TV: Pilot watch: Part four

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
The Tomorrow People airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW
Ironside airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC
Welcome to the Family airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on NBC


And now we’ve come to the final installment of Pilot Watch. Including this post, I have given my thoughts on 19 new shows this fall season. While that is not the entire list of premieres, it’s a fairly good chunk of them, and frankly, I’m not interested in wasting time on a show that has already been canceled — Lucky 7 — or on a show like Betrayal, in which I would much rather just watch Unfaithful (with Richard Gere and Diane Lane) instead.

First up is the CW’s new powerhouse sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People. The show follows a race of people called “The Tomorrow People,” a group with supernatural abilities like telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis, led by Cara (Peyton List) and John (Luke Mitchell). The duo recruits Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) because they believe he can save their race against the Ultra organization, which seeks to neutralize The Tomorrow People. To be honest, the show is full of clichés: an unknown hero, an out-of-luck family (Stephen’s mom has to work extra shifts to pay for his therapy), a dead-beat dad who ends up not as he seems and an organization working to make the supernatural normal again. However, the pilot’s ending was anything but cliché; it was the opposite. I never expected it to end that way, and I’m glad they did it. It’s definitely going to call for interesting storylines. I can truly see this becoming another cult show for the CW, in league with Supernatural even. The idea, the effects and the actors are all superb. As a fan of many nerdy things, I could definitely get into this. I love the underlying humor in the show — even the Tomorrow People agree “Tomorrow People” is a terrible name. Overall, if you like creative, sci-fi-type stories, then you will definitely enjoy this show. Rating: 4.5/5

Next up is a new cop drama: Ironside. However this show does have a unique twist: the main cop in question, Ironside (Blair Underwood), is handicapped and in a wheelchair. Before you roll your eyes at how desperate the networks seem to be for another cop drama, know that this show is actually quite good. Underwood is of course fantastic in the role, and the fact that he is handicapped is the focus but it doesn’t cloud the show and suffocate the audience. Cop dramas are reliable. The stories can be easier to write because, in a sense, they aren’t all created out of the minds of the writers. The drama is real, and it’s an hour of reliable entertainment. I’m not really one for cop shows, but I could easily see myself sitting down and having this on in the background and occasionally keeping up with it. If you like cop dramas, this is a great new show for you. I’m thoroughly surprised with how much I enjoyed this show. Good job, Underwood. Rating: 4.5/5

SOPHIE LOWEWhen I heard a spinoff of Once Upon a Time was happening, I was ecstatic. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland puts a twist on the tale of Alice in Wonderland. Alice (Sophie Lowe) returns to Wonderland to find her lost love Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) with the help of the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow). I expected it to have a similar feel in its scenery, mystery and creativeness, and I was right. While the CGI may be a bit much, it is interesting to see a live-action take on Wonderland that doesn’t involve the zany mind of Tim Burton. The actors are all very well-cast. Plus, it will be interesting to see how they tie in Wonderland to Agrabah, the home of Aladdin and Jafar (Naveen Andrews), who interestingly seems to have a large role in the overall plot. I love Once Upon a Time; I really do, but I don’t know if I can devote time to shows that are so similar. Right now, I’d rather stick with the original, even though I enjoyed the spinoff. I just can’t figure out what the need was. Once Upon a Time already featured the Mad Hatter and had a huge storyline involving the Red Queen. I like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland; I just don’t know if I need it. Rating: 4/5

Lastly, we have Welcome to the Family. Junior (Joseph Haro) and Molly (Ella Rae Peck) have just graduated high school… and are expecting a baby. The news draws the couple’s families together, much to the reluctance of the patriarchs, Miguel (Ricardo Chavira) and Dan (Mike O’Malley). The dads don’t get along while the moms are on somewhat OK terms. I’m just not sure what drove NBC to want to produce this series. There’s nothing really original about it. It’s not a terrible show. I did sit pleasantly for the half hour single camera comedy, but I fail to see how this can fulfill the spots The Office and 30 Rock left behind. I can tell that NBC is heavily relying on people to stay on the network once the oh so brilliant comedy Parks and Recreation is over. However, I can’t say that I will ever willingly take the time to sit down and watch this show each week. There’s nothing interesting or new that I feel I need to see. Rating: 2.5/5


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