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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fall TV Preview: What I will (and won't) be watching

The five major networks revealed their 2014-15 schedules this week, and once again I am quite underwhelmed with most of the new shows that they're hoping will become big hits. Last month I posted a list of TV pilots that were being considered and, of course, many of my favorites were not picked up, including Dead Boss (Fox) starring Jane Krakowski and Amy Sedaris, Feed Me (NBC) with Mary Louise Parker, Hart Bochner and Debra Monk, Old Soul (NBC) with Natasha Lyonne, Rita Moreno, Fred Willard and Ellen Burstyn, and Salvation (NBC) starring Ashley Judd.

Below you can check out 13 new series that I will be tuning in - for at least their pilot episodes - as well as 13 shows that I will NOT be watching next season (all times are Central Standard). You can see a complete list of shows and trailers at

So let's begin with the WORST new series, which is The Last Man on Earth (Fox), a midseason "comedy" from writer/producer/star Will Forte (Nebraska, Saturday Night Live) about the adventures of the last man on earth. I like Mr. Forte, but this looks really bad.

WORST new series runner-up:
Manhattan Love Story (7:30-8 PM Tuesdays on ABC) - it was difficult to choose this fall's worst romantic "comedy" because none of them look good, but this one features both an annoying couple AND their unfiltered thoughts. Hopefully Manhattan will not be stuck with this loser for very long.

WORST new series dishonorable mention:
Selfie (7-7:30 PM Tuesdays on ABC) - This contemporary twist on My Fair Lady does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as that great Broadway musical. It's just an irritating sitcom without any laughs.

Now on to the weekly schedule:


Two new series that I will be watching:
Gotham (7-8 PM on Fox) - I'm not much into comic book-inspired series, but the promo for this origin story of Batman and his many villains looks intriguing - and I've liked Ben McKenzie ever since The O.C.

Jane the Virgin (8-9 PM on The CW) - the premise that a young woman is accidentally artificially inseminated sounds ridiculous, but it is based on a telenovela. I'm willing to see if it becomes a good trashy soap.

New series that I will NOT be watching:
State of Affairs (9-10 PM on NBC) - after many bad films, Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy) is making a TV comeback in this ho-hum drama. It just doesn't do anything for me - even with the wonderful Alfre Woodard as the President.


New series that I will NOT be watching:
Marry Me (8-8:30 PM on NBC) - another unfunny romantic "comedy", but this one wastes the talents of Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and Ken Marino.

Returning series that I will continue to watch:
The Mindy Project (8:30-9 PM on Fox) - this amusing and quirky comedy starring Mindy Kaling and the handsome Chris Messina makes me laugh.


Returning series that I will continue to watch:
The Goldbergs (7:30-8 PM), Modern Family (8-8:30 PM) and Nashville (9-10 PM) - ABC will remain my network for Wednesday night TV with these three terrific shows.

Two new series that I will NOT be watching:
The Mysteries of Laura (7-8 PM on NBC) - I was hoping to like this new detective series starring Debra Messing (Will & Grace), but it just doesn't look all that exciting.

Red Band Society (8-9 PM on Fox) - the Academy Award-winning Octavia Spencer (The Help) deserves far better than this dreary hospital dramedy.


Returning series that I will continue to watch:
Scandal (8-9 PM on ABC) - I'm addicted to this crazy show.

Two new series that I will be watching:
Gracepoint (8-9 PM on Fox) - I loved the BBC drama, Broadchurch, which this series is based on, so I'm curious to see this American version. And it's got a great cast, including David Tennant (who starred in the original series), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) and Nick Nolte.

How to Get Away with Murder (9-10 PM on ABC) - Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help) stars as a professor who becomes entangled with four law students from her class. The promo piqued my interest enough to give it a look.

Three new series that I will NOT be watching:
The McCarthys (8-8:30 PM on CBS) - Laurie Metcalf plays the mother of a gay son in this new sitcom, which sounds like something I might enjoy. Then I watched the obnoxiously unfunny promo.

Bad Judge (8-8:30 PM on NBC) - Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) plays a bad judge in this sitcom, which looks like a continuation of the recently canceled CBS sitcom, Bad Teacher.

A to Z (8:30-9 PM Thursdays on NBC) - here is another romantic "comedy" that I'm not going to watch, but this one stars Ben Feldman (Mad Men) and Cristin Milioti.


New series that I will NOT be watching:
Cristela (7:30-8 PM on ABC) - I've never heard of comedian Cristela Alonzo before, but her new sitcom isn't very funny. But maybe the same folks who like Tim Allen's Last Man Standing will tune in.


Returning series that I will continue to watch:
Once Upon a Time (7-8 PM on ABC), The Good Wife (8-9 PM on CBS) and Revenge (9-10 PM on ABC) - I'm going to stick with these old favorites on Sunday night.

Two new series that I will NOT be watching:
Madam Secretary (7-8 PM on CBS) - Not even the divine Bebe Neuwirth could keep me awake during the dull promo for this drama starring Téa Leoni as the Secretary of State.

Mulaney (8:30-9 PM on Fox) - I only enjoyed watching the promo whenever Martin Short was featured, which isn't a good sign.

Midseason TV

Returning series that I will continue to watch:
Parks and Recreation (NBC) and Glee (Fox) will both return for their final seasons in 2015.

BEST new series that I will be watching:
Wayward Pines (Fox) - this 10-episode drama has a Twin Peaks vibe and a groovy cast, including Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino and Juliette Lewis. It was supposed to debut this summer, but now it's a midseason replacement that I'm looking forward to.

Eight new series that I will be watching:
American Crime (ABC) - this gritty drama might be too dark for me, but I'll check out the first episode just because I like Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman.

Aquarius (NBC) - David Duchovny as an L.A. cop on the trail of Charles Manson in 1967 - I'm hoping it's more interesting than creepy, but I do like the title.

Empire (Fox) - created by Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious), this family drama about a music empire looks like it could be a fun soap opera.

Galavant (ABC) - this musical comedy fairytale featuring music by composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast) is worth tuning in for at least a couple of episodes.

The Odd Couple (CBS) - I'm curious to see if Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon can fill the very big shoes of Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.

One Big Happy (NBC) - A lesbian and her straight male friend decide to have a baby together in this show from executive producer Ellen DeGeneres. I'm willing to check out an episode, but NBC's last gay sitcom, The New Normal - which I liked - was canceled after only one season.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NBC) - after living in a cult for 15 years, a young woman becomes roommates with a gay wannabe Broadway actor. Ellie Kemper (The Office) is the star and Tina Fey is a writer/executive producer so it could be good.

Secrets and Lies (ABC) - this thriller mystery stars Ryan Phillippe - isn't that enough reason to watch at least one episode? But the premise does seem very similar to Fox's Gracepoint.


joel65913 said...

Viola Davis should be starring in big screen movies but I'm glad to see her spotlighted in her own series. The show however looks like it will quickly box itself into a corner. I'm going to try it anyway for Viola. Same goes for Octavia Spencer.

I like David Duchovny well enough but wish Matt Dillon's was in Aquarius since I like him more and there is no way I'm watching his show. It contains three actors in its cast, Terrance Howard, Melissa Leo and especially Juliette Lewis who I can't abide.

Other than those two I'm hoping the talented Matthew Perry can make The Odd Couple work, although I would have thought he was more suited for Felix than Oscar. You're right they have enormous shoes to fill following Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Joel, I agree with you about Matthew Perry - I see him more as Felix. It will be interesting to see how the new Odd Couple does.

mrpeenee said...

Orphan Black on BBC America is doing great work and it has a gay character actually played by a gay actor. Imagine that.