WINTER 2017 TV PREVIEW

THE RISK LIST

With a new roster of rookie series comes the knowledge not all will be hits. While not all of the below are doomed from the start, a number of them will likely have a harder road to succeed than others. Whether it’s because the plot leaves something to be desire, its time slot is just terrible or it is being launched with little fanfare, you should watch all of them at your own risk.

Ransom

Saturday's at 8:00pm (CBS)

No…this is not a TV version of the Mel Gibson thriller of the same name, but I can see why you may think that’s the case. Instead this is a new drama inspired by the real-life professional experiences of  crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert and his partner Marwan Mery. It’s also being aired on Saturday nights which should tell you all you need to know. CBS’ first original drama to air on that night in 13 years is a low-cost, low-risk acquisition from Canada and France. From a network perspective it is worth a shot, but that doesn’t mean it will stick around for the long haul.

Image Credit: CBS

Emerald City

Friday’s at 9:00pm (NBC)

“Emerald City” was first greenlit by NBC in April of 2015…check the calendar. Picked up and cancelled and then picked up again, the series finally hit the schedule the other week. The problem is that slot on the schedule was Friday nights which doesn’t instill confidence. This modern-day take on “The Wizard Of Oz” did okay, but not great and the odds are good it won’t perk up enough to see a second season.

Image Credit: NBC

Taboo

Tuesday’s at 10:00pm (FX)

The problem with high-concept series are sometimes they run the risk of being too high-concept and that’s “Taboo.” If you can’t clearly get across to people what your show is about in the marketing materials or TV ads that can be a red flag. Even with Tom Hardy in the lead and Ridley Scott behind the scenes viewers need more to understand what they are watching. “Taboo’s” numbers were okay, but this is one of those shows if you don’t start from the beginning it could be hindrance in future weeks. Time-shifted numbers will be play a big role in the show's future.

Image Credit: FX

The Young Pope

Sundays and Monday’s at 9:00pm (HBO)

Personally religious based dramas rarely connect with me and based on how many are currently on the air, I may not be the only one. HBOs “The Young Pope” is attempting to change the perspective as it follows the first American-born Pope and his un-traditional approach to his reign. With Jude Law, Diane Keaton and James Cromwell among the talented cast, success is not out of the realm of possibility, but it is definitely not a sure thing either. Like “Ransom,” this is a joint-production which makes it worth a flier for HBO, but asking audiences to tune in twice a week may be a little much for a unproven show.

Image Credit: HBO

SIX

Wednesday’s at 10:00pm (History) - PREMIERING: January 18, 2017

“SIX” is the History Channel’s latest addition to its original programming lineup and is inspired by actual operations of SEAL Team Six. The first season focuses on a rescue mission to save one of their own from terrorists and is designed to show the strong bond between the SEALS even if they all aren’t necessarily the best of friends. Headlined by Walton Goggins (“Justified”), the show has a truly bankable lead, but the problem is making sure audiences remember to watch as not everyone even knows if this is a channel in their package. It’s really as simple as that given quality has never been problem for the network.

Image Credit: History

Hunted

Wednesday’s at 8:00pm (CBS) - PREMIERING: January 22, 2017 (moves to regular time slot on January 25)

“Hunted” follows nine teams of two as they try to outwit a team of experts pulled together from groups such as the CIA, Navy SEALS and U.S. Marshal’s office that are tasked with tracking them down. It’s a smart concept but it is also not wholly original as we’ve seen variations of this over the years. The good news is “Hunted” looks to be the slickest version and it has the benefit of debuting after the AFC Championship game. The question is how will perform after instead of ending the night, it will open it. 

Image Credit: CBS

Powerless

Thursday’s at 8:30pm (NBC) - PREMIERING: February 2, 2017

We all know the world of super-heroes are alive and well on TV, but thus far only represented as dramas. “Powerless” is being billed as the first comic-book-centric comedy and is based in the DC Comics universe. It’s a fun premise in that it follows employees of Wayne Securities (yes as in Bruce Wayne), a company tasked with building things to protect ordinary citizens from the collateral damage caused during epic super-hero battles.  However will non-comic fans get the joke and can it sustain itself week-to-week? The show has also gone through a few re-tools which makes me wonder if it still needs more time to find its way. However having “Superstore” as a lead-in may give it the boost it needs to get viewers.

Image Credit: NBC

Superior Donuts

Monday's at 9:00pm (CBS) - PREMIERING: February 2, 2017 (moves to regular time slot on February 6)

On paper pairing two top comedy stars like Judd Hirsch and Katey Sagal should be a formula for success. However for some reason there has been little fanfare, buzz or news around the comedy and it premieres in a matter of weeks. This show about a Chicago donut shop has been re-worked and delayed a bunch of times, but the wry humor of Hirsch and the comic timing of Sagal should endear it to audiences – if they know it’s actually on the air (and the critics don’t tear it apart).

Image Credit: CBS

APB

Monday’s at 9:00pm (Fox) - PREMIERING: February 6, 2017

“APB” revolves around a billionaire that after being personally impacted by a violent crime essentially buys a police precinct. His goal is to help it become the most technologically advanced force in the country, even if he meets resistance in the process. Created by Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), the drama stars Justin Kirk, Ernie Hudson and Natalie Martinez and will have the benefit of the revamped “24” as its lead-in.  It’s not your traditional drama and critics will likely have a field day with it, which could impact its odds, but personally I think it is has promise.

Image Credit: Fox

Legion

Tuesday’s at 10:00pm (FX) - PREMIERING: February 8, 2017

FX is the next network to take its shot at the super-hero genre as it turns to Emmy-winner Noah Hawley (“Fargo”) to launch “Legion.” “Downton Abbey” alum (and future “Beauty and the Beast” lead) Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, a presumed schizophrenic who may actually hear voices. In the Marvel comics Haller is also the son of “X-Men” founder Charles Xavier so it will be interesting to see how that is addressed in the series. FX has already said numerous times this isn’t going to be a traditional super-hero show and that’s why I have it on the risk list. Comic fans are notoriously hard to please and “Legion” may take some getting used to at first. That said anyone who has seen what Hawley’s done with “Fargo,” should understand the show’s in the right hands.

Image Credit: FX

Doubt

Wednesday’s at 10:00pm (CBS) - PREMIERING: February 15, 2017

“Doubt” has been through many casting iterations in its lifetime with Katherine Heigl eventually landing the lead role. The drama centers on a brilliant attorney who falls for her client while defending him on charges he murdered his girlfriend 24 years ago. The problem is that audiences still have not forgiven Heigl for the way she exited “Grey’s Anatomy” all those years ago. Her last series, “State of Affairs,” had a better timeslot and a more innovative plot and it still failed, which doesn’t make me think “Doubt” will get a better reception.

Image Credit: CBS

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