TV Fall 2016: Thursdays
Thursdays used to be Must See TV and are now “Thank God It’s Thursday” as ABC dramas draw the most viral online attention (even if it is not always reflected in the ratings). A lot of the best shows on network TV land here in a pile up for viewers that the advertisers – particularly money-dropping movie studios – are hoping to grab before the weekend begins. So it is no surprise some of the most promising new shows for the season have landed timeslots on Thursday. These include:
The Good Place: Kristen Bell and Ted Danson star in NBC’s heavenly sitcom about a recently deceased selfish girl who accidentally winds up in “the good place” (because a lawyer who saves innocents from death row shares the same name). After realizing she doesn’t belong, she decides to learn how to be a good person before anyone finds out and sends her to “the other place.” TGP has a similarly cheerful vibe as the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. There is at least one annoying plot hole involving the all-knowing database/android that I won’t spoil. It also has more of the smile-but-not-laugh-at comedy that NBC specializes in. Still, I like the storyline and the characters have potential – even if I want to slap a couple of them. Overall, like UKS, I could see myself binge-watching it if were on Netflix instead of being dribbled out in pieces on NBC.
Notorious: Piper Perabo first caught my attention as the young CIA agent Annie Walker in Covert Affairs. She’s back in a mediocre drama about the arguably unethical lines crossed by the news media and the attorneys that work high-profile cases. The ratings for the pilot episode were as bad as the reviews. The only chance this show doesn’t get pulled is if ABC decides its better off letting the episodes already produced air as scheduled. Which is a shame, because like another ABC newbie (Conviction) the time does seem right to explore how the media manipulates or creates the news it covers.
Pure Genius: Two returning shows own the hour in which this new show begins airing on October 27th, so I wonder if I’ll get a chance to see it. Basically, the show asks what would happen if Apple did for healthcare what it did for smartphones. And of course the young billionaire behind the hi-tech hospital has a rare illnesss he’s hiding from his staff, but that predictable twist is not that important to this medical drama.
The Great Indoors: A sitcom about a middle-aged journalist who gets pulled from the field to try to corral the millennials running a digital magazine. As with (especially the early years of) The Big Bang Theory in its nerd humor, expect a lot of painfully unfunny and repetitive jokes about young people. This one will join TBBT when the latter returns to Thursday nights on October 27, after NFL football leaves CBS.
Returning shows on the night worth mentioning: The Big Bang Theory, (the jokes are getting a bit predictable the show spins its wheels but it still remains a solid half-hour of entertainment each week) as well as Mom which balances real emotional story arcs with crass humor. Going head to head in the 10 o’clock hour are favorite dramas How To Get Away With Murder and The Blacklist. HTGAWM is one of the sexiest, best written, generally well-acted shows on television and does not get nearly enough award-night recognition for that. And The Blacklist enters Season 4 with a spinoff looming at midseason, leaving precious little time for Liz to settle some scores and reunite with her hubby before his spinoff begins.