October has arrived, and the networks are still filling out their dance cards, with two series premiering in prime time tonight.
First up is “Super Fun Night” (8:30 p.m. CDT on ABC), starring Aussie comedienne Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect”) as a recently promoted New York lawyer who decides her social life needs an upgrade as well. So she ropes her two best friends, Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash, into a new tradition: a weekly hot night on the town.
Three socially awkward eccentrics hot to party? This is not going to be pretty. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's going to be very funny, either.
Wilson's character, Kimmie Boubier, is pathetically drawn. A colleague asks her, “Nice shoes, by the way. What are they?” “Orthopedics,” she responds, with flat affect.
The network tried a similar premise a decade ago with Sara Rue in “Less Than Perfect.” She was better in the role, and the show still didn't succeed.
Based on just a few, small attention-grabbing roles, ABC has made a sizable investment in Wilson, handing her the post-“Modern Family” slot. They may come to quickly rue their decision.
NBC has elected to minimize the risk at 9 p.m. CDT with a familiar TV star (Blair Underwood) in a very familiar TV property (“Ironside”).
The immortal Raymond Burr starred in the original '60s series as a wheelchair-bound cop who rolled the hills of San Francisco in a specially fitted Scooby van, fighting crime.
In the update, Underwood plays the handicapped title character — only he and his crew (Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer and Neal Bledsoe) prowl the streets of Manhattan.
Whereas Burr played the role as a brusque and prickly man resigned to his fate, Underwood goes about his business far more aggressively.
Ten seconds into the pilot and he's hefted himself into the backseat of a car and is pounding mercilessly on a suspect, trying to extract a confession. Before the hour is over, he's also subdued a fleeing criminal, and I don't think that's the last time we'll see that scenario.
Despite Underwood's compelling presence and a good-looking cast, this is a rather standard police procedural. Handsome looking, but unremarkable.
The hook, of course, is that Underwood is a guy who refuses to make any concessions to his condition — except maybe to undo a few more buttons on his shirt. But he's still coaching hockey, still a loud bully on the ice.
That's just how he rolls.