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11 Sep 2013

True TV: Say Goodbye to 'Under the Dome,' Hello to 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' and No Thanks to 'Dads'

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True TV: Say Goodbye to 'Under the Dome,' Hello to 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' and No Thanks to 'Dads' Andy Samberg and co. are quite funny in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"—and they deserve a better lead-in than Seth MacFarlane's terrible "Dads."

Robocroc (Saturday, Sept. 14, Syfy), movie: It may be a summer leftover, but this cheese-saster flick has the best title after Sharknado. In Robocroc—see what I mean?—a minding-its-own-business crocodile accidentally becomes infected with military nanobots, transforming it into a “metal killing machine” (note to self: future band name) bent on chomping bikini babes at a nearby resort, because there are always bikini babes and a nearby resort. Robocroc is all the awful you’ve come to expect from Syfy, and now that every animal mash-up has been explored, it’s a perfect scene-setter for Sharkborg.

Under the Dome, Siberia (Monday, Sept. 16, CBS and NBC), season finales: One is a heavily-promoted Summer Event watched by millions every week; the other is overlooked Summer Filler forgotten by even its own network—the “huh?” look on your face suggests that you have no idea what Siberia even is. Under the Dome started off strong, but went sideways at the midpoint of what was supposed to be its only season: After promising one-and-done, CBS picked the series up for a second run next summer, presumably titled Still Under the Dome. Meanwhile, Siberia, a faux Survivor-type reality show loaded with wacko plot twists and a mounting body count, has at least remained consistent, if not great. And, since there’s zero chance of a second Siberia season, The Only TV Column That Matters™ is looking forward to even more dead contestants. (If only So You Think You Can Dance worked the same way.)

Sleepy Hollow (Monday, Sept. 16, Fox), series debut: Thanks to a spell cast during the Revolutionary War, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is transported 250 years into the present—but, surprise, so is the Headless Horseman! Turns out HH is but one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Crane must stop him while adjusting to this crazy new world of laws, technology and SuperCuts. Mison is intense and broody, and Sleepy Hollow’s production is dazzlingly high-dollar and chilling. If the show doesn’t flinch and commits to going full-tilt bizarre, it might avoid becoming this year’s The Mob Doctor.

Dads, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Tuesday, Sept. 17, Fox), series debuts: Seth MacFarlane’s live-action sitcom is already catching heat for a stereotypical depiction of an Asian woman in a schoolgirl outfit, but come on—there’s sooo much more to hate about Dads. One: The setup (cranky fathers move back in with their wisecracking 30-something sons) is straight out of TV Land. Two: So is the grating laugh track, which is completely at odds with the rest of Fox’s comedy lineup. Three: It’s an unfairly terrible lead-in for the far-funnier Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Despite being about cops and starring Andy Samberg (if you’re an Andy-hater, prepare to be impressed—or at least not annoyed), the show captures the effortless, single-camera comedy of Tuesday-night compatriots New Girl and The Mindy Project, with more than a little Adult Swim edge. But really, it’s all about Terry Crews.

New Girl, The Mindy Project (Tuesday, Sept. 17, Fox), season premieres: Speaking of Jess and Mindy, Fox’s funniest non-animated ladies return for Seasons 3 and 2, respectively, on the same night. On New Girl, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) are not only still a thing; they’re also taking a “romantic” trip to Mexico that will end just as you imagine. Later, Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and her … cute? … new haircut are already back from Haiti, just in time to meet the practice’s new oddly-named OB/GYN, Dr. Paul Leotard (guest star James Franco). Oh, James …


DVD ROUNDUP FOR SEPT. 17!

Bates Motel: Season 1

Mom Norma (Vera Farmiga) and son Norman (Freddie Highmore) open the Bates Motel, and it’s soon apparent from where the kid will eventually get his Psycho motivation. (Spoiler: Mom is batshit loony.) One of the best series of 2013. (Universal)

The Bling Ring

The true-ish story of Hollywood teens (including one played by Taissa Farmiga—Vera’s little sis!) who robbed celebrities of more than $3 million and, even smarter, bragged about it and got caught. And now they’re famous. Hmmm. (LionsGate)

Nashville: Season 1

Drama! Sequins! Country music! Two outta three ain’t bad: A country queen (Connie Britton) faces a tiny, tiny upstart challenger for her crown (tiny, tiny Hayden Panettiere) and a whole lot more. They occasionally find time to sing. (ABC/Buena Vista)

Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven

Las Vegas stripper Penny Slot (Rena Riffel) sets out to become a star dancer on a TV show in the Showgirls parody sequel no one asked for—yet it was funded on Kickstarter. Lessons: Fame costs, and no good can come of Kickstarter. (MVD)

World War Z

A good-lookin’ hippie (Brad Pitt) and his family escape a worldwide zombie outbreak and reluctantly team up with the military to find the source in order to create a vaccine—but is it too late for the planet? Vaccine Kickstarter! (Paramount)

More New DVD Releases (Sept. 17)

Arrow: Season 1, Ashamed, Bank Roll, Behind the Candelabra, CSI: Season 13, Cybornetics: Urban Cyborg, Death by VHS, Grimm: Season 2, The Haunting of Helena, Leverage: Season 5, Lionhead, Machete Language, The Mentalist: Season 5, Shanghai Calling, Simon Killer, Vegas: Season 1.

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