September 22, 2013

Fall TV Preview: The great, the pretty good and the soon-to-be-whacked

By CHUCK BARNEY, McClatchy Newspapers

Warning: Your television set is about to be slammed with a deluge of new shows containing everything from vampires and cyborgs to super comic-book agents and headless horsemen wielding assault rifles.

Fall tv shows
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This critic says “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” starring Andy Samberg, seated, and Andre Braugher, could be the best new comedy of the season.

Fox/McClatchy Newspapers

Fall tv shows
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Daniel Gillies, Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin in CW’s “Vampire Diaries” spinoff, “The Originals.”

McClatchy Newspapers

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Yes, it sounds absolutely terrifying, but we're here for you. What follows are bite-sized takes on the fall fare. Just proceed with caution and have your remote control out of its holster: 


"Sleepy Hollow" (9 p.m., Fox; premiered Sept. 16): A nutty new take on Washington Irving's classic short story whisks Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) to the present, where he teams up with a sheriff (Nicole Beharie) to hunt down the Headless Horseman and other baddies. Bottom line: We're not losing our head over this show.

"Mom" (9:30 p.m., CBS; Monday): Chuck Lorre's fourth CBS sitcom follows a newly sober single mom (Anna Faris) trying to pull her messy life together in Napa Valley. Unfortunately, her formerly estranged mother (Allison Janney) is a big pain in the neck. Bottom line: The uneven pilot nearly drove us to drink, but Lorre's a proven hitmaker.

"The Blacklist" (10 p.m., NBC; Monday): Think "Alias"-meets-"Silence of the Lambs." A master criminal (James Spader) turns himself into the FBI and strikes a deal: He will help federal officials track down terrorists, but on one condition: He only works with a pretty rookie agent (Megan Boone). Bottom line: Spader is mesmerizing, but can the show sustain its premise?

"Hostages" (10 p.m., CBS; Monday): Just hours before an elite surgeon (Toni Collette) is due to cut open the president, a rogue FBI agent (Dylan McDermott) abducts her family and orders her to kill the prez -- or kiss her loved ones goodbye. Bottom line: The provocative premise is marred by actions that feel predictable and familiar.

"We Are Men" (8:30 p.m., CBS; Sept. 30): In this annoying comedy, four unlucky-in-love bachelors (Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O'Connell, Kal Penn and Chris Smith) nurse their emotional wounds in an apartment complex. Bottom line: Just the sight of O'Connell in a Speedo was enough to scare us away forever.

"Almost Human" (8 p.m., Fox; Nov. 4): In this convoluted futuristic crime drama, a human LAPD officer (Karl Urban) teams up with an android (Michael Ealy). Bottom line: Break out the "RoboCop" jokes.


"Dads" (8 p.m., Fox; premiered Sept. 17): This crass Seth MacFarlane comedy is about two video-game developers (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) whose lives are disrupted when their fathers (Peter Riegert and Martin Mull) move in with them. Lots of sexist and racially insensitive jokes ensue. Bottom line: Don't bother. "Dads" is a dud.

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30 p.m., Fox; premiered Sept. 17): There are shades of "Barney Miller" in this cop comedy that pits an immature cutup of a detective against his dour, straight-laced captain (Andre Braugher). Bottom line: This has the potential to be the season's best new comedy.

"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (8 p.m., ABC; Tuesday): In this spinoff of "The Avengers" movie franchise, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of top-secret agents (including Ming-Na Wen) who investigate threats to humanity. Bottom line: We expected more of a "wow" factor from the Joss Whedon-directed pilot, but there's enough wit, flash and promise to lure us back.

"The Goldbergs" (9 p.m., ABC; Tuesday): Mix "Malcolm in the Middle" with VH1's "I Love the '80s," and you've got a loud, raucous and warmhearted comedy about a family (headed by Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey) just trying to get by in the era of "Pac Man" and "Star Wars." Bottom line: It had us almost warming up to REO Speedwagon. Almost.

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Fall tv shows
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Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the new CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones.”

McClatchy Newspapers


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