NEW YORK (CNS) — Intrigue turns out to be a more reliable resource for fresh NBC programming this season than socially relevant comedy. So score the Peacock’s performance in this round two dramatic wins — at least for mature viewers — to one loss in a laughter.
“Truth Be Told,” Fridays 8:30-9 p.m., premiering Oct. 16
NBC has long history of presenting shows that celebrate the depth of friendship — but that doesn’t mean all of them work from a moral or artistic standpoint. Their latest offering on this theme is a series that could have provided audiences with a smart, contemporary glimpse into the richness of interracial bonds. The program turns out, on the contrary, to be a sloppy, poorly written mess. Though billed as a comedy, it boasts nary a clever line — much less an insightful moment — in its scant 23-minute running time. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tone Bell star as best pals Mitch and Russell who rely on each other as trusted sounding boards while navigating family life — with wives Tracy (Vanessa Lachey) and Angie (Bresha Webb) — as well as their careers. The two leads have an undeniable chemistry, but even that isn’t enough to save the show. Countless crude observations on a range of sexual topics — including pornography — are just further lazy ingredients thrown into an already weak recipe.
“Blindspot,” Mondays 10-11 p.m., premiering Sept. 21
A dynamic series that addresses themes of identity and the search for truth, this is a tautly paced thriller centering on a mysterious amnesiac (Jaimie Alexander) who’s found naked in Times Square, her body covered in inexplicable tattoos. With no memory of her identity or of the origin of her cryptic body art, “Jane Doe” is aided by a team of dedicated FBI agents led by Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton). Together with bureau director Bethany Mayfair, played by the always-compelling Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Kurt and his team soon realize that each of Jane’s tattoos is a clue to her past — and to the future of national security. Though unsuitable for children due to recurring violence, the show is nonetheless marked by an impressive blend of topflight writing, performance, and production. The result is one of network’s strongest new arrivals in years.
“The Player,” Thursdays 9-10 p.m., premiering Sept. 24
Though this series may appear at first to be an action-packed guilty pleasure, in reality, it’s an assured, gritty examination of personal freedom and loyalty. The suspenseful plot revolves around Alex Kane (Philip Winchester), an ex-military operative who now employs his skills as a Las Vegas security expert. Through the machinations of pit boss Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes) and dealer Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield) — neither of whose identities can be taken at face value — Kane becomes an unwillingly player in a perilous game. He’s coerced into working for a mysterious organization that gambles on his ability to prevent unimaginable crimes. The dizzying pace is nicely offset with moments of true character development. The rugged Winchester has the steely charisma to lead the charge here. Yet it’s Snipes and Wakefield who steal the show. While interludes of violence, together with some mild sexual content, make the program inappropriate for younger viewers, it’s a fairly safe bet for grownups.
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Heffron is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.
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