TV Talk with Dr. Chris White

The Houstonian sat down with Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication, Christopher White to breakdown the newest fall TV premieres.

Designated Survivor, ABC

“Designated Survivor” centers around an obscure US policy in which, during the State of the Union address, a cabinet member is taken to a secure location in the event of an attack.

If the Capitol is bombed while everyone is gathered in one place, the cabinet member, or designated survivor, is to become the next president of the United States.

The show is pretty captivating; it constantly begs the question of ‘what next?’

Kiefer Sutherland’s character is also enjoyable to watch. Seeing him handle the presidency as it is thrust onto him makes for numerous complex scenarios. Its intense, especially compared to other popular presidential dramas such as “Veep” or “Scandal”.

“Designated Survivor” brings a different approach to an age old arena and is definitely a must watch.

Speechless, ABC

“Speechless” revolves around a family of five, the title stemming from the eldest son who has a neurological disorder.

The family moves around every time the mom, played by Minnie Driver, feels like the eldest son isn’t being treated well. Not only is this show heartwarming and funny but also innovative.

“Network Television rarely addresses the issue of handicap experience” said White.

A mainstream comedy that tackles tough topics is rare, and as such deserves a spot on anyone’s comedy watch list.

This Is Us, NBC

“This Is Us” is a comedy/drama on NBC. The show revolves around an ensemble cast of characters who all share the same birthday.

Apart from its focus on heartwarming storytelling, the show also has its comedic moments, and as the 50-minute-long show progresses the audience develops an attachment to these characters. The show stands the best chance to create a long form modern version of the sitcom.

Pitch, FOX

A young woman rises to fame when she is called up to pitch for the San Diego Padres and becomes the first woman in MLB.

“Pitch” is empowering and an inspiration to both young girls, but to women who work in a male dominated field.

However, it is still unknown how long this story can progress, the premiere episode had some bizarre moments that defined an otherwise forward thinking show. This show is still worth a watch for those who proceed with caution.

Bull, CBS

A court room drama in which Dr. Bull, founder of a successful trial consulting firm, uses a team of experts to determine the outcome of trials using psychology and human intuition.

Although this is first and foremost a drama, the show finds levity in moments of comedy. The genre of court room drama isn’t new according to White.

“Court room dramas have been around since the 1960s,” White said.

While it may not seem like we need another entry in this run-of-the-mill g genre, but this show does deserve the 3-episode test for its new perspective on the time tested area.

If the show is still not intriguing after an initial taste, then it will cut from the watch list.

Lethal Weapon, FOX

The new Fox show is based on the movie of the same name with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.

“Lethal Weapon” is a buddy cop series that pairs a slightly crazy cop with a veteran detective trying to live a low stress life.

“Lethal Weapon” is fun and exciting and if you are a fan of the movie it’s worth checking out, but unfamiliar viewers might lose something in the transition to TV.

Notorious, ABC

“Notorious” revolves around a defense attorney and a television producer who work together to control the media.

This show is clever; it plays on something that general audiences never really think about when watching the news.

“Notorious” deserves to be seen for those interested in meta level subterfuge, but it can get a bit over the top with convoluted storylines, so proceed with caution.

The Exorcist, FOX

Based on the horror classic, this story begins when a woman is convinced there is a demon haunting her house.

The partner company? FX has had similar story lines in recent years and this may have lead towards the decision to do horror genre show for Fox.

“Fox has seen the success of American Horror Story on FX,” White said.

Fox looks to continue the popularity of their horror lineup by bringing a classic film to the small screen. Although it’s not as frightening as the original, the television variety maintains the thrilling rush of the movie.

Both movie fans and horror fans alike will enjoy the new series.

MacGyver, CBS

“MacGyver” is yet another remake. This fall TV season is dominated by them. The show is about an operative of a secret US government organization who uses his talent and skills with everyday objects (from a paperclip to chewing gum) to save lives.

“MacGyver” has some of the same tones that “Leverage” did, it’s smart, captivating and fun.

This show may not be for everyone; it all depends on if it catches your attention in first three episodes.

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