Winter TV Roundup, Week 2

We’ve completed our first full week in January and those producing content haven’t held back. That includes a number of streaming series and even our first new Network Series of the year. But what should you check out and what can you safely skip? Let this weekly post be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this winter. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Alert: Missing Persons Unit, Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX (Premiered January 8)
: This latest show from FOX focuses on a Missing Persons unit. It also has plenty of complicated interpersonal drama. The pilot, which dropped on Sunday, kicks off with the son of Nikki (Dania Ramirez) and Devon (Scott Caan) going missing. Flash forward six years later, and Nikki is head of the Missing Persons Unit, Devon is working in the private sector, they’re divorced but still close and their son is missing. In a whirlwind pilot, they find their son, Devon joins the unit—where Nikki’s new fiancé also works—and we are off and running. There’s a lot happening in the pilot—and the second episode which aired Monday—and only some of it has to do with a case-of-the-week formula. The pilot was OK, and the second episode follow suit. The cast is strong but I wasn’t in love with the set up here, which feels overly soap opera-ish. That isn’t what you’re typically looking for in a series of this type. It’s OK but don’t feel like a real win.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Will Trent, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC (Premiered on January 3)
: Based on the book series from Karen Slaughter, this new series focuses on an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Will Trent (Ramon Rodriguez), who is excellent at his craft. He also just recently closed an investigation on local police corruption, so he’s something of a pariah. His boss (Sonja Sohn) not only assigns Will to the case of a wealthy missing girl whose friend and boyfriend were murdered during her abduction, he’s paired with a local PD detective (Iantha Richardson) whose mother was caught up in Will’s last investigation. The rest of the cast is loaded, including Erika Christensen and guest starring roles from Mark Paul-Gosselaar and Jennifer Morrison. But that’s just the hook. The question is what can the series make of its parts. The first episode is well written and Rodriguez hums along as Will Trent. It was enough to draw me into the story. I also enjoyed the case in the first story and the potential twists and turns throughout. There’s enough potential here to be a compelling week-to-week drama, especially with enough source material to power a few limited run seasons. So far, this feels like a modest hit.
Pilot Grade: B-

Streaming Series:
Copenhagen Cowboy, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered January 5)
: The latest series comes from writer/director Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) is a Danish limited series focusing on a young woman’s quest for vengeance through the Danish underworld. The series has a unique look at style, led by Angela Bundalovic as Miu. She does a decent job but like much of Refn’s previous work, this has its own unique style and pacing. The limited series is six episodes, each around an hour. On Netflix you can watch it in its original language or dubbed over in English. Either way, your interest in it will likely depend on your affinity for Refn’s cinematic style and this quirky story. It wasn’t for me.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second Episode: C-

The Rig, Now Streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered January 6)
On an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea a group of workers for a Scottish oil company are preparing to rotate off duty. Before they can, a dense fog sets in and shrouds the facility in a mist. They’re trapped and some strange things begin occurring. What is the mist? What is the ash that’s falling? Can they get out before it’s too late. That’s quite the set up for this limited series, which spans six episodes and is now all available on Amazon Prime. Episodes are about an hour, making it a quick commitment. The cast includes a number of familiar faces, led by Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek). I thought the set up was unique and engaging but I wasn’t totally taken with the execution. I wasn’t drawn into the characters as much as you’d want and wasn’t as curious to see how it would end. The first two episodes were OK, and there’s some potential but it didn’t all come together for me.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Koala Man, Now Streaming on Hulu (Premiered January 9)
: This new adult cartoon—our first of 2023 but probably not our last—takes the action to Australia. Here, a husband and father (Michael Cusack) live a menial life by day and works as Koala Man by night. He doesn’t have any real superpowers, but he has a dogged commitment to rules and order. The voice cast includes Hugh Jackman and Sarah Snook and you’d think this has potential. If you’re a fan of animated adult comedies, this might have some potential. I thought it was weird and dull. I screened the first two episodes, each about 25 minutes. The full eight-episode season is now available if you’re drawn to it, making it a quick binge. I didn’t love what I saw.
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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