After a lunch break, CBS continued its day by focusing on two other new fall programs, the legal drama “All Rise” and the comedy “Bob ♥ Abishola” which wins the prize for most challenging to pronounce new TV series. For the record, it reads like “Bob Hearts Abishola.”
After that, the rest of the afternoon was dedicated to programming for CBS All Access. The streaming service has had success with “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight” and is getting more aggressive with their programming. This makes sense as CBS All Access continues to grow. It has more 12,000 TV episodes to offer and has eight million combined CBS/Showtime subscribers. That’s impressive.
“The Stand” and “Star Trek: Picard” are two series many people are certainly looking forward to and is making the service quite attractive to those that have been holding off on subscribing. These shows didn’t have panels, today CBS All Access focused on two different shows.
“Tell Me a Story” from Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek”) returns for a second season in October but I was much more interested in a new series. “Why Women Kill,” starring Lucy Liu and Ginnifer Goodwin, premieres later this month.
This legal drama stars Simone Missick (“Marvel’s Luke Cage”) as a newly minted judge named Lola Carmichael. Previously a well-respected deputy district attorney, Lola comes to the bench with a different point of view. She’s not one to just follow the letter of the law, she believes a judge shouldn’t let the law ruin a person’s life or let someone get off without consequence due to a technicality.
I really like the character of Lola Carmichael, most likely because I’m a fan of Simone Missick. However, this isn’t a straight up legal drama, which is part of its appeal. The pilot features moments of humor and because we see so many aspects of the judge’s life, Lola has more depth. Usually we only see a judge as a minor character. Here we see a judge from the perspective she has from the other side of the bench, which is certainly unique.
All that said, it’s tough to see what kind of future lies ahead for this series. Will fans of legal dramas still care about the outcome of cases when told from the person swinging a gavel? Time will tell. “All Rise” premieres Sept. 23.
“Bob ♥ Abishola”
This Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory”) series, which I’ll abbreviate as “BHA,” is a romantic comedy focusing on the relationship between a middle-aged sock salesman from Detroit named Bob (Billy Gardell) and the nurse who cares for him named Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku). An immigrant from Nigeria, Abishola, has to deal with a lot of issues that Bob can’t possibly understand. However the kind-hearted Bob feels connected to the woman who cares for him so he takes strong efforts to get to know what her life is all about.
Much like “Carol’s Second Act,” the premise for this series works in theory but not in execution. A program that uses a lovable average American to illustrate the challenges an immigrant goes through sounds like something that would work as a comedy or a drama.
Unfortunately the humor in this series is just too obvious. A simple plot and jokes you can see coming from a mile away distract from a likable cast that can’t get its message across without being hackneyed. “BHA” premieres Sept. 23.
CBS All Acces Executive Panel
CBS All Access president and CEO Marc DeBevoise opened up with a vast amount of statistics for the streaming services 12,000 episodes that span current, past, older library and lineup of originals.
The expansion of streaming video on demand (SVOD) is not lost on this crowd and DeBevoise illustrated that with growth with some interesting stats. He noted that at least 80% of people have at least one SVOD service and that SVOD subscribers average paying for 3.4 streaming services. The expansion of SVOD has certainly helped CBS All Access, whose subscriber numbers jumped by 60% over the past year.
Next up was Julie McNamara who talked about originals for All Access. “Interrogation,” an interactive crime series was announced. The cast for “The Stand,” based on Stephen King’s book was also revealed. Amber Heard (“Aquaman”) and James Marsden (“West World”) are the series leads. “The Man Who Fell to Earth” sounds promising. It follows an alien who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future. To be honest, the lineup for CBS All Access sounds better than the new lineup for regular CBS.
“Why Women Kill”
From the creator of “Desperate Housewives” comes “Why Women Kill.” This series follows three couples and the challenges the women face from each of their respective husbands. Each couple is set in a different decade (60s, 80s and today). The cast is impressive, with Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste headlining.
Critics were just given access to screeners for this series yesterday, so few of us have had an opportunity to see it. That said, Marc Cherry is a well-established show runner and comes across as a great guy to work for. I’m certainly interested in this series, which debuts on CBS All Access on Aug. 15.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.