Last week, I asked you to predict which of this fall's new dramas would be canceled fastest. That's pretty bleak, so let's focus on the positive for a minute instead: Which of the dramas do you think has the best chance to make it big?
I've told you about the five new shows I'll be watching this fall, as well as five I'll probably skip and five more that I'm not sure about. But that doesn't cover all the new shows heading to TV this fall. All summer, I've been tracking the pilots in my pilot watch feature, and now, if you're curious about a particular show, you can just click on its name below to see my take:
"The Return of Jezebel James" (midseason)
For the dramas, read more
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Last week I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall and five that I think are total tossups. Today brings my favorite of the lists: the five shows that I think are most likely to earn a season pass on my TiVo.
5. "Gossip Girl" — Many of you have already gotten a chance to weigh in on "Gossip Girl," which certainly ranks among the fall's most highly anticipated shows. Like "The OC," which made "Gossip Girl" co-creator Josh Schwartz famous, "Gossip Girl" is all about the plight of super-rich kids who drink too much and make bad choices, and if you're not generally a fan of teen shows, "Gossip Girl" probably won't change your mind. But beyond the soapy exterior lurks an appealing (and generally age-appropriate) cast and an immensely popular book series from which any number of tantalizing stories can be drawn. I'm not sure it's the next "OC" quite yet, but the potential is there.
4. "Reaper" — "Reaper," a dude comedy from two women who earned their chops as writers on "Law & Order: SVU," could become one of the CW's first big breakout hits. Kevin Smith's influence can be felt all over the pilot, which showcases leading man Bret Harrison and hilarious sidekick Tyler Labine as a couple of unlikely heroes who work as bounty hunters for the devil. It's an unlikely premise, but it's got smart execution and humor to spare. But maybe the greatest thing about "Reaper" is the casting of Ray Wise as Satan himself; one look at that creepy smile, and I was sold.
For the top three I'll be watching, read more
The fall TV season is officially upon us, with the first new drama of the season — Fox's "K-Ville" — premiering Monday night. Finally, everyone will get to see the pilot episodes I've been watching all summer! One thing about pilots is that they can be misleading: Some series with bad pilots have gone on to be great shows, while some shows with great pilots never really worked as series.
So, in honor of all the first episodes we'll be watching over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to ask about your favorite first episodes — the ones that really sucked you in and made you know the show would be one for you to watch. Last fall's premiere of "Friday Night Lights" was like that for me, as was the first episode of "Grey's Anatomy," which is still one of my top five sob-inducing TV moments. What are yours?
After all the anticipation of the fall TV pilots comes the inevitable bloodbath, when network executives realize that certain series just aren't going to make it. So I'm asking you guys to help me out with a little fall TV deathwatch, predicting which series will get to air the fewest number of episodes before being canceled. Today: the comedies.
After all the anticipation of the fall TV pilots comes the inevitable bloodbath, when network executives realize that certain series just aren't going to make it. So I'm asking you guys to help me out with a little fall TV deathwatch, predicting which series will get to air the fewest number of episodes before being canceled. Today: the dramas.
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Yesterday, I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall, and on Monday, I'll be revealing my top five picks for the season. But today, I'm focusing on the shows that could go either way, just as likely to become megahits as they are to sink like stones.
5. "Bionic Woman" — "Bionic" has seen quite a bit of upheaval since the pilot I saw was filmed. One supporting part (the bionic woman's younger sister) has been recast and reconceived, and — just within the past couple of weeks — one of the executive producers left the show. In the version of the pilot I saw, lead actress Michelle Ryan didn't seem to have the sort of fearless toughness you'd want in an action star, and the whole thing seemed surprisingly low-energy. But now, "Friday Night Lights" producer Jason Katims will be consulting on the show, and NBC has ensured a steady stream of publicity by hiring Isaiah Washington for a guest spot. I'm still not confident about this remake, but I think it has an equal chance of being a breakout hit and a flop.
4. "Carpoolers" — I'm really of two minds about "Carpoolers." On the one hand, the whole idea of inane car banter is why I try not to catch rides with casual acquaintances. On the other hand, this pilot made me laugh surprisingly hard, and I'm finding myself rooting for it. The writing may not be completely there yet, but the comic timing from funny guys like Jerry O'Connell, Jerry Minor, Fred Goss, and potential breakout star TJ Miller gives me hope — as does that Phil Collins video. I'm not sure if I see it getting more than a "Knights of Prosperity"-sized following, but if enough people give it a chance, maybe it will be a small hit.
Three more tossups — plus a brand-new clip of the first few minutes of one of them — so read more
All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Today, I'm starting off with five shows that — based on their pilots — you'd be best to steer clear of this fall.
5. "Life" — I was into the premise of this show about a detective who gets sentenced to life in prison and rejoins the police force after his wrongful conviction is overturned. But the show itself was such a bundle of cop-show cliches and random quirks that it was already grating on me by 10 minutes into the pilot. Lead actor Damian Lewis gives his best shot, but if the writers want to create a "House"-style misanthrope, they're going to have to do more than make him wax poetic about fruit all the time.
4. "Viva Laughlin" — I once declared this musical drama the pilot I most wanted to see ... but then I actually saw it. What a bummer. I thought it would be a fun, cheesy, over-the-top hit. In reality, the musical numbers that didn't involve Hugh Jackman fell flat, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. I still hold out hope that it could get better, but I doubt it's going to be on the air long enough to improve.
Three more to be wary of, so read more
The networks have announced their fall schedules, but which of the series will actually be worth watching? Throughout the summer, as I watch the pilots, I'll be posting my first impressions. A lot can change before a show makes it to air, so these aren't comprehensive reviews, just quick thoughts on how the shows look now. Today's installment: "Viva Laughlin," a musical drama — yes, you read that right — from CBS.
What's it about? A Nevada casino owner battles rivals and tries to support his family, all while spontaneously breaking into song.
Who's in it? Lloyd Owen, Madchen Amick, DB Woodside, Eric Winter, Melanie Griffith, Hugh Jackman (guest star)
The good: The show is based on the British series "Viva Blackpool," and while I've never seen it, I've heard mostly positive things about it — so the concept, at least, is a good one. Jackman has a nice touch with the bizarre singing bits, even though his screen time is limited.
The bad: This show is seriously confused. Is it a campy, fun musical, or is it a murder mystery? The song-and-dance numbers seem half-hearted and poorly placed, but the parts of the show that aren't set to music are even worse. Owen plays off Jackman just fine, but he doesn't command attention on his own — and that's bad, because it's not known how much Jackman will actually be on the show going forward.
Will I watch? I really, really wanted to, but in the end, this isn't even "so bad it's good." It's just "eh." And I'm not sure there's room for "eh" on my schedule this fall.
To watch a couple of preview clips and see a gallery of photos, read more