COVID has decimated entire industries, and for awhile, it looked like TV was going to be one of them. Sports coverage was non-existent, series were on hold for filming, pilots were at a dead stop. But eventually they figured out how to film stuff anyway, and shows returned. Some shows worked the premise into the script; others chose to ignore it. Some had a lot of interaction between a few key players but didn’t mix “bubbles” within the show, some did a lot of distant talking across rooms.
But one big element for the new year is the semi-return of the premieres of new shows. Let’s see what’s out there.
Chicago Party Aunt…an animated show on Netflix about a drunk 40yo woman partying in Chicago. Wait, isn’t there a show about a 40yo pretending to be 20-something in New York? Pass but I predict it will make it to at least season 2.
NCIS: Hawaii premieres this week on CBS, another outing for the series that started way back with JAG a loooooong time ago. I generally like the premise of the different series, but I don’t watch all of them each week. One is enough for me. I’m happy to see what this one is like — a bit like Hawaii Five-O, I imagine, but I’m not sold on the main actress, Vanessa Lachey. The only thing besides the trailer that I’ve seen her in was a small part in the Fantastic Four, which isn’t making up for a terrible trailer. I’ll give it a maybe for watching, yet vote for likely renewal.
The Big Leap on CBS is a show about making a dance reality show where they select contestants to star in Swan Lake. I know, I wasn’t looking for a fictional reality show either. But it’s basically Glee, or maybe Fame, for adults. I am curious enough to see an episode or two, mostly because I like the woman playing the main character (a large black woman who thinks she’s too big to be the star), but it also has some others like Piper Perabo who I like. I am not a giant fan of Scott Foley, and as they up the angst factor, everything I hate about reality shows is likely to turn me off. Teri Polo plays a housewife who drinks too much and has no support from her family for her interest in being part of the show, and well, that’s the cringe factor for me. So yes to Ep 1, but I’m predicting no renewal if only as there is no place for it to go without dumping all the characters you love and recasting next year. I know, I know, it doesn’t stop reality shows from thriving. But I’m still saying 1 season and done.
Ordinary Joe on NBC has a This Is Us feel to it, crossed with the movie Sliding Doors. The basic premise is a guy named Joe who has to make a choice the night of his graduation as to what he’s going to do next and he has three choices in front of him…ask out a pretty girl he just met, go with his best gal pal to the beach as she has something important to tell him, or go for dinner with his parents and family. The story then branches and shows what would happen if he picks each of the three choices, with some of the characters and events crossing back and forth between the storylines. The story lives and dies by the main character, played by James Wolk, and he has an awesome presence. I’ll give it a go and I predict renewal.
The Wonder Years is back on ABC, and exciting news, he’s black! It likely makes no difference to the relatively vanilla storylines, but only time will tell. I see nothing compelling in the promo, the trailer or the cast. Pass and I predict non-renewal after the season.
The Foundation starts on Apple TV+, a sci-fi series ruled by a clone not happy about a mathematician predicting darker times ahead. I am in like Flynn, and if it was on regular TV, I’d say cancellation; on Apple, I’m predicting renewal to Season 2.
BMF stands for Black Mafia Family on Starz, and I ain’t even going to dignify it with a comment. Pass.
La Brea on NBC premieres next week, and I would love to make fun of it. I mean, after all, there’s a lot of material to work with…a tar pit that collapses into a sink hole in LA? That transports people into another dimension? Really? I have to say cancellation on that basis alone. It isn’t LOST, and it ain’t even Manifest. But here’s the thing. The main star is Natalie Zea. OMG. I loved her on Justified, she is just knock down gorgeous to watch doing anything. On Unicorn, he was getting a girlfriend, and I thought, “meh”, until I saw it was her. Then I was like, “Yes! She has presence!”. The fact that I loved her all the way back to Dirty Sexy Money is not relevant to the conversation, is it? Okay, maybe it is, but I’m also excited to see Eoin Macken who I used to really enjoy on Merlin (oddly, I just binged it again recently). I expect cancellation, but I’ll be watching anyway.
Maid is coming to Netflix, and maybe it needs a cleaning, but a mother/daughter fix that includes real-life mother/daughter actresses is not on my list. Throw in Andie MacDowell, and I’m looking for an exit. And yet the trailer focuses on the daughter, Margaret Qualley, and she has serious presence. If she ever shows up in something that is not so depressing (homeless single mother focusing on what to do now with no support system), I might watch. Pass.
CSI: Vegas is back on CBS and it’s easy to predict renewal and I won’t be watching. I don’t mind the show, but it’s not compelling to watch except in binge mode.
Ghosts on CBS is a comedy and I am brutal on comedies. Very rarely do I see one land that I want to watch. Rose McIver is the wife and Utkarsh Ambudkar is the husband who inherit a haunted house. Let the laughter ensue? Umm, I don’t know either one well enough to judge. Let’s cue the video tape trailer! Ohhhhh, it’s Beetlejuice. Well, there are worse premises. Rebecca Winsocky plays one of the ghosts, and I liked her in Picard, Bull, SWAT, and Castle, but she was more fun on The Mentalist. There’s a large cast of other ghosts, and presumably room for guest stars too, but hard to tell which ones will be relevant from week to week. Oh, did I mention that the wife can see them after she hits her head? Riiight. So there’s that. I’ll give it a go. But I’m expecting the show won’t get renewed, alas.
Dopesick on Hulu traces the history of Oxycontin. Yawn. Pass.
Queens on ABC is a musical drama about four has-been singers reuniting to get the band back together. Yawn. Pass, predict cancellation.
Invasion on Apple TV is about an alien invasion, but seems like it is more about how one woman copes, trying to keep her two kids and herself safe, since the father is useless. But I can’t be sure as the description going around looks like “family-during-crisis” while the trailer looks like “monsters-are-here”. Pass, predict cancellation.
Colin in Black and White on Netflix about Colin Kaepernick becoming an activist. Yawn. Pass.
Dexter: New Blood is back on Showtime and I’m going to predict renewal. But I haven’t binged all of the original, nor finished all of the books, so I’ll wait.
Best Shape of My Life on YouTube about Will Smith getting into shape. I love WS in shows, not so crazy about him in real life. I feel like he’s always “on”, i.e., “Will Smith playing Will Smith”. Pass.
Ragdoll on AMC has a detective trying to catch a serial killer who is sewing victims into one large doll. Yuck. Pass.
The Shrink Next Door on Apple TV deals with a patient who gives control of his life and bank account over to his shrink. A dark comedy, maybe; watchable? I don’t think so. Pass, and predict cancellation.
Yellowjackets on Showtime has a past-is-creepy feel to it. Four women on a soccer team as teens survived a plane crash and have to reconnect later in life as things start to get creepy. I don’t know HOW creepy, so not sure if I’ll watch it or not. Or if it’s worth renewing. But it has Christina Ricci which isn’t favorable for me; Melanie Lynskey who I haven’t seen in anything since 2007’s Drive with Nathan Fillion; Juliette Lewis who I haven’t seen since From Dusk Til Dawn; and Tawny Cypress who I have seen in tons of stuff (Heroes, Blue Bloods, Unforgettable, Supergirl, Blacklist and Bull) but have little sense if her inclusion is good or not. My impression was always “functional”. The trailer has a strong “what really happened” vibe, and I’ll give it a go. But I am going to predict cancellation.
Mayor of Kingstown on Paramount is about a powerful family in Michigan in the law business, and where right and wrong are not so important as power. I’ll give an episode a try, as it has Jeremy Renner and Kyle Chandler. I’m not thrilled however about Dianne West as her voice and delivery have become pretty grating over the years. I’ll predict renewal based on the trailer.
Hit Monkey on Hulu is an animated story about a macaque who helps a wounded assassin but is unable to save him. So he takes over the assassin’s revenge plot. WTH? Pass.
Cowboy Bebop might be a cult classic in anime for space bounty-hunters, but a live-action version? Again, WTH? It’s high-budget and on Netflix, so who knows. I’ll take a crack at Ep 1 and I’ll suggest renewal to S2.
The Wheel of Time is coming to Amazon, and I am in like Flynn for every last episode. Bring it on. I’ll even predict renewal.
Hawkeye on Disney is another Marvel outing, and I’ll be in for that too. The addition of an extra Hawkeye to train will be fun. I’ll predict renewal for it, given it’s built-in audience.
True Story on Netflix stars Kevin Hart playing a pseudo-character like himself, and well, pass.
The Witcher is back on Netflix and just in time for the Christmas season. Can’t wait.