Judging the Fall Season: Fox’s Three New Shows

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·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Damon Wayans
    Damon Wayans
    American comedian, writer, and actor (1960)
  • Clayne Crawford
    Clayne Crawford
    American actor

Fox made its presentation of the network’s fall TV schedule to advertisers on Monday, and the network has released trailers of its new shows. Let’s look at them with a sharp eye. Note: All judgments are based solely on the clips, and are not reviews of entire episodes, which are not yet available.

Related: Judging the Fall Season: NBC’s 3 New Shows

Lethal Weapon

This is a fun-looking show, starring Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford as Murtaugh and Riggs, the characters played by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the movies. You know the premise: old-pro cop (Wayans) paired with cocky daredevil (Crawford). It helps a lot that they’re both so winning: Wayans is funny in a gruff way, and Crawford demonstrates the charm he had to keep in check in the Sundance channel’s terrific Rectify. (It’s a big week for Rectify fans, what with Abigail Spencer starring in NBC’s Timeless.) But the challenge for the show like this is to come up with cases that are as interesting or as amusing as the actors, and that’s a big challenge indeed.

The Exorcist

Another movie adaptation (by way of William Peter Blatty’s source novel, of course), The Exorcist looks as though it’s going to play it for jump-out-of-your-seat scares. That amusement-park approach to TV can wear out its welcome fast, and Geena Davis’s presence as concerned mom who hears “voices in the walls” doesn’t fill me with confidence that this is a character we’ll want to yelp along with as her possessed daughter (Hannah Kasulka) undergoes the tortures of hell. I’m a fan of British actor Ben Daniels (House of Cards, The Paradise), who plays exorcist Father Marcus, so we’ll see if the show can make him a worthy adversary for Satan.

Son of Zorn

I thought this was a pretty darn funny clip that succeeded in selling its premise: ordinary suburban family (headed up by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines) copes with the return of the father who’s been absent for years — an animated warrior voiced by Jason Sudeikis. Indeed, I thought the clip got funnier as it went along, which suggests that creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie; Last Man on Earth) know what they’re planning to do with the outlandish concept. I also like the fact that Zorn is a variation on the kind of stiff, cheap-looking animation deployed for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Wedged between The Simpsons and Family Guy on Sunday nights, this could be fun.