Winter TV Roundup, Week 12

Spring Break season has begun. Some have been off. Some are off now. Some are about to be off. And when you have free time, you might be looking for a new show to sample. There are plenty of new shows out there, but what is worth checking out? Let this weekly post be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Winter and Spring. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Gotham Knights, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered March 14)
There was a time when the CW was dominated by DC Comic series. That time is fading with most gone or on their way out. And yet, behind Season 3 of Superman & Lois, comes a new series set in the world of Batman, Gotham Knights. This one picks up with Bruce Wayne being murdered by someone who knows he’s Batman. That’s a twist. So, too, is the fact he has an adopted teen son, Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), who is framed for orchestrating the murder, hiring a group of teen thugs that includes the Joker’s daughter. So, yes, this hits the CW sweet spot of teen drama and DC Comics. But is that a good thing? The series also features Micha Collins as Harvey Dent, a confidant to Turner who hasn’t yet embraced his own villainous destiny. Anyway, along with a teen Robin, these kids have to set out to find who killed Bruce Wayne to prove their innocence and save their city. It’s a unique set up that is the most promising thing about the series. The characters and action in the pilot were blah. It feels a bit too contrived and maybe a part of an era that is fading away for the network. There’s room for it to improve but it has a long way to go to become necessary weekly viewing.
Pilot Grade: C-

Extrapolations, Streaming Fridays on Apple TV+ (Premiered March 17)
: This limited series comes from Scott Burns that takes place over the course of 33 years in the future. It’s a series of stand-alone stories, each with a different cast and set in a different future time, which seeks to explore the ravages of climate change. And it’s got some notable names in the cast, including Meryl Streep in episode two. The premise has some potential, sure. But it also comes off quite like a lecture on our irresponsible approach to Global Warming and how it will ruin the planet, and our lives. The pilot shows unbreathable air everywhere, a planet on fire and mass displacement due to climate change. Is that the future that awaits us in just 15 years? Perhaps, but it comes off as more than a little alarmist. It has a solid cast and decent production but it’s the question of how audiences will feel about what’s clearly something of a political message. Apple TV+ has crafted some great series including incredible production values. This shares those traits, but the story didn’t resonate with me as strongly as it has in some series. It’s an interesting swing but wasn’t a big hit for me. The first three episodes are available to stream now with subsequent episodes dropping each Friday.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+

Streaming Series:
Agent Elvis, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered March 17)
: The latest from Netflix is an animated series that focuses on Elvis Presley (Matthew McConaughey) and his secret life as a special agent. While he’s doing sold out shows at night, he’s also one of the most in demand secret agents. It’s an interesting premise—one that was co-created by Priscilla Presley—and a series that features a topflight voice cast, including Johnny Knoxville, Nicey Nash, Don Cheadle, Caitlin Olson and Ed Helms, among others. The episodes are short, running around 25 minutes a piece, with the full 10-episode season available to binge. It’s a very adult animated series in terms of tone and concept, and it’s a little wacky, which you can probably tell from the premise. It’s not for everyone and it certainly wasn’t for me. I couldn’t buy into the premise, and I wasn’t taken with the story and characters rolled out in the first couple episodes. If you’re looking for something over-the-top and different, this might be for you. Otherwise, it feels like a giant miss.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: D

Swarm, Now Streaming on Prime Video (Premiered March 17)
The latest from Donald Glover and Janine Nabors is a horror series that is loosely based on real events. It centers on a troubled young woman, Dre (Dominique Fishback), who is obsessed with the singer Ni’Jah (Nirine S. Brown). That obsession consumes her life and drives her to some obsessive behavior. The series tracks Dre’s life over a series of years and violent incidents, beginning with the pilot set in 2016. The second episode jumps to 2017 and gets even more wild, with subsequent episodes jumping along the timeline. The fact this is based on true events should also give audiences pause. The series is seven episodes, with all available to stream now. Each runs a little over 30 minutes and it’s at times quite dark. The series boasts a supporting cast that includes Paris Jackson and the singer Billie Eilish, among others. It’s stylishly produced, and Fishback gives a solid performance. But the subject matter and storylines won’t be for everyone. I thought it was too dark and creepy to pull me in and make me want to go beyond the first two episodes. Fans of true crime and darker stories will likely be more engaged by what’s happening here.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Class of ’07, Now Streaming on Prime Video (Premiered March 17)
: The other new series that launched on Prime Video comes from Australia, and it’s also a bit of a dark tale. It’s the 10-year reunion for a group of women who went to an all-girls school. The problem is, an apocalyptic tidal wave hits, forcing those attending the reunion to retreat to the mountain peak campus where their school is located as the rest of the island is consumed with water. Now, they must survive. You get a strong Lord of the Flies vibe here, but it’s also meant to be something of a comedy, with these petty teen rivalries renewed a decade later as these women are trapped with dwindling supplies. The set-up is meant to be funny, but it doesn’t always work. The cast is fine, and the setup is clever, but the first two episodes fell more than a little flat, seemingly steering into cliches instead of developing solid characters. There is also not enough context provided for the natural disaster that threatens them and their world. It’s a short, eight-episode season with all available to binge, but there wasn’t enough of a hook to keep me engaged in the two episodes I sampled.
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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