Fall TV Preview
Pure Genius Pilot Preview

Fall TV First Impression: Pure Genius

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc, the story of MLB’s first female player and Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

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THE SHOW | CBS’ Pure Genius (Thursdays at 10/9c, premiering Oct. 27)

THE COMPETITION | ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and NBC’s The Blacklist

THE CAST |  Dermot Mulroney (Shameless), Augustus Prew (BBC’s The Village), Odette Annable (House), Reshma Shetty (Royal Pains), Brenda Song (Scandal), Ward Horton (One Life to Live) and Aaron Jennings

THE SET-UP | Billionaire tech titan James Bell (Prew) courts an elite but disgraced surgeon (Mulroney) to serve as chief of staff at Bunker Hill, a wayyyy-beyond-state-of-the-art hospital founded to “treat the rarest and most challenging medical mysteries, at no charge.”

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THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Upon first seeing this trailer at Upfronts, I tweeted that Pure Genius seemed poised to supplant Limitless as CBS’ “craaazy science show,” merging as it does a rote TV set-up (e.g. law enforcement procedural, medical show) with improbably advanced technology. But once you buy into the translucent iPads, domestic abuse-predicting algorithms and such, series creator Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) has crafted a uniquely engaging hospital drama.

As Bunker Hill’s resident skeptic, Mulroney offers a nice and needed contrast to Prew’s overly optimistic champion of next-gen medical magic, while Annable’s cool and confident Dr. Zoe Brockett does her best to mold the socially awkward Bell into a better manager of people. (The duo’s Will They/Won’t They dynamic is demarked early on, and often.) Among the rest of the cast/hospital staff, Jennings gets the most to do in the pilot, as an ex-gangbanger spearheading a process to provide remote health monitoring to poor neighborhoods.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | There may be some bloom off of How to Get Away With Murder‘s rose, but it and The Blacklist (coming off a buzzy season) will force Pure Genius work hard to secure a meaningful audience. Katims-created heart-tuggers have beat the odds before, though.

MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS Fox’s Lethal Weapon, NBC’s This Is Us, ABC’s Designated Survivor, NBC’s Timeless, CBS’ Bull and ABC’s Notorious

Watch the overly spoilery trailer for CBS’ Pure Genius, dab your eyes dry and then vote in our poll.