I'm really trying to hit the pilots I've received before the fall season begins. Here's a few thumbnails.
--"The New Normal" (NBC): Co-created by Ryan Murphy, this is the story of a gay couple (Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannells) who hire a surrogate (Georgia King) to have their baby. As comedies go, it's about average, though there are some great scene-stealing moments by Ellen Barkin, who plays the grandmother of King's character and who is an unabashed bigot, and Bebe Woods, a precocious actress who plays King's daughter. I'd say it's worth a look for at least a few episodes.
--"Ben & Kate" (Fox): This sitcom, designed to fit in with "The New Girl" and "The Mindy Project," mostly came off as flat. It's the story of a single mom (Dakota Johnson) trying to live a normal life, only to have her man-child older brother (Nat Faxon) disrupt things in her life. There wasn't a whole lot here to bring me back for future episodes.
--"The Mindy Project" (Fox): One of the comedies I'm most looking forward to, thanks to the hilarious talents of star/creator Mindy Kaling ("The Office"). Here, she plays a loopy OB-GYN whose entire dating life seems to be based on the romantic comedies she grew up with. Kaling has a solid supporting cast to work with, including Chris Messina as a frenemy and Ed Weeks as her sex buddy. Look for cameos by Richard Schiff, Bill Hader and Ed Helms in Week 1. Definitely worth a second look.
--"Go On" (NBC): I was really surprised in how much I enjoyed Matthew Perry's return to TV. It's an oddball comedy that finds Perry's acerbic sportscaster character in group therapy after the death of his wife. While the premise seems not the best source of funny, Perry has an excellent supporting cast, including Laura Benanti, Tyler James Williams, John Cho and Bill Cobbs, among others. My favorite sitcom pilot so far this season.
--"Animal Practice" (NBC): If "Go On" is one of the best new comedies of the new season, "Animal Practice" is one of the worst. Justin Kirk plays a vet who loves animals but hates their owners, with Joanna Garcia as his boss/ex-girlfriend. The pilot had a few funny moments, but not enough to keep me tuned in.
I'll review some dramas for tomorrow.
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: More from the Democratic National Convention tonight. Other than that, not much new, save for "Royal Pains" (USA, 9 p.m.)