Boob Tube Breakdown – Fall TV preview 2013

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

I love September. People stop asking me to go do things out in nature, which saves my pasty Irish skin from the harsh rays of the sun and allows me to sit inside with my one true love, the old boob tube.

Since most of you fine readers have personal lives and don’t have the time to research these shows like I do, I have a full breakdown of all of the new shows in my seventh-annual “Boob Tube Breakdown Fall Television Preview.”

For many years, the trendy thing for networks to do was to throw together as many lazy police and medical procedural shows as possible and call it a day. But clearly, this year all of the networks have decided the best way to stave off their inevitable slow death at the hands of cable networks and Netflix is to round up as many public domain proprieties as possible. So enjoy “fun” new twists on Alice in Wonderland, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Dracula.

Before we dive in to the complete list of new shows, I recommend pouring a tall glass of your favorite adult beverage as we wade through these together. As always, some of these shows will be good, some will be bad and quite a few will be promptly canceled. It’s an exciting time to be a couch potato, so let’s see what the TV Gods have to offer this year:

ABC

Back in the Game

(Premieres: Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was an All Star softball player until life threw her a couple curve balls: a baby, a lost college scholarship and a loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son Danny (Griffin Gluck) move in with her estranged father, Terry Sr. aka “The Cannon” (James Caan). The Cannon is an opinionated, beer-guzzling, ex-athlete who never quite made the cut as a single father or professional baseball player. As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle of her youth, Danny wants to play Little League. His stunning lack of baseball skills (he doesn’t even know which hand the mitt goes on) makes him the laughing stock of the baseball field and his grandfather’s living room. When Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the team, Danny’s disappointment forces Terry to face her past. So when a wealthy neighbor volunteers to finance a team for the rejected kids, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits.

My take: The mental image of James Caan laughing at a young boy who puts a baseball mitt on the wrong hand does put a smile on my face, but this show just sounds so schmaltzy and over-the-top that I think it would be cloying as a two-hour movie, let alone a 22-episode series.

Betrayal

(Premieres: Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: A chance meeting between Sara Hanley (Hannah Ware), a professional photographer, and Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend), a top attorney, leads to an instant and undeniable attraction. Sara’s husband, Drew Stafford (Chris Johnson), is a successful prosecutor with political aspirations, and the couple have a seven-year-old, Oliver. Unbeknownst to Sara, Jack is in-house counsel to a powerful but somewhat shady entrepreneur, Thatcher Karsten (James Cromwell), and is married to Thatcher’s daughter, Elaine (Wendy Moniz). Elaine, secure in her relationship with Jack, is a smart, determined woman attempting to make her Chicago café a success on her own terms, as well as be a good mother to the couples’ 16-year-old twins, Valerie (Elizabeth McLaughlin) and Victor (Braeden Lemasters). However Sara and Jack both realize something is missing in their marriages, and fight against the realization that they’ve met their soul mates in one another.

As Sara and Jack struggle with their feelings and their guilt about their families, Thatcher’s brother-in-law, Lou, is murdered, and all evidence points to Thatcher’s mentally challenged son, T.J. (Henry Thomas). Sara discovers she’s in the middle of a nightmare when she learns that Drew will be the prosecuting attorney in this high-profile murder case, which can secure his political future, and that Jack will be the lawyer for the defense. The lovers find themselves in an impossible situation – on opposite sides of a murder investigation.

My take: You are telling me a team of writers sat in a room to break this show and the best name they could come up with for James Cromwell’s character is Thatcher Karsten? That doesn’t bode well for the series. Even Karsten Thatcher sounds less like a horrible fake name than Thatcher Karsten.

The Goldbergs

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m.)

Synopsis: Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up, and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the ‘80s. For geeky 11-year old Adam (Sean Giambrone) these were his wonder years and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other, just with a lot more yelling.

Mom Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a classic “smother;” an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who rules this brood with 100 percent authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff, hot-tempered and trying to parent without screaming. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is 17, hot, terrifying and not one to mess with. Barry (Troy Gentile) is 16, an overly emotional teen with severe middle child syndrome. Adam (Sam Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who’s crushing on an older woman. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al “Pops” Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who’s schooling Adam in the ways of love. When Pops buys a new sports car and offers his Caddy to middle child Barry, it’s enough to drive this already high-strung family to the brink of chaos.

My take: I was really, really hoping this was a show about professional wrestler Bill Goldberg and his family. If you promised me at least one scene of Bill Goldberg spearing a kid for being mean to his boy during his bar mitzvah, I would be a viewer for life.

Lucky 7

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: Nestled in the culturally diverse neighborhood of Astoria, the Gold Star Gas N’ Shop is home to a surrogate family of co-workers whose lives will be transformed by an unexpected lottery win. Aside from the money, relationships will change as the trust between two brothers will be uprooted, budding romances will develop and secrets will come to the surface.

Matt Korzak (Matt Long) could get his very pregnant girlfriend, Mary Lavecchia (Christine Evangelista), and their other child out of his mother’s house with some desperately needed cash. Matt’s brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), an ex-con, could pay off a dangerous debt and pursue the huge crush he has on co-worker Samira Lashari (Summer Bishil). Samira, a second-generation Pakistani immigrant and a talented musician, could finally afford to go to her dream school, Juilliard. Denise Dibinksy (Lorraine Bruce), the tender-hearted Gold Star cashier, is struggling to lose weight and regain her former glory, but the winnings could provide an opportunity for her to rebuild her crumbling marriage. Leanne Maxwell (Anastasia Phillips), a young single mother, will try to keep her past hidden despite the spotlight the lottery win puts on her. Bob Harris (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), the store’s manager and quite possibly the nicest man in the world, wants to buy the Gold Star and make it into the perfect workplace he always imagined. And cheerful and charming Antonio Clemente (Luis Antonio Ramos) will discover ways to capitalize on the group’s win in order to give his wife, Bianca (Alex Castillo), and their three kids a whole new life.

My take: Please tell me that Isiah Whitlock, Jr.’s reaction to winning the lottery is: “Sheeeeeit!”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.)

Synopsis: Clark Gregg reprises his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films, as he assembles a small, highly select group of agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange and the unknown across the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. Coulson’s team consists of Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage; Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), expert pilot and martial artist; Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), brilliant engineer; and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), genius bio-chemist. Joining them on their journey into mystery is new recruit and computer hacker, Skye (Chloe Bennet).

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s first television series, is from executive producers Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, who co-wrote the pilot (Dollhouse, Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog). Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias) and Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) also serve as executive producers.

My take: Joss Whedon can do no wrong in my book. And the cold-hearted bastard actually did something nice and brought back Agent Coulson for this show, so I have high hopes for it. Plus, it isn’t on Fox, so it has a good chance of getting renewed for multiple seasons.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

(Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m.)

Synopsis: In Victorian England, young and beautiful Alice (Sophie Lowe) tells an impossible tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah-smoking caterpillar and playing cards that can talk are just some of the fantastic things she’s seen during her adventure. Surely this troubled girl must be insane. Her doctors intend to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget — everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever, the handsome and mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). But in her heart Alice knows this world is real, and just in the nick of time the sardonic Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the irrepressible White Rabbit (John Lithgow) arrive to save her from her fate. Together the trio will take a tumble down the rabbit hole to a Wonderland where nothing is impossible.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland stars Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate) as Alice, Michael Socha (This Is England) as The Knave of Hearts, Peter Gadiot (The Forbidden Girl) as Cyrus, Emma Rigby (Prisoners Wives) as The Red Queen, with Naveen Andrews (Lost) as Jafar and John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun) as the voice of The White Rabbit.

My take: Seriously Disney, how many times are you going to retell this story?

Super Fun Night

(Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 9:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: Junior attorney Kimmie Boubier (Rebel Wilson) and her two best friends Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash) have had a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. They even have a motto for what they call “Friday Night Fun Night”: “Always together! Always Inside!” However, Kimmie’s recent promotion throws a monkey wrench into the tradition. Not only is she now working with her idol, “Lady Lawyer of the Year” Felicity Vanderstone, but she meets a dashingly handsome British attorney, Richard Lovell (Kevin Bishop), who invites her to his party at a trendy club. Determined to spend time with Richard and heed Felicity’s advice to network, Kimmie sets out to convince her friends to take Super Fun Night on the road.

My take: The concept seems pretty thin, but Rebel Wilson is one of those people that makes things funnier than they are on paper, so I’m sure it at least has a few laughs.

Trophy Wife

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: They say the third time’s the charm and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that’s true when she becomes Pete’s (Bradley Whitford) third wife. She fell into his arms (literally) at a karaoke bar and a year later, Kate’s got an insta-family complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense, over-achieving doctor and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate’s barely tapped maternal instinct. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son, Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete’s strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness. Juggling all this baggage is uncharted territory for Kate who finds support with her best friend Meg (Natalie Morales) a party-hearty singleton and the only woman Kate knows who has less experience with kids than she has.

My take: I’m willing to suspend a lot of disbelief when watching television. Cancer-ridden high school teacher becomes a drug kinpin? Sure. Team of secret agents fight supervillians, lead by a guy who was already killed on-screen? No problem. Time traveling Ichabod Crane in a supernatural police procedural? Why not? But a show where Bradley Whitford somehow convinced Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins and Malin Akerman to marry him? That’s just ridiculous.

CBS

The Crazy Ones

(Premieres: Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m.)

Synopsis: Academy Award winner Robin Williams returns to series television in The Crazy Ones, a single-camera workplace comedy about a larger-than-life advertising genius whose unorthodox methods and unpredictable behavior would get him fired … if he weren’t the boss. Simon Roberts is the head of a powerful agency, with the biggest clients and brands in the world, but even more important to him is having his daughter Sydney by his side. As his partner, Sydney is Simon’s exact opposite – focused, organized and eager to make a name for herself, but also too busy parenting her father, which she’d resent if he wasn’t so brilliant at what he does. Joining them in the firm are the dashing and talented Zach; art director Andrew, who’s as hard-working as he is neurotic; and the beautiful and deceptively smart assistant Lauren. With his team and his daughter behind him, Simon continues to set the advertising world on fire, and it looks like they are definitely buying what these crazy ones are selling.

My take: Robin Williams’ manic, horribly-outdated, xenophobic impressions are just a HR disaster waiting to happen.

Hostages

(Premieres: Monday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: Hostages, from executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, stars Emmy Award winner Toni Collette and Golden Globe Award winner Dylan McDermott in a high-octane suspense drama about Dr. Ellen Sanders, a premiere surgeon thrust into a chilling political conspiracy when her family is taken hostage by rogue FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle. Ellen and her family are held captive in their home by Carlisle, a desperate man doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, who orders her to assassinate the President when she operates on him. His highly skilled accomplices include his brother-in-law Kramer, whose loyalty to Carlisle will be tested; quick-tempered and intimidating Archer, an ex-military man with a razor-sharp tongue; and the only woman involved, Sandrine, a mysterious last-minute replacement to the team. With her family’s life in peril, Ellen faces an incomprehensible moral dilemma in order to save her overbearing husband Brian, her secretive daughter Morgan and her not-so-innocent son Jake. In this high-stakes standoff between Ellen and Carlisle, fraught with tremendous national and personal consequences, the choices between right and wrong become even more blurred.

My take: Toni Collette is wonderful and the concept is just crazy enough to pique my interest. But I feel like viewers always get burned with shows like this. Either they get canceled too soon and short change the audience on a payoff or they go on three seasons too long and the show’s mythology becomes so convoluted and difficult to follow that, by the time it wraps up, no one cares anymore.

The Millers

(Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Millers stars Will Arnett as Nathan Miller, a recently divorced local roving news reporter looking forward to living the singles life until his parents’ marital problems unexpectedly derail his plans. After Nathan finally breaks the news of his divorce to his parents, Carol and Tom, his father is inspired to follow suit and stuns the family when he leaves his wife of 43 years. Already in shock, Nathan is even more aghast when his meddlesome mom decides to move in with him. Meanwhile, his absent-minded dad imposes upon Nathan’s sister Debbie, her husband Adam and their daughter. Nathan’s best friend and news cameraman Ray was excited to be Nathan’s wingman in the dating scene, but Carol manages to even cramp his style. Now, as Nathan and his sister settle in with their truly impossible parents, they both wonder just how long the aggravating adjustment period is going to last.

My take: Keep trying, Will Arnett. One of these sitcoms is bound to be good.

Mom

(Premieres: Monday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: From hit-maker Chuck Lorre comes his next big comedy‐an irreverent and outrageous take on true family love‐and dysfunction. Newly sober single mom Christy struggles to raise two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls. Testing her sobriety is her formerly estranged mother, now back in Christy’s life and eager to share passive-aggressive insights into her daughter’s many mistakes.

My take: Chuck Lorre is involved, which means I’ll hate it and it will inexplicably become a massive success. Lorre is the white Tyler Perry.

We Are Men

(Premieres: Monday, Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: We Are Men is a single-camera comedy about four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who unexpectedly find camaraderie over their many missteps in love. Carter, the youngest and most recent addition to the group, moved in after being ditched at the altar mid-ceremony, and is now eager to re-enter the dating scene and get on with his life with some guidance from his “band of brothers”: Frank Russo, a successful middle-aged clothing manufacturer and four-time divorcée who still fancies himself a ladies man; Gil Bartis, a small business owner who was caught having the world’s worst affair; and Stuart Weber, a speedo-wearing OB/GYN who’s hiding his assets until his second divorce is settled. Abby is Frank’s charming and attractive daughter, who stands as the one positive remnant from his failed relationships. Armed with a hot tub, pool-side barbeque and plenty of questionable advice, these losers in the marriage department take Carter under their wing to impart their own brand of wisdom about the opposite sex.

My take: Calling Stuart Weber “a speedo-wearing OB/GYN” makes it sound like he wears a speedo while examining women … and I really, really hope that isn’t the case. For everybody’s sake.

Fox

Almost Human

(Premieres: Monday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.)

Synopsis: The year is 2048. Meet Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban), a cop who survived one of the most catastrophic attacks ever made against the police department. After waking up from a 17-month coma, he can’t remember much – except that his partner was killed, he lost one of his legs and he is now outfitted with a highly sophisticated synthetic appendage.

Suffering from depression, mental atrophy, trauma-onset OCD, PTSD and the “psychological rejection of his synthetic body part,” John returns to work at the behest of longtime ally Captain Sanda Maldonado (Lili Taylor). By mandate, every cop must partner with a robot. And despite his passionate aversion to androids, John is paired up with a battle-ready MX-43.

My take: “Suffering from depression, mental atrophy, trauma-onset OCD, PTSD and the ‘psychological rejection of his synthetic body part,’ John returns to work …” Wow, they’ve really gotten lax on the rules for police officer reinstatement in the future.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) is gifted enough that he’s never had to work too hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher).

Captain Holt believes in rules and regulations, two concepts that have long been overlooked by the detectives in the 99th precinct. Jake’s colleagues are a brilliant and capable bunch, but lack a certain level of discipline and leadership. They compete with each other, annoy each other, gossip and flirt, but at the end of the day, they have each other’s backs.

My take: This show was created by Parks and Recreation‘s Michael Schur and Daniel J. Goor. Those guys have so much good will built up with me because of that show that I would watch anything they put out at this point.

Dads

(Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.)

Synopsis: Eli (Seth Green) and Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) are lifelong best friends and the co-founders of Ghost Child Games, a successful video game company. Warner, married with two kids, is a bundle of nerves, as he tries to balance his career with his home life. He and Eli came up with the idea for the gaming company while stoned in college, and Eli has remained stoned ever since. In contrast to Warner’s seemingly stable life, Eli’s is a bit messier, with brief stabs at self-improvement. He’s a confident guy, but occasionally reveals his lack of good intentions and moral fiber.

Although Warner and Eli are at very different places in their lives, they are so close, their friendship often seems more like a marriage. And that relationship is more complicated now, as their dads invade their lives.

My take: Why do I get the feeling that Fox heard Chuck Lorre was making a show called Mom and they slapped this thing together at the last minute as a response?

Sleepy Hollow

(Premieres: Monday, Sept. 16 at 9 p.m.)

Synopsis: In this modern-day twist on Washington Irving’s classic, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod quickly realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is but the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and only one of the many formidable foes that Ichabod must face to protect not only Sleepy Hollow, but the world.

As Ichabod finds himself in 2013’s Sleepy Hollow, he discovers a town he no longer recognizes and grapples to understand. Teaming up with Detective Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a young cop who has her own supernatural experiences, the two embark on a mission to stop the evil that has awoken along with Ichabod and that now is seeping into this once-sleepy town.

My take: I feel like the creative team on this one are attempting to become the Kanye West of television. They’ve somehow mashed together The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with The Bible, the Twilight movies, National Treasure and Kate & Leopold to make a show so ridiculous and terrible that I actually kind of want to watch it.

NBC

The Blacklist

(Premieres: Monday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) has been one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job.

What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop a terrorist begins. What are Red’s true intentions? Why has he chosen Liz, a woman with whom he seemingly has no connection? Does Liz have secrets of her own? Zamani is only the first of many on a list that Red has compiled over the years: a “blacklist” of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists. He will help catch them all … with the caveat that Liz continues to work as his partner. Red will teach Liz to think like a criminal to “see the bigger picture” – whether she wants to or not.

My take: I really wanted to mock this for being a blatant ripoff of Silence of the Lambs but … “The Concierge of Crime”? Really? How is that supposed to be catchy or intimidating? You can’t just add “of Crime” and expect something to sound cooler by association. That only works for “in Space.” (Side note: I would totally watch The Concierge in Space.)

Dracula

(Premieres: Friday, Oct. 25 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars in this provocative new drama as one of the world’s most iconic characters.

It’s the late 19th century, and the mysterious Dracula has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He’s especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night – useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: he hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan … until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

My take: This show is going to … [puts on sunglasses] … suck. [“YEAAAAAAH!”]

Ironside

(Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m.)

Synopsis: In the gritty world of the NYPD, no one’s tougher than Detective Robert Ironside. He’s a fearless cop who won’t stop until the guilty are brought to justice. He and his trusted, handpicked team of specialists will do whatever it takes to solve New York’s most difficult and notorious crimes – even if it means breaking the rules.

Tough, sexy and acerbic, Ironside’s never been afraid to call it like he sees it. As a detective, his instincts are second to none, and those around him have to stay on their toes if they want to keep up… because when his spine was shattered by a bullet two years ago, Ironside swore he’d never let a damn wheelchair slow him down.

My take: Three shows in and you’ve given us a Silence of the Lambs ripoff, a Dracula reboot and a remake of a 1970s cop show. Aiming for fourth place again, I see, NBC.

The Michael J. Fox Show

(Premieres: Thursday, Sept 26 at 9 p.m.)

Synopsis: Look who’s making the news again! One of NY’s most beloved news anchors, Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox), put his career on hold to spend more time with his family and focus on his health after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. But now five years later, with the kids busy growing up and Mike growing restless, it just might be time for him to get back to work. Having never wanted Mike to leave in the first place, his old boss Harris Green (Wendell Pierce) jumped at the chance to get him back on TV. The trick, as it’s always been, was to make Mike think it was his idea. After several – okay, many – failed attempts, Mike’s family, anxious to see him out of the house, finally succeeded in getting him to “run into” Green. Now their plan is in motion. He’ll be back to juggling home, family and career, just like the old days – only better.

My take: Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandy and Wendell Pierce all seem like such lovely, wonderful, talented people and I wish them nothing but success. I’m really rooting for this one.

Sean Saves the World

(Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m.)

Synopsis: Sean’s a divorced dad who’s trying to juggle it all. From his overbearing boss and offbeat employees at work – to his pushy mom and weekends with his teenage daughter at home – handling it all is no easy task. So when Ellie, his 14-year-old bundle of joy, moves in full-time, it’s a whole new challenge.

Never one to do anything halfway, Sean’s intent on being the best dad ever – so he loads up on parenting how-to books and plans Pinterest-worthy family dinners. But it seems his company’s new owner has decided Sean and his team should work longer hours, throwing a kink in his perfectly constructed homemaking plans. Ellie, a normal girl who wants to hang with her friends and eat on the run, sees this development as a plus. She loves her dad, but he’s clearly going overboard.

From keeping his boss happy, his employees motivated and enduring his mother’s tactless “advice” to raising a smart, grounded and healthy kid, it’s going to be a growing experience, to say the least. But if anyone can swing it, it’s Sean.

My take: Wait, so his daughter is 14 and he just now decides to start reading parenting books and learning how to cook? How much did he half-ass it when she would come to visit him before?

Welcome to the Family

(Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: Dan Yoder (Mike O’Malley) and wife, Caroline (Mary McCormack), think they finally have it made. Their daughter, Molly (Ella Rae Peck) – not the most diligent of students – has managed to graduate from high school and has been accepted to college. Her proud parents are looking forward to an empty nest and are breathing a heavy sigh of relief.

Across town, Molly’s secret boyfriend, Junior Hernandez (Joey Haro), is graduating from his high school with top honors and has plans to go to Stanford. Parents Miguel (Ricardo Chavira) and Lisette (Justina Machado) are bursting with pride. Everything seems like it is falling into place for them, but unbeknownst to both families, Molly and Junior are about to become parents themselves.

Once the teens break the big news, these two very different families are thrown together, which goes anything but smoothly … and the news that Molly and Junior are engaged to be married doesn’t exactly make things better.

My take: Seriously NBC, did you guys just quit trying? If you are going to phone it in, at least bring back that adorable monkey doctor.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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