Fall TV Roundup, Week 13

Happy December! Well, almost. December officially begins tomorrow and with it typically comes a bit of a ramp down in new scripted series. But we haven’t seen that ramp down yet… With some shows beginning their winter hiatus and plenty of time sitting around doing online shopping, gift wrapping and decorating, you could be wondering what to throw on the TV. Let this weekly post be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Fall. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesdays:
Hawkeye, Now Streaming on Disney+ (Premiered November 24)
About:
Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton has been a foundational piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the beginning, but not always as a featured player. That changes with the latest MCU series, Hawkeye. In it we find Barton trying to celebrate Christmas in New York with his family. But he’s always been uneasy in the spotlight and he’s uneasy being celebrated for his efforts during a mission where his best friend was killed. One of his biggest admirers is Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), who was saved by Hawkeye’s actions during the Battle of New York in 2012. In the present, she’s a gifted archer with a penchant for finding trouble. That draws the attention of Barton, who jumps in to set things right. The first two episodes of this six-episode series dropped Wednesday, with subsequent episodes dropping weekly. The stylish look and feel were engaging, and Renner and Steinfeld make for a solid pairing. We know at some point Yelena (Florence Pugh) will show up thanks to the post-credits sequence in Black Widow, but she’s not present in the first two episodes. I loved the seasonal setting and the story as it’s developing. Renner has long been an under-rated piece of the MCU and I’m excited to see him as the focal point in this series, which so far has made the most of his diverse skills as a lead actor.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B

Mini-Series:
The Hot Zone: Anthrax, nightly through Tuesday on NatGeo, Streaming on Hulu (Premiered November 29)
About
: The NatGeo series The Hot Zone, which focuses on infectious disease outbreaks, debuted in 2019, focusing on Ebola and a cast led by Julianna Margulies. This latest rendition is focused on an outbreak of Anthrax in the wake of 9/11, with Daniel Dae Kim starring as an FBI agent tasked with getting to the truth of where it came from and how to stop it from spreading. The six-episode series is airing in two-hour blocks each night, beginning Sunday. New episodes are streaming the following day on Hulu. The first episode sets up the power of Anthrax and how a weaponized version was made by the Soviet Union and sold to others over a period of decades, leading to heightened awareness. The second episode launches into the investigation. These true story series are engaging for what they are but likely have more of a niche appeal. I liked Dae Kim in the lead role and the rest of the supporting cast, which includes Dylan Baker and Tony Goldwyn. The first two episodes moved at a decent pace and I think this mini-series is worth checking out for those who enjoy these kind of docudrama series.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: C+

Streaming Series:
True Story, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered November 24)
About
: This limited series finds Kevin Hart as Kid, a comedian launching a new tour. He brother Carlton (Wesley Snipes) joins him at a hometown stop. Carlton has a failing business which hasn’t endeared him to Kid’s team of agents and handlers, but when something terrible befalls Kid, his brother is the only one he can turn to for help. But, as they draw deeper into the hole, relationships threaten to fracture. The presence of Hart playing a comedian might make one think this is supposed to be humorous, but this is a serious and somber drama. While Hart and Snipes are solid in their roles this wasn’t totally my cup of tea in terms of a story. The pilot is around 50 minutes, but subsequent episodes in the seven-episode limited series are around a half an hour. The first two episodes are fairly dark, which indicates the rest of the series may follow suit. It’s well done but didn’t hook me with the characters and story.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: CSuper Crooks, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered November 25)
About:
This animated series is based on the comic book series from Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu. It centers on Johnny Bolt, a small-time criminal who uses his electrified super powers to pull off jobs. He recruits a gang of like-minded specials to help with a big job. The series is 13 episodes, each running about 25 minutes. The first episode is an origin story for Bolt, while the second episode sets up the rest of the plot. It’s in a classic anime style and will likely appeal to fans of the genre and those that enjoyed the source material. That’s not me. I thought the first two episodes were a touch awkward and dull as I wasn’t taken with this story, though the idea of exploring villain origin stories is intriguing.
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. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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