The Playboy Club
Premieres: Monday, September 19 @ 10pm
Plot: A provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ’60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, CSI: Miami) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, Zombieland), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, Take the Lead), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, Numb3rs), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of the Playboy club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, American Virgin), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, CSI: Miami), an overly protective bartender.
Mini Review: An intriguing plot presented in a controversial setting, The Playboy Club is less about sex and drugs and more about gangsters and murder. While the pilot may present some interesting (though flawed) storylines, the real test of the series will be seeing how they handle things going forward.
Up All night
Airs: Wednesdays @8pm
Plot: A modern take on parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (Arrested Development) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part. Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids) stars as Ava, Reagan’s outlandish boss and best friend, whose whirlwind social escapades serve as constant reminders of Reagan’s former carefree life. James Pumphrey (High Road) portrays Brian, Reagan’s socially awkward hipster assistant.
Mini Review: After seeing Will Arnett replicate his character from Arrested Development over and over, it’s refreshing to see a new side to the comedic actor. While certain elements of the series don’t work as well as others, there are still many laughs to be had.
Airs: Wednesdays @8:30pm
Plot: Based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, The Simpsons, Huff) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, Hung) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex’s co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, Love Bites, Modern Family) and Gregg (Al Madrigal, Wizards of Waverly Place, Gary, Unmarried), and Stephen (Anthony Head, Merlin, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started — in a casual, intimate and beautifully awkward relationship.
Mini Review: Free Agents finally allows Hank Azaria to shine as a comedic lead actor, without the need for animation. Unfortunately, even though the jokes are funny and the characters are extremely well executed, a few problems related to the core premise of the series could lead to its cancellation.
Premieres: Thursday, September 22 @9:30pm
Plot: A hilarious look at modern love, Whitney is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Lately) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, Glory Daze), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, The Other Guys) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, The Starter Wife) — and then snaps into action. A few awkward sexy costumes and one botched seductive evening later, the couple ends up in the emergency room. Even so, Whitney and Alex realize that while their relationship might not be perfect on paper, they really do love each other — and that works for them.
Mini Review: Despite Whitney Cummings actually being a funny comedian, the series that graces her name leaves much to be desired. Awkward scenes used to set up poorly written jokes are just some of the disappointments that await those who decide to watch.
Premieres: Thursday, September 22 @10pm
Plot: Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, Prime Suspect has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives, NYPD Blue), director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) — and stars Maria Bello (A History of Violence) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the prime suspect.
Mini Review: Like Southland, Prime Suspect presents a gritty look at the life of a driven police detective. Even though the “boys club” mentality does feel a bit forced, and some of the episodic storylines are poorly executed, it’ll be hard not to walk away from the pilot wanting to see more.
Premieres: Friday, October 21 @9pm
Plot: A new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli, Turn The Beat Around) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, Grey’s Anatomy) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real.
Mini Review: In the battle of fairy tale dramas on primetime television, Grimm comes out as the unfortunate loser. That bring said, if you’re up for a bit of fun and can stomach fairy tale dialogue being presented in the form of a serious drama, you just might find yourself wanting more.