|10/1/2021 11:41:00 AM|
The Big Leap on FOX
Ordinary Joe on NBC
Some of what the Fall Season has to offer on the small screen
Think back and I bet you can recall that feeling of anticipation for “Fall TV Season.” You spent your summer watching re-runs, those dreaded variety shows and series you didn’t bother to record, yes record, during the regular season. Occasionally you’d get a Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1971) or Northern Exposure (1990) that hit it big in the summer months. And of course, there’s Seinfeld. NBC aired the pilot episode in July 1989 and then a four-episode season the following summer with an eye to burning it off. Then it caught on and became the anchor of NBC’s Thursday night “Must See TV.”
In the early 2000s the networks filled the summer void with reality shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race and American Idol. If you were lucky enough to have HBO, you could spend the summer watching new series like Sex and the City (1998) and Six Feet Under (2001). And in the summer of 2007, AMC experimented with scripted TV with a little show called Mad Men
Today, there is no such thing as “Must See TV.” It’s more like “Too Much TV.” However, the Fall TV season is still a thing, especially for broadcast TV. Here are a few of the shows premiering in September and October. I’ll look at streaming shows in a future column.
The Big Leap (Monday, 9 pm on FOX) - I enjoyed the first two episodes of this drama, “inspired by” a British show called Big Ballet. On The Big Leap, a group of amateur dancers in Detroit get a chance at fame and redemption when they audition for a reality TV show. There’s an aging ballet dancer, a cancer survivor, a regular guy with above average moves and our hero Gabby (Simone Recasner), who abandoned her dancing dream to raise her son etc. I’m loving watching the show’s executive producer Nick Blackburn (Scott Foley) manipulate his cast to create drama. If the rest of the cast can rise to the level of Foley and Recasner, The Big Leap could be one of the biggest hits of the season
Ordinary Joe (Monday, 10 pm on NBC) - You might remember James Wolk as Bob Benson, the guy you loved to hate on Mad Men. Now he’s the guy, make that three guys, you love to love. Ordinary Joe follows Joe Kimbreau on the three paths he might have taken after college; nurse, police officer and musician. Each story arc is framed in a different color, an unusual move that helps keep the viewer keep track of the storylines. The first episode was well-written with engaging performances.
La Brea (Tuesday, 9 pm on NBC) - I had to submit this column before the premiere of this sci-fi thriller about a giant sinkhole at the La Brea Tar Pits that opens and takes down a bunch of unfortunate Californians. This isn’t normally my cup of tea, but the trailer, pun intended, sucked me in.
Alter Ego (Wednesday, 9pm on FOX) - Sorry, Celebrity Judges Alanis Morissette and will.i.am and other judges and a hostess I’m too old to know. This convoluted attempt to milk the success of Fox’s hit The Masked Singer, is just too much for me. The visuals are weird and the set-up is nuts. I will quote from TV Guide. “Aspiring singers are seen live as computer-generated figures they designed. Meanwhile, as they perform onstage, a motion capture suit and special helmet transmit their movements and facial expressions to their alter ego.” Amanda out.
Ghosts (Premieres October 7 at 9 pm on CBS) - I would love to share all the new sitcoms headed to Network TV, but NBC, which brought us everything from Cheers to Friends, doesn’t have a single sitcom on the air this fall. Neither does FOX, which prefers its comedies animated. CBS however, the home of the recently retired Big Bang Theory and its current prequel Young Sheldon, is still committed to sitcoms. In Ghosts, an upbeat writer finds herself surrounded by spirits in the old New York home she inherits. With so little to choose from in the laughs department, I’ll definitely be checking this out.
Queens (Premieres October 19 at 10 pm on ABC) - A 90s girls’ group reunites when they have a chance to perform at an awards show after a hot young artist samples their music. Even though I haven’t seen Queens yet, I have seen Peacock’s Girls5Eva which has the exact same plot. The difference? Queens has fewer jokes and an all-black cast, including singer/actress Brandy as Xplicit Lyrics. Her bandmates are Butter Pecan, Lil Muffin and Professor Sex, so Queens wins the name game. I hope both shows succeed and one day form epic Super Group Queens5Eva. That show I’ll watch.
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