upfronts 2015

Snap Judgments on CBS’s New Shows

Photo: CBS

It’s Upfronts Week, which means networks are unveiling teasers and trailers for their new 2015–16 TV shows. Here, an extremely — ridiculously? — preliminary set of immediate reactions to CBS’s new series.

Life in Pieces
They’re all one family, but everyone’s at different stages in life.

First impressions: We’re still making more Modern Family knockoffs? If you’re going to do that, you may as well assemble a cast as appealing as this one, which answers the question of how and not the question of why.

Angel From Hell
Jane Lynch is a scrappy guardian-angel companion to an uptight doctor who doesn’t want her help.

First impressions: Is every week going to be a thing about how Allison needs to Let Loose™? CBS has never had a single-camera comedy that lasted longer than a season, and most didn’t make it that long. Jane Lynch deserves better.

A sorta sequel to the movie of the same name, it’s about a dude who takes pills that make him supersmart. But some people find that dangerous!

First impressions: Of course CBS will find a way to make this about the FBI. If you become, as the trailer posits, the “smartest man in the world,” could you maybe devote some of those smarts to, say, disease eradication? Child welfare? Ending hunger? Not when there are crimes to solve.

She’s Supergirl, cousin of Superman.

First impressions: This is shockingly reminiscent of the Black Widow SNL sketch from two weeks ago. Sure, she’s got all these superpowers, but ruh-roh lattes and OMG datessss. There’s nothing wrong with grown-ass women not wanting to be called “girls,” either. Not so super.

Code Black
It’s a doctor show starring Marcia Gay Harden.

First impressions: There are 331 episodes of ER, 243 of Grey’s Anatomy so far, 188 episodes of Scrubs, 177 episodes of House, 141 episodes of Chicago Hope, 137 episodes of St. Elsewhere — and those are just the long-running doctor shows of the last 30-ish years. I’m sympathetic to the problem that doctor shows are covering some pretty well-worn territory. That said, every idea in this promo has been done on another show, sometimes a lot. The cold saline was on Grey’s Anatomy just last week! (Did everyone read the same Wired article last summer?) The whole “put your finger in the heart” is on multiple episodes of ER. Code Black shows some potential from Luis Guzmán’s head-nurse character, and maybe the folks will distinguish themselves as the series goes forward.

Snap Judgments on CBS’s New Shows