by Alexandra Jessome
This year’s fall season of TV pilots actually looks very promising. So here is Madly Juicy’s guide for which shows that could make it through to a full-season pick-up and those that won’t. All of these shows can be seen on the big 4 American networks, so if you’ve missed an episode, they are easily accessible online for free via the respective network’s website.
Whitney (NBC) (Canada CTV)
Whitney is based on the stand-up comedy of Whitney Cummings, the show’s creator and lead. In the first episode we saw Whitney feel like her relationship with her boyfriend, Alex, was in a rut. After hitting his head and ending up in the hospital, Whitney realizes there’s no rut and they are fine.
The trailer gave higher expectations of the show, which might not get better. The dialogue itself is funny, although the plot of the pilot episode not so much. Hopefully there’s more to the show, and if the plot has more to it later than it does now it would be on the air for a while and can become a cornerstone for Thursday night television, as NBC is known for.
Verdict: Lacking the extra oomph, but definitely worth watching. The show could be picked up for a full season.
New Girl (Fox) (Canada CityTV)
New Girl is Fox’s only new sitcom for September. It stars Zooey Deschanel as Jessica Day, a very quirky – almost hipster type girl – who must move on with her life after finding her boyfriend cheat on her. She ends up moving in with three guy roommates who immediately try to help her out by getting her back on the dating scene.
The episode was decent with Deschanel being a perfect fit for this character. There were many laughs to be had but it does have potential. The acting isn’t bad and it is worth watching solely for Zooey Deschanel. If the writing picks up it can be a great show. Damon Wayans Jr. is no longer with the show due to Happy Endings (ABC) getting picked up for a second season.
Verdict: Worth a shot. I could get picked up for a full season or being cancelled mid-way.
2 Broke Girls (CBS) (Canada CityTV)
2 Broke Girls stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as Max and Caroline. Max works at a diner in Brooklyn, struggling to make ends meet. Caroline was born into a very rich family, but once her father is caught on charges of embezzlement she loses everything and must figure out how to work and live on her own. Caroline is hired at the same diner in Brooklyn and is able to crack Max’s tough exterior to become friends. They decide to open up a cupcake shop and with Caroline’s business skills, she calculates that it will only take them a year to raise enough funds to open up shop.
This show is actually produced by Whitney Cummings of NBC’s Whitney. Although both shows have just started, this one looks more promising. Kat Dennings is perfect for the role of Max both visually and personality-wise. The pilot showed great potential for the show – it had a good and actually funny script with a solid storyline that did not leave you asking the wrong questions (ie. Where is this going? Why am I sitting here watching this?). It is a great accompaniment to CBS’s Monday night schedule following How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly and Two and a Half Men.
Verdict: Absolutely worth watching. It could be picked up for a full season and if it continues on the same path, for more.
Up All Night (NBC) (Canada CTV 2)
Up All Nigh’ stars Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph. Reagan (Applegate) and Chris Brinkley (Arnett) have recently had a baby and must learn how to deal with becoming parents and balancing their work lives. Chris leaves his law firm to become a stay-at-home dad so that Reagan can go back to work as a TV executive for a talk show starring Ava (Rudolph), who is so demanding it takes Reagan away from Chris and baby Amy.
The show is produced by Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live. I think what makes this show is Maya Rudolph’s character, Ava. It seems this is a direct mimicry of Oprah, and that makes it funny. The plot has already been done; a married couple has a child even though they aren’t ready, how will they make out? Don’t get us wrong, the show can be a hit, it is just a matter of doing it the right way. With great, well-known actors on board it’s about using their talent to carry the show.
Verdict: Much like New Girl, it is worth a shot.
Free Agents (NBC) (Canada CTV 2)
Free Agent’ is about two public relations executives who have both just gone through major changes in their lives; divorce and death. Hank Azaria plays Alex who is recently divorced, and Kathryn Hahn plays Helen who is dealing with the death of her fiancé. The two end up sleeping together and while it seems Alex wants to have a real relationship with Helen, she puts up a barrier since she is to ready and has not fully dealt with her fiancé’s passing.
The show is actually an adaption of a British show of the same name with minor tweaks. While that may have worked for The Office, it might not work for this one. The humor is fairly dark and the show not laughable. Most of the secondary characters are dry, fake and boring.
Verdict: Not recommend. This show could be easily canceled by mid-October.
Bonus: Two and a Half Men (CBS) (Canada CTV 2)
Ashton Kutcher made his Two and a Half Men debut with the departure of Charlie Sheen. Kutcher plays Walden Schmidt, an internet billionaire, who ends up buying Charlie’s house. After trying to commit suicide, Walden shows up at Charlie’s house and ends up befriending Alan, and after spending the night at a bar together, decides to buy the house.
The way Walden was introduced was unexpected but fit well with the show’s usual writing habits. Chuck Lorre, who has written for and produced several shows over the years, brought in some of the characters from those previous shows as a tie-in, which I liked. Kutcher’s portrayal of Walden seemed very familiar with that of his previous role of Michael Kelso in ‘That 70s Show’. It was a bit hard to read the character’s personality and I didn’t know if Walden was supposed to be stupid or just so heartbroken he looked stupid.
Verdict: The writing has not and will not change and since that is the reason it is the number one sitcom in America it would last a few more seasons. However, the audience may not fully accept such a change in characters and Ashton may fizzle out in later episodes.
Bonus #2: The Office (NBC) (Canada Global)
Steve Carrell is gone, so is the soul of The Office. First we find out that Robert California (James Spader) is taking over as branch manager for our beloved paper supply company, Dunder Mifflin. Then we find out he takes over as CEO of the entire company (this was due to the fact that Kathy Bates had to leave since ‘Harry’s Law’ was picked up for a second season at NBC) and picks Andy Bernard as the new branch manager.
The writers’ choice to make Andy the new boss might not please everyone. The first episode might not have been convincing for everyone. Plus, the idea that Steve Carrell is still around. It almost seems like the writers are running out of ideas for episodes.
Verdict: Not the same anymore. Worth watching because of the history of the show, but aside from that nothing captivating.
Next time we’ll take a look at:
How to be a Gentleman (CBS) (Canada Global)
Suburgatory (ABC) (Canada CityTV)
Man Up! (ABC) (Canada CTV 2)
Last Man Standing (ABC) (Canada CityTV)
I Hate My Teenage Daughter (FOX) (Canada Global)
Happy Endings (ABC) (Canada CityTV)