Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall Preview 2013: Thursday

Thursdays, long dominated by CTV in Canada (and coveted by advertisers across North America), suddenly looks to be in play. Not at 8 p.m., where The Big Bang Theory remains Canada's most-watched series. Grey's Anatomy, however, is not as dominant as it has been in the past, and at 10 p.m., Global will win with Elementary.
A bit of a wild card is Robin Williams new series The Crazy Ones on City (left). The CBS simulcast is sure to open big on both sides of the border but will have to get much better to continue to deliver. Global has Will Arnett's new comedy The Millers at 8:30, which breaks up a CTV/CBS one-two simulcast but won't really matter. It's no Big Bang-and-a-half.
Scandal has potential to grow at 10 for City, although that series has lagged behind in Canada compared to its U.S. ratings.
Here's what's new for Thursdays:

THURSDAY



Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (8 p.m., ABC/City. Premiering Oct. 10).
Once Upon a Time meets Alice in Wonderland. Hey, more jobs for Vancouver. Sophie Lowe stars as a new Alice who breaks out of a mental institution with the help of the White Rabbit (John Lithgow). What are they smoking these days over at Disney?


The Millers (8:30 p.m., CBS/Global. Premieres Oct. 3).
It stinks, at first, but gets better as the pilot goes on. Will Arnett stars in what seems like his 16th fall sitcom in a row as a cocky news reporter who splits from his wife. Good idea, say his parents, played by Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale (above with Arnett). They split up too and mom moves in with sonny boy. Hilarity ensues, although it takes a while, and it is Martindale who finds the funny. If you're looking for Arnett's career, it's in the banana stand.


Welcome to the Family (8:30 p.m., NBC. Premieres Oct. 3).
A high school junior gets impregnated by a classmate and when their parents from different backgrounds find out, hilarity ensues. I asked the producer and he said he had NEVER, EVER, EVER heard of CBC's 18 to Life. Uh huh. Quality cast keeps things keen for 22 minutes, including Mike O'Malley, Mary McCormack and Ricardo A, Chavira.

The Crazy Ones (9 p.m., CBS/City. Premieres Sept. 26).
Robin Williams plays the head of an ad agency who works side-by-side with his daughter (Sarah Michele Gellar). James Wolk (Mad Men) is in on the creative. The pilot is one big infomercial for a well-known hamburger chain, which left me a tad McQueasy. A lot of folks will want to spend 30 minutes a week with likable Williams,but I hope future episodes get a little edgier than the pilot. It seemed very paint-by-numbers. Plus guest star Kelly Clarkson was more winning than Gellar in the episode and made me wish she was playing the daughter--not a good sign.



Reign (9 p.m., The CW/CTV Two. Premieres Oct. 10).
Reign shoots in Toronto, in and around Casa Loma. Shouldn't it shoot in Vancouver? Get it--Rain? Anyway, what if Mary Queen of Scots, at 15, was on Gossip Girl? Totally! This weird mashup of Knights and period drama and modern music (Mumford & Sons are on the soundtrack) and semi-modern dress is different, at least. Could be a new twist on an old tale, or a Jimmy Kimmel prank. Look for Meagan Follows as a cranky queen.

Played (10 p.m., CTV. Premieres Oct. 3).
Shh. CTV is being uncharacteristically tight-lipped about this hour-long drama. It's apparently about covert investigators and what they do when they go home at night, the beasts. Number of photos at the Bell/CTV media site as of Sept. 12: 0. Vincent Walsh, Chandra West and Lisa Marcos are among the ensemble. Like Flashpoint, but without the publicity. Shot in Toronto. Would love to see a screener.
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