Summer TV Roundup, Week 9

Now that we've begun July, a flood of new shows are debuting, hoping to grab audiences. But will they? In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Will, Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT (Premiered July 10)
About: The first two episodes of this new drama about the early life and career of William Shakespeare debuted on Monday night. The series is created by Craig Pearce, who worked on Baz Luhrman films like "Romeo and Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge!" The series is set in the late 1500s, but they've added a punk rock look, feel, and soundtrack to the proceedings. So those in the local playhouse are seen dancing to hits from The Clash, and everything looks like it's fresh out of the Capital in "The Hunger Games." That might appeal to some, but not to those who are fans of Shakespeare's work or period accuracy. TNT had previously been known for its fairly predictable and standard crime dramas. But this summer, with "Animal Kingdom," "Claws," and now "Will," they're going for something else. Maybe that will bring them a new audience, and that makes sense. But like the rest of the shows in this current wave, I wasn't impressed. "Will" is a big swing and, for me, a big miss.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Wednesday Nights:
Snowfall, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX (Premiered July 5)
About: FX is known for its biting drama, and its latest premier is "Snowfall," which heads back to South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s to trace the beginning of the Crack epidemic. The pilot introduced a bit of the world and some of the players, tracing a young man trying to carve out a living, a former Luchadore who gets caught up with the Mexican Cartel and a CIA Agent drawn into a Drugs for Guns scheme to fund a war in Central America. It's heady stuff, and this series has a nice cast, but I thought the pilot was a little slow, a little sprawling, and a little too cliche for me. I've heard it picks up in later episodes, so we'll see if episode two is more attention grabbing. So far, I'm not really impressed.
Pilot Grade: C-

Streaming Series:
Castlevania, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered July 7)
About: Based on the old series of video games, this latest animated series is aimed squarely at adults of a certain age who are nostalgic for eight-bit gaming platforms. This follows a family of vampire hunters and their prey. The episodes are short (the first two clocked in at 25 and 22 minutes), but it's for a decidedly niche audience, as befits the Netflix model. I didn't care for them.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: D


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