Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. on NBC
A New York Veterinarian (played by Justin Kirk from Weeds) has way more time for his animal patients than he does for their owners. Bobby Lee, Kym Whitley, Joanna Garcia and Canucklehead Tyler Labine are among the two legged players; a chimp known here as Dr. Zaius steals most of the scenes.
This series is like those monkey cards you give to friends on their birthday: good for one laugh.
Titanic: Blood & Steel
Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. on CBC
A 12-part costume drama about the building and sinking of the doomed ocean liner. Chris Noth plays J.P. Morgan, Neve Campbell, Derek Jacobi also star.
One of those big budget international co-productions which already sailed last April in most of Europe. Good luck navigating the iceberg known as The X Factor.
Wednesday Sept. 26, 9:30 p.m., ABC
A family moves from Brooklyn to the pristine, gated community of Hidden Hills, New Jersey, only to discover that every single one of their neighbours is from Planet Claire.
Coneheads meets Third Rock from the Sun. Jamie Gertz, as the normal mom, is about the only name player here (Tyler Christopher, Isabella Cramp, Tim Jo, Simon Templeman and Lenny Venito are also in the cast). This series is so high concept just watching it will give you a nosebleed. Have to say, however, it made me laugh, especially the aliens, who move in unison and have American sports star names like Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner Kersee.
Wednesday, October 10, 8 p.m., The CW, CTV TWO
Based on the Green Arrow comic book series: a millionaire playboy (played by Toronto native Steven Amell), given up for dead, turns up and goes all Batman on his crime-ridden city.
Amell is the real deal--even those step ladder chin ups aren't faked. The action scenes are cool and the dialogue doesn't make you wince. Are we sure this is a CW show? Katie Cassidy, Paul Blackstone, Colin Salmon and Willa Holland also star.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 10 p.m., ABC, CTV TWO
A Reba McEntire-like country singer (Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights) is forced to step aside for the new kid in town, a pop princess with plenty of 'tude (Hayden Panettiere from Heroes). Eric Close, Powers Boothe, Robert Wisdom and Claire Bowen also star.
Britton and Panettiere seize their roles and run with them in the pilot, which snaps with plenty of soap sizzle. You don't have to be a country music fan to enjoy this backstabbing showbiz story.
Wednesday Oct. 10, 10 p.m., NBC, Global
Law & Order boss Dick Wolf is behind this salute to the men and women of Chicago Firehouse 51. Jesse Spencer (House), Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund, Lauren German and Eamonn Walker are in the cast.
It just seems so seen-it-before, so Third Watch, and worse than that, dull. No sparks.
Thursday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m., ABC, Global
Andre Braugher plays Captain Marcus Chaplin, skipper of the most powerful nuclear submarine ever built. He ignores a direct (but unverified) order to fire upon Pakistan. Backed by his crew, which includes Toronto lad Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser, Jesse Schram and Daisy Betts, Chaplin goes rogue and declares the sub a sovereign nation.
The pilot looked like a movie, with tons of action and effects. Shawn Ryan (The Shield) is a proven showrunner who has handled strong characters before. The challenge will be to keep this pricey sub drama afloat on a weekly TV budget, otherwise things could quickly lurch into Voyage to the Bottom of the Ratings.
Beauty and the Beast
Thursday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m., The CW, Showcase
Remember the original Beauty and the Beast series from the late '80s? Ron Perlman from Sons of Anarchy played a big, cranky, furry-faced puddy-tat who lived in the sewers and freaked every time his precious lady love Catherine got in danger.
This new beast, played by New Zealander Jay Ryan, is a handsome dude with a scar who can somehow genetically change into a strong, speedy beast. He falls for a police detective played by Vancouver-native Kristen Kreuk (Smallville).
Kreuk has arresting good looks, but as a convincing cop she's Rookie blew. So bad it may only last six years on The CW.
Thursday, Sept. 27, 10 p.m., CBS, Global
Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller from Trainspotting) is a drug addicted eccentric living in Manhattan. Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is a former surgeon hired by his rich father to help sober him up and keep him in recovery. Together they help a New York police captain (Aidan Quinn) solve crimes.
Miller makes for a very House-like Holmes, all condescending wit and better-than-thou deductions. Liu, however, sleepwalks through this pilot. Together they stick to the usual CBS crime-of-the-week brand.
Made in Jersey
Friday, Sept. 28, 9 p.m., CBS, Global
A working class princess from the Jersey Shore (Janet Montgomery) uses her street smarts to compete with her Ivy League colleagues at an upscale Manhattan law firm. Erin Cummings, Kyle MacLachlan and Stephanie March also star.
Fun to watch for the first ten or 15 minutes if only to see English lass Montgomery struggle with her Jersey accent. After a while, however, you just want J-WOW or The Situation to show up and mess with her tea and crumpets, ya know what I'm sayin'?
Friday, Nov. 2, 8:30 p.m., ABC; premieres Sunday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m., City
When she finds out her country music legend hubby's been cheatin' on her, Reba (Reba McEntire) packs up the truck, grabs the kids and her big mouth momma (Lily Tomlin) and ditches Nashville for California. Sara Rue plays Reba's clingy Malibu neighbour.
Sorta like Reba's last show, only Botox-ier. Tomlin is always welcome, but the pilot played like warmed over grits.