Fall TV Roundup, Week 11


We have plenty of new shows still flowing, which means plenty of new options to consider. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this fall. Don't see a new show below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Mars, Mondays at 9 p.m. on National Geographic Channel (Premiered November 14)
About: This is one of the most inventive shows of the year. It's a mixture of live action and documentary. Part of it focuses on a fictional 2033, where we are watching the first manned mission to Mars. And part of it takes place in 2016, where interviews with real scientists on the cutting edge of space exploration talk about the race to get to Mars and what it would take to set up a human colony. It's a creative idea and fascinating at times, but also a little dry. This might be a show more aimed at those interested in space exploration.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B-

Search Party, Mondays at 11 p.m. on TBS (Premiered November 21)
About: This latest sitcom from TBS centers on five 20-somethings who are a little shallow until they start to search for their missing friend. Then they're still a little shallow (OK, a lot shallow) but they have a cause. It would enjoy this more if it was actually interesting or funny. There are a couple amusing moments, but it's mostly incredibly inane. All the episodes are available online, so there's that. The first two aired on Monday night for TBS as well. Episodes will air weekly, but if you're drawn to it you can watch the whole season right now.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

Tuesday Nights:
Good Behavior, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on TNT (Premiered November 15)
About: This is the latest series from TNT based on a Blake Crouch novel about a con woman trying to get her life and her son back when she gets mixed up with a hitman. This is the first post-"Downton Abbey" series for Michelle Dockery, who is fantastic in this role. This is a different kind of show, and it's probably not for everyone. It also feels like a different kind of show for TNT. I thought the pilot was fascinating and the second episode — which aired as part of the premier — was a little slower, but I like where this show is going.
Pilot Grade: B+
Second Episode: B

Shooter, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on USA (Premiered November 15)
About: This latest series from USA is based on the Mark Wahlberg movie. Ryan Phillippe stars in the lead role as a former decorated sniper who's recruited by his former commander to help determine where an assassin is likely to strike against the President. Instead, he gets framed for the crime. This series has a good cast and a good premise — one that lends itself to being stretched out over a cable series length. I liked the cast, and though the pilot was a little slow, I can see the potential here. USA has been working to re-make its brand the past few years, and this could be a hit for the cable network.
Pilot Grade: B-

Sweet/Vicious, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV (Premiered November 15)
About: This series from MTV is something a little different. It tackles a very important topic — sexual assault on college campuses — but does so in a different kind of way, with a pair of girls teaming up to seek revenge on the attackers. The story also involves other elements, but that's the basic premise. I thought the pilot was uneven and a little weird. That being said, it's an interesting topic, and one that's relevant to the typical MTV audience.
Pilot Grade: C

Wednesday Nights:
Ice, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Audience Network (Premiered November 16)
About: This latest series from the Audience Network, which is wholly owned by DirecT/AT&T, is about diamond dealers drawn into shady dealings. It's meant to be the kind of tough drama that will help the network compete with bigger cable networks. But it's just not very good. I liked the cast, but the pilot was a violent chore to watch. Perhaps it gets better, but at this point it feels like a miss.
Pilot Grade: C-

Undercover, limited series for BBC America (Premiered November 16)
About: This limited series from BBC America is about a lawyer who is trying to get a client free from death row in America while looking to solve the case of a 20-year-old murder back home in America. And her husband isn't who he claims to be. The entire six-episode series aired over two nights last week and was a fascinating watch. The pilot and second episode help frame the story and draw you into the world. It's worth looking up and is a quick watch for those that enjoy these type of stories.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B

Nightcap, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on POP (Premiered November 16)
About: This latest comedy for POP Network is about the crew of a late night talk show and the happenings before shows. It features celebrity guests — including Kelly Ripa and Gwyneth Paltrow in the first two episodes — and is meant to be a raucous good time. I watched the first two episodes, that aired back-to-back on the night of its premier. I thought the episodes were dry and largely unfunny. They spent more time on the celebrity cameos that developing any kind of interesting characters or story.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

Streaming Series:
The Grand Tour, Fridays on Amazon Prime (Debuted November 18)
About: Do you miss "Top Gear?" I mean "Top Gear" as it was meant to be, not as it is right now? Then "The Grand Tour" is for you. It reunites Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the former hosts of "Top Gear," in a new weekly series for Amazon. It feels very much like their previous show, though the premier made it clear they are still finding their way a bit in terms of format. But if you were a fan of "Top Gear," this is not to be missed.
Pilot Grade: B

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