Spring TV Roundup, Week 4

We're into April, but a selection of new shows keeps on coming. In these weekly posts I look at the first and second episode of new scripted series. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Tuesday Nights:
Prison Break, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX (Premiered April 4)
About: "Prison Break" ran for four seasons on FOX in its first life, and on April 4 it returned for a fifth installment, or a sequel depending on who you ask. This one sees Michael Schofield (Wentworth Miller) having assumed a new identity and sitting in a prison in Yemen. The rest of his crew, led by his brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), are trying to help him get out. And there's the small matter of how Michael, who was believed to be dead, is still alive, and how his identity got scrubbed in the first place. Most of the first two episodes have been about setting the stage and re-introducing or introducing the key players. But the game is afoot, and by the end of the second episode it's clear the prison break is on. I loved this series when it debuted back in 2005. And I like the idea of this series coming back, but the first two episodes have been a bit slow. Still, by the end of the second episode it was hard not to get sucked into the prison break once again.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Wednesday Nights:
Hollywood Darlings, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on POP (Premiered April 12)
About: POP's latest duo of comedies feature stars from yesteryear playing loosely fictionalized versions of themselves. The first, "Hollywood Darlings," stars friends Jodie Sweetin, of "Full House," Beverly Mitchell, of "Seventh Heaven," and Christine Lakin, of "Step By Step." The series chronicles their lives, their friendship and their adventures. The trio are affable leads and the first episode was enjoyable enough, but there's not a lot here. This isn't my favorite genre anyway, but the "plot" here felt thin.
Pilot Grade: C-

Return of the Mac, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on POP (Premiered April 12)
About: Speaking of thin, this was an even tougher watch. This one is focused on Joey McIntyre as he tries to build back up his career in entertainment while being a devoted husband and father. The first episode featured cameos from Donnie Wahlberg, Jenny McCarthy and January Jones, and Joey landing his own talk show on the "Comfy" channel. It was a snoozefest, and even less compelling than its lead in.
Pilot Grade: D

Saturday Nights:
Class, Saturdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America (Premiered April 15)
About: This latest drama is set at Coal Hill Academy, a site that's been frequently featured in "Dr. Who." Yes, you guessed it, this is a spin-off. The eight-episode first season centers on gifted students and teachers, some of whom are actually aliens in hiding, that populate the campus. The series debuted in October in England and is now debuting in America behind the latest season of 'Dr. Who." Current Dr. Who Peter Capaldi even makes a cameo appearance in the pilot for "Class." If you're a fan of that show and this world, this will be a treat. If you're not familiar with it, this show comes off as strange and hard to follow. Be warned.
Pilot Grade: C

Sunday Nights:
Guerrilla, Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime (Premiered April 16)
Showtime launched its latest limited run series, a six-episode exploration of race relations and the Black Panther movement in the 1970s in London. The pilot introduced the core characters, lovers Marcus (Babou Ceesay) and Jaz (Freida Pinto), and Jaz's former flame and more moderate Kent (Idris Elba). After their friend is killed by racist police during a protest, Marcus and Jaz cross the line and join a militant faction. That's where the first episode ends, but it's clear that the subsequent episodes will bring violence on both sides as young ideologues are pushed to something else by the violence they encounter. This series, written by John Ridley ("12 Years A Slave," "American Crime"), feels timely, but it was a bit dry. This isn't a world most of us are familiar with, and given the dark and turbulent political climate we currently find ourselves living in, this series doesn't offer much of an escape. And the pilot didn't offer much hope. It's a good cast and an important story, but it's likely not a story that will hold everyone's interest.
Pilot Grade: C


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