My tolerance for television has reached an all-time low. A new show is lucky to get a five-episode trial run, and a lesser show barely gets a reprieve after two issues of lackluster scripting or acting. So what can be said for the shows unleashed since Christmas? Here’s my take on what I’ve seen, what I’ll keep watching, and what is to come!
1600 Penn (NBC, Thursdays) I like Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman, so giving them the White House to run and destroy seemed par for the course. Frankly, Pullman plays a goofier version of the role that he JFK-ed in Independence Day, and his screen children (Josh Gad and Martha MacIsaac) are terrific. First world problems with third world implications. After five episodes: C+
The Americans (FX, Wednesdays) I wanted to like this. Really. But the Sopranos/Alias-in-the-1980s Cold War deal just didn’t have enough to keep me interesting. Sure, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys were fine, but it just couldn’t hold my attention. After three episodes: D
Do No Harm (NBC, cancelled) I made it fifteen minutes into this show about a doctor with an evil alter ego. NBC gave it two episodes before canceling it. Who had the shorter fuse? After fifteen minutes: F
The Following (Fox, Mondays) The lead-in from Bones is a little strange, given that we don’t see much violence in the seasoned procedural and in horror maven Kevin Williamson’s miniseries, we’re looking at murder after murder with an Edgar Allen Poe theme. Kevin Bacon’s return finds him as the disavowed FBI agent at the center of Kevin Purefoy’s villainous hell, with a kidnapped child, a harried ex-wife/ex-lover to both Bacon and Purefoy’s characters, and a slew of horrendous murders. I find myself considering the DVR delete every week but something keeps me sucked back in. But where are we going here? And will we find seasonal resolution or will they pull The Killing again? After five episodes: B-
Zero Hour (ABC, Thursdays) This isn’t ER even if Anthony Edwards is starring here as a paranormal journalist who wants to rescue his kidnapped wife (Jacinda Barrett) from the terrorist (Michael Nyqvist), who seems intent on unleashing some ancient Nazi apocalypse. Paul Scheuring, who helped make Prison Break into a three-year hit, has established a pulse-pounding thrill-ride of a show that seems part-National Treasure and part-Alias. If you want to throw in the kidnapping element, I wouldn’t argue. Maybe it’s the mythological portion, but I’m definitely willing to give this one a long look. After 2 episodes: B+
Old Stuff I’ll Keep Watching (Just So You Know): Justified, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, Shark Tank, Whitney, Guys With Kids, Last Man Standing
Golden Boy (CBS, Tuesdays, then Fridays) Chi McBride has me sucked into those flashback-oriented show about a detective who becomes the youngest police commissioner in NYC history. 75% chance of making the cut.
Red Widow (ABC, Sundays) Radha Mitchell plays a widowed mobster’s wife. Goran Visjnic co-stars. Could get interesting. 60% chance of making the cut.
The Bible (History, Sundays) Headed up by husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and having seen advance clips of this, I give it a 90% chance of being watched in its entirety.
Vikings (History, Sundays) Given the creativity of Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors), I’m giving this true period piece a shot, but overall, a 50% chance of making it past episode two.