It’s finally here—and CBS won’t let TV critics see it in advance. Everything’s probably fine, just fine. Star Trek: Discovery (series debut Sunday, Sept. 24, CBS) has been a troubled production since it was announced two years ago; the least of its problems is that it’ll move to yet another paid streaming service (CBS All Access, whatever that is) after it debuts on CBS proper. The showrunner (Bryan Fuller, moving onto America Gods) dropped out; casting the lead took forever (finally going to The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green); the premiere date kept getting pushed back. Now, no reviews allowed? Maybe the debut will hook you into another subscription service. If not, there’s always The Orville.
Young Sheldon (series debut Monday, Sept. 25, CBS) … dear god, no. As if an origin story for the most annoying, played-out character on television weren’t enough, one-note Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons also narrates this coming-of-meh tale of 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage). Pluses: There’s no laugh track, and Li’l Shelly’s mom is played by the daughter (Zoe Perry) of his Big Bang Theory mother Laurie Metcalf, which is a cool twist. Beyond that, Young Sheldon is just an overly sentimental sitcom that’s short on actual laughs and long on relying on a child actor who, oddly, displays more range than Parsons ever has. With all six seasons of The Wonder Years on Netflix, there’s no need for this.
As irritating as Young Sheldon is, at least it has focus. Which is waaay more than you can say about Me, Myself and I (series debut Monday, Sept. 25, CBS), a time-spanning, three-generational sitcom that apparently wants to be a cross between a floor-demo single-camera comedy and, ugh, This Is Us. You have 1991 Alex (Jack Dylan Grazer), who’s dealing with high school shit; 2017 Alex (Bobby Moynihan), who’s dealing with professional/marital stress, as well as Urkel (Jaleel White); and 2042 Alex (John Larroquette), who’s dealing with being a rich, white old guy in President Ivanka Trump’s America (just kidding … or am I?). I’d say “first cancellation of the season,” but it’s a turrible year all around, so …
No entertainment rag has declared that “Autism is the new black!” just yet, but the season is young. As is The Good Doctor (series debut Monday, Sept. 25, ABC), who’s played by former “Norman” Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel). Like Netflix’s Atypical, it’s a series about a young man living with autism; unlike Atypical, The Good Doctor’s Shaun Murphy (Highmore) is a 20-something surgeon with the power of life and death in his hands, man! Don’t you understand the gravity?! It’s probably going to be that every week, even though the pilot episode sets up what could have been an unusual medical drama. However, networks don’t like “unusual,” so ABC will micromanage this into a case-of-the-week yawner.
Yes, Lifetime recently aired a Menendez Brothers movie (with Courtney Love as Momma Menendez!), but who cares? The first eight-episode installment of new anthology show Law and Order: True Crime (series debut Tuesday, Sept. 26, NBC) gives ’90s murder dreamboats Lyle and Erik Menendez more of an in-depth, American Crime Story-esque treatment with bigger names (well, Anthony Edwards and Heather Graham), but no convincing answer to the question, “Uh, why?” It’s fun watching familiar stars playing historical dress-up (though Lolita Davidovich’s Kitty is no match for Courtney Love), but episodes 237 and 238 of crime-comedy series The Last Podcast on the Left are more entertaining, and educational.
To appeal/pander to the red-state regressives who voted in the New Orange Order, CBS brings you SEAL Team (series debut Wednesday, Sept. 27, CBS), a military procedural that’s just a weak clone of History Channel’s Navy SEAL drama Six that swaps out the incomparable Walton Goggins for the inconsequential David Boreanaz, and adds more models in uniform. They’re pretty ’Merican heroes with ugly personal probs! Don’t we already have, like, eight NCISes? If I also don’t automatically thumbs-up similar new military dramas The Brave (NBC) and Valor (The CW … yes, The CW), am I just a Liberal Media weenie who doesn’t Support the Troops? Send those letters c/o this publication!