The two biggest seasons for TV have been built around what I can only assume is a subtle celebration of Football season where the weather starts getting cooler and every Sunday (along with Monday night, Thursday night and most of Saturday) become occasions to drink beer, eat chips, don your team colors and pray to the Football Gods that your team wins. The entire month of August is pre-season for us all - including the networks. It's their job to get you to draft their team and watch their new rising stars week after week through advertising. When September kicks off, they hope that their team is ready to go and keep the momentum to make it through to the playoffs (awards season and sweeps). If not, the networks mourn the end of Football season by adding several backup shows (think CFL) for their mid-season lineups typically starting in February.
So now it's pre-season and in order for you to know where to spend those precious hours glued to the TV in between football games, you turn to the Opportunity Assassins. Here, we don't yet get the treatment from the networks that we deserve (they'll learn soon enough) which means we don't get to see the pilot before you do. Over the years and out of necessity, we have come to finely hone the craft of not only determining whether a show is worth your time but also being able to predict how long the show will last. For the winter 2012 season, the Opportunity Assassins ended up with right around a 66% accuracy or, in other words, our predictions were correct for 2 out of every 3 shows that debuted at mid-season. All this from simply watching the preview reels found on YouTube and you can bet we'll do it again for the new shows making the leap to your TV screens this Fall. So follow along, OA Apprentices, as I tell you which new shows to watch and which to avoid like the plague in alphabetical order (all times listed are Eastern time)
Warning: This is a long one, so if you have a particular show in mind, jump right to it.
666 Park Avenue (ABC, Premiers 9/30 at 10PM)
As history would show, anything with the number 666 in the title isn't going to be involving a place called "Happy Happy Fun Time Land" so we already know we're in for some devilish happenings that take place at 666 Park Ave. After watching the trailer, I actually know only a slight bit more about the show that I did after reading the title. Apparently new residents Henry Martin (Dave Annable from Brothers & Sisters) and Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor, Hacker chick from Transformers) move into some swanky new digs at 999 Park Avenue in NYC (see what they did there? The devil's a sneaky fella). The residents at this place are super nice but like everyone moving into a new apartment, Jane absolutely MUST investigate the entire building from top to bottom. This is where she finds a mysterious book with strange writing and pictures in it - spooky. Eventually Gavin Doran (Terry O'Quinn, TV mainstay recognized from LOST), who is obviously the devil or at least the devil's helper and manager of the building, offers people the world for a small price in return - THEIR SOUL..muhahaHAHAHA *cough* - ahem, sorry. Anyway, residents keep disappearing in to blindingly bright lights in the walls which I can only assume will be cause for concern. After watching the trailer, I have absolutely no idea where they'll take the plot lines. ABC lost big with The River at mid-season so I imagine they're trying to find a spooky mainstay for their more grown-up audience, but you can tell they've hedged their bets this time around by hiring on mostly unknown actors (at least to me). ABC has ordered 13 episodes produced and I just can't see them ordering anymore.
Prediction: 666 Park Avenue will make it through the 13 episode run, but will not be back for more after that.
Arrow (CW, Premiers 10/10 at 8PM)
With the end of CW mainstay Smallville, CW and DC are trying to find a way to keep that large chunk of guys that stuck around to see good ole Clark Kent become Superman. They aim to do this (get it, aim?) by bringing back Green Arrow and giving the character a reboot. The rebooted Green Arrow character is meant to be more gritty than the Smallville incarnation but still a do-gooder. Now, the Green Arrow of Smallville was well acted but the costume was a bit cartoonish for my tastes. Based on the trailer, though, CW is distancing itself from that character, first by calling him "Arrow" instead of "Green Arrow", moving him from Metropolis to Starling City, and apparently keeping the enemies firmly planted in the realm of humanity. They're still hanging on to the back story of becoming the person he is simply due to survival instincts and he's still called Oliver Queen, so the uninitiated can quickly be brought to speed if they were following Smallville. Arrow stars a relative unknown in Stephen Amell (HBO's Hung) as Oliver Queen and Katie Cassidy (mostly ignored best friend from Taken) as love interest Laurel Lance. Personally, I'm hoping that this gritty feel, paired with Arrow not having Superman forcing his morality on Queen all the time makes for a great show. Of course, the moment Arrow starts moving away from the realm of reality and adding villains from the Justice League/Superman, that could be the moment Arrow jumps the shark. Assuming that's a while down the road though as a way to bring in more viewers, I think Arrow looks to be a good show and will definitely be added to my list of shows for the Fall 2012 season.
Prediction: Arrow will pick up a full season order and be renewed for at least a second season. If I had to put an end date on it, I'm guessing either after 4 or 5 good seasons.
Beauty & The Beast (CW, Premiers 10/11 at 9PM)
Oh CW, how you love the niche audiences you bring in every year with the teens. That oh-so-coveted 18-25 age slot is yours to gain and yours to lose as you bring in the teens and hope to hang on to them. Well, CW is at it again with Kristin Kreuk's return to the network after her last appearance as Lana Lang in Smallville. This time around Ms. Kreuk is a NYC detective extraordinaire named Catherine Chandler who is out to find out who killed her mother 9 years prior (and find who saved her back then as well) at least according to the trailer. Enter the Beast, a thought to be dead doc named Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan, most recently in a few episodes of Terra Nova), who is the only surviving genetically enhanced super soldier (no, not Capt. America) that has returned to NYC to protect the innocent with his enhanced speed and strength. I can't really tell by the trailer, but the dude is a step or two away from a Werewolf which basically tells me all I need to know about this show. During the episodes you can expect Kreuk's character to get her ass saved at least once per episode. You can also expect Chandler to fall in love with Keller, as would be expected. I also imagine Chandler will find out here mom had something to do with the drug given to Keller and discover that the gov't is out to get her and Keller. Can anyone say predictable? As you can imagine, I'm not thrilled with this show and will not be adding it to my viewing list, even considering Kreuk's attractiveness.
Prediction: The CW has been known to stick it out with shows that bring in viewers with the stars that are cast, and I expect this to be no different. I imagine Beauty & The Beast will get a full season order and will probably be renewed for a second, but won't probably make it too far after that.
Ben & Kate (FOX, Premiers 9/25 at 8:30PM)
FOX gets its turn up at bat with new sitcom Ben & Kate, an attempt to capture some of the same magic that makes ABC favorite Modern Family such a great show. Ben (comedian Nat Faxon) and his sister Kate (Dakota Johnson) have a (not so) unique relationship in that Ben, the immature perennial screwup, and Kate, the mature single mom, are always there for each other when they're needed the most. Of course, what would a show like this be without an adorable child to provide a measuring stick for Ben's immaturity. That's where Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Matt Damon's daughter in We Bought a Zoo) comes in. As the trailer shows, Maddie doesn't say much, but her silence is often times a good counterbalance to fast talking Ben. Ben & Kate actually have a chance on FOX as it seems to be using a fairly successful equation for comedy success by using the cute child to pull at the heartstrings of America, a funny screw-up of a male character not too easy to hate and the accessible adult female roll. If Ben & Kate can bring with it some chuckle worthy moments and some equally important serious and cute moments, FOX might have a non-animated hit on their hands.
Prediction: Ben & Kate is situated between strong lead-in Raising Hope and quirky New Girl, so it's in a position to carry with it quite a high viewership on Tuesdays. If the writing is up to par, Ben & Kate can make it quite a few seasons, but it's also extremely vulnerable at the 8:30 time slot. If FOX sees viewers leaving, you can bet Ben & Kate will get the boot quickly. I predict a full first season order and a second season return, but probably just a half season order to begin with.
Brickleberry (Comedy Central, Premiers 9/25 at 10:30PM)
Comedy Central, how I love you so. Your series can be smart or slapstick or dirty or all of the above. Your hands aren't tied like the big four (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX) so you can get away with more. Enter Brickleberry, an animated show about a national or state wildlife park and the crazy stuff that goes on as they try to stay afloat. The trailer, titled "Welcome to Brickleberry" is a majestic scene of nature that suddenly takes a turn for the dirty when pairs of animals are shown to be doing the nasty. Of course, producer Daniel Tosh takes it a step further by taking it up a notch just when you're comfortable. There isn't much else to say after watching the trailer except that you should probably expect talking animals, plenty of random attacks, and great hilarious moments. This is definitely not a show for the kiddies.
Prediction: Brickleberry does fairly well on Comedy Central and, while not hitting the success level set by South Park, sticks around for a few seasons.
Chicago Fire (NBC, Premiers 10/10 at 10PM)
There's no doubt about it, NBC has been struggling to find its footing as of late. After personal favorite Chuck ended last season, there really hasn't been much reason outside of Sunday night football to turn the dial over to NBC. Sure, they have a stable of nerd comedies that I sometimes pay attention to (mostly after they've hit Netflix), but outside of that and possibly Grimm, NBC just is driving down easy street with its reality TV lineup. Enter Chicago Fire, the first opportunity NBC has to get back in the game. Being as big of a fan of Rescue Me that I was, something about a Firefighter drama is appealing. Of course the trailer shows me that it's all drama all day with a minor attempt to alleviate the weight of the job with a small spattering of comedic moments. Returning to TV after concluding his job as Dr. Chase on FOX heavyweight, House, Jesse Spencer tosses his Aussie accent to the side and becomes an American named Matthew Casey. Joined by relative unknowns Taylor Kinney (playing Kevin Severide) and Lie to Me's Monica Raymund (playing Gabriela Dawson), Chicago Fire is stacked with the hot bodies to pull in the viewers. Firefighting is an easy premise for drama, so if the writing and situations are as realistic as Rescue Me's firefighting scenes were (even with the toned down language), it could make for a great staple on NBC. This one's a bit tougher to call, though, since there are a lot of variables going into this, but I think I'll give Chicago Fire a chance.
Prediction: Chicago Fire will probably do well enough to warrant a full season order and will get renewed for a second season. If the scenarios are interesting enough and we can come to care about the characters enough, expect a 4-5 season run. If not, season 2 will be the end of Chicago Fire.
Elementary (CBS, Premiers 9/27 at 10PM)
For whatever reason, Sherlock Holmes is hot right now. Given the success of the two movies starring Robert Downey Junior, it seems like everyone wants in on their own version of the eccentric detective. CBS is next up to taking on Holmes and as such, they've decided to bring him into the 21st century and make Watson a woman. In this version, Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller, Dexter's foe from Season 5) is a recovering addict who worked as a consultant for Scotland Yard and who now has moved to NYC to take consultation work for the NYPD. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is essentially Holmes' case worker, assigned to him to make sure he stays clean. Of course former Dr. Watson, who used to be a surgeon, will become a bit of a translator/handler for channeling Holmes' eccentricity, while applying her medical knowledge to no doubt help Holmes solve some cases. As the trailer for Elementary shows, Miller does a great job of capturing the Holmes character's key traits and while I'm not particularly a fan of Liu's looks (I find them occasionally distracting and not in a good way), she is a fitting anchor for the wild Holmes. The character of Holmes is fantastically timeless so, if written well enough, he'll fit right in to modern times. Miller's performance reminds me a lot of the lead from The Finder and House combined, so if they pull those two seamlessly together, CBS will have a hit on their hands.
Prediction: Elementary has a really good chance of becoming a viewing staple of mine. Miller and Liu are great choices to star in this show so the whole package depends on the quality of the writing. Elementary should get a full season order and be back for at least 2-3 more seasons. We might see Holmes on our TV screen for quite a long time.
Emily Owens, MD (CW, Premiers 10/16 at 9PM)
Scrubs is back! Oh wait..it's just Emily Owens, MD. Damn. Female J.D, Emily Owens (Mamie Gummer) is joined by the Green Arrow (no, not the new one, the old one), Will Rider (Justin Hartley) in a medical sitcom that finds itself on CW instead of ABC (probably because CW grew Justin Hartley in a lab and owns his soul). From the trailer, it would appear that this show brings all the same building blocks from personal favorite Scrubs (through season 8) just painted a different color. On its own, I suppose this show could be a decent one for CW as it plays with the key demographic of awkward high school females, but I just see too many people comparing it to Scrubs for it to make it through the gauntlet of network sitcoms. Airing on Tuesdays at 9PM, CW has placed this up against FOX's New Girl which will be difficult combination. Beyond this, Emily Owens, MD is a one hour sitcom, meaning it has to find a way to combat the short attention span of the sitcom audience.
Prediction: While Emily Owens, MD could be a decent sitcom, it appears that the deck is stacked against it. Now, CW doesn't exactly have a reputation of being too quick on the cancellation trigger, so you can expect a full season out of this, but I don't see it being renewed for a second season.
Guys with Kids (NBC, Premiers 9/12 at 10PM)
NBC adds yet another sitcom to its lineup already packed with sitcoms this fall with new series Guys with Kids. I know that NBC is stacking the bullpen with possible replacements for NBC mainstays The Office and 30 Rock, both in their final seasons this year, so next up (and strangely leading into Law&Order: SVU) is Guys with Kids. While watching the trailer, I enjoyed the chemistry of the cast made up of funny man Anthony Anderson (playing Gary), familiar face (but not sure from where) Jesse Bradford (playing Chris) and The Whitest Kids U'Know favorite Zach Cregger (playing Nick). Add to that Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Nick's wife Emily) as some added eye candy, and you're well on your way to a sitcom along the lines of Three Men and a Baby. But while watching the trailer, I heard a combination of two words with a name that scares the living shit out of me: Executive Producer Jimmy Fallon. Current follow-up to Leno on NBC's Late Night lineup, I've never exactly found Jimmy Fallon to be all that funny both on SNL and now on his talk show, so I would hope he's mostly hands off. Guys with Kids appears to be NBC's big bet to be eventual replacement for The Office or 30 Rock, so I'm hoping they'll have brought on a writer with a history of success but without that, they're running a sinking ship. This one's NBC's to lose.
Prediction: Guys with Kids, while promising, will be underwhelming. I'm not sure this one will get a full season order and instead will just air the 13 episodes they've ordered and end it there.
Last Resort (ABC, Premiers 9/27 at 8PM)
It would appear that ABC is hedging its bets with 666 Park Avenue because it's putting all its chips on Last Resort. Based on the trailer, I would say that this is a smart bet. Watching the trailer, you'll notice a few familiar faces including powerhouse actors Andre Braugher (House's Therapist) as Capt. Marcus Chaplin, Bruce Davison (X-Men's Senator Kelley) as Admiral Arthur Shepard and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2's T-1000). Add to the cast the creator/writer of The Shield, Shawn Ryan and you're left with a formula for success. The trailer shows an interesting plot where Naval sub USS Colorado is given orders to fire upon Pakistan but Capt. Chaplin defies direct orders which turns the US Gov't against them. As the US goes to war with Pakistan, the crew of the Colorado find a tropical island to set up a home base while they try to dodge attacks from the US Military and attempt to find a way to get back home. Desperate to survive, it appears the Colorado will take all necessary steps to assure its safety including launching an assumed nuclear missile at the US itself. This show has drama and conflict written all over it and I admit, it has me hooked already. Of course, all this hype that the trailer brings can easily collapse on itself with a few missteps, plus going up against Big Bang Theory/Two and a Half Men on CBS, The X Factor on FOX and 30 Rock/Up All Night on NBC could make for an interesting battle for the 8PM Thursday slot.
Prediction: Last Resort with a spectacular cast and The Shield caliber writing will be ABC's next dramatic success. Consider this one probably the best bet for a second season return.
Made in Jersey (CBS, Premiers 9/28 at 9PM)
Well, my worst nightmare is coming true. All the idiots in America have the ratings clout to take one of the worlds worst accents and give it the leading roll in an hour long girl power show. Now listen, I'm not against a show or movie that stars a strong female roll, but when you add on the nails on a chalkboard Jersey accent, it's just a step away from Jersey Shore. Besides, as the trailer shows, the writing is horrendous. The fact that the lead, Martina Garetti (Janet Montgomery) uses her street smarts, essentially beauty salon knowledge is just depressing to say the least. We've already seen court procedurals fail in the past, given the recent reduction of Law and Order shows from 3 to 1 and the failure of mid-season's The Firm so the future looks bleak. Also, Made in Jersey has been dropped into the 9PM Friday slot, which tends to be a death sentence to any show that's not Fringe. All in all, it doesn't bode well for Made in Jersey.
Prediction: I don't think Made in Jersey is bad enough to get the early ax after only a few episodes, but I highly doubt it will make it past the first order of episodes and into a lengthened first season let alone a second season.
Malibu Country (ABC, Premiers 11/2 at 8:30PM)
Much like Winter's look into Napoleon Dynamite, I'm going to keep this one short. I hated Reba and I hate Country, so this fish out of water sitcom will get nothing from me outside of hopes for a quick series cancellation. Unfortunately, Reba McEntire's last show was a hit and this one, following Last Man Standing on Fridays will most likely live long enough to be a pain in my ass. Give the trailer a look if you're a glutton for punishment and absolutely must see for yourself, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Prediction: I hope this one doesn't get renewed for a second season, but Friday needs another half hour sitcom to pair with Last Man Standing. Expect this one back for a second season, unfortunately.
The Mindy Project (FOX, Premiers 9/25 at 9:30PM)
Our second awkward doctor show new to the fall lineup belongs to FOX with The Mindy Project. Starring 40 Year Old Virgin's Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a most likely 30-something Dr. trying to figure her life out, The Mindy Project is bound to be another show trying too hard to be funny. You'll see a few familiar faces in the trailer with Bill Hader (Seth Rogan's partner in Superbad) and Ed Helms (Hangover's Dr. Stu), which are Mindy's old and new love interests respectively. The Mindy Project is hoping to hold viewers over from lead-in New Girl on what could be a very strong Thursday comedy lineup, but much like with Ben & Kate, The Mindy Project will get a lot of scrutiny week in and week out and as a result could end up getting the chopping block fairly early on. With a strong cast and equally strong writing, though, it could very well succeed here, but I'm not getting my hopes up as FOX has a history of quickly pulling the trigger on these shows.
Prediction: The Mindy Project is mostly going up against a handful of new shows and Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23 which was renewed for a second season, but doesn't have a strong following. Just through a lack of competition at the 9:30PM timeslot, I think it will return for a half order for season 2, but FOX will be looking to give the golden timeslot a show that keeps the viewers.
The Mob Doctor (FOX, Premiers 9/17 at 9PM)
FOX had itself a great 1-2 punch and almost sole ownership of primetime TV on Monday nights with Bones leading into House. Now, with House done, FOX is looking for a follow-up to Bones to keep viewers from changing the channel to ABC's Dancing with the Stars or NBC's The Voice. Their hope is new medical drama, The Mob Doctor starring Jordana Spiro (My Boys) as Dr. Grace Devlin. As you can see in the trailer, Devlin's character is the sister of Nate Devlin (Jesse Lee Soffer, As the World Turns) who owes a debt to the Chicago Mob. As a way to get her brother out of debt with the mob, she makes a deal with Mob Boss Paul Moretti (Michael Rappaport). Constantine Alexander (William Forsythe), who appears to have both mob and family ties to Devlin, acts as some kind of mob handler/sounding board. I'm not really sure what Forsythe's character's roll will be as the show goes on, but I imagine he'll play a large roll as possibly a protector who will eventually turn on Devlin. Ultimately, The Mob Doctor could have the weight to be a good show, but I don't think it fits the Monday lineup because it just doesn't carry the same tone as Bones does and House did but I could be wrong.
Prediction: The Mob Doctor can be some compelling TV for FOX especially with the cast they've lined up for the show. I imagine it will get a full season order and come back for a season 2, just on a different day. If it does make it to a season 2, that's probably when I'll add it to my viewing list.
Nashville (ABC, Premiers 10/10 at 10PM)
Nashville is ABC's attempt at capturing the same type of magic that keeps shows like FOX's Glee and NBC's Smash on the air but to me suffers from the same issues I see in both. The problem with these kinds of shows is that the most compelling piece of the plot is gone as soon as the competition is over. Once the lead character defeats her nemesis, where is there to go except to drop in a new nemesis and do it all over again? As the trailer shows, Nashville stars Connie Britton as Rayna, the washed up country artist fighting to keep up the act against newcomers like Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) who have looks but no talent. The problem I have with these kinds of shows is that they're far better suited to be a movie than a TV show. Surprisingly to me, it appears that both Britton and Panettiere actually sing during the show but the songs sound so manufactured, it's tough to really tell that it's them. The main problem is that Nashville is dealing with the lead-in from ABC's powerhouse Wednesday comedy lineup and going toe to to with newcomer Chicago Fire and long in the tooth CSI over on CBS so it has its work cut out for it.
Prediction: Nashville will do a respectable job of hanging onto its lead in viewers which will be just enough for it to be renewed for a second season. After that, though, only the strength of the second season plot will allow it to continue past that.
The Neighbors (ABC, Premiers 9/26 at 9:30PM)
In what could possibly be the first cancellation of the Fall 2012 season, The Neighbors features a family that moves from what looked like the big city out to the suburbs. The trailer shows the Weaver Family, headed up by Marty Weaver (played by familiar face Lenny Venito) and Debbie Weaver (Jami Gertz), are greeted in their new cookie cutter suburban neighborhood by an army of what appears to be multi-racial clones. Of course, the Weavers know that something is up, but what they had in mind was definitely not what they expected. The Weaver kids are playing games with one of the clone kids when they find out, much to their surprise, that he's an alien. Of course, this prompts the entire neighborhood to reveal that they, too, are aliens. Yawn. Here's the problem with these forced fish out of water stories - they've been done to death. Even with the odd relationship that grows between the family and the aliens this show probably won't be very good. You can also imagine the added pressure of following up The Middle and leading into ABC powerhouse Modern Family. If this show doesn't hold on to The Middle's viewers and keeps them around for Modern Family, you bet ABC will pull the trigger and replace The Neighbors before you even hear the shot.
Prediction: The Neighbors will grace us with an early season cancellation. I predict 5-6 episodes air, tops.
The New Normal (NBC, Premiers 9/11 at 9:30PM)
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, wants a piece of the Modern Family pie. The problem is that so far, no one has figured out what exactly makes Modern Family so successful. So the trailer shows that NBC is trying to capture that lightning in a bottle with a cast of mostly unknowns including a woman out to start over (Georgia King as Goldie Clemmons) with her daughter (Bebe Wood as Shania Clemmons) by escaping the Midwest and heading to California. Here, Goldie dreams about going back to school and becoming a lawyer (apparently she doesn't know that law students aren't in high demand right now) but first she needs the cash. So like any sane single woman, she decides she wants to become a surrogate mother for a "quick" $35k to get that ball rolling. Enter the hopeful parents (you might see the Modern Family influence here) Bryan Buckley (Video Game/Cartoon voice actor Andrew Rannells) and David Murray (Doug from The Hangover, Justin Bartha). The gay couple happens across Goldie's application and decides she would be a fitting surrogate. Enter the extremely homophobic and racist (and unbelievably young) grandmother of Goldie, Jane Forrest (Ellen Barkin, who guest starred on Modern Family) and here NBC hopes to have a recipe for success. I don't know if they'll strike gold, but I do think this show could pull in the female crowd at the very least. It'll be interesting to see if they can pull in the male crowd as well because the trailer was more sweet on tone and less humorous, but the interaction with the grandmother is a wild card.
Prediction: I think The New Normal will be slow going, but it'll garner enough of an audience for NBC to pull in a second season where it will really start to improve. This will be one to keep an eye on.
Partners (CBS, Premiers 9/24 at 8:30PM)
Will and Grace is back, except this time Grace is a dude played by Professor Charles Eppes (David Krumholtz as Joe). At least that's what I'm assuming because I've never seen a single episode of Will and Grace but this show is brought to you by the same fellas that brought you Will and Grace oh so long ago. So this show, as seen in the trailer, is about Joe and his best friend Louis (played by Ugly Betty's Michael Urie) who happens to be gay. Both Joe and Louis are in serious relationships: Joe with Ali (Sophia Bush from One Tree Hill) and Louis with Wyatt/Superman (Brandon Routh). My guess is that Partners will have most of the Will and Grace fans all wrapped up already and that alone will keep this show pretty successful, but there's the possibility of having some pretty funny interactions considering the cast. The way Joe and Louis interact remind me of Ted and Marshall interact in How I Met Your Mother, except one of them would be gay.
Prediction: The Will and Grace fans will most likely come back to Partners, bringing with them an almost sure-fire bet of a second season return. Add that to the lead-in crowd from previously mentioned How I Met Your Mother and you've got a pretty sure bet even if Partners isn't great.
Revolution (NBC, Premiers 9/17 at 10PM)
NBC has been scraping and clawing in an attempt to become relevant again. As we mentioned during the review of Chicago Fire, NBC just doesn't have much going for it with Chuck ending last year and heavy hitters 30 Rock and The Office ending this season. But NBC is betting on the city of Chicago to help pull them back out of the hole they started digging with the later seasons of Heroes. Well, as the trailer shows, this time we've found ourselves in Chicago 15 years after some kind of worldwide EMP goes off. The world has devolved back to the days where everyone is a hunter/gatherer out of necessity and small armed groups of people become the most powerful. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1&2) and produced by TV superstar J.J. Abrams (Fringe) come together to bring us a show as wild as Terra Nova but with far less CG it would appear. I'm definitely intrigued by the character of Miles Matheson (Billy Burke known to me from Season 2 of 24), a badass dude who has a killer sword fight in the trailer. As you'll see, the plot of this show revolves around some kind of pendant that is either responsible for the EMP or acts as a shield from a persistent EMP. I have a few questions from the trailer already, though. I'm sure gasoline is scarce, but old cars aren't controlled by computer chips. Why are they using black powder rifles? You can still make decent ammo without electronics so modern guns are still useful. Well, I will definitely be watching to find out the answers to these questions.
Prediction: Lately, J.J. Abrams shows haven't had a great track record, but the fans of his shows are loyal. I'm betting on Revolution being a good enough show that the fans will keep it around for a second season. Besides, with NBC's low standards, Revolution has a lower bar set for it.
Vegas (CBS, Premiers 9/25 at 10PM)
Last, but very certainly not least, is CBS's new drama Vegas. Obviously CBS is taking the name of the show at heart because they have thrown everything they can on this show. They're definitely betting big as can be seen by the powerhouse cast that graces the YouTubes. As the trailer clearly shows, Vegas is a mixture of FX staple Justified and HBO favorite Boardwalk Empire. Actually, a show like this is somewhat surprising to have landed on CBS to begin with since the content is extremely suited for FX or HBO, not surprisingly. Vegas definitely brings some huge names with it starring Dennis Quaid as rancher Ralph Lamb, Michael Chiklis (The Shield) as mobster Vincent Savino and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) as A.D.A Katherine O'Connell. This show takes place back in the 60's when Las Vegas was just starting to accelerate in growth with the various mobsters moving in and making their claim at pieces of Sin City. Ralph Lamb is seeing his city and his land threatened by these out of towners coming in and throwing their weight around so he takes up the mantle to defend his turf against these gangsters (and some would say the winds of fate). The trailer was tension packed and if the show is written anywhere near as well as it has been cast than CBS has its brand new multi-season hit. I will definitely be adding this to my watch list.
Prediction; With a powerhouse cast and good writing, Vegas is a sure bet. I just hope it doesn't feel gimped by not being on a network like FX or HBO where there's a bit more freedom. Vegas will be back for a season 2, no doubt about it.