For the next few weeks, we'll be evaluating many of the new fall shows as they air. You can't judge a show by its pilot, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to try anyway because there is only so much time and tolerance for shit that is this silly.
Revolution, Mondays 10 p.m. ET, NBC
One-sentence description: It's not the end of the world, but it sure does feel that way after Earth's supply of electricity suddenly evaporates, in that the dystopia that has resulted 15 years later looks a lot like your typical post-apocalyptic pop-culture portrayal.
How good is it?: Oh, it's so bad, but kind of great in its b-ness. Principal character Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) reminded me of the following at some point during the one-hour premiere: Uma Thurman, Heather Graham, Sarah Polley, dry wall, Sarah Connor, some lady erratically babbling at you in a supermarket, a fawn, a coma and Katniss Everdeen. In a year full of female characters with bows, here's a female character with a crossbow. Revolution's prudish approach to what should be graphic violence is a page (or 300) right out of The Hunger Games. I Am Legend and The Walking Dead are also unmistakably conjured. As Charlie and her crew (which includes the woman her father was banging before he was killed) search to find her uncle so that he can help them find her brother, music that sounds like it's coming from a shitty RenFair Game of Thrones cover band (they have one song: the theme) plays. There is sword-fighting. Also there is an amulet with a flash drive that may hold the secret to the electricity outage. At least that's new.
Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito plays the leader of the Militia, the bad guys that kidnap Charlie's brother. He's a big fish in a cesspool.
Best joke: Aaron (Zak Orth): "I was up all night. I had a ménage a raccoon in my backyard." He worked for Google, so he knows the word "ménage." ("That was a computer thing, right?" asks Charlie regarding Google, the savage.) Also, before he dies Charlie's father literally says, "I'm sorry. Charlie!"
What's annoying about it: Everyone's always waking up with weapons pointed at them. Also, it's derivative enough to feel insulting. Just because your lights are out, Revolution, doesn't mean ours are.
Is it worth watching again?: I mean, it's never boring and it's kind of incredible in its goofiness. Has potential for so-bad-it's-goodness and there's a woman who actually has electricity so what's up with that? I kind of want to know, actually.
The Mob Doctor, Mondays 9 p.m. ET, Fox
One-sentence description: A "plucky Southside girl who became a big-city doctor" (as one character describes her) becomes a fucked Southside doctor at the mercy of the mob after she brokers a deal to save her bother.
How good is it?: DVT prophylaxis, a cut pericardium and normalized pressure meets a vague Italian stereotype in every corner going, "Aaaaay!" It's a mashing of TV genres that only tastes like lumps. The titular doc Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro) exhibits a sliding-scale morality, but it feels like a plastic preschool ruler compared to a show like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, both of which take shits that are more elegant than The Mob Doctor. If you want to see a flawed female character done right, just wait two weeks for Homeland and you'll be drowning in depth.
Best joke: Grace to an unexpectedly pregnant 14-year-old patient: "It's called outercourse, so even if he ejaculated..." I mean, it made me laugh.
What's annoying about it: Besides everything, the pacing is quick enough to render it incoherent. Grace removes a screwdriver from some guy's head and is out the door in five seconds. What care. But mostly, I hate that The Mob Doctor has the exact same meter as and half-rhymes with The Godfather. What do they think this is, poetry?
Is it worth watching again?: No. If you haven't learned about coronary artery bypass grafts and what it means to feel "like family" by now, go back and revisit the superior pop culture from the past 40 years without which The Mob Doctor would not be possible.