Rapid-Fire Reviews: Michael Weatherly Charms in Bull, But What About the Rest of CBS' Fall Debuts?

E!'s TV team reviews new series Bull, Pure Genius, Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan and The Great Indoors

By E! TV Team Sep 07, 2016 7:15 PMTags
Rapid Fire Reviews, CBSCBS

Leaves have begun to change color, pumpkin spice lattes have arrived—behold, Fall is here, and with it, a brand new crop of television shows to add to your ever-growing watch list. But the E! TV Team is here to help, giving you our brutally honest takes on the networks' Fall debuts.

Yesterday brought you our opinions on ABC's offerings, and today we have CBS' new series for your perusal. Michael Weatherly, Matt LeBlanc, Joel McHale and Kevin James all return to network TV after varying degrees of absence, but are their highly anticipated returns any good?

Below, our thoughts on Fall dramas Bull and Pure Genius, along with comedies Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan and Millenial-skewering The Great Indoors (spoiler: this staff of Millenials was less than impressed with what we saw). We haven't been given the opportunity to screen MacGyver just yet, so we'll find out how we like that when we tune in on Sept. 23 like the rest of America!

We Ranked All the New 2016 Fall TV Shows: What's No. 1?


Premiere Date: Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m.

Time-Slot Competition: Fresh Off the Boat/The Real O'Neals (ABC); Scream Queens (Fox); This Is Us (NBC); No Tomorrow (The CW)

Stars: Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio, Chris Jackson

Premise: Based on the life of Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil!), who created one of the most successful trial consulting firms, Bull follows Dr. Bull and his team of experts who use psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. 

Tierney Bricker: It says a lot about star Michael Weatherly that I am a huge fan of his without ever being a regular NCIS viewer, and his charisma is on full display here. (You're welcome, Dr. Phil!) While I wasn't blown away by the pilot, I can see Bull growing into a compelling character study, especially if they dig into the jury side of things with the true crime trend that's currently taking over.

Chris Harnick: Bull is CBS, straight up. This is everything you have come to know about the network, for better and for worse. A fine star vehicle for Michael Weatherly and fans of him will dig this drama full of stereotypical characters. It's slick, naturally, and full of tropes, naturally.

Jean Bentley: I love Michael Weatherly a lot, and I have a soft spot in my heart for slick procedurals. But this one was so damn shiny I couldn't actually see what was happening. Hopefully they'll tone down the tropes—or just pick one or two per week—to allow the show to find a rhythm (which I definitely believe it can).

Lauren Piester: It's the most CBS-y thing to have ever CBS'd, and if you like that sort of thing, you'll love this. Dr. Bull doesn't quite have the same charm as Tony DiNozzo, but he could get there, and moms everywhere will be thrilled. 

Billy Nilles: If someone cultivated the CBS-iest show possible in a lab, it would probably be this. Is it reinventing the wheel? Not even slightly. But Michael Weatherly is such a charm monster, he made me enjoy this pilot more than I would've with anyone else in the role. It'll do quite nicely paired with his old show NCIS on Tuesday night, but I can't say I'll be tuning in for more.

ABC's Fall TV Premiere Dates for the 2016-17 Season Revealed

Pure Genius

Premiere Date: Thursday, Oct. 27 at 10 p.m.

Time-Slot Competition: How to Get Away With Murder (ABC); The Blacklist (NBC)

Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Augustus Prew, Odette Annable, Reshma Shetty, Aaron Jennings, Ward Horton, Brenda Song

Premise: Young Silicon Valley tech billionaire James Bell has created a state-of-the-art hospital with an ultramodern, high-tech approach to medicine. At Bunker Hill Hospital, he's determined to revolutionize healthcare and treat the rarest, most challenging medical mysteries at no charge.

Tierney Bricker: You guys, you know when you try SO hard to be into someone, because you know they are nice and you SHOULD be? That is this medical drama from Jason Katims for me. I wanted to love it, even like it, but I was just very...whelmed.

Chris Harnick: I didn't hate it. But in a more crowded than ever TV landscape, "I didn't hate it" doesn't cut it. I also didn't love it. Flashy technology is all the rage this season, but character moments don't get lost in this CBS drama that is to its core, a very CBS medical drama.

Jean Bentley: I kept calling this Doctor Hospital Genius because much like its fully generic name, there's nothing groundbreaking happening here despite the whole premise being "look at this cutting-edge technology and cool computer graphics we made to go with it!" It's a hospital procedural, and a boring one at that.

Lauren Piester: Something about this show bothered me and I don't know what it is. I got sucked in by the cases, and the concept of a high-tech hospital is one I could see myself watching, but something was off. There were a few side character clichés that could get smoothed out in future episodes, so I might tune back in!

Billy Nilles: The best TV feels like it flies by. This pilot felt like I'd been stuck in molasses for a week. Augustus Prew is intriguing as the lead, but his faulty American accent is distracting. Why couldn't James Bell just be British? Some of the ethics behind Bell's bureaucracy-free hospital also leave me feeling a little queasy—but that's an essay for another day.  


Kevin Can Wait

Premiere Date: Monday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. (moves to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24)

Time-Slot Competition: Dancing With the Stars (ABC); Gotham (Fox); The Voice (NBC); Supergirl (The CW)

Stars: Kevin James, Erinn Hayes, Taylor Spreitler, Mary-Charles Jones, James DiGiacomo, Ryan Cartwright

Premise: Kevin is a newly retired police officer hoping to spend time with his wife and three kids, but realizes the realities of everyday life are not the carefree vacation he expected.

Tierney Bricker: Maybe my Long Island bias is showing (Kevin James is from there, and the show is set and filmed on LI!), but I was very into this throwback comedy. Sure, it's safe and a little dated, but Kevin James is always a welcome presence on my TV screen. (Just no cameos from Paul Blart, please and thank you.)

Chris Harnick: I can't wait not to watch this. Too obvious a sentence? Whatever, the show is filled with them. If you love Kevin James sitcoms, well, this is for you.

Jean Bentley: Kevin James is a really funny guy so I understand why they keep giving him sitcoms. There was nothing that stood out as particularly original in this one, but that's okay! Not every show has to be high concept. Plus, multi-cam sitcoms are basically TV comfort food anyway. This won't be regular viewing for me, but I won't change the channel if I see it on.

Lauren Piester: If you like Kevin James, you will like this show. If King of Queens is any indication, I'll watch every episode of this once it hits syndication and airs two episodes back to back every night at 7 p.m.

Billy Nilles: Kevin's going to be waiting a long time if he thinks I'm tuning in to another episode of this. This is basically just The King of Queens: 10 Years Later, yet without an ounce of growth or maturity. And that just isn't cutting it for me. The CBS audience will probably eat it up. I, however, did not.

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Man With a Plan

Premiere Date: Monday, Oct. 24 at 8:30 p.m.

Time-Slot Competition: Dancing With the Stars (ABC); Gotham (Fox); The Voice (NBC); Supergirl (The CW)

Stars: Matt LeBlanc, Liza Snyder, Kevin Nealon, Grace Kaufman, Matthew McCann, Hala Finley

Premise: When contractor Adam's wife goes back to work, he realizes that parenting his kids is a much harder job than he expected.

Tierney Bricker: In the battle of the returning sitcom stars, Kevin James beats Matt LeBlanc, who seems to be phoning it in a bit. Still, the whole changing the wifi password every day to make your kids stop acting like monsters trick in the pilot is maybe my favorite storyline in all of the new fall shows, so there's that?

Chris Harnick: Does Matt LeBlanc even want to be there? Doesn't really seem like it. This is just another entry in the "Men! Kids?" sitcom genre that will hopefully fade away quickly.

Jean Bentley: Matt LeBlanc has Friends money. He doesn't need to do this. Is he bored? Does he miss the affirmation of a live studio audience hanging on to his every word? The kids are cute and he's obviously comfortable in this format, but the show needs to work out some creative kinks before I'll tune in again.

Lauren Piester: We haven't seen the new pilot with Liza Snyder, but based on her fantastic chemistry with Matt LeBlanc during this summer's press tour, I could really love this show. I just hope it stays away from "look how funny it is to see a man raising his children!" and leans more into the family relationships, and LeBlanc and Snyder's excellent comedic timing.

Billy Nilles: Despite what he may say in the press, Matt LeBlanc looks as if he'd rather be literally anywhere else than stuck as the lead in this charmless "comedy." Who is still laughing at the joke that men don't understand domestic life? Who?!

2016 Fall TV Spoiler-rama
Cliff Lipson/CBS

The Great Indoors

Premiere Date: Thursday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m.

Time-Slot Competition: Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Rosewood (Fox); The Good Place/Thursday Night Football (NBC); Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)

Stars: Joel McHale, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Susannah Fielding, Chris Williams, Christine Ko, Shaun Brown, Stephen Fry

Premise: A renowned adventure reporter must adapt when he's called back to his outdoor magazine's office to run the web staff, which is comprised of eager young people who think he's out of touch.

Tierney Bricker: Sorry, I'm just such a Millennial that I wasn't able to look up from my iPhone long enough to really formulate an opinion on this sitcom. 

Chris Harnick: Millennials, am I right? That is the eye roll-inducing gist here. Joel McHale, hi, how are you, are you happy here? All three CBS sitcoms are interchangeable: "Male doesn't understand youth. Man is out of his element. Hilarity ensues."

Jean Bentley: Ha-ha, Millenials are lazy and entitled. If that makes you laugh, then congratulations! This show is for you. If you think that joke is lazy, then you'll probably want to steer clear.

Lauren Piester: I didn't hate the actual show as much as the concept bugs me. If they can find balance between making fun of the kids and making fun of the adults too, then this could actually be fun. I just wish Joel McHale looked like he was even having a slightly good time.

Billy Nilles: Have you heard the one about how Millennials are just the worst? That's the thesis of this clunker, which sees former Millennial comedy icon Joel McHale abandon his fan base to mock them in pursuit of a paycheck. Pass.

Check out our ABC reviews here, and stay tuned for our takes on Fox, NBC and The CW's new fall shows!