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Super Fun Night — Oh, Rebel Wilson. Was the paycheck too good? Did they promise Emmys? Did they let you read the script? After finding fame and fans through some excellent comedic roles, Wilson takes her big-girl shtick to an ABC sitcom — which, rather than capitalizing on her notoriety, turns her into a bland, offensive American everywoman, and then proceeds to make us despise her. Seriously, she’s the asshole in her own show. Cancel it and let her get back to movies. (ABC, 10/2)
The Blacklist — FBI shows are very du jour. Good FBI shows, less so. James Spader returns to television in the latter category, with a rather banal pilot episode and a by-the-books formula of criminal assisting the FBI to catch other criminals, with a secret, ulterior motive. It’s a procedural that will live or die on Spader’s ability to out-act the setting’s limitations each week. (NBC, 9/23)
The Crazy Ones — Okay, people, I’m about to get serious. If you only watch one new show this fall, make sure it’s The Crazy Ones. It won’t last more than one season, but I guarantee it’ll be simultaneously the best and worst season of television this year. Robin Williams returns to the small screen after 30 years, bringing with him Buffy darling Sarah Michelle Gellar and a rather stellar cast. Set in an ad agency and penned by TV god David E. Kelley, father and daughter must work together to keep the business alive after their biggest client threatens to drop them. Williams was given room to improvise the script, with Gellar the emotionally grounding yin to his zany yang. There’s a lot of promise, but something tells me this is going to implode. I’ll be watching every episode, waiting for that moment. (CBS, 9/26)
The Goldbergs — Don’t get invested in this single-camera, ’80s-set homage to The Wonder Years — it has early cancellation written all over it. However, it does have two talented leads, an emotional undercurrent, and sparse moments of comedy. You could do worse, but you probably shouldn’t bother. (ABC, 9/24)
The Michael J. Fox Show — Michael J. Fox’s return to television deserves at least a passing glance. Following his success on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fox is dealing with his Parkinson’s disease in an honest, upfront an surprisingly humorous way. Some will find it uncomfortable laughing at his struggles on screen, but those who appreciate that Fox himself is trying to laugh at the situation will get a lot out of this. Intermittently sweet, funny and serious, it should make for pretty decent viewing. For those who’ll bother to tune in, of course. It is NBC, after all. (NBC, 9/26)
The Millers — CBS takes an excellent cast, gives them a mediocre premise, tepid jokes, and expects us not to hate them for it. Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges star in this sitcom, and I hope it gets better because at the moment it’s headed for early cancellation — and a horse’s head in a CBS executive’s bed. (CBS, 10/3)
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