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Rapid-Fire Reviews: Our Brutally Honest Thoughts on All of CBS's New Fall Shows, Including Kevin Williamson's Stalker

Tea Leoni, Tyler Ritter, Maggie Q, Elyse Gabriel Getty Images/CBS/Warner Bros. Television

Here's everything you need to know about CBS' new fall shows! We know you're short on time, so we won't bore you with lame details and just cut to the chase on whether these new series are worth your precious time.

We are not holding back. No filter!

On Monday, we shared how we really feel about the CW's two new shows, Tuesday we presented ABC's new line-up and today it's CBS's turn.

Téa Leoni returns to the spotlight with political drama Madam Secretary, her first TV role since playing herself in a 2000 episode of The X-Files. Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott team up to take on stalkers in Kevin Williamson's Stalker. NCIS heads to New Orleans for its latest spinoff and The Big Bang Theory goes dramatic in Scorpion, a new series about a group of geniuses who ban together to save the day. And on the comedy side Laurie Metcalf returns to the world of multicamera sitcoms in the Boston-set The McCarthys, also starring Tyler Ritter and Joey McIntyre.

Note: Since NCIS: New Orleans and CSI: Cyber were backdoor pilots they were not included in our rapid-fire reviews.

MORE: Rapid-fire reviews of ABC's new shows

Madam Secretary
Premiere Date
: Sunday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. (regular time period debut on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.)
Time-Slot Competition
: The Simpsons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), Once Upon a Time (ABC), Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Stars: Téa Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Evan Roe, Katherine Herzer

Kristin Dos Santos: Gaah! I want so badly to love this show. Téa Leoni  in a West Wing-type drama seems right up my alley, but I found her to be a bit…sleepy in the first episode. I get it that she's a powerhouse Secretary of State who is always calm under pressure, but perhaps a tad more excitability might have prevented me from having to give this pilot three tries before making it through without falling asleep. Overall, this show holds a lot of promise, so I'm going to stick with it for at least a few episodes and hope she takes a shot of espresso. Maybe a triple.

Tierney Bricker: Talk about the perfect pairing with The Good Wife! While I'm not sure Madam will be ever be able to achieve the GW standard (unfair, but this is my rapid-fire review, so hush), I was immediately invested, especially in Elizabeth's work as the new Secretary of State. And I'm hopeful her home life will eventually become just as compelling.

Chris Harnick: A solid premise that may seem a bit familiar—yes, I'm talking to you, the few people who also watched all of Political Animals—I really wanted to be behind Madam Secretary from the start, but there's just something that hasn't quite jelled fully in the pilot. The spark is there, but just needs to be ignited. Side note: There's something about Téa Leoni's performance that reminds me of my doctor and it was very distracting for me.

Sydney Bucksbaum: I love Téa Leoni's turn as a strong, take-no-BS, ex-CIA spy, current mother and Secretary of State, but honestly, I just don't have room on my DVR for a show that only moderately interested me. Confession: I just don't have patience for political shows. I was snoozing through a few key scenes. Oops.

CLICK: Get our take on CW's The Flash and Jane the Virgin

Scorpion
Premiere Date
: Monday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition
: Sleepy Hollow (Fox), The Voice (NBC), Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Stars
: Elyes Gabel, Katharine McPhee, Robert Patrick, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jadyn Wong, Ari Stidham

Kristin: Kat McPhee may or may not be dating her co-star Elyes Gable. Is it wrong that that's the number one reason I want to watch? Of course it is and I'm not proud. This show about a gaggle of genius who save the world is pretty fast-paced and thrilling. It feels and looks like a movie. But it just doesn't feel special enough to be appointment viewing for me. (Unless they show BTS outtakes of Kat and Elyes on set? Again, not proud.)

Tierney: Katharine McPhee is me. I am Katherine McPhee. As in I did not understand or know half of the techy things said in this pilot, but I still enjoyed it. And I feel like this must be stated: Team Karen 4eva! (I will always love you, Smash.)

Chris: What happens when a bunch of super geniuses meet a non-genius waitress (Katharine McPhee) and start working for Robert Patrick? Scorpion happens. Fans of everything CBS is known for will probably take to the drama. If you need me, I'll be listening to some Smash songs…

Sydney: The best thing I can say about this pilot: At least the writers had the good sense to cast Katherine McPhee as a down-on-her-luck single mother/waitress and not as one of the geniuses.

FALL TV: Your complete guide to every TV premiere date this fall!

Stalker
Premiere Date
: Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Chicago PD (NBC), Nashville (ABC)
Stars: Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott, Victor Rasuk, Mariana Klaveno, Elisabeth Röhm

Kristin: Scary as hell and I quite honestly cannot imagine I'll be watching this every week, unless CBS is providing free counseling. I love Kevin Williamson. But I love nightmare-free sleep. But I love Kevin Williamson. But I hate nightmares. But I love Maggie Q. And she is so dang fierce on this show. Damnit, even thinking about this show is going to send me into therapy! I'm sure I'll end up watching. It's the kind of thing you hate yourself for doing, but you cannot stop. Like eating the rest of your child's birthday cake. Out of the trash. Outside. (I've never done that.)

Tierney:  Excuse me while I never sleep with the lights off again. (Sorry roommates, our electric bill is going up!) But seriously, Stalker was downright chilling…in a good way. And Maggie Q once again proves why she's the most badass (and underrated) woman on TV. Still, I can't help but worry Stalker may go off the rails (and not in a good way), similar to the Following following (See what I did there?) and its stellar pilot.

Chris: Give it up for Maggie Q, everybody. Don't watch with the lights off. The show isn't perfect—the Dylan McDermott "twist" is all kinds of predictable—but it's definitely worth a shot.

Sydney: I was a huuuuuge fan of Nikita, and Stalker features Maggie Q at her absolute badass-iest. Of course, this is going to be a show I record and watch the next day with all the lights on because OMG this is the stuff of nightmares. Realistic, that-could-totally-happen-to-you nightmares. If you can't handle the creep factor of the pilot, then bail out now because it's only going to get way more intense as the season goes forward.

PHOTOS: We ranked all the new Fall TV shows from most promising to complete crapola

The McCarthys
Premiere Date
: Thursday, Oct. 30 at 9:30 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Reign (The CW), Gracepoint (Fox), A to Z (NBC), Scandal (ABC)
Stars: Tyler Ritter, Laurie Metcalf, Jack McGee, Jimmy Dunn, Joey McIntyre, Kelen Coleman

Kristin: Honesty, there aren't enough words to describe how much I disliked this pilot. The cast is lovely, Jason Ritter's brother Tyler Ritter is a star, and Joey McIntyre is surprisingly good! But the jokes are awkward, stereotypical and predictable, the multi-cam setup feels archaic (did I just change the channel to 1982?), and I quite honestly cringed the whole way through. FREE TYLER.

Tierney: I wanted to love this, despite the fact that I am a Yankees fan and this show basically promotes Boston,  but it's basically just: Gay joke. Sports. Gay Joke. New England reference. Gay Joke. Rinse, lather, repeat. I humbly suggest (or demand) you watch creator Brian Gallivan's "Sassy Gay Friend" YouTube gems instead. (Though Joey McIntyre is surprisingly great?!)

Chris: Hailing from Brian "Sassy Gay Friend" Gallivan and featuring the incomparable Laurie Metcalf, I wanted to love The McCarthys. Unfortunately, I did not. But I didn't hate it! I just…you'll see.

Sydney: I can only take so many quirky family sitcoms, and The McCarthys—with its focus on sports and Boston accents—just won't make my list. Definitely easy viewing if a little obvious at times. Let's just say it's not the worst new comedy this fall. 


Get our rapid-fire reviews of The CW and ABC's pilots too!

And give us your thoughts in the comments below!

PHOTOS: Fall TV spoiler-rama

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