TV 2018 Fall TV Preview – CBS (I Had To Google the Words “NCIS Shared Universe” For This Post)

Oh, CBS. I don’t want to be mean to you but could you not meet us halfway?

Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM P.I. is a modern take on the classic series starring Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. A charming rogue, an American hero and a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan, Magnum has Juliet Higgins and her Dobermans to keep him in line, as well as his trusted buddies and fellow POW survivors TC and Rick when he needs back-up on a job. With keys to a vintage Ferrari in one hand, aviator sunglasses in the other, and an Old Düsseldorf longneck chilling in the fridge, Thomas Magnum is back on the case!

Starring: Jay Hernandez, Perdita Weeks, Zachary Knighton, and Stephen Hill.

Pros:

A lot of this is going to be about how the trailer reminds me of Fast and the Furious. Because of the bonkers ass car/helicopter stunt. And the wanton carnage. And the presence of Sung Kang who played Han, best Fast and the Furious character (HOW DARE YOU LET HIS MURDERER INTO FAMILY DINNER, VIN DIESEL). It’s probably because the pilot is directed by Justin Lin, who made the F&F franchise what it is today. This reboot is also a bit more diverse than the iconic original. Higgins is a lady now. Magnum is Latinx and moustache-less. I didn’t think the ‘stache was a big deal but there’s a guy in the Deadline comments section who’s really mad that Magnum is bearded. He’s also not thrilled about him being non-white but the lack of moustache really seemed to bother him. I personally think Jay Hernandez is a very charming actor who is rocking that beard.

Cons:

Okay. I was gonna ding this show for not having any Latinx writers working on the show, but they apparently do have one. There could probably be more but it’s a start. There was a week or so when we thought they didn’t have any because the showrunner wasn’t super sure what Latinx meant when he got the question. But he felt terrible about it and is now in contact with the National Hispanic Media Coalition. That’s promising.

While I think the pilot looks exciting, it will be interesting seeing what happens once Justin Lin and that pilot budget are no longer on the table. I imagine that Magnum P.I. will end up a lot like Hawaii Five-0 or any of the other shows in the NCIS Shared Universe (For the record, they are: JAG, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Hawaii Five-0, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, MacGyver, and now Magnum P.I.) If you like those shows, you’ve got something new to watch. If not, you should probably stay away.

Premieres September 24th, Airs Mondays 9PM EST

FBI

From Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolf and the team behind the Law & Order franchise, FBI is a fast-paced drama about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These first-class agents bring all their talents, intellect and technical expertise to tenaciously investigate cases of tremendous magnitude, including terrorism, organized crime and counterintelligence, in order to keep New York and the country safe.

Starring: Missy Peregrym, Zeeko Zaki, Jeremy Sisto, Sela Ward and Ebonée Noel

Pros:

Zeeko Zaki is a very good looking man. I now know that he exists.

Thank you, Dick Wolf.

Cons:

Doesn’t this seem like the kind of fake procedural that would be on in the background of other TV shows? I’m guessing that’s because the show is from Dick Wolf, of Law & Order and various Chicago shows fame. He basically created the template for the modern procedural and made huge franchises for NBC. In fact, this is Dick Wolf’s first show outside of NBC in 15 years. So if you were offended by the Verizon guy moving to Sprint, here’s something new to think on.

I was also disappointed to hear that Connie Nielsen is gone from the show after the pilot. Sela Ward is great but I liked what I saw of Nielsen in the trailer.

Premieres September 25th, Airs Tuesdays 10PM EST

Murphy Brown

Multiple Emmy Award winners Candice Bergen and series creator Diane English reunite for MURPHY BROWN, the revival of the groundbreaking comedy about the eponymous broadcast news legend and her biting take on current events, now in a world of 24-hour cable, social media, “fake news” and a vastly different political climate. Amid a divided nation, chaotic national discourse and rampant attacks on the press, Murphy returns to the airwaves with her original FYI team: lifestyle reporter Corky Sherwood, investigative journalist Frank Fontana and producer Miles Silverberg. Murphy’s son, Avery, shares his mother’s competitive spirit and quick wit, and has followed in her journalistic footsteps—perhaps too closely. Now back in the game, Murphy is determined to draw the line between good television and honest reporting, proving that the world needs Murphy Brown now more than ever.

Starring: Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud, Jake McDorman, Tyne Daly, and Nik Dodani

Pros:

Murphy Brown was one of the shows we got on the two English channels in HK when I was growing up. I am so fucking jazzed for this. A large part of the original writing staff and cast are back (Charles Kimbrough isn’t a regular but will appear in three episodes). Diane English has said that the show will focus on “bigger themes” than the current president. Planned storylines involve the Me Too movement and the ethics of having an Alex Jones type on their show. At the TCAS, Diane English commented that she “…might have to have some protection” once it’s starts airing. A comment both terrifying and exciting, given the impact the show had in the 90s.

Cons:

Some of the jokes in the trailer are…not the best. I really hope they don’t lean too hard on the “older people don’t know how to work technology” jokes. I don’t think they will but the fact that Murphy’s son Avery works at a news channel called “Wolf” gives me some pause.

Premieres September 27th, Airs Thursdays 9:30PM EST

God Friended Me

GOD FRIENDED ME stars Brandon Micheal Hall in a humorous, uplifting drama about Miles Finer, an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him. After repeated pokes by God, Miles’ curiosity takes over, and he accepts the ultimate friend request and follows the signs to Cara Bloom, an online journalist. Brought together by the “God Account,” the two find themselves investigating God’s friend suggestions and inadvertently helping others in need. Miles is set on getting to the bottom of what he believes is an elaborate hoax, but in the meantime, he’ll play along and, in the process, change his life forever.

Starring: Brandon Micheal Hall, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Javicia Leslie, and Joe Morton

Pros:

God Friended Me producer Greg Berlanti has tried something similar to this before. Eli Stone was about a lawyer with a brain tumor that sent him visions. The idea was that these visions would lead him to save the world but the show got cancelled before it could really get into it. Though we did get George Michael and at least one kickass musical number. If God Friended Me can be half as good as Eli Stone, it could surprise people.

The cast is solid. Brandon Michael Hall and Violett Beane were both incredibly charming on The Mayor and the Flash respectively. I’m glad Suraj Sharma from Life of Pi is getting work. Joe Morton is always awesome. And…yeah.

Cons:

Funny story. Right as I was about to start writing vaguely mean things about this, a storm hit and my internet got taken out by lightning (also the cable and the garage door but I wasn’t gonna use either of those to talk about how this show feels more condescending than Joan of Arcadia or Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.)

So…I think I’m maybe not gonna chance it. Besides, you’ve seen the trailer.

You know.

*hears ominous rumbling*

I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Premieres September 30th, Airs Sundays 8PM EST

The Neighborhood

THE NEIGHBORHOOD stars Cedric the Entertainer as an opinionated neighbor in a comedy about what happens when the friendliest guy in the Midwest moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness. When Dave Johnson and his family arrive from Michigan, they’re unfazed that their new dream home is located in a community quite different from their small town. However, their opinionated next-door neighbor, Calvin Butler, is wary of the newcomers, certain that they’ll disrupt the culture on the block. Dave realizes that fitting into their new community is more complex than he expected, but if he can find a way to connect with Calvin, they have an excellent chance of making their new neighborhood their home.

Starring: Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Sheaun McKinney, Tichina Arnold, Beth Behrs, Marcel Spears, and Hank Greenspan.

Pros:

Cedric the Entertainer as Archie Bunker.

It’s not a terrible idea.

They’ve got such a great cast. At the TCAs, Max Greenfield even talked about how intimidated he was at the prospect of having to do comedy opposite heavy hitters like Cedric and Tichina Arnold. Greenfield’s super friendly and determined to be best friends with his new neighbor character is a far cry from Schmidt or Deputy Leo. That should be interesting to watch.

Cons:

The aforementioned TCA panel spent most of their time talking about how the show would deal with topics like racism and gentrification. Having read writeups of the panel, I’m still not sure what their deal is. It’s possible for sitcoms to handle serious subjects well. And it’s a good sign that the The Neighborhood has a diverse, intergenerational writing staff. Though, what I’ve seen so far of the actual show doesn’t fill me with confidence.

Premieres October 1st, Airs Mondays 8PM EST

Happy Together 

A 30-something happily married couple who begin to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when Cooper, an exuberant young pop star drawn to their super-ordinary suburban life, unexpectedly moves in with them.

Starring: Damon Wayans Jr., Amber Stevens West, Felix Mallard, Stephnie Weir, and Chris Parnell

Pros:

It’s based on the true story of the time Harry Styles came to stay at a TV producer’s house and stayed for a year and a half. And that’s why Harry Styles is a producer on this. Don’t you want to make Harry Styles happy?

I’ll be honest, I was really excited for this when I first read about it during the pilot stage. It’s a really interesting premise lead by two people who have been excellent in several critically acclaimed, beloved shows.

And then came the trailer.

Cons:

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Look. Pilots rarely capture what a show is going to be like. Trailers based off the pilots indicate even less. You should always give it a couple episodes to find it’s groove (remember the first season of Parks & Rec?). But watching a trailer in a full body cringe isn’t a good sign either, right?

Premieres October 1st, Airs Mondays 8:30PM EST

What More Interesting Shows Did They Move To Midseason?

The Code

The military’s brightest minds take on our country’s toughest challenges inside the courtroom and out, where each attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator — and a Marine.

This one is interesting as they recast two major roles after the pilot, including the main character (Dave Annable and Mira Sorvino out. Luke Mitchell and Dana Delaney in.) Also I’ve been reading the logline over and over again. I still don’t know what it means. At least Phillipa Soo from Hamilton’s getting work. You go, Eliza.

Redline

After a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, we follow three vastly different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

I would normally be wary about how CBS would handle such a sensitive subject but Ava Duvernay is one of the EPs. She doesn’t fuck around. I should also mention that Greg Berlanti is also a producer on this. Along with God Friended Me and All-American, Redline brings the number of shows that Berlanti has on television to 14.

Fam

A woman’s dreams of an upstanding life with her new fiancé and his upstanding family are dashed when her younger train-wreck half-sister comes to live with her to escape their train wreck of a father.

Nina Dobrev and Tone Bell are the couple and they’re great. But his upstanding parents are played by Sheryl Lee Ralph and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Fam, if you don’t have a musical episode at least once a month then what’s the point of you?

What Show Do We Wish They Had Picked Up?

Oh CBS.

You had an LA Confidential show starring Walt Goggins as Jack Vincennes and that one guy from Sense8 as Ed Exley and YOU PICKED UP GOD FRIENDED ME INSTEAD?

CWFox, ABC