The prime mission of network TV -- killing people and catching the killers -- still seems intact. Here's my look at this year's new dramas. The previous stories took an overview of the season and outlined the comedies and semi-comedies; coming next is sci-fi and fantasy,
By Mike Hughes
As TV keeps
changing, some things stay the same: Bad people kill or harm ... good
people capture or heal ... and both types scheme.
That's the core of
many of the new dramas on broadcast networks this season. At times,
sleek settings – modern Miami and Las Vegas, 1980s Los Angeles –
try to salvage so-so stories.
Here's a look at
many of the new, broadcast-network shows, rated on a 0-10 scale. A
separate list will eye the growing fantasy and non-fiction field:
(8), 10 p.m. Mondays, NBC, starting Sept. 21. A big duffel bag has
been dumped in Times Square; this has the police's attention.
Emerging from it is a naked woman; this has our attention. She has no
idea who she is, but has soldier skills and informative tattoos.
“Blindspot” may seem copycat, but it has a terrific star (Jaimie
Alexander), taut action and the old “Blacklist” timeslot.
-- “Code Black”
(8), 10 p.m. Wednesdays, CBS; Sept. 30. Think of “ER” on its
toughest, messiest day ... and then make that the usual. With a
gritty style, this is set in a Los Angeles emergency room. It
overdoes rogue-vs.-procedure cliches, but Marcia Gay Harden and
others make it work.
NOT BAD, REALLY
-- “Blood &
Oil” (6), 9 p.m. Sundays, ABC, Sept. 27. For a while, North Dakota
seemed like the new gold rush, the wilder West. It was a setting for
dreams, schemes and brawls; in short, it was ripe for a primetime
soap opera. So now we have a young couple confronting tragedy, luck,
and a magnate (Don Johnson). It's all overblown and the young husband
(Chace Crawford) is hard to luck. But his wife (Rebecca Rittenhouse)
brings humanity to a show that has lots of macho spectacle.
BAD (SO FAR), REALLY
(4), 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox. A free-lance medical examiner zooms
around Miami in his yellow convertible, volunteering to solve crimes.
Miami looks beautiful; so does the guy (Morris Chestnut) and the car.
Still, this keeps descending into cliche arguments between the
maverick hero and the cop (Jaina Lee Ortiz) who doesn't want to be
(3), 10 p.m. Sundays, ABC. Actually, this could turn into a winner.
It has a superb star (Priyanka Chopra) and epic stories involving FBI
recruits. First, though, we must forgive the fact that it copies
how-they-met from “Grey's Anatomy” ... then has several twists
that are beyond absurd.
-- “The Player”
(2), 10 p.m. Thursdays, NBC. TV can't resist piling on new layers,
turning an OK show into an awful one. Our hero (Philip Winchester)
races around Vegas, saving lives. Then Wesley Snipes says thisis all
so rich people bet on the outcome. Viewers have no reason to care or
TOO SOON TO TELL
-- “Chicago Med,”
9 p.m., Tuesdays, NBC (Nov. 17). An explosive (literally) episode of
“Chicago Fire” introduced this hospital, with links to the fire
companuy. One fireman's brother is a doctor; another's ex-lover is a
nurse. Then the bomb went off; now this series is set in the rebuilt
hospital. Expect a macho feel, with some added depth from a
psychiatrist (Oliver Platt).
-- “Wicked City,”
10 p.m., Tuesdays, ABC (Oct. 27). Anyone nostalgic for early-'80s Los
Angeles, with Sunset Strip sin and Hillside strangler murders? A
sampling of this series shows a vile killer (Ed Westwick). Over 10
episodes, we'll see if the cops (including Jeremy Sisto) can catch