Another television season brings another new round of pilots. Here are the fall shows you need to DVR immediately and those you should probably steer clear of.
By Lauren Beccue
AVOID: Scream Queens
Scream Queens is the latest addition to Ryan Murphy’s seemingly endless list of projects. This horror-comedy series has received a lot of buzz, largely due to its famous cast including Emma Roberts, Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande. The series centers on Kappa Kappa Tau, a sorority with a dark past, as its members are hunted by a mysterious serial killer known as the Red Devil. The show is unapologetically campy and the pilot does manage to include a few shocking moments, but ultimately “Scream Queens” is too ridiculous to produce any real scares. Its greatest blunder is perhaps the cringe-inducing dialogue. In one particularly terrible scene, the blond-haired, blue-eyed protagonist (played by Skylar Samuels) orders a coffee, while proudly proclaiming to the barista: “Those white girl pumpkin spice lattes annoy me.” She then proceeds to refer to herself as “Señorita Awesome.” No, really. That happened.
WATCH: Fear the Walking Dead
The prequel to AMC’s wildly successful “The Walking Dead” explores what happened at the beginning of the end. The pre-apocalyptic series, set in Los Angeles, follows a dysfunctional family of four as they are forced to deal with a mysterious epidemic and the impending collapse of civilization. While the pilot contains a few subtle nods to the original show, it manages to stand on its own thanks to an intriguing premise and impressive performances, particularly Kim Dickens as Madison Clark. There might be a certain stigma attached to prequels, sequels and spinoffs, but this gritty drama series proves that it can actually compete with its critically acclaimed predecessor.
AVOID: Heroes Reborn
Another companion series, “Heroes Reborn” unfortunately falls directly into the trap of uninteresting and unnecessary sequels. Picking up a year after a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, those with extraordinary abilities (annoyingly referred to as “Evos” in this reboot) have been blamed for the tragic event and forced into hiding. Zachary Levi stars as an unconvincing vigilante, while a number of original cast members make reappearances that are more for nostalgic reasons than contributing to actual plot development. Much like the original “Heroes,” this series is a combination of borrowed superhero clichés, but now it’s even worse. Instead of simply embracing its fun, lighthearted premise, the show tries (and fails) to tackle serious issues like police brutality, terrorism and bigotry. Cancellation would seem inevitable, but in what seems almost like a preemptive move, the “event miniseries” was only planned to last for 13 episodes, anyways.
This NBC drama is essentially “Memento” meets “The Blacklist” with a badass female lead. After an unidentified woman is discovered inside of a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square, the only clue to her identity is an intricate map of tattoos covering her body. Things get even more complicated when the FBI realizes that these marks are all also related to recent crimes. Jamie Alexander, who stars as Jane Doe, carries the show well. She’s no stranger to action-packed roles as she has previously starred in the sci-fi drama “Kyle XY” and as the warrior Sif in Marvel’s “Thor” movies. While some of the show’s plot elements are obviously recycled and the premise is a bit far-fetched, the pilot manages to pack in enough action and mystery to keep its audience captivated and wanting more.