New Shows: A 2012 Network TV Pilot Review

Each year, the networks vie for the viewers with a bevy of new series. Most of these fail, but a couple succeed and stay on television for at least a few years. I decided to torture myself and give many of the new pilots this year a shot, so you don't have to.

NBC's Revolution
The previews for this series intrigued me from the start. It portrays the world 15 years after all power has shut off. And the pilot has the director of Iron Man, Jon Favreau, so I was getting pretty geeked for the show to premiere. Sadly, ten minutes into it I realized it was absolutely terrible. The power just inexplicably shuts off and it fast-forwards 15 years to a future where everyone looks exactly the same,and the kids have grown-up into super models with perfect makeup, hair and clothing. Guns are apparently scarce because everyone uses machetes or bows and arrows.

There’s a point where one guy kills 30 odd people with a machete. How did he do this? He was in the Marines. I guess I missed the fencing classes in boot camp. There is also a moment where a man running gets hit in the chest with an arrow. You’d expect him to just fall down, but instead he flies backwards as if a bus has hit him. When this show is on you should just avoid the television and garden—or unplug your television and stare at your reflection in the screen. It’s more interesting.

CBS’s Elementary
This show is for kids in elementary school. Get it? See what I did there? Instead of watching this mess of a series, you should switch over to the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock. Each episode is 90 minutes, and each is better than that Robert Downey Jr. movie series. I mean, really? Lucy Liu as Watson? You don’t have to be Sherlock to deduce that this show fails.

ABC’s Last Resort
A U.S. nuclear submarine gets an order from the government through an alternative communication channel to nuke Pakistan. They question the order and can you guess what happens next? Pizza party! No, kidding, they get attacked by their own ships. They figure their last resort is to go to a resort and hole up there. I know, it sounds extremely stupid, but I enjoyed it. I thought a few parts were too inane to be real, but I asked a Navy buddy and he said it was accurate, such as one scene where the ship crosses the equator and everyone starts partying. Most ridiculous thing ever? It’s apparently called a “Shellback Celebration.”

NBC’s The New Normal

I didn’t mind this one because it was pretty realistic. It’s Modern Family if Modern Family wasn’t so safe. The thing is, there are closed-minded people who don’t accept gay people, and especially gay people with kids. This show isn’t for them. It shows that there are people out there like that, and doesn’t shy away from it like Modern Family. It’s also very funny, with a dark humor that I can appreciate. In fact, risky shows are almost always more fun, they just don’t win many awards because the voters
are 900 years old.

CBS’s Vegas
Dennis Quaid is the man, but this show is just plain boring. Old people will love it because old people love everything on CBS. It’s the old people channel. I gave this a shot mainly because of Quaid, but it lost me multiple times during the pilot. It’s like Justified if Justified were bland, watered down and poorly written. If you want to see an amazing Western-style show, just watch Justified.

ABC’s The Neighbors

I honestly had no idea what this show was about. I saw it on my OnDemand and turned it on. It caught me off guard to say the least (a family moves into a neighborhood occupied by aliens with famous people’s names). I finished the episode and I still am not sure what happened. I laughed, but it was just odd. I love odd, but this was really out there. It was like a single-camera version of 3rd Rock from the Sun, and everyone in the neighborhood was the clueless squinty-eyed one.

NBC’s Go On

Everyone loves Matthew Perry and this series lets him do his Chandler act, but it’s only kind of funny. I’d only watch it again if I’m really bored, the remote is really far, I’m feeling really lazy, and it comes on NBC while I’m sitting there. Not a ringing endorsement, but it is what it is.

NBC’s GUYS with Kids
This isn’t hyperbole, this is the worst show I have ever seen, and I’m counting the time I watched a VHS tape of me from a school play when I was eleven. This series shouldn’t just be cancelled; the people who wrote it should go to jail.

That’s it, folks. As a result of this exercise, I’ve decided to abandon watching anything on the top networks. AMC, FX, and the pay channels have the best series by far.

This story originally appeared in Huffington, in the iTunes App store.