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The First Three Weeks: New Network Shows Fall 2016- Part 1: The Pilots


Welcome to a new feature on The TV Ratings Guide. I'll be discussing the First Three Weeks of the new fall shows in these four installments, ranking them by each episode. In the fourth edition, I'll do an overview of what I saw in the first three episodes of the new shows.  I'll return with another addition for Midseason. Before we begin, let me get one thing out of the way. I watched almost every new show this year. There's one exception. I did not watch Notorious. I was so turned off my the trailers and I thought it would do badly, so I didn't want to attempt it. I was very proud of this freshman class. Just two shows disappointed me. I'll get to those shows in a moment. Without further ado, let's get this show on the road.

Unranked: Notorious

#19- Pitch

I'll be honest with this one. I couldn't finish it.  It bored me, which I expected to happen, despite enjoying the trailer. I'm not a sports fan, let alone a baseball fan. I've only ever enjoyed one show in recent memory about sports: Back in the Game. But I could tell that this one could go places. But I had so much to watch that Couldn't give it the time it needed to thrive.
Pilot Grade: D
Pilot Score: 5/10

#18- Conviction

This show disappointed me. It truly did. I was expecting it to be so much more interesting, but it was a run-of-the-mill procedural. The first half of the show was more interesting than the second half. It was okay. I'm determined to not give up on it though, because I think it can get better. I have lots of hope. But it let me down once, so it might do it again.
Pilot Grade: D+
Pilot Score: 5.5/10

#17- MacGyver

I still don't know how this show was approved. The trailer was so mind-numbingly awful that I was prepared to not watch this. But something made me watch it. And you know what? I didn't hate it. I'm glad I tuned in. It wasn't even the worst pilot I watched this year.
Pilot Grade: C
Pilot Score: 6.5/10

#16- The Exorcist

The overwhelming feeling I had after watching this was "meh". It wasn't like it was terrible, but it wasn't a particularly interesting hour of television, either. I only watched this show because of Geena Davis. So I wasn't expecting to love this one. But it was... fine.
Pilot Grade: C
Pilot Score: 6.5/10

#15- Bull

Bull's pilot was one of two pilots that really disappointed me (the other being Conviction). So maybe I should go into procedurals with low expectations (as I did with Lethal Weapon). This pilot wasn't terrible by any means. I just didn't like it as much as I expected to. It was mediocre. I'll continue to give this one a chance, because it can definitely improve.
Pilot Grade: C
Pilot Score: 6.5/10

#14- Man With a Plan

I'll admit it: I like cheesy sitcoms. That's why I like shows like Dr. Ken. Shows that don't try to be good, they just try to entertain us for a half hour.  That's what Man With a Plan is. A cheesy sitcom. Don't go into this one expecting it to be as good as Veep. That just isn't going to happen. But critics acted as if this was the worst show of all time. It's not even the worst show on TV right now. Believe me. I've seen Quantico's second season.
Pilot Grade: C+
Pilot Score: 7/10

#13- The Great Indoors

This pilot was pretty okay. It wasn't great. I didn't find myself laughing like I did with some other comedy pilots (I also laughed at MacGyver, but in a different way...). But it showed promise. It was a little cheesy, but it's great to have Joel McHale back on TV. Hopefully, this one can improve. But even it it doesn't, I'll still continue watching.
Pilot Grade: C+
Pilot Score: 7/10

#12- Son of Zorn

Son of Zorn had a decent pilot. It had its strong moments, and its weaker moments. Sometimes, I felt like it dragged on. That's unfortunate, because it has a stellar cast of comedic actors, consisting of Jason Sudeikis (SNL), Tim Meadows (SNL), Johnny Pemberton (Superstore), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Artemis Pebdani (It's Always Sunny). That's not to say that Son of Zorn was not entertaining, it certainly was. But I feel this was one show whose trailers made it look better than the pilot was.
Pilot Grade: B-
Pilot Score: 7.5/10

#11- No Tomorrow

No Tomorrow was a show that I've looked forward to since hearing about its pickup to pilot. It's pilot was not fantastic. But it was still pretty good. It started off slow, and it picked up from there. It really has an interesting premise, though I'm not sure how they could make multiple seasons centered on it, considering the world will end soon on the show. But that's a future-problem, not a pilot-problem. Based on the pilot, this one's a keeper.
Pilot Grade: B
Pilot Score: 8/10

#10- Kevin Can Wait

By no means am I saying that Kevin Can Wait is a high-quality sitcom. But it did entertain me. That's something that a few new shows failed to do. You aren't going to see Kevin Can Wait winning an Emmy, that's for sure. However, this show manages to pull off what it's meant to: being a nice way to spend a half-hour.
Pilot Grade: B
Pilot Score: 8/10

#9- Pure Genius

What? I really liked this one. It was surprisingly interesting. Based on trailers, I thought it would join the ranks of Pitch as a show I'd never watch or speak of again. I'm glad to say that this shocked me.
Pilot Grade: B
Pilot Score: 8/10

#8- Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor was a show that I was a bit leery of, going into it. The premise is a bit far-fetched, but not too far-fetched that it's in Quantico territory (a show that acts like its real, but could never actually happen). This pilot was not as good as I expected it would be, considering all of the hype. But it was still very enjoyable. I have a major problem with it, though. They don't utilize Maggie Q as much as they should. She was on screen for what, 5 minutes? Probably not even.
Pilot Grade: B+
Pilot Score: 8.5/10

#7- Timeless

From the first trailer, I did;t expect to even watch Timeless. But I gave it a try, and I'm glad I did. It was actually pretty good. It had its issues, as most pilots do. But it was pretty interesting, and that's a great thing when it comes to pilots. If the show starts out boring, that's a bad sign.
Pilot Grade: B+
Pilot Score: 8.5/10

#6- Speechless

Speechless fits so well with the Goldbergs. Maya DiMeo and Beverly Goldberg are both great TV Smothers. I know that this show will fit in perfectly with ABC's Family comedies.
Pilot Grade: B+
Pilot Score: 8.5/10

#5- Lethal Weapon

This was a show that I went into with low expectations. In the past, television adaptations of movies and remakes are usually bad (Rush Hour). But this one was actually quite good. It doesn't try too hard to be the original. It feels like your typical cop procedural. One that can stand on its own and be interesting. This was my favorite pilot for a police procedural in a while.
Pilot Grade: A-
Pilot Score: 9/10

#4- Frequency

Frequency was a show that I didn't care about when pilot pickups were first announced. The premise really didn't sound that interesting to me. But the pilot actually was interesting. It was my favorite drama pilot this year. I can't believe that. But it was fascinating, and I want to find out more of the story.
Pilot Grade: A-
Pilot Score: 9/10

#3- American Housewife

What? How was this show so great? The trailers were just so bad. But this failed to live down to those expectations. It was really funny and really good. Katy Mixon made this show great. I'm excited for the additional episodes, where it will ditch its original premise (The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport), and deliver something that fits "American Housewife" a little better.
Pilot Grade: A
Pilot Score: 9.5/10
A full review can be found here.

#2- This Is Us

This is Us was certainly one of the most anticipated shows of the new season, based on the trailer views and the buzz. It certainly is deserving. TIU delivered a powerful Pilot, with great acting and a great twist at the end. I may have been obvious to some people, but I did;t see it coming. This
show will last for many years. And that's a great thing.
Pilot Grade: A
Pilot Score: 9.5/10

#1- The Good Place

The Good Place had an incredible pilot. By far, it was the best of the season. It also was one of my favorite pilots ever. It's snuck its way into my heart already, in just two episodes. It's bound to be a classic.
Pilot Grade: A+
Pilot Score: 10/10
NOTE: This grade is given only to "Pilot". The review of "Flying" will we available in next week's edition of The First Three Weeks.

Network Averages:

#5- Fox, 7, Grade of C+

Something went wrong here. If I based judgements only on trailers, I would have thought that Fox would be a lot better, pilot wise. Sadly, Exorcist and Pitch didn't deliver, and Son of Zorn didn't quite meet my expectations. But Lethal Weapon had a strong pilot, with great chemistry between the leads.

#4- CBC, 7.25, Grade of C+

Oof. Nothing on CBS was really fantastic. Kevin Can Wait is their most promising comedy, based solely on the pilot. Bull has real potential. MacGyver was a mess, but its fine for Friday. Man With a Plan was decent by cheesy sitcom-standards. The Great Indoors was, unfortunately, not great. Pure Genius was, strangely, my favorite of their shows.

#3- ABC, 8, Grade of B


ABC has delivered a mixed bag of shows, with American Housewife being superb, and Speechless being really good, with Conviction not quite clicking with me. Designated Survivor is an odd case, because even with a good pilot, I can already feel that it may jump the shark. I hope I'm wrong.

#2- The CW, 8.5, Grade of B+

With just two new shows, The CW has delivered two gems, at least based on their pilots. Frequency was my favorite new drama (not counting This is Us, which is considered a dramedy). No Tomorrow was good, with potential to be great.

#1- NBC, 9.33, Grade of A

NBC has an incredibly strong freshman class this year, with my favorite of their shows, The Good Place, being one of my favorite Pilots of all time. Timeless, my least favorite of theirs, still received a B+, which demonstrates how good this network's new shows are.


Pilot Superlatives
Most Surprisingly Good: American Housewife
Biggest Disappointment: Bull
Funniest: The Good Place
Tugs at Your Heartstrings the Most: This is Us
Strangest Concept: Son of Zorn
Most Unnecessary: MacGyver