Root for these 10 TV shows for fall

Tampa Bay TimesMay 25, 2014 

The one thing to take away from TV networks’ recent onslaught of new pilots? Don’t take any of it too seriously. At this point, pilots can still be re-shot, re-cast, moved to different time slots, wiped from the Earth forever, etc. And if they do make it, most new shows won’t see a second season, so many of the sparkling new pilots hyped at the TV upfronts presentations in New York City will be canceled by this time next year.

But we’re going to get excited about some of these shows anyway, because a handful show real promise. And hey, someone’s got to start beating the drum now for the not-as-awful-as-it-sounds ABC comedy “Selfie.” Here are the top 10 2014-15 pilots we’re most looking forward to (days and times could change).

MULANEY

9:30 p.m. Sundays, Fox

People are calling this the new Seinfeld, a comparison that needs to stop immediately. That’s too much pressure to put on John Mulaney, a hilarious standup and former SNL writer (he helped bring Stefon into the world!) who’s heading up this sitcom that NBC previously passed on. It looks like Mulaney is working his standup into the show, hence the Seinfeld comparisons, plus Martin Short plays his boss. Sounds like it’ll be its own great thing.

SELFIE

8 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC

Okay, hear me out. Yes, the name is awful. But Selfie, from “Suburgatory” creator Emily Kapnek, is more of a self-aware satire than you’d think, a take-down of our vapid, self-obsessed social media culture in the same way Kapnek’s other show made fun of a rich, cookie-cutter community. The charming appeal of leads Karen Gillan (as a disgraced social media guru) and especially John Cho (as the guy who sets out to revamp her image) goes a long way toward making this palatable and funny.

GRACEPOINT

9 p.m. Thursdays, Fox

This is a remake of BBC America’s critically lauded drama “Broadchurch,” and from the looks of the trailer, it follows the story and look of that show almost exactly. British actor David Tennant even reprises his “Broadchurch” character here, though with an American accent. The real reason we’re excited: It’s Anna Gunn’s first lead role since her time as Walter White’s tortured spouse on Breaking Bad.

A TO Z

9:30 p.m. Thursdays, NBC

Like all romantic comedies, this one that tells the story of two people’s entire relationship will succeed or fail based on the chemistry of its two leads. Lucky for everyone, they’re played by Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman, two of the most charming people on the planet. Milioti, who shined as the Mother on “How I Met Your Mother,” and Feldman, who you probably won’t recognize in these promos as Mad Men’s unstable Michael Ginsberg, have sparks coming out of their ears.

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

10 p.m. Thursdays, ABC

The newest show from producer Shonda Rhimes’ busy production company Shondaland, the suspenseful thriller is a must-see for its leading lady: Viola Davis, right, an Oscar nominee and Tony winner who finally gets to sink her teeth into a meaty starring role. Even without her, the premise is solid Shonda: Davis plays a brilliant law professor who, along with her students, gets involved with a murder.

BATTLE CREEK

CBS, midseason

This is a cop show on CBS, which means it’ll likely be little more than a rote procedural. But it’s also Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan’s first TV project since his epic AMC drama ended last year. Need we say more?

EMPIRE

Fox, midseason

Already, this show seems to ooze confidence. Its trailer swags with an assuredness some shows never achieve. It’s no wonder why: This hip-hop drama has a strong pedigree in executive producer Lee Daniels (“Precious,” “The Butler”), writer Danny Strong (“Game Change”) and Oscar-winning actor Terrence Howard, who stars as the patriarch of a music empire trying to find an heir. Oh, and Timbaland is the music supervisor.

GALAVANT

ABC, midseason

This is a one-hour fairytale musical that’s being described as “Spamalot” meets “The Princess Bride.” How could we not want to see this?

AMERICAN CRIME

ABC, midseason

John Ridley, who won an Oscar for writing “12 Years a Slave,” is behind this new crime drama about a horrifying suburban murder and the Hispanic kid who’s blamed for it. The trailer makes this look like something more suited for cable – it’s filled with dread, uncertainty and some great acting from leads Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton in the best way.

LAST MAN ON EARTH

Fox, midseason

We just want to see if this show can pull off its extremely audacious premise: Will Forte stars as the last person on the planet. Even the (very entertaining) trailer is just him putzing around, eating Pop-Tarts and singing to himself. Imaginative directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie”) and writer/creator Forte must have something or someone up their sleeves, right?

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