Take 2 of the Fall Premieres

October 19, 2014

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Premiere season moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and sit down once in a while you could miss it. So buckle up as the fall premieres are upon us!

This time of year brings out the best TV. We have the NFL back in full swing, all the returning and competing prime shows (yes I still watch and love Survivor) and the new prime shows being promoted ad naseum that gives us what feels like unlimited viewing options. Not to mention all of the streaming options we now have just in case you want to binge-watch a couple more series in your spare time! Keep reading below to get my take on some of the fall pilots and I promise, no more Survivor talk.

Scorpion
CBS
Monday 9pm-10pm

Scorpion, inspired by a true story, is an edge of your seat drama about an eccentric genius named Walter O’Brien played by, Elyes Gabel, who “saves the world” with the help of his band of misfits Toby Curtis, played by Eddie Kaye Thomas, an expert behaviorist, Happy Quinn played by Jadyn Wong, a mechanical prodigy, and Sylvester Dodd played by Ari Stidham, a statistics guru. They are employed by Homeland Security as a last line of defense to solve complex and high-tech threats. In the first episode, they also team up with Paige Dineen, played by Katharine McPhee to help them interact with the outside world and help her relate with her young gifted son.

This show really surprised me, as I was not expecting much out of it. It reminded me of a cross between House and 24 as it has a lot of “we don’t have enough time” action but much of the complicated problems are solved with the combined power of the team’s brains – mostly Walter. The show also has some witty dialogue and funny scenes. Overall, I enjoyed the pilot.

CBS placed this in a tough time slot – up against the behemoth that is Monday Night Football on ESPN, which typically wins the night in the major adult demos. It is also up against the highly popular NBC show The Voice, as well as Dancing with the Stars on ABC and Sleepy Hollow on Fox – all returning shows. That being said, I still think it will do well as they have a strong and almost perfect lead in with the extremely popular Big Bang Theory. I believe it will cater to a very similar audience as Big Bang and perform well over the long run.

Added to my lineup (DVR so I can still watch MNF!)

State of Affairs
NBC
Monday 10pm-11pm

State of Affairs accounts for the major crises’ and issues facing the nation as Charleston “Charlie” Tucker, played by Katherine Heigl, and her team compile a daily list and brief the President on the most vital happenings of the day. Charlie is also actively trying to solve that mystery in between her high-pressure job and personal life hijinks. There is also a backstory as Charlie was engaged to the President’s son, played by Alfre Woodard, who was killed in a terrorist attack. This show has that standard formula of key public figures making important decisions so the general public can stay safe, but it definitely has some comic relief with Charlie as the main character.

I went into this show wanting to dislike it. Sometimes I just enjoy hate watching my wife’s favorite programs (think Real Housewives on Bravo or Teen Mom on MTV) and I knew she would love this show because she loves Katherine Heigl. If I’m being honest with myself I actually did think the pilot was good (just don’t tell my wife). It was funny, entertaining and set up in a way that could take the plot in a lot of directions, keeping the content fresh. I think having Katherine Heigl as the lead role will help it get picked up by NBC.

Although this is another Monday night show, it is positioned at the 10 pm time slot where it is not up against as many heavy hitters: Castle on ABC, NCIS: LA on CBS, and the news on Fox. This show will start mid-season on November 17th and will take over the spot of the strong performing Blacklist.

Added to my lineup (whether I like it or not)

Allegiance
NBC
Coming Soon (will most likely be a midseason replacement)

Allegiance tells the story of Alex O’Connor played by Gavin Stenhouse, an idealistic CIA analyst who specializes in Russian affairs. Through his work, he learns his parents, Mark, played by Scott Cohen, and Katya, played by Hope Davis, are secretly retired Russian spies. They are called back into duty and must decide between betraying their country and risking their family.

I have to be honest I didn’t make it all the way through this one. I just couldn’t get over the fact that it ripped the premise right from one of my favorite shows The Americans on FX, in which Russian spies are undercover and living in America. Sure the plot line is a little different, but I don’t have room in my library to watch two Russian spy shows.

I think this show has a chance, especially with those viewers not privy to The Americans, but out of the three shows I’ve reviewed thus far, this one has the least chances of success. It looks to be a mid-season replacement since NBC hasn’t given it a home on the schedule yet so it’s difficult to compare against its eventual competition. Hopefully they put it in a non-competitive slot and it will find its audience but until then, I’m not convinced.

Not added to my lineup

– Steve