Screening a bunch of pilots before, during and after the summer TCA press tour and then weighing in with reviews is pretty much judging a book by its cover. The networks discourage it with “work in progress” labels suggesting major elements are still to be added. (Usually that’s an over-statement, unless you count a occasional colour tweak or sound adjustment.)
There were some dumb things shown critics at press tour that will still likely draw an audience, such as “Naked Dating.” Seems you can add “Naked” to any show and goose an audience. Think “Naked Survivor,” “Naked Amazing Race,” “Naked 60 Minutes.” Well, okay, maybe not “Naked 60 Minutes.”
“Sharknado 2” was extremely dumb and still the screening of the movie poolside at the Beverly Hilton was the best night out ever. So I guess adding Shark to any title is also marketing gold this 2014 (with the exception of “Shark Shark Tank”).
There were many, many mediocre shows presented this press tour. Almost everything the broadcasters had to offer falls into this category, especially the new comedies. “The McCarthys,” in a season where ABC in particular finally diversified its casting, is offensive to white people–particularly the Irish. Recently canceled “Neighbors” looks like “Seinfeld” compared to this lot.
As always, there were a handful of programs that show great promise but just aren’t my cup of tea. “The Flash” is well made and will please comic book fans. “Red Band Society” is basically “Glee Hospital” but I can see it catching on with the kids. “How to Get Away With Murder” seems like good, frothy, Shonda Rhimes fun. Nice to see Tea Leoni (“Madam Secretary”) back in anything.
The first of my five favorite shows based on the TCA previews begins with the letter “G” for “Gotham.” It helped that I saw it on a big screen on the Warners lot in a quiet, popcorn-less screening room. It looks like a multi-million dollar feature film. It absolutely exceeded my expectations in story, casting and effects. Holy tailor-made marketing blurb: “Gotham” is can’t miss for fall.
For more on “Gotham” and my other Top 5 from TCA picks (including two so far not available in Canada), follow this link to this feature I wrote for The Canadian Press.
And for more on the fall season offerings hot off the TCA press tour, follow this link to my appearance Friday morning on Hamilton’s CHCH Morning Live with Annette Hamm. There you’ll see plenty of clips from “Gotham” and several other new fall dramas and comedies.