“Roswell, New Mexico” (9 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays on The CW) is the latest in this decade’s mostly unfortunate trend of rebooting things we love that were already perfect. While I resist with almost every fiber of my being the idea of anyone other than Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby being called Max and Liz, I approached the pilot episode with an open mind and I admit it held my attention. What’s hard to parse out is: How much of my enjoyment comes from noting similarities and differences to “Roswell” Classic (1999-2002, WB/UPN) and how much comes from “RNM” being good in its own right?
In the tradition of legendary matchups such as “The Cape” vs. “No Ordinary Family,” “Almost Human” vs. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Riverdale” vs. “Supergirl,” I ask the question on the mind of every fan of middle-of-the-road superhero television: Which is the less bad show – The CW’s “Black Lightning” or Fox’s “The Gifted?” Rather than go by gut feeling, let’s break down these sophomore sci-fi series by category.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (9 p.m. Eastern Fridays, The CW) spends a lot of its Season 4 premiere reminding us where the story is at – and it’s at a very weird place. Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) is in jail, which is where she wants to be as penance for being a horrible person, not necessarily for attempting to murder crazy ex-boyfriend Trent (Paul Welsh) – an act for which she has a strong defense-of-others claim.
In “All American” (9 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays on The CW), Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) gets a chance to move from gang territory to a safe neighborhood to play football, coached by a former NFL player, Billy Baker (Taye Diggs). After taking three buses to Beverly Hills, he hits it off with the coach’s daughter, the star receiver’s girlfriend, and even the coach’s son after some initial tension. Cue the theme music.
There are more good shows on TV than ever, but the traditional fall season has become the dumping ground for the least exciting new series – perhaps because they need the extra buzz of Fall TV Previews more than something with the cachet of an “Atlanta” or a “Fargo.” Still, some quality series rise to the surface: Recent years have given us “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “This Is Us,” along with glitzy franchise entries like “The Gifted” and assorted MCU efforts (“Iron Fist” and “Daredevil” boast new seasons this fall).
“Life Sentence” (9 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays, CW) is notable for being a rare CW show not based on comic books or the supernatural, and unfortunately it’s also notable for being really bad. You’d think there’d be something special about it if the network is willing to push aside its DC superheroes for a whole hour, but the premiere episode plays like one of those unaired pilots you’d come across on YouTube and then say “Ah, so that’s why it wasn’t picked up.”
On Monday, the Diane Ruggiero/Rob Thomas show that started off as a sly way to get “Veronica Mars”-style witty mysteries back on the tube surpassed its more famous forebearer in number of seasons. While “iZombie” (9 p.m. Eastern Mondays, The CW) strikes me as being less popular and less acclaimed than “Veronica,” it always finds a spot on my year-end top 10 lists and it’s getting to the point where the duo’s shorthand descriptor should be “the creators of ‘Veronica Mars’ AND ‘iZombie.’ ”
Since I have for some bizarre reason watched every episode of “Supergirl” (now in Season 3) and “Riverdale” (now in Season 2), I might as well get a blog post out of it by asking: “Which is the dumber show?” It’s kind of like deciding whether the Patriots or Eagles are the team worth rooting for in the Super Bowl: It’s a brain-spinner.
“Black Lightning” (9 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays, CW) distinguishes itself from the other CW DC Universe shows by being set in a real world more so than a cartoony world. It’s much closer to the dramatic parts of “Atlanta” than the silliness of “Supergirl” (which is easily the dumbest show I’ve ever watched 52 episodes of).
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” recently marked its 100th song, so it’s a perfect excuse – I mean, reason – to rank every song. (This list goes to 89 because the show counted some reprises and songlets, and I did not – although in some cases, I combined a related songlet or reprise in an entry with a more complete song.)