Fall TV Roundup, Week 2

The air is getting crisper, the Halloween decorations are out and the days are getting shorter. The Fall is here and this week begins the Network TV Season. There will be plenty of new network shows to discuss in coming weeks, but for now we’ll look at the new shows we got in the past seven days. As always, I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Fall. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Quantum Leap, Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC (Premiered September 19)
I wasn’t old enough to catch Quantum Leap during its original Prime Time run, but I remember watching re-runs, a lot. It was an interesting concept brought to life beautifully by Scott Bakula. I always enjoyed watching it but at no point did I think it should come back. But in the era of what’s old is new again, NBC’s first new Fall series is a new edition of Quantum Leap. It’s a re-boot, that’s also a sequel and continuation of sorts. This one jumps to 2022, where a group of scientists led by Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) is trying to revive the project, despite the fact Dr. Samuel Beckett never made it back home. Out of this flawed premise we jump into the first leap. Ben doesn’t remember how he got there, and since he was the only one to work on a massive update to the program before leaping unannounced, they don’t know how to get him back home. So, he has to follow the formula of setting right what once went wrong and…this is boring. It feels like a stale re-hash because it is. The characters don’t pop—at least in the pilot—and this feels like something that could have been left in the past.
Pilot Grade: C-

Vampire Academy, Streaming on Peacock Thursdays (Premiered September 15)
: This show is based on the book series by Richelle Mead. It was made into a film of the same name in 2014 that wasn’t wildly popular. Now, Peacock is trying the long-form adaptation. The first season is 10 episodes, of which four are available to stream and the rest are coming weekly on Thursdays. It’s aimed likely at young adults and teens, of which I’m not the target demographic. Maybe it plays better with that demographic, but the first two episodes I screened were dull, full of cliches from similar genre fare. It focuses on Lissa Dragomir (Daniela Nieves) whose brother is set to be crowned king until he’s murdered and she has to take his place. Now, she’s thrust into a dangerous world and a dangerous role. It’s all a little predictable and the characters aren’t developed enough to hook you, at least they didn’t for me.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

The Serpent Queen, Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz (Premiered September 11)
When I looked at the pilot for this new series about Catherine de Medici, I noted that its biggest asset is star Samantha Morton. I also lamented that she’s the most under-used asset. That continued to be true in the second episode, which featured a few sequences of Morton as an older Catherine while spending a bulk of the time with her spinning the tale of how she got here. The younger version is fine, but the story employs plenty of tropes we’ve seen done better in other series like this. In a crowded TV landscape, there’s nothing special or original about this. In fact, plot-wise it’s rather dull. That makes this something of a misfire for Starz as it attempts to compete with other period pieces, like House of the Dragon, airing on the same night.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

American Gigolo, Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime (Premiered September 11)
A continuation of the 1980 Richard Gere film, this series picks up 15 years later with Jon Bernthal taking the title role. Now that he’s out, Julian (Bernthal) has to put the pieces of his life back together and possibly uncover why he was sent away in the first place. He also hopes to connect with the only women (Gretchen Mol) he’s ever loved. The first episode had plenty of sex and a heavy dose of flashbacks. The second had more of the same. I like Bernthal as an actor, and I get where they’re trying to go with this but at some point it just feels gritty for the sake of grit. The central mystery is supposed to be the hook, but that part has been slow played to death in the first two weeks, as have the flashbacks and jumping across the timeline. I don’t know where this is going and sadly it hasn’t given me a reason to care.
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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