Fall Premieres: Do These New Series Make the Grade? (Part 2)

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Photos via E! Online, Spoilers Guide, and Huffington Post

Photos via E! Online, Spoilers Guide, and Huffington Post

Is it just me or are networks getting better at spacing out premieres throughout the fall? Although it makes life easier for television reviewers and people like me who watch all (or most) of the fall TV premieres. Seriously, could you imagine if every new TV show debuted in the same month, let alone the same week? It would be pandemonium! It would be chaos! It would also be impossible. So let’s thank the TV network gods that they don’t. Still, the staggering of these premieres especially over October and November is making it hard for me to only review the pilots of all the new shows.

While some series have already been cancelled (We Are Men, Welcome to the Family, Ironside, etc.) others haven’t even begun. Although part one of my premiere reviews exclusively rated each show on their pilot episode, some of the series in this post are on their seventh or eighth episode and I’ve nearly forgotten the pilots–or they’ve blurred together. So this time around, it’s going to be a little different. I’ve rated each show based on the pilot as well as all the episodes that have aired so far (or if I didn’t watch anything past the pilot.) It might be a little unfair to the shows that premiered more recently, but all’s fair in love, war, and TV.

Photo via E! Online

Photo via E! Online

Super Fun Night
Wednesdays at 9:30pm on ABC
Pilot Grade: D
Overall Grade: Stopped Watching

I think everyone can agree that Super Fun Night is tanking. We all had high expectations for Rebel Wilson’s first show because she’s been the darling of comedy since breaking out in Bridesmaids then shining in Pitch Perfect. However, whether the fault of the writers, the producers, or the actors, this show simply does not work. It’s possible that Super Fun Night falls victim to the high expectations, but what I really didn’t like was the brand of humor displayed in the pilot. The jokes were all of the secondhand-embarrassment sort that make me personally feel very uncomfortable. I hate the types of shows that try to make people laugh by poking fun at and making a character feel awkward or embarrassed–it’s just not my thing. So I could barely sit through the pilot and decided never to return to the show.

Photo via Yahoo!

Photo via Yahoo!

Dracula
Fridays at 10pm on NBC
Pilot Grade: C-
Overall Grade: Stopped Watching

Although, for all intents and purposes, the pilot of Dracula was decent, nothing about this show drew me in. The story of Dracula is rather tired and although the showrunners attempted to put a new spin on it, the reincarnation of the classic character doesn’t do it for me. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Dracula (that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring the famous vampire is my least favorite in the whole series,) and I think as a society we’ve moved on to different vampire stories. But even beyond the fact that Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, have reimagined the classic evil creature, the vampire trend is ending. Zombies and Witches are the new “in” trend this season so I can’t imagine Dracula is going to be too successful. (Also, the Friday time slot is not a good sign.)

Photo via IMDB

Photo via IMDB

Ground Floor
Thursdays at 10pm on TBS
Pilot Grade: C
Overall Grade: C+

Based loosely (like really loosely) on Romeo and Juliet, Ground Floor follows the romance between a high-powered executive and a woman who works on the ground floor of the building, but in an upbeat, lighthearted kind of way. Although Ground Floor stars Skylar Astin (of Spring Awakening and Pitch Perfect fame,) this is a TBS comedy, which I’ve never really had much interest in. The pilot of Ground Floor is horribly cliched and barely uses Astin’s singing talents (except for 10 seconds of him singing “Your Song” by Elton John.) John C. McGinley (Scrubs) costars in this sitcom, but even he can’t save it. I have to admit, though, the second episode was better than the pilot so maybe, just maybe, this show can get better.

Photo via Zap2it

Photo via Zap2it

The Originals
Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW
Pilot Grade: F
Overall Grade: B-

I was really not a fan of the pilot of The Originals. It was almost exactly the same as the backdoor pilot from the fourth season of The Vampire Diaries, “The Originals,” that tested out the new series. I understand that the show needs to make it easy for viewers who may not watch TVD to get into The Originals, but as someone who watches both series, it was incredibly annoying and a waste of time. That said, I think the series overall has managed to differentiate itself from TVD and has created its own cast of unique and compelling characters. Plus The Originals has a bunch of murderous plots, a ritual sacrifice, and plenty of attractive actors and actresses. So I’m glad I gave the show a second chance.

Photo via Spoiler TV

Photo via Spoiler TV

The Witches of East End
Sundays at 10pm on Lifetime
Pilot Grade: A-
Overall Grade: B+

There are quite a few shows featuring witches on TV this season: American Horror Story: Coven, The Originals, and of course The Witches of East End. Some people might say that’s way too many series about witches but, you know what, I don’t think so. It’s been a while since we’ve had a quality show about witches (I’m not talking about witch storylines on series like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood.) As someone who grew up with Sabrina the Teenaged Witch and Charmed, I’m glad to see The Witches of East End. It’s an enjoyable soap opera about family, love, and power–what’s not to like? Since the show airs on Lifetime, it’s sure to be full of drama and sex, and the series certainly delivers. It’s enjoyable, supernatural fun.

Photo via Hypable

Photo via Hypable

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland
Thursdays at 8pm on ABC
Pilot Grade: B+
Overall Grade: A-

For a spinoff series, I have to admit, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is pretty good–it’s as good as a spinoff of Once Upon A Time could be. Wonderland suffers from a lot of the same annoying problems as the original series, but I’m enjoying the show anyway. Though that might be because I didn’t really have high hopes for Wonderland. OUAT was beginning to drag as many of its characters became boring and stuck in the same ruts, but Wonderland is a breath of fresh air. Well, Wonderland still suffers from the “Love will conquer all, good guys finish first” schtick that is so cliched in fairytales. But Wonderland manages to balance Alice’s determined optimism with the Knave of Heart’s cynicism and doubt. These characters, with their differences, bring a new spin to the OUAT universe that might be more enjoyable than the original show.

Photo via The Washington Post

Photo via The Washington Post

The Tomorrow People
Wednesdays at 9pm on The CW
Pilot Grade: B
Overall Grade: A

Let’s be honest, the year we get through a premiere season without a remake of an old TV show isn’t in the near future. And it’s arguable that we’ve seen the basic premise of The Tomorrow People many times before–Heroes, X-Men, etc.–but for some reason I really enjoy this show. Perhaps it’s that I love these types of sci-fi “the next phase in human evolution” storylines, or perhaps I really like the characters. Besides Robbie Amell, Luke Mitchell, Peyton List, and Aaron Yoo are nice to look at. The Tomorrow People is one of the many supernatural/sci-fi dramas among The CW’s lineup this year and it fits right in. The network caters to teenagers and young adults, but also provides some great programming for those of us who like that kind of thing–it’s basically a network full of guilty pleasure shows. But in all seriousness, I think The Tomorrow People is a fun show dealing with some real issues like identity and the hard decisions we have to make.

Photo via FOX

Photo via FOX

Almost Human
Mondays at 8pm on Fox
Pilot Grade: A
Overall Grade: A

A buddy cop show in which a human-who-is-part-robot and a robot-who-is-part-human solve crimes together while trying to bridge the gap between their species? Of course I loved Almost Human. When trailers started coming out for Almost Human, I was sure that the success of the show would rest on Karl Urban and Michael Ealy’s shoulders–and they carry it beautifully. (That’s not to say the supporting cast isn’t wonderful.) The duo have found a great chemistry that is both hilarious and endearing even when they are under a lot of stress. Almost Human has been touted as a new kind of cop show or a new kind of sci-fi show, but I don’t think the show needs quite so much hype. Is it going to be for everyone? No, probably not. But for anyone who likes sci-fi, robots, new technologies, or anything to do with the future, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Photo via She Knows

Photo via She Knows

Reign
Thursdays at 9pm on The CW
Pilot Grade: A+
Overall Grade: A+

When I heard The CW was making a show based on Mary, Queen of Scots, I was dubious, especially because The CW didn’t pick up the TV adaptation of The Selection. Then I was sure it would be terrible: Game of Thrones meets The Vampire Diaries, are you fucking kidding me? However, the pilot completely changed my mind and it’s safe to say I’m officially addicted to Reign. (I’m still bitter about The Selection, but whatever.) The show stars Adelaide Kane as Mary and she’s fantastic. Reign is a strange mix of history with modern influences that actually is fun in the same way as Game of Thrones, while still appealing to a mass audience. Plus, Mary totally stands up for her ladies and questions the social rules within the court, which may not be historically accurate, but it still pretty badass. In all seriousness, Reign might be my new favorite show of the season. (Sorry, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

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