What are these shows about? Check out first impressions from the CBS upfronts presentation on Wednesday (May 14) in New York City.
Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT
“This is easily the scariest show we have ever done,” Tassler said to introduce “Stalker,” a procedural thriller from Kevin Williamson. Starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as detectives with the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit, the show takes a look at crimes that aren’t entirely criminal — including stalking, voyeurism and more.
Interestingly, the trailer shown for “Stalker” had a definite “Scream” vibe going on. A young woman receives a phone call before being attacked by a masked man, full-on horror-movie style. Williamson is obviously going back to his roots for this one. If you like scary movies, you’ll probably be cool with “Stalker” as well.
Sundays at 8 p.m.
“Madam Secretary” may be the toughest show to classify in CBS’ new lineup. On the one hand, it stars Tea Leoni as a maverick (but super-competent) secretary of state. On the other, she only got the job because she’s friends with the president and her predecessor died. On the one hand, “Madam Secretary” has the cast and the feel of a high-stakes political thriller. On the other, the pilot’s major drama stems from a couple of American teens who travel to Europe but end up in a Syrian prison.
Which makes literally no sense. If “Madam Secretary” — which co-stars Bebe Neuwirth, Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller, Erich Bergen, Tim Daly, Katherine Herzer, Evan Roe and Zeljko Ivanek — can up its plots a little from there, it could easily be the next “Good Wife.”
Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
“‘NCIS: New Orleans’ is already a winner!” So began the CBS presentation of its new “NCIS” spinoff. This one stars Scott Bakula — which does kind of make it a winner — leading a group of military investigators in New Orleans. Because apparently there is a lot of military presence in New Orleans! Who says TV can’t be educational? Produced by Mark Harmon, “NCIS: NO” also stars Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan and CCH Pounder.
Mondays at 9 p.m.
Because even CBS gets tired of jocks saving the world, “Scorpion” is about a guy named Walter O’Brien who has the “fourth-highest IQ in the world.” Walter and his ragtag band of brainy misfits (think “Leverage” with a little less crime) get recruited by Homeland Security in order to keep planes from falling out of the sky.
Then the wacky hijinks ensue!
While definitely an intriguing premise, “Scorpion” initially plays more like a movie than a television show — how are they going to top saving aviation? It’s also kind of difficult to make the quirky genius hero work.
Of course the most intriguing pilot coming to CBS in 2014-2015 doesn’t actually have a place on the schedule yet. Set in a small city lacking in budget but full of eccentricity, an FBI agent (Josh Duhamel) and a local detective (Dean Winters) solve crimes by very different methods.
Odd couple cops aren’t exactly the most original idea in the universe, but there’s a reason why people like them so much. This one has an almost “Due South” feel to it, just without the Mountie uniform and the wolf. Also, Kal Penn plays a detective who really wants to shoot people, and it was created by “Breaking Bad’s” Vince Gilligan. What more could you want?
Sundays at 10 p.m. in spring 2015
Starring Patricia Arquette, “CSI: Cyber” will replace its parent show on Sunday nights when “CSI” goes off the air. CBS did not show any footage from the new show, but the official description makes it sound exactly like what you would expect: Special Agent Avery Ryan heads the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division, chasing down the shadowy criminals of the online world.