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New Shows (2013): September 27-October 1

I am trying to catch up on all the new shows, but there seems to be an extraordinary number of them this year. Here is the next batch. The color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

Masterchef Junior (Fox at 8:00pm)
I like to think of myself as a very good cook. These kids, aged 8 to 13, are humbling. The dishes they created and presented in just an hour were magnificent. Inspiring stuff that I will continue to watch.

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out (Showtime at 9:00pm)
A follow-up to her earlier film, Marina Zenovich looks at the arrest and extradition hearing of Roman Polanski. There is a fair amount of finger pointing and some allegations on both sides of why the Swiss finally got around to arresting the man who has lived in their country on and off for decades. Other than a fascinating interview with the original victim in the case, the rest of the film is a bit dull and runs a bit long.

Arcade Fire Concert Special (NBC at 1:00am)
The Cheating Pact (Lifetime at 8:00pm)
History Made Now: Wheels of Fortune (History at 8:00pm)

Instant Mom (Nickelodeon at 8:30pm)
This show is nearly identical to Trophy Wife, another new show this season. A party girl marries a guy with three kids and begins to raise them when their mother is called out of town for an extended period. The jokes were a bit stale and the story has been told, but the actors were obviously having fun and enjoying the gig. I’ve seen a lot worse.

Betrayal (ABC at 10:00pm)
ABC loves its one word titled guilty pleasures. First we had Revenge, then we had Scandal, both of which involve guilty romances and guilty secrets. This one tries to adhere to the same formula, but misses the mark. There is so little chemistry between the two leads, it is impossible to believe that both would sacrifice long term marriages for such tepidity. Add in a badly written, cliché driven murder plot that will pit husband against lover in the courtroom, and it becomes clear that this show is a distant cousin to either of its predecessors.

Masters of Sex (Showtime at 10:00pm)
William Masters and Virginia Johnson changed the game when it came to the study of human sexuality. Flying in the face of all conventions of the time, they studied sex scientifically using volunteers from their local community. This series is a docudrama based on their work and it is fascinating. As you can imagine, there is a lot of sex, but it is all in furtherance of the story. Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan bring two magnificent performances. Although this is definitely a show for adults, it is well worth checking out. Maybe the best new series yet.

Hello Ladies (HBO at 10:30pm)
Stephen Merchant, a longtime collaborator with Ricky Gervais, strikes out on his own and, I’m afraid, strikes out. This comedy is simply dreadful. It is filled with horrible narcissists who are not the slightest bit funny. It is obvious from the first five minutes that, eventually, Merchant’s character is going to end up with the woman to whom he rents a room and I couldn’t care less. I made it through fifteen minutes of the pilot’s thirty before I simply couldn’t take any more of the pain.

Terror in the Skies (Smithsonian at 8:00pm)
Eric & Jessie: Game On (E! at 10:00pm)

We Are Men (CBS at 8:30pm)
Similar to Dads, this is a show with a cast that can’t be beat. Unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t end there. This is another bad sitcom. The story has been done and is dull; the jokes are not funny; the misogyny is not subtle. I know many, many wonderful men. Somehow, the television gods this year have chosen to portray the worst of the gender. I wonder why.

2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival (The CW at 8:00pm)

Wolfblood (Disney at 8:00pm)
An import from Britain, this is a charming show. Aimed at tweens, it is the story of 14-year-old Maddy who has the ability to become a wolf at the full moon. Not a werewolf; she is not a monster as the show takes pains to tell us. The story feels real. These kids go to school, face peer pressure, and deal with annoying parents. The actors are good for ones so young and the story shows promise. If you have kids, I would recommend this show for them. For the rest of us, it may be a bit young.

30 for 30 (ESPN at 8:00pm)
Homicide Hunter (Investigation Discovery at 9:00pm)
Beauty Queen Murders (Investigation Discovery at 10:00pm)


  1. One new show has already been cancelled, and one has been renewed.

    ABC has axed "Lucky 7."

    FOX has renewed "Sleepy Hollow" for a second season. (Maybe the network suffered an identity crisis and believed it was another network - one that doesn't prematurely axe decent shows.)

  2. ChrisB, great picture up top! That animal is adorable.

    And now for what I hope is not the stupidest question ever: is it a dog? Or a dog-like animal, like a fox?

  3. Baby hyena?

    I think it's funny how Betrayal is trying to ride Scandal's coattails. They ran a promo during this week's Scandal basically saying, "if you like Scandal, you'll love this. It's exactly the same."

  4. I'm not surprised about Lucky 7. It was one of the most depressing pilots I have ever seen. My guess is that if people tune in to watch a group of people win millions, they want the fantasy. I know I do.

    I'm happy about Sleepy Hollow. I'm really enjoying it.

    Betrayal is just awful. One of the reasons that Scandal works so well is the chemistry among so many of the characters. There was none in this new show and I was glad when the hour was up.

    As I think I've mentioned before, I always try to tie the picture into at least one of the shows I'm discussing. This time, it was Wolfblood, so the photo is of a wolf cub.

    Although there were lots of photos of wolf cubs from which to choose, I liked this one because I liked the flowers.

  5. Seriously? That's what wolves look like as cubs? I want one!

  6. I had a shot at Lucky 7, but it seemed familiar and I realised it was based on British show The Lottery. I switched off after they introduced the Indian father and daughter and it was the total marry-a-doctor arranged marriage cliche. If it was all that bad, no wonder it was cancelled.


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