Wednesday, July 9 (CBS)
Series Debut: The Only TV Column That Matters™ has been telling you that television is a greater medium than film for over a decade now, but it takes CBS getting Halle Berry on the tube for you to finally pay attention? What-ever. In this batshit Syfy-meets-Lifetime mashup of Rosemary’s Baby, The Astronaut’s Wife, Gravity, A.I. and whatever else producer Steven Spielberg thinks he can (and will) get away with, Berry plays an astronaut who returns from a year-long solo mission in space pregnant—oh, and she already has a robot son with her ex-astronaut husband (Goran Visnjic). Did she hallucinate that good-lookin’ alien on her spaceship? Is there a conspiracy behind her pregnancy? Can you just purchase RoboKids at Best Buy in the future? All will be answered in 13 episodes … unless Extant scores Under the Dome ratings, then you’ll have to wait until next summer.
Wednesday, July 9 (FX)
Season Premiere: FX is one of the leading contributors to There’s Too Many Shows Syndrome; this month, they’re debuting dramas Tyrant (Tuesdays) and The Strain (July 13), as well as comedies Married and You’re the Worst (July 17). Throw returning series The Bridge into the quality overflow: When last we left El Paso cop Cross (Diane Kruger) and Chihuahua, Mexico, cop Ruiz (Demian Bichir), they’d already solved the serial-killer-on-the-border case and the season finale didn’t so much boil over as just sit there and simmer. Since the network dumped Wilfred onto FXX, The Bridge is now FX’s weirdest show; when it breaks from the cop-procedural format, it breaks hard.
Saturday, July 5 (CBS)
Return: When CBS canceled Bad Teacher in May after five weeks, it was implied that you’d never, ever see the final eight of 13 produced episodes—but here they are! Ari Graynor’s take on Cameron Diaz’s toxic film gold digger was more light and likable at first, but it became apparent that she couldn’t carry the show alone; beyond the occasional comic assist from David Allen Grier, the only support she got on Bad Teacher was from Victoria’s Secret. Dead-fish co-stars aside, there’s still some funny here, and better this than a Saturday-night burn-off of fellow midseason casualty Friends With Better Lives.
Married at First Sight
Tuesday, July 8 (FYI)
Series Debut: FYI is a real cable channel—it’s A&E Networks’ newly “rebranded” Bio—with the company line that “FYI will be an upscale network with a younger and more modern sensibility … that embraces personal creativity and the sharing of the best ideas on air and online.” Ack. So why does their debut “best idea” look like Fox circa 2001? In Married at First Sight, six strangers paired up by “specialists” via “scientific matchmaking” are legally wed for a few weeks, after which time the three couples will decide to stay or bail (or perhaps swap for a sequel series, Married to Sloppy Seconds). Who has two thumbs and owes the Esquire Network an apology for several “worst channel launch ever” comments? This guy!
Tuesday, July 8 (MTV)
Series Debut: Finally, a new twist on the Snarky Adopted Teen trope: After Carter (Kathryn Prescott) learns that her “single mother” actually abducted her as baby, she’s reunited with her real parents (Lost’s Cynthia Watros and Buffy/Angel’s Alexis Denisof) and family—but all she wants to do is get back together with the woman who stole/raised her (Law & Order’s Milena Govich). Great setup, writing and performances—so expect MTV to cancel Finding Carter post-haste.