Fall TV Roundup
The new fall TV season is more than a month old, and yet new shows keep flying at us. This flood of new shows, while slowing, will keep going strong into early December. If you haven’t found one you like yet, give it time and you may find something yet. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this fall. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.
Hit The Road, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Audience Network (Premiered October 17)
About: Everyone is doing original programming now, it’s the hip new thing. Audience Network is the network that is owned by DirecTV and provides original programming. Now they’ve launched two new comedies that are trying to expand the network brand and provide value to those inclined to be cord-cutters. This first comedy stars Jason Alexander and Amy Pietz as the patriarch and matriarch of a singing family out on the road on a tour. But things aren’t as they appear, and not everyone in the family is excited to be on tour. Alexander is a fairly big star, having been in plenty of different high-profile comedies, and that might be part of the appeal here. But the pilot was uneven and, frequently, gross. Worse yet, it wasn’t funny. That’s a problem. I get the appeal of having original programming as a value, but it needs to be something worth watching. From what I saw in the pilot, this isn’t.
Pilot Grade: D
Loudermilk, Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Audience Network (Premiered October 17)
About: This is the other new comedy on Audience, paired with “Hit the Road,” and this one is a little better. It comes from Peter Farrelly and stars Ron Livingston as an AA facilitator that doesn’t have the kindest demeanor. In the pilot, his ways get him in trouble with the church where the meetings are held and he has to dig his way out. It also gets in his way when trying to connect with a new neighbor (Laura Mennell). But in the end, despite his rough edges, Loudermilk does some good. That seems like the pattern for the series, and while I didn’t love the pilot episode I did see some potential in the series, especially because of Livingston, who seems like the ideal performer for this character.
Pilot Grade: C
Dynasty, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered October 11)
About: The CW had just two new series this fall. The first, “Valor,” brought a CW spin to a tale of military heroes. The second, “Dynasty,” feels more in the typical CW wheelhouse. It’s a re-make of the classic 1980s prime time soap, and it feels like the kind of show that defined the network prior to the D.C. superhero era. That being said, I didn’t like the pilot and I didn’t think the second episode was much better. The performances are OK, I guess, but the characters and story don’t really feel like they work. This wants to be an over-the-top guilty pleasure. It got the over-the-top part right, but I didn’t feel a lot of guilty pleasure here, or even a lot of interest. This feels like the right kind of swing for The CW, but I don’t think the execution works quite right here.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: D
Superstition, Fridays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered October 20)
About: This month SyFy has launched a few new series to go with returning series that seem to befit the month that includes Halloween. A couple weeks ago that meant the launch of “Ghost Wars.” On Friday night, that meant the launch of “Superstition,” a new supernatural series from Mario Van Peebles, who stars in the show, wrote episodes, and directed them, along with creating the series. It’s about a family who run a funeral home as a day job and battle supernatural evil in all their spare time. The series begins in the past, as the youngest son is killed and the older son (Brad James), leaves the nest and joins the Army. Now 16 years later he’s returned to take his rightful place in the family business, feeling a pull to return and the impending danger for his father (Van Peebles). But he finds things have changed, and doesn’t get the warm welcome he had assumed would be waiting. And of course, they almost immediately encounter something creepy and super dangerous. I thought the pilot was OK, not great. This feels like the kind of series SyFy has sunk into recently, and it was a lot smoother than “Ghost Wars.” But it also feels a bit like a niche series. It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes after a somewhat shocking close to the pilot presentation.
Pilot Grade: C-