Fall TV Preview
Bull Pilot Preview CBS

Fall TV First Impression: CBS' Bull

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including Kiefer Sutherland’s term as POTUS, new sitcoms from Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc, and the story of MLB’s first female player. 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’ Bull (Tuesdays at 9/8c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat/The Real O’Neals, Fox’s Scream Queens, NBC’s This Is Us (new) and The CW’s No Tomorrow (new)

THE CAST | Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under), Geneva Carr (Rescue Me), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio (The Knick) and Chris Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton)

THE SET-UP | Weatherly stars as Dr. Jason Bull, an elite trial consultant (verrrry) loosely based on on early career of Dr. Phil McGraw (who will be the first to point out the narrative’s cheeky legal liberties). Aided by his TAC (Trial Analysis Corporation) team, Bull “combines psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.”

RELATED Fall TV Schedule 2016: What’s on When? And Versus What?

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | This is one of those pilots that, while engaging and sleekly directed, invites the question: How strong (and unique) will the cases/episodes be on a weekly basis? Will Bull always be working his magic to save a wrongly accused person’s bacon? (If not, how will we feel about that?) Just how many nifty tricks does Jason have up his cufflinked sleeve? And will every episode as perfunctorily as the Bullpilot does tack on a coda that informs us who did commit the crime?

Weatherly is perfect in the role of a triple PhD-holding know-it-all who (sometimes) dulls his highly educated digs with doses of charm; you want Bull on your side. Yet because the conflict arises from how he interacts with clients — especially when they question his high-tech hocus-pocus, or shirk his guidance — the pilot suggests that the guest cast (here including In Plain Sight‘s Fred Weller as an accused murderer’s billionaire dad) might stir the weekly drink. That said, the premiere gives us a good sense of Bull’s TAC team, with Carr (playing an analyst poached from Homeland Security), Kirchner (as a former NYPD detective) and Jackson (as a stylist) “popping” the most.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | The Tuesdays-at-9 scheduling is a no-brainer, as promos airing during NCIS surely will beckon those many millions of viewers to see what “DiNozzo” is now up to. With Scream Queens, the touchy-feely This Is Us and the romantic comedy No Tomorrow targeting different audiences, and ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. bumped to 10, it will be hard for this freshman drama to not to hit the ratings… Bull’s-eye. (Sorry. Unavoidable.)

RELATED Fall TV Poll: Which New Shows Are You Most Looking Forward To?

Watch a trailer for Bull, then vote in our poll below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNc4AZRZxAs

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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88 Comments
  1. Lyn says:

    Underwhelming.

  2. Anything with Michael Weatherly is a win-win and I was impressed by the trailer as well. I do hope this show does well not only for Michael but for the other cast as well.

  3. Kevin K says:

    WATCH IT. Michael Weatherly deserves to have his own show post-NCIS and seeing the trailer is like Mentalist in a court room.

    • burnscindy says:

      With a little bit of Lie To Me thrown in for good measure.

      • ceebee says:

        Exactly my thought. Miss that show. Couldn’t find the director’s name and/or writers and wondered if they are common to both shows (didn’t look very hard). Both are based upon real people, which i like.And while I love Weatherly and am enjoying the show so far, unlike Lie To Me, i can see this show in jeopardy of having the same plot each week just like the review says, much like that show with Patricia Arquette about the paranormal (even though she was good, the plot never changed). I hope they read this and fix it.

  4. Darlene says:

    This show looks smart and fun! I’ll definitely be watching! Michael Weatherly is a huge draw for me. Hamilton’s Chris Jackson is also a plus, as is Geneva Carr. I’m very excited for this show!

  5. Chloe says:

    Doesn’t interest me in the least. And since I watch NCIS OnDemand, there won’t be any temptation to stick around to check it out.

    • Rod H. says:

      I was waiting for something to happen too. Only action was the end where the dead girl’s father’s shot the guy on the steps.

  6. ndixit says:

    Ok, that’s relatively encouraging. But I had the same concerns while watching the trailer. I think they need to introduce an ongoing plot to keep the season together.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Some of the set sounds like … Justice? … A one and done with Victor Garber in the lead. He was a defense attorney, not a trial consultant, but the end – especially showing the “truth” at the end, sounds familiar. (I liked that show, so I will give this one a chance).

  8. snoopmary says:

    I’m really looking forward to this show. Love Weatherly and have since his days as Eyes-Only on Dark Angel.

    Fascinating subject and personally, the fallout from moral quandary of providing a guilty person with jury assistance is meaty drama. Can’t wait to see what Attanasio and Weatherly do with it.

    Geneva Carr is also delightful.

  9. J. Norman says:

    The premise of this show may to serve to bring to the forefront the most confounding part of our criminal (and civil) trial by jury system(s)

    That is, in the present time the “jury of your peers” is an empty slogan.

    In our system, it doesn’t matter

    1) what the facts are
    2) what the law is
    3) Not even how good is your attorney

    No the thing that really seems to matter in courts today is “HOW GOOD IS YOUR JURY CONSULTANT”

    So that no matter how outlandish a suit or case is, and whether or not 85% of the population thinks its. . .well Bull s#&t. . . . the important thing is finding 6 or 12 people who will be very sensitive to a certain position

    This show may bring that fact forward.

  10. Jerri says:

    so this is basically Lie to Me but without the human walking lie detector based on micro expressions.

    • c-mo says:

      Was thinking that myself. I loved Lie to Me!

    • Britt says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Sounds like I’ve seen this before many times.

    • Night Owl says:

      That’s what came to my mind also. It’s like Lie to Me with some twists. I loved Lie to Me, and I am on board with checking it out. If the show is at least as good as the trailer, I see myself liking it.

  11. cuius says:

    Sounds contrived – never a good sign

  12. darkangel200 says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. Since I’m a huge fan of Weatherly, as well as Paul Attanasio’s previous shows (House, Homicide: Life on the Streets) this is the show I’m most looking forward to. I loved the promo, and the more I hear about the concept the more intrigued I am. I’ll definitely be there in September, checking this out. Look forward to your first impressions on the rest of the Fall offerings.

  13. ToniMichelleH says:

    Meh

  14. Luis says:

    Man, CBS really wanted Weatherly to stick around, handing him the post NCIS time slot

  15. Jeanne says:

    I for one can’t wait to see it. I really liked the trailer, and with Michael Weatherly it’s a win in my book.

  16. Hege says:

    Looks way more promising that I thought!

  17. Susan says:

    We will be watching – loved the trailer!

  18. teresahr49 says:

    I’ve been waiting to see Michael Weatherly in something other than ncis for years now! Finally will get to see him have some real (not forced) fun doing what he does best. Am also very exxcited for #Bull because of the supporting cast and the behind the scenes talent being assembled. Am especially happy about Paul Attanasio (House) – Bull promises to be a similarly character driven tv show. Can’t wait!

  19. lrdslvrhnd says:

    Meh. Not even Michael Weatherly can interest me in this. Especially being even loosely based on Dr. Phil, I don’t want to support that hack in the slightest even remotely. NEXT!

    • Rod H. says:

      You know they never said what kind of Dr. Dr Bull was. I’m guessing criminology or something like that. First thing I thought of when I saw it was a episode of Quincy M.E. where he went on a Jury and did medical research out of the case and got the charges dropped for the defendant. Was not impressed.

  20. Jenks says:

    Well, I sort of feel like I’ve seen the whole show, but I’m in. Every show on television has some similarity to a show that’s been on before, but this looks sharp and entertaining. That’s what I’m interested in.

  21. Larc says:

    Sorry, but this just doesn’t sound very good to me. As for Weatherly, it was his his DiNozzo character I liked. That doesn’t automatically transfer to the actor no matter where he goes, but I’ll check the show out to see if it’s hopefully better than I’m expecting.

  22. dawn says:

    Micheal weatherly has a great outgoing personality, and as excellent actor, anything he does will be awesome!!

  23. Ally Oop says:

    Not for me. This is a procedural drama and I much prefer serial dramas. The show looks good though so people who like this type of show will probably like it a lot. I think it’ll get good ratings.

  24. Eurydice says:

    Holy Moley, he’s handsome!! Um…well…that’s all I’ve got…

  25. budo81b4 says:

    I think we just watched the pilot for the show ‘Bull’ in the 4:50 video preview. It introduced the characters, plot with conflict & outcome for the trial. Is there any other reason to watch the first episode?

  26. Carol C says:

    The sneak peek was much better than I expected. Didn’t watch NCIS, but will definitely check this one out.

  27. Rick Katze says:

    Will watch the first three weeks. Then it will either be a keeper or a waste of time. I suspect it has a good chance to be a winner especially considering the schedule and the competition.

  28. Harriett Fazio says:

    He’s DiNozzo x 50! Looks like a great show!

  29. Malise17 says:

    ok… I like the trailer
    Kind of Olivia Pope, Dr Lightman all together
    I really hope it will last more than a season

  30. therysa teegardin says:

    …I am saddened at Michael Weatherlys choice to portray the pompas ass philm mc graw….I was hoping better for him…..

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      He’s not playing Phil McGraw.

      • NewBeginnings16 says:

        Seems that some people, no matter how many times they’re told, simply don’t get that Weatherly is NOT playing Phil McGraw.
        The 4:51 preview has me very interested so I’m looking forward to the other 37ish minutes.
        (Name:Formerly NavyResGirl)

  31. john o'brien says:

    The big hype is he is Dr Phil. I don’t see many men that really care about what Dr Phil does. if it wasn’t for Oprah no one would know who he is. I think this show will be boring after the first 20 minutes.

    • Jeanne says:

      He is not playing Dr. Phil. He’s playing Dr. Jason Bull. Matt Mittovich said in these comments he’s not playing Dr. Phil. It’s based on the career as a jury consultant that Dr. Phil was very successful at, and not him personally.

    • Rod H. says:

      And you were right, kept switching back and fourth between a ball game.

      • Dan O says:

        Show’s pace seemed to slow way down after about…….20 minutes. Up until then it was moving and keeping my attention. Around 9:40, I went to bed.

        I want NCIS: NOLA back on @ 9:00!

  32. arial2 says:

    Let’s face it, people will show up for Michael Weatherly, not the premise. Whether he can hold onto them is something else. But, given the time slot, the show will probably do well initially, whether it deserves to or not.

  33. Kelsey says:

    Isn’t this kind of like The Mentalist lol

  34. Kevin in CT says:

    To me this series seems very much like the movie where Gene Hackman played a “Jury Consultant”. Not interesting.

    • Dan O says:

      I thought that movie was good. I don’t see the premise playing out week after week though. Couldn’t make through the first episode even. Once the pace slowed, I got bored and went to bed.

  35. kjmorse says:

    Problem is I live in Austrlaia & I have no idea when it will air- but I will be watching

  36. Scott Larsen says:

    Give it a chance first, then an opinion, fair is fair, is it not?

  37. katsssblog says:

    It kinda reminded me of Patrick Jane role from The Mentalist.

  38. Dr. Phil is a blowhard, and so is Weatherly!

  39. Kate Tibbs says:

    Is it September yet?
    Hurry up and wait for Bull!

  40. Terry says:

    Can’t wait!

  41. S says:

    Does the arrogant Phil make anything from this? If so, I will not watch.

  42. John NYC says:

    Weatherly can handle it. Now it’s just seeing how the writing goes.

    But, on the whole, looking forward to his new role!

  43. marque ryan says:

    Will definitely be giving this one a chance..the proof will be in the writing.

  44. The Carpooler says:

    Yes, now Ziva and he can be together! Excellent witsec plan!
    [sic]

  45. Sissy says:

    I will watch with fingers crossed that Michael Weatherly Is playing a “new” character and not DiNozzo playing Dr. Phil. And yes, he does look pretty darn good in the trailer. Let’s see if this dog will hunt…just sayin’.

  46. w0nk042 says:

    So it’s Lie to Me 2.0 then. I’d prefer Lie to Me to have been brought back.

  47. datdudemurphy says:

    I’ll check it out…..but part of me will be hoping it fails and that Weatherly heads back to NCIS

  48. Jenn says:

    I’m sure with the strong lead-in from the old geezers division it will last at least 1-2 seasons. However, I’m not sure I’ll be watching every week. It looks like it could be very formulaic very fast. Of course, For Michael’s sake I hope I’m wrong, but given that it’s CBS and they’re not that inventive, the odds are sadly in my favor.

  49. Abel Garcia says:

    I have always wondered if Michael Weatherly can carry a show by himself. Will he be another Michael Richards of Seinfeld! I am of the opinion he can’t without good backup in writing and supporting cast.

  50. Jack Eichman says:

    This guy is the epitome of cool and will carry any script