It’s that time of year again, and there is a lot of excitement on the flat-screen. The Fall 2014 season marks the year of new romances, new super heroes, and new thrills in the White House.
Scorpion (CBS Sept 22)
Staring Elyes Gable as Walter O’Brien, hacker genius, Scorpion is an action drama centered around a Homeland Security team of super geniuses tasked with using their various skill sets to solve national emergencies. To me it feels a little like a mashup of Numbers meets every single other generic action drama on the air.
Verdict: I’ll think I’ll stick to the socially inept nerds on Big Bang Theory
State of Affairs (NBC, nov 17)
Another CIA drama, State of Affairs stars Katherine Heigl as Charlie Tucker, CIA briefing analyst for the President. Driven by revenge over her fiancé’s death, Tucker aims to unravel a nest of conspiracy that suggests his death was not a combat death, but an assassination. From the same team that brought us The Blacklist, I imagine this show will have the same level of intensity and thrill that will keep viewers coming back for more.
Verdict: Spaderless fun
Gotham (FOX Sept 22)
Ben McKenzie stars as James Gordon, a new detective in crime choked Gotham City tasked with working on the high-profile case of the Wayne family murder. Gotham hammers us with so many “look at the reference to the future villains!” scenes that you are sure to wonder what has more annoying stunt cameos, Gotham or Once Upon a Time.
Verdict: I’m Bat-boy!
Other Returning Shows
Castle, 2 Broke Girls, and Mom all return to Monday nights, though it seems CBS wants to move away from the comedy block by reducing it to only a single hour. Big Bang Theory moves to Monday and trades off with 2 Broke Girls which returns later this year.
Selfie (ABC Sept 30)
Karen Gillan stars as Eliza Dooley, an obsessively narcissistic woman using social media to become not only famous, but infamous. Realizing her world consists of the vapid emptiness of online “friends,” Eliza works with Henry Higgs (John Cho) to help rebrand her image. The weird ham-fisted tie into My Fair Lady doesn’t make a lot of sense as the story lines have no real semblance of the original.
Verdict: Vapid Emptiness
Manhattan Love Story (ABC Sept 30)
Analeigh Tipton stars as Dana and Jake McDorman stars as Peter, two young NYC residents on a blind date, in a brutally generic and recycled story of dashing playboy resident meets bright-eyed NYC transplant. NYC is a common backdrop for new romance, but in the end, it’s just the same as every other romantic comedy.
Verdict: We get it, people meet their soul mates in New York
Forever (ABC Sept 22)
Ioan Gruffudd is medical examiner Dr. Henry Morgan, immortal who resurrects inside a nearby pool of water. I’m not sure what to make of it, as it seems to try to play off Elementary’s arrogant lead role motif with a twist.
Verdict: New Amsterdam returns!
Marry Me (NBC Oct 14)
Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) stars as Annie and Ken Marino as Jake and chronicles their never-ending string of failed marriage proposals to each other and if the universe is trying to tell them something. While I love the idea of David Caspe (creator of Happy Endings) creating a new series, I feel like this tepid premise is doomed as the signs they are ignoring.
Verdict: I guess there no chance of a Happy Endings revival
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makes a miraculous return, but I hope that its terrible lead-ins don’t sink it this season.
Blackish (ABC Sept 24 )
Anthony Anderson stars as Andre Johnson, patriarch of a middle class African-American family who feels like he’s losing his grip on their racial heritage, heritage being hitting all of the stereotypes associated with black families. While it does have some humor to it in the forms of one-liners via grandfather Laurence Fishburne, overall it feels like it tries too hard to be edgy and is practically the polar opposite of Suburgatory which it replaces.
Verdict: Not sure if I should be saddened by the racial stereotyping
Stalker (CBS Oct 1)
Staring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as a pair of LA detectives, Stalker is a psychological thriller from Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson’s Creek, I Know What You Did Last Summer) seems like yet another cop-drama with a twist of “Scary Movie” thrown in as if Williamson wanted to remind you why you know him. With the premise of the caseload only consisting of stalking cases (as opposed to only homicide cases), I have to wonder how effective this series will be.
Verdict: I know what you didn’t do last summer…make something watchable.
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC Sept 24)
Debra Messing stars as NYPD Detective Laura as she tries to balance her home life with two kids and her work life. Between a useless husband, two demonic children, and detective skills pulled purely out of thin air, I don’t get how anything gets resolved on this show and the constant bounce between thriller and family comedy is just exhausting.
Verdict: I hope she never has to solve my murder.
Red Band Society (FOX Sept 17)
Red Band Society is an ensemble show following the stories of a bunch of teens in a hospital pediatric ward and the relationships they form with each other.
Verdict: Glee without the annoying music
ABC still dominates Wednesday, though I greatly lament the loss of Suburgatory.
How to Get Away With Murder (ABC – Sept 25)
Viola Davis stars as Criminal Defense Professor Annalise Keating in a scandalous legal drama focusing on the high intensity life of a law student. Trying to bank on the success of Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder seems like another empty drama.
Verdict: Guilty of murdering my interest
The McCarthys (CBS Oct 20)
Tyler Ritter stars as Ronny, the gay son in a sports fanatic family trying to make his way though life as the social outsider compared to his hard-hitting macho siblings. Sadly, most of the decision-making angst will likely resolve in the first episode (shocker, he stays?) leaving just a generic comedy that wants to hit all the hot button stereotypes found in TV today.
Bad Judge (NBC Oct 2)
Staring Kate Walsh as hard-line in court yet wild off bench Judge Rebecca Wright, Bad Judge attempts to put some heavy-handed personal change stories in the form of a comedy block. Hitting the heavily overused “wild adult tamed by personally connected child” motif, I can’t imagine this series gaining any steam.
Verdict: Guilty of mediocrity
A to Z (NBC Oct 2)
A to Z is a romantic comedy starring Ben Feldman as Andrew and Cristin Miloti as Zelda and their whirlwind romance in the office park. Based on the Pilot, I’d say it’s a very sweet show, and I enjoyed it. I fear though that once we get to “Z” we’ll end up having to start over again.
Verdict: Mixology in the Office Park
The Blacklist moves to Thursday nights in February, assuming State of Affairs doesn’t bomb.
Cristela (ABC Oct 10)
Cristela Alonzo is Cristela, Mexican American law intern working to achieve the American dream. I’m sure it will be very feel good full of topical stereotype based humor.
Verdict: The George Lopez Show returns!
Constantine (NBC Oct 24th)
Based on DC Comic Hellblazer, Matt Ryan is John Constantine, con-man turned dark exorcist tasked with defending us against the minions of hell. Paired with Grimm on Fridays, Constantine seems like a pretty scary fun.
Verdict: Angel as a con man.
Madam Secretary (CBS)
Téa Leoni starts as Elizabeth McCord, newly appointed secretary of state in Madam Secretary. Centered around the oh so intriguing world of international politics, office politics, and domestic household politics, this political drama wants to be the next *West Wing”. Sadly Leoni’s over the top smug demeanor and obvious shoehorned comparison to Hillary leave a lot to be desired.
Verdict: Interim Secretary of State
In a heavy sign of confidence, FOX moved the Emmy Award Winning Brooklyn 99 right between The Simpsons and Family Guy.