Thursday, March 6 (USA)
Series Debut: The network is touting Sirens—based on a British series of the same name—as an “edgy” and “unrestrained” comedy produced by Denis Leary, now moving from New York firefighters (Rescue Me) to Chicago EMTs. “Edgy” and “unrestrained” on USA is nowhere near what Leary got away with at FX, but Sirens still has its funny/raunchy moments, just closer to Brooklyn Nine-Nine than to the dark, effd-up recesses of Rescue Me. As USA’s first half-hour original comedy since, oh, forever, Sirens is a strong play to get back in the game—and, at the very least, one less Modern Family rerun on the schedule (seriously, it’s on 25/7, USA—dial it back).
Thursday, March 6 (FX)
Series Debut: Why any network outside of CBS is making sitcoms with laugh tracks in 2014 is beyond The Only TV Column That Matters™. But … FX? Sure, they accommodated Charlie Sheen for his Anger Management (which tonight hits the halfway point in its 100-episode contractual death march), but the network that brought you Louie should not be stooping to using any more canned yuks. Especially not for George Lopez, who, like Sheen, is a veteran of the old sitcom model who won’t/can’t adapt to modern comedy. Saint George is just another tired family ’com, albeit one with the odd co-casting choices of David Zayas (Dexter, Oz) and Danny Trejo (everything), two actors not exactly known for bringing the funny (although I’d watch the hell out of a Machete sitcom—get on that, FX).
Sunday, March 9 (ABC)
Series Debut: Tried to take in The Returned on Sundance, but found it too French and creepy? ABC’s far-more-’Merican Resurrection is (maybe) for you. The residents of small Missouri town Arcadia are shocked when dead loved ones from decades ago suddenly reappear, unaged and unaware of what’s happened; an unsure mashup of warm-fuzzy weepiness, X-Files sci-fi and subtle religious undertones ensue. Resurrection may be attempting too many directions at once, but the cast (which includes Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher) is strong enough to see it through the limited series’ planned eight episodes—if ABC doesn’t pull the plug or, worse, try to extend the show if it’s a hit. Learn a lesson from Under the Dome, already.
Monday, March 10 (NBC)
Series Debut: In other high-concept You Will Feel All the Feels news, here’s Believe, from J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity). The story centers on Bo (Johnny Sequoyah—yes, Johnny Sequoyah), a 10-year-old girl with X-Men-level superpowers being pursued by evil forces (mainly, Kyle MacLachlan), and her entourage, the True Believers. But wait, there’s more: The TBs think they’ve found the one man capable of being Bo’s protector/mentor, a longhair (Jake McLaughlin) wrongfully imprisoned on death row; once they break him out, the gang travels from town to town helping folks while staying one step ahead of the bad guys. Believe is even more directionally confused than Resurrection but, thanks to the influence of Abrams and Cuarón, it looks fantastic.
Tuesday, March 11 (USA)
Series Debut: I was predisposed to hate Chrisley Knows Best from the promos alone. After seeing the pilot, I asked the True TV design team to come up with a stronger ratings bug then the red “stop” button: something that signified taking one’s television to the backyard, spraying it with gunfire, setting it ablaze, burying it, salting the earth and rounding up every dog in the zip code to urinate on the shallow grave. They were stumped; red button it is.