TV: Pilot watch: Part one

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Mom airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS
Hostages airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC
The Goldbergs airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC
Trophy Wife airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC
Back in the Game airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC

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This fall season brings nearly 30 new shows to our small screens, and I have challenged myself to watch as many as possible. While I don’t have time to devote a blog post for each show individually, I am compiling my thoughts on several shows into one post.

Let’s begin.

Sleepy Hollow aired Sept. 16 as the best Fox drama premiere in six years, gaining 10 million views for its debut episode. Following the return of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), the show mixes the well-known tale of the legend of the Headless Horseman with Founding Fathers conspiracy, Bible mythology and witchcraft to make a thriller that is sure to be the next cult classic. It seems as if it may lose a lot of the mainstream audience though with all that it has going on. It is certainly interesting, and I am more than excited to see where it goes. But will the show end up being bogged down by all it is incorporating into its new look on the old tale? The follow-up to the pilot, “Blood Moon,” was just as interesting and quite scary — those demon things are the stuff of nightmares. Plus the ever adorable and biting banter between Crane and Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) is very entertaining and gets better as the show goes on. If there’s one drama to watch this season, it’s this one. Rating: 4.5/5

Mom was probably relying on a good slot — after both the How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls season premieres on Sept. 23 — to draw an audience. While I may have tuned in to the second episode of Sleepy Hollow instead, I caught this comedy online and must admit that it was much better than anticipated. Anna Faris stars as Christy, a mother of two who wants to be more than a waitress and aspires to be a better mother than her own, played by Allison Janney. To be honest, it wasn’t the best comedy anyone will ever watch, but I can see how the show can grow. Mom lags somewhat when Faris and Janney aren’t taking control of the scenes, but when they are there, the comedy is quite witty and well performed. I would definitely give this show another shot to prove itself. Rating: 3/5

After a long night of premieres, Hostages closed CBS’ Monday night lineup with a thriller following Dr. Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette) and her decision to either kill the president or have her family die after Agent Carlisle (Dylan McDermott) and company hold them all hostage. I may have to re-watch this but I wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. I’m not a huge fan of McDermott so maybe future episodes that focus more on Collette will make me enjoy the show more. As brought up in the first episode of the new pop culture podcast Post Pop, I can definitely see how I am going to get tired of them being hostages very quickly even if every member of the family has a secret of their own. And to be honest, this show was quite forgettable. Unlike certain dramas — ABC’s Scandal, for instance — the ongoing suspense isn’t keeping me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more until next week’s episode. While I am interested to see how they will vary the storyline of them being hostages — I mean they can’t sit in the house for the whole season, can they? — I wasn’t immediately interested, but, again, have to say that I’ll give it another shot to see what next week’s episode will bring to the table. Rating: 3/5

CLARK GREGGOne of the most anticipated pilots of the season has to be Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. As a spin-off to the mega summer blockbuster The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. — I refuse to type out that name more than once — definitely lived up to and went above and beyond the hype. Following the return of previously-thought-to-be-dead Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are all individually wonderful. Chloe Bennet shines as Skye, a hacker who Coulson recruits to help rather than hinder the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Ming-Na Wen plays Melinda May, a veteran who keeps herself off the field for a mysterious reason that has yet to be discovered. She doesn’t do much in the episode but she kicked ass when she was on-screen, and I loved it. While I know Joss Whedon won’t be around for the entire season since he is a very busy man, I could feel the Whedon flare in the pilot and know that is what made it so overwhelmingly great. The character development and the humor were all distinctively Whedon, and I hope it doesn’t fade once he is out of the picture. However, let’s give the show a round of applause for those mind-blowing visual effects. I mean the interaction with the 3D hologram is stuff seen typically in movies. Kudos for really stepping it up in that department. I’m looking forward to what’s coming up. Rating: 5/5

Don’t get the wrong idea. Not all the pilots were great; take The Goldbergs for instance. The show was probably relying on the leftover audience from S.H.I.E.L.D. and frankly that’s one of the only reasons I can see why people will watch this show. The show parodies the family of creator Adam F. Goldberg as it follows young Adam (Sean Giambrone) as he videotapes every moment of his childhood. Wendi McLendon-Covey as the overbearing mother seems to be the only redeemable quality of the show. Even Jeff Garlin as the patriarch Murray fails to bring the funny. Oldest son Barry (Troy Gentile) is the bud of most of the jokes and his own delivery is there but without impact. This show needs major polishing. Personally, I’m not interested in devoting any more time to this show. Rating: 1.5/ 5

Trophy-Wife-season-1-posterNext up on the new ABC comedy list is Trophy Wife starring Malin Akerman as Kate, the new wife to already two-time divorcee Pete (Bradley Whitford) whose extended family is where the conflicts and the comedy come into play. It’s no Modern Family in the writing department, but I definitely see potential for this show. Michaela Watkins as kooky ex-wife Jackie was hilarious, as was her adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai) who was literally the cutest thing in the world. Of the new ABC comedies, this one is definitely the most promising. Rating: 3.5/ 5

And finally, we’ve come to Back in the Game. How James Caan got involved in this may be the eighth wonder of the world. The show follows Terry (Maggie Lawson), a single mom and ex-All Star softball player who decides to coach her son’s baseball team after he and other athletically-challenged members were denied being on the original team. It’s like Bad News Bears except it’s not good. Not to mention the fact that she has major daddy issues with father (Caan) and had sworn off sports and baseball because of it. I wouldn’t call this show a comedy because, well, I didn’t laugh once. The surprise was all too easy to guess; the antagonist is far too unlikable; and the protagonist is poorly written. In other words, don’t go to the ball game this season. Rating: 1.5/ 5

Check in next week for a post featuring my thoughts on The Millers, The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show.

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