Where Are They Now?
Running down my list of topics for this column, second-year and veteran TV shows outnumber the new ones, even moreso when you consider LETHAL WEAPON and MACGYVER are based on classic properties, and BULL features Michael Weatherly immediately after his thirteen seasons as NCIS’s Tony DiNozzo. Indeed, this is less an introduction to new shows than a catching-up with old friends in new places.
A dive in the ratings caused SUPERGIRL’s first season to be its only one on CBS, but it created enough buzz to be picked up by The CW. Premiering in the same Monday 8:00 P.M. timeslot October 10, it seamlessly introduced Tyler Hoechlin of MTV’s TEEN WOLF as Clark Kent/Superman for a two-episode guest spot. Another reason for the great fit is SUPERGIRL’s sharing much the same production team with The CW’s ARROW, FLASH, and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. Moving production from Los Angeles to Vancouver means less Calista Flockhart as powerhouse publisher Cat Grant, but that might help other characters to grow.
Returning to Mondays 9:00 P.M. on Fox is LUCIFER in its second season with Tom Ellis backing up and bedeviling Lauren German’s LAPD Det. Chloe Decker. The show’s procedural crime element was never its strong suit, so thankfully Season 2 has delved deeper into Lucifer and Chloe’s angelic and demonic supporting players as they adjust to life on earth. The highest-profile addition to the Season 2 cast is Tricia Helfer as Mother of the Angels, a concept of heaven, hell, and creation I hadn’t heard of before.
Moving into the departed CASTLE’s Monday 10:00 P.M. slot at ABC is CONVICTION, a legal drama starring AGENT CARTER’s Hayley Atwell as the former First Daughter of the United States, who after a cocaine bust is forced to join a team looking to overturn wrongful convictions. Despite its unlikely premise, CONVICTION proves reminiscent of a long line of legal dramas. Playing an American, probably challenging enough, strikes me as a waste of Hayley Atwell’s presence. Early in the season, the show is already in ratings trouble.
After thirteen seasons, Tuesday 8:00 P.M. is still NCIS time for me. Seasoned actors Wilmer Valderrama and Jennifer Esposito have joined the team as seasoned agents Nick Torres and Alex Quinn respectively. The biggest plot twist so far is McGee’s engagement to girlfriend Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman). The unexpected death of showrunner Gary Glasberg may cause some upheaval offscreen if not on-.
CBS has given its plum post-NCIS slot to Michael Weatherly’s new show Bull, loosely based on the early career of TV’s Dr. Phil McGraw. Playing expert jury analyst Jason Bull, Weatherly is still watchable, but the show, like CONVICTION, shares too much in common with the usual legal dramas. Weatherly is capable of leading a show, but in that position he may not get to provide much of his trademark comic relief.
Last column I mentioned I’d give FOX’s LETHAL WEAPON TV adaptation a chance for nostalgia’s sake, and it’s been a pleasant experience. Particularly, I think Clayne Crawford has given Riggs more depth than Gibson. Crawford and Damon Wayans don’t have Gibson and Glover’s star power, but they are likable enough, and the ratings have led FOX to order a full season of 18 episodes.
NBC’s new Thursday 8:30 P.M. comedy THE GOOD PLACE isn’t about crime, but it does deal with questions of right, wrong, and the consequences as Kristen Bell plays a self-absorbed, shallow woman mistaken for a humanitarian and brought to an idyllic afterlife when she dies. She tries to escape the notice of afterlife architect Michael (Ted Danson) but her presence seems to cause the environment to go haywire for the others.
After many years in development, a reboot concept of MACGYVER finally took off this season at CBS 8:00 P.M. Fridays. I like this one, too. Despite being shaped by a post-9/11 world, the younger MacGyver shares the classic’s earnestness, thanks to Lucas Till’s performance. CBS was probably wise to schedule it on a low-pressure night. It has led in the key ratings demographic for a few weeks though it has lost a good chunk of its original audience in that time. Hang in there, Mac.
Turning to Netflix, MARVEL’S LUKE CAGE starts as perhaps the most realistic and gritty of Marvel’s offerings, taking thick-skinned Cage (Mike Colter) from Hell’s Kitchen in JESSICA JONES to Harlem. Early episodes even feature name-drops of Chester Himes, Donald Goins, George Pelecanos, and Walter Mosley. Overall, the show suffers from the same pacing problems as many of Marvel’s other shows. The second half of the 13-episode season is decidedly more super-powered and over-the-top.
Finally, as I write this column JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK has been in theaters for a week, and I plan to see it as soon as possible. Sure, Tom Cruise isn’t as tall as Reacher is described. That’s where the big screen comes in. Having enjoyed the first Reacher movie, I don’t see how more of the same could possibly disappoint me.
Until next time.