It’s MASKY time. I’m going to do it a bit differently this year and not bother with the snarky, pithy categories. People work too hard on these pilots (even the bad ones) for me to mock. Also, there were fewer fall shows this year, and I could not get my hands on either of the new Marvel series (“The Gifted” on FOX and “Inhumans” on ABC). I’ll predict both open well and then fall below a 1 rating in adults 18-49 within five weeks, so we’ll move on from that.
I’m only going to talk about the fall shows and will do a separate column on midseason pilots. I have watched a few of them, and it doesn’t look like it gets any better.
A few observations:
Where the country is today vs. where it was when these pilot scripts were picked up are two different worlds. There is a very militaristic, vigilante theme here. I wonder, given the current state of events, if those types of shows will find an audience. I found it hard to separate among them. Two of them actually involve the rescue of an attractive blond woman from “them.”
“Wisdom of the Crowd” continues last year’s failed theme of how a rich person can come in and do things better than the current institutions (“Pure Genius” and “APB” struck out on CBS and FOX last year), and “The Mayor” is the tale of someone doing something for publicity who winds up winning an election (hmmm).
The networks all did shows that feel appropriate to their sensibilities, for better or worse. I may have mentioned this during my Upfronts columns, but FOX is bizarre in that they have a comedy about the paranormal, a drama about mutants and a sci-fi one-hour comedy featuring aliens. That’s a pretty, pretty narrow choice of projects to put on in the fall. ABC seemed to be the most adventurous of the networks, while The CW continues to be the network with the series I’m most likely to check out again. I wish there were more humor in the dramas and a bit more heart in the comedies.
Anyway, thanx to those who were kind enough to offer me the shows knowing that I can’t be bought. Here are my letter grades for the new fall series, sort of ranked within each letter. Sort of.
“The Good Doctor”
“The Gospel of Kevin”
“Ten Days in the Valley”
“Wisdom of the Crowd”
“Me, Myself and I”
Last year the MASKY for Best New Fall Drama went to “Designated Survivor.” Comedy is a lot harder, and I gave the MASKY to “The Great Indoors.” Midseason MASKYS went to “24: Legacy” and “The Mick,” so I got half of them right (renewed) — which was not great, but full disclosure.
This year’s MASKY for Best New Fall Drama goes to “Dynasty.” It was far and away the most fun pilot and stayed true to what it is. In recent years family soaps have been working (“This Is Us,” “Empire,” “Jane the Virgin”), and once again, this one feels like it has the most potential, even though it’s on The CW, which is held to a different standard.
“Young Sheldon” was a pleasant surprise and wins the MASKY for Best New Fall Comedy. I was skeptical when this was announced, but CBS developed a sweet warmedy. The supporting cast is solid. Not a lot of laughs but many smiles.
If there is a sleeper among the group it would be ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” Episode 2 will tell the story on this show.
If I were being snarky the MASKY for best representation of Hell would go to “9JKL” in a runaway — which you might want to do from this disaster which features noted show killer David Walton.
As always, I encourage you to check these shows out in the fall and tell me whether you agree or not.
Twitter @maskedscheduler or email firstname.lastname@example.org.