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CBS’s New Fall 2014 Shows: First Clips, First Impressions
May 14, 2014  | By David Bianculli  | 2 comments

CBS, for the 2014 fall season, presents four new dramas and one new comedy. But, like Fox, it now says it’s not really in the “fall season” business at all, but on a 12-month cycle…

That’s partly because its summer experiment last year, Under the Dome, ended up as the highest-rated new drama series of 2013 and, thus far, 2014. That series returns for Season 2 next month, and now serves as a promotional platform to launch the new fall schedule – much as NBC did last year, to great benefit, with its Olympics coverage.

Like its competitors, CBS is saving some heavy ammunition for midseason. In the case of CBS, that list includes returning series Mike & Molly, The Mentalist, and three new series: the new spinoff series CSI: Cyber, Vince Gilligan’s Battle Creek (at right, with Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel), and Matthew Perry’s newest sitcom effort, a remake of The Odd Couple. At least Battle Creek, at first glance, looks delightful enough to be more than worth the wait.

Shows that didn’t survive for a second season include last fall’s The Crazy Ones, We Are Men and Hostages. What did survive from last fall? Mom.

Also not making the cut: the much-discussed How I Met Your Mother “companion series,” How I Met Your Dad, which may find a home at another network.

CBS, for fall, is breaking up its long-established two-hour Monday comedy block, and inserting a drama series Mondays at 9. The one new comedy on the fall schedule is The McCarthys, scheduled Thursdays at 9:30 ET, a multi-camera comedy about a Boston family. Even with Laurie Metcalf in the cast, this new sitcom, retooled from a different single-camera version, doesn’t impress much at first glance.

Here’s the first glance:


Now come the dramas. Instead of devoting the 9-10 p.m. Monday block to comedies, as CBS has done for years, the network turns over the hour to Scorpion, a new drama with a Big Bang Theory bent. It’s about a small pack of brilliant people, with super-genius IQs, pooled together in Manhattan Project fashion to help Homeland Security solve a series of baffling, high-pressure, high-tech emergencies. Co-stars include Robert Patrick and Smash star Katharine McPhee as less brilliant people who work with them. The teaser looks interesting – and also looks like CBS spent a lot of money on the pilot.

Here it is:


This next drama series already has been sampled by viewers – at least some 22 million of them, who watched the recent NCIS episode that served as the back-door pilot for NCIS: New Orleans. CBS is moving the returning NCIS: LA to Mondays at 10 ET, and giving the daddy NCIS show, at 8 p.m. ET Tuesdays, the chance to serve as lead-in for the new, 9 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans. Scott Bakula stars, and co-stars include The Shield veteran CCH Pounder and Lucas Black, all grown up from when he played opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.

Here’s a teaser, compiled from the recently televised NCIS episode:

Kevin Williamson, whose The Following really went off the rails this season for Fox, shows up at CBS with a new series that just might hit a sort of urban anxiety zeitgeist. It’s called Stalker, and is about a team of detectives investigating stalking crimes for the LAPD. Maggie Q stars as a gifted investigator with her own troubled history, and Dylan McDermott plays the dynamic new member of the team. The first taste looks interesting, and even a bit scary – but Williamson needs to show a bit more restraint, and pay more attention to the writing, for Stalker to gel in, and for, the long run.

Here’s a first sample:


Finally, on the drama side for fall, there’s Madam Secretary, a bridge show at 8 p.m. ET Sundays between 60 Minutes and The Good Wife. Téa Leoni, who’s been gone from TV long enough this could almost qualify as a comeback, plays a college professor and former CIA analyst who’s asked to be the next Secretary of State. Co-stars include Keith Carradine and Bebe Neuwirth, and one of the show’s producers is Morgan Freeman. Everything about Madam Secretary smells – like a hit. It’s a smart show, a very smart role, and the perfect companion piece for The Good Wife.

See for yourself: 

There’s also an unscripted series that will really impact CBS’s schedule this fall: Thursday Night Football, a new franchise for the network that will occupy the first two months of the season. After that, The Big Bang Theory will move from Mondays back to Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by The Millers, the final season of Two and a Half Men, the new The McCarthys, and Elementary.

A first glimpse may be unnecessary – but here’s one anyway:

And while this look at fall 2014 doesn’t deal in detail with any of the midseason shows, CBS has one that must be pointed out as something worth waiting for. It’s Battle Creek, the new series from Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad and David Shore of House, M.D. – and it looks fantastic. Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel star as mismatched new partners in a newly formed FBI unit, with one clean-cut and optimistic, the other streetwise and scruffy. It sounds like a reboot of the old Lance White episodes of The Rockford Files, in which an impossibly bubbly Lance (Tom Selleck) bedeviled the much more pragmatic P.I. Rockford (James Garner).

But that’s for midseason… and for another calendar year.

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Where's CBS's Extant in this review? You've got the star power of Halle Berry and Steve Spielberg behind it, but no mention here.
May 20, 2014   |  Reply
Well, you answered my question of, "Where is Dean Winter?" He was clicking along as Mariska Hargitay's love interest on SVU for a few seasons, and suddenly he disappeared. This season the chemistry between Mariska and Donal Logue is pretty great, although it hasn't been acted on. She can go right ahead, now that I know she isn't cheating on Dean!
May 15, 2014   |  Reply
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