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Fall 2015 Pilot Reviews: Heroes Reborn

Show: Heroes Reborn

Airs: Thursdays on NBC at 8 p.m. EST

Do I Want to Watch More: This was never really a question. I’m watching more.

I love the original show, flaws and all. The cast remains one of my favorites and it was the show that got me back into fandom. It was by no means perfect – there was a lot that didn’t make any sense and the characterizations could be all over the place. But it’s my show and I love it.

When this reboot was announced, I said that I’d be in as long as someone from the original cast came back. I was just expecting guest stars, which would have been enough for me, but the announcement that Jack Coleman would be returning as a main character got me even more excited for the show.

With all that in mind, this was the most fun I had watching a new show all week. It’s not completely new, the music cues and the font/unusual surfaces they use to announce where and when we are remain largely the same. But as the promos explored, Heroes Reborn takes place in a very different world than Heroes did, even the one they set up in Five Years Gone (though there were some similarities).

Much of the fun revolved around two different sets of characters. First, Tommy and Emily are adorable and charming. As many have pointed out, they are acting as an inversion of Claire and Zach’s dynamic in season 1 of the original show. Fortunately for them (and me), that was one of my favorite storylines in the original and Robbie Kay and Gatlin have some of the most natural chemistry so far on the show. And as this is a show that requires lots of chemistry between the actors to work properly, that bodes well for their future.

Second, I’m far more intrigued by whatever Noah and Quentin are trying to uncover in the Renautus conspiracy than whatever the black hole is that seems to be threatening humanity. There is no doubt that Coleman is a compelling actor. Just ask any Castle fan who’s gotten to enjoy him recently as Senator Bracken. He is so skilled at playing the shady, desperate man with all the problems that particular combination of traits comes with and it was very rewarding to see him put on his horn-rimmed glasses again. I also like Quentin. He’s Noah’s opposite in many ways. He’s terrible at the shadiness and lacks the grit required to investigate a large conspiracy but he’s going to do it anyway. I’ll look forward to seeing how their differing personalities come together and clash in future episodes.

For a fan of the original Heroes, I think this will be a fun show. Thirteen episodes is probably the right length for it and if it were to continue, the anthology model is always what Tim Kring had in mind. We’re basically watching the first season again, with many characters filling in roles we’re already familiar with and eventually working toward them all coming together to save the world. So that is why I’m in. That is what I love about this show. Not the superpowers (which as always, are a little weird), not the villains, but the way these characters who have been largely isolated and feel alone come together to save the way. It’s in the way they find their connections to each other and the impact that makes on them that made the season one finale so fantastic in my mind and if they want to try to remake that, I will be in for as many seasons as they give us.

I’m less convinced that this is a show that will be appealing to new fans so if you watched this and didn’t watch the original, I want to hear your thoughts!

Fall 2015 Pilot Reviews: Blindspot

Show: Blindspot

When it Airs: Mondays on NBC at 10:00 EST

Do I Want to Watch More? I don’t know.

I came away from the pilot with the worst possible answer to my question. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the episode. It introduced a lot of characters and the premise of the show. You can see how a case-of-the-week can be built out of the tattoos with tiny glimpses to move the mythology forward. Characters would continue to be better developed and a rhythm between them would be found. As far as pilots go, it actually works pretty well.

I liked Jaimie Alexander’s performance quite a bit. There were moments when I felt very interested in Jane Doe’s story. Not who she was and how she got to be in the position of being covered in tattoos and left in Time Square but who she would be moving forward from this incident. I enjoyed the scene with Dr. Borden where he helps her figure out if she prefers coffee or tea. I like the concept of her getting to choose who she is and rediscover herself, whether she finds the version that was erased or a whole new interior identity. That story, I like a lot. And if you throw in some crime-solving, that’s fine with me. I don’t have a problem with a procedural populated with interesting characters, which I assume they will all become.

What I’m not interested in, unfortunately, seems to be the whole point of the show. I don’t care why Jane was put in a position where erasing her memory and being covered in tattoos that may help solve crimes or who the shadowy lurking man is who facilitated the process. That part failed to engage me at all and I like a good conspiracy theory. It’s still early and maybe it’s too soon to really tell if I will like where the story is going or not, but I remain unexcited about it.

I can overlook plots that I don’t like if there are characters who I care about. I didn’t connect with a lot of the post for the last three seasons of LOST and I cried a lot during that finale. So I can give this one another shot. I’m relatively light on Monday shows until Jane the Virgin comes back and will probably try out episode two in the hopes that it will clarify where the show may be headed in the future and possibly get me interested in the larger story.

New Fall Shows 2015: What Are You Watching?

It’s getting closer to a new season of television! It’s always an exciting time of year to discover new shows and fall back in love with some old ones too. We’re still nearly two months out, so if you need something to fill your time, check out my most recent batch of show recommendations. If you’re looking to plan your viewing schedule, I recommend TVLine’s day-by-day grid or something like EpisodeCalendar or TraktTV. If all you want to know is the premiere dates of the new network shows, then this is the post for you. I’ve listed all of the new shows below with links to the trailer and a description if you haven’t had the time to check them out yet. This post will be stickied until we get midseason/spring premiere dates and will be updated with links to pilot episodes and reviews from me as they become available. Happy planning!
Continue reading New Fall Shows 2015: What Are You Watching?

Upfronts 2015: NBC

Welcome to upfronts week 2015! By now, nearly all currently airing scripted shows have been either renewed or canceled and all that’s left is for the networks to show off their new offerings and release their fall scheduling. As always, NBC starts the week and it will conclude on Thursday with The CW. Below you’ll find a summary of the renewals and cancellations along with my analysis of the season on the network, a listing of new fall shows with their trailers and my initial reactions to them, and a list of new shows that will be held for midseason or summer if the schedule fills up. It’s a fun week to be a TV fan and I hope among these new offerings, we all find a new show to fall in love with.

Current Shows

Renewed: The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Grimm, Law and Order: SVU, The Mysteries of Laura, The Night Shift, Undateable

Canceled: A to Z, Allegiance, Bad Judge

Awaiting News: A.D. American Odessey

Ended: Parks and Recreation, Parenthood

Analysis: After a couple years of improved performance with new shows, this was not a good year for NBC. Only one new show was granted a renewal (The Mysteries of Laura) and ratings for that are already nothing impressive. However, once again, NBC had ordered plenty of new shows for next season in the hopes that something sticks. Their Dick Wolf franchise of Chicago Fire/P.D. and SVU continue to be stable performers for the network, with crossovers that typically saw an increase of viewers across shows. The Backlist is down in the ratings after its move to Thursday but it still improves on the numbers for that night, giving the network some much needed stabilization on that night.

New Fall Shows

Dramas

BlindspotTrailer

If this wasn’t a Greg Berlanti show, I would have my doubts. Like so many shows in recent years, it seems like a better fit for a movie or maybe even a mini-series. As a sustainable show for a broadcast network, I’m not entirely convinced it will work but the trailer looks interesting enough that I’ll probably be checking out the first episode or at the very least, looking forward to hearing first reactions from critics.

HeartbreakerTrailer

I don’t know what to think about this show. On the one hand, I’m a sucker for medical dramas and enjoy watching them. On the other, for reasons that have nothing to do with her skill, I have a hard time watching Melissa George in things. Apparently the Alias fan in me will forever see her as Lauren and immediately distrust any character she plays, which is probably going to be a problem with her as the lead. On the other hand, I’ve gotten over similarly strong associations before, so maybe this will be the show that does it for me. It’s a little heavy on the Grey’s Anatomy vibe but I hope that in time, it will be able to carve out its own identity.

The PlayerTrailer

This one is not catching my interest at all. There are some slight shades of Person of Interest baked into the premise but with a focus on action rather than the sci-fi aspects of this sort of technology. However, despite my lack of interest, I think it will pair well with The Blacklist and maybe those two shows can give NBC slightly improved ratings on Thursdays this fall.

Heroes Reborn

There isn’t a proper trailer for this show yet, but I’ve tentatively been in since this project was announced. Despite everything, I have a lot of love for the original show and with Jack Coleman back, it’s worth at least a couple episodes of my time. I also really like Zachary Levi and Robbie Kay and it’ll be nice to see them in another show.

Comedies

People Are TalkingTrailer

Comedy trailers are admittedly hard to judge but this one looks a little rough. Once everyone settles into their characters, it could get better, but everything feels so forced right now. I’m skeptical when the best material they could use for this trailer focuses on the idea that their hot babysitter is also a porn star and it makes me suspect this won’t be a show for me. I did appreciate the wives were unbothered and not at all jealous of having an attractive babysitter without the concerns that she’d try to steal their husbands away. I’m less impressed that the lack of jealousy was out of disbelief that their husbands would have any success with the babysitter rather than just trusting them, but I guess we can’t have it all in network comedy yet.

Currently Unscheduled New Shows

Dramas: Chicago Med, Game of Silence, Shades of Blue

Comedies: Coach, Crowded, Hot & Bothered, Superstore, You, Me and the End of the World

What are your thoughts on NBC’s renewals and cancellations? Are there any of the new shows that get your attention?

Midseason Pilot Review: Growing Up Fisher

Airs: Tuesdays on NBC at 9:30 EST

Timeslot Competition: NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Trophy Wife (ABC), Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Mindy Project (FOX), Supernatural (CW)

Premise: The Fisher family gets closer after their parents divorce and their father gets a guide dog named Elvis

Pre-show Thoughts: The trailer and premise didn’t really grab my interest. It didn’t sound bad, necessarily, just not very interesting. NBC has had absolutely no luck with family comedies this TV season so I expect this to be similar.

Post-show Thoughts: It was alright. The mom trying to recapture her youth after a divorce wasn’t particularly original and this pilot seemed determined to get as much mileage as it could out of having the dad do things (like perfectly parallel park) that probably wouldn’t be realistic but it wasn’t bad.

It seems like  a fairly generic family comedy, complete with voiceover and an end-of-the-episode life lesson. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and sometimes it’s just what you want to watch but I don’t expect it to be a game-changer for NBC.

I may watch this at some point when the season is over but it’s not going to be a high priority for me.

Midseason Pilot Review: Chicago PD

Airs: Wednesdays on NBC at 10 EST

Timeslot Competition: Nashville (ABC), CSI (CBS)

Premise: This spin-off of Chicago Fire focuses on the uniformed police patrol and Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.

Pre-show Thoughts: I’m this show’s target audience. I am already a huge fan of Chicago Fire and I already like one of the characters from his appearances on it. If this show makes me as emotionally attached to its characters as Chicago Fire has, I will love it.

Post-show Thoughts: Based on this first episode, this show is going to break my heart on multiple occasions. I don’t love it yet but I think it has potential. I’m less interested in the cases that the Intelligence Unit is seemingly going to be solving which does put a bit of a damper on things until the characters find their footing.

I am thrilled that I will get to see Antonio on a regular basis because I adore him but seriously, he lost his partner and his son got kidnapped in the first episode. I don’t want this to be a recurring theme on the show.

I like the characterization they seem to be going for with Voight, especially considering my mixed feelings on him from Chicago Fire. He clearly cares about his team and the kids in the neighborhoods he works in, he’s just a bit unpleasant and more than a little morally grey in the process.

Finally, I want the crossovers between shows to keep happening even though the timelines don’t necessarily match up. I loved seeing a full bar at Molly’s and Hermann and Otis behind the bar and I liked the small glimpse of Gabby. I’d love some scenes with her and the rest of Antonio’s family in the near future.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: Sean Saves the World

Airs: Thursdays on NBC at 9:00 EST

Timeslot Competition: The Crazy Ones (CBS), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Glee (FOX), Reign (CW)

Premise: Sean (Sean Hayes) is a divorced, gay dad who is attempting to find the right work-family balance after his teenage daughter moves in with him.

Pre-show Thoughts: I liked Sean Hayes as Jack on Will and Grace and even though the trailer was slightly cringe-worthy at times, I think the show could have potential. It may take awhile to find it’s footing, but I was tentatively excited about watching it.

Post-show Thoughts: I really want to like this show but I don’t think I do. I kind of like the scenes with Sean and his daughter but I’m not as convinced that I like the scenes with his mom and I don’t like his boss at all. Megan Hilty felt a little off for the role, but I know she was added in later so in a few episodes, I think they’ll get her characterization down.

It’s not a great show by any means but there is something that I find charming about it. It may not be high on my list of shows I have to watch weekly, but I think it is one I’d like to continue with, at least for a couple more episodes.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: Welcome to the Family

Airs: Thursdays on NBC at 8:30

Timeslot Competition: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC), The Millers (CBS), The X Factor results (FOX), The Vampire Diaries (CW)

Premise: The Yoder family and Hernandez family struggle to come together despite culture clashes and feuding fathers when the Hernandez’s son impregnates the Yoder’s daughter and they get engaged.

Pre-show Thoughts: The plot synopsis that was released during upfronts didn’t do this show any favors. The focus was all on the fact that one family was white and the other was Hispanic, so they didn’t understand each other. That sounded awful to me and like the idea for the sitcome came from a past decade. I do like Mike O’Malley though.

The trailer showed that the problems between the families weren’t necessarily about race, which made me feel a lot better. It made it seem like Dan Yoder and Miguel Hernandez had some sort of previous problem with each other before they found out that their children were dating. I was hoping that their dislike of each other is based on something other than the fact that they were from different cultures.

Post-show Thoughts: After watching the show, I have no idea why they are trying to make the differences in the families about race. It was mentioned once, I think, and that was it. The problem just seems to be that the two dads got off on a bad foot.

It wasn’t a great pilot but it wasn’t awful. I like Junior and Molly and think they are cute together, if not a bit unprepared for their future (which will probably be a good chunk of the plot). I want their moms to be friends and cute grandmas together too.

I did have one non-plot related issue. I am all for having feminist characters on TV and I don’t think that feminism is about knowing the correct set of terms (like patriarchal). However, I couldn’t tell if that was something being used to add some depth to Molly’s character or if the show was making fun of her. I’d like the show to separate her comments from the humor of her not knowing the correct term.

Overall, it was off to an OK start. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be on the air long enough to find its footing, but I could be wrong. I’d like to see at least one more episode before deciding if I’ll stick with this one.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: Ironside

Airs: Wednesdays on NBC at 10:00

Timeslot Competition: Nashville (ABC), CSI (CBS)

Premise: This remake of the 1960’s show revolves around a tough and sarcastic cop who heads a team that solves the most difficult crimes in the city while being in a wheelchair after being involved in an on-the-job shooting.

Pre-show Thoughts: Honestly, the summary for this show is pretty bland. It’s a procedural whose twist is that the lead character is in a wheelchair. I’ve not seen the original series, so I don’t have any other preconceived notions of what this show will or should be, but it sounds fairly basic. The concept of a basic police procedural might be the solid drama that NBC is looking for but only time will tell if this is the right show.

That being said, I don’t have any problem with police procedurals and I was interested enough in the trailer that I tentatively planned to watch the series even before seeing the pilot.

Post-show Thoughts: It was alright though nothing overly special. Blair Underwood is fantastic as the lead and he brings a lot to the role. I like that he knew the case was a suicide but recognized that there were still other people responsible for bringing Annie to that point and he wanted to catch them.

I wasn’t too interested in the case, which is unfortunate because they didn’t really include enough character moments to make up for a mostly mediocre case. I think it was important that we saw how Ironside was injured and thought the flashbacks were used well for that. I just wanted to see more. This show hasn’t found its balance yet between case and character, especially with the supporting characters. To be fair, this is only a pilot, that may change as it figures out what direction to take and solidifies the characters a little more.

At this point in time, I don’t think it’s something I will immediately keep up with week-to-week. I may pick it up again later, especially if I start hearing raves about the direction it’s heading but for now, I think I’m going to pass.

Fall 2013 Pilot Review: The Michael J. Fox Show

Airs: Thursdays on NBC at 9:30 PM EST

Timeslot Competiton: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Two and a Half Men (CBS), Glee (FOX), Reign (CW)

Premise: Five years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox) goes back to work and struggles with balancing his home and work life.

Pre-show Thoughts: I have been looking forward to this show for months. I love both Michael J. Fox and Betsy Brandt and the trailer looked like the right combination of funny and emotionally satisfying. It was one of the few comedy trailers that I legitimately laughed at, so I have high hopes for this show.

Post-show Thoughts: In order to give this show the same evaluation as the others, this review is only based on the actual pilot episode rather than both the pilot and the episode they aired after it. I feel like I saw a lot of the episode just in the trailer, but my opinion hasn’t changed any. I really like this show. Michael J. Fox is just a charming individual and he has amazing chemistry with Betsy Brandt and I think this show could really be a success. It’s not afraid to shy away from the more serious moments with the family talking about how Mike’s diagnosis has changed things, but it’s not all about the downsides to Parkinsons. There is a lot of life and a lot of heart in this show.

I will definitely be watching this show this season and I see why NBC has shown the confidence in it that he has. With a few more episodes to work out the characters even more, this show is going to be great. It should make the perfect lead-in for Parenthood as well.