Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: Notorious

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including Kiefer Sutherland’s term as POTUS, Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up 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.

First up on our list….

THE SHOW | ABC’s Notorious (Thursdays at 9/8c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | Chicago Med (NBC), Thursday Night Football (CBS), Supernatural (The CW) and Pitch (Fox, new)

THE CAST | Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), Daniel Sunjata (Graceland), J. August Richards (Angel), Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights), Sepideh Moafi (Black Box), Kate Jennings Grant (Alpha House), Ryan Guzman (Heroes Reborn) and Kevin Zegers (Gracepoint)

THE SET-UP | Inspired by the real-life stories of Larry King Live EP Wendy Walker and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, Notorious stars Perabo as Julia George, a cable news producer with a knack for manipulating guests and thus headlines, while Sunjata plays Jake Gregorian, a legal eagle who tends to have his finger in many L.A. pies. Richards and Teegarden play Jake’s brother/law firm partner and associate, respectively, while Grant, Moafi and Guzman populate Julia’s workplace at Louise Herrick Live.

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Is ABC’s Conviction, starring Hayley Atwell and also debuting this fall, the most Shonda-y show to not actually come from Shonda Rhimes? I thought so… until I cued up Notorious, which talks faster, darts around L.A. at a manic pace and even employs some How to Get Away With Scandal-esque music cues. Playing things much livelier than the above photo would suggest, Perabo’s Julia is the Olivia Pope of cable news, pulling strings people didn’t even know they had attached to them, while Sunjata sells us on Jake’s juggling of charm, swagger and dead-seriousness. Together, they share a crisp chemistry/mutual admiration that hopefully is sustained as is, and not segued into some Will They/Won’t They trope.

The pilot has perhaps 10-percent too much going on (including a subplot to inform us the one thing Julia cannot produce is a successful love life), and my hope is that Richards is given enough to do as Gregorian & Gregorian’s less-glitzy partner. As initially written, cable news star Louise Herrick is cartoonishly cougar-y off-camera, while Moafi brings a cool confidence as Julia’s scheduler. Teegarden and Guzman get cute moments as Jake and Julia’s eager beavers.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Amid a largely different Thursdays-at-9 playing field and fronted by a pair of known names, Notorious could open well if “#TGIT” (or whatever the lineup gets dubbed this fall) viewers buy into it as the new Scandal.

Watch a trailer for Notorious, then vote in our poll below.

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