In last week’s “Idiot Box” we talked about all the new fall shows the broadcast networks announced during their “upfront presentations” in New York, starting with ABC and FOX. This week we wrap it up with NBC, ABC and The CW.
“Bluff City Law” is your basic lawyer drama, this one set in Memphis. At least star Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law”) knows his way around the genre. “Council of Dads,” about a loving father of four who is inspired by a health scare to call up several “back up dads,” sounds appropriately schmaltzy. “Lincoln” is a belated spin-off of Jeffrey Deaver’s novel The Bone Collector. Quadriplegic forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme (Russell Hornsby) teams with a young NYPD cop (Arielle Kebbel) to hunt down brilliant killers. (Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie played these roles in the 1999 movie version.) “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is a musical comedy centering on a computer coder (Jane Levy from “Suburgatory”) who “starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs.” A young dad (Adam Pally) finds his suddenly broke parents (Fran Drescher, Steven Weber) moving in with him and his family in “Indebted.” “The Kenan Show” finds Kenan Thompson (“Kenan & Kel”) playing a “dad” with “kids.” So innovative! “Perfect Harmony” casts Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) as a former Princeton music professor who takes over a ragtag church choir. “Sunnyside” slots in Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) as the youngest-ever New York City councilman, who gets busted for public intoxication and ends up living on his sister’s couch. Excluded from the political arena, he finds himself hired as a tutor by a “diverse group of hopefuls who dream of becoming American citizens.”
“All Rise” is, as you probably guessed, a courthouse drama. It’s about a judge who is young, black and female. Producers of “Evil” call it a “psychological drama” about a female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter (no symbolism there) in investigating miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Drama superproducer Dick Wolf brings the “Law & Order” infinite spin-off treatment to “FBI” with “FBI: Most Wanted.” “Tommy” stars Edie Falco (“The Sopranos,” “Nurse Jackie”) as the first female chief of police for Los Angeles. That ought to double-feature nicely with “Blue Bloods.” Comedy king Chuck Lorre (“Dharma & Greg,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory”) is the man behind “Bob Loves Abishola.” It’s a sitcom about a middle-aged compression sock salesman who falls for a Nigerian nurse while recovering from a heart attack. “Carol’s Second Act” casts sitcom staple Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”) as a 50-year-old woman who gets divorced and starts a new career as a medical intern. “The Unicorn” is a single-camera comedy about a group of friends who help a single dad (Walton Goggins, “Justified”) get back in the dating pool after his wife dies. “Broke” returns Pauley Perrette (“NCIS”) to CBS’ primetime lineup as a single working-class suburban mom whose estranged but fabulously wealthy sister (Natasha Leggero) shows up on her doorstep, suddenly broke and homeless.
The CW can’t go wrong with DC superheroes, so here’s another: Three years after the disappearance of Batman, “Batwoman” finds Kate Kane (Ruby Rose, “Orange Is the New Black”) strapping on the black Spandex to fight crime in Gotham City. “Nancy Drew” (created in 1930!) also gets the “CW” treatment as a soapy, sexy teen detective series. “Katy Keene” is a spin-off of “Riverdale”—this one following an aspiring fashion designer (Lucy Hale, “Pretty Little Liars”) to NYC.