New TV shows to fall in love with: Part I
Fall is soon to be upon us, and with the changing of the leaves comes new television pilots as well. With more than 30 different shows premiering, Cadenza chose its most anticipated pilots to preview. This is part 1 of our fall TV preview.
Fox, Sept. 17 at 8/7c
Well, there’s no questioning who the target demographic of “Dads” is. Produced by “Family Guy” creator and king of bro humor Seth MacFarlane, this new Fox sitcom follows two video game designers whose lives are upended when their dads move in with them. So far it’s not entirely clear why Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) and Eli (Seth Green) need to take in their fathers, but it seems to have something to do with a surprise birthday party and/or losing the family fortune. Regardless, antics ensue.
Unfortunately for Fox, some of those antics have already sparked controversy. In the pilot, Warner and Eli decide that the best way to woo some Chinese clients is to have their assistant, Veronica (Brenda Song), come to the meeting dressed as a sexy Asian schoolgirl. It also seems that the two fathers, Crawford (Martin Mull) and David (Peter Riegert), are prone to mild racism and sexism. Of course, it’s all in the name of comedy, and MacFarlane has never been one to shy away from potentially offensive humor. Controversial jokes aside, though, the humor of “Dads” comes across as mostly, well… stupid. Right now, the series seems a bit directionless and a little too reliant on bathroom humor, but perhaps it will gain its footing in later episodes.
Fox, Sept. 17 at 8:30/7:30c
Best known for his role in the hilarious song parody group The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg left “Saturday Night Live” a few years ago most likely in hopes of becoming a huge movie star. But unlike fellow ex-SNL cast member Kristen Wiig, Samberg didn’t co-write and star in “Bridesmaids.” Instead, The Lonely Island released a third album, “The Wack Album,” and Samberg roasted James Franco on Comedy Central. If you’ve been missing the goofball, have no fear; beginning Sept. 17, you can find him starring in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a single-camera comedy revolving around Samberg as an immature New York Police Department cop who has to grow up when a new boss, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), joins the precinct. According to the official trailer, the jokes revolve around the captain being a real cop while Samberg wears a tie around his stomach and a Speedo instead of pants, but hey, you can’t hate a guy for trying. What this show may lack in sophisticated jokes, it may make up for in casting. Comedian and avid tweeter Chelsea Peretti joins the team as the precinct’s administrator, along with actor and former NFL player Terry Crews as the squad leader and comedian Joe Lo Truglio as another detective. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” joins Fox’s Tuesday night comedy block along with newcomer “Dads,” old favorite “New Girl” and sophomore-seasoned “The Mindy Project.” It will be nice to see Andy Samberg back on TV once a week, even in a “how-on-Earth-is-he-a-police-officer” way.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
ABC, Sept. 24 at 8/7c
It’s the moment some superhero fans have been anticipating for years: the Marvel Universe will return to TV this month with its newest series, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Created by famed “Marvel’s The Avengers” writer-director Joss Whedon, this ABC drama revolves around a new team of agents who must work together to take down troublemaking superhumans. (Sound familiar?) Clark Gregg will reprise his “The Avengers” role as S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Phil Coulson, who is apparently still alive despite his death in the 2012 movie. And while the members of this heroic team aren’t nearly as iconic as Iron Man or the Hulk, the group still includes some pretty badass individuals like Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), a gruff Black Ops specialist, and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen, the voice of Mulan), a weapons expert and pilot.
So far, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” looks promising, albeit not very original. Online clips feature plenty of flashy action sequences and witty banter, and fans apparently responded positively to the pilot when it was screened at San Diego Comic-Con International. Given its connections to Marvel’s 2012 blockbuster, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” certainly won’t have a hard time getting off the ground. Nevertheless, it will probably take a superhuman feat for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to captivate audiences the same way the Avengers did.
“The Crazy Ones”
CBS, Sept. 26 at 9/8c
CBS’s new sitcom offering “The Crazy Ones” has transplanted unquestionable talent into a fresh setting in order to make a new series that’s sure to be a hit. Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams plays the eccentric yet brilliant Simon Roberts, one of the partners of a successful Chicago advertising firm called Roberts & Roberts. In the pilot, the aging but young-at-heart Roberts boxes with a life-size robot, helps Kelly Clarkson abandon her good-girl image and temporarily adopts a Scottish accent—all while helping the agency retain its biggest client, McDonald’s. Roberts’s crazy antics are juxtaposed with those of his much more professional daughter/partner, Sydney Roberts (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who is often frustrated by her father’s absurdity and nonchalant attitude about their company. The give-and-take relationship of the two main characters provides some much-needed tenderness for the otherwise solely comedic show, in which much of the humor tilts toward the absurd. Due to the slew of familiar faces in the cast, this new series is bound to receive a great deal of attention from critics and audiences alike. The light-hearted nature of the show, which is often augmented by self-deprecating Hollywood references and hilarious guest stars, will draw in viewers and keep them coming back for more of Williams’s tried-and-true comedic tendencies.
HBO, Sept. 29 at 10:30/9:30c
HBO has been really killing it lately. From “Game of Thrones” to “Veep” to “The Newsroom,” the network keeps spewing out hits, and hopefully “Hello Ladies” will join the ranks of my favorite Sunday night programming. “Hello Ladies” stars Stephen Merchant as Stuart, a very tall and very awkward British web designer who is transplanted to Los Angeles. The show will follow his desperate attempts at dating while he tries to fit in in LA. It sounds cringe-worthy—and that is exactly what it’s going for. Merchant is best known for co-creating the original British version of “The Office” alongside Ricky Gervais, but this time he’s going at it alone. “Hello Ladies” is based off of Merchant’s stand-up routine and is being co-produced by the men who worked on the American version of “The Office,” Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. The sneak peeks promise uncomfortable encounters and awkward physical comedy, from Stuart keeping his “wingman” from talking about abortion to falling into a drink cooler. “Hello Ladies” premieres on Sunday, Sept. 29, and in a world without “The Office,” all I can say is bring on the cringe.