The networks are banking on audiences tuning into their new Fall TV shows. For the most part, the freshman batch is impressive. There’s Hostages, The Blacklist, Trophy Wife, The Michael J. Fox Show and The Goldbergs, just to name a few that are definite much-watches. Then there are also some series whose promos are far better than the actual half-hour or hours themselves. I’m here to tell you about the five shows whose packaging is far prettier than what’s inside (a.k.a. don’t waste your time).
The Crazy Ones (Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and City)
The ads that boast about Robin Williams’ return to television and how the stars have aligned in the perfect cast are easy to buy into. But like Cher Horowitz from Clueless would say, “It’s a full-on Monet. From far away, it’s OK but up close, it’s a big old mess.” One would think Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Hamish Linklater and Amanda Setton would be a fabulous combination but it just doesn’t jibe. They’re all strong comedians, but completely different styles (Williams is manic; Gellar’s specialty is snark, as is Linklater’s; Setton pulls off sassy while Wolk is unproven in the funny department). The problem is, I didn’t laugh once. I know you probably won’t heed my warning and want to see it for yourself, and I get it. It’s Robin freakin’ Williams! But I promise, I won’t say “I told you so” when you’re watching it and shaking your head at how brutally unfunny it is.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. on City and Fox)
As far as I’m concerned, Andre Braugher can do no wrong. And he still doesn’t, really. He’s always the best thing about any series he takes part in and it’s no different here. But Braughter’s talents are wasted on this show (though, in the long run, he might help make it more well-rounded — eventually). Perhaps it’s because I’m only used to Andy Samberg in small doses, or I simply don’t get him, but I couldn’t be more annoyed. I don’t know if the average viewer will buy into the former SNL star’s ridiculously over-the-top behaviour but if he does learn to dial it down, Brooklyn Nine-Nine might have some hope. Granted, it’s tough to make a decent cop comedy (see: The Good Guys, which started hilariously but became the same thing, week after week), but the producers and writers need to decide whether it wants to be a slapstick laffer or one with some heart. It can’t be both.
Sean Saves the World (Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on Global and Thursday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC)
And here I thought Megan Mullally was the only Will & Grace star who couldn’t shed her former persona (honestly, could she be Karen Walker in everything she’s been in since the comedy went off the air in 2006?). Here, Sean Hayes is simply playing a slightly less flamboyant, slightly more mature Jack McFarland, and if that were the case here, say a W & G spinoff seven years later, it might have been OK. But on Sean, he only seems a lot less funny, and a lot more boring. It could be improved with the recasting of Megan Hilty, who showed great chemistry with Hayes when he guest-starred on Smash (though I do enjoy Lindsay Sloane), but I don’t think it’ll be enough to save this show.
Ironside (Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC and Global)
I realllllly wanted to like this one only because Blair Underwood is so great and I, unlike many, many others, love procedurals and can’t get enough of them. But, man alive, was it ever boring! The flashbacks were OK, the story itself wasn’t awful, and the premise seems intriguing enough. But it was Just. So. Slow. This is definitely a case where the previews are much more entertaining than the actual hour.
Mom (Monday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS and City)
Anna Faris and Allison Janney, two fabulous comedic actresses. Combine that with Chuck Lorre (whose brand of comedy, Big Bang Theory aside, I don’t particularly enjoy, but I get why and how he has a fan base) and it seems like a guaranteed success. Not so much. Mom is forced. Very forced via the dialogue, the delivery and the laugh track shoved down our throats. CBS pushed the wonderful Mike & Molly to midseason so it could launch Mom, but hopefully Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell will be back earlier than expected.
Next week, I’ll offer up the shows you shouldn’t miss this fall. Check back then!