Fall TV Roundup, Week 15

It's nearly Christmas, but technically it's still fall. And we still have new shows. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted fare from the fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
Star, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX (Premiers January 4)
About: "Star" is the latest musical soap opera from Lee Daniels, creator of "Empire." FOX certainly hopes it's an extension of that brand and property, and maybe it will be. The series got a soft preview behind "Empire" last Wednesday ahead of its debut in January. It centers on foster kids Star and her sister Simone, who have had a rough go of the system, and team with another girl, Alexandra, whose father happens to be a big time musician (Lenny Kravitz), to form a girl group. They travel to Atlanta and stay with Star and Simone's Godmother (Queen Latifah) while they try to make it big, hooking up with a shady manager (Benjamin Bratt) along the way. To be fair, I didn't love the pilot for "Empire," either. But I thought this pilot was awful — chock full of cliches and cliched characters. I don't see this being a big hit, but only time will tell. It's fair to note that the show will air without the cover of "Empire" when it returns in January.
Pilot Grade: C-

Streaming Series:
The OA, Now Streaming on Netflix (Debuted December 16)
About: This new and somewhat secretive series from Netflix was created by and stars Britt Marling. It's ostensibly about a woman who disappeared seven years earlier and is found, reunited with her parents. Oh, and did I mention she was blind when she went missing and now can see? And she has a strange backstory, which she shares with a group of teens and a teacher. And she calls herself The OA. And what does that mean? There's lots of questions here. The pilot of this was wildly uneven. In fact, the first 50 minutes I really didn't care for it, then something happened the final 25 minutes as the story became a bit clearer. It followed with a second episode that fills in more of the gaps and becomes oddly compelling. There's only eight episodes for this series, and it seems designed to hook people for a binge watch. I'm not saying it's good, but I thought the second episode made me curious to see where this ends.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C+


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