Spring TV Roundup, Week 7

We're in the midst of Spring, and like flowers new shows continue to bloom — or at least appear. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Spring. Don't see a new show listed below, check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
The Detour, Mondays at 9 p.m. on TBS (Premiered April 11)
About: This is the latest comedy series from TBS, starring Jason Jones and Natalie Zea as parents on a road trip that presents a few challenges. The series has drawn comparisons to the "Vacation" series, and for good reason. Jones and Zea are hilarious and strong in the lead roles and the first two episodes — which both aired Monday — set a pretty strong template for the show. There were gross out gags, funny sight gags, and a lot of other interesting aspects. Jones, who is a writer/producer for the show, is great in the lead role. The kids in the series — Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll — are great, too, and really help drive the show. Comedy can be difficult, and it hasn't been a great year for new comedy series. I'm not sure if the road trip conceit can work long term, but I loved the first two episodes that were shown and I can't wait to see where this series goes from here.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B

Hunters, Mondays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered April 11)
About: This latest series from SyFy is based on the novel from Whitley Streiber. It's is called "Alien Hunters." That was my first clue that this show was about aliens, and it came from looking up the novel after I watched the pilot. That's a bad sign. Also bad was everything about the production of this series. It's a dry, confusing watch. There is little done to explain or explore the characters. Most of the time I wasn't even really sure what's going on. This feels like a pretty big swing and miss for the SyFy network.
Pilot Grade: D

Wednesday Nights:
Lopez, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on TVLand (Premiered March 30)
About: This comedy from TVLand stars George Lopez as a version of himself. It surrounds his day-to-day struggles as a father, comedian, and man looking to date. It's got a lot of observations about Latinos and Latino culture, which is something you'd expect had you seen Lopez' previous stand up work, etc. If you're a fan of Lopez' comedy, you'll probably enjoy the show. If not, it's not overly compelling.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Thursday Nights:
Rush Hour, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS (Premiered March 31)
About: This new drama from CBS is a stretch. Obviously it's based on the film series, has the same character names and basic set up. But it lacks the personality that made those movies work. The "Rush Hour" films didn't succeed because of their plot, they succeeded because of the screen presence of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. This show feels like a bland procedural with recycled characters and plot. Not sure what CBS was hoping for here, but hard to see how this series achieves it.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C-

Friday Nights:
Wynona Earp, Fridays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered April 1)
About: This SyFy series is based on a comic book and centers on the descendent of Wyatt Earp who is trying to use his old gun to defeat demons in the small town of Purgatory. The show has a decent cast and a decent feel. I'm not familiar with the comic, but this show might appeal more to fans of the source material. For me, it feels like the kind of light entertainment for Friday nights, but it's not overly compelling. The first two episodes were OK, but not great. That might not be enough to carve out a decent audience during a low viewership evening.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C-

Sunday Nights:
Dice, Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime (Premiered April 10)
About: This is the latest comedy from Showtime, which debuted with "House of Lies" on Sunday night. To me, Showtime has lost some serious ground in the pay cable wars with its show development. "Homeland" has fallen off, "Masters of Sex" failed to take off, and "Dexter" is gone. "Dice" isn't likely to really help fill that void. It stars Andrew Dice Clay as a loosely based version of himself. He's carousing in Vegas, trying to find work, and gambling what little money he has. Kevin Corrigan and Natasha Leggero star as his friend and girlfriend, respectively, to round out the ensemble. There are probably some people that will love this show, but I'm not one of them. It felt like a waste of time for me, which isn't a good sign for Showtime going up against Netflix originals as well as the big Spring lineups for Starz and HBO.
Pilot Grade: D


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