Fall TV Pilots: The Good, The DVR Worthy & The Ugly (ABC & Fox)

Yesterday I shared with you all some of my favorite and not so favorite pilots of the up coming fall season. Tonight I share some more! Woohoo?

FOX: 

The Good: 

Sleepy Hollow Image

Sleepy Hollow  is a gripping new fantasy/crime drama from FOX. If this show was on NBC, I’d say pair it up with Grimm because they would make an unbeatable team.

Combining elements of fantasy, horror, and crime drama, Sleepy Hollow is a series that could easily gain a cult following (and not just because you have the folks from LOST behind it.)  The pilot laid out the rules of the game very quickly and made sure that we were kept informed as well as entertained both by the story and the chemistry between the two leads.

Sleepy Hollow was fun, witty, and enjoyable with twists in the pilot that you weren’t always so quick to see coming and as much as we love predictability having something that throws the  game off balance is definitely nice.

Graced with a charming cast and a gripping story arc dealing with everything from demons, witches, and the apocalypse Sleepy Hollow is a show that fans of both genre and mystery  television will enjoy. Or I hope they enjoy because I don’t want to see it cancelled and you wont like me when stuff I like gets cancelled.

Also a plus, the headless horsemen looks like Bane if he were in the revolutionary war. Basically Sleepy Hollow is the story of how Ichabod Crane chopped off Bane’s head. That sums it up.

Side note: I will have fun filled reviews of Sleepy Hallow up on Filmthrasher every week this fall.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 


I’m not even going to bother getting into details about why this show is compatible with Fox’s Tuesday night line up because it just is. It’s witty, it’s perfect in pacing, and it’s not clunky like most comedy pilots are. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has got to be one of the funniest comedy pilots I have ever seen. Normally in a comedy there is always that one character that doesn’t quite work, but in  Nine-Nine the entire cast operates as a well fueled ensemble and everyone has chemistry with each other. Although some things could use a bit of work, Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks like a promising addition to Fox’s Comedy line up a strong contender for my long term affections. (It also doesn’t help that it reminds me a bit of dearly departed Death Valley. RIP 😦 )

(P.S. I’ll also be reviewing this for Filmthrasher ever week alongside, New Girl and The Mindy Project.)

The DVR Worthy 

Almost Human

Five bucks says I wont be able to say or type Almost Human without it somehow becoming Being Human instead. Now that I got that out of the way. (If I do that I am sorry. Odds are I wont notice when I edit this bugger because my brain is full of fictional romantic pairings and Game of Thrones characters. Hodor?)

Almost Human is an interesting take on the police drama because it adds a dash of science fiction to it just to add a bit of spring to its step. Set in a futuristic world where cops have to work with artificially intelligent counter parts to patrol and solve crimes,  John Kennex (Star Trek’s Karl Urban) is a wounded, but totally brilliant police officer who managed to make his way back to the force after an accident caused him his real leg and his sanity (sound familiar enough, yet?) When he gets back he finds out he has to work with a machine and get’s all bratty over it like a five year old that got the wrong iPhone for Christmas. (“BUT MOM I WANTED A 5S IN GOLD, NOT A 5C IN AQUA!” Can you guys imagine the twitter gold this holiday season will bring? I can and it’s the only thing that keeps me motivated to live.) After Kennex destroys his first AI he gets paired with a previous model that was considered a loose canon as far as machines go. Clearly he had a screw loose! Good pun? Bad pun? I don’t care. I will go out of my way to make one.

Anyway the two of them end up making a good team. They’re Starsky and Hutch, Turner and Hootch, Laverne and Shirley..? You guys get the gist. Although Almost Human has an interesting concept with the science fiction underneath that concept is just an ordinary cop show. The science fiction elements definitely give the series a broader audience, but how long can the show go without the characters all come across as well…human? The pretty gadgets and toys will slowly lose it’s novelty and the series will become just another cop show but with shiny things. The reason I want to keep watching is because woven into the story seems to be a bit of a conspiracy. Other science fiction shows make conspiracy work (Fringe, Orphan Black.) and if Almost Human does it right there might be hope for it yet.

*In addiction to me almost typing Being Human, I also had to change Kennox from Kleenex EVERY TIME. 

Enlisted 

Enlisted is a series that could go either way. The reason I listed it as DVR Worthy is because I want to give it a chance to try and develop. It’s very reminiscent of Stripes and that movie holds a special place in my heart when I had an entire summer of watching military themed movies and shows, it was an interesting journey to say the least. The show centers around three brothers, two are lovable rejects while the other is a super soldier. After an altercation with a superior officer Super Soldier brother gets sent home to rear D, a section that operates specifically to take care of soldiers families who are away at war that live on base.

Typically his crew is a gaggle of misfits who just can’t seem to get anything right, but of course they are lovable and cute. I wanted to like Enlisted and it was cute to say the least, but I don’t see people really catching on to it. Compared to other Fox comedies it’s just not that great yet. I do think it’s worth a few more episodes, but if this soldier doesn’t buck soon I can see this show getting the ax.

The Ugly 

Dads 

I’m not even going to bother gracing Dads with more than a couple of sentences. In fact it’s not even an ugly show, because ugly can be kind of cute sometimes. It’s actually downright grotesque.

Horrible, offensive, drivel that should be cancelled immediately. Great actors portraying awful characters. More racist jokes in the first five minutes than an entire episode of 2 Broke Girls. Brenda Song I am sorry you are wasted as stereotypical eye candy. You deserve better than this. If this show does well and gets renewed I will lose my faith in humanity.

ABC 

The Good: 

ImageTrophy Wife 

Trophy Wife brings Bradley Whitford back to TV and I have a huge affinity for Bradley Whitford which stems mostly from my love of all things Josh Lyman and The West Wing. Whitford just has a charisma to him that makes every character he plays come off as cool even if the character just plain sucks. Trophy Wife is the story of a party girl who ends up falling for a successful man a decade or two her senior, who also happens to have two ex-wives and a whole lot of kids. Trophy Wife has a lot of potential and a few great laughs in the pilot.

Honestly it just reminded me of a sitcom version of Big Love and I just liked it a lot. There are quite a few generic tropes and gags but Trophy Wife might just work once it figures out exactly what it wants to be.

The DVR Worthy 

The Goldbergs

Half Wonder Years, Half Malcolm in the Middle, The Goldbergs is a very cute fusion of the two classic sitcoms. Set in the ’80’s where perms and stations wagons are awesome, The Goldbergs are your average family with average issues; Dad is loving but closed off and uses screaming and name calling as a way to tell you he cares. Mom just has trouble letting go, and Grandpa is getting to that age where he shouldn’t be driving or hanging out with women half his age, but he does.

Narrated by Patton Oswalt who voices an older Kevin Arnold  Adam, the cameraman and youngest child of the family, The Goldbergs seems like it could have a lot of heart, but just isn’t quite sure what it is yet and might need the bulk of the season to figure it out. The nostalgia factor of the 80’s definitely helps the series get many a laugh. I chuckled. People in the audience chuckled. Well, except for the two old ladies that sat behind me and were very angry about the pilots containing sexuality. Sorry girls!

Overall the show was okay. It has the potential to be something great. It’s not the next Modern Family for sure, but it’s got something subtle about it, and ABC loves the shows that are great, but yet fly under the radar. (Case and point, The Middle.) For now I’ll let my TiVo have its way with it, but if the show doesn’t have a clear direction soon I might need the space for other things.

Back in the Game 

Back in the Game is a show I might watch because it’s just fun. There isn’t something different or all the complex about it. It’s something to watch for half an hour and chuckle over. The plot is pretty easy to follow: woman and her son move back home to live with said woman’s father who is a drunk, narcissist who really loves his daughter but wont readily admit it. There’s a next door neighbor that’s so much of a jackass you just know he’s going to be our leading ladies love interest. Add in some baseball and a dash of underdog, cute kids and you have Back in the Game. It’s basic. It’s not mind-numbing and it’s a light comedy about family, growing up and baseball. Simple. That’s what I like about it.

The ugly: 

Lucky 7 

A group of coworkers win the lottery here is their story. You guys remember that show Scott Wolf was on a few years ago? The Nine? You know the one with the group of bank hostages and their stories intertwine, but you get the story from the beginning and kind of how to work your way back? Or remember that show Reunion? The one with the graduating class that comes back for their reunion and there’s murder and intrigue and blah blah. If you don’t remember these gems it’s because they didn’t last long. I remember them because I have a way of recalling things that no one else really cares about. The reason I mention these shows is because Lucky 7 has that formula.

The characters aren’t all that likable and some of them even come off as caricatures; the over weight wife who just knows her husband is cheating on her, the Indian girl who just wants to feel normal but her parents want her to marry a cute Indian doctor. I can’t stress it enough that I understand that sometimes making characters broad makes them more relatable to everyone but nothing about them made them interesting. In fact I was pissed they won the lottery because the moment they did you just know they’ll turn on each other.

Actually, the most interesting character is the mechanic who didn’t poll his money with the rest of them. The cringe worthy gang of winners talked about how they should get him a TV because, why not? Fact is I don’t want to know these people, I don’t feel for them at all and watching a show about them winning the lottery and even watching their lives unfold does absolutely nothing for me in the lady boner department that good television gives me.

That’s all I have for pilots. Only time will tell how well these shows do, but overall this new TV season is mediocre at best with only a few shows that have the potential to be something. I hope the midseason brings us some more luck.

Which Fall Pilot are you looking forward to?  Hit up the poll, comments section, or on my twitters: @ toobaddiane

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