It’s getting tougher and tougher to put together a half-hour sitcom premise that will work for the networks. Most of the time, writers and producers can’t simply pitch “family comedy with strong female lead” or “romantic comedy with witty dialogue and two oddball characters.” There often needs to be a gimmick, and ABC’s latest, Manhattan Love Story, offers a big one.
In order to capitalize on the reboot and/or reimagining craze that is hitting televisions this fall, ABC has turned to the classics, adapting George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" into a sitcom. Okay, it's probably influenced more by the Lerner and Lowe musical (and Cukor film) My Fair Lady than Shaw's play. Don't worry, Selfie doesn't live up to any of them. The reimagining is not very good, but, to be fair, it's still not nearly as bad as its terrible title suggests.
There aren’t enough black families on television, much less primetime, network television. Because of this absolute failure by the networks to represent reality, a show like ABC’s black-ish should be a welcome addition to the sitcom world. So far, it has garnered a lot of comparisons to another family-oriented African American TV franchise, The Cosby Show. Yet, Anthony Anderson isn’t Bill Cosby. And the Hollywood-based Johnsons are nothing like the Huxtable family.
How To Get Away With Murder is more youthful than either Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal, but especially the latter. It’s a good thing, as ABC’s new drama should have the capability to pull in both younger and older audiences, with a pulsing soundtrack and earnest young students holding the attention of the former and a madcap, emotive performance from Viola Davis earning viewers in the latter category.
These days, the goal of most television shows is to give the viewer a compelling enough reason to come back. Through cliffhangers, pieces of personal life drama or unresolved issues, these programs try to create long-term storylines that are too intriguing to abandon.
Dr. Henry Morgan has been around for 200 years, unable to die with permanence, and his job as a medical examiner puts him in with the police to help solve difficult cases, and it’s all tied together with a creepy antagonist and a gingerly morbid sense of humor. Luckily, this intriguing premise goes deeper than the surface and pushes Forever into the upper echelon of ABC’s drama pilots.
Fox is one of several networks entering the small-screen superhero fray this fall but their comic-book adaptation stands apart from the rest by shifting the focus onto the supporting cast. Bruce Wayne's tragic beginning is only the catalyst for Gotham to show how the DC Comics' city known for criminality got its start. As for the show's beginnings, the series premiere is a lot like Two-Face; it's half-good and half-bad.
As I get older, there are fewer and fewer times when I’m on the list of “smartest guys in the room,” and I’m okay with that. I don’t chew tables and I don’t try to walk with both feet going forward at the same time, so I do all right. In CBS’ revved-up new drama Scorpion, viewers enter the world of someone who is always the smartest guy within thousands of square miles of the room. His name is Walter O'Brien.
Madam Secretary brings Téa Leoni back to television as a strong-willed woman appointed to Secretary of State in the midst of a tragedy. It reads on the outset like a non-bipolar Homeland, but it’s not really like that show at all, and that’s a good thing.
It's that time of year again, when all the networks unveil their hopeful new series and viewers have to wade through a ton of terrible TV in order to find the few hidden gems worthy of the always-shrinking room left on their DVRs. To help with this endeavor, let me offer some advice with this review.
Taking a cue from The Fault in our Stars, Red Band Society is a hip, hopeful and knowing drama about sick teens living in a hospital ward. Fox gets the tone right with its new series, creating characters that are multi-faceted enough to pique anyone’s interest.
There was a time when a TV series’ final season meant that the show’s worth had finally petered out to the point that it wasn’t feasible to keep producing episodes. But it’s an entirely different age of television, and the only thing petering out on FX’s Sons of Anarchy is everyone’s patience for everyone else, and things are going to end very badly for most people involved.
What if disease wasn’t something that was solely spread by germs and personal contact? What if it could be spread through the Internet and viral videos? (Get it? Viral?) That seems to be the basic gist of whatever the hell is going on in the dramatic quasi-thriller Hysteria, one of Amazon Studios’ entries in their third Pilot Season.
When it comes to television comedy, marriage and relationships rule the landscape, and it takes either a strong premise or a talented cast to raise a new series above the bar. Amazon Studios’ third Pilot Season has given us Really, an amusingly risqué trek into the lives of four couples, as anchored by show creator Jay Chandrasekhar and Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke,
Fish out of water tales have been around since people first started telling stories, and there have been multitudes of examples in which this concept is used to a great effect. (Fievel!) But The Cosmopolitans, one of the projects in Amazon Studios’ third Pilot Season, does so little with this idea (or anything else) that I soon became jealous of the fish still in the water, where things actually happen.