At mid-season, TV viewers expect new shows to trickle in slowly.
They don’t expect a cascade like this: Thursday (Feb. 6) has three debuts and a season-opener.
Two shows are worth watching and “Katy Keene” (shown hereP) is worth noting. Let’s view all four, from best to worst:
“Tommy” debut (10 p.m., CBS)
Los Angeles is about to get another outsider-type law enforcement head.
In Fox’s “Deputy” (already at 8 p.m. Thursdays), the new sheriff is a blunt cowboy who dislikes suits and people who wear them. In this show, the new police chief is female and gay and from New York.\
Still, these shows are opposites. “Deputy” has all the subtlety of a SWAT battering ram; “Tommy” was written by Paul Attanasio, who received Oscar nominations for “Donnie Brasco” and “Quiz Show,” then created “House”; he provides nuance and depth.
That’s played perfectly by Edie Falco, who already has four Emmys. The opener finds ways to get her on the crime scene, in the bureaucracy and grasping for a connection with her semi-estranged daughter.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” season-opener (8 and 8:30 p.m. NBC)
It’s cop time again, but now the fun side. With fast, clever dialog and odd characters, “Nine-Nine” manages to catch crooks while bringing laughs.
Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) has been demoted to a year-long stretch as a street cop. He’s still intense and diligent … but has a partner (Vanessa Bayer) who just wants to get out of the way.
Jake (Andy Samberg) respects the guy immensely, but must try to seem like his boss. That makes a very funny opener … followed by more laughs, when Jake and Hoit try to find dirt on the new captain.
“Katy Keene”debut (8 p.m., CW)
We’re still in New York, but it’s the one kids dream of while watching ‘40s films and Broadway shows.
For viewers, the fun is supposed to come from watching people slowly find pieces of their big-city dreams. Here, the pieces flood in quickly.
Katy already has a terrific apartment, fun friends, an interesting job and a shirtless-hunk boyfriend who happens to be a nice guy. Her friend’s friend Josie (of “Riverdale” and “Pussycats” fame) arrives; almost instantly, she has her own career break and shirtless-hunk guy.
This show has everything except a rich prince and …
Oh wait, it does have a rich prince. Being English (or some such), he’s not shirtless, but he is handsome and a good guy. Most of the men here are; “Katy Keene” plays like a prolonged dream scene.
Indeed, it has to stretch to find a problem. Katy isn’t sure about marrying her nice-guy hunk … Josie believes the comments of her guy’s evil sister … a friend gets a big break, then rejects it.
We’ll empathize with “Katy Keene” … and with any show starring Lucy Hale (shown here). We just won’t believe it.
“Indebted”debut (9:30 p.m., NBC)
Alongside these shows, each trying to be new and fresh, comes a throwback.
“Indebted” is loud, jokey and strained. It has Fran Drescher and Steven Weber as clueless folks, moving in with their son’s family after they go broke.
Some of the jokes are funny, but many feel forced. There was a time and a place for this – maybe ABC in the 1960s, maybe UPN or WB in the ‘90s. But on NBC, patching the void left by “The Good Place”? Not even close.