THR Critics' Fall TV Roundup: The Good, the Bad and the Worst

7:00 AM 9/22/2017

by Tim Goodman and Daniel Fienberg

This season's first crop of new broadcast shows ranges from promising ('The Mayor') to problematic ('The Good Doctor') to irredeemable (Kyra Sedgwick, you deserve better).

Courtesy Photos
  • The Brave

    10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 (NBC)

    Simon Mein/NBC

    This heavy-handed and obvious America-versus-the-terrorists vehicle clunks out at every turn. Anne Heche stars as the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which sends teams into hotspots around the world. "I don't need to give you a primer on the politics of this one," she says before doing just that. Save us. — T.G.

  • Ghosted

    8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 (FOX)

    'Ghosted'
    'Ghosted'
    Kevin Estrada/Fox

    Some sitcoms take longer than others to hit their stride, and it would seem unwise to bet against Craig Robinson and Adam Scott — as a cop turned mall security guard and a Stanford science professor turned bookstore clerk, respectively — tossed together in a secret government project to track paranormal incidents. And yet, well, the pilot isn't funny, and its tone is all over the place. If Ghosted wants a shot, it should place confidence in its leads and just let them riff as much as possible. — T.G.

  • The Gifted

    9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 (FOX)

    Frank Ockenfels/FOX

    Based on Marvel's X-Men properties and created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice), this drama gets an immediate boost from a strong pilot directed by Bryan Singer. It stars Stephen Moyer (True Blood) as a prosecutor focused on mutant crimes who finds out that both of his kids are mutants. Knowing how bad that will be for them, he takes his family on the run in Atlanta. For those who like the X-Men franchise and are open to spinoff stories, this is a slam dunk. — T.G.

  • The Good Doctor

    10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 (ABC)

    Courtesy of Liane Hentscher/ABC

    What could have been the most courageous medical drama of 2000, this ABC series asks, "Can a doctor on the autism spectrum with limited personal skills also be a brilliant surgeon?" Creator David Shore tackled a similar question on his House; this new show is at least a reminder of his deftness at interweaving character detail and medical mysteries. The similarities between Freddie Highmore's title character and his Norman Bates on Bates Motel are distracting, but internalized anxiety is something the actor does well. — D.F.

  • Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

    10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 (NBC)

    Justin Lubin/NBC

    Viewers know O.J. Simpson. There were two miniseries about him last year. Lyle and Erik Menendez, however, are no O.J. Simpson. Dick Wolf has slapped the Law & Order brand on the story of the parent-murdering brothers, which means overly deliberate pacing rather than sensationalism. The first two episodes (of eight in this limited series) consist mainly of newcomers Gus Halper and Miles Gaston Villanueva being convincingly unlikable as the brothers, while familiar faces like Edie Falco and Josh Charles try to act their way around distracting hairpieces. — D.F.

  • The Mayor

    9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 (ABC)

    Craig Sjodin/ABC

    What this one has going for it right out of the gate is the infectious likability of lead Brandon Micheal Hall as a young rapper in Northern California who runs for mayor of a small town — and wins. The actor, with his upbeat, captivating screen presence, is a candidate for breakout star of the fall. Co-starring Lea Michele and Yvette Nicole Brown, the show has potential. — T.G.

  • SEAL Team

    9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 (CBS)

    Courtesy of Cliff Lipson/CBS (Boreanaz)

    The jury's still out on whether audiences actually crave all the military dramas networks are giving them this fall, but CBS knows its audience. Most viewers won't recognize that the pilot's plot mimics History's Six entirely; they'll be taken in by a confident lead turn from the reliable David Boreanaz and a solid, if manipulative, mix of Special Forces action and emotion from scenes of the soldiers' families. — D.F.

  • Ten Days in the Valley

    10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 (ABC)

    Courtesy of ABC

    Kyra Sedgwick plays an overworked television writer whose child goes missing one night while Mom's in the backyard, having popped an Ambien, had some wine, done some coke and cranked out a scene. If Mom sounds bad (she is), Dad's terrible, too. In fact, nobody in this tiresome drama is relatable. Viewers don't need the titular 10 days; after day one, you hope the kid finds a better family. — T.G.

  • Wisdom of the Crowd

    8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 (CBS)

    Diyah Pera/CBS

    There's a provocative show to be made about the liberties society might be willing to sacrifice for the illusion of security provided by crowdsourced crime-fighting. But Ted Humphrey's drama isn't it. Jeremy Piven plays Jeremy Tanner, TV's latest billionaire to think the solution for a struggling institution (and personal tragedy) is throwing money at it. Fox's APB didn't work. CBS' Pure Genius didn't work. And this self-satisfied series doesn't work either. — D.F.

  • Young Sheldon

    8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 (CBS)

    Courtesy of Robert Voets/CBS

    On The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons' Sheldon Cooper has been a prickly character in need of strong foils to temper his eccentricities. The same proves true on this prequel's single-cam pilot, directed by Jon Favreau with few ties to the original. When Iain Armitage's Sheldon is on his own, laughs are in limited supply; much stronger are scenes with Zoe Perry as the pint-sized genius' lovingly frustrated mother. — D.F.

comments powered by Disqus