Summer TV Roundup, Week 10


We're deep in the midst of summer and new shows continue to flood the market. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Loaded, Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC (Premiered July 17)
About: Ever wondered what would happen if the guys from "Silicon Valley" ever hit it big? Well, that's essentially what "Loaded" is all about. Four friends who developed an App together have just sold it for big money. But that doesn't mean everything is going smooth. Now they have to navigate the choppy waters of being successful web developers. The show comes from England, and the first episode featured stories about cars, buying stuff, and fending off a lawsuit. There's some potential here and the stars are likable enough. But I wasn't really sold on the characters or the story.
Pilot Grade: C

Tuesday Nights:
The Bold Type, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Freeform (Premiered July 11)
About: This latest series for Freeform centers on a trio of young women working for a fashion magazine. One's in social media. One just became a writer and is struggling with all of what that means. And the third is navigating an affair with a board member and trying to find a job that gives her meaning. There's a lot going on here in the show, which comes from Sarah Watson and is inspired by the life of Cosmo editor Joanna Coles. This probably fits the demographic of Freeform perfectly, and the first two episodes (which aired as a block on premier night) aren't bad. But they weren't for me. I thought the stories felt a bit too cliche, as did the characters.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

Wednesday Nights:
Salvation, Wednesday Nights at 9 p.m. on CBS (Premiered July 12)
About: This latest summer series from CBS centers on a group of scientists and government employees that discover a meteor is bound for Earth in a matter of days. Their goal is to stop it and save humanity, if they can. The pilot did a nice job of laying out all the characters and pieces. This feels like another solid hit for CBS summer programming, at least for one season. We'll see where it ends up in a couple summers, as "Zoo" is currently flailing through some ridiculous storylines. But for now, I'm intrigued by the set up and execution of "Salvation."
Pilot Grade: B

Snowfall, Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX (Premiered July 5)
About: This latest FX drama comes from producer John Singleton and is set in the 1980s, ostensibly about the rise of crack cocaine in Southern California. But through two episodes, crack has yet to make an appearance. Critics have said it arrives around episode seven, but that's a long time to wait in this TV saturated culture. That would be fine if there was something else to hang on to, but through two episodes I didn't much care for the characters or the story. There isn't a defined hook that keeps me interested. Rather, the series feels a bit like it borrows storylines from other, more successful series about the war on drugs like "The Wire." That's fine, but you need to put your own stamp on things. There's some fine actors in here, but the show as a whole isn't enough to keep me hooked.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

I'm Sorry, Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on TruTV (Premiered July 12)
About: This comedy series starring Andrea Savage, and based on her life, has some potential. But in the first two episodes that aired on Wednesday night, I didn't feel a lot of that potential realized. I like the idea and I like the cast, particularly Savage in the lead role, Tom Everett Scott as her husband and Jason Mantzoukas as her friend. But the overall stories in the first two episodes felt a little familiar, and the comedy was uneven. Series like this sometimes take a while to find their way, and that's possible here. But so far, I'm not sold.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Thursday Nights:
Hooten and The Lady, Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered July 13)
About: The CW is one of the most interesting networks during the summer, taking fliers on off-brand ideas that are international co-productions just to help fill some of the air time. "Hooten and The Lady" is such a series. It's an "Indiana Jones," "The Mummy" type archeological adventure with a rough and tumble America (Michael Landes) and Lady Alex Spencer Parker (Ophelia Lovibond) as they have a series of adventures. I was mildly amused by the pilot, though the series treads over some familiar plot points and cliches. The two leads work well together and this feels like some different kind of light summer entertainment. At least the pilot did.
Pilot Grade: C-

Streaming Series
Friends From College, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered July 14)
About: There are times when you look at the talent involved and just know a show is going to be great. Then it isn't. That's the case with "Friends From College," which boasts a cast that includes Keegan Michael Key, Cobie Smulders and Nat Faxon, and provides some dull, cliche-ridden stories in its first two episodes. That was enough for me. I didn't really like or care about any of the characters, despite the fact I like the performers very much. That's problematic. I've seen a number of other reviews that felt the same. This was an ambitious swing for Netflix, but sadly one that seems to be landing with a thud.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

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