Reset your DVR for these newshows
Think of the next few weeks as a spring break for your DVR.
Oh, it’s not a completely work-free vacation. There are a few new shows that will merit recording attention, and a handful of returning shows — led by Fox’s Empire and HBO’s Game of Thrones, Veep and Silicon Valley — that will require you re-engage your season passes.
But otherwise, the torrent of attention-grabbing, time-consuming new series that has raged over broadcast, cable and streaming services this fall and win- ter is finally slowing to a somewhat moremanageable flow. And thank goodness for that. Now, don’t get me wrong: There is always room at the top.
Certainly those of us who have lived through TV famine would be unwise to complain about a feast that has given this winter Emmy-worthy gems such as FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, ABC’s American Crime, BBC America’s London Spy and HBO’s Vinyl.
Even so, you only have to look at the sinking ratings that are greeting so many series, new and old alike, to realize that supply has seriously outstripped demand. Or else the flood has at least splintered demand into so many pieces, it’s hard to imagine how suppliers are going to turn viewers into profits, which is the ultimate goal of the people who invest in the business side of show business. But that’s their problem. Our problem, aside from concerns that this boom is going to provoke an equally historic bust, is that at the moment, many of our DVRs are overwhelmed. (If you’re still using a video recorder, well, good luck with that.)
Yes, we still want something new; that’s human nature. But having fewer new things demanding our attention this spring might not be such a bad development.
After all, it’s almost spring. Surely there’s something you’ve wanted to do outside that winter has delayed.
So what new shows should you watch when you come inside? Here are six choices:
CROWDED NBC, MARCH 15
NBC is pairing The Carmichael Show, a throwback to the days when sitcoms built episodes around issue debates, with this throwback to the days when NBC kept searching for a family sitcom that would be compatible with The Cosby Show or Friends. Produced by the folks behind the equally retro Hot in Cleveland, Crowded stars Patrick Warburton and Carrie Preston as parents
whose dreams of an empty nest — and sex in the kitchen — are shattered when their two adult daughters move in with them, and their in-laws (Stacy Keach and Carlease Burke) refuse tomove away. Despite the current-events overlay of jobless, homeless Millennials, Crowded feels decidedly old-fashioned: sort of Everybody Loves Raymond, if Ray and Deb’s kids had grown up. But old-fashioned is not necessarily bad, if it’s delivered by solid pros like Warburton, Preston, Burke and Keach.
THE CATCH ABC, MARCH 24
ABC has a slew of new shows coming this spring, most of which you can feel free to ignore. The Catch, however, has enough going for it behind and in front of the camera to merit a look. This flashy new series from Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland stars a glammed-up Mireille Enos ( The Killing) as a catcher of con men who is conned by her own fiancé (Peter Krause). So between other cases, she and her team (which includes The L Word’s Rose Rollins) try to catch him and his team (which includes Lost’s Sonya Walger).
THE PATH HULU, MARCH 30
Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul makes a very welcome return to series television as a man who begins to question his faith in a Scientology-like cult — questions that might damage his relationship with his more committed wife (Michelle Monaghan) and perhaps threaten his well-being. The pilot hits a few too many familiar “middle-agedman in emotional crisis” notes, but the unusual setting and the strong cast (which includes Hugh Dancy) make up for it.
RUSH HOUR CBS, MARCH 31
Let’s get this out of the way first: The pilot for this spinoff of the 1998 movie (and its sequels) is fairly terrible. But still, the premise is solid, the movie certainly was popular, and while Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are much missed, their replacements help maintain TV’s welcome current embrace of inclusive casting. Plus it’s on CBS, which means the series most likely will get a sampling — and has a good chance of outlasting what are likely to be bad reviews. It may even surprise us and improve. Limitless did.
THE RANCH NETFLIX, APRIL 1
Some Netflix subscribers are probably most excited about the spring returns of Marvel’s Daredevil and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But for those who treasure, shall we say, unexpected casting, the show to watch for is The Ranch, which stars Ashton Kutcher as a failed pro football player who comes home to run the family ranch, much to the dismay of his brother— played by Kutcher’s That ’70s Show co-star Danny Masterson. If that’s not intriguing enough, consider their parents, played by Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. That may not be enough to get you to subscribe to Netflix, but if you already do, it should be enough to get you to hit “play,” at least once.
THE NIGHT MANAGER
AMC, APRIL 19
When it comes to pedigrees, it’s hard to top this six-part British import. Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman and — in a rare turn as a villain — Hugh Laurie star in this adaptation of the John le Carré novel about a British agent chasing after an evil arms dealer.
Carrie Preston, left, Mia Serafino, Miranda Cosgrove and PatrickWarburton star in the new NBC comedy Crowded. The show taping on Tuesday will be the 1,000th episode of TV directed by James Burrows.
Rush Hour, CBS’ remake of the film franchise, stars Hong Kong detective Lee (Jon Foo, left) and LAPD’s Carter (Justin Hires).