News & Notes
Tonight, ABC has the second season premiere of The Middle, the series premiere of Better With You, the second season premieres of Modern Family and Cougar Twon and the series premiere of The Whole Truth, CBS has the sixth season premiere of Criminal Minds and the series premiere of The Defenders, FOX has the eighth season premiere of Hell’s Kitchen, and NBC has the series premiere of Undercovers and the two-hour 12th season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Over on cable, Bravo has the seventh season Top Chef reunion special, Discovery Channel has the fifth season premiere of Man vs. Wild and the first season finale of Surviving the Cut, Food Network has an America’s Best special, and MTV has the 24th season The Real World reunion special.
Next week, NBC has the series premiere of Law & Order: Los Angeles.
Undercovers (NBC): Series Premiere. Two former CIA operatives that are now married and running a catering business are called back to duty when a former friend/fellow agent goes missing. Created, directed, executive produced, and written by J.J. Abrams, which is why I think my expectations were too high. I was under whelmed with this first episode. While I think there is potential here, it left something to be desired. Also, there is one character that is clearly supposed to provide some of the comedy, but mostly he felt like the Jar Jar Binks of the episode. I will be watching for the foreseeable future to see if the potential can be met, but that’s mostly because there isn’t anything else that interests me in the least in this hour of primetime.
Modern Family (ABC): Season Premiere. Phil has finally agreed to sell the old family station wagon, but wants to take one last trip before he does. Looking forward to the return of this show, which was for me the best new comedy of last season with NBC’s Community a very close second.
Cougar Town (ABC): Season Premiere. Jules feels really close to her new therapist, played by Jennifer Aniston. Bobby is feeling frustrated by Grayson and Jules’ relationship. This show became one of my favorites after a solid, if slow, start and the first two episodes of the season do nothing to change my mind on that. Mostly, I want to play a TV version of the game they play in tonight’s episode.
Terriers (FX): New. Hank is tasked with finding evidence that a bank manager’s wife is cheating and thus help him secure a home loan. Runs 63 minutes. Plays twice and again later. This is a bizarre case with an ending that is well, bizarre.
The Middle (ABC): Season Premiere. It’s the beginning of another school year and Frankie wants to get ahead of things this year. I watched this episode and still don’t find this show funny.
Better With You (ABC): Season Premiere. Parents have been married for years, oldest sister is in a long term relationship, but not married, and the younger sister is the free spirit in a new relationship that’s moving pretty quickly. While I really like JoAnna Garcia, Jennifer Finnigan, and Debra Jo Rupp, they are saddled with a very poorly put together comedy here. I like the premise, well it works well for CBS’ Rules of Engagement, of three couples in various stages of their relationships. There is plenty of comedy to be mined from the subject matter, but they just don’t mine much of it in the first episode. It suffers from what I call “Pilotitis.” That is when the “Pilot” is afflicted with the need to get everyone and everything introduced that it feels crammed and shoddily put together, all while forgetting the funny in the case of the comedy. While I did laugh a couple of times, the vast majority of the episode speeds by without a laugh to be had.
Criminal Minds (CBS): Season Premiere. The team is getting close to finding serial killer that is holding Det. Spicer’s child as a hostage. Am interested to see how they go about writing some of the cast out over the first few episodes of the season.
The Defenders (CBS): Series Premiere. Two Las Vegas lawyers, James Belushi and Jerry O’Connell, bend and stretch the rules to defend their client that is accused of murder. The two are just a step above ambulance chasers. I got the feeling that within some serious cases that a lot of fun could be had given the setting of the show. The shows feels like it splits the difference between the absurdist comedy of Boston Legal and the heavy drama of The Practice. I’m not saying it is as good as either of those, but it felt like it sits in the middle of those two extremes. I like the first episode enough that I will give it a few more episodes to see where it goes.
- Hellcats (The CW): New. Savannah goes on her first date with Dan and the whole team tags along. Marti is trying to impress one of her professors. The second episode was better than the first, but this show is still not very good, especially the adults. They are all played by actors I have liked and have done great work in other things, but their characters are some of the worst on the show.
- The Whole Truth (ABC): Series Premiere. A high school teacher is accused of murdering one of his students. I like both the leads, Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow, but they are saddled with some really terrible scenes and dialog. I really like the premise of this show. The idea of taking a case from start to finish and showing us the inner workings of both the prosecution and defense all the way up to the jury gives their verdict is a great idea. It makes you are part of the jury and to make up your mind on the case. Then the episode closes with a scene that tells you what really happened, so you know if you and/or the jury are correct. That is what happens here, but the journey from start to finish is full of too much exposition about what they need to do before they do it and a lot of scenes that are blazed through in an attempt to create some excitement. I don’t see myself watching this again or appearing in one of these posts going forward.
- ESPN has doubleheader Wednesday Night Baseball MLB action with the Tampa Bay Rays at the New York Yankees followed by the San Diego Padres at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Haven (Syfy): Repeat. Friday night’s episode, “The Hand You’re Dealt,” replays.
Bravo has 13 episodes of Top Chef…
History has six episodes of Food Tech that play twice.
Oxygen has eight episodes of America’s Next Top Model.
USA has five episodes of NCIS tonight.