warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

See It Or Skip It: Fall TV Pilots, Comic-Con Edition

Katie Buenneke |
August 2, 2014 | 3:38 p.m. PDT


We're back from Comic Con, and after seeing the buzziest pilots there, we’re happy to report back with what you should watch, and what you should skip. 

See it: “Gotham”
Fox, Mondays at 8
Premieres September 22

To be completely honest, it makes no sense that this show is on Fox. “Gotham” plays like a show you’d find on cable or premium cable, of the same ilk as programs on HBO and AMC. “Gotham” is a really good show, and definitely plays into viewers’ demands for dark and fantastic storylines (see: “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones”). Ben McKenzie (who has come so far from his last Fox outing, the seminal teenage classic “The O.C.”) plays James Gordon, a hotshot newbie in Gotham. One of his first cases, and the subject of the pilot, is the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Solving the mystery isn’t exactly easy in a city teeming with baddies, from mob boss Carmine Falcone to nascent villains Oswald Cobblepot (who will later be known as The Penguin) and Fish Mooney (a new character, played by Jada Pinkett-Smith).

While there’s a bit of a cognitive disconnect in seeing a different take on Batman’s world just two years after Nolan’s last Batman film, as the pilot progresses, it gets easier to become immersed in this Gotham. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the pilot is so good that it will leave you hankering for more! Definitely tune in to this one when it airs in September. 

READ MORE: Into the Hive Mind: Tackling the DC Comics Universe

See it: “The Flash”
The CW, Tuesdays at 8
Premieres October 8

“The Flash” doesn’t earn itself quite as hearty a recommendation as “Gotham,” but it is still quite enjoyable, especially for fans of its companion show, “Arrow.” “The Flash” is not a great show, but it’s definitely a fun one. Grant Gustin brings plenty of gusto to the character of Barry Gordon, a geeky kid who gets struck by lightening and finds himself gifted with the ability to run extremely quickly. Sure, the dialogue and visual effects are a little cheesy, but The Flash has plenty of panache, and it should be fun to watch this quippy kid contend with the other “metahumans” in Central City—with, of course, crossover episodes featuring the Green Arrow, who lives 600 miles away in Starling City, which is just a short jog for The Flash. It should be fun to see how the rest of the season pans out, especially given the jaw-dropping cliffhanger at the end of the pilot. 

Skip it: “Constantine”
NBC, Fridays at 10
Premieres October 24

Yikes. “Constantine” just… isn’t good. Granted, it’s a tricky property (the 2005 film version starring Keanu Reeves wasn't a huge success), but this pilot just doesn’t work. John Constantine (played by Matt Ryan), a dark magician, is known for being a smart-ass, but the jokes just don’t land, making the whole thing feel very forced (note: for a good example of smart-ass comic book characters, see “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which opened this weekend). In general, the tone of the pilot is muddled, and none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, including Liv, who is the blandest female character this side of the girl in “Magic Mike.” Apparently, the creators have cast off the character of Liv in order to send the character in a new direction, but her inclusion in the pilot adds to its clunky-ness. 

Who knows, maybe this one will get better as the series progresses and the creators figure out where they want to go with the show, but for now, devote your time to a worthier pursuit. 

Reach contributor Katie here; follow her on Twitter here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.