Well, with last night’s shows come and gone, I thought I should share some of my reactions to this year’s fall TV premieres.
We all know I was super pumped about some of the shows and a bit more hesitant about others. I was right on the money with a few, but there were a couple surprises.
For this review, I am tackling some of the new and returning shows this fall season.
Fall TV Premieres: The Good, the Okay & the God-Awful
The Big Bang Theory – Okay
While there was nothing overly spectacular about this season opener, it wasn’t disappointing either. Fans hadn’t been sitting around all summer worrying over some cliff-hanger from the previous season, though they did have that minor did-they-didn’t-they to tie up (which led to some funny jokes but was nothing life-altering for any of the main characters). The best part was probably finally getting to see Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) mother (Katey Sagal) and brother (Jack McBrayer), and her father (Keith Carradine) for a belated reprise. The dynamic between the characters was wonderful to watch and was great comic relief during the tensions of the episode.
Highlight of the episode: Bernadette getting everyone in line at the wedding.
The Good Place – Good
By the end of the first week of the fall TV schedule, we’ve already had three episodes of The Good Place. As you might recall from my preview, I was really looking forward to this show, calling the premise a “hoot”. So far, it has not disappointed and more or less lived up to my expectations. The chemistry between Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and assigned soul mate Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is well-balanced, with Chidi having a difficult time at first deciding just what to do about Eleanor. The one point I had made, though, was that I hadn’t thought Kristen Bell and Ted Dansen would be a natural pairing. While we haven’t seen a lot of these two together since the very beginning of the premiere, episode three left us with the potential to see more.
Good job, Good Place.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Okay
I had totally forgotten about how last season had left off, leaving me fairly confused for the first minute or two of the premiere. Once Mr Anderson reminded me about their current predicament, it was easy to fall back into it. I had been really missing this show (shout-out to Netflix for helping fill the gap with re-runs I could binge) and while I loved seeing Jake (Andy Samberg) and Holt (Andre Braugher) continue to evolve their friendship, I missed the rest of the ensemble. The formula that really makes this show work was a bit…off without them. I see that the premiere has been listed as a three-parter, so I would imagine the rest of the crew are joining in shortly and hopefully it’ll go back to normal soon. Despite the missing cast, the episode was not short on hilarity. The writers have not let us fans down.
Shout-out to: Samburg’s (stunt-double’s?) impressive flips on the go-kart track.
Bull – Good
I’ve heard some people really didn’t like this show, and I don’t get it. If you watched the promos, it showed exactly what the series would be about. There were no surprises (unlike other shows; look below to see what I mean). It was exactly what you thought it was going to be. And I liked it! Michael Weatherly’s Bull was spot on and the plot was engaging. What more could you ask for?
What will keep me coming back: hints of Bull’s own dark secrets. Just as long as they’re not over-played and drag down the series.
This Is Us – Good
I hadn’t discussed this series in my preview because I honestly wasn’t sure about it. I absolutely adore Mandy Moore and have had a crush on Milo Ventimiglia since his days on Gilmore Girls, but the show didn’t give us a lot to go on. People who were born on the same day and their lives are somehow connected? That could be anything. Plus some of the promos made it look really sad. I’m talking Shonda Rhimes sad. But instead of ending the episode with a horrible tragedy that would have turned me off the series entirely (like I predicted), it actually ending with a super awesome twist. I won’t spoil it (I’ve worked very hard to not reveal anything that wasn’t shown in promos) but this twist was seriously awesome. Very clever, AND it helps them get over the hump of “what next?” This isn’t just your average, bland drama about random strangers (ahem Six Degrees) but actually something quite clever that gives them endless material for future seasons.
My favourite moment: a very pregnant Moore doing a sexy birthday dance for husband Ventimiglia.
Designated Survivor – Okay
The show wasn’t terrible. However, there were some parts where I realised I had drifted off and suddenly there was a character on screen and I didn’t know who they were. Whoops. The person they’re obviously setting up to be one of the main antagonists is dreadful and I question how long they’re going to be able to find interesting plots without stretching themselves too thin. In my preview, I told Kiefer Sutherland to impress me. He was not the problem, however. Sutherland’s character was likeable and his acting was decent. It’s everything else I’m worried about.
Biggest whoops: I totally forgot Sutherland’s character had two children until suddenly they were rescuing the son from a rave? Party? Something that didn’t look as terrible as I think it was supposed to look.
Lethal Weapon – Really, Actually Good
I wasn’t sure I would actually even bother with this. I’ve never seen the original film, not really being a fan of any of that kind of stuff, but I decided to give this modern take a chance. Boy am I glad I did. I didn’t realise it would be a buddy-cop show with just as much comedy as explosions.
Thank goodness: it’s not as sad as it sounded! Yeah, these men are going through some things but everyone made it sound like they would just be horribly depressed, dark men. I’m glad that’s not how it actually is.
Grey’s Anatomy – Good
Speaking of Shonda Rhimes…Standard Grey’s, though not nearly as sad as some other episodes. The biggest thing I noticed about this episode was how much I’ve come to care about Alex (Justin Chambers) since the show started over a decade ago. Seriously, we used to HATE Alex, but he’s grown a lot. This current story arc of his is very concerning. Alex is one of ONLY FOUR original characters still left. We can’t lose him.
I loved: April standing up to her ex-mother-in-law regarding little baby Harriet. You go, girl!
Superstore – Surprisingly Good
I have to explain: I say it was ‘surprising’ not because I wasn’t a fan of the show, but because I’ve never seen the show before this episode! I couldn’t watch a lot of American shows in England, so there are some that I’m still working on catching up on (it breaks my heart that there is so much of Arrow and the Flash I’ve still yet to watch). When Mom turned this show on, I wasn’t against watching it, I just didn’t think I’d enjoy it because I’ve missed everything that’s come before. But let me say, this show is HILARIOUS. Mom informs me that America Ferrera’s character is married, but I’m waiting to see when she gets together with Jonah (Ben Feldman). Like, who do they think they’re fooling?
Best idea: the striking workers going into the store to prevent people from buying anything. So funny.
Notorious – Good (for now)
I didn’t talk about this one in the preview because I couldn’t quite figure out what it was about. Well, I was happily surprised to find that the show was very engaging. I have loved Piper Perabo since Coyote Ugly and have missed her since Covert Affairs became awful. I am slightly concerned about where they’re going to go with the series and hope that it doesn’t get dragged down by all the drama.
Waiting for: Julia (Perabo) and Jake (Daniel Sunjata) to hook up and then have it be overly complicated and take another season for them to really get together. I’ll hate it and still be hooked.
Pitch – Good
Okay, I don’t know how to write a non-spoilery review for this one. Scroll past now if you need to. Ready to go? Okay. I’m really, really happy that Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) failed. Repeatedly. Like a lot. Not just because then I could watch Mike (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) give a pretty inspiring (and sexy) speech to save the
movie day. But because it would have been too easy to be like “okay here is this girl and she’s immediately perfect and awesome.” We needed to watch her struggle and fail and just be awful. We needed to see her make decisions and make choices. Now that she’s done that, we can watch the external struggles of a female breaking into major league anything.
Still really appreciate: the MLB sponsorship that allows this all to feel very ‘real’, along with all the people playing themselves (such as the amazing Joe Buck and John Smoltz).
MacGyver – Kill Me
The writing is good. The MacGyver equipment scenes are great. The plot was engaging. Why do I hate this show? One word: casting. That dude is not MacGyver. Now, keep in mind that I never watched MacGyver back in the day, but I am a HUGE Richard Dean Anderson fan because of his work on Stargate. But three generations of Gagens all watched this show together, and this casting has turned all of us off ever watching this show again. I don’t understand how this pilot ever tested well with audiences with that guy in it.
It was rough, guys.
Once Upon a Time – Good (despite some characters I’m so over)
I just have to get this out of my system: Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) are THE WORST. What is up with their character development (or lack thereof)? I’ll be better. Nevermind, I’m still awful. No for real, I want to change for you! Nope, still evil! Oh but I’m trying! You’re really not, you’re still very much CHOOSING to be evil. Ugh. Kill them off and move on.
Sorry. Okay. The rest of the show was great. I was super excited to see how it was all going to work out with the new batch of characters. I am a little confused as to why there have to be so many things all going wrong at the same time. There were two people set up as bad guys at the end of last year, but they’ve added even more sub-plots of other things going wrong, too. I guess they might be concerned that things will get stale but it’s mostly just making things overly complicated and unnecessarily angst-y.
My final thought: that tale is not as old as time. Let it end. And let my favourite Saviour and pirate have their happy ending.
Conviction – As expected
Watching the promos (at least the longer ones I could find online), I was aware of the basics: she’s a party girl using this new job to get out of a recent arrest but then starts to find that her job has meaning and turns herself around. There were some fun additions, though. For one, Hayes (Hayley Atwell) isn’t just any ordinary party girl, she’s an former first daughter. Yeppers, that girl’s daddy used to be president! I assumed her family was in politics or something, hence why they’d want to cover up her unfortunate life choices, but that’s a fun change. Also, her character – particularly her relationship with her mother/parents – are believable and just complicated enough to be interesting. She’s not a “poor little rich girl”. There’s many shades of grey in why she is the way she is.
What I want to see: less of the political scheming between characters and more of a real ensemble with Atwell at the forefront.
Timeless – Actually really good
This show looked like it was trying too hard in the promos. But I actually really enjoyed it! Fun dynamics between characters, interesting twists at the end, great dialogue. Plus, they must be spending a FORTUNE on these episodes. Apparently, future episodes will see Abraham Lincoln, JFK and Sammy Davis Jr. Obviously as long as everything is handled tastefully and respectfully, I see a winner. Unless someone goes back and changes history so it suddenly sucks.
Stand-out actor: Malcolm Barrett. I don’t remember Better Off Ted very well, but that seems to be the only thing I’ve seen him in before. Long story short, I would like to see more of him.
Any other fall TV premieres you think I should tackle? Any opinions you think I was completely off-base with (or horribly off the money)? Let me know in the comments!