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CBS's New Fall 2015 Shows: First Impressions
May 13, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment

CBS is unveiling only five new shows for fall, and saving two of those for November. One of them is the latest comic-book superhero spinoff. Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane! It’s… Supergirl…

Supergirl, a character last seen on TV on Smallville (and played there by Laura Vandervoort), will swoop onto CBS in November, scheduled at 8 p.m. ET – a time slot that will put it smack against Fox’s similarly DC Comics-inspired Gotham. Melissa Benoist, who played Marley in the later seasons of Glee, has the title role. It has a black Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), Calista Flockhart as a weathy diva of a business executive, and special effects that look good enough to draw viewers in for an initial sample. Here's a pre-sample sample:


The other CBS show held until November also features a cast member from Glee: Jane Lynch, who plays the title role in a fanciful sitcom called Angel from Hell. From 30 Rock producer Don Scardino and others, Angel from Hell co-stars Maggie Lawson, formerly of Psych, as someone who comes to believe that a crazy-acting stranger, played by Lynch, is in fact her guardian angel. Come November, it’ll be televised Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET. The teaser preview suggests that Angel from Hell may be better than it sounds -- or, at least, funnier. Lynch has found another fast-talking, abrasively comic role that she wears well, and Lawson shows some unexpected comic timing:


The new programs that will start the fall season for CBS are a half-hour family series, Life in Pieces, telling four separate stories per week from the perspectives of different members of the same family. It appears in September at 8:30 p.m. ET Mondays, following The Big Bang Theory, before both those shows move to Thursdays in November to clear the way for Supergirl. And it’s got not only an unusual structure, but an above-average cast: this extended family’s members are played by, among others, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt and Thomas Sadoski. The scenes shown in the teaser clip aren't quite funny enough to recommend strongly -- but with this premise, and this cast, Life in Pieces has promise.



Two new dramas join the CBS team immediately in the fall, both in the 10 p.m. ET hour. On Tuesdays, it’s Limitless, a spinoff from the movie that features Bradley Cooper reprising his big-screen role of a man whose mental abilities are expanded to maximum capacity by special drugs. Cooper, though, is reprising his role only on occasion. This TV series actually is about his new protégé, played by Jake McDorman. As one of the show's executive producers, though, Cooper’s involvement likely will be more than minimal. The thing I liked least about the teaser reel? Cooper coming face to face with his intellect-enhanced counterpart, and telling him, "It's about time you and me talked." That should be "you and I," and even a residual understanding of grammar would have auto-corrected that one. But here's what Limitless, on the small screen, looks like, at least for starters:



Finally, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET, CBS presents Code Black, starring Marcia Gay Harden in a drama based on the medical documentary by Ryan McGarry. It’s set in a busy ER (sound familiar?), and has Harden residing over a group of dedicated staffers played by Bonnie Somerville, Luis Guzman and others. I'm not impressed by this initial taste, but if your TV viewing prescription requires one more weekly medical drama, here it is…


For CBS, the fall 2015 schedule is a combination of staying with the familiar and most likely to succeed (long a tradition at CBS), and experimenting with a way to attract a younger demographic. That could be one mission not even Supergirl can accomplish – but the network is suiting her up and letting her try.
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Susan LeFever
Thanks for the update. But Maggie Lawson from "Lost?" Psych maybe. Looks like it could be fun show.
May 13, 2015   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
You are correct, of course, Susan. I was just on my way to fix the mistake when I saw your comment. Thank you. And I agree...looks promising.
May 13, 2015
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