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Fall 2015 Premieres and What to Watch

Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin, L) and new Sorority Pledges Grace (Skyler Samuels, C) and Zayday (Keke Palmer, R).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: upfronts. This is like my draft day. It’s like Christmas. This is the week that all major networks release their fall line-ups; new trailers, new faces, and new schedules. After keeping a watchful eye on all the updates, I’m ready to tell you my favorites. Here are the shows I’m most excited about starting this fall.

Grandfathered, FOX

I laughed out loud. I gushed. I had goosebumps. And that was only from the trailer. John Stamos portrays Jimmy, a lifetime bachelor whose life is upended when he discovers he’s a father—and a grandfather. Josh Peck portrays his hopeless, mess of a son. Paget Brewster is his ex-girlfriend.

Reasons to watch: The chemistry between the actors seems to be perfect. John Stomas and Paget Brewster are natural together.

Cast: John Stamos, Josh Peck, Paget Brewster, Christina Milian, Kelly Jenrette, Ravi Patel

Scream Queens, FOX

If you combine Glee, American Horror Story, and Emma Roberts’ resting bitch face (all of my favorite things) you get Scream Queens. The plot hasn’t been fully explained yet and I think that’s why I like it. There’s a little bit of mystery. We know that it’s set on a college campus, there have been a series of murders, and it’s a comedy. I’m intrigued. And I’m not alone judging by the straight to series order.

Reasons to watch: That cast.

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Oliver Hudson, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, Skyler Samuels, Lucien Laviscount, Niecy Nash, Diego Boneta, Glen Powell, Nasim Pedrad

Flesh and Bone, STARZ

This was the first trailer I watched that made me actually giddy with new television excitement. Can we just call it what it is? Center Stage: The Gritty Sequel. I mean, it even has Charlie from Center Stage. CHARLIE! And let’s be real. Center Stage is the BEST movie. It’s that go to movie that you watch to reminisce about how easy it was to be a teen in the early 2000s. I fondly remember days where it played on HBO after school while I pretended to do pirouettes in the kitchen before my parents got home from work.

Anyway, Flesh and Bone follows Claire, a young dancer with a distinctly troubled past as she enters into the American Ballet Company in New York. The eight-hour series has been described as gritty and complex as it navigates Claire’s self-destructive tendencies.

Reasons to watch: Hellooooooooo! Charlie (Sascha Radetsky) is back!

Cast: Sarah Hay as Claire. The cast includes 22 accomplished ballet dancers including former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko (Kiira), former American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky (Ross), Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner (Daphne) and Boardwalk Empire’s Emily Tyra (Mia). Ethan Stiefel, former artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and a former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, served as consultant and choreographer. Other cast members include Josh Helman (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Damon Herriman (Justified), Tina Benko (The Good Wife), Ben Daniels (House Of Cards) and Tovah Feldshuh (The Walking Dead).

The Family, ABC

I could not look away while watching this trailer. Joan Allen plays a local politician whose son (The Way, Way Back’s Liam James) returns after being presumed dead following his disappearance a decade earlier. His return has a ripple effect on the rest of his family. And in probably the most interesting twist, is he who he really says he is?

Reasons to watch: The cast. In addition to Joan Allen and Liam James, Andrew McCarthy portrays the wrongly accused neighbor who has been rotting in prison. Zach Gilford (I’ll always love you Saracen!) is the alcoholic, eldest son. Alison Pill is the tightly wound daughter managing her mother’s campaign. That’s a pretty strong list of talent.

Cast: Zach Gilford, Liam James, Margot Bingham, Joan Allen, Alison Pill, Floriana Lima, Madeleine Arthur, Andrew McCarthy, Rarmian Newton, Rupert Graves

The Grinder, FOX

Rob Lowe stars as a beloved TV lawyer known as “The Grinder.” When his long-running hit series comes to an end he decides to return home and join his family’s real-life law firm—despite having no formal education, no bar certification, no license to practice and no experience in an actual courtroom. Fred Savage plays his hopeless brother.

Reasons to watch: Rob Lowe and his ability to deliver fantastic, ‘knock em outta the park’ speeches.

Cast: Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Natalie Morales, William Devane, Hana Hayes, Connor Kalopsis

Wicked City, ABC

It was really only a matter of time before the True Detective format made it’s way to cable. Each season, Wicked City will follow a different case set in an infamous era of L.A.’s history. For it’s debut, Wicked City is focusing on the Sunset Strip circa 1982. However, it seems this show will focus more on the criminals than the detectives as Erika Christensen’s and Ed Westwick’s Bonnie & Clyde-esque characters take center stage. I’m pretty sure Ed Westwick was destined to stab people in the back of the head.

Reasons to watch: It’ll be a character-driven, true-crime procedural that explores sex and pop culture in L.A. Need I say more?

Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Erika Christensen, Ed Westwick, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Karolina Wydra, Adam Rothenberg, Holley Fain, Anne Winters, Gabriel Luna

Supergirl, CBS

I dunno. I’m not totally sold on this. Even though I’m an avid comic book fan and movie buff, I’ve never been too excited about a comic book as a television series. I’ve passed on The Flash, Arrow, and The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but I’m not uninterested in Supergirl. Melissa Benoist plays Superman’s famous cousin who decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was destined to be. Jimmy Olsen makes an appearance, Jeremy Jordan is her trusty sidekick, and Calista Flockhart is her nasty boss.

Reasons to watch: Girl power?

Cast: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, David Harewood, Laura Benanti, Dean Cain, Helen Slater, Jeremy Jordan, Malina Weissman

Blindspot, NBC

A woman (Jaimie Alexander) with no memories of her past is found naked in Times Square with her body fully covered in intricate tattoos. Why? What happened? Who is she? And we’re off…

Reasons to watch: If you like developing theories, pouring over recaps, and searching for clues then this show is for you.

Cast: Jaimie Alexander, Sullivan Stapleton, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ashley Johnson, Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza, Ukweli Roach


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How Did ‘The Slap’ Land?

theslapAs much as it pains me to admit, all of the marketing that NBC’s The Slap forced on me while I was binge watching The Blacklist OnDemand worked and I was one of 5.1 million viewers to tune in to the live premiere last night.  I watched for two reasons – the ensemble cast and the intriguing premise.  The commercials leading up to the premiere revealed a dynamic family party featuring a fired up Zachary Quinto…slapping the shit out of a young child.  It’s not ideal behavior; it’s not normal for TV; it’s provocative.  I had to find out just why any grown man would behave in such a way.  I also had one burning question – how could this entire show be based on one crazed moment?  Turns out, there’s a whole lot more going on in Brooklyn.

So how was The Slap and is it worth your time?  I break down my thoughts about what worked and what didn’t work below.  You can decide if it’s the kind of thing for you.

What The Slap Delivered:

  • The cast really is phenomenal.  Peter Sarsgaard makes me giddy like a little girl.  After watching his breathtaking performance as Ray Seward in AMC’s The Killing, I knew that I would watch him in anything he did going forward.  Add Zachary Quinto, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton, Melissa George, and Brian Cox and you have the potential for a true knock-out success.

 

  • The show is about more than a slap.  This group of friends and family is twisted and their history, convoluted.  Each character brings something different to the table and their interactions are what will make this really interesting.  (Just to give you a taste, we have a man having an affair with his babysitter, an artist, an abusive husband, and a set of overbearing wealthy Greek parents.)  The storylines of the show already go way beyond child rearing and discipline.  In the first hour, the show introduces themes like adultery, social class distinctions, working man vs. rich man, relationships, career struggles, parental interference in relationships.  And that’s just some of it.

 

  • The show makes you think.  This is not an example of mindless television.  It’s the polar opposite.  Each theme, and each character, somehow forced me to think about how our own personal choices can deeply affect other people.  I’m also still trying to figure out with whom I’m empathizing with most.  I keep wondering things like, What would I do if someone slapped my nonexistent kid?  Would I have slapped a kid who kicked me?  Many people are also questioning the choice to make Hugo (the five-year old who gets slapped) a child that is still breast-feeding.  While I understand the aversion to this sensitive topic, I’m actually glad that they chose to include it.  It drove home the point for me that normal is relative and what I consider normal is far different from what someone else considers normal.  Despite that, respect must still be a two way street.  I still can’t decide if I think Hugo deserved the slap from Harry (Quinto), but the bottom line is that this show still has me thinking and questioning a day later.  I’m pulled in.

What The Slap Whiffed On:

  • The voice over narrator.  At random points in the episode, a third party voice chimed in with narrations about what was happening on screen and what the character was thinking.  It felt out of place and a little bit insulting, as if the audience isn’t smart enough to catch on to these things, or the actor wasn’t talented enough to convey it.

 

  • Confusion.  Family relationships aren’t 100% clear.  Right now, I’m still not sure if Harry is related to the child that he slapped, or if he’s simply a family friend.  While it was evident that most of this group of people were very familiar with each other, and some of their family ties were made clear, there is still some confusion.  In a show that is this driven by relationships, you would think they would have done a better job of letting us know exactly who was who.

While I’m still not convinced that this show will be winning any Emmy’s next year, I have decided I’m going to stick with it and see it to the end.  I think The Slap is smart and I appreciate any TV that has great acting and intriguing stories.  I’m invested in these people and this incident and I want to know what happens.  Though I do have to admit, I was relieved when I found out that this show is only going to be an eight-episode mini-series.  If it does turn out to be a let-down, I can forget it ever happened and let The Slap fade away like a real nasty bruise.


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Hannibal – A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t)

hannibal-will-graham

It’s no secret, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are all TV junkies. While there are shows that the three of us watch together, each writer also has their personal favorites. Starting a new blog series titled “A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t),” here are a couple of reasons why you should join us in our favorite thrill ride, Hannibal.

There’s this little thing called the Friday night death slot and for some reason all of my favorite shows end up there (see Friday Night Lights). Hannibal airs Friday nights at 10pm on NBC and has averaged 2.65 million viewers for season 2. At a time when TV horror is at the top (see American Horror Story, Penny Dreadful, Bates Motel, The Walking Dead, etc.) Hannibal is flailing. Why? Is it the awful Friday night time slot or is it something else? The season finale is Friday night and for a series that I love so much, let me tell you why it’s imperative to set your DVR and then spend the summer catching up.

It’s got a killer cast (ha, get it). The long list of TV and movie veterans includes Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, and special guest Gillian Anderson. It’s built on one of the most bankable franchises in literature and film and tells the twisted backstory of one of the most famous villains in cinematic history. What is interesting about Hannibal is that we already know what happens. We know that Dr. Hannibal Lecter finds himself behind bars eventually. Hannibal sets out to tell the story of how he got there. And boy, it’s a twisted story.

Hannibal - Season 2

Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter is on par with Anthony Hopkins (bold statement, I know). Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is so haunting that I physically cannot watch it before bed. He’s cold, dark, calculated, and detached. His counterpart on the show is Will Graham portrayed by Hugh Dancy. Will Graham is a criminal profiler and hunter of serial killers. He has a unique ability to empathize and understand the killers he tracks. The first season posed the question, how far can Hannibal push Graham before he loses it and becomes a killer himself? The second season is all about Graham’s mission to bring Hannibal’s true intentions to light while maintaining his sanity and desperately suppressing his natural instincts to kill.

This is where Hannibal is far more captivating than the other horror shows currently on air. It explores the most depraved depths of human nature. The series shows the journey of a cold, unfeeling murderer who just kills because of his own curiosity. It doesn’t use witches or zombies, like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead to justify the violence. It doesn’t care if you root for Hannibal or not, he’s not meant to be an anti-hero like Norman Bates or Dexter. He kills and then eats people because it is what he feels like doing.

Hannibal is often credited for being one of the sharpest dramas on TV. The writing is sleek, it’s haunting, and it’s artfully filmed. You may remember my recap of the premiere in which I stated, “The show is beautifully filmed.  It’s a quality that I didn’t anticipate from NBC.” This sentiment continued. Each week, I’m mesmerized by the show’s use of color, metaphorical imagery, culinary depictions (buh), and slow motion. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch. It completely disregards your gag reflex, the blood and gore is pretty gruesome. I spend a good portion of the show covering my eyes in horror.

So, Friday night. The second season opened with this flash forward, an epic fight between Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

At the time it aired, Will Graham was in a psychiatric prison after being framed for Hannibal’s crimes. Now he’s out and embarking on a mission to take down the psychiatrist. We still don’t know why Jack and Hannibal are duking it out in his chilly kitchen but we will get our answers Friday night. Will you be watching?

On May 9, NBC renewed Hannibal for a third season. If you are interested and want to catch up Season 1 is available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Bon appetite.

 


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Fall Picks: The RPW Breakdown

The Crazy Ones

For Rock Paper Watch, the fall premiere season is up there with Christmas.  To celebrate our holiday season we are counting down the most exciting new shows.  To summarize, it seems that NBC has the most exciting line-up for the fall season.  After cancelling most of it’s shows in 2013 to make room for more promising pilots, one would hope they have some killer debuts shows ready for release.  After a thorough review of promos and plot summaries, it seems that NBC has finally found its footing following the format established by Parenthood and Hannibal — high quality, plot driven, dramatic shows.  Will it work?

CBS has a few interesting shows in the mix, breaking their usual format (see The Crazy Ones and Hostages).  ABC is continuing it’s theme of soapy, female-targeted dramas.  Surprisingly enough, FOX is expanding on it’s comedies, instead of offering thrillers similar to The Following.  The CW is broadening its horizons with a variety of content-driven pilots, no real unifying theme here.

What shows are you most excited about?  Are there any missing from our list that you can’t wait to watch?

1.  The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Thursday, September 26 at 9pm

A single-camera, half-hour workplace comedy about a father-and-daughter team in the world of advertising. (Oscar winner Robin Williams plays the dad, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is the daughter.) Ally McBeal’s David E. Kelley will write the pilot and executive-produce with Arrested Development’s Dean Lorey and McBeal’s Bill D’Elia. James Wolk, Amanda Setton and Hamish Linklater will also star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s Robin Williams in his first regular TV role since Mork & Mindy.  If you need another reason, majority of the show is improvised.  Also, I love seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar back and judging by the promo, these two already have amazing chemistry.  Did we mention James Wolk?  Anything with him and I’m in.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s on CBS, which tends to skew older.  This means great things for attracting an audience via Robin Williams, but what about the younger crowd?  Will it be “crazy” enough to keep their interest?  Majority of the promo follows this overly sexual jingle that Kelly Clarkson wants to perform, and it does seem a bit risqué.  If they can keep that tongue-in-cheek humor it might work.  Also, I’d watch for a glimpse into the advertising world.  Bad news, it competes with the powerhouse Grey’s Anatomy and three other shows on our list.

2. Reign (CW)
Thursday, October 17 at 9pm

Watch as a 15-year-old Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) arrives in France, betrothed to Prince Frances (Toby Regbo). She must survive fierce foes, dark forces and a world of sexual intrigue. Outlaw’s Stephanie Sengupta and CSI: Miami’s Laurie McCarthy will write and executive-produce. Celina Sinden, Torrance Coombs, Jenessa Grant, Anna Popplewell,Megan Follows, Rossif Sutherland and Caitlin Stasey will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Going through period-drama withdrawals since the end of The Tudors?  Me too.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s competing with Grey’s Anatomy, The Crazy Ones, and The Michael J. Fox Show.  The good news is that it has a great lead-in with The Vampire Diaries.  It’s on the CW, which means a younger audience with little competition.  But is the plot too “old” for the viewer?

3. Master of Sex (Showtime)
Sunday, September 29th at 10pm

Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan star in a new drama series that chronicles the unusual lives and romance of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Their research took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. Created by Michelle Ashford, the series also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Nicholas D’Agosto and Teddy Sears. Beau Bridges, Allison Janney and Margo Martindale will recur.

Reasons to Watch – This one is easy.  It’s Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen and sex.  What more do you really need?

Reasons to be Skeptical – I don’t have any skepticisms.  It’s true that some audiences might not have an interest but the show is being recognized for breaking barriers and tackling taboos.  I’ll be watching, will you?

4.  Dracula (NBC)
Friday, October 25 at 10pm

Inspired by the classic Bram Stoker novel, this drama stars The Tudors’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Based on a script from co-executive producer Cole Haddon, this version finds Dracula in London posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. But his true plan — to seek revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier — is thwarted when her falls hopelessly in love with a woman named Mina (Jessica DeGouw ), who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Dracula will be executive-produced by Colin Callender, Tony Krantz (24), Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) and Anne Mensah.

Reasons to Watch – Remember when we said we missed The Tudors?  Well this show brings Jonathan Rhys Meyers back for another period drama, just more fangs and less wives (that we know of).  Remember that time he ate the pomegranate in season one of The Tudors?  I feel like this show is going to a lot of that and I’m perfectly fine with it.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Friday night death slot, never good.

5. The Originals (CW)
Premieres Thursday, October 3 at 9pm, airs regularly Tuesdays at 8pm

This Vampire Diaries spin-off focuses on the show’s Original Family. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — to reunite with his diabolical former protégéMarcel (Charles Michael Davis). Diaries executive producer Julie Plec will write and executive-produce, alongside Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Producer Julie Plec says where Diaries was a coming-of-age story, “this is a show that is not about struggling to be a vampire, it’s about embracing vampirism. It’s about reveling in it. … We’ve graduated high school and went to college, and they’re getting their master’s degree in The Originals.” Oh, and did we mention Klaus? HOT.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a spinoff.  However, many show’s have had very successful runs as spinoff’s. Especially in the vampire category. Look at Angel for example, it had 6 successful seasons as a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and continues to have a cult following. We are a bit skeptical about the show taking some of our favorite characters out of play, but that does open up the door for crossover episodes. PLUS Julie Plec has not ruled out the option of a Klaus/Caroline reunion…of sorts. We vote YES.

6.  The Blacklist (NBC)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

The world’s most wanted criminal (James Spader) mysteriously turns himself in and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with. His only condition: He will only work with a newly minted FBI agent (Megan Boone) with whom he appears to have no connection. Perfect Stranger‘s Jon Bokenkamp will write and executive-produce with AliasJohn Eisendrath. Ryan Eggold, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix and Ilfenesh Hadera will also star.

Reasons to Watch – James Spader.  What’s interesting about this show is that it has this Silence of the Lambs Hannibal/Clarice feel without being Hannibal by adding a dash of White Collar, basically it’s a mash-up of really great pop culture with Steff from Pretty in Pink.  Really, what more could you want?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Is it too formula?  Will it get old fast?  With a lead actor like James Spader, can the practically unknown Megan Boone counter his on-screen brilliance?  Only time will tell.

7.  Hostages (CBS)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

Toni Collette plays a surgeon who is recruited to operate on the president (James Naughton), an assignment that propels her family — Tate Donovan, Mateus Ward and Quinn Shephard— into a grand political conspiracy. Dylan McDermott is an FBI agent tasked with helping the family. Based on an Israeli series, the pilot is written and executive-produced by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow). Jerry Bruckheimer will also executive-produce. Sandrine Holt, Rhys Coiro and Billy Brown will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Political Dramas are hot right now (Scandal, House of Cards) and CBS has some big shoes to fill. Hostages has a stellar cast of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, plus with the extra fire power of Jerry Bruckheimer, the series is bound to be a thrill ride. Will she murder the president for her family? What is McDermott’s motive?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Where exactly can this plot go? It seems kind of dead ended, however, it seems like writers can take plot lines anywhere they want nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if this show did tank. We do love Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story…(hint, hint).

8. Us & Them (Fox)
Mid-season

A couple’s (Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel) long-distance, budding romance is constantly disrupted by their friends and family in this comedy based on the British series Gavin and Stacey. David Rosen (I Just Want My Pants Back) will write and executive-produce. Dustin Ybarra, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller and Ashlie Atkinson will also star.

Reasons to Watch – There’s nothing more we LOVE than a good RomCom and Jason Ritter. Also, I think we’ve all experience or know someone who’s experienced the pain of online dating, so we are hoping the show will be something people can find relatable. I mean, not everyone can be an an Agent in S.H.E.I.L.D….because thats relatable.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Bledel can kind of come off pretty flat as an actress. Also, chemistry is key to this show. Will they, or will they not have it? Here’s hoping!

9.  Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Tuesday, September 24th at 8pm

Based on Marvel Universe’s fictional and secret law-enforcement agency. Avengers’ Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will write and executive-produce. Clark Gregg will reprise his Avengers role, joined by Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker and Chloe Bennet.

Reasons to Watch – Did you see The Avengers last summer?  Of course you did.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It seems like a cheap ploy to attract a built-in audience.  Will it last?

10. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Thursday, September 26th at 9pm

Michael J. Fox returns to TV as Mike, a former New York news anchor who goes back to work but still manages to find time to drive his wife (Betsy Brandt) and three kids crazy. The show is executive-produced with Fox by Sam Laybourne and Will Gluck and also stars Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, Jack Gore, Kate Finneran and Wendell Pierce.

Reasons to Watch – In 2009, with Michael J. Fox: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist Fox erased any cynicism about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease by charming the world with his innate likability.  Furthermore, the actor has dominated the small screen lately with his guest appearance on The Good Wife.  The Michael J. Fox Show promises to make light of Fox’s everyday struggle and hopes to create a dialogue among viewers about optimism when struggling with the effect’s of Parkinson’s.  Bring it on Marty McFly.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Against Grey’s Anatomy, it has tough competition for it’s demo.  Do you think viewers are ready to watch the side effects of Parkinson’s every Thursday night?  Even though it’s a comedy, will it make people uncomfortable?

11.  About a Boy (NBC)
Mid-season

About A Boy

After writing a hit song, Will Freeman was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. Now he’s single, unemployed and loving it.

So when Marcus (the oddly charming 11-year-old next door neighbor) stops by, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend… until Will discovers that women find single dads hot. Well, that changes everything. A deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son, and in return Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house, playing ping-pong and gorging on steaks – something Marcus’ single, needy (and very vegan) mother would never allow.

Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy Marcus’ visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. Could it be that maybe there’s something to be said for being a (sort of) responsible adult – at least in a young boy’s eyes?

Starring Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) and David Walton (“Bent”), based on the best-selling book by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) and written/produced by Jason Katims (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) comes a different kind of coming-of-age story. Half-hour comedy (single-camera).

**Description from Huffington Post

Reasons to Watch – David Walton is fantastic and one of the most underrated actors on tv.  I loved the show he did with Amanda Peet a few years back, Bent.  It was cancelled before ever really given a chance so I’m hopeful that this show will find its footing with Walton in the lead role.  Also, with Jason Katims producing you know its going to tug at your heartstrings.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It hasn’t been given a premiere date yet by NBC.  With the right promotional campaign it could go far, I guess it is in NBC’s hands.

12.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 9:30pm

A group of detectives — including Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher,Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Melissa Fumero — form an odd family in a police precinct in the outermost neighborhood of New York City. Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur and Dan Goor will write and executive-produce with 30 Rock’s David Miner. Samberg will also produce.Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti will also star.

Reasons to Watch – If Andy Samberg in a speedo isn’t enough to watch I don’t know what is.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s sharing the night with 3 major Fox comedies, 2 of which are heading into a sophomore and junior seasons with high ratings. If it doesn’t bring the people in with its time slot, it will have the axe in no time.

13.  Crisis (NBC)
Mid-season

Washington’s most powerful players, including the president, find themselves blackmailed into an international conspiracy by an unlikely puppeteer. The FBI and a rookie Secret Service agent (Lance Gross) must unravel the mystery. Life’s Rand Ravich will write and executive-produce with Far Shariat. Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Dermot Mulroney, Max Martini,Michael Beach, James Lafferty, Halston Sage, Max Schneider, Joshua Erenberg and Stevie Lynn Jones will star.

Reasons to Watch – It has a stellar cast!  With this kind of line-up, it’s hard not to have high expectations.  And as a girl who grew up watching One Tree Hill I love seeing Nathan (James Lafferty) back on the small screen.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Past the initial kidnapping, where can the show go?

14.  Dads (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm

From Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this live-action comedy stars Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi as two successful thirtysomethings who have their lives turned upside down when their fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. Vanessa Lachey, Brenda Song and Tonita Castro also star. Alec Sulkin, Wellesly Wild, Mark Cendrowski will executive-produce alongside MacFarlane.

Reasons to Watch – This needs no convincing. Its Seth McFarland, Seth Green, and Giovani Ribisi.  Remember the scene in Ted when Giovani Ribisi is dancing in front of the TV to Tiffany’s, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now?’ How could we forget? A match made in comedic heaven.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Vanessa Lachey?…Unless its a major failure in the plot department I don’t think there are any vices. It has a great time slot around New Girl and The Mindy Project. PS-did you guys see how fab Mindy Kaling looks on this week’s issue of EW?

15.  Believe (NBC)
Mid-season premiere

An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift and a man (Jake McLaughlin) sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evildoers who covet her power. Harry Potter’s Alfonso Cuaron and The Forgotten’s Mark Friedman will write and executive-produce with Lost’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, Arian Moayed and Jamie Chung will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Critics are raving about how gorgeous the imagery is on this show.  It’s not set to premiere until 2014 and is already getting a lot of attention.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a mid-season premiere and the biggest name attached is J.J. Abrams as executive producer.  Jake McLaughlin is great, I remember him from a few minor roles but is he strong enough to carry a show?

16. Mind Games (ABC)
Mid-season

From Awake’s creator Kyle Killen, the project is a provocative workplace ensemble about the complicated relationship between two brothers — Steve Zahn and Christian Slater — who head an agency that uses the real science of human motivation and manipulation to solve its clients’ problems. Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gregory Marcel, Wynn Everett and Cedric Sanders will also star. Ron Rifkin will guest-star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s from Awake creator Kyle Killen.  Awake was acclaimed for being one of the most innovative pilots in 2012.  After watching the promo, the chemistry between Christian Slater and Steve Zahn seems to be incredible.  It’s like a twisted version of Scandal.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Christian Slater hasn’t had the best luck with tv shows lately, it doesn’t seem like hopes are high.

All plot summaries were gathered from TV Guide.

The list was constructed by Rock Paper Watch authors Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster.  Feel free to reach out with comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!


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Another FNL Alum Joins Parenthood for Season 5

jessmerriweatherAnyone who knows me, knows that I am OBSESSED with Friday Night Lights.  I’ve watched the series in its entirety too many times to count and I really think the world would be a better place if everyone watched it.  Really, clear eyes full hearts can’t lose.

Naturally, I’m also a huge Parenthood fan.  I say “naturally” because the creator of FNL, Jason Katims, is the mastermind behind Parenthood.  The film styles and dialogue are similar, as well as the cast.

Speaking of the cast, Parenthood has added another FNL cast member to it’s spectacular line up.  Jurnee Smollett will be joining the team as Heather Hall, a smart, feisty, up-and-coming political dynamo who Kristina hires to be her campaign manager as she runs for local office.  Monica Potter, who plays Kristina, has been the focus of a lot of Emmy upset chatter and we agree!  Kristina’s battle with breast cancer was the focus of season 4 and it would have been great to see the show recognized for it’s talent.

Smollett joins previous Friday Night Lights cast mates Matt Lauria (also returning season 5), Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, Derek Phillips, Angela Rawna and Jeff Rosick who have also appeared on the show.


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Stars of Cancelled NBC Shows Sing to Television at the Tony’s

nbc cancelled shows

The stars of cancelled NBC shows joined Neil Patrick Harris on stage at the Tony Awards on Sunday night to sing an ode to television.  Megan Hilty (Smash), Andrew Rannells (The New Normal), and Laura Benanti (Go On and last year’s The Playboy Club) sang about the “joys” of television and their home, the theater.  Watch the video below.

NBC cancelled an astounding amount of shows from the 2012-2013 line-up this year including:

  • 1600 Penn
  • 30 Rock
  • Animal Practice
  • Deception
  • Do No Harm
  • Go On
  • Guys With Kids
  • The New Normal
  • The Office
  • Ready for Love
  • Rock Center With Brian Williams
  • Smash
  • Up All Night
  • Whitney

With that list, there are very few returning shows for the network.  Among those returning are The Voice, Parks and Recreation, Revolution, Hannibal, Chicago Fire (surprising!), Law and Order: SVU, Parenthood (long live the Braverman clan), and Grimm.  The dark drama, Hannibal is still in limbo.  What is going on at NBC?  Is there any hope for this network? Only time will tell.  For now, Broadway (and the rest of the world) is laughing, might as well join in.


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New Music Alert – Cassadee Pope

Ladies and gentlmen, Cassadee Pope has arrived.

cassadee

The Season 3 winner, and Blake Shelton prodigy, returned to the stage that made her famous on Tuesday night’s episode of The Voice.  Cassadee Pope performed a new single off of her much-anticpated forthcoming album entitled “Wasting All These Tears” in front of her presumably proud former coaches. 

The 23-year old Florida native looked a little nervous, but seemed to really come into her own as the song progressed.  Her performance (which can you watch below) was quite the production, and full of emotion, as it seems like The Voice star only knows how to go big or go home.  And Cassadee looked gorgeous in a silver-glittery frock and heel ensemble as she waded through the misty fog. 

It seems like Cassadee is approaching music in a genre all of her own as her song is a true hybrid – an upbeat tempo mix of pop-rock with a blend of country.  It’s catchy and fun to sing along to, and it doesn’t hurt that its break-up theme is relatable for thousands of girls across the country.  Cassadee has a ton of potential to shake things up in music.   Her Avril-esque voice and bridges are refreshing, and I think we are on the verge of watching a true star emerge.  

Cassadee’s new album is supposed to drop later this year.  RPW will keep you posted. 

The Voice is one proud parent.

 

Check out Cassadee and a ton of other featured artists including Fitz and the Tantrums, Fall Out Boy, the cast of Nashville, T-Minus productions, and more on our Weekly Rock Spotify Playlist & be sure to subscribe!