by Deborah Harter Williams
Fluff up your pillows, lay in some snacks—here are some tempting new shows kicking off and spinning off next week.
Minority Report on Fox 9 p.m. Monday night, September 21
What will be, will be, unless we can get there first
Based on the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie of the same name, it’s sci-fi in the future, picking up 11 years after the time frame of the film. The pre-crime experiment has been discontinued, the three siblings with pre-cognitive powers have scattered, and their skills are no longer what they were.
Pre-cog Dash (Stark Sands) is trying to recover his ability in order to help Detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good, Deception) prevent crimes. Meanwhile he looks for his missing twin and tries to keep his gift a secret from those who want to harness the skill for their own motives.
Foster sister Agatha is played by Laura Regan (Mad Men) with Daniel London reprieving his roll from the film as Wally, the caretaker. Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show) gets to play a detective.
The movie had a coldness about it that was lightened only slightly by Tom Cruise’s boyish charm. From the looks of the trailer and the early buzz, the series suffers from the same problem: intense but not emotionally satisfying.
Blindspot on NBC 10 p.m. later on Monday
It’s written all over her
The premise is a grabber: a mysterious tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander, Thor) with no memory is discovered in a bag in Time Square. While she doesn’t know who she is, she has extraordinary language and fighting skills. The tattoos seem to be encrypted messages, except for the main one, which is the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton, the 300 films.) Each tattoo contains a clue to a crime that the FBI will have to solve. The big question being: who is the master game player behind the puzzle?
The cast is up to the task with Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace, Robocop) as the FBI Director, Audrey Esparza (Public Morals) and Rob Brown (Treme) as members of the Critical Incident Response Group. Ukweli Roach (Grantchester) is the psychiatrist who tries to understand the enigma of Jane Doe.
Ashley Johnson (Growing Pains and PlayStation voice star, The Last of Us) plays tech-nerd forensic scientist Patterson, tasked with interpreting the tattoos from Chinese characters to Navy Seal emblems.
The plot is compelling with potential to range far and wide, plus a heroine who is both badass and vulnerable. Producer Greg Berlanti has had success with everything from Dawson’s Creek and Everwood, to Arrow and The Flash. This could be another one.
Limitless on CBS 10 p.m. Tuesday Night, September 22
Smarter, Faster, Better
Bradley Cooper is co-executive producer, and has a recurring role as Edward Mora, his character from the original film. Now it’s Brian Finch (Jake McDorman, American Sniper), failed musician, who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT-48. He is “convinced” by the FBI to use his new and extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them.
Fringe writer/producer Alex Kurtzman is also at the helm, so one can expect background humor and sly twists matched with high-speed footage and the computer effects needed to indicate a super mind at work. Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) is Special Agent Rebecca Harris, quick to see the potential to “use” Finch. Hints of some dark experience in her past may be influencing her motives. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface, Without a Trace) is her boss, Nasreen Pouran, and Hill Harper (CSI: NY) is Agent Spellman Boyle—the skeptical one.
The concept is strong: the familiarity of a procedural married with the not-quite-super hero learning to use a super brain. Will he outsmart his handlers?
Rosewood on Fox 8 p.m. Wednesday night, September 23
Private Pathologist for Hire
Private pathologist; who even knew that was a thing?
Sassy, hunky, and smiling Morris Chestnut (Boyz in the Hood, The Best Man) plays Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., and Lorraine Toussaint (Saving Grace, Orange is the New Black) is his equally sassy mother. This PP seems as ready to investigate as any PI, and he’d like to partner up with Detective Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz, Scream Queens, The After) but she is resisting his annoying charm.
Gabrielle Dennis is sister Pippy Rosewood, who just happens to be a toxicology expert, with Anna Konkle (Man Seeking Woman) as her girlfriend, TMI, aka Tara Milly Izikoff. In interviews, Chestnut promised that the show will have a lightness to balance out the body count, but behind his character’s flip demeanor is a man who knows that his heart issues give him a limited amount of time to accomplish what he wants to do.
Watching Rosewood cruise the streets of Miami in his yellow GTO convertible evokes a Miami Vice meets Magnum vibe, reinforced by a promo showing that he can deliver a jog-by diagnosis. If the series can deliver on that promise, it’ll be a winner.
The Player on Thursday night, NBC 10 p.m.
A Game of Crime? You Bet
Alex Kane (Philip Winchester, Fringe, 24: Live Another Day) is The Player. His skills as a former military operative turned security expert attract the attention of Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes), a “mysterious pit boss” who runs a high stakes game where rich people bet on his chances of stopping “the biggest crimes imaginable.”
Johnson’s able assistant, Cassandra King, is coolly portrayed by Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall), “the dealer.” On the cop side is Detective Cal Brown played by Damon Gupton (Prime Suspect, Newsroom).
Snipes is taking on a Blacklist-style villain/hero role.
The plot is farfetched, and may be hard to sustain, though Snipes will be fun to watch, at least for a while.
Quantico on Sunday 9/27, ABC 10 p.m.
Friendship, Betrayal, Suspense
This thriller comes from creators Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl, Smash) and Mark Gordon (24). That should put you on warning from the start.
It concerns a group of recruits who are training at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They get called into real action when there is a terrorist threat, with the catch being that one of their own is suspected of being involved.
The protagonist is Alex Parrish (Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra), an FBI trainee who has an affair with another recruit. Bryan Turner (Straight Outta Compton), Graham Rogers (Struck by Lightning), Johanna Braddy (Paranormal Activity), and Palestinian actress Yasmine Al Masri (who appeared briefly in last season’s Crossbones), co-star as FBI recruits. Add to the group Jake McLaughlin (Valley of Elah) who brings authentic experience as an Iraq vet to his role. Aunjanue Ellis is Miranda Shaw, Assistant Director of the FBI Academy. You may remember her as Madeleine Hightower on The Mentalist.
The show has an international cast, and films in Montreal. It promises the high danger level of 24, which will challenge Chopra to deliver a Kiefer Sullivan-level performance.
My Preferred Picks
I’m somewhat intensity averse, particularly when it comes to terrorists, and I have a bias in favor of humor, so I’ll probably skip the pre-cogs, check out Chestnut, sample Snipes, tune in to the tattooed lady, and quit on Quantico. Let me know which ones you sample and want to recommend.
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