Fall TV 2012: Pilot reviews

November 14, 2012
Revolution

image via NBC

With another autumn comes another season of brand new television shows. With the first batch of this year’s newest potential hits (and spectacular failures) released, it’s time to find out which shows are worth watching and which ones to burn in the trash pile or delete off your hard drive.

Looking through the list below, it is striking how few of the shows stand as instantly captivating. There are a few dramas that I have added to my personal viewing list (Revolution, Last Resort), but none of the newest slate of comedies has really had an impact. That’s not to say that they are not funny, as a couple of them are actually pretty good (The Mindy Project comes to mind), but nothing so far really screams “Watch me!” Of course, most of the returning comedies are hugely successful, meaning networks might not be entirely focused on developing that genre further. Still, it is an absence that is worth noting, especially in comparison to last year’s fall season.

Anyways, without further interruption, on to the list!

ABC

666 Park Avenue: A dark drama about a mysterious apartment building in New York City. It has potential, though it’s not clear from the pilot how the show will progress from week to week. Definitely one to hold off on however, as its low ratings might put it up for cancellation soon.
Rating: 3 stars

Nashville: An entertaining musical drama, though I am apprehensive about any musical television shows. Remember Smash? Great pilot, horrid show. There’s no harm in not watching for now.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Last Resort: Easily one of the best new shows this season. A great premise – an American nuclear sub defects from the country after refusing orders – and an excellent cast makes this show a must-see.
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Neighbours: A sitcom about a family who moves into a community populated by aliens. I wrote back in March that this show had promise, but after watching the pilot, I want to punch my past self in the face. This is an insultingly bad show, and one that desperately needs to die soon. If this somehow entertains you, you might be in a coma.
Rating: 0 stars

Last Resort

image via ABC

CBS

Partners: A comedy that is simply not funny. Will and Grace had a far better straight/gay partnership than Partners does, but at least it’s not as insulting as The Neighbors.
Rating: 1 star

Vegas: Dennis Quaid! Michael Chiklis! Period drama! Actual entertainment! And it’s been picked up for a full season! If you don’t have any crime show on your viewing list right now, you could certainly do far worse than this.
Rating: 4 stars

Elementary: This one is tough, as there is another Sherlock Holmes series on television that is markedly different from this show – and far superior, in my opinion. Personal feelings aside, it is a decent pilot, and it has potential.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Made in Jersey: It’s already been cancelled, so why review it? Having forced myself to watch the pilot however, I can only say CBS made the right choice.
Rating: 1 star

The CW

Emily Owen, M.D: I thought this show had promise back in March, but I have been proven wrong once again. With a main character who is almost a parody of other fictional doctors, there is no real charm behind the show. But hey, at least it’s not as god-awful as The Neighbors.
Rating: 1 star

Arrow: Don’t expect this show to be like Smallville at all. Which is a compliment, because Arrow is a very good show. There are some problems with its characterization and narration (the main character explains all of his actions), but it is an otherwise entertaining show.
Rating: 4 stars

Beauty and the Beast: A remake of the 80’s show that starred Ron Perlman. Except the beast in this case is a ridiculously handsome man with a scar instead of the bestial Ron Perlman. The show is almost as horrid as The Neighbors, the difference being that The Neighbors is far more personally insulting.
Rating: 0.5 stars

Arrow

photo via Kharen Hill/The CW

FOX

Ben and Kate: It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. I can’t think of any reason to watch it, so this one would be safe to skip.
Rating: 2 stars

The Mindy Project: The first US television series with a South Asian lead character. It’s actually pretty funny, and it’s been picked up for a full season, so watch away!
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Mob Doctor: Winner of my “Stupidest Title of the Year” award, this show is the worst drama I’ve seen in a while. And with the ratings it’s getting, don’t expect this show to survive for any length of time.
Rating: 1 star

NBC

Revolution: A great pilot, and I mean it. Fascinating characters, a great premise (electricity has been missing for 15 years), and a decent script all make for one of the best shows this season. Watch this. Rating:
4.5 stars

Go On: Matthew Perry’s new comedy, and one that is actually funny for once. Centered on a grief-counseling group, the pilot actually generates some genuine laughs. Put this on your radar, as it has the potential to grow into a great series.
Rating: 3.5 stars

The New Normal: It feels like a Modern Family clone, but the pilot is somewhat unique. I just wish the show had some more big laughs, as I would easily recommend it. For now, there is no harm in not watching The New Normal.
Rating: 2.5 stars

Chicago Fire: Okay, so I lied about The Mob Doctor winning my “Stupidest Title of the Year” award. This one easily takes the cake. The cast looks dead half the time, and none of the characters are all that interesting to watch. “Boring” and “uninspired” come to mind when I think of this show, and since most people aren’t looking for that, I’d avoid this one.
Rating: 1 star

Animal Practice: There’s a monkey! And a guy who likes animals more than humans! And a monkey! There’s a complete absence of humour, but who cares because this show has a monkey! Look at the monkey! It’s been cancelled already, so that monkey’s unemployed now.
Rating: 0.5 stars

Guys with Kids: There are guys. Who look after their kids. I’m sorry, but that is the extent of this show’s premise. It’s a sad day when this is somehow not the worst show currently on television.
Rating: 1 star