The New Fall Comedies – First Impressions

If only network television had half the attitude that the interwebs do. These new show reviews, for example, have more strength than any series they’re writing about:

black-ishby the TV.Com Staff

The fall TV season is upon us, and right now you may be wondering what’s worth watching and what’s not worth your time. Which new shows look the most promising, and which ones deserve a spot on your Dead Pool. TV.com is here to help.

We’ve screened the inaugural episodes of nearly every new fall series and compiled multiple (and sometimes contradictory) opinions of each network newbie. Pilots will be pilots, of course, and lots of shows get better once they’ve had a chance to settle in. But for now, first impressions are all that matter.

Below, you’ll find our take on which new network comedies are looking good, bad, average, and just plain ugly. Check back soon for a rundown of the new network dramas!

BLACK-ISH:

TIM: I’ll like Anthony Anderson in anything, and I’m not sure there’s anyone who can play this role—black father wants his kids to be more “black”—better than he could. Black-isheasily could’ve focused only on what it means to be black, and much of it does, but it’s the family message that really comes through by the end of Black-ish‘s pilot, and that’s exactly why it could be a surprise hit for ABC. Well, that combined with its post-Modern Family timeslot. I’ll watch more of this.

NOEL: Black-ish isn’t perfect (ditch the voiceover stuff, please) but I’m eager to see what Anderson and showrunner Kenya Barris can do with this series that deals with race and class. Anderson’s great, Tracee Ellis Ross is perfect, and while he’s not as much of a comedic revelation as Andre Braugher was on Brooklyn Nine-Nine last season, Laurence Fishburne is so relaxed that he’s rather infectious.

JEN: Everything that both Tim and Noel said, plus more praise for Black-ish‘s cast. Not only is it full of great individual performers, but there’s an early chemistry within the group—even in the pilot and even with the kids—that makes the show feel real right off the bat. It’s enough to make you wonder why we’re often so forgiving of comedy casts that haven’t “clicked” yet; these guys don’t seem to need the extra time, and I’m eager to see what the show can do.

SELFIE:

KAITLIN: I’ll admit that Selfie, despite its stupid but actually fitting title, isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I genuinely like the way it wants to take down superficial American culture by poking at how ridiculous it has become. But even though the pilot was better than I expected it to be, it wasn’t really good. Similarly, Karen Gillan’s American accent isn’t awful, but it will certainly take you by surprise if you’re accustomed to her natural Scottish one. And maybe I’m slightly biased because I would like to see more of John Cho on Sleepy Hollow, but I think he deserves better than this show.

JEN: Based on the somewhat-thin premise—a shallow, social-media-obsessed Internet star attempts to fix her image and make some friends after an embarrassing video goes viral—I was ready to hate everything about Selfie. And the pilot is full of annoying, predictable, and trope-y elements, plus some cheeky allusions to My Fair Lady, on which the show is loosely based. But it’s not nearly as irritating as I thought it would be, and Karen Gillan and John Cho have potential as an “two different people who can each learn from the other” pairing. Bottom line: It’s starting on a really short leash, and I’m not sure how it will ever evolve beyond its initial set-up, but I can be convinced to watch a few more episodes.

TIM: The first several minutes of Selfie‘s pilot are so unbearably terrible that even when it gets slightly better (it’s still awful) toward the end, it’s too late. You’ll still be so furious over hearing about “likes,” “hashtags,” and “pushing up the girls” that nothing will ever make it better. Eliza Dooley is one of the worst characters to arrive on television in a long time, and watching Karen Gillan embody such a wretched person is painful. I want to watch Selfie like I want to watch people take photos of themselves at the 9/11 Memorial. Please, no more social media shows.

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