Fall TV Roundup, Week Seven


October is nearly over, and so is the phased roll out of new network shows this fall. But the new shows keep on coming. So far, the diamonds are hard to find in the rough.

Monday Nights:
Man With A Plan, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 24)
About: This is the latest CBS sitcom, this one starring Matt LeBlanc as a family man suddenly thrust into the spotlight at home. If that sounds familiar, it's eerily similar to "Kevin Can Wait," CBS' other new Monday sitcom. The main difference is LeBlanc is father to three younger kids, he's a contractor, and he's got to play Mr. Mom when his wife goes back to work. The Kevin James starer is about a retired cop trying to fill his days and re-engage in family. But both rely on a similar formula, and make sense being paired together on Monday nights. This is the kind of counter programming that can compete with football. That being said, I had a tepid response to the pilot for "Man With a Plan." I'm not sure it makes the best use of LeBlanc's skills. In fact, it seems like the kind of forced, traditional sitcom he would have chosen as his character in "Episodes." It will probably do OK for CBS (the premier drew a 1.6) but it's not a compelling watch.
Pilot Grade: C+

Tuesday Nights:
American Housewife, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC (Premiered October 11)
About: This series, starring Katy Mixon, focuses on the trials of a housewife in Bridgeport, Connecticut, who doesn't fit the mold. She's not conservative or wealthy, and she's not a size two. And that's about the extent of the focus of the plot here. And she's on a mission to keep her kids from turning into yuppies and fitting in too much, as if that's a real thing. Anyway, this is the kind of sitcom that ABC has latched onto as a brand. The show's pace and jokes fit with the rest of the lineup, and so it's probably a good choice by them. I don't find the brand appealing, and I found the show plodding and, at times, grating. Especially in the second episode.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Channel Zero: Candle Cove, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered October 11)
About: This horror anthology series takes on Internet urban legends. This first series focuses on a mysterious TV show that may or may not be linked to the disappearance of children in the 1980s. Now in the present, the twin brother of a boy that went missing returns to his home town just in time for the show to re-emerge and the weird doings to begin again. There's a lot to like in the premise, and in the format of a horror anthology show that appears in October. But the first two episodes were weird, and not in a good way. And they were also boring. For hardcore fans of the genre, maybe this is something you want to watch. Otherwise, there are better options.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Thursday Nights:
Falling Water, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA (Premiered October 13)
About: This latest USA series is a cerebral mystery about a group of disperate people who are connected by their ability to latch on to others through dreams. I thought the pilot was strange and confusing. The second episode moved forward at a more followable pace, but it was no more engaging. This is a lofty premise and an attempt by USA to stretch itself in terms of what you expect from the network when it comes to programming. That's laudable. The show isn't particularly watchable.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

Saturday Nights:
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America (Premiered October 22)
About: Strange title. Strange show. This latest dramedy from BBC America is based on the series of Douglas Adams novels, and it boasts a solid cast. The lead is Samuel Barnett, as Dirk Gently, who's a Holistic Detective. What's that, you ask? Not sure, and the description in the pilot didn't clear that up. But soon he recruits a guy (Elijah Wood) as a partner and starts to explore some strange deaths. A bunch of stuff happens, some of it is weird and some is funny. It kind of works, but it left me kind of confused. I'm sure reading the book would have helped. But this is a show aimed at a certain kind of sense of humor, which might not be mine. Still, it was intriguing. I'm curious to see where it goes.
Pilot Grade: C

Sunday Nights:
Eyewitness, Sundays at 10 p.m. on USA (Premiered October 16)
About: This latest series is a murder mystery of sorts. A pair of teens on a secret romantic tryst witnessed a multiple murder and decide to keep it to themselves. One boy's foster mother, the Sheriff (Julianne Nicholson), knows there's something afoot here, and she's trying to put the clues together. Will it happen before more people, including her foster son, die? That's the question. This show moves at a glacial pace and, honestly, after two episodes I'm not totally sure where it's going. I am totally sure I don't care, and that's a problem. Again, USA is trying to re-make its brand, which is laudable, but the quality of these shows doesn't stack up to other premium cable competition.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

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