Pilot Light

I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with the fall television schedule so far, and in another bit of happy news, culling the obviously weak cows from the herd is comparatively easy this year. As I suspected, it's shaping up to be an overall weak season for new shows. Some of the ones I was curious enough to check out were drearily unappealing, and some have such terrible ratings that the characters may as well have "Dead Meat" branded on their foreheads.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This...may be my favorite new show of the season. I'm as surprised as you are! The true test of any comedy is if it makes me laugh out loud, and in two episodes, this show has already accomplished that many times over. Andre Braugher's gravitas is the perfect foil for the workplace wackiness, and all of the secondary characters are already settling into their roles nicely. If the show continues to focus on the ensemble as a whole and doesn't get too Samberg-centric, I'm definitely on board.

Pilot: B+
Will I Be Watching Again? Oh, yeah.

Sleepy Hollow

I've largely been in agreement with most of the online chatter about the shows I've watched so far this year, but here's one where I break from the masses. Everyone seems to be really digging the insane plotlines this show delves into, but it just didn't appeal to me. I appreciate the experiment; it's certainly a new premise, which is a refreshing change from the glut of rehashed bullshit like "We're dudes who can't relate to women, but have to live with our parents! Wacky!" So I'm genuinely glad this show has found a following. I'm just not in it.

Pilot: C
Will I Be Watching Again? I may check in with it again someday if it gets a full season, but I'm letting it drop off the radar for now.


I knew going in that this one would be a challenge. A Chuck Lorre CBS sitcom already has two strikes with me when it steps up to the plate. I do tend to enjoy the two main actresses in it, though, so I was determined to give it a fair shake. Imagine my surprise when the pilot was... Well, not good. Not even very amusing. But decidedly not as terrible as I feared. To continue with my baseball analogy, it hit a foul ball, which bought it enough time to take another swing. So I watched the second episode, which was exactly as terrible as I originally feared. Swing and a miss.

Pilot: C-
Will I Be Watching Again? Hell, no.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I will often give leniency to pilots that have to stuff a lot of exposition or mythology into a relatively short amount of time, so while this show didn't blow my mind as much as I was hoping it would, it was definitely entertaining enough to continue with for the time being. A couple of characters could use some tweaking, but the basics are solid, and the dialogue was typically well-written and well-paced for a Whedon show. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Pilot: B
Will I Be Watching Again? Yup.

Trophy Wife

Sure, the title is terrible. But so is Better Off Ted, and that show was terrific! I only watched this because I read some pretty glowing reviews of it, and hey, I liked it quite a bit. Its pilot wasn't laugh-a-minute like Brooklyn Nine-Nine was, but it was pretty clever, all things considered. I'm sticking with my original pronouncement - give it three episodes to draw me in, and then reassess.

Pilot: B
Will I Be Watching Again? Yes, for now.

The Crazy Ones

This is the most confusing show of the season, and the pilot resolved nothing for me. Parts of it are hackneyed and dumb. Parts of it show real glimmers of promise. None of the main cast seems like they belong in the same show together, but the pilot certainly held my interest for the full running time, which a few of these other shows couldn't manage. I can't say it was good, and I can't freely recommend it to others, but something about it still fascinates me.

Pilot: C
Will I Be Watching Again? I'll give it one more episode to see if I can figure out what the holy hell is going on.

The Michael J. Fox Show

It's hard to describe what seeing the strings of a show feels like. If the actors aren't natural enough or the plots are too contrived, the fact that you're spending time in a fictional universe becomes overly obvious, and it takes you completely out of the experience. I'm afraid that this is exactly what this show feels like. No matter my warm feelings for Michael J. Fox (or Katie Finneran, who plays the wacky aunt), this was a really stilted pilot, and the second episode was no better. In fact, it was worse. I don't want to give the impression that it's bad television, because it's not. It's just crafted weirdly, and I found it actively unsettling. Oh, and the kids are awful.

Pilot: C+
Will I Be Watching Again? I feel bad for saying it, but no.

Lucky 7

ABC Executive: "So, the premise of this show is really good. I have an idea. Let's cast it with a bunch of hammy actors who chew the scenery to shreds, and make sure to toss in unrelated plot contrivances to make this as unappealing and needlessly complex as possible. Great. Time for lunch!" What a disappointment. This show had such promise - there are a million interesting stories that could be told about the unexpected pitfalls of instantaneous wealth. But instead of exploring any of those, this show opened with bungled robberies and squabbling in-laws. And maybe they could make the excuse that they're just laying groundwork, but that doesn't mean the groundwork has to be so relentlessly obnoxious.

Pilot: D+
Will I Be Watching Again? Ha, ha! Good one. Even if I wanted to, the ratings are so abysmal that it's actually in the running to be canceled before any of the more obvious targets, like We Are Men.

Other Castoffs

The TV preview posts suggested I was considering catching the pilots of Hostages, The Millers, and Super Fun Night to see how they went. Since then, I've read enough about all three to pretty much dismiss them out of hand. I may take a peek at Super Fun Night out of morbid curiosity, but as far as the rest of the Fall 2013 Season goes, it's looking more and more like there's not an awful lot of wheat in this chaff.


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