(Sunday, Oct. 1, Fox)
Craig Robinson was just right on “The Office,” and Adam Scott was just right on “Parks and Recreation.” But in the case of “Ghosted,” two just rights make a wrong. It’s not only that the pilot sets up the premise — a pair of mismatched ghost busters are recruited to save humanity — with ridiculous speed. It’s that the chemistry between the leads, with Scott as the believer and Robinson as the skeptic, is simplistic and bland. The show isn’t just a mess; it’s a dull mess.
“Wisdom of the Crowd”
(Sunday, Oct. 1, CBS)
I wouldn’t mind seeing a smart version of this drama, which is about a crowd-sourcing app that enables regular people to solve crimes. That smart show would dig into the dangers of online mobs as well as the privacy concerns of those under scrutiny. But “Wisdom” lacks the wisdom to be little more than yet another mediocre CBS procedural, one in the vein of last season’s quickly canceled “Pure Genius.” To like the show, you’ve really got to like lead Jeremy Piven, who plays the Silicon Valley zillionaire who invents the app after his daughter is murdered. I don’t, which also kept me from enjoying his PBS series “Mr. Selfridge.”
“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World”
(Tuesday, Oct. 3, ABC)
CBS has a hokey Kevin. Now ABC has a hokey Kevin, too. This impossibly earnest drama is like a hipped-up “Touched by an Angel,” as our suicidal hero, played by Jason Ritter, discovers he is one of a group of special people whose sacred mission is to protect humanity. He moves in with his widowed sister and her teen daughter, while he’s being followed by a life-coachy ghost named Yvette, played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory of “Vice Principals.” Yvette is the “Magical Negro” who pushes him to be a better person. Too bad she can’t improve this piece of dime-store uplift.
“The Good Doctor”
(Monday, Sept. 25, ABC)
This medical procedural is from David Shore of “House,” and he once again poses medical brilliance against bedside manner. Our brilliant doctor, Shaun Murphy, isn’t an unpleasant addict, though; he’s autistic with savant syndrome. But like House, he’s a genius. Played by Freddie Highmore, who is doomed to remind many of us of his “Bates Motel” character, Norman Bates, Shaun is the controversial new addition to a San Jose hospital. Some doctors, who seem oddly out of touch with autism issues, are uncomfortable with his differences, and they clash with his compassionate defender, played by Richard Schiff. The scenes meant to show Shaun’s gifts are so rigged you will recoil, most of all a drawn-out airport scene that suggests there are no emergency services in major airports. If I want to be this blatantly manipulated, I’ll go to a chiropractor.
(Monday, Oct. 2, CBS)
I like the cast. Mark Feuerstein is a divorced actor whose overbearing parents (Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould) and extroverted brother (David Walton) live in apartments on either side of him. But the broad material, coupled with peals of audience laughter, is based in lame genital humor and other worn-thin sitcom shtick. It is, as they say, on-brand for CBS, and as grating as the network’s previous all-star botch, “The Millers.” The parents infantilize their favorite son, and the show infantilizes the audience, too, with juvenile humor. Maybe this sitcom — clearly an effort to relive the days of “Everybody Loves Raymond” — will evolve into something more than a machine gun of cheap one-liners, but I doubt it.
(Monday, Sept. 25, CBS)
Well, we know this will be a hit. It’s the prequel series to “The Big Bang Theory,” and it features narration by Jim Parsons. But I was disappointed by the lack of imagination in the single-cam show, as it follows 9-year-old Sheldon and his family in 1989 Texas. Star Iain Armitage, who played Ziggy on “Big Little Lies,” is remarkable, but he’s set in what looks like a too-familiar ABC family sitcom on the order of “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs.” We already know who Sheldon is, so his endless awkwardness, snippiness, and superiority as a child feel instantly stale.
(Monday, Sept. 25, NBC)
Elite soldiers, special ops, secret missions, night vision glasses — been there, done that. But that’s not stopping TV honchos from giving us three new military dramas — this show, the CW’s “Valor,” and CBS’s “SEAL Team.” They’re all equally rah-rah and equally shallow. “The Brave” is the most rote. It’s populated with an ensemble of obvious types, all led by Anne Heche’s deputy director, who is back at work despite the death of her son. As the drama toggles between the operatives in the field, protecting us from foreign terrorists, and the well-dressed folks watching the action on their screens in D.C. with Heche, I grew bored. At points during the pilot, I felt like I was watching people play a video game.
(Wednesday, Oct. 11, CW)
For a minute, I was going to put this on the Try It list, because there’s a valuable place in my life for shame-watching, also known as shamelessly watching a bad show. But yeah, this reboot is a weak attempt to capture the excess and profligacy of the 1980s original, and I didn’t feel motivated to watch more after the pilot. It’s only a little trashy, which definitely isn’t trashy enough. The biggest problem for me, though, is casting. Grant Show is fine as Blake Carrington, but he’s surrounded by forgettable actors who don’t give their standard soap characters much distinction. Daughter Fallon and newcomer Cristal are the requisite cat-fighters this time around.