As for the shows, which you can watch here: It’s a lot of high-concept stuff and then some retreads.
Wayward Pines: This is a limited-run M. Night Shyamalan show that’s basically trying to be Twin Peaks, except to ME the first three-quarters of the reel plays like a show that’s TOTALLY making fun of Twin Peaks. But I don’t think that’s intentional. It has Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Terence Howard, Juliette Lewis doing her Juliette Lewis thing, and Siobhan Fallon sounding like she’s reprising her character from Men In Black. Yes, I’m old.
Backstrom: This was developed for CBS in 2012, and they passed. That it ended up on FOX makes sense, because it tried to recapture the House magic with Rake (House as a lawyer, kind of) which failed, and now Backstrom is basically Drunken Messy Cop Who’s Secretly Super Brilliant. The reel has a hammy way of introducing eveyone, like Dennis Haysbert and Kristoffer Polaha, and it actually plays kind of like House meets Ironside, in the sense that THERE’S A RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS, YOU GREASY DRUNK BASTARD, but DAMMIT, HE’S BRILLIANT. Zzz, mostly.
Mulaney: At the Upfront, FOX was comparing this to Seinfeld. It’s true on a lot of levels: The star is John Mulaney, a stand-up comic, bookending the reel with his act; the show and the character are named after the actor; there is an acerbic lady (Nasim Pedrad, overacting in kind of an alarming way in her limited appearance); there is a kooky friend who enters; the door through which said friend enters is reminiscent of Seinfeld’s door on Seinfeld, etc. The difference is that Martin Short is also there, as is a dog in a wig. I don’t know. Buzz is positive, but I thought this looked terrible and that poor Mulaney himself looks in way over hia head.
Gotham: If you’re into “Before They Were Batman And Riddler And Penguin And Cat Woman And Poison Ivy,” then you will be into this, probably. If you are into Ben McKenzie, you might ALSO like this, as he plays Jim Gordon. Jada Pinkett Smith is also in this, purring lines like, “You have a little danger in your eye. I wonder what you plan to do with that.” Ugh. But I will also note that I thought Sleepy Hollow looked CRAZY from its reel and now I LOVE THAT SHOW and the pilot turned out to be fantastic, so what do I know.
Hieroglyph: High-concept series set in the Pharaoh’s Egypt, with Condola Rashad as Nefertari and Max Brown (who was charming on Beauty and the Beast Season 1 DON’T JUDGE). I tuned out of the clip but will totally watch the show itself at least once.
Empire: This feels like someone thought, “Well, nobody has liked Terence Howard since Hustle & Flow. So let’s pair him up with Taraji P. Henson again and make him a music mogul and just sort of hope the magic comes back.” It looks okay? Pretty boring I think, but as it it has the POTENTIAL to be very soapy, if ONLY it gives in to those instincts. Actually, it sort of reminded me of Kingpin, from eons ago, which Jessica recapped for TWoP and which I believe involved a man-eating tiger. Let’s all hope for Tiger 2.0.
Gracepoint: It’s a remake of Broadchurch with Anna Gunn and David Tennant (reprising his role), and it looks sad and actually just made me want to watch the original, although Id’ be willing to check this out, too. I might’ve had enough of Remake Of A Small-Town Serial-Killer Show after season one of The Killing, though.