Fall TV Roundup, Week Nine

We're in the midst of fall, and that means plenty of new TV. It's the most wonderful time of the year, if you like to spend time watching TV, which I do. But I watch so that, most times, you don't have to. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
Stan Against Evil, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on IFC (Premiered November 2)
About: This feels like the kind of show that should have premiered just before Halloween, not just after. But, it's a comedy that's about a small town that has a dark history. The kind of history where 172 people were burned as witches, and someone cursed the position of sheriff forever. Until the last sheriff (John C. McGinley), who had a long career and life. It turns out that was thanks to his wife, a supernatural warrior. Upon her death, and his retirement, things start happening. That leads Stan (McGinley), the former sheriff, to team with his replacement (Janet Varney) to battle evil. It's meant to be a comedy, and there's some amusing moments, but this show isn't great. It doesn't slide into the great territory. The first two episodes aired on Wednesday night and I thought they were OK. If you're fans of the genre, it's worth checking out. Otherwise, there's nothing truly compelling here.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Thursday Night:
The Great Indoors, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 27)
About: So, it's come to this. CBS is desperate to connect with Millennial viewers, or really anyone under 65, so they float these kind of comedies out there. I'm pretty sure this is supposed to appeal to younger viewers. I'm certain it doesn't. It's smug, boring, and pathetic. That might sound harsh but, seriously, have you seen this dreck? Joel McHale is capable of better and deserves better, and so does the audience. This is possibly the worst of the new network shows this season, and that's saying something.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Pure Genius, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 27)
Agustus Prew stars in this new drama as a tech billionaire who built and runs a cutting edge hospital in the Bay Area that mixes the latest in technology with the best doctors in the world. And he offers it for free to those who need it most and can least afford it. That's a noble concept, and it should be interesting. It features Dermot Mulroney and Odette Annable in the cast, too, which is great. I wanted to like this show. I kind of enjoyed the pilot and I like the concept. But the second episode was predictable and dry, and I fear that's what you'd get from the series most weeks. That's probably why it's been slow in the ratings and doesn't seem like a good bet to last long-term on the network. It's a clever idea, but Prew doesn't quite carry it off enough to be compelling.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: C

Streaming Series:
Chance, Now Streaming on Hulu Plus (Premiered October 19)
About: I'm a little behind on this series, which now has four episodes available and a new one coming tomorrow. It streams new episodes on Wednesday, and marks the return to television for Hugh Laurie. It's also the best original streaming series I've seen from Hulu. Laurie, who famously played the lead in the long-running FOX medical drama "House," is again playing a doctor. This time a divorced and struggling psychologist that gets pulled in too deep with a patient (Gretchen Mol) who has an abusive husband and a split personality. That's a lot to digest. And there's a lot of other side stories going on here, as Laurie's Dr. Chance seems to be on a slippery slope that could lead to his undoing. The first two episodes rolled out at a slow burn and are meant to develop the characters and the conflict. They do that pretty well, and also leave you in a place where you can't be sure of how the story is going. That's a good thing. This is a different kind of show that probably doesn't appeal to everyone, but I'm curious to see where it goes.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: B-


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