Winter TV Roundup, Week 8


In these weekly posts I look at the new scripted series of the winter. Each week I review the pilot and second episode. Don't see a new show below? Check previous weeks.

Sunday Nights:
Vinyl, Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO (Premiered February 14)
About: This is the latest from HBO, and it's a series that got a second season pick up after the first episode. That would seem like a mark of success, but "Vinyl" actually scored one of the worst premier ratings HBO has had. So why the pick up? The series comes from the team behind "Boardwalk Empire" and Mick Jagger, and it's a great hope for HBO that it will find an audience. Will it? I somehow doubt it. It tackles the 1970s music world, which might be a tough sell. Add to that the fact that the first episode was two hours and confusing, and the second episode wasn't much better, and you have a limp drama. I thought the performances were mediocre and I still have no idea what I'm supposed to take away from this series. This feels like a flop, and I wouldn't be surprised if HBO changes its mind following the season. This feels like a high profile swing and miss, something that's becoming a problem for HBO.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Streaming Series:
11/22/63, new episodes stream Mondays on Hulu (Premiered February 15)
About: This series is based on the book from Stephen King. It's a streaming series, but it comes in weekly installments. I thought the pilot did a nice job of establishing the characters and the world. A teacher from the present travels through a portal to 1960 where he's been asked to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. James Franco takes the lead role in this limited series, and I thought he did a decent job with the pilot. The second episode takes on a more personal story. It was good, and interesting, but felt like it took a step away from the focus of the series laid out in the pilot. Still, I like the production and the feel of this show. The episodes have been well-paced and I'm drawn to see where this is all going.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B-

Love, now streaming on Netflix (Premiered February 19)
About: This is the latest series from Judd Apatow. It's a comedy, of sorts, about a pair of Los Angeles residents (Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust) looking for love. As the pilot begins, the two are in relationships that don't work. Throughout the first 40 minutes those relationships fall apart and, finally, the two meet. The second episode picks up right there and explores their getting to know each other during a wild and crazy day. I thought the first episode was awful, verging on unwatchable. Then the second episode was actually somewhat interesting. Based on that, I don't know what to make of the series. I don't see it being great, but it could be interesting. It's just curious the difference between the first two episodes.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: C

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