If you’re a regular reader of Bullz-Eye, then you’re well familiar with a recurring feature that we like to call our TV Power Rankings. Back in the day, we used to offer up a list of our top 25 TV series every six months, but those who caught our most recent Rankings – we posted it back in February – know that we’re only doing it once a year now. As this is the first fall season to come around since we’ve scaled back, however, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the new programs that are slowly but surely making their debuts on the broadcast networks and give your our thoughts on which ones seem to have the potential to make their way onto the next Power Rankings…but with that said, you will please note the way we’ve made a point of clarifying above that this is in no way a formal declaration that they will end up on there. As we all know, shows can start strong, turn on a dime, and become craptacular within the span of only a few episodes. In short, it’s all very wait-and-see at this stage of the game, but if a show is on this list, that means that we at least think that it’s worthy of giving it a shot
At first glance, “Revolution” may seem to be a little bit like “Terra Nova” without the dinosaurs, given that it’s more or less about humanity trying to recover from a nasty situation (in this case, a sudden and seemingly total absence of electricity), but the pilot – directed by Jon Favreau – sets up the premise nicely, establishes the new power-free world, and gives stars Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito a chance to shine as the good guy and bad guy, respectively. The truth of the matter is that I’ll give anything with J.J. Abrams’ name on it a shot, but after the debacle that was “Undercovers,” I’m still going to enter with hesitation until “Revolution” proves itself.
As I’ve said elsewhere on Bullz-Eye, I didn’t even know I had a three-strike rule until I tried and failed on three separate occasions to get a decent interview out of Hayden Panitierre, so it’s a testament to how much I enjoyed the pilot for the country-music drama “Nashville” that I included it in this list. (Admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that she’s playing a complete bitch in the series.) There’s a very real possibility that the show could leave music-industry reality behind so quickly that I bail out well before mid-season, but with Connie Britton and Powers Boothe in the cast, it’s going to have to get pretty ridiculous for me to give up the ghost.
I’m a sucker for a good-looking period piece, so “Vegas” has already got me in its clutches by premise alone, focusing as it does on the growth of Las Vegas in the early 1960s, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that the show is headlined by Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis, then rounded out by Carrie Ann Moss and Jason O’Mara. I’m as excited about the possibilities of this series as I am just about anything premiering this fall…so don’t let me down, CBS!
Another case where a creator’s name – Shawn Ryan – instantly makes a series worth considering, although this one has the added bonus of having a surprisingly unique premise for a series on a broadcast network: the submarine USS Colorado refuses to act on an order to fire nuclear missiles, instead setting up camp on the island of Sainte Marina and declaring themselves a sovereign nation with nuclear capabilities. You’ve got to admit, it’s not like anything else on the air at the moment. The question is whether or not enough people will buy into it.
I didn’t anticipate that I’d fall for this series when I first heard about it, given that – quite frankly – the world does not need another Sherlock Holmes series when “Sherlock” is already on the air. As it turns out, however, I was rather charmed by the pilot, which definitely stands on its own rather than coming across as piggybacking on the success of “Sherlock.” I’m sure it’ll ultimately pale in comparison to its UK cousin, but I may well watch it nonetheless.
Green Arrow has always been one of my favorite DC superheroes, but I’d already decided that I couldn’t be bothered to follow “Smallville” when he turned up on that series. I’ve always regretted that, so I won’t be missing the chance to get in on “Arrow” on the ground floor. Given that I’m kind of a geek about the mythos of the character, I’m already having to bite my tongue a bit about the adjustments they’ve made to perfectly good storylines from the comic, but the pilot played far better than I’d expected, and conversations with the producers during the TCA Press Tour raised my optimism considerably. In short, they’ve at least got me ’til they bring on Count Vertigo, but we’ll see if I last any longer than that.
For what it’s worth, I’m not in the camp who believes that Matthew Perry is forever going to be Chandler from “Friends”) although I do believe that a lot of the character that we came to know as Chandler is actually just how Matthew Perry is in real life), but I did find his last series “Mr. Sunshine” less funny than I’d hoped it would be. With “Go On,” however, we’re getting to see a slightly different character for a change, one who’s recovering from the death of his wife and trying to find his way with the help of a support group. There’s a “Community” vibe as times – no surprise, given that the Russo brothers work on both series – but it’s still early days yet, so here’s hoping it quickly finds its own groove. It’d be nice to see Perry enjoy the experience of having a series last beyond its first season for a change.
Look, it’s Mindy Kaling. She was cute and funny on “The Office,” and now she gets to be cute and funny on her own show. Some of these explanations don’t involve rocket science.
This is probably my dodgiest inclusion, given that it feels like an unabashed “American Horror Story” ripoff, but I’m a sucker for a creepy vibe, and “666 Park Avenue” definitely nails that much, at least, in no small part because Terry O’Quinn has pretty much been uber-creepy in my mind since his days as “The Stepfather.” But if the show doesn’t keep the chills and thrills coming fast and furious from the word “go,” then I’ll be the one who’s going.
There’s usually at least one series per season where I really enjoy the pilot but find so many of my peers disliking it that I start questioning whether I’d gotten it wrong on first viewing. This year, it’s “Animal Practice.” But, look, here’s the thing: it’s got both Tyler Labine and a monkey, and it’s like “Scrubs” in a veterinary hospital. How much more do I really need from a sitcom? The fact that the super-cute Joanna Garcia-Swisher is now the series’ female lead is just icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned.