Summer TV Roundup, Week 1

Summer officially begins in June, but the Summer TV slate began last weekend. In these weekly posts I will look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Happy watching during these dog days before the NFL returns.

Sunday Nights:
Preacher, Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC (Premiered May 22)
About: "Preacher," which is based on a comic book series of the same name, is the latest drama to premier on AMC. It's the network's latest and best hope to find ratings outside of "The Walking Dead." The premier launched after the summer finale of "Fear The Walking Dead." It will re-air next Sunday before the series resumes its first season on Sunday, June 5. It is getting the full treatment, too, with "Talking Preacher" going after the re-air of the premier and the finale later this summer. All of that sets up this to be a great series. The pilot — which is 90 minutes — has it's moments, but it is far from great. Part of it is because the concept and plot are hard to explain. I, personally, was confused by almost everything I saw in the pilot and had to turn to the Internet for a synopsis of the source material. Fans of the source material love the adaptation — which is being done, in part, by fans Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. There was some action and humor in the pilot, and I could see this developing into something. But I thought the pilot presentation was flawed — especially in its lack of explanation of characters and world. Not everyone patiently reads a synopsis on the Internet after to understand what they saw. Let's hope the series picks up a bit when a new episode airs on June 5.
Pilot Grade: C-

Streaming Series:
Lady Dynamite, Now streaming on Netflix (Premiered May 20)
About: This is the latest comedy for Netflix. It stars comedian Maria Bamford as a loosely fictionalized version of herself. It's also from producer Mitchell Hurwitz, who gave the world "Arrested Development." I was hoping for some nice comedy. Instead, what I got in the two episodes I watched was something weird and oddly uninteresting. Despite some good comedians in the project, there was no story to latch onto here and nothing I found interesting. I don't know what they were going for, but it didn't work for me.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Doctor Thorne, Now streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered May 20
About: Are you sad about the end of "Downton Abbey?" Don't despair, Julian Fellows has you covered with his new series premiering on Amazon Prime, "Doctor Thorne." The series dropped its four episode first season on Friday, complete with introductions and wrap ups on camera from Fellows, who explains his love for the story and it's author, novelist Anthony Trollope. I watched just the first episode so far, but it definitely has the writing style and love for the period — and British society — that you've come to love from Fellows' writing. The piece is set in England in the 1850s and centers on love, class warfare, and the intersection of the two. It's not "Downton Abbey," but it might fill some of the hole in your heart.
Pilot Grade: B-


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