Spring TV Roundup, Week 6

Spring is going along strong, and the influx of new shows continues. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series of the Spring. Don't see a new show below, check previous weeks.

Tuesday Nights:
You Me Her, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the Audience Network (Premiered March 22)
About: This new comedy, a co-production with Canada, is about a married couple (Greg Poehler and Rachel Blanchard) who are looking to spice things up by including an escort (Priscilla Faia) in their relationship. What could possibly go wrong? This is meant to be an edgy sort of comedy. I didn't think either episode was really funny, and it's not really edgy. Creepy? Yes. Entertaining? Well, not really. I think Audience is trying to add value for DirecTV customers. It's also trying to do something different. Those are laudable goals. But this show isn't that different or special, and doesn't really seem compelling enough to make anyone come back week after week.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Almost There, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on the Audience Network (Premiered March 22)
About: This is the other new "comedy" on the Audience Network. In comparison, this makes "You Me Her" look like an award-winning half hour. This show is dry, boring, poorly constructed, and unmemorable. In fact, I can't really even tell you what the show is about after two episodes — or as I like to call is an hour of my life I'll never get back. Do yourself a favor and skip this turkey.
Pilot Grade: F
Second Episode: F

Wednesday Nights:
Lopez, Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on TV Land (Premiered March 30
About: This sitcom stars George Lopez and is loosely based on his life. He's playing a version of himself and making observations about life, comedy, and race relations. TV Land has made this kind of show work before. I really enjoyed "The Jim Gaffigan Show," which followed a similar template. But perhaps it's a matter of personal preference and taste. I thought "Lopez" was dull, boring, and full of cliches. Maybe it will get better, but I somehow doubt it.
Pilot Grade: C-

Thursday Nights:
The Catch, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC (Premiered March 24)
About: This is the latest series from the Shondaland Empire. Some of the luster has come off the lineup since "Grey's Anatomy" is getting old, "Scandal" is getting ridiculous, and "How to Get Away With Murder" is getting too far-fetched to keep watching. So "The Catch" comes as a pleasant surprise. Not in terms of ratings — as it's been a chasm for ABC, which is a shame. But in terms of story and quality. I like Mirelle Enos and Peter Krause in the lead roles. I like the style of the show. I like the performances. I like the characters. But most importantly, I liked the story. The pilot was catchy and pulled me in. The second episode moved to a case-of-the-week formula, which is to be expected, while keeping the bigger arcs in play. I thought it worked, and I could see it being a fun addition to Thursday nights. Too bad the ratings suggest it won't get a lengthy stay.
Pilot Grade: B-
second Episode: B-

Rush Hour, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS (Premiered March 31)
About: This series, based on the characters and movie franchise that spawned three films starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. That movie franchise worked because of its stars, not because of the characters and story. Chan and Tucker had unique personalities and screen presence, and they lent that to the films. That's why people came back, but even by the third one it was getting old. Now why CBS thought that taking the characters and story alone would make a hit TV show is a question that we may never get answered. But the answer as to whether those elements with different actors would work was answered Thursday. And the answer is no. The lead performers appeared to be doing impressions of Chan and Tucker, slogging their way through a trite pilot story that was a lot of set up. The episode was dry and not at all compelling. In fact, I bet the only reason as many viewers as did tuned in is due to the name "Rush Hour." This is not shaping up to be a good series, but perhaps the second episode will improve if they can establish something unique. I don't remain hopeful, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. For now, this is a miss.
Pilot Grade: C-

Friday Nights:
Wynona Earp, Fridays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered April 1)
About: This is the latest series from SyFy, based on a comic book about a descendent of Wyatt Earp — Wynona — who is stuck in the town of purgatory killing the demons spawned from the criminals Wyatt killed. And she needs Wyatt's special gun, The Peacemaker, to make it happen. The pilot was a little catchy and worked to some degree. I never read the comic book, and I'm not sold on the premise, but this was a small cut above the recent SyFy original series. There's some potential here for fans and those who enjoy a mash up of sci-fi and westerns.
Pilot Grade: C

Streaming Series:
The Path, now streaming on Hulu (Premiered March 30
About: This is the latest series from Hulu which dropped its first two episodes on Wednesday, and will drop new episodes every Wednesday for the next eight weeks. It's about people in a very Scientology-like cult called Myerism. Hugh Dancy plays the leader of the group, while Michelle Monaghan and Aaron Paul star as a couple deep in the life. Monaghan plays a woman who grew up in Myerism and is now wedded to that life of belief. Paul is her husband, a man who came to the faith after tragedy and is now having his doubts. Watching the first two episodes it was clear that this is meant to be a shot at Scientology. Having seen "Going Clear," the great documentary about Scientology, I recognized a lot of what has been said about the flaws in that religion. But to have a series work, you need something beyond that fascination as a hook. That's where "The Path" fell short for me. I like the three main stars, and I thought they gave decent performances, but I didn't get sucked into the story. I couldn't find something compelling to keep me coming back, and that's a problem. This is a novel idea, but it's not executed well. "The Path" had the potential to be great, but instead it's just OK. And given the amount of series and the difficulty in carving out a niche audience, OK just doesn't cut it.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

The Ranch, now streaming on Netflix (Premiered April 1)
About: This is the other new streaming series that premiered last week. All 10 episodes of the first season of "The Ranch" are now streaming. The half hour comedy stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson and Sam Elliott as a father and his two sons trying to keep a ranch alive in a small Colorado town. Kutcher stars as a former professional football player who comes home after his career flames out and tries to re-connect with his brother and father. There are a few laughs, and I like the actors — Debra Winger plays Kutcher's mother and Elliot's ex-wife who owns a bar and lives in a trailer in town. This is more of a traditional sitcom, which gives Netflix more in its stable of original programming. If you're a fan of this type of comedy, or of the actors, this might be a compelling series. But I was largely bored by the first two episodes and have no intention of going back for more. Netflix continues to churn out a large volume of original series, trying to offer something for everyone. It's a good strategy, I just wish some of their offerings were better. "The Ranch" has potential, but it's largely unrealized.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C


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