Fall TV Preview: MANHATTAN LOVE STORY

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Starring: Analeigh Tipton (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”), Jake McDorman (“Shameless”), Nicolas Wright (“White House Down”), Jade Catta-Preta (“Californication”) and Kurt Fuller (“Better with You”).

Genre: Single-camera comedy

Premiere Date: Tuesday, September 30, 8:30 p.m., ABC

Direct Competition: “NCIS” (CBS), “The Voice” (NBC), “Utopia” (Fox), “The Flash” (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A misogynist (McDorman) and a cliché (Tipton) fall for each other after a series of unfortunate events.

Initial Reaction: The overuse of voiceover is glaringly obvious in the wake of an underdeveloped script.

Conclusion: Analeigh Tipton was so charming in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” so what’s the excuse for her blandness in “Manhattan Love Story?” I don’t blame her, though. I also don’t blame Bret Harrison lookalike, Jake McDorman, for his equally bland performance. The show’s central duo has very little to work with, and the cold open (he’s strolling down the streets of New York rating women, while she’s strolling down the streets of New York rating handbags) is primitive of what I’m talking about. He’s a misogynist. She’s a cliché. To add to the romantic comedy cliché of it all, she’s a starry-eyed twenty-something overwhelmed by her move to the Big Apple.

The characters in “Manhattan Love Story” are remarkably one-dimensional. Perhaps if the pilot spent more time letting us get to know them, and less time listening to their voiceovers, we’d sympathize with either one of them when the pilot wants us to be sympathetic. To make matters even worse, Tipton’s best friend couple/roommates are just awful, awful people. Gosh, just, terrible people.

If I liked these characters, or cared for them in any way, then I’d give this show a few weeks to find its sea legs, but by the end of it, I liked them even less. For the sake of everyone involved, I hope a second version of the “Manhattan Love Story” pilot comes about that reduces the use of voiceover and adds new scenes to help develop its central duo. The supporting characters need a total rewrite.

Watch Live, DVR or Skip?: Skip this and re-watch “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” instead.

Fall TV Preview: SELFIE

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Starring: Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), John Cho (“Star Trek,” “Harold and Kumar”), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn”), Allyn Rachel (“Weeds”) and David Harewood (“Homeland”).

Genre: Single-camera comedy

Premiere Date: Tuesday, September 30, 8 p.m., ABC

Direct Competition: “NCIS” (CBS), “The Voice” (NBC), “Utopia” (Fox), “The Flash” (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A social media celebrity has a #FirstWorldProblem, makes John Cho suffer her bulls–t. [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

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Starring: Viola Davis (“The Help”), Billy Brown (“Sons of Anarchy”), Alfred Enoch (“Harry Potter”), Jack Falahee (“Twisted”), Katie Findlay (“The Carrie Diaries”), Aja Naomi King (“Black Man”), Matt McGorry (“Orange is the New Black”), Karla Souza, Charlie Weber (“90210?) and Liza Weil (“Bunheads”)

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Thursday, September 25, 10 p.m., ABC (CTV in Canada)

Direct Competition: Thursday Night Football (September-October) / “Elementary” (October 30-) (CBS), “Parenthood” (NBC)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A law professor teaches a group of promising students how to play dirty to ensure the law stays on their side. [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: black-ish

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Starring: Anthony Anderson (“Guys with Kids”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Girlfriends”), Laurence Fishburne (“Hannibal”), Yara Shahidi (“Scandal”), Marcus Scribner (“Wendell & Vinnie”), Miles Brown (“Shameless”) and Marsai Martin.

Genre: Single-camera comedy

Premiere Date: Wednesday, September 24, 9:30 p.m., ABC

Direct Competition: “Criminal Minds” (CBS), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC), “Red Band Society” (Fox), “The 100? (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): Andre (Anderson) is on a mission to ensure his family identifies with their race and culture. Hilarity ensues? [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: SCORPION

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Starring: Elyes Gabel (“Body of Proof”), Katharine McPhee (“Smash”), Robert Patrick (“True Blood”), Eddie Kaye Thomas (“Til’ Death”), Jadyn Wong (“Being Erica”) and Ari Stidham (“Huge”)

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Monday, September 22, 9 p.m., CBS

Direct Competition: “The Voice” (NBC), “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox), “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC), “Jane the Virgin” (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A team of beautiful minds (and Katherine McPhee) partner with Homeland Security to help stop high-tech threats.

Initial Reaction: It’s standard CBS fare disguised as a show for tech nerds. “Scorpion” is not a show for tech nerds. [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: GOTHAM

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Starring: Ben McKenzie (“Southland”), Donal Logue (“Terriers”), Jada Pinkett-Smith (“Hawthorne”), Sean Pertwee (“Elementary”), David Mazouz (“Touch”), Zabryna Guevara (“Burn Notice”), Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards (“Breaking In”), Cory Michael Smith and Victoria Cartagena

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Monday, September 22, 8 p.m., Fox

Direct Competition: “The Big Bang Theory” (Sept. 22-Oct. 20) / “2 Broke Girls” (Oct. 27-) and “Mom” (CBS), “The Voice” (NBC), “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC), “The Originals” (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): Rookie detective, James Gordon, and his partner, Harvey Bullock, work to solve the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Initial Reaction: The show takes itself too seriously, and outside of key casting, there’s nothing grabbing me here.

Conclusion: Lower your expectations, folks. If you’re expecting a really cool take on what the city of Gotham was like before the arrival of Bruce Wayne’s vigilante persona, you’re not getting it. I was shocked by how much “Gotham” felt like a basic crime procedural (with obvious fantastical exceptions, of course). McKenzie, Logue, Pinkett-Smith and Taylor are well cast as Gordon, Bullock, Fish Mooney and Oswald Cobblepot (a.k.a. The Penguin), but good casting rarely, if ever, can actually make up for a script as lacking as this one. The pilot’s almost all exposition, and I had to force myself to care about any of it. That’s not a good sign.

Watch Live, DVR, or Skip?: DVR this one if you’re a Batman aficionado. Otherwise, I don’t know what’s here for you. As someone whose knowledge of Batman spans little outside of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, I can’t say I’m in a rush to see more. If other critics I trust begin praising the show later on this season, I’ll make the effort to catch-up before season two.

Fall TV Preview: FOREVER

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Starring: Ioan Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four”), Judd Hirsch (“Taxi”), Alana De La Garza (“Law & Order”), Lorraine Touissant (“Orange is the New Black”), Donnie Keshawarz (“Homeland”), Joel David Moore (“Bones”).

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Sneak Preview – Monday, September 22, 10 p.m. / Regular Time Period Premiere – Tuesday, September 23, 10:00 p.m., ABC

Direct Competition: “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Chicago Fire” (NBC)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): An immortal medical examiner partners with an NYPD detective and solves crimes. It’s your run-of-the-mill procedural with an obvious twist.

Initial Reaction: If you like crime procedurals – the lackluster “Castle,” in particular – you’ll enjoy this one, ABC’s newest drama to suffer the wrath of its Tuesday night death slot. [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: MADAM SECRETARY

MADAM SECRETARY

Starring: Téa Leoni (“Fun with Dick and Jane”), Bebe Neuwirth (“Cheers,” “Frasier”), Geoffrey Arend (“Body of Proof”), Patina Miller (“The Hunger Games” trilogy), Erich Bergen (“Jersey Boys”), Tim Daly (“Private Practice”), Katherine Herzer and Evan Roe

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Sunday, September 21, 8:00 p.m., CBS

Direct Competition: Sunday Night Football (NBC), “The Simpsons”/”Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox), “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A former CIA agent turned college professor is asked to fulfill the role of Secretary of State after an unforeseen tragedy takes place. [Read more...]

Fall TV Preview: RED BAND SOCIETY

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Starring: Octavia Spencer (“Mom”), Dave Annable (“666 Park Avenue”), Astro (“The X Factor”), Ciara Bravo (“Big Time Rush”), Griffin Gluck (“Back in the Game”), Zoe Levin (“The Way, Way Back”), Rebecca Rittenhouse, Charlie Rowe and Nolan Sotillo (“Prom”)

Genre: One-hour drama

Premiere Date: Wednesday, September 17, 9 p.m., Fox

Direct Competition: “Criminal Minds” (CBS), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC), “Modern Family”/”Black-ish” (ABC), “The 100? (CW)

Premise (in 140 characters or less): A group of adolescents find solace in unlikely camaraderie as they live through life-threatening diagnoses in a teen-pediatric ward.

Initial Reaction: All the feels! [Read more...]