Even though on-demand options and streaming services have rendered the premiere dates of TV shows irrelevant, New Fall TV Season is still a thing. While 2016 has not been a great year for movies thus far, TV is having a banner year. With dozens of brand new series hitting the airwaves over the next few weeks, CTBoom has you covered with previews of the shows you should keep your eyes peeled for both to binge and to avoid.
Not every show can be a shining beacon of what TV is and can become, and this is the collection of shows that perfectly illustrate that. It’s time we ask, Who Is Responsible For This?
Bull (CBS, Premieres Sept. 20, 2016)
To paraphrase TV & Pop Culture writer/podcaster Andy Greenwald, there is an alternate universe in which Michael Weatherly is the most famous man on the planet. Based on the trailers, commercials, and promotional push for the new CBS procedural Bull, he might be. Based on the amount of attention this show is getting, the alternate universe isn’t the one where Weatherly is famous, it’s the one I live in where he isn’t. If I’m going by the promotional campaign alone, Weatherly isn’t just famous – he is like ‘97 Stone Cold Steve Austin. Even if you have no idea who he is or what he could be famous for, you just know he is a big deal.
Turns out, Weatherly has starred on NCIS for 13 seasons. That makes NCIS one of the longest running, most successful shows of all time. It has produced two spin-off series, and exhibits absolutely no sign of slowing down. So yeah – the world in which I live, where Michael Weatherly isn’t a mega-viable TV star, IS the bizarro universe.
Setting my Weatherly apologist hat aside, his new show looks bad. “Bull is Bulls–t,” is what the New York Post headline in my brain would read. Somehow based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Bull uses his gut instincts and futuristic algorithms built into a command center that looks like it could land a man on Mars to select jury panels in high profile cases. In any sort of courtroom drama, the role the jury plays is incredibly important and the selection of that jury is a pivotal part of both the story and actually watching the show. The episode of The People vs. OJ Simpson that focused on the jury selection process was the standout of the entire mini-series. Bull somehow has taken that nuance and mashed it into an excel spreadsheet that will spit out convenient truth-lettes and factoids about how to influence and manipulate 12 new jurors every week. Less the slightly interesting hook (which is way more fun to watch when the star is an eccentric Sherlock Holmes-esque quirk noticer – like either The Mentalist, Sherlock, or Elementary), this is just another procedural on CBS, and one you’ve seen a million times.
Doubt (CBS, Premieres 2016-17 Season)
The TV adaptation of the the Oscar Nominated film and Pulitzer Prize winning play, Doubt. Set in mid-1960s New York, Doubt is the story of allegations of abuse in a Catholic parish and how both the clergy and parishioners deal with the fallout. Just kidding – it’s another formulaic looking procedural starring Katherine Heigl.
“Sadie Ellis, a brilliant attorney at a boutique firm who starts to fall for her charismatic client, Billy Brennan, an altruistic pediatric surgeon recently accused of murdering his girlfriend 24 years ago. Sadie’s decision to become involved with her client could put her career, as well as her happiness, at risk if Billy is found guilty, which means she needs to work all the harder to prove reasonable doubt, even if she has some herself.”
So kinda like Scandal and kinda like How To Get Away With Murder, but not really. And it’s kind of an interesting premise, but seems like they should be able to wrap up this case in like one episode because it’s a CBS procedural and that’s what they do, but not really. And it has an all-star cast including Dule Hill, Laverne Cox, and Elliot Gould who should be enough to draw in an audience around Katherine Heigl, but not really.
Based on the description alone I’m nearly positive the love interest either did it or knows who did it. OF COURSE HE DID! Very few times is the handsome doctor on trial for murder not one of the bad guys. There’s no way a hot shot rebel attorney would fall for a normal person not guilty of murder because there is no conflict in normalcy. This is CBS, man. Most of the shows on CBS are paint-by-number because paint-by-number is bankable as hell. They’re #1 for a reason – the formula works. It just doesn’t always make for compelling TV.
Even if that winds up not being the case and Dr. McDreamy version 1,000,000 isn’t a murderer who has been walking free for 20 years, I’m convinced of the contrary and don’t feel the need to watch this show – I’ve been burned by this trope too many times. There is nothing worse for a TV watcher than watching a brand new show and feeling like it is something you’ve already seen.
The Great Indoors (CBS, Premieres Oct. 27)
Yeah, you tell ‘em Gen-Xer spouting proxy language approved by baby boomers! Millennials are the WORST! Joel McHale deserves better. McLovin deserves better. That bear cub in the trailer deserves better. You, the audience, deserve better.
I’m going to make sure I clear my schedule every week that The Great Indoors is on. I’m going to make myself a beautiful dinner, turn off my phone, and eliminate all distractions. I’m going to support the star of this show, Joel McHale, the best way I know how. I’m going to re-watch Community episode by episode and pretend like this show isn’t happening.
Maybe that’s a little too harsh. As a first gen-Millennial, I can tell this show isn’t for me. So whatever pre-teens or baby boomers are home watching this when it’s on – best of luck. I’ve seen shows like this before, and we’ll all see shows like this again. It just sucks that the main guy struggling to adapt to the peculiarities of a new generation is squarely in my age bracket.
It also looks like hot garbage. #SupportAnimal.
The Exorcist – the unnecessary basic cable reimagining of the scariest movie of all time. Not a limited series, so we can expect many more nightmarish attempts at getting this right. Spoiler Alert: This Will Not Translate To TV.
Training Day – No reason at all to call this Training Day. This could just be Cop Show and nothing about it would change.
This Is Us – NBC has somehow made safety cones and raw sugar sentient and now they have their own TV show called This Is Us.
Next week the Fall TV Preview concludes with the best category of them all… The X-Factors, but not X-Factor which was cancelled mercifully a few years ago.