Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Friday

TGIF

Dr. Ken premiers 10/2 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC

Premise: The family life of a clinic doctor.

Star Power: 6.0 Ken Jeong, as he said in a commercial – he’s that guy from that thing.

Ratings Prediction: This looks unfunny and slightly offensive to doctors and probably others.  Fresh Off the Boat did well for ABC, so they are probably hoping that this similar-looking program will also do well.  Based on the trailer it won’t.  10% chance of renewal

People are Talking premiers 10/16 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC

Premise: Family hires a hot babysitter.  That is about all I got out of the trailer.

Star Power: 6.5 Mark-Paul Gossellaar, the Ghost from Being Human (US version)

Ratings Prediction: While I like MPG, this looks like an unfocused sitcom.  Is it a show about a family?  Is it about friends?  Will it even be funny?  10% chance of renewal.

Friday night is where you put shows you want to die.  Based on the trailers of these two shows, I see why they put them there.  They would be lucky if they broke a 1.0 rating.

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Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Thursday

thursday

Heroes Reborn premiers 9/24 at 8/7c on NBC

Premise: Evolved humans are being hunted down and exterminated because they are dangerous and unpredictable.  They will fight back with the help of some old friends.

Star Power: 6.0 Chuck from Chuck, numerous holdovers from the original.

Ratings Prediction:  As Sheldon Cooper said of the original, they gradually reduced the quality of the show until you didn’t care that they cancelled it.  The original show was cancelled, can a reboot possibly be successful?  I don’t know, I will probably tune in to see if it is better than how it ended up.  The writers must avoid creating characters that are too powerful – they wrote themselves into a corner.  The main hero and villain both could do anything – their only limitation was that the writers kept forgetting that they could do everything so they just looked like idiots the whole time.  I can only think of a few shows that actually came back from cancellation (Family Guy, Arrested Development, Jericho).  This show will get fewer chances from viewers than other new shows, because they’ve already seen it.  50% chance of renewal.

The Player premiers 9/24 at 10/9c on NBC

Premise: I don’t know exactly.  It looks like a security consultant’s wife is killed.  He is enlisted by someone (the government? Unclear who) to do something (catch criminals? Unclear what).  The government (?) then bet on the security consultant’s chance of survival.  All very confusing.  I hope the pilot is more clear than the trailer.

Star Power: 6.5 Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester (Strike Back)

Ratings Prediction: Even after watching the trailer I’m confused.  It looks exciting, with lots of stunts and action, but is utterly confusing.  If the pilot doesn’t explain it, this show is D.O.A.  I want to like this show, but I need to see something better in the pilot than I did in the trailer.  While this goes up against How to Get Away with Murder, I see very little crossover in audience.  The bigger challenge for this show will be football – college and NFL are on Thursday nights.  35% chance of renewal.

Angel from Hell 11/5 9:30/8:30 CBS

Premise: A snarky, know-it-all guardian angel watches over a dermatologist.  The guardian angel played as only Jane Lynch can.

Star Power: 7.5 Jane Lynch, Alicia Silverstone

Ratings Prediction: This is a tough night.  This premieres on Thursdays after football moves off CBS to the NFL network.  The late season start is never helpful, but it will have Big Bang Theory leading off the night and then stable Mom right before Angel from Hell.  55% chance of renewal.

Thursday night is owned by Shonda Rhimes.  While I am not a fan of her shows (I watch a few episodes, roll my eyes and think, “this is stupid”), her shows are some of the highest rated shows on TV.  Add in football and Big Bang Theory (the highest rated show), and this night is death to those that try to enter here.  I think I was a little generous with my renewal chances, because I’d be surprised if any of these shows survived.

Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Wednesday

Bet you thought you'd see a camel here.
Bet you thought you’d see a camel here.

Rosewood premiers 9/23 at 8/7c on FOX

Premise: Hyper-observant pathologist teams up with tough cop that works alone and hates working with smart-ass doctor.

Star Power: 5.5 Morris Chestnut, Jaina Lee Ortiz (a whopping 7 acting credits on IMDB, including this one)

Ratings Prediction: The lack of originality is made up for with…something I’m sure.  I spent the entire trailer trying to figure out what is unique about this show and why I should watch it.  It precedes Empire so that will count for something.  People do watch shows like this, so it could do just fine.  45% of renewal

That’s it – one new show on Wednesday night.  The only other new program on is Code Black, a documentary about ER doctors.

Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Tuesday

tuesday

Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris premiers 9/15 at 10/9c on NBC

Premise:  A variety show.  Variety shows haven’t been around in a long time.  Magic, skits, etc.

Star Power: 7.5 Neil Patrick Harris is one of the best hosts in the game right now, does the Oscars and the Tonys.

Ratings Prediction: I have no idea what America’s appetite for a variety show is.  They haven’t been around in a while.  The last one I can truly think of (besides the next review) is The Smothers Brothers.  Which was what, the ‘70s?  There could be a very good reason for that.  But, if it is going to succeed, it is going to succeed with NPH.  It also has a massive advantage in premiering the week before “premier week.”  The real test will be if it can hold its ratings once new shows start and returning shows come back.  60% chance of renewal

The Muppets premiers 9/22 at 8/7c on ABC

Premise:  Speaking of variety shows, this doesn’t look like the variety show I grew up with.  At least the trailer didn’t.  The trailer looked like it will be a rip-off of other comedies (e.g. The Office and Modern Family).  If that’s the case it would be very disappointing.

Star Power: 9.0 The Muppets!  Who doesn’t love the Muppets?  Every red-blooded American loves the Muppets.  If you don’t, go back to Soviet Russia, you commie pig. *ouch!* *Miss Piggy stop hitting me* *I’ll fix it.* Go back to Soviet Russia, you commie frog.  *Better?* *Not still bitter about your break up with Kermit, are you?*

Ratings Prediction:  This doesn’t appear to be a strong night.  Outside of an aging NCIS, there isn’t a lot of competition.  Everyone will tune into The Muppets, but if it isn’t what they remember, the ratings could turn south.  70% chance of renewal.

Scream Queens premiers 9/22 at 9/8c on FOX

Premise: Haunted sorority house?  Murders are occurring in a sorority, one 20 years ago, another this year.  The sorority in question is already in trouble with the “Dean Wormer” character (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), who is forcing them to accept whomever applies.  The leader in the clubhouse for worst-looking new show.  Words cannot describe how wretched this looks.

Star Power: 8.0 Jaime Lee Curtis, Ariana Grande, Lead girl from Glee, another guy who you recognize immediately, but don’t know his name (he was in Nashville)

Ratings Prediction:  FOX has been having trouble finding hits in recent years.  It looks unique enough that people might want to tune in, but if they watch the trailer, they will probably run away screaming (Ha!  See what I did there?)  20% Chance of renewal.

Limitless premiers 9/22 at 10/9c on CBS

Premise:  A pill (NZT) makes a man the smartest person in the world – able to remember everything he ever learned; do complex calculations in seconds.  This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this – Alphas did it.  It also sounds a little like the movie Lucy.  It looks like this might be based on a movie of the same name – I haven’t seen it yet though.

Star Power: 8.0 Bradley Cooper (probably just a few cameo type appearance rather than a starring role, but still, Bradley Cooper), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Jake McDorman (Greek), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter)

Ratings Prediction:  This has the hallmarks of a successful show.  Strong cast, interesting premise – both inventive and can be turned into a weekly procedural (he’ll probably start working for the FBI).  No real competition (Chicago Fire and Wicked City [see below]).  However, people quickly turn away from something they don’t understand (can happen easily here).  Fewer and fewer people are watching TV live at 10/9c; if you get over a 2.0 in the timeslot you are working miracles.  70% chance of renewal.

Grandfathered premiers 9/29 at 8/7c on FOX

Premise: A successful restaurant owner finds out he has a son.  And a granddaughter!  The rest practically writes itself doesn’t it?  You can see all kinds of crazy hijinks here in this sitcom.

Star Power: 6.0 John Stamos

Ratings Prediction:  Remember that I said comedies are struggling.  I also said FOX is struggling.  Put the two together and it is an uphill road for this sitcom.  Even if it is a well-done comedy, it might struggle to find footing.  I actually did laugh at the trailer a couple times – a good sign, but the cards seem stacked against it.  50% chance of renewal

The Grinder premiers 9/29 at 8:30/7:30c on FOX

Premise: A man who played a TV lawyer for 8 years, starts being a lawyer.  His brother is a lawyer and his father is a lawyer so he thinks he can be a lawyer too.  Without going to law school.

Star Power: 7.5 Rob Lowe, Fred Savage

Ratings Prediction: Everything I just said about Grandfathered applies here.  It doesn’t look as funny, but Rob Lowe and Fred Savage are a bigger draw than John Stamos.  40% chance of renewal.

Wicked City premiers 10/27 at 10/9c on ABC

Premise: Police try to catch a necrophiliac serial killer.  Sounds super doesn’t it?

Star Power 5.0 Erika Christensen

Ratings Prediction: Premiering late.  Super dark subject matter.  This could be the next Dexter.  Probably not. 25% chance of renewal

Chicago Med premiers 11/10 at 9/8c on NBC

Premise: A spinoff of Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.  Those shows are so soapy, you don’t swear for a week after watching them.  I can’t imagine this will be different.

Star Power: 5.5 Laurie Holden (Walking Dead), Oliver Platt

Ratings Prediction: As a spinoff, they have the potential to crossover with the other shows.  There is a danger of fatigue from these shows.  It’s likely that if you watch Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, you will watch this.  If you don’t watch those shows, you probably won’t watch this one.  Given the success of the other two shows, this one probably survives as well.  70% chance of renewal.

A massive night for new television, with eight new shows premiering.  Everything from family entertainment (Best Time Ever w/NPH, The Muppets) to dark, dreadful looking shows (Scream Queens, Wicked City) to a spinoff (Chicago Med) that will probably do just fine.  The comedies have a chance on such a weak night.  Limitless looks like the most intriguing new show of the night – I might need to watch the movie first (if it is based on the movie).

Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Sunday

sunday

Blood & Oil premiers 9/27 at 9/8c on ABC

Premise: Dallas except in North Dakota.  Son of a legendary oil tycoon tries to make it in the oil business – first by working for him, then by trying to become a tycoon himself.  He needs to come up with 100K in 24 hours, but my thought was if he can come up with that kind of money without his father, why isn’t he doing that instead?

Star Power: 7.5 Don Johnson, Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl), Amber Valletta (Revenge)

Ratings Prediction:  It looks like a flawed premise, but that flaw might not matter.  It is soap opera type show and I can see it doing very well here.  65% chance of renewal.

Quantico premiers 9/27 at 10/9c on ABC

Premise: An FBI agent fresh out of the academy, (is it called an academy?) must prove her innocence of the deadliest attack on US soil since 9/11.  It looks like they will spend time at the FBI training camp in Quantico — as part of flashbacks because one of her classmates is the real culprit.

Star Power: 1.0 No one I’ve seen in anything or would have seen in anything, except a couple minor guest appearances on other TV shows.

Ratings Prediction: The training camp could be interesting.  I also hope that we, as the viewer, recognize that she might be guilty and that she is an unreliable narrator.  It would add a lot more drama to the show.  Is she guilty or not?  Though, I suspect that we are going to be led to believe that she is 100% innocent.  This show has a lot of potential, but I have a bad feeling that it is going to be a mangled mess of a script that is contrived and convoluted.  I have nothing to base that on, so judge it on its own merits.  60% chance of renewal.

I’ve never understood why Sunday night isn’t a monster night for TV.  No one goes out, you’ve had family time all weekend, it seems like a time to chill in front of the TV.  But, other than football, ratings seem to be rather meh.  I look at the Sunday night lineup and there is no must see TV anywhere on the grid.  These two shows don’t look to be blockbusters either.  They will probably do just fine, but nothing that is going to dominate TV.

Fall 2015 New TV Preview: Monday

Monday

Life in Pieces premieres 9/21 (Comedy) 8:30/7:30c on CBS

Premise:  Follows an extended family – The matriarch and patriarch are in their seventies.  Their eldest child has multiple children, with one about to enter college.  Their second child just had their first baby.  Their youngest is still single.  Does this sound familiar?  It does to me.  It seems like a mash up of Modern Family and Rules of Engagement.

Star Power: 8.0 Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Colin Hanks (he isn’t his dad, but the name should help bring more eyeballs)

Ratings Prediction: Comedies have been very difficult to produce the last couple years, nearly everything has been cancelled.  Life in Pieces has every opportunity to survive – It follows The Big Bang Theory, and has a solid cast.  If it is even remotely funny, it should survive, even if the premise isn’t the most original.  80% chance of renewal

Minority Report premiers 9/21 (Drama) 9/8c on FOX

Premise:  Like the movie of the same name, the government attempted to stamp out crime by seeing it before it happens.  Children hooked up to a computer see the future crime, then the police then go arrest the perpetrator.  The program was shut down, but ten years later one of the precogs still sees visions of crimes about to happen.  He tries in vain to stop these murders, until he connects with a cop(? – someone official-like, the trailer was unclear who he partners with.)

Star Power: 3.0.  Meagan Good (66 credits to her name according to IMDB, but I have never seen her in anything), Stark Sands (27 credits – nothing I have seen), Fez from That 70s Show

Ratings Prediction:  Reminds me of Person of Interest except a spinoff of the Tom Cruise movie.  It feels like FOX has tried a number of sci-fi shows in this time slot, only to fail.  Sleepy Hollow and Gotham survived, but before that, nothing seemed to work for them in this time slot.  Up against Monday Night Football, and The Voice, and with a semi-confusing trailer – it doesn’t bode well.  30% chance of renewal.

Blindspot premiers 9/21 (Drama) 10/9c on NBC

Premise:  If you have watched any of the thousand NBC affiliates this summer, you have probably seen the trailer for this.  Amnesiac woman, with tattoos on her body.  Her mind was purposefully erased, but “procedural memory remains intact.”  This means that she knows how to fight, and how to read Chinese (and this is just from the trailer – she probably has all kinds of kick-ass knowledge and skill that is unknown, until she uses it).  That tattoos are guide for the FBI (and her) to stop a terrorist (?) serial killer (?) puppy snatcher (?)  Don’t know.

Star Power: 2.0.  The lead woman is Jessi from Kyle XY.  I’m probably the only person besides her mother that knows that.

Ratings Prediction:  If I know one thing about The Voice, it’s that whoever watches that show is too lazy to change the channel afterward.  Shows do extraordinarily well in this timeslot.  Add that to the heavy promotion for the show, and the intriguing concept, you have yourself an almost surefire winner – at least on premiere night.  Serial shows tend to bleed viewers, bad ones hemorrhage them, and good ones lose them like a hemophiliac with a paper cut.  The producers will need to strike a delicate balance between keeping the mystery alive, and answering viewer questions.  75% chance of renewal

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend premiers 10/19 (Drama) 8/7c on The CW

Premise:  Stalker: The Musical!  I’ll give credit to The CW.  They definitely come up with inventive unique programs.  In this particular show, Rebecca follows her ex-boyfriend (from 10 years ago) to California.  There is singing involved.

Star Power: 1.0 The CW is not known for pulling big names.

Ratings Prediction: On any other network, I’d say this has no chance of survival, but the CW has lower standards.  In addition, this quirky show is paired with Jane the Virgin, another quirky show.  I actually expect it to do quite well (by CW standards) here.  80% chance of renewal.

Supergirl 10/26 (Drama) 8/7c on CBS

Premise: Um, Supergirl.  Like Superman, but a girl.

Star Power: 5.0.  Apparently, the lead (Melissa Benoist) was in Glee.  Her mom is played by Laura Benanti (Go On, Nashville) – though she, like Jor-El, dies on Krypton, so I am not sure how much she can really be in it.

Ratings Prediction: CBS jumps into the comic book game.  Half of the current shows on TV are from comic books.  It’s good to see Supergirl on (and in!) the air.  CBS is a strange choice, their viewer demographic definitely skews to the older side, and they are better known for their boiler-plate procedurals than innovative dramas.  It is also, however, the network that gives us Big Bang Theory, one of the top programs in the 18-49 demographic.  Similar to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, if this were on any other network, I’d have a differnt answer.  Supergirl on any other network would be a shoo-in for renewal.  As is, I fear that it could be a massive disappointment.  50% chance of renewal.

Monday is always a very tough night between football and The Voice, sucking up most of the viewers in the important 18-49 demographic.  The other networks are left fighting for the leftovers.  I expect only three of these shows will survive the year, and I will probably only watch two of them (Supergirl and Blindspot).

Movie Review: Wild

WILD-poster-crop

Release Date: 12/19/14

Wild is a powerful true story about a journey – a journey both physical and emotional.  Reese Witherspoon was fantastic as Cheryl Strayed.  The movie did a good job of giving us the general idea of Cheryl Strayed’s life, but there were parts that needed more detail.  Only by watching with someone who read the book did I understand some of her flashbacks.

Have I mentioned I don’t like non-linear story telling?  In case I haven’t, I don’t like non-linear story telling.  My brain just doesn’t work that way.  My brain is very logical and methodical, it doesn’t like to jump out of order.  So, when a movie comes along that tells a story out of order, my mind struggles with the concept.  Wild presents its story out of order.

Cheryl Strayed is going through an emotional crisis.  Her mother died and she doesn’t know how to deal with it.  She is hooked on heroine, recently divorced (because she cheated on her husband), and gets pregnant (by one of the random men she slept with).

But, we don’t know any of that yet; all we know is that she is hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.  We see her life through a series of flashbacks.  The result is a film out of chronological order.  This was the perfect use for the technique.  During her hike, she is completely isolated for days, weeks at a time.  She has nothing to do but think.  She thinks about everything that led her to this point – her mother, her mother’s death, her adultery, her pregnancy, her heroine use.  These thoughts don’t come in any order – they just come.  This non-chronological storytelling not only was done well, but done necessarily.  Yet, my mind still doesn’t work like that.

Another way my mind doesn’t work – doing virtually no planning for a three-month hike up the west coast of the United States.  I think I have done more planning for a trip that I will likely never take (bicycle across the United States).  But, this isn’t a plot hole; this is what the real-life Cheryl Strayed actually did (or didn’t do).

Overall, despite my weird little brain, I liked the film – good acting, and an interesting story.  I didn’t read the book, but I would recommend doing so before watching, as some scenes will make more sense.

WWYT Rating: 7.0

IMDB Rating: 7.2