Thanks to being both the Dog Days of summer and the Summer Olympics, we aren’t getting as many new scripted pilots. But we still got a few interesting series, and we’re getting closer to the traditional Fall launch, something we missed in 2020. As always, let these weekly roundups be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer, including a couple cartoons this week. You’re welcome, America. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.
Turner & Hooch, Streaming Wednesdays on Disney+ (Premiered July 21)
About: Josh Peck takes the lead in this re-boot from creator Matt Nix. I liked the flow of the pilot and how in introduced the series. I saw some potential. It’s not that the potential doesn’t still exist, but it felt like the second episode changed a few of the jokes and the basics of the case while following a very similar formula. Sometimes it takes a bit to generate growth, but I’d like to see a bit of a different formula in episodes moving forward. Still, there’s a long-term case that keeps a through arc for the more self-contained week-to-week episodes, and this feels like decent family fun that fits well with the Disney+ audience.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: C
Chip N’Dale: Park Life, Streaming Wednesdays on Disney+ (Premiered July 28)
About: Chip and Dale are back in a new weekly animated series that basically has three mini stories packed into each 20-22 minutes weekly installment. It returns the loveable chipmunks and their adventures, but this is a more old school approach. Chip and Dale don’t speak, in fact there’s no real dialogue in the episode, and have more creative hijinks, so this isn’t a re-boot of the 1990s Rescue Rangers cartoon that is a Millennial favorite. Still, the pilot was cute and entertaining enough, though this feels like the kind of series that could have benefitted from a one-time drop rather than the week-to-week release model.
Pilot Grade: C
Back On the Record with Bob Costas, Fridays at 11 p.m. on HBO (Premiered July 30)
About: Bob Costas is back with his HBO sports talk show On The Record, though this one won’t air weekly. The series will also feature contributions from Bomani Jones as well as a panel discussion each episode, tackling the biggest issues in the world of sports. While I miss seeing Costas at the Olympics and in a regular space for NBC, I am glad to have this talk show back. The premier featured interviews with Charles Barkley and Aly Raisman, while including Costas’ own personal essay, this time on the lack of a humanitarian record for sites hosting the Olympic Games. I enjoyed having this thought-provoking discussion back and think this will be a can’t miss for those who love sports.
Pilot Grade: B-
Jellystone, Now Streaming on HBO Max (Premiered July 29)
About: This new cartoon series brings back Yogi Bear and all his friends, dropping them in the town of Jellystone where they work in new roles. I was somewhat excited to see Yogi Bear back, and I thought this was aimed at younger viewers. The pilot, however, featured a storyline that saw a Yogi, in a fit of uncontrollable hunger rage, eat his friends and have to cough them back up. I wish I was kidding. It was unsettling, and the rest of the pilot and second episode weren’t much better. This wasn’t the walk down memory lane I was expecting, so make of that what you will, especially if you’re planning to show this to your kids.
Pilot Grade: D-
Second Episode: D
The Pursuit of Love, Now Streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered July 30)
About: This new mini-series is based on the novel by Nancy Mitford and was adapted for the screen and directed by Emily Mortimer, who has a supporting role as well. It focuses on the deep friendship of cousins Linda (Lily King) and Fanny (Emily Beecham) in the years leading up to and going into World War II. The mini-series is only three episodes, each about an hour, making it a short commitment. The supporting cast includes Andrew Scott and Dominic West, among others, and the pace and humor works well. The series begins in 1941 with quite an introduction to Linda, and quickly drops back to show how we got to that point. I quite enjoyed the first episode, and while the second episode was a bit drier, the third episode is engaging and the final act packed a surprising emotional wallop. I enjoyed the cast and the way Mortimer put it all together. I thought this was an interesting addition to the Prime streaming lineup.
Pilot Grade: B-
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. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.