Fall TV Roundup, Week Eight

We're finally to November, and the new shows just keep coming. A new wave of new network shows joined the fray last week. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Man With A Plan, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. (Premiered October 24)
About: Matt LeBlanc returned network TV, but with a show many wouldn't have expected. He plays a husband and father of three who picks up the slack at home while his wife returns to work. It's miles away from Joey, but it works for him. This show is logically paired with the similarly-themed sitcom from Kevin James on Monday nights, and it feels very on brand for CBS. That being said, I don't love the show. The characters are under developed, as are the jokes. And the show is very bland. It succeeds in being what it's trying to be, but what it's trying to do isn't for everyone. It's OK, but it's hardly compelling.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+

People of Earth, Mondays at 10 p.m. on TBS (Premiered October 31)
About: Many may remember Wyatt Cenac from his time on "The Daily Show" as a correspondent. He's back on TV, starring in this unique sitcom for TBS, which aired its first two episodes on Monday night. In it, Cenac plays a big time reporter who is suffering after effects from a car accident where he hit a deer. On his first assignment back, he's tasked with covering a group of Alien Encounter survivors. He quickly realizes he has more in common with those people than he realized, and it causes him to shake up his life. This is supposed to be funny, and it tries hard to be funny, but it just doesn't really get there for me. Both episodes had mildly amusing moments and characters, but overall were pretty blah. In a crowded market place, it's hard to see this latching on and finding an audience.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Thursday Nights:
The Great Indoors, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 27)
About: Joel McHale stars in this latest CBS sitcom about an outdoor reporter called back to the office to supervise an online version of the magazine run by a group of 20-somethings who know all about Social Media but nothing about living life. Hilarity ensues... except it doesn't. This was beyond plodding and quite painful to watch. This felt like a hot mess that probably fails to appeal to the younger demographic for which they're likely aiming. It feels like your parents trying to understand the Internet, and that's not a good thing.
Pilot Grade: C-

Pure Genius, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 27)
About: This new drama from CBS is about a tech billionaire who creates a brand new kind of hospital to bring cutting edge medicine and technology together, providing it for the masses. I wasn't wild about the premise here, but there was something about the pilot that hooked me. The hospital and set up seem kind of fake, but there's a little heart with the characters that was appealing. Can that last? Can this work as a series? I'm not sure. But from a pilot standpoint, I enjoyed "Pure Genius." The question is where it goes from here.
Pilot Grade: B

Saturday Nights:
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America (Premiered October 22)
About: This series is based on a novel from Douglas Adams, and it's beyond strange. It sort of defies description in terms of plot. It has a good cast and an interesting set of performances. But I didn't connect with the story, and that's a problem. This is a series that will likely appeal to some who are fans of the book, or this style of humor, but it didn't work for me.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Streaming Series:
Good Girls Revolt, Now Streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered October 28)
About: This series from Amazon was one of their pilot presentations. When I first saw the pilot a few months ago, I wasn't taken with it. I liked the actors, but I didn't enjoy the full presentation. It's set in 1969 New York and focuses on the women behind the men at a news magazine. It tackles a lot of issues of the period and also focuses on the marginalizing of women to some degree. I thought the pilot was slow, and I kind of dismissed the series' potential. Watching the second episode, now that the series has been produced, I liked it a good bit more. I thought it built the characters up in a more interesting way and was a fun exploration of some interesting ideas from the time period. I can see this as having potential that I didn't feel from the pilot alone.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: B-


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