Winter TV Roundup, Week 9

Meteorological Spring began on March 1, so we’re starting to emerge from our long winter season. Spring brings with it the promise of new growth and, often, new shows. We’re seeing networks, cable channels and the multitude of streaming outlets begin to produce new content, but what of it should you check out? Let these weekly posts be your guide as I review the pilot and second episodes of new scripted series this winter and spring. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Debris unveils exclusive key art for NBC's new UFO sci-fi series

Monday Nights:
Debris, Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC (Premiered March 1)
About
: With the Voice back, NBC is rolling out its new series to cap its Monday night lineup. This one is set in an alternate timeline where an alien spacecraft has been discovered out of commission in space. As it floats toward earth, pieces are breaking off and falling to land, wreaking havoc on the the world as they defy our natural laws. That sounds like an interesting set up, and this one wants to be a mix of The X-Files and Fringe, but the pilot wasn’t that good. It centers on partners (Jonathan Tucker and Riann Steele) who are exploring these debris sightings and the damage they cause. The pilot introduced the world, some ongoing conspiracies, and had a case-of-the-week that got solved. It was all fine, and there’s some potential here for something interesting, but NBC has gone down this route a few times and it’s never panned out. Call me a skeptic.
Pilot Grade: C

Tuesday Nights:
Young Rock, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC (Premiered February 16)
About:
 This new NBC sitcom was created by, about and starring Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock. The pilot episode jumped around to a number of time periods and felt very stiff. The second episode, while it contained itself to a time period, was equally stiff and unfunny. I like the interviews between Randall Park and Johnson that frame the episodes, but this show feels like it lacks the charm and charisma that have made Johnson such a delightful cinematic performer.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: D

It Takes 3 Men to Raise 2 Kids on New NBC Comedy 'Kenan' (PHOTO)

Kenan, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on NBC (Premiered February 16)
About: 
This is the other new sitcom on NBC on Tuesday nights, featuring Kenan Thompson, a long-time performer on Saturday Night Live. Here he plays a widower trying to raise his kids with his father-in-law (Don Johnson) while balancing the demands of a career. The pilot was flat, but there was a couple amusing moments at the end. The second episode was equally as flat and a little bit less engaging. This is another sitcom with a decent star at the center that just didn’t pan out.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: D

Superman & Lois, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered February 23)
About: 
The latest addition to the D.C. universe on The CW is one that focuses on Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch). The pair are long married and raising teenage twin sons. This iteration of Superman and Lois first appeared in other CW D.C. universe shows, but judging by their family situation this new series has jumped into the future quite a bit. In the pilot, Clark’s mother passes away and he decides to move his family to Smallville for a different kind of life as one of his sons begins to manifest powers of his own. This was a hotly anticipated series that had a big premier for The CW. I enjoyed the pilot, which ran 90 minutes, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the series plays out. Hoechlin is good in the role, as is Tulloch, and I thought the pilot had good energy as it sets forth a new story for these classic characters. The pilot delivered on the series promise and I think this has a chance to be a hit for The CW.
Pilot Grade: B

Ginny & Georgia' Review: Gilmore Girls, Dialed Up to 11 - Rolling Stone

Streaming Series:
Ginny & Georgia, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered February 24)
About:
 This dramedy focuses on a young woman, Georgia (Brianne Howey), who became a mother as a teen. She came from a rough home and has tried to carve out a life for herself and her children, including 15-year-old daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry). As the series begins, Georgia’s wealthy husband has died and she moves her family to Massachusetts for a fresh start. But there are plenty of skeletons from her past that won’t let her go. Ginny, meanwhile, is trying to find her own identity while struggling with a mother who acts more like a friend. This one has drawn comparisons to The Gilmore Girls for obvious reasons, but I didn’t think it was that charming or engaging. The full 10-episode season is now available, each running about an hour. I watched the first two and wasn’t taken with the characters or story, though the series tries to develop some unfolding mystery elements. It wasn’t as funny or engaging as I’d hoped, as both episodes felt a little stale and dry.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Review: Peacock's all-new 'Punky Brewster' brings Punky Power back

Punky Brewster, Now Streaming on Peacock (Premiered February 25)
About
: Since its launch in Summer 2020, Peacock has struggled to find identity. Its first wave of originals included the high profile Brave New World, which flopped, and a number of imports from across the pond. It finally found a bit of life with a new version of Saved By the Bell in the late Fall. Now it’s going back to the well with Punky Brewster, a re-boot of the popular comedy series that aired from 1984 to 1988. Original stars Solei Moon Frye and Cherie Johnson are back, and this one jumps ahead to find an adult Punky (Moon Frye) balancing life as a mother after a break up with her husband (Freddie Prinze, Jr.). Moon Frye seems to be having fun with the role and the first couple episodes moved at a decent pace. This one still feels more about nostalgia than something fresh, but the episodes were more engaging than either of the comedies that launched on NBC. For fans of the original, this will be a nice blast to the past while also creating something for new audiences. Like the Saved By the Bell re-boot, I could see this latching on for Peacock.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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