Twitter feeds may come and go (more on that later), but when CBS head honcho Les Moonves breaks out his patented annual upfront spiel — that “network TV is still the big tent”; that CBS is “America’s most-watched network”; that “today there is a reason to be bullish” — well, it almost makes you feel patriotic just for watching The Big Bang Theory.
Moonves boasted that more people watched NCIS last season than saw Avatar, which is one of those statements that really means about as much as saying more people eat Twinkies than organic apples. It’s probably statistically correct, but what’s the point?
Here are comments ‘n’ clips for the new CBS shows.
The usual caveat obtains: Comments below apply to clips shown; shows could prove better or worse once full episodes are shown to critics.
Hawaii Five-O: Alex O’Loughlin, the actor CBS is absolutely determined to find a hit for (Moonlight, Three Rivers), heads up what CBS exec Nina Tassler called “not a remake but a thrilling reboot.” O’Loughlin stars in the old Jack Lord role, and yes, older TV fans, he says, “Book ’em Danno” — to Scott Caan, playing his partner. Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim and Battlestar Galactica‘s Grace Park are along to bust heads and chase bad people. The question: Can O’Loughlin out-draw Castle‘s Nathan Fillion for female viewers? I’m dubious.
Blue Bloods: Tom Selleck heads up a family of New York law-enforcement folks. A couple of Sopranos producers are behind this one, but don’t expect the kind of “dark” cop show that flopped quickly for CBS such as EZ Streets. This one has a lot of tough talk and rough action (much of it courtesy of Donnie Wahlberg) but the clips make it look as though a lot of Irish eyes are smilin’, too. I like Selleck in almost anything, and he and Wahlberg look good here.
The Defenders: Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell are all too well cast as a couple of slick Las Vegas lawyers. Tassler called it “as much a bromance as a legal drama.” Looked like a frantic buddy-comedy to me… and need I add that it’s neither a remake nor a reboot of the classy 1960s lawyer show of the same name?
$#! My Dad Says: All of the CBS executives and star William Shatner managed to plug this sitcom based on the Twitter feed without saying the first word of the title, thus leaving media commentators still searching as to how to pronounce it. I pronounce the comedy as broad as the audience for whom it’s intended. Shatner knows how to play a grumpy dad. Lines like, “My vagina’s broken!” (not uttered by Shatner) will probably provoke abashed titters from its viewers.
Prediction: No one with a Twitter account will watch this show.
Mike and Molly: Two people attending an Overeaters Anonymous meeting end up dating. That’s it, an excuse for a lot of fat jokes (“It’s like hugging a futon”), but positioned as being sympathetic fat jokes. Starring Gilmore Girls‘ Melissa McCarthy and comedian Billy Gardell, and from Chuck Lorre, the man behind Two and A Half Men and Big Bang Theory and therefore CBS’ resident comedy genius. I think this, too, will be a hit for Lorre.
The most interesting thing about CBS’ new schedule is the way the network is moving some of its hits around. Moving Survivor to Wednesday? It could thrive. Putting The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays at 8, opposite NBC’s Community? That could really rattle the ratings of that promising young sitcom. It could also give Abed lots of new self-referential material to use against Jim Parsons’ Sheldon.