The new shows are coming, the new shows are coming! This year, networks made several pilots available online (some have been pulled) before their premieres, which is great since I’m usually too impatient to wait for all the new series to debut. Following are a few quick thoughts of three I’ve watched.

Braugher, Speedman, Patrick. Photo: ABC/Mario Perez

Last Resort (ABC, Thursdays, 8 p.m., premieres Sept. 27)

This new series from Shawn Ryan (who also created The Shield) is easily the best of the five pilots I’ve seen. The crew of a submarine called the U.S.S. Colorado receives a suspicious order to fire nuclear missiles at Pakistan, and when Captain Chaplin (Andre Braugher) questions its validity, he’s removed from his position and First Officer Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) assumes control of the sub. There are also some Navy SEALs on board, and an admiral’s daughter (named Shepard; ABC regulations must dictate a Shephard/Shepherd/Shepard on every show), and Robert Patrick, whom I’m always glad to see. I don’t want to reveal too much plot because there are several twists, but the pilot plays like a high-budget, high-tension one-hour feature, and was helmed by Martin Campbell, who directed Casino Royale.

Nerd verdict: Nerve-wracking Resort

See it now: Download it for free from iTunes


In back: Jarman, Anna Camp, Messina, Kaling, Ed Weeks, Amanda Setton, Stephen Tobolowsky. In front: Ike Barinholtz.Photo: FOX

The Mindy Project (FOX, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m., premieres Sept. 25)

I really wanted to like this, but the pilot didn’t provide as many laughs as it could have. Mindy Kaling plays OB-GYN Mindy Lahiri, who believes in romantic-comedy happy endings, which is partly responsible for her making bad decisions in her love life. The character is likable, but it seems as if Kaling has taken some of the edge out of her comedy now that she’s a sitcom lead instead of a kooky supporting character. Lahiri is far from being cookie-cutter, and Kaling does slip in some un-PC jokes, but the character isn’t crazy-funny like Kelly was on the The Office. Chris Messina, as a colleague whose constant hostility toward Mindy might actually be attraction, is interesting to me for the first time; I’ve always found him completely forgettable in movies like Julie & Julia and Vicky Christina Barcelona. Also engaging is Zoe Jarman as Betsy, Mindy’s assistant. She’s just weird enough for me to want to see more of her.

Nerd verdict: This Project needs work


Kellum, Faxon, Jones, Johnson, Punch. Photo: FOX

Ben & Kate (FOX, Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m., premieres Sept. 25)

There’s nothing really wrong with this sitcom; it just wasn’t special enough to make me want to immediately give it a season pass on my DVR. Nat Faxon plays Ben, a dreamer who moves in with his sister Kate (Dakota Johnson) and her five-year-old kid (Maggie Jones) because he can’t seem to hold down a job. Kate works at a bar and wants to get back into the dating game. In the pilot, Ben enlists Kate and his friends to help him stop the wedding of an ex-girlfriend. As with The Mindy Project, the most interesting characters seem to be the supporting ones. Echo Kellum induces chuckles as Ben’s pal Tommy, who is hopelessly in love with Kate. And anytime Lucy Punch shows up, you know things are going to get nutty, as they do here whenever she’s on screen as Kate’s randy coworker, BJ (yes, really).

Nerd verdict: Might be funnier as Tommy & BJ

Which new series or series return are you most looking forward to?



  • Reply
    Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick
    September 22, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Last Resort seems interesting, so I’ll have to check that one out. I’m a fan of all three in the main cast (Braugher, Speedman, and Patrick). Robert Patrick is also playing Alcide’s father on True Blood, which is interesting that he’s on another network.

    I’m not as interested in the other two shows, sadly. I love Mindy Kaling on The Office, though. Anyway, the show I am falling all over myself in excitement for, returned last night on SyFy – Haven. Love that show! It satisfies my need for a little creepiness, with hidden stories, etc., and since there really isn’t anything to fill the hole that The X-Files created when it left, I’ll take it!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Love, love, love Shawn Ryan (showrunner/creator of Last Resort), adore Andre Braugher (Homicide’s Frank Pembleton still one of my top 10 all-time TV characters), so this one has been at the top of my radar since I first heard about it. Have downloaded the pilot from iTunes and hope to watch this week. Premise is an interesting one and they will have to have some serious Breaking Bad type genius to pull off a premise that doesn’t seem like it has any future. But looking forward to the ride.

    You know me, I’m fairly drama-heavy in my TV viewing and am generally hard on sitcoms, which are so difficult to do right/well. I have heard good things about these two and I think they may be the only two on my list of new comedies to watch. We’ll see. I almost hope I don’t like many new shows as I’m loathe to add new things to the DVR.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I really want to see Last Resort, but it seems more like a movie plot than a season-long show. Thanks for watching the other two so I don’t have to!

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    September 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I’ll be keen to see Last Resort ~ I like the cast and I’m intrigued to know how this becomes a series. The others, I’ll most likely pass on, unless they land here during a viewing drought. Thanks for the heads-up, PCN!

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