Rob Cesternino welcomes Media Columnist from the Colorado Springs Gazette, Terry Terrones, to discuss the best and worst new shows of the fall season.
Terry’s 5 Best Shows of the 2014 Season in our Fall TV Preview
1. The Flash,” CQ The CW, premieres Oct. 7
What’s it about: After being struck by lightning, CSI investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin CQ from “Glee”) awakens from a coma to discover he has been granted the gift of super speed. Teaming up with S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry takes on the person of The Flash, the Fastest Man Alive, to protect his city.
Why you should watch: While just as exciting as its superhero brother, “Arrow,” which also airs on The CW, “The Flash” takes a different tone. This series is lighter and more fun because the lead character requires it. Barry Allen (played well by Gustin) didn’t have to live on an island for five years and fight for his life like Green Arrow; he was given his powers and is working through how to best use them. The producing team of Greg Berlanti CQ and Andrew Kreisberg, CQ who also work on “Arrow,” have promised to stay true to the voice of the source material. Viewers can count on plenty of “Arrow” crossovers as well.
The Grade: A
“black-ish,”CQ ABC, premieres Sept. 24
What’s it about: “black-ish,” takes a fun look at one man’s determination to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family. Dre (Anthony Anderson CQ) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross CQ) Johnson want to give their kids the best but their children’s upbringing is turning out to be much different than theirs. Dre considers himself the family patriarch and when he looks at his life he sees a beautiful wife and four kids living happily in their colonial home in the suburbs. But when he looks a little closer he wonders if the trappings of success brought too much assimilation for his black family. The world he sees has a much different lens than the one he would like his family to look through.
Why you should watch: This was easily the funniest new TV pilot I watched. Anthony Anderson’s Dre has a hard time fitting into a predominately white society but still wanting his kids to recognize their heritage. This leads to some hysterical moments. The entire cast is excellent, but particularly enjoyable are the interactions between Anderson and Laurence Fishburne CQ who plays his grumpy, know-it-all father.
The Grade: A-
“Gotham,” CQ FOX, premieres Sept. 22
What’s it about: “Gotham” is an origin story for the most famous DC Comics super villains and vigilantes. The series focuses on a young Jim Gordon, a detective who is incorruptible in the world’s most corrupt city. The rookie detective and future commissioner is challenged by the villains who will eventually become The Penguin, The Riddle, Catwoman and The Joker.
Why you should watch: “Gotham” is not what I expected. There are no capes, gadgets or superpowers. “Gotham” is more of an exceptionally well-done police procedural than superhero show. This series is a about a gritty, violent world, that just so happens to be set in the Batman universe. Ben McKenzie CQ (“Southland,” “The O.C.”) as Gordon and Donal Logue CQ (“Grounded for Life”) as his shady partner are first rate. But surprisingly the breakout star is Jada Pinkett Smith CQ (“The Nutty Professor”) as mob underboss Fish Mooney. She’s downright scary.
The Grade: A-
“Jane the Virgin,” CQ The CW, premieres Oct. 13
What’s it about: Jane Villaneuva (newcomer Gina Rodriguez CQ) is a driven young woman studying to become a teacher and supporting herself with a job at a Miami hotel. Though she’s been “saving herself” until she and her fiancé are married, Jane’s meticulous life plans are turned upside down when her doctor accidentally artificially inseminates her with a specimen meant for someone else.
Why you should watch: Don’t let the name fool you, despite the attention grabbing title and subject matter, this is a surprisingly family friendly show. And it has a ton of heart. Jane is funny, smart and hard working but stuck in an unenviable circumstance. Gina Rodriguez is a breakout star. I know “Jane the Virgin,” a true dramedy, will be a critical hit. I just hope the name of the show doesn’t scare away an audience because it has so much potential.
The Grade: A-
“Madam Secretary,” CQ CBS, Sept. 21
What’s it about: Téa Leoni CQ (“Jurassic Park III,” “The Family Man”) is Elizabeth McCord, the newly appointed Secretary of State. A college professor and a former CIA analyst, Elizabeth returns to public life at the request of the President following the suspicious death of her predecessor. The President values her apolitical leanings, her deep knowledge of the Middle East, her flair for languages and her ability to think outside the box.
Why you should watch: Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord is the type of person we all wish was in office – someone who doesn’t play political games and just gets the job done. Leoni is smart, clever and uses just enough humor to keep things from getting too serious. Tim Daly CQ (“Wings”) is solid as her supportive husband and Bebe Neuwirth CQ (“Cheers,” “Frasier”) is exemplary as her pushy aide.
The Grade: B+
Honorable Mention – Five other shows with real potential.
- “Gracepoint,” FOX, Oct. 2 – This 10-part event series is based on the U.K. hit “Broadchurch.” Anna Gunn CQ (“Breaking Bad”) and David Tennant CQ (“Dr. Who”) are two detectives in a small northern California town trying to solve a young boys murder.
- “Constantine,” NBC, Oct. 24. – John Constantine (Matt Ryan, CQ “Criminal Minds”) is a sharp-tongued demon hunter armed with a deep knowledge of the dark arts. The series is based on DC’s “Hellblazer” comic books.
- “Marry Me,” NBC, Oct. 14 – In this comedy Casey Wilson CQ (“Happy Endings”) and Ken Marino CQ (“Party Down”) are a couple that finally gets engaged after six years of dating. They provide plenty of quirky humor and funny one-liners.
- “Forever,” ABC, Sept. 23. – “Forever” is an odd combination of “Highlander,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Elementary.” It’s hard to give a TV show a much better compliment than that. Ioan Gruffudd CQ (“Fantastic Four”) and Judd Hirsch CQ (“Taxi”) star.
- “American Crime,” ABC (mid-season) – Timothy Hutton CQ (“Leverage”) and Felicity Huffman CQ (“Desperate Housewives”) are divorced parents whose adult son’s death is shrouded in mystery. Multiple story lines ramp up the intrigue.
The Five Worst New TV Shows – Because you need to protect yourself
“Selfie,” ABC – A self-absorbed person tries to grow a conscience. Chances are you know someone like this and avoid them. Avoid this show too.
“Cristela,” ABC – Too many offensive Hispanic cultural clichés to list.
“Stalker,” CBS – Dylan McDermott CQ plays a stalker who also investigates stalkers. The yearly attempt to get McDermott a TV series fails once again.
“Bad Judge,” NBC – A sit-com about a judge who parties too much but has a heart of gold.
“Galavant,” ABC – Medieval setting + singing = a show cancelled after three episodes.