CBS announced its renewals, cancellations, and new series this week — 18 shows are returning, including CSI, The Mentalist, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Numb3rs, and Cold Case, but Without a Trace is not.
They also rolled out their new series for the season, which include some strong female characters (especially in The Good Wife and Three Rivers). It probably goes without saying that, except for LL Cool J in the NCIS spinoff, pretty much all the prominent lead characters in the four new fall shows are white. The predictability of this fact doesn’t make it any less annoying, though.
Here are summaries and trailers of the four new fall shows, provided by CBS (courtesy of the excellent TV news site TheFutonCritic.com).
A medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country where every moment counts. However, dealing with donor families in their darkest hour and managing the fears and concerns of apprehensive recipients takes much more than just a sharp scalpel. Leading the elite team is Dr. Andy Yablonski (Alex O’Loughlin), the highly-skilled workaholic lead organ transplant surgeon, whose good-natured personality and sarcastic wit makes him popular with his patients and colleagues.
His colleagues include Dr. Miranda Foster (Katherine Moennig), a surgical fellow with a rebellious streak and fiery temper who strives to live up to her deceased father’s excellent surgical reputation; Dr. David Lee (Daniel Henney), a womanizing surgical resident who’s broken as many hearts as he’s replaced; Ryan Abbott (Christopher J. Hanke), the inexperienced new transplant coordinator who arranges the intricately choreographed process of quickly and carefully transporting organs from donor to patient; Dr. Sophia Jordan (Julia Ormond), the head of surgery and a dedicated medical professional; and Pam Acosta (Justina Machado), Andy’s no-nonsense operating assistant and best friend. In this high stakes arena, in which every case is a race against the clock, these tenacious surgeons and medical professionals are the last hope for their patients.
First impression: The last thing American TV needs is another medical drama, but Kate Moennig and Julia Ormand in the same series? I’m in! (Nice to see Moonlight‘s Mick again, too.)
The Good Wife
A drama starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies (ER) as a wife and mother who must assume full responsibility for her family and re-enter the workforce after her husband’s very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail. Pushing aside the betrayal and crushing public humiliation caused by her husband Peter (Chris Noth), Alicia Florrick (Margulies) starts over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney. As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles), who is interested to see how Alicia will perform after 13 years out of the courtroom. Alicia is grateful the firm’s top litigator, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), offers to mentor her but discovers the offer has conditions and realizes she’s going to need to succeed on her own merit. Alicia’s main competition among the firm’s 20-something new recruits is Cary (Matt Czuchry), a recent Harvard grad who is affable on the surface, but will use any means to ensure that he, not Alicia, secures the one full-time associate position that’s available. Fortunately, Alicia finds an ally in Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), the firm’s tough in-house investigator.
Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from embarrassed politician’s scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her children, 14-year-old Zach (Graham Phillips) and 13-year-old Grace (Makenzie Vega). For the first time in years, Alicia trades in her identity as the "good wife" and takes charge of her own destiny.
First impression: We need another legal drama like we need another medical drama, but this one has a different twist, strong female characters, and a great cast (loving Margulies, Baranski, and Panjabi), so I’ll definitely check it out.
NCIS Los Angeles
A drama about the high stakes world of undercover surveillance at the Office of Special Projects (OSP), a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation’s security. By assuming false identities and utilizing the most advanced technology, this team of highly trained agents goes deep undercover, putting their lives on the line in the field to bring down their targets. Special Agent "G" Callen (Chris O’Donnell) is a chameleon who transforms himself into whomever he needs to be to infiltrate the criminal underworld. His partner is Special Agent Sam Hanna (LL Cool J), a former U.S. Navy SEAL who has seen action in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and a surveillance expert who uses state of the art monitoring equipment to look out for those in the field and feed them crucial information.
Both Callen and Hanna report to Special Agent Lara Macy (Louise Lombard), the OSP team leader responsible for directing the operations and making life-or-death decisions. Assisting the team is Special Agent Kensi Lo (Daniela Ruah), the exceptionally bright daughter of a slain Marine who lives for the adrenalin rush that comes with undercover work, and Operational Psychologist Nate Getz (Peter Cambor), adept at getting into anybody’s head, profiling the target and monitoring agents’ states of mind before, during and after missions. Armed with the latest in high tech gear and sent regularly into life-threatening situations, this tight-knit team relies on each other to do what is necessary to protect national interests.
First impression: Eh. I like LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea) and Louise Lombard (CSI), but given how formulaic this looks, it’ll definitely be a lower priority on my DVR.
Accidentally on Purpose
A comedy starring Golden Globe Award winner Jenna Elfman as Billie, a single woman who finds herself "accidentally" pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger guy, and decides to keep the baby… and the guy. A newspaper film critic, Billie is barely surviving a humiliating breakup with her charming boss, James (Grant Show), who’s still trying to resume their relationship. Suddenly expecting a child with her "boy toy," Zack (Jon Foster), Billie and Zack make an arrangement: to live together platonically. Billie’s party girl best friend Olivia (Ashley Jensen), and Abby (Lennon Parham), her conventional, younger married sister, eagerly look forward to the new addition and offer their own brands of advice and encouragement.
But when Zack and his freeloading friends, including Davis (Nicolas Wright), start to turn her place into a frat house, Billie isn’t sure if she’s living with a boyfriend, a roommate, or if she just has another child to raise.
First impression: I’m a Jenna Elfman fan, but this show looks just plain stupid, with an unoriginal premise, obvious jokes, and a boring male lead. And Jenna’s hair looks weird. I think I’ll skip it and watch Keeping the Faith again instead.
Which of these shows will you check out in the fall?