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It's a Busy TV Night for Mid-Season
February 6, 2020  | By Mike Hughes

At mid-season, TV viewers expect new shows to trickle in slowly. They don't expect a cascade like this: Thursday has three debuts and a season-opener.

Two shows are worth watching, and the others are worth noting. Let's view them from best to worst:

Tommy, series premiere (10 p.m. ET, CBS)

Los Angeles is about to get another outsider-type law enforcement head – the new police chief who is female, gay, and from New York.

The series is written with nuance and depth by Paul Attanasio (nominated for Oscars for Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show, and created House), while Tommy is portrayed perfectly by Edie Falco, who already has four Emmys. The opener finds ways to get her on the crime scene, in the bureaucracy, and grasping for a connection with her semi-estranged daughter.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine season premiere (8 and 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

It's cop time again, but now the fun side.

With fast, clever dialog and odd characters, Nine-Nine manages to catch crooks while bringing laughs.

Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) has been demoted to a year-long stretch as a street cop. He's still intense and diligent and has a partner (Vanessa Bayer) who just wants to get out of the way. 
Jake (Andy Samberg) respects the guy immensely but must try to seem like his boss. That makes a very funny opener followed by more laughs when Jake and Holt try to find dirt on the new captain.

Katy Keene series premiere (8 p.m. ET, CW)

We're still in New York, but it's the one kids dream of while watching '40s films and Broadway shows.

For viewers, the fun is supposed to come from watching people slowly find pieces of their big-city dreams. Here, the pieces flood in quickly. Katy already has a terrific apartment, fun friends, an interesting job, and a shirtless-hunk boyfriend who happens to be a nice guy. Her friend's friend, Josie (of Riverdale and Pussycats fame), arrives and, almost instantly, she has her own career break and shirtless-hunk guy.

This show has everything except a rich prince and -- oh wait – it does have a rich prince. Being British (or some such), he's not shirtless, but he is handsome and a good guy. Most of the men here are; Katy Keene plays like a prolonged dream scene. Indeed, it has to stretch to find a problem. Katy isn't sure about marrying her nice-guy hunk; Josie believes the comments of her guy's evil sister; a friend gets a big break, then rejects it.

We'll empathize with Katy Keene and with any show starring Lucy Hale. We just won't believe it.

Indebted series premiere (9:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Alongside these shows, each trying to be new and fresh comes a throwback.

Indebted is loud, jokey, and strained. It has Fran Drescher and Steven Weber as clueless folks moving in with their son's family after they go broke.

Some of the jokes are funny, but many feel forced. There was a time and a place for this – maybe ABC in the 1960s, maybe UPN or WB in the '90s. But on NBC, patching the void left by The Good Place? Not even close.

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