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Series debuts for Sept. 21: Unreviews of Raising Hope, Running Wilde and Detroit 1-8-7

In television on 09/21/2010 at 10:09 am

What’s an “unreview”? It means I haven’t seen a preview of the pilot, but am undeterred from passing judgment. I figure if millionaire network execs can base whole careers on crossed-fingers guesswork about what shows people will like — and then routinely kill off most of their new schedule by the end of the first season — I might as well give it a try.

New on TV tonight are three shows. Here’s my best guesses.

Series name
Raising Hope

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox

Regularly airs
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox

Pool cleaner Jimmy Chance is a bit of loser. Sweet though. So when he finds out his one-night-stand has given birth to his child, in prison, he does the right thing. But the family he still lives with need a bit of confusing. His grandmother, Maw Maw, is very cranky. His parents are just doubtful that they want to raise a child all over again. The kid wins ’em over.

Primary cast and crew
Lucas Neff (The Beast, Amigo) is Jimmy Chance. This kid is his responsibility but it’s also his redemption. “I want people to look at me the way this baby looks at me.”

Martha Plimpton (The Good Wife, How to Make It in America) is Virginia Chance, his mother. A little rough around the edges. In fact, you might cut yourself so watch out.

Garret Dillahunt (Deadwood, The Road) is Burt Chance, the father. He means well. Well, let’s hope he means well.

Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle, The Ellen Show, Mary Tyler Moore) is Maw Maw, the grandmother, who might be senile or playing that card hard and often.

Shannon Woodward (The Riches, ER) is Sabrina, grocery store clerk to whom Jimmy goes for advice. Not that she, like, cares.

Buzz buzz
The new project from Greg Garcia, whose My Name Is Earl was spiked last season. In a number of interviews, Garcia says the concept for Raising Hope came to him as a feature film, but without an ending. After Earl was killed, he realized he could pitch it as a series and not have to worry about how it ended. Voila.

The unreview: After NOT having seen the pilot I predict…
Looks very sweet, very funny in the way that Earl was funny: sometimes you’ll hate yourself for laughing, but you will laugh. The trailer pretty much spells out that kind of humour. With anyone else running the show, I might wonder if he or she could sustain the joke, but I don’t think that will be a problem here. Plus Martha Plimpton? She has been going through a pretty hot time in her career and it’s about time. She’s brilliant and here she gets a chance to aim a little lower than the besuited rich gals she has been playing on The Good Wife (a barracuda in the family way) and How to Make It in America.

Real reviews
Metacritic has rounded up four reviews for an average score of 87 out of 100. Click here to read review highlights or full reviews.

Series name
Running Wilde

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox

Regularly airs
Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox

Rich guy catches up with the girl he fell in love with (daughter of housekeeper) but lost touch with. She promises/threatens to make him — a spoiled, stunted, rich guy — into a better man. But that’s just the frame. The rest is hallucinatory. Delusional.

Primary cast and crew
Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Sit Down Shut Up) is Steven Wilde, deluded moron rich guy.

Keri Russell (Felicity) is Emmy Kadubic, do-gooder.

The unreview: After NOT having seen the pilot I predict…
If you’ve liked Will Arnett in his earlier stuff, you will want to see at least the pilot. If you loved Keri Russell in Felicity, this might not be for you. I can take Arnett only in small doses. Like watching Will Ferrell in his movies: I respect that he’s staying true to his very specific style of comedy, which he does very well and which makes me laugh, but it also grates on me after a while. As for Russell, I have a hard time seeing her fitting into the Arnett comedy universe.

Real reviews
Metacritic has three reviews, one of which gives it a zero, and the others come in at 40 and 50 out of 100.

Series name
Detroit 1-8-7

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC

Regularly airs
Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC

Life on the mean streets of Detroit with a squad-room full of homicide detectives.

Primary cast and crew
Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, Life on Mars) is Det. Louis Fitch, 10 years on Homicide. He hates his new partner. Hated the old one too. But good cop.

James McDaniel (NYPD Blue) is Sgt. Jesse Longford, 30 years Homicide. His dad was a cop. Loves his job. Loves the idea of his impending retirement even more.

Aisha Hinds (Weeds, HawthoRNe, True Blood) is Lt. Maureen Mason, 15 years Homicide, currently the boss. Family complications.

Jon Michael Hill (Broadway Beat) is Det. Damon Washington, first day on Homicide, riding with Fitch. Annoying. Scared pukey.

Shaun Majumder (24, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) s Det. Vikram Mahajan, seven years, partner to Longford.

Natalie Martinez (Death Race, Saints and Sinners) is Det. Ariana Sanchez, two years Homicide. Chippy.

Buzz buzz
If you’ve missed NYPD Blue, you’ll want to watch this, according to ABC. Also, the show was originally crafted as a Homicide squad who were being shadowed by documentary crews. That, mercifully, has been scrapped (although apparently there are snippets of talking-to-the-camera in tonight’s pilot, but hopefully nothing more).

The unreview: After NOT having seen the pilot I predict…
I miss NYPD Blue, as, apparently, does ABC. Judging by the extended preview you can see on the show’s ABC web page (sit through the first three promos in the top righthand video player and then it’ll come up, or at least it was still there this morning), Detroit 1-8-7 is in the tradition of a good, solid cop show. It’s no NYPD Blue, but it’s a comer. Nice that from what I’ve seen Michael Imperioli is not selling his character too hard, as he did in Life on Mars. Nice too to see Shaun Majumder doing likewise. I’m in.

Real reviews
Tim Goodman’s is one of five reviews gathered at Metacritic.com, where the show gets an average rating of 66, and while Goodman’s review is not a rave, it’s a fair assessment: “The dark horse here is Detroit 1-8-7 starring Sopranos veteran Michael Imperioli as a homicide cop, Tuesday nights on ABC. While the cop genre is all but played out, Detroit 1-8-7 is stylish and acceptably rough-hewn enough to make it worth your while. It’s visually interesting, keeps several storylines spinning at once and has an agreeable cast. Sometimes all you need is a good cop show, no matter how familiar. Because not everybody wants to work hard to solve a paranormal puzzle or invest in a complicated long con.”

Read more: Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2010 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay


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