The broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
Next up on our list….
THE SHOW | CBS’ Hostages (Mondays at 10/9c; premieres Sept. 23)
THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Castle, NBC’s The Blacklist (new), ESPN’s Monday Night Football
THE CAST | Toni Collette (The United States of Tara), Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story), Tate Donovan (Damages), Rhys Coiro (Entourage), Billy Brown (Dexter), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards), others
THE SET-UP | This Jerry Bruckheimer-produced thriller stars Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders, a top-shelf D.C. surgeon who in 24 hours is due to cut open the President of the United States (Gossip Girl‘s James Naughton) — but first, she and her family are taken hostage by rogue FBI agent Duncan Carlisle (McDermott) and his savvy, sleek team of cohorts. The good doc’s horrible dilemma: Facilitate POTUS’ death during surgery, or kiss her loved ones goodbye. Eep.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | This is a wonderfully provocative premise for a series, especially since Hostages is set for a tight 15-episode run free of repeats (ceding its time slot at midseason to Josh Holloway’s Intelligence). Collette, an Emmy and Golden Globe winner from her run as Tara, is unsurprisingly excellent as the conflicted Dr. Sanders, while McDermott, fresh off a pair of haunting Horror Story turns, is undeniably menacing. Donovan’s role as “the husband” is bolstered by the hint and reveal of secrets he himself is harboring, while the Sanders kids (played by Mateus Ward and Quinn Shephard) not only aren’t among TV’s most petulant teens, but at least one of them has a B-story that seems primed to throw a wrinkle into their captors’ intricately orchestrated scheme.
Do not watch the trailer below if you don’t want any more intel than that. But suffice to say, Ellen buys herself some time, a savvy move that will surely test Carlisle’s ability to pull off what he presumed would be a swift assassination-by-proxy.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | With three estimable actors fronting this intense tale, Hostages is armed for bear as it aims to elicit more buzz than the glossy but ultimately wan (and relocated) Hawaii Five-0 did in the Mondays-at-10 time slot. Two variables will determine its ultimate success: How ABC’s Castle handles what could be a tricky transition, and how strongly NBC’s James Spader-fronted The Blacklist — which I am thisclose to touting as the fall’s best new drama — comes out of the gate.