Fall Arts Preview

TV: 'Blacklist,' 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' and 'Super Fun Night' among best

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 13, 2013 - 3:15 PM
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BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new workplace comedy about what happens when a hotshot detective (Andy Samberg, with Joe Lo Truglio) gets a new captain with a lot to prove.

FIVE MOST PROMISING NEWCOMERS
Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg may not be the next Laurel & Hardy, but somehow the chemistry works in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a police-station comedy that’s more about camaraderie than crime. Samberg wisely dials back the shtick and let’s the rest of the well-rounded cast share the spotlight. (7 p.m. Tue., KMSP, Ch. 9.)

James Spader channels his inner Hannibal Lecter in “The Blacklist,” a procedural with a twist: Spader is a fugitive who turns himself in to help the FBI catch bad guys, but only if he’s teamed with a rookie agent (Megan Boone) who may or may not be in over her head. Chianti and fava beans, anyone? (9 p.m. Sept. 23, KARE, Ch. 11.)

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” may not have the Avengers, but it does have Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who mysteriously returns from the dead with his everyman charm and plucky determination intact, elements more welcoming than a fleet of flying iron suits. (7 p.m. Sept. 24, KSTP, Ch. 5.)

Everyone’s poised to adore the star of “The Michael J. Fox Show,” but what may surprise you is how easily you’ll fall for the rest of the cast. The pilot has five too many Parkinson’s references, but if the writers can get those easy jokes out of their system, this sitcom might accomplish what Bill Cosby did in the 1980s: save NBC. (8 p.m. Sept. 26, KARE, Ch. 11.)

Rebel Wilson, the scene stealer from “Bridesmaids” and “Pitch Perfect,” brings her unique form of larceny to the small screen in “Super Fun Night,” playing a lawyer whose idea of a spectacular Friday bash is making Taco in a Bag. Wilson will do anything for a laugh, a gutsy approach matched by her socially inept best friends (Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash), who make the guys from “The Big Bang Theory” look like players. Super fun stuff. (8 p.m. Oct. 2, KSTP, Ch. 5.)

FIVE SHOWS WE CAN’T WAIT TO WELCOME BACK
Just when “New Girl” threatened to become all about Zooey Deschanel’s googly eyes, the writers found a way to flesh out the supporting characters, first by turning Schmidt (Max Greenfield) into a hipster Ted Baxter, then by developing Nick (Jake Johnson) as a believable love interest. Just where the tentative couple goes from last season’s cliff-hanging kiss is anyone guess and everyone’s pleasure. (8 p.m. Tue., KMSP, Ch. 9.)

“How I Met Your Mother,” a sitcom that’s never been afraid to experiment, enters its final year with the reveal of “The Mother” (finally!), as well as an entire season revolving around the wedding of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders). Expect plenty of flashbacks, flash-forwards and flash-dancing as this series tries to go out on a high note. (7 p.m. Sept. 23, WCCO, Ch. 4.)

We’d normally skip the start of “Glee” for something slightly more tolerable, like karaoke night at Chuck E. Cheese. But word has it that the first two episodes will be packed with Beatles tunes, while the third episode will deal directly with the tragic death of star Cory Monteith. It may not be gleeful, but it’s bound to be emotional. (8 p.m. Sept. 26, KMSP, Ch. 9.)

Monica Potter’s bravado performance last season on “Parenthood,” which brought home the pain of dealing with cancer as well as any actress on network TV has ever done, should have earned an Emmy nomination. But her show may have gotten an even more valuable reward: a juicy time slot following “The Michael J. Fox Show.” (9 p.m. Sept. 26, KARE, Ch. 11.)

“Homeland,” by most accounts, suffered from a bipolar year, and we’re not just talking about Carrie (Claire Danes) going off her meds. But the show salvaged an uneven season by blowing everything up, both literally and figuratively. With Saul (Mandy Patinkin) now in charge and Brody (Damian Lewis) on the run, this could be a return to masterpiece TV or a complete mess. Either way, we’re hooked. (8 p.m. Sept. 29, Showtime.)

THREE REASONS TO PAY FOR PREMIUM
Showtime proves you can churn out compelling, grown-up television on pay-cable TV without a steady stream of violence in “Masters of Sex,” a telling account of the relationship between groundbreaking pioneers Williams Masters and Virginia Johnson, who did more for good sex than the Sealy mattress company. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan sizzle in the lead roles. (9 p.m. Sept. 29, Showtime.)

Writer/director/genius Ricky Gervais abandons his insecurities to play “Derek,” an autistic sweetheart who treasures his chance to do menial duties at a retirement center. It’s the most unexpected stunner of the year — in a good way — as Gervais goes for heart over hilarity. He even cries in the first episode. You may, too. (Now streaming on Netflix.)

Gervais’ regular writing partner Stephen Merchant takes his shot at being a leading man in “Hello Ladies,” portraying a web designer who has zero rapport with women. (9 p.m. Sept. 29, HBO.)

FOUR MAJOR LETDOWNS

The team that gave us “Ted” trades in a talking bear for two grumpy old men (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) in “Dads,” which is based more on “All in the Family” reruns than modern-day reality. It’s the lowest in a pathetic trend of sitcoms featuring grown-up children who can’t handle their politically incorrect parents. Maybe these Hollywood writers should swap out some pitch meetings to see a family counselor instead. (7 p.m. Tue., KMSP, Ch. 9.)

Mork meets Buffy? An intriguing concept, and one that’s all but wasted by Robin Williams’ mugging in “The Crazy Ones.” Williams’ role as a free-spirited ad executive overshadows Sarah Michelle Gellar — and anything else that gets in the way of him and his comedy routine. (8 p.m. Sept. 26, WCCO, Ch. 4.)

Sean Hayes’ return to prime-time comedy is spoiled by ludicrous writing and hapless slapstick routines in “Sean Saves the World,” a sitcom so unworthy of NBC’s Thursday-night lineup it should be shuttled off to the Saturday graveyard before Rosario the maid comes along and gives her former “Will & Grace” co-star a good slap across the face. (8 p.m. Oct. 3, KARE, Ch. 11.)

“Dracula” apparently got lost on its way to Starz Channel and wound up on network TV, where blood-and-guts period pieces rarely work. Jonathan Rhys Meyers does his best to pump blood into this radical retelling of the classic tale, but by his third serving of “throat sandwich,” I was ready for something slightly more gory — like another episode of “Dads.” (9 p.m. Oct. 25, KARE, Ch. 11.)

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