Fall Network TV Preview: What to try and what to pass

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SUNDAY

  1. Sunday is for pro football. I love it. I will watch even lousy teams play the Sunday night game. If God had wanted us watching anything else on Sundays, He would not have had services end at 11:50 a.m. The NBC game crew includes Al Michaels, who is the least irritating football play-by-play man in the game. I might even watch a few games with the sound up. But I’m sure Cris Collinsworth will talk and the mute button will be quickly engaged. There are shows on networks. I don’t watch them. I used to watch the cartoons on Fox. Now I just watch them on [adult swim] as reruns the next week, even “Bob’s Burgers,” which is pretty good.

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MONDAY

  1. There’s a show called “Hostages” on ABC. It stars Dylan McDermott as the hostage taker. I was a cop reporter once. The only hostage situations that last more than a few days involve terrorists and foreign countries. The rest are just domestic abuse situations gone horribly bad. Pass.
  2. CBS offers a show called “We Are Men,” about divorced men bonding. I am not sexist. I don’t want to watch shows about women bonding. I don’t want to watch shows about men bonding. The only bonding I want to see involves wood glue on “New Yankee Workshop.” Also, Jerry O’Connell is in it. That guy is married to Rebecca Romijn. That kind of pisses me off, though I don’t know why. Pass.
  3. Chuck Lorre has another sitcom coming out on CBS. This one is called “Mom” and it’s about a mother and daughter who support one another. See earlier note about bonding. I’m out.
  4. Also on CBS is a new show called “Intelligence.” It stars Josh Holloway of “Lost” fame as a guy with a microchip in his head who is kind of a super spy. I like Halloway. I will give it a three-episode tryout, but I’m not optimistic.
  5. Fox has nothing but disasters lined up for its fall schedule. It has been kind enough to put them both on Mondays. The first is “Almost Human,” a cop drama that pairs humans with androids. I think I would rather read Issac Asimov‘s “I, Robot.” Pass. Speaking of literature, Fox is tapping the 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for another Monday drama about the Headless Horseman somehow in the present day. The real question is how long either of these show last before cancellation. The over-under betting is set at three episodes. I plan to watch neither.
  6. The most promising show offered Monday is “The Blacklist” on NBC. James Spader plays a criminal who turns himself to the FBI and agrees to help the government track down the most dangerous threats in the world on the condition that he works with a particular junior agent. Spader is a good enough actor for me to give this series an honest look.

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TUESDAY

  1. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is easily the most anticipated and hyped show of the fall season. I loved “The Avengers” movie. I am curious to see how this superhero action-adventure franchise translates to television. I am all the way in.
  2. I am ambivalent about the remainder of ABC’s Tuesday night lineup. Family comedies usually don’t hook me. No family comedy since “Roseanne” reflected life in the lower middle class. ABC offers “The Goldbergs,” set in the 1980s and based on the actual childhood of series creator Adam F. Goldberg. I love the 1980s, but I somehow doubt I’ll connect with this family’s likely zany adventures. I might try an episode.
  3. The casting of Malin Akerman in the lead is the only reason I would give a second look to something called “Trophy Wife.” I am not interested in the problems of rich and beautiful people. But Akerman has proven herself very funny in “Childrens Hospital” on [adult swim] and the film adaptation of “Rock of Ages.” It doesn’t appear she has much to work with here, though.
  4. ABC has a comedy about seven gas station employees who win the lottery called “Lucky 7.” At least four of them are gorgeous young women, you know, the kind you see in gas stations every day. See above: I am not interested in the problems of rich and beautiful people.
  5. The CW has a new show. I think it’s a spin-off from an old show. I don’t care. I’m too old to watch shows on the CW, a network that is a less gross MTV.
  6. The groupthink machine that is Hollywood seems to be focusing on parent-adult child relationships this fall. CBS is pushing “Mom.” Fox has “Dads,” about fathers who move in with their sons. Apparently adult men can’t, you know, just go get an apartment. Also, Seth Green is in it. He hasn’t been good in anything since he played a werewolf in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Pass.
  7. Fox is putting out “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a cop comedy starring Andy Samberg. Several magazines have put it in lists of best new shows this fall. I am willing to give Samberg a chance here. He’s been in some garbage, but his music videos on “Saturday Night Live” are very funny.
  8. NBC turned to a 1998 Nick Hornby book that was already made into a lousy Hugh Grant movie for the inspiration for “About A Boy.” The theme is a single “man-child” gets his doo-doo in one baggy after meeting a hot single mother and her kid. This is the stuff romantic comedies are made of. I hate romantic comedies. Pass.
  9. Growing Up Fisher” is another case where casting might force me to go against better instincts. On the face of it, a show about a blind guy getting a dog named Elvis and his son dealing with a divorce sounds dreadful. But the blind guy is played by J.K. Simmons, who is awesome. I’ll watch one episode, but this dog is on a very short leash.

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WEDNESDAY

  1. Back in the Game” on ABC follows the tribulations of a former star softball player who coaches a Little League team full of misfits. Skip it. Put in the original “The Bad News Bears” and forget this show as quickly as viewers will.
  2. Super Fun Night” is a show about women bonding. See above.
  3. The Tomorrow People” is about people who possess superpowers because of human evolution. It is on the CW. I don’t watch shows on the CW. I think I’ll just read X-Men comics instead.
  4. Ironside” is a remake of mediocre series about a wheelchair-bound detective from 1967. That original show, which starred Raymond Burr, is on the retro TV network MeTV weekdays. If you really need to watch a wheelchair-using detective, watch that show.

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THURSDAY

  1. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” is an ABC spin off of the fairy tale-based “Once Upon A Time,” which is a hit for the Disney-owned network on Sundays. I don’t like the original, despite it being a vehicle for Jennifer Morrison, whom I enjoyed on “House, M.D.” Pass.
  2. CBS scheduled a new comedy called “The Millers” opposite its blockbuster “The Big Bang Theory.” The new show is about a father and son who both get a divorce at the same time and the father tries to move in with his daughter. This reads like more Hollywood groupthink, with another plot similar to Fox’s “Dads.” Shows about families hold no appeal for me. Pass.
  3. I really want Sarah Michelle Gellar to have one successful post-“Buffy” project that doesn’t involve a cartoon dog. “Ringer” on the CW wasn’t it. I don’t think this new CBS sitcom “The Crazy Ones” is going to be a winner either. She stars opposite Robin Williams, who plays her father. They are advertising executive. Maybe it is “Mad Men” played for laughs. I doubt it is that good, though. I will watch a couple of episodes because of my love of SMG, but I don’t expect this to linger on my DVR long.
  4. The CW appears to be in the midst of an identity crisis. It is a network targeted at teenage girls and really dedicated superhero fans who are willing to watch “Arrow” try to be Batman. The selection of “Reign,” a period drama about the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots, for its Thursday lineup seems like the CW is going after the “Downton Abbey” crowd, only made terrible for teenagers. Maybe somebody will really like it. I’ll never know. I’m not going to watch it. Pass.
  5. Rake” is a Fox series where Greg Kinnear plays a lawyer with personal problems. This is a wholly original idea that has never been done before except for all the shows that have done it before. A debut date for “Rake” has yet to be scheduled. It won’t matter to me when it arrives. I find Kinnear charming. I’m not that interested in the struggles of TV lawyers. Pass.
  6. NBC trots out three new comedies on Thursday nights. They are all of the family comedy variety. “Welcome to the Family” is about a white girl getting pregnant by a Latino boy and the hilarity that comes from blending families. “Sean Saves The World” is about a divorced gay man whose 14-year-old daughter comes to live with him. “The Michael J. Fox Show” is about a man who has Parkinson’s disease who decides to go back to work after taking some time off. This is apparently done without irony. I like Michael J. Fox. But I won’t be watching his show or any of these others, which just read terrible.

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FRIDAY

  1. Fox has a show called “Junior MasterChef,” which is reality show about children trying to be chefs. I don’t really like children. I like to eat, but I don’t care about cooking. I prefer to leave that to professionals. I would watch this show if it was “Junior Formula One Mechanic” or “Junior Marksman” because I have enjoyed shows about race cars and shooting guns. But food preparation is not entertaining to me. Pass.
  2. In January, “Enlisted” is scheduled to debut. This is a situation comedy about three brothers who enlist in the Army and are assigned to take care of their Florida base while the majority of the unit is deployed overseas. I have a soft spot for military-themed sitcoms. “M*A*S*H” is one of my favorite shows of all time. I always liked “Private Benjamin,” too. I doubt this show is very good only because most things networks make are very good and they put it on Fridays beginning in January. But I might give it a try.
  3. NBC executives hope to use the popularity of its horror/fairy tale-themed series “Grimm” to launch a 10-episode miniseries “Dracula.” This time the bloodsucker is in Victorian London pretending to be an American looking for revenge on his old enemies. The premise is silly, but I might watch it because I am a fan of shorter series. I’ll try it.
  4. NBC also plans a pirate-themed show called “Crossbones.” It stars John Malkovich. I typically hate shows based on ships and water. I also hate the hipster chic of pirates. But Malkovich plays weird very well. And the show is written by Neil Cross, who created the sublime British cop series “Luther” and has written for “Doctor Who.” I’ll try it.

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