November 19, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Sundance’s British series “Liar” will make viewers question the truth when a teacher wakes up with little memory after a date gone wrong.
    Photos courtesy of Two Brothers Pictures/ITV/SundanceTV
    Sundance’s British series “Liar” will make viewers question the truth when a teacher wakes up with little memory after a date gone wrong.
  • “The Gifted” makes a new stop in the Marvel universe as two parents encourage their teenage children to develop their powers and take survival into their own hands before the government can intervene.
    Photo courtesy of Eliza Morse/FOX
    “The Gifted” makes a new stop in the Marvel universe as two parents encourage their teenage children to develop their powers and take survival into their own hands before the government can intervene.
  • Adam Scott (left) and Craig Robinson star in “Ghosted,” which premiered October 1 on FOX.
    Photo courtesy of FOX/Justin Stephens
    Adam Scott (left) and Craig Robinson star in “Ghosted,” which premiered October 1 on FOX.
  • The brainchild of “The Wire” alums David Simon and George Pelecanos, HBO’s gritty, eight-part drama “The Deuce” is set in 1970s New York.
    Photo courtesy of Paul Schiraldi
    The brainchild of “The Wire” alums David Simon and George Pelecanos, HBO’s gritty, eight-part drama “The Deuce” is set in 1970s New York.

What TV Shows To Watch This Fall

Zach Sparks
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October 19, 2017

New Programs Introduce Viewers To Eccentric Characters And Convoluted Plots

With 19 new shows on network TV and a slew of programs hitting streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, there’s just not enough time to watch every zing, action sequence and cliffhanger. Check out our take on fall’s new shows to see where your downtime is best spent.

DRAMA

“Ten Days in the Valley”
Premiered October 1
Sundays at 10:00pm on ABC

Every parent’s worst nightmare comes true for Jane Sadler (Kyra Sedgwick of “The Closer”) when her daughter is kidnapped from her bed. It’s up to Los Angeles Police Department detective John Bird (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) to solve the whodunit. The plot thickens when the audience learns that everyone has secrets to keep, whether it’s Sadler’s estranged husband, the nanny or Sadler herself. Those who tune in can expect engrossing tension and myriad plot twists.

“The Deuce”
Premiered September 10
Sundays at 9:00pm on HBO

The brainchild of “The Wire” alums David Simon and George Pelecanos, this gritty, eight-part drama is set in 1970s New York. While we won’t get too much into the plot – which is laden with cops, mobsters, harlots and their “bosses” – the show is led by a cast that includes James Franco (as both a workaholic barman and his gambling-addicted brother) and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy. The show gives audiences a frank look at corruption and greed, but be mindful that it contains vulgar language and adult themes.

“Liar”
Premiered September 27
Wednesdays at 10:00pm on Sundance

This British series will make viewers question the truth when a teacher wakes up with little memory after a date gone wrong. Both Laura (Joanne Froggatt), a woman with a checkered past, and Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd), the charming doctor, are perfectly convincing in their claims of innocence, making for a compelling tale until the truth is revealed and “Liar” becomes tangled up in its own web.

“The Good Doctor”
Premiered September 25
Mondays at 10:00pm on ABC

Formerly known for his role as psychopathic killer Norman Bates on “Bates Motel,” actor Freddie Highmore is now using his knife for good as Shaun Murphy, a surgeon with both autism and savant syndrome, which makes him brilliant but potentially unstable. The pilot episode suffers from predictable moments and a penchant for condensing action scenes into bite-sized samples, leaving little room for the drama to build. Despite these flaws, the positive message of accepting others and Highmore’s endearing performance – bolstered by flashbacks that depict Murphy’s abusive father and a family tragedy – give this show potential for improvement.

“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”
Premiered September 26
Tuesdays at 10:00pm on NBC

A year removed from watching other producers have success with O.J. Simpson anthologies, Dick Wolf travels back to 1989 for this famous case about two brothers accused of murdering their parents in their Beverly Hills home. If you’re not in need of a true-crime fix, there’s not much here that hasn’t been seen before, but the show manages to be compelling nonetheless with great acting from Edie Falco as attorney Leslie Abramson, Miles Gaston Villanueva as Lyle Menendez and Gus Halper as Erik Menendez.

The Brave
Premiered September 25
Mondays at 10:00pm on NBC

At the helm of this new military drama is Captain Adam Dalton (Mike Vogel from “Under the Dome”) and DIA Deputy Director of Intelligence Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche), and they jump right in with a search and rescue mission. As far as procedurals go, this show has plenty of action and intrigue set against the backdrop of the war on terrorism. What it does not have at the outset are subplots and mysteries that became hallmarks of predecessors like “Homeland” and “The Blacklist.”

Honorable Mentions: Other armed forces shows include “Seal Team” (September 27 on CBS) – a procedural starring David Boreanaz from “Bones” – and “Valor” (October 9 on The CW). CBS’ “Wisdom of the Crowd” is a solid but unspectacular series about a man who creates a crowdsourcing app to solve crimes like his daughter’s murder. Over on ABC, “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” attempts to restore a man’s purpose in the form of an earth-saving mission after he loses his job and girlfriend – a tale that quickly becomes absurd. The CW remakes the ‘80s drama “Dynasty,” as the owner of an energy company gets married, throwing his heir’s fortune into question. David Fincher’s “Mindhunter,” on TV screens October 13, follows two agents as they interview serial killers in prison to learn their methods.

 

COMEDY

“Young Sheldon”
Premiered September 25, Resumes November 2
Thursdays at 8:30pm on CBS

In this spinoff of “The Big Bang Theory,” we see the precocious Sheldon Cooper as a 9-year-old boy from Texas who skips several grades on his way to high school. No so loved by his twin sister Missy and older brother George, Sheldon likes to tattletale, he reads student handbooks for fun and he expects to set a fashion trend by wearing a bowtie. Produced by Chuck Lorre, the show and script is carried by Iain Armitage, who perfectly delivers one-liners. Encouraged to pursue music, he says, “No, thanks, musicians do drugs.” After Missy says Sheldon doesn’t believe in God, he says, “Nope … but I believe in Mom. Sure, she thinks the Earth was made in six days, but that's because she's gullible, not a liar.” As Sheldon’s mother Mary, Zoe Perry plays the nurturing mother while her husband, a football coach played by Lance Barber, struggles to understand his son. Narrating the show is actor Jim Parsons, who portrays the older Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory.” In the early going, this show is quirky, funny and heartwarming enough to garner the attention of TV audiences.

“Me, Myself and I”
Premiered September 25
Mondays at 9:30pm on CBS

This comedy hops back and forth in the life of Alex, from a teenager (Jack Dylan Grazer) getting acquainted with a new stepfather and stepbrother, to a 40-year-old inventor (Bobby Moynihan) who works alongside Darryl (Jaleel White of Steve Urkel fame) and is newly separated, to a 65-year-old (John Larroquette) business owner. The life lessons are too familiar (even Michael Jordan missed some shots, but he just kept shooting), yet all three versions of Alex are easy to root for. This show has heart, but is it distinctive and multi-dimensional enough to sustain multiple seasons?

“Ghosted”
Premiered October 1
Sundays at 8:30pm on FOX

Craig Robinson (“The Office”) and Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”) headline this new comedy about a former cop and a paranormal-loving professor who are recruited to aid a secret government agency in investigating strange happenings. Robinson and Scott both lend their personal bits to the show, but some of the jokes are cheesy, and missing from “Ghosted” is a key element to storytelling: pacing. In the pilot, the show races forward, heedlessly dumping information without establishing a reason the audience should care.

The Mayor
Premiered October 3
Tuesdays at 9:30pm on ABC

Aspiring rapper Courtney Rose (Brandon Michael Hall) runs for mayor in an attempt to boost his music sales and is stunned to learn his message resonated with voters. The premise is implausible, yet the show finds solid footing with the chemistry between Hall, Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom, and opponent-turned-assistant Valentina Barella (Lea Michele).

Honorable Mentions: TV junkies can catch “White Famous” on Showtime, which portrays Floyd Mooney’s (played by Jay Pharoah) pursuit of show business. “Will and Grace” returned to NBC on September 28 after an 11-year hiatus, and the show’s fans will find that it hasn’t changed much from the previous eight seasons.

 

SUPERHERO AND SCI-FI

“The Gifted”
Premiered October 2
Mondays at 9:00pm on FOX

Set somewhere along the X-Men timeline, “The Gifted” makes a new stop in the Marvel universe as two parents encourage their teenage children to develop their powers and take survival into their own hands before the government can intervene. The story relies too heavily on genre tropes, yet the show yields a potent mix of comical and heartwarming moments that are appropriate for any age.

“The Orville”
Premiered September 10
Thursdays at 9:00pm on FOX

Audiences may know Seth MacFarlane as the creator of “Family Guy” and the vulgar but lovable protagonist from “Ted,” but in his new show, which can be likened to a “Star Trek” sci-fi tribute, MacFarlane trades in screwball comedy for straight-laced adventure. McFarlane produces “The Orville,” which is part comedy, and stars as Captain Ed Mercer. The show features aliens, spats between former spouses and nice visuals of a utopian city, but MacFarlane can’t stop this ship from heading into obscurity.

Honorable Mentions: Perhaps a dishonorable mention for Marvel’s “Inhumans,” the ABC show about an ancient race of mutants, which is devoid of good scriptwriting. “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access should make Trekkies proud.

 

Keep an eye out for a few shows that will premiere in the coming weeks. Debuting November 3 on Netflix, the six-episode series “Alias Grace” details the encounter between a psychiatrist and a Canadian housekeeper convicted of a double murder 15 years earlier. Starting November 14, Hulu will stream “Future Man,” Seth Rogan’s crude sci-fi comedy about a gamer visited by two soldiers from an apocalyptic future.


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