CBS didn’t stray too far from its (successful) drama recipe with the three new shows it picked up for 2011-12. You’ll see crimes getting solved in two of them, and the third, a medical show, contains elements of shows that have enjoyed good runs on the network in the past.
The network does say, however, that it wants to seed more prominent character arcs into the procedural soil. So while none of the new shows is going to turn into “Lost” (even though one of those shows is executive produced by J.J. Abrams), CBS recognizes the way viewers latch onto their favorite characters in procedurals — see Booth-Brennan, Grissom-Sidle et al.
Whether the newcomers get enough time on the air for audiences to develop those bonds is, of course, not determined yet. Here are our initial thoughts on the three new CBS dramas for fall (the network also picked up a cop show called “The 2-2” for midseason but didn’t preview it).
“A Gifted Man” (watch a preview)
The somewhat unfortunately titled (it really makes us want to blurt “That’s what she said” anytime someone says it out loud) medical drama stars Patrick Wilson as a hotshot surgeon who starts seeing visions of his late ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), who ran a free clinic and now is asking for his help. CBS chief Nina Tassler describes it as “a little ‘Ghost Whisperer,’ a little ‘House,'” and that seems to fit pretty well.
We were heartened to see Wilson’s character take a skeptical approach to seeing his dead love (he orders an MRI on himself), but we were less thrilled with the heavy dose of very on-the-nose dialogue about his emotional state. It does feel, though, like the kind of big-hearted drama that has worked for CBS on Fridays in the past.
“Person of Interest” (watch a preview)
You know how at the end of “The Dark Knight,” Batman wanted to build a vast surveillance system that would monitor all activity in Gotham City? Well, lose the costume, and make Bruce Wayne and Batman two separate people, and you have a decent sense of the premise of “Person of Interest.” The Abrams-produced show stars Michael Emerson (“Lost”) as the genius inventor of a system that can predict when people will be involved in a violent crime and Jim Caviezel (“The Prisoner”) as a former CIA operative who helps prevent said crime.
The idea is, frankly, a little bit creepy. But the execution looks pretty cool — and we hope there’s some room in the show created by Jonah Nolan — a co-writer of “The Dark Knight” — to explore the moral gray areas of this 21st-century “Equalizer.”
“Unforgettable” (watch a preview)
An ex-detective (Poppy Montgomery) who has a near-perfect memory becomes an NYPD consultant, working with her former partner/boyfriend. The only things she can’t remember are the circumstances surrounding her sister’s murder many years ago. “Unforgettable” looks as if it will play just about how you’d think it would given those particulars. We’re fans of Montgomery’s (and the new red hair she’s sporting for the role), but despite the memory wrinkle we can’t help thinking we’ve seen this before.
What new CBS drama appeals to you?