In case you missed it, a whole bunch of new shows started up last week. Instead of posting this before they started, I decided to wait until I’d watched them all so I could actually say something useful. If you missed any of the ones that sound good, I’ve noticed almost all of the pilots are available for free on Amazon Instant Video (and/or on the TV stations’ web sites). I’ll update again later this month as more stuff comes out!
Sunday, March 1
Battle Creek – CBS – 10pm. This one was developed by Vince Gilligan (creator of Breaking Bad and its new, utterly delightful spin-off, Better Call Saul) and David Shore (House), and stars Dean Winters, an actor I’ve loved since I first saw him on the HBO series Oz. It’s a little uninspired in terms of premise: cynical, grizzled, no-nonsense detective is partnered up with a polite, manscaped, naive FBI agent (Josh Duhamel) — seen that combo more times than I can count. But it was entertaining and clever enough I’ll definitely be sticking with it for now.
The Last Man on Earth – FOX – 9pm. I almost didn’t watch this one, because it conflicted with something else I was recording and, as you know, I’m not usually a huge sit-com fan. But, man, am I ever glad I tracked it down, because I was thoroughly charmed almost instantly. It’s about the last man alive on Earth after a virus has wiped out the entire world, and the first episode was absolutely delightful (it opens with him about to complete a months-long road trip around the U.S. looking for survivors and for cool stuff to decorate his house with, like paintings from the Met, a couple of Academy Awards, Babe Ruth’s bat — that made me laugh so hard, because it is EXACTLY what I would have done too). Episode two got even better, though, when Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show) shows up. Not the “last woman on Earth” he was hoping for, I’m afraid, and boy, is this one gonna be fun, people.
Secrets and Lies – ABC -9pm. I wanted to like this series, if only because it’s so rare a show featuring a female detective casts a woman actually old enough to be a detective (Juliette Lewis). The problem is, that same actress is so remarkably awful in this, she’s almost laughable. And by “almost,” I mean, “utterly.” It’s about a family man, played by Ryan Phillipe, who is out for a run one morning when he comes across the dead body of the little boy who lived across the street from him — the son of a woman he’d had an affair with years ago. Instantly, he’s a suspect, surprise surprise. This series is a scene-for-scene remake of an Australian show by the same name; I watched the first episode of that one last night and can already tell it’s going to be ten times better (also: surprise surprise). Better acting, especially (though it would’ve been hard to be worse in that regard). Deleted from the DVR and moving over to Netflix for the original instead.
Wednesday, March 4
Broadchurch — BBC America — 10pm. Back in September when I was talking to you guys about the new show Gracepoint, a few of you hadn’t seen the original BBC series it had been based on, Broadchurch. I’m hoping you’ve sought it out by now, because it was just worlds above the American version. Season two starts where we left off in season one, which, to be honest, I was a little disappointed by, because, whew, was that ever a bleak, bleak story. I would’ve been okay with a new crime to solve. Nevertheless, this show is so compelling, it’s worth the suffering. Looks like we’re in for some major courtroom drama this round, as Joe Miller takes the stand at his trial and announces his plea: not guilty.
CSI: Cyber — CBS — 1opm. I had a feeling this was going to be terrible, and it lived up pretty perfectly to those expectations. Did you guys know that when hackers insert malware, they make that part of the code RED so it’s super-easy for the FBI’s cyber crimes division to spot it? That seems like kind of a dumb way to go about it to me, but, hey, what do I know? I ain’t no hacker. Patricia Arquette stars, which is the only reason I’m going to go back for a second episode. Well, her and also two ex-Boyfriends of the Week, of course, Peter “The Biscuit” MacNicol, and James “The Dawson” Van Der Beek. I don’t expect this to make it past season 1, but we’ll see if any of these three talents (and yes, I just called Van Der Beek a “talent;” you be quiet) can do anything about how utterly ridiculous it’s been so far.
Thursday, March 5
American Crime — ABC — 10pm. Developed by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), this series is going to examine the impact of a single crime on multiple residents of a “racially divided” California town. The pilot reminded me a lot of the movie Traffic and so far, so good. Definitely will keep going on this one. Costars Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Benito Martinez, and Penelope Ann Miller.
Dig — USA — 1opm. I was really surprised by how much I liked this one. For a USA series, it’s surprisingly NOT totally goofy. It’s set in Jerusalem and has been described as a murder mystery with a Da Vinci Code-style conspiracy subplot, which sounds pretty fun to me. Jason Isaacs stars as an FBI agent stationed in Israel whose investigation into the murder of a young female archeologist will reveal a complex conspiracy that goes back thousands of years. Costars Anne Heche and Richard E. Grant, and is actually filmed in Israel, too — apparently it was supposed to start last fall, but war there delayed completion. Kind of fascinating. Is USA finally growing up? Let’s find out.
Friday, March 6
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix. This is the new Tina Fey project we’ve been hearing about for the last few months. Stars Ellie Kemper as a woman trying to rebuild her life after spending 15 years in a bomb shelter as part of a cult that believed the world had ended. Utterly charming, and a few truly hilarious moments so far (we’ve only watched the first two, but laughed out loud more than once — Rich Mom throwing the unopened bottle of water in the trash made us laugh so hard we had to pause for a second. So perfect!). It’s not perfect, but it’s fun, and I have a feeling it will improve with time.
More coming soon!