It’s that time of year again, in which we trawl through the wreckage of pilot season to analyze which shows live (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), which have died (CBS shockingly passed on a TV version of Beverly Hills Cop about Axel Foley’s son), and which will set themselves in “Washington” in the loosest and most liberal way imaginable.
The good news? Three new network dramas are Washington-set. The bad? Two of them are
on NBC, which last came to Washington with the short-lived follow-up to John Grisham’s
Here’s a cheat sheet for which shows might be worth watching, and who to look out
Airs: It’s on NBC’s fall lineup for Mondays at 10.
Buzz: Deadline called it “NBC’s hottest drama pilot,” hence the A+ timeslot.
Stars: James Spader, Megan Boone, and Diego Klattenhoff, also known as Homeland’s Mike Faber
Premise: Spader plays the shadowy, Hannibal Lecter-like crime boss Raymond “Red” Reddington (the name is the only apparent similarity to Rayful “Ray” Edmond, the man who introduced DC to crack), who suddenly and apparently needlessly turns himself in to the FBI. His only request is that he gets to team up with recent Quantico grad and rookie FBI agent Liz Keen to help her thwart all the wrongdoers he’s compiled on a “black list” (hence the name).
Trailer: Looks all kinds of hokey. James Spader is as enigmatic as ever but also seems to be aging into Jeff Perry, for one thing, and Clarice Starling is a hard act for anyone to follow. Plus NBC puts the FBI headquarters in a DC skyscraper, which is always irritating, and a Russian bad guy kidnaps a general’s daughter, which is so 1980s.
Filmed: Here for one or two scenes at least, says Reddit, and the obligatory monument/reflecting pool shots would seem to suggest so. Otherwise, New York.
Airs: It’s on NBC’s midseason schedule for Sundays at 10.
Buzz: “We think [NBC’s] decision to pick up Rand Ravich’s conspiracy drama might be a good one!” said the Tiresias of our time, also known as Perez Hilton, who also decided the show “sounds a bit like Scandal.”
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Lance Gross, Rachael Taylor
Premise: The children of Washington’s elite, who all attend the same high school [cough *SidwellFriends* cough], are on a school bus driving down a secluded road when they’re ambushed and kidnapped by a shadowy mastermind who wants to “bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees.” Dermot Mulroney wears glasses and a V-neck sweater, so I’m assuming he’s a teacher. Anderson plays “Meg Fitch,” while Taylor and Gross are FBI agents.
Filmed: Probably not here, until they need a shot of someone fleeing from criminals with bombs on the Mall (this and the tourists is why running here is such a pain). Otherwise, Chicago.
Score: 6/10, with three points each for Mulroney and Anderson and zero for premise.
Airs: On CBS, although no word on when.
Buzz: “The concept is based on an unproduced Israeli format,” raves the Huffington Post.
Stars: Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott (who is frequently confused with Dermot Mulroney but never by anyone with a true appreciation of the latter’s short-lived stint as Gavin on Friends), Tate Donovan (also on Friends, immortalized in The OC).
Premise: Collette is Ellen, a Washington surgeon whose family is kidnapped (yawn) when she’s selected to operate on the President. Donovan plays her husband, Brian, who has money problems and is hiding them from his wife, just like Jimmy Cooper. Dylan McDermott plays (you’ve guessed it) an FBI agent (double yawn).
Filmed: In New York.
Score: 6/10, but only because Jerry Bruckheimer is a producer, and he is a national treasure.
Not impressed? There’s always season three of Homeland, which returns September 29, although maybe without Mike Faber. (Poor Dana will never get the father figure she so obviously yearns for.)