Friday, September 13, 2013

The 2013 3 EP Test (Fall TV New Shows Preview)

It's time for the 3 EP Test!
Based on my pet theory that it takes exactly 3 episodes of a new show to know whether or not it's something you will want to watch long term, each fall I scour the pilots for 7 new shows I'm willing to give a shot.  6 years ago when I started this it was basically for my family and a few friends (links: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) but this year all of the sudden I find myself a full fledged TV critic who has the pilots show up at his door months before they air. It's an exciting development and allows me to better communicate to you the shows that might be worth investing in this year, but it also has drastically affected this exercise.  Some shows that would have likely made this list, I am no longer interested in (I'm looking at you Michael J Fox) and many shows that I likely never would have given a chance now seem somewhat appealing to me.  In fact of the 40 or so new shows the networks are throwing at our walls this fall, I found at least a dozen of them vaguely interesting!

Also what does it say that about network TV that I get excited with a 30% almost success rate.

Point being, I had my work cut out for me this year, but I had to whittle it down to 7. But before we get to those, feel free to check out these shows whose pilots I found intriguing but just don't have the time to invest in.

About A Boy (NBC)
Mind Games (ABC)
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)
Super Fun Night (ABC)
Welcome to the Family (NBC)

And here are the 7 that made the cut in reverse order of anticipation:

7) Enlisted (FOX)
Premieres: Late Fall, 2013

This is the best example of a show that would have NEVER crossed my radar to try out if it hadn't been sent to me to preview the pilot. It has no stars, doesn't seem like an interesting concept, and is buried in FOX's mid-season replacement program. And yet... I found this comedy about three military brothers genuinely funny with a great ensemble cast and some clever writing. Not sure if it will keep it up but I'll be watching when it finally airs.

6) The Blacklist (NBC)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c

James Spader is great in this as a career criminal, and the twists and turns were just the right amount to keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what might happen next without feeling too gimmicky. We'll see if it can keep up that intrigue level over time but for now I'm in.

5) Believe (NBC)
Premieres: Midseason

Yes, JJ Abrams name is involved but he's not intimately involved. Rather, its the production value matched with the high concept premise (of which we aren't yet fully aware of) that will likely keep me interested long term.

4) Almost Human (FOX)
Premieres: Late Fall 2013

Now THIS is a JJ Abrams Show. Robots and humans working together in a futuristic society with Karl Urban acting his heart out. I also really enjoyed Micheal Ealy in this, who you may remember from the short lived Flash Forward. Of all the pilots this year this one felt the most like a movie and if they can keep that feel up, I think they have a hit on their hands.

3) The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c

Two words: Robin Williams. (well... and Sarah Michelle Geller...but that would put me at 5 words... well, technically names... and really if you include all the words it's 9 words... except with the explanations it's now 37... wait did that include this sentence?... sorry... um... right... Robin Williams)

2) Brooklyn Nine Nine (FOX)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30/9:30c

The funniest pilot of the 2013 season. I'm not saying it's New Girl or Modern Family funny, but there are a lot of laughs to be had here and most of them from Andy Samberg. His sarcastic misplaced bravado is perfect for the role of a detective and the cast around him seems to flow perfectly with him. In a season without a lot of new laughs this is the one to watch for me.

1) Marvel's Agents of Shield (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c

Was there really any doubt? I mean come on, it's MARVEL!! The question on every fan's mind has to be, how exactly will the TV show interact with the movie's plots or characters? Done correctly this could be a new era in TV where the lines between movie and television continuity blur even further. At worst, it's a low budget knock off with silly plots and bad acting. I'm hoping for the first and can't wait to give it it's full 3 episodes to find out.

Stay tuned next week for the 21 hours of TV, where I pick which 21 hours of TV I will watch every week!