It’s no secret that it’s the worst new fall TV season in years. As networks allow cable take the mantle of quality drama, broadcast execs inexplicably play it safe. Really only a couple of shows stood out at all. And in the end we couldn’t.
- “Last Resort” (ABC, Thursday, 8 p.m.). Shawn Ryan of “The Shield” concocts the most audacious pilot on the networks – about a rogue nuclear sub whose crew refuses to nuke a country based on shaky orders from a Washington, D.C. that may have been subject to a coup. And yet all the action looks like it will be played out on an island. With Andre Braugher (pictured) and Scott Speedman.
- “Nashville” (ABC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) has a somewhat familiar plot – an established country music queen is threatened by the rise of a young singer. The soap starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere is written by “Thelma & Louise” screenwriter Callie Khouri; the secret weapon is her husband T Bone Burnett, selecting songs and arranging performances as music director.
- “Ben and Kate” (Fox, Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m) is a surprise: A twist on an old plot – a manic brother comes to visit and upends thing, but because both the brother Nat Faxon and the sister Dakota Johnson are allowed to show their considerable comic chops in scenes that are allowed to stretch out and go for absurdist laughs.
- “The Mindy Project” (Fox, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.) has a lot going for it including a strong cast and good writing team. But it will live or die on the strength of Mindy Kahling, who doesn’t quite succeed in getting her voice out in the pilot (unless it’s a lovesick doctor).
- [No number five].