesiveness in every episode. Jay Pritchett can setup the joke in his story, Cam Tucker can butter it up in his and then Phil Dunphy delivers the punchline tying the family again for the finale. On the other hand, Life In Pieces, well, stays in pieces. I'll keep my tabs on this one in case this gets better. I can't say no to a show with Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Dan Bakkedahl (Legit) in it.
COULD BE YOUR WEEK TO WEEK HABIT
Length: 21 mins
Gist: A mockumentary behind-the-scenes look at The Muppets producing a late night talkshow with Kermit The Frog as lead writer/producer and Miss Piggy as host.
But why? It basically mashes up three good things: the comedy of The Office + the situations of 30 Rock with the lovable muppets as characters! What more can you ask for? The jokes are good but still has room for improvement.
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Length: 43 mins
Gist: Rookie Field FBI Agent Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) is a suspect in a terrorist attack in New York City. To clear her name, she must recall her days in the FBI training facility at Quantico to hunt down the real perpetrators.
But why? I must admit, I judged Quantico five minutes into it. Grayson from Cougartown is a high ranking FBI officer and Anna from UnREAL is an agent-in-training. Not to mention that it seems that they got Abercrombie & Fitch models to play as trainees. However, as the pilot went on, it wasted no time in setting up its big mystery and exploring the characters. The pilot was a ride full of highs and intrigue. I'm not 100% invested in it but the pilot was enough for me to watch its second episode.
Overall the first group seems to be so-so. If you ask me, there's no UnREAL or Mr. Robot yet in this group. Let's see what the next batch can offer.