Rapid-Fire Reviews: Does Gotham Deliver? Is Red Band Society the Best New Show of the Fall? Our Takes on Fox's New Series

All this week, our TV Team is offering their takes on fall's new shows. Today, they're looking at Gotham, Gracepoint and two others

By TV Scoop Team Sep 04, 2014 2:00 PMTags
Fox Shows: Mulaney, Red Band Society, Gracepoint, GothamFOX

No filter. No tongue-biting. No mercy.

All this week, we've been bringing you our rapid-fire reviews of the new shows premiering this fall. Sometimes we gush, other times we're a little brutal, but hey, this is show business. To quote every reality competition contestant ever: we're not here to make friends. (Just kidding! Everyone, please like us!)

Today, we're offering up our thoughts on Fox's four new series, including Gracepoint, the buzzed-about Broadchurch remake, and Gotham, which is possibly the most talked-about new offering this fall. But Red Band Society, a little show about a group of kids banding together in a hospital, somehow managed to overshadow both, while a super-talented comedian, John Mulaney, accomplished a pretty shocking feat: he failed to make any of us laugh.

Red Band Society
Premiere Date
: Wednesday, Sept. 17 
Time-Slot Competition
: Modern Family, black-ish (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS), The 100 (the CW), Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
StarsOctavia Spencer, Dave Annable, Charlie Rowe, Griffin Gluck, Nolan Sotillo, Zoe Levin, Ciara Bravo, Brian Bradleym Rebecca Rittenhouse

Kristin Dos Santos: I have to admit I was so nervous to watch this show, because as a mom, I just cannot handle storylines with sick kids and awful things happening to kids and was convinced it would leave me in pieces. But it left me in the best kind of pieces—Red Band Society is optimistic, inspiring, funny and just…insanely well done. True fact: I love this show more than any other pilot I've seen in years, and I really hope you will watch it with me, for many years to come. I can't actually write about this show without tearing up, so I'm going to stop now. Bust just…WATCH. Please. It will do go things to your soul.

Tierney Bricker: Oh, how I just want to hug this show and never let it go. My favorite pilot of the year, it's The Breakfast Club meets Glee meets The Fault in Our Stars, but still manages to feel completely fresh. I dare you not to smile your way through this one. It's physically impossible (and possibly illegal).

Chris Harnick: You had me at Octavia Spencer. Then you were all teen drama cute, but with an emotional flare. Some of the scenes felt too over the top for my taste, but that's generally the case in all pilots.

Sydney Bucksbaum: Confession: I'm not the biggest fan of shows about kids. Especially sick kids. But holy wow did this show charm me into submission. You'll laugh, you'll cry (oh, how you'll cry), you'll swoon, and you'll immediately set a DVR season pass.

Premiere Date
: Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition
: Scandal (ABC), Two and a Half Men, The McCarthys CBS), Reign (the CW), Bad Judge, A to Z (NBC)
Stars: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña

Kristin: I already watched and adored the original UK version of this show, Broadchurch, so I have to admit: I DON'T GET IT. (Sorry for shouting, but I have EMOTIONS about this one.) Why would I watch the same show, scene for scene, shot by shot, for a few episodes (with different actors), and then watch the writers tinker the storyline, just to try to make it different, so they can make money in the U.S.? The first series was perfect. Why not just air Broadchurch here? Doing a skewed new version of it feels like blasphemy and I just can't get past it. Apparently I'm a card-carrying Broadchurch purist! AHEM. All that said, 99.9 percent of you have never seen the original series and for you, GRACEPOINT IS PROBABLY THE BEST NEW DRAMA THIS FALL. Sorry for burying that lead. I'm just working through some issues here, guys. And I'm so jealous of all of you who haven't seen the original yet! I hope you enjoy the ride.

Tierney: Having never seen Broadchurch, I really enjoyed Gracepoint, which was pretty grim and gave me a similar feeling The Killing gave me before The Killing became you know, The Killing. I love stories centering on a small, close-knit town rocked by a tragedy or scandal, because it feels much more personal and high-stakes. To quote Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Spike, I wanna see how it ends.

Chris: Disclaimer: I have never seen Broadchurch. With that said, I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Fox's remake and knowing there will be a conclusion to this mystery within a handful of episodes has me excited to watch more.

Sydney: With so many mystery shows getting canceled before you learn the truth, it's a relief to know we're going to see Gracepoint's big mystery solved by the end of the season. However, I won't be watching. Not because I didn't like the first episode, mind you, because I did, but merely because I just don't have room in my TV-watching schedule or on my DVR.

Premiere Date
: Monday, Sept. 22 ar 8 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition
Dancing With the Stars (ABC), The Big Bang Theory, Mom (CBS), The Originals (the CW), The Voice(NBC)
StarsBen McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Erin Richards, Zabryna Guevara, Andrew Stewart-Jones

Kristin: Holy amazing casting, Batman! Holy bad pun, Kristin! This Batman origin series puts a new spin on all the iconic Batman characters, and although the pilot episode seems to be struggling a bit to find the exact right tone, the actors bring so much to the table it's mesmerizing. Ben McKenzie as Gordon, Camren Bicondova as Catwoman, Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin could not be more imperfectly perfect--embodying the essence of these characters while giving a whole new fresh take. I'm in.

Tierney: Strip away all the Batman references and iconic baddies, like the Penguin and Catwoman, before they became the iconic baddies we all know, Gotham felt like your standard gritty cop drama for me. And Easter eggs cannot sustain a series. That being said, I still have faith that Gotham will find its footing, and become the series I so desperately want it to be. Plus, the villains are just so fun, especially Robin Lord Taylor's take on the Penguin. (And just because I am the biggest O.C. fan, I'm going to end this quickie with this: Ryan Atwood!)

Chris: There was something off with the tone of Gotham. It seems like there was a bit of identity crisis going on. Maybe that's my own misconception about what the show was going to be and what Fox advertising led me to believe. But it felt like a mix of Batman: The Animated Series (which was awesome) and The Dark Knight movies (also very good), yet somewhere something went wrong. However, I'm intrigued to see where they go with the series on a weekly basis and the casting was spot-on, from Robin Lord Taylor to Donal Logue. I'll be watching.

Sydney: I think I've found my new favorite show (and not just my new favorite new show). From the inability to pinpoint exactly what time period it's set in (old-timey cars and clothes…and modern cell phones?), to the amazingly-perfect casting (Robin Lord Taylor, you were born to play the Penguin), to the fact that Ryan Atwood is back on my TV screen (yes, he will always be known as Chino to me), this. Just. Works! 

Premiere Date
: Sunday, Oct. 5 at 9:30 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition
: Resurrection (ABC), The Good Wife (CBS), Sunday Night Football (NBC)
StarsJohn MulaneyMartin ShortElliott GouldNasim PedradSeaton Smith

Kristin: Love him. Did not like this show. Sorry, sorry, sorry. There was just nothing new or special about it, and I don't think I laughed once.

Tierney: Classic case of a really likable and talented star, John Mulaney, creating, writing and starring in a show unworthy of their talents. Pass.

Chris: I really like John Mulaney's standup. His show? Not at all. I get it. I get what they're trying to do here, but just no. Sorry. No.

Sydney: Seeing as how I have never seen any of John Mulaney's standup specials, plus the fact that I failed to laugh a single time while watching Mulaney, I will not be tuning in. There's just no draw here for me.

Get our rapid-fire reviews of The CWABC and CBS' pilots too!

And give us your thoughts in the comments below!