Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Fall TV Preview: the New Shows on The CW & CBS

The CW hit a successful stretch of programming, which makes it unnecessary for Mark Pedowitz to debut 3-4 shows in the fall. The Flash and Jane the Virgin had great first seasons. The Flash was the network’s most watched show in history. The CW debuts one show in the fall to pair with Jane the Virgin.

CBS is still the most watched network. Nina Tassler told critics at CBS’ TCA day about how the network profits in an increasingly competitive market and named their savvy international licensing strategy that keeps shows going despite meager ratings in America. Stephen Colbert’s late night show premieres in September. As for their fall offerings, it’s procedurals (one with Supergirl), sitcoms to replace the ones that concluded in the last two seasons, but, as I’ve maintained for awhile now, the network could air hour long dramas in which specks of dust move about a room for 22 weeks and 9 million would watch.

The CW


Created By Alina Brosh McKenna & Rachel Bloom

Premiere Date: Monday, October 13 at 9PM

Premise: (from The CW's press release, May 2015) Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is a successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything - her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan - in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: suburban West Covina, Calif. (it's only two hours from the beach! Four in traffic).

Thoughts: No, not for me. The series will find an audience. Jane the Virgin will give it a nice boost as the lead-in. It fits The CW’s quirky Monday nights. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend includes musical numbers, a woman moving across the country for a guy, the woman finding comfort, friendship, and romance with another guy, which will remind one of Felicity (except for the musical numbers). Rebecca is a stalker, but she sings! Josh, the character she moved across country for, seems incredibly bland from the few scenes of him. He’s the CW model type with the flawless jaw, chiseled body, and an acting ability slightly more competent than Tara Reid’s date in American Pie 2.



Created By Justin Adler

Premiere Date: Monday, September 21 at 8:30PM

Premise: (from CBS's press release, May 2015) LIFE IN PIECES is a single-camera comedy about one big happy family and their sometimes awkward, often hilarious and ultimately beautiful milestone moments as told by its various members. As the family's lives unfold in four short stories each week, they try to savor these little pieces of time that flash by but stay with you forever, because these moments add up to what life's all about.

Thoughts: Four short stories in a week? An A, B, C, and D story fitted into a condensed timeframe. Writers struggle to tell three engaging stories in 20-minute episode. Can Justin Adler do it? Life In Pieces owes a debt to Modern Family and Parenthood. The show’s a combination of the two. The Life in Pieces family have the multi-generational thing of Parenthood and the quirk (but less so) of the Modern Family...family. The writers can span the generations for stories. There’s a precocious 8 year old, an awkward college freshman, newly married folk, and baby nonsense. So, everything you’ve seen in family dramas for the last thirty years in TV or film will be represented. The trailer packs in every important beat from the first episode, making it yet another series the viewer won’t need to watch until episode two. I’m glad to see Dianne Wiest as a series regular.


Created By Craig Sweeny

Premiere Date: Tuesday, September 22 at 10PM

Premise: (from CBS's press release, May 2015) LIMITLESS, based on the feature film, is a fast-paced drama about Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them. Fueled now with a steady supply of NZT that enables him to use 100% of his brain capacity, Brian is more effective than all of the FBI agents combined, making him a criminal's worst nightmare and the greatest asset the Bureau has ever possessed.

Thoughts: Bradley Cooper appears in the first episode. If anyone wants to watch his shiny blue eyes, svelte beard, on primetime Tuesday night TV in late September, tune into Limitless. Tune in if you wanted more Limitless after leaving the theater in 2011. Brian Finch won’t discover how to use the pill correctly until near the end when, assumedly, Bradley Cooper explains to him and to the audience how the pill works and how the series will transition to weekly episodic fares--with a couple serialized episodes mixed into the season.


Created By Michael Seitzman

Premiere Date: Wednesday, September 30 at 10PM

Premise: (from CBS's press release, May 2015) CODE BLACK, based on the award-winning documentary by Ryan McGarry, is a heart-pounding medical drama that takes place in the busiest, most notorious ER in the nation, where the staggering influx of patients can outweigh the limited resources available to the extraordinary doctors and nurses whose job is to treat them all - creating a condition known as Code Black. These heroic doctors and nurses operate with speed and skill within an overwhelmed system to treat the crowds of people who are often there for one of two reasons: to die or to receive a life-saving miracle.

Thoughts: A New ER. Types populate Code Black: the tough love veteran doctor, the resident that doesn’t have confidence, the resident that does, the resident with a tragic back story, the nice veteran doctor, the doctors that don’t want to lose their spots, and, also, many sick folk. The doctors save three people in the trailer. I don’t like medical procedurals. Code Black looks as bland as fluorescent hospital lighting. Superstar TV director David Semel directed it. I like his style, but I still won’t bother watching the series. The ensemble residents all have personal reasons for becoming doctors, I think, or I may’ve misheard a writer’s interview. I inappropriately laughed twice during the trailer.


Created By Ali Adler & Andrew Kreisburg & Greg Berlanti

Premiere Date: Monday, October 26 at 8PM

Premise: (from CBS's press release, May 2015) SUPERGIRL is an action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), Superman's (Kal-El) cousin who, after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be. Twelve-year-old Kara escaped the doomed planet Krypton with her parents' help at the same time as the infant Kal-El. Protected and raised on Earth by her foster family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin in order to keep her identity a secret. Years later at 24, Kara lives in National City assisting media mogul and fierce taskmaster Cat Grant (Golden Globe Award winner Calista Flockhart), who just hired the Daily Planet's former photographer, James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), as her new art director. However, Kara's days of keeping her talents a secret are over when Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), head of a super-secret agency where her sister also works, enlists her to help them protect the citizens of National City from sinister threats. Though Kara will need to find a way to manage her newfound empowerment with her very human relationships, her heart soars as she takes to the skies as Supergirl to fight crime.

Thoughts: The Arrow creative team is spread thin. The Flash continues, DC Legends of Tomorrow premieres in early 2016, Arrow’s headed to season four, and now Supergirl takes flight on America’s Most Watched Network. One or more of the shows will suffer because of the existence of the other. Supergirl should be okay. It’s new. The trailer focuses on the evolution of Kara into Supergirl, her acceptance that the world will know her as Supergirl. Also, Kara tells someone about her desire to do more than work as an assistant, which one may read as a not-so-subtle line about becoming more important and more heroic than her cousin Superman (only referred to as “him” in the series). One may also read the assistant line as feminist, i.e. women will no longer assist the supermen in saving the world. Jimmy Olsen’s still the assistant, and Kara’s the hero.

The writers shot past Kara coming to grips with her super powers as well as maintaining her secret identity. She’s known since childhood, and the city knows her after she makes a dramatic save one night. Soon, she’s a brand. I’d like a superhero show that tells heroic stories while also modernizing how American culture would brand the superhero. Maybe, around mid-season, the city and the nation turn against her because people always will crucify their saviors.

TV’s last excellent female superhero was Buffy Summers. The Berlanti/Kreisburg creative team produced good superhero shows. No Ordinary Family was Berlanti’s and Guggenheim’s mulligan. Ali Adler’s a co-creator, formerly a writer of NBC’s beloved spy show Chuck, and she also must’ve learned what not to do after the NOF disaster. The creative team’s strong, the network’s strong, the lead’s great, and millions of people continue watching every super hero movie or drama released. I think Supergirl succeeds.


Created By Tad Quill

Premiere Date: Thursday, November 5 at 9:30pm

Premise: (from CBS's press release, May 2015) ANGEL FROM HELL stars Golden Globe and multiple Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch in a single-camera comedy about Amy (Lynch), a colorful, brassy woman who insinuates herself into Allison's (Maggie Lawson) organized and seemingly perfect life, claiming to be her "guardian angel." Allison is an intense, driven doctor who is sure that Amy is just an inebriated, outspoken nut, until every one of her warnings proves true. As Allison tries to push Amy away, Amy makes her final pitch: her sole mission is to provide Allison with helpful guidance that nudges her in the right direction in life - and it's her final chance to prove herself as an angel. With that, Allison agrees to this unlikely relationship because maybe a weird friend is exactly what she needs... and what if Amy really is her "guardian angel"?

Thoughts: I liked the 5 plus minute trailer CBS released. Allison ambles along in her life by dating a disappointing dude and throwing herself into her work because she hasn’t dealt with a tragedy in her life. Allison doesn’t deal with things. She pushes down and settles for what she has. Amy, her guardian angel, will help her look at her life, improve it, and cut out what she doesn’t need. First off, she doesn’t need a bad friend or a bad boyfriend. She has her life together, but not quite together—but her guardian angel will help her. Maggie Lawson’s great in the little I saw, and Jane Lynch usually delivers. All sitcoms essentially tell a central story about a person or a group of people trying to do better. Angel From Hell won’t be the last of these sitcoms. I think I’ll give it a look.

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.