Make us your home page

New TV shows for Wednesday nights this fall

The X Factor, 8 p.m., Fox

Debuts Wednesday

There are just two questions left regarding Simon Cowell's cheeky ripoff of his former TV home, American Idol: Is it different enough to make its own impact? And if not, will viewers care? Tough as Cowell talks in press interviews, the success of NBC's The Voice this spring raises the question of whether viewers have room for yet another singing competition on their radar. The way Cowell's show supersizes Idol's format with a wider age range of competitors, judges who also coach semifinalists and a $5 million cash prize just may not be enough.

TiVo or Ti-No? At X Factor's Miami auditions, judges Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Cowell seemed cozy enough. But the show's promos play up their conflicts like Real Housewives of the Music Industry. TiVo to see if the series delivers on the promo's promise.

Up All Night, 8 p.m., NBC

DebutED LAST Wednesday

Ex-Saturday Night Live star Maya Rudolph was so impressive in this slight comedy about new parents Christina Applegate and Will Arnett that they're reshooting the pilot to feature her more and add Nick Cannon. Rudolph morphs from a shallow publicist to a shallow talk show star, Applegate becomes her producer and Cannon is Rudolph's sidekick. Hope it helps. For experienced parents, watching Arnett freak out during his first solo grocery store visit with the baby seems a little, um, excessive.

TiVo or Ti-NO? If NBC can't make a funny comedy with Arnett, Applegate, Rudolph and Cannon, they better stop trying. TiVo for a couple of episodes until we know for sure.

H8R, 8 p.m., the CW

Debuted LAST Wednesday

Mario Lopez, the king of celebrity schmooze, brings well-known people together with the average folks who hate them. In the first episode, Jersey Shore star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi tries to prove she's not a disgrace to Italians everywhere, cooking dinner for the family of an Italian guy who calls her a "donkey." But her explanation for earning six figures by embarrassing herself on camera — "sometimes I have a good time; it's a part of growing up" — is less than convincing.

TiVo or Ti-NO? Is there really anything Snooki or second guest Kim Kardashian can say to explain themselves beyond, "I make lots of money by completely obliterating any sense of shame for myself, my friends and family"? Ti-NO.

Free Agents, 8:30 p.m., NBC

DebutED LAST Wednesday

Star Hank Azaria (best known as Moe and about a dozen other voices on The Simpsons) insists this show is an "antiromantic comedy," focused on two co-workers who can't help sleeping together after big breakups. Co-star Kathryn Hahn's character is coping with the death of a fiance, while Azaria's guy is on the harsh end of a divorce. Based on a British TV series, it is the one new comedy pilot with a joke that made me laugh out loud.

TiVo or Ti-NO? The joke: Azaria is shopping for shirts with Hahn, who holds up a black and lavender number that makes him say, "No. I have no desire to DJ at an Armenian gangster's wedding." Worth a TiVo right there.

Suburgatory, 8:30 p.m., ABC

Debuts Sept. 28

Some comedy pilots are so misguided, the cast seems unconsciously straining at the edges of the picture tube to get out of the show. That's the vibe I get here, as Law & Order alum Jeremy Sisto and ace Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Cheryl Hines work way too hard supporting a plot that feels cribbed from an old John Hughes movie. Sisto is the hunky dad who drags his hip, misunderstood Manhattan-raised daughter to the land of suburbia, one step from Stepford. Even the name feels confused, difficult to pronounce and outdated.

TiVo or Ti-NO? A land where the mean girls dress like Paris Hilton and the heroine stomps around like Darlene Conner on a bender? That's not really a place where I want to spend much time. Ti-NO.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter, 9:30 p.m., Fox

Debuts Nov. 30

As a parent, my biggest gripes include commercials and TV shows where adults act as if they're afraid to supervise their kids. So imagine my delight when Fox cast Emmy winner Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and Tony winner Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls) as two mothers who act powerless when their daughters become the kind of mean girls who tormented them in high school. The Wire's Chad Coleman is wasted as the dad who divorced Finneran's character but hangs around cracking Tiger Woods jokes.

TiVo or Ti-NO? When the moms let their girls go to a dance after the daughters lock a wheelchair-bound kid in a school bathroom, I decided to Ti-NO.

Revenge, 10 p.m., ABC

Debuts Wednesday

Let's say your dad was unjustly sent to jail by a bunch of rich snobs in the Hamptons and died there in disgrace. Wouldn't you want to go back as an undercover grownup and make them pay? I wanted that juicy premise to yield a more compelling series than ABC got, offering a bland Emily VanCamp as the revenge seeker and characters so predictable that it's hard to care what happens to any of them.

TiVo or Ti-NO? Despite casting a peerless Madeleine Stowe as the queen bee villain, this feels a little too much like a confusing collision between Dynasty and Death Wish. Ti-NO.

New TV shows for Wednesday nights this fall 09/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 3:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours