Blindspot (Monday, Sept. 21, NBC), series debut: A naked woman (Jaimie Alexander) turns up in a duffle bag in Times Square, covered in mysterious tattoos and devoid of memory. One of the largest tats is the jumping-off point: “Kurt Weller FBI.” Turns out the ink is a tapestry of clues about future terrorist attacks on American soil, and it’s up to Agent Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) and “Jane Doe” to decode and stop the crimes—and maybe learn her identity. Sure, Blindspot is another Quirky Outsider Works With the Law drama, but there are enough twists and tension to almost justify the “next Blacklist” hype. Alexander is note-perfect here, while Stapleton could stand to dial down the tough-guy routine (probably a residual of five seasons on Cinemax’s Strike Back). Nagging first-episode question: Are we really to believe that no one in the New York City FBI speaks Chinese?
Minority Report (Monday, Sept. 21, Fox), series debut: Fox’s last attempt at a futuristic crime thriller, Almost Human, burned out slowly after an intriguing pilot. Minority Report (a sorta-sequel to the 2002 movie) barely even catches fire in its premiere … so there’s nowhere to go but up? It’s 2065, 10 years after the end of the Precrime program (which used three child “precogs” to see crimes about to happen), but Dash (Stark Sands) still has the visions, and he tries, with no success, to stop the incidents on his own. Then he meets up with D.C. cop Lara (Meagan Good) and, this is straight out of the Fox PR, an “unlikely partnership between a man haunted by the future and a cop haunted by her past” begins. Argh. Minority Report aims to be Sleepy Hollow, but just comes across as—I’m going to hate myself for this, but it’s too easy—sleepy and hollow.
The Muppets (Tuesday, Sept. 22, ABC), series debut: There’s absolutely no need for this, but here it is: The Muppets is a behind-the-scenes docu-type show à la The Office, with an equally obvious debt to 30 Rock. Gonzo admits right away that shaky-cam reality shows with cutaway confessionals are played out (in a cutaway confessional, of course), but neither that self-awareness nor Kermit’s “new romance” with Denise (a pig, natch) warrant a 13-to-22-episode series. The Muppets has its funny moments, but you’ve seen them all in the promos, because ABC—like all of the other networks, apparently—has lost its comedy touch this season.
Scream Queens (Tuesday, Sept. 22, Fox), series debut: Ryan Murphy cross-fades his Glee (pretty teens with probs; snark) with his American Horror Story (you know, horror) and hopes Scream Queens will make us forget all about his previous Fox bomb, Red Band Society. (Already there, Ryan.) Emma Roberts (AHS) and Lea Michele (Glee) head an unusually large cast that’s supplemented further with high-profile guests like Ariana Grande—but at least one sorority sister will be killed off every week, so Murphy needs the spares. The setup is familiar: A Wallace University sorority pledge died mysteriously 20 years ago, and now a devil-masked menace is killing creatively (decapitation by lawnmower, etc.) across the campus on the anniversary. The delivery, however, is a seamless melding of Murphy’s greatest hits, with dashes of Heathers (Roberts’ queen-bitch WASP is an instant camp classic) and Scream (the murderer is one of them). Need I even mention … Jamie Lee Curtis? Nah.
Limitless (Tuesday, Sept. 22, CBS), series debut: At least it’s better than Minority Report. Bradley Cooper reprises his role from the 2011 flick about super pill NZT, which grants access to 100 percent of your brain—and apparently unleashes mad parkour skills, as well. In the series, Cooper hands the pill down to another beardy pretty boy (Jake McDorman) as part of his own sketchy agenda—but, as per TV law, Cooper’s new protégé is also roped into using his 12-hour superpowers to help the FBI solve crimes. (Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter is the obligatory Female Counterpart here.) Limitless is loaded with slick action and possibilities, but could easily devolve into just another CBS cop procedural—take only as directed.
Rosewood (Wednesday, Sept. 23, Fox), series debut: Brilliant and beautiful Miami pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood (Morris Chestnut) teams with a fiery and beautiful Miami PD detective (Jaina Lee Ortiz) to solve crimes and banter/bicker while looking beautiful. If the cast were whiter, I’d swear this was a CBS reject.