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PopMatters’ 2014 Fall TV Preview: Tuesdays

PopMatters takes a look at Fall 2014's new Tuesday shows that will be competing against TV’s highest-rated series.

Despite the old adage that Thursdays are “Must See TV”, you could make the argument that Tuesdays are now TV’s biggest night, due to such hits as NCIS, The Voice, and last year’s big breakout, About A Boy. But for every hit, there are plenty of misses, and last year’s cancellations left plenty of room on the schedule for new TV series. So which of these new shows is actually worth your time? And who dares to challenge TV’s highest-rated show? Read on to find out.

 
7PM CST

The Flash [The CW] vs. NCIS [CBS], The Voice [NBC], Selfie and /Manhattan Love Story [ABC], and Utopia [FOX].

The same network who brought us Smallville and Arrow is now introducing us to another member of the Justice League: Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). He’s a cocky, young CSI who gains the super-power of super-speed after an experiment with lightning goes horribly wrong (or, rather, horribly right).

The Flash is more light-hearted than Arrow and the dry bureaucracy that is Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, meaning that you don’t have to be a major comic book fan to like this fun little piece of popcorn TV. Early word-of-mouth has been positive, with over 70,000 likes on YouTube for its official trailer and praise for its high-quality special effects. This has the potential to be a big hit with The CW’s target audience.


Premieres October 7th.

Utopia [FOX] vs. NCIS [CBS], The Voice [NBC], The Flash [The CW], and Selfie and Manhattan Love Story [ABC].

This fall’s only new reality show focuses on 15 strangers sent to an isolated location in order to form their own idealized societies. Will people peacefully set aside their petty differences for the common good? Or will they bicker and accomplish nothing?

Does hours upon hours of people arguing about their religious differences before playing capture-the-flag sound entertaining to you? FOX spent nearly a billion dollars on this Dutch import, and seeing this makes you honestly wonder how stupid network executives can possibly be. Barely distinguishable from the quickly fading Survivor, this overpriced knock-off will likely be off the schedule by Halloween.

A special two-hour premiere debuts September 7th at 7pm.




Selfie [ABC] vs. NCIS [CBS], The Voice [NBC], The Flash [The CW], and Utopia [FOX].

Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) was an unpopular kid who grew up to be a social media sensation. But an embarrassing moment causes her to hire a marketing guru (John Cho) who shows her how to be a better person. Despite her shallow persona, romantic sparks fly.

Calling this a modern take of Pygmalion or My Fair Lady is far too generous. The lead is obnoxious at best, and her interactions with the rest of the cast mostly consist of fake-trendy dialogue followed by the type of makeover montages that you see in cheap teen comedies. Viewers are sure to quickly “unfriend” this.


Premieres September 30th.

 
7:30PM CST

Manhattan Love Story ABC vs. NCIS [CBS], The Voice [NBC], The Flash [The CW], and Utopia [FOX].

Dana and Peter (Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman) are two strangers who are going to meet and fall in love. In this sitcom, you will hear their every thought via voiceover, starting with their disastrous first date.

Full of all the horrible stereotypes and bad plotting that give romantic comedies a bad name, this sitcom’s idea of humor is having a woman obsess over purses and a man fixate on “boobs”. If all the disapproving comments on YouTube are any indication, this could be the first cancellation of the season.


Premieres Sept. 30th

 
8PM CST

NCIS: New Orleans [CBS] vs. Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D [ABC], Marry Me and About A Boy [NBC], Supernatural [The CW], and New Girl and The Mindy Project [FOX].

Scott Bakula stars as the lead agent in the same group of naval crime-scene investigators introduced in a recent episode of NCIS. In this spin-off, expect more of the same: military murders with a comedic, Cajun twist.

Any show with the letters “NCIS” in the title is already a shoo-in for renewal. Although it isn’t extremely entertaining or completely original, it is watchable, which is often all a show needs to survive.


Premieres Sept. 23rd.

Marry Me [NBC] vs. NCIS: New Orleans [CBS], Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D [ABC], Supernatural [The CW], and New Girl and The Mindy Project [ABC].

Jake and Annie (Ken Marino and Casey Wilson) have been dating for years and are finally ready to get married. The only problem is that their crazy life keeps preventing their wedding plans in unexpected ways.

While watching the preview, I didn’t laugh once. Despite the fact that the two leads can clearly act, this sitcom suffers from poor character development and bad writing. If this show hangs on for a year (and that is a very big “if”), it’s only due to the power of its excellent timeslot.


Premieres Oct. 14th.

 
9PM CST

Forever [ABC] vs. Person Of Interest [CBS] and Chicago Fire [NBC].

Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) is not your average coroner. In addition to being over 200 years old (and not looking a day over 35), he’s blessed/cursed with the gift of eternal life. Every time he dies, he finds himself waking up naked in the ocean. His many years of experience help him solve crimes, but the only one who knows his secret is a friendly cab driver (Judd Hirsh).

If this aired at a better timeslot or on CBS, I would say it has a chance to be this fall’s highest-rated new show. But unfortunately, this entertaining (but not entirely original) dramedy/procedural will likely be crushed by its competition.


Special sneak-preview episode debuts on September 22.

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