CBS gave the penultimate presentation of Upfronts week this year. Over the past few years CBS have showcased some excellent promos and this year was no different. Each of their trailers brought something unique and a couple may even be contenders for best promo of Upfronts week.
What it’s about: Inspired by Dr Phil McGraw’s early career and his founding of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Dr Bull combines psychology, high tech data and human intuition to learn what makes the jurors tick and thus help solve cases.
What we think: From the moment Michael Weatherly gave that mischievous laugh I knew we were in for something good. What followed was one of the best promos of Upfronts week. I’m usually not a fan of trailers that show the entire story of the pilot but for this it worked because we got to see how great titular character Bull is at what he does. The concept of the show is a fresh take on the typical legal drama and it definitely stands out from the crowd. But we definitely need to highlight the true hero of this promo and that’s Weatherly who seems to be absolutely relishing the role. From start to finish he radiates charisma but also manages to bring depth to the character. He really is at the top of his game and it shows.
Excitement factor: 5/5
The Great Indoors
What it’s about: A renowned adventure reporter must adapt when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of a magazine.
What we think: I’m a big fan of Joel McHale so it was pretty much a given I’d enjoy this promo. He’s playing his usual character type, cynical and sarcastic, and he does it so well. He’s obviously a very capable lead and if he’s half as funny in this as he was in Community then we’re onto a very entertaining show. The promo itself felt a little disjointed but the interesting group of characters made up for it. The laugh track/audience was off putting as usual so hopefully they’ll tone it down in time for the pilot which I’m very much looking forward to seeing.
Excitement factor: 3.5/5
Kevin Can Wait
What it’s about: A newly retired police officer looks forward to spending more time with his family but soon finds out there’s much tougher challenges at home than on the streets.
What we think: Kevin James is a pro and chances are if you like his style of comedy you’ll like this show. Aside from James’ brilliant comedic timing, the rest of the trailer fell a little flat. It seems as if they spent more time on establishing the family aspect of the show and less time on the jokes. However, that scene with the gyro bowl was hilarious and if that’s the style of humour they’re going with it will make for some great entertainment.
Excitement factor: 3/5
What it’s about: A reimagining of the former TV series, it follows a young MacGyver using his unconventional skills to solve problems and prevent disasters from happening.
What we think: So it was very cheesy and full of clichés but somehow it worked. The rapport between George Eads and Lucas Till was great and by the looks of it there’s going to be a lot of comedy in it. My only grumble was that there wasn’t a lot there in terms of story. Instead there was a heavy focus on action and big stunts which I can understand but it would’ve been nice to see more plot points. It was a relatively short promo but it’s definitely a good sign that I was eager to see more.
Excitement factor: 3.5/5
Man with a Plan
What it’s about: After his wife goes back to work, a contractor becomes a stay at home dad and discovers that his children are harder work than he thought.
What we think: Matt LeBlanc is at his best here. He’s funny, his timing is on point and he plays the exasperated dad part well. I know it’s meant to be a family comedy but from this promo all the funniest scenes happen between the adults which may defeat the point, I’m not sure. Either way Lowell is fantastic and needs to be in more scenes. In fact, he might just be my favourite new character introduced in Upfronts week. The premise is pretty basic which may or may not go in its favour considering all the comedies airing this year have some sort of special twist, but hey everyone likes a classic.
Excitement factor: 3.5/5
What it’s about: A tech titan hires a veteran surgeon to help him run a hospital with a ‘cutting edge’ innovative approach to medicine.
What we think: I’m a sucker for stuff like this. Give me a sad story and some inspirational music, and I’m sold which is probably why I enjoyed this promo so much. I’ll admit I got goose bumps. Medicine and innovative technology are incredible things and the idea of pairing them together is a great idea for a series which they managed to show in the promo. Add the fact that the lead character has a rare neurodegenerative and fatal disease and I was hooked. I already feel like this show is going to make me cry a lot but still, I can’t wait for the pilot.
Excitement Factor: 5/5
What it’s about: Set 15 years after the original film, an idealistic young police officer is partnered with a veteran, morally corrupt detective.
What we think: I’ll admit I haven’t seen the film so I can’t really comment on whether the casting for this is right. But I do think Bill Paxton is an incredible actor who will do great things with the part. From the promo he looks to be getting really stuck into the role and even though his character is fairly unlikeable, Paxton has made him charming and engaging. He also has very good chemistry with Justin Cornwall who plays his rookie partner. At times the dialogue felt a little bit cheesy and on the nose especially when the two detectives were arguing about their morality but hopefully it was just a case of trying to sell what the show is about and not a long term problem. The whole thing feels quite dark and gritty which I like but this makes me wonder if it would be better suited to a cable channel so it can really push the boundaries. It will definitely be interesting to see how it develops on CBS.
Excitement Factor: 4/5