Winter TV Roundup, Week 2
We're only 10 days into the new year, and yet a flood of new shows has already rolled out. In these weekly posts I look at the new scripted shows this winter. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.
The Mick, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on FOX (Premiered January 1)
About: "The Mick" got a premier behind "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and football on New Year's Day, but moved to its regular time slot on Tuesday. It's about a woman who's struggling in life that is suddenly thrust into the role of guardian of her three nieces and nephews, who are ridiculously wealthy. Hilarity ensues. And it does at some points, just not enough for me. I thought the second episode, actually, was a little step backward. There's probably an audience for this series, but I'm clearly not it.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C-
Star, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX (Premiered December 14)
About: After getting a special premier behind the Fall finale of "Empire," "Star" launched in its permanent home on Wednesday night. This series, from Lee Daniels, wants to be a cousin to "Empire." It's about a trio of girls, two orphans abused by the system and the daughter of a famous musician with serious Daddy issues, who come together in Atlanta to make it in the music business. It has some high profile supporting players, like Queen Latifah, Lenny Kravitz and Benjamin Bratt, but ultimately you have to buy into the main characters, particularly Jude Demorist as the titular Star. This show is no "Empire." I've seen it compared by some to "Showgirls," which isn't a flattering comparison. But it might be apt. This show is a trainwreck. I didn't like the pilot and thought the second episode was much worse.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D-
Emerald City, Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC (Premiered January 6)
About: This latest fantasy series from NBC is very high concept. It's a re-imagining of "The Wizard of Oz," and it was NBC's answer to "Game of Thrones." At least that was the buzz when it was announced in the winter of 2015. Now it's finally premiering, in January of 2017. The 10-episode limited "Event Series" was directed by Tarsem Singh, the visual stylist behind "The Cell" and "Immortals." The series has a fascinating look, but that's about the only great thing about it. The first two episodes aired on Friday and there set up a world that's more than a little confusing. Famous faces like Vincent D'Onofrio, as the Wizard, and Joely Richardson, as Glinda, lineup alongside newcomer Adria Arjona as Dorothy in this series. I thought it had some visually compelling moments, but otherwise I couldn't get into it. And it most certainly isn't any kind of decent answer to "Game of Thrones." This is an epic swing and a miss for NBC.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C
Ransom, Saturdays at 8 p.m. on CBS (Premiered January 1)
About: This cheap foreign co-production isn't long for the CBS airwaves. It was expendable filler that became more expendable based on the fall ratings and what's in reserve. It got a premier on Sunday night before joining the Saturday night lineup, its new home, for the rest of its first season. It centers on a group that work as negotiators in ransom situations. I liked the pilot and thought it had some compelling moments. I wasn't as wild about the second episode which, at times, felt a big formulaic and strange. They series needs to build its characters more to have a strong hook, but judging by the ratings and timeslot it no longer matters.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C
One Day at a Time, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered January 6)
About: This latest entry to the seemingly endless supply of content is a re-make of the classic 1970s sitcom from Norman Lear. Lear, now 94, served as a producer on the re-make, which focuses on a single Cuban mother raising her two teens and living with her mother (Rita Moreno). She works as a nurse and tries the best she can to represent her culture and meet her kids needs in the modern world. There's also a wacky neighbor/building superintendent. This show feels a bit like a throwback in terms of style, but it has heart and plenty of humor. Justina Machado is strong in the lead role, too. This isn't exceptional, but it's a nice piece of catalog content and filler for Netflix, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it get another season.
Pilot Grade; C+
Second Episode: B-