SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Madam Secretary (CBS)
This is a pilot for a show still trying to decide what it wants to be. On the one hand, it is a political drama; on the other, a domestic one. Téa Leoni plays the Secretary of State, but isn’t entirely convincing — yet. She is, however, supported by very strong actors all of whom brought their A game. The story was a bit twee at times and it reminded me of more than one show that has come before, but there is a great deal of promise here. If Leoni can decide how to play the role and if the writers give her something to sink her teeth into, this could be a wonderful addition to the CBS line-up. I’m going to stick around for an episode or two to see what happens.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
This pilot reminded me a lot of another ABC romance procedural that I have loved for many years. The procedural element is routine, but it is the characters that make it what it is and keep me tuning in every week. I really, really liked these characters and the twist at the end about one of them was a wonderful reveal. I know I don’t need another show like this on my DVR, but I can’t help myself. Besides, Ioan Gruffudd every week, like Nathan Fillion every week, is never a bad thing.
J.D. wrote a full review of the pilot.
A group of oddball geniuses solve huge problems, like how to keep 54 planes from falling out of the sky around LA. The leader, the one who keeps telling us that he can’t connect with people, connects with a waitress who is raising a genius son. Yeah, they’re the endgame couple with zero chemistry. The stunts are fun, but so implausible that I actually giggled at the poor CGI of the biggest one. This is a show that is just formulaic and silly.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS)
If you’ve ever seen an episode of either of this pilot’s sibling shows, you’ve seen this pilot. The major difference is that the city of New Orleans will play a much larger role than Washington or LA play in the other two. NCIS is not a bad franchise, but this show just feels as though it has been done before.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Andre Johnson is living the dream. Newly promoted at work, with a beautiful home, an accomplished wife, and four great kids, life is good. Except, he worries that his family is not black enough and spends the pilot trying to get everyone around him, both at work and at home, to more fully embrace black culture. There are some very funny moments and Laurence Fishburne’s hilarious performance is worth the price of admission. Overall, I got the sense that once this show settles into itself and stops trying so hard, it might just be worth watching.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
The most hotly anticipated show of the year left me cold. While Viola Davis is exceptional in the lead role, and she is surrounded by a bevy of excellent actors, the characters are so awful that I was repulsed by them. In addition, the premise is so absurd that I found myself rolling my eyes. This one is all too much for me.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
A typical MTV comedy with plenty of eye candy and predictable stories. I’ve seen better, but if you’re looking for something light and frothy that will make you smile while you roll your eyes at the soap opera clichés, you could do a lot worse.
Manhattan Love Story (ABC)
Dana and Peter begin dating in this rom-sitcom. The twist is that, through a series of voiceovers, we hear what each is actually thinking while they are saying something else. The problem is that both these characters are so awful, I couldn’t care less what they are thinking. Not to mention, the misogyny is so on the surface I kept shaking my head in wonder. Bad show.
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
Thank God for the BBC. Even when it’s not at its best, it is still bloody good. Cillian Murphy plays Tommy Shelby, a gangster in 1919 Birmingham. The show is dark, moody, and occasionally veers into melodrama. There is also more than a passing nod to the Western and gangster films that have come before. No matter, it is wonderful. Not the best of the Beeb, but worth checking out.
Five minutes into this, I nearly turned it off. Vomit jokes just aren’t my thing. I’m glad I stuck with it as it improves dramatically after the first ad break. Based on Pygmalion (and, by extension, My Fair Lady), Eliza convinces Henry to “re-brand” her. Karen Gillan and John Cho have great chemistry and some of the dialogue is beautifully written. This one has huge potential, but I’ll wait to see how it fares before committing my DVR.
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.