Blair Underwood stars in Ironside, a reboot of the popular 1960s and ‘70s crime drama, as a brash New York detective who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after being shot in the line of duty. Underwood is strong in the title role and gets fine support from the show’s well-cast ensemble but, sadly, everything else about the pilot is strictly routine. But if you’re an Underwood fan or just a fan of police procedurals in general then it won’t hurt to give Ironside a shot. Premieres Oct. 2 at 10pm.
The Michael J. Fox Show is NBC’s best new comedy. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease in real life, stars as a former New York City anchorman who is driving his family crazy now that he left his job to spend more time with them and to focus on his health. Luckily for them, the station wants him back. Fox’s comic timing is as sharp as ever and the pilot script is witty and touching without being sentimental. It’s must-see TV. Premieres Sept. 26 at 9pm with back-to-back episodes.
The Blacklist is NBC’s best new drama. James Spader stars as Raymond Reddington, an ex-government agent who landed on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. But after years in hiding Reddington gives himself up to help the Bureau catch a notorious terrorist. But his help comes with a price. He will only speak with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a rookie FBI profiler Reddington is obsessed with. The action-fueled pilot is stuffed with surprising and satisfying twists and turns, and Spader gives an eerie performance that constantly keeps viewers off balance. My advice: sign up for The Blacklist. Premieres Sept. 23 at 10pm.
Sean Hayes comedic gifts are on ample display in the promising sitcom Sean Saves the World in which he plays a divorced gay dad who is struggling to raise his teenage daughter (Sami Isler) after she comes to live with him. The always excellent Linda Lavin costars as Sean’s pushy mom and she steals every scene she’s in. Some of the jokes in the uneven but likable pilot fall flat, especially those in Sean’s workplace, but enough of them land to recommend saving Sean a spot on your fall viewing schedule. Also, Megan Hilty has joined the cast since the pilot was shot. Her presence will almost certainly give the show a nice comedic boost. Premieres Oct. 3 at 9pm.
Mike O’Malley, so good on Yes Dear, Glee and Justified, again shines in the ensemble sitcom Welcome to the Family. O’Malley plays a proud dad who learns that his college-bound daughter is pregnant and that she intends to marry the unborn child’s teen Latino father. Sparks fly as cultures clash and the two stubborn dads refuse to accept the situation or make any attempt to like each other. Welcome to the Family is no Modern Family but it’s good enough and is a welcome addition to NBC’s hit-starved fall lineup. Premieres Oct. 3 at 8:30pm.
NBC’s most anticipated new fall drama is Dracula. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is perfectly cast in the title role and is by turns charming and menacing. Unfortunately the script, which focuses on Dracula’s quest to get revenge on the people who destroyed his life centuries earlier and to court a woman who appears to be the reincarnation of his late wife, plods along and fails to quicken the pulse as any vampire-centric show should. Still, it’s got Jonathan Rhys Meyers, vampires and a moody British setting so my advice is to give the bloody show a look and decide for yourself. Premieres Oct. 25 at 10pm.