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Comic-Con Preview Night: Snap Judgments For RIVERDALE, POWERLESS, and More

With so many new shows premiering this upcoming season, it can be a daunting task to pick and choose what is worth watching … and more importantly, what won’t be canceled after only a few weeks of airing. That’s why I’m here to help you wade through what seems like an endless list of new series. I’m on the ground at San Diego Comic-Con for the Preview Night screenings of Riverdale, Powerless, People of Earth, Frequency and Time After Time to give you my snap judgements of these five new Warner Bros. TV shows. I’m watching them all so you don’t have to!

First up: The CW’s Archie adaptation Riverdale, slated for midseason (boo!)

Before I get into my snap judgment of Riverdale, let’s all have a moment of silence for the fact that The CW is withholding this Gossip-Girl-meets-Twin-Peaks adaptation of the Archie comics for midseason. Yeah, we won’t get it on our TV screens until January 2017 at the earliest. Not cool, Cee Dub. Not cool at all.

And what is making the wait for Riverdale to premiere that much harder … is how downright amazing it is. Read my full Riverdale review here!

Worth watching? Yes. Yes. Yes. If you watch only one new show this season, it should be Riverdale.

Next up: NBC’s superhero-less superhero comedy Powerless, slated for midseason (also boo!)

Another show we’ll have to wait for until winter, Powerless is the first comedy set in the DC Comics world. Now, that doesn’t mean we’ll get to see another NBC/CW crossover like when Constantine (Matt Ryan) showed up for an episode of Arrow, but it is pretty cool to see the superhero genre branching out into comedy (I mean, look how much everyone loved Deadpool. The desire is there!).

Starring High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens as a young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused when superheroes and supervillains treat the city like their own personal battleground, Powerless tells the story of regular people living in a superpowered world. And how you don’t have to have superpowers to be a superhero. It’s a story we definitely don’t get to see in all the big Marvel and DC movies and TV shows. There is so much untapped potential in this angle of comic book heroes, and that’s where this show excels. The humor is on point, and everything about it just delightful. Read my full Powerless review here!

Worth watching? Absolutely. This comedy is super hilarious (sorry, that pun was just too easy), and unexpectedly inspiring. Has NBC finally fixed its comedy problem? Well, okay, one show can’t fix years of mistakes, so that remains to be seen. But this is definitely a start.

Next is: TBS’s out-of-this-world fall comedy People of Earth

Now here’s a show you won’t have to wait half a year to see! Half-hour single-camera comedy People of Earth, from Conan O’Brien, The Office and Parks and Rec‘s Greg Daniels and David Jenkins, is about a support group for alien abductees. Yeah, you read that right.

Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of TBS shows. Okay, okay… I don’t watch any TBS shows. But this seems like a lot darker of a comedy than what you’d expect from the network! It’s more of a dramedy, and you do end up feeling some empathy for the characters that could have been one-note. And there’s a fun twist at the end. But honestly, this one just didn’t stand out from the rest.

Worth watching? It’s entertaining, sure, but there are so many other shows to watch that this gets lost in the shuffle.

Next up: The CW’s rebooted Frequency, premiering this fall

Everything old is new again, at least, according to The CW’s new slate of shows. First was Archie, and now the younger-skewing network is remaking the 2000 thriller movie Frequency. If you haven’t seen the Jim Caviezel/Dennis Quaid movie, stop what you’re doing and watch it. Right now. It’s a classic.

And The CW seems to really understand that, as the pilot stays true to the original DNA of the movie. Yes, there are some core changes like how the main character (once Caviezel) is now female (The Tomorrow People alum Peyton List), and the father (previously Quaid), now played by Riley Smith, is an undercover NYPD detective instead of being a firefighter. And the time that separates the father/daughter is now 20 years, vs. the 30 years that separated the father/son in the movie. But all differences aside, The CW’s remake is a compelling, updated version of the beloved movie. I’m interested to see how the series is going to keep up the premise of the father and daughter working together, 20 years apart, to solve a case, since I’m not sure that can be sustained compellingly for an entire season. But maybe there’s more to come later in the season.

Worth watching? Yes. Fans of the movie and people who haven’t seen the movie (but like, come on, there should be none of you) will appreciate this thriller.

Last up: ABC’s time-traveling adventure Time After Time, premiering midseason

From the minds who helped launch The Vampire Diaries comes this fun adventure that follows a young (read: hot) H. G. Wells and his BFF John Stevenson (who, unbeknownst to H. G., moonlights as Jack the Ripper), as the two galavant across history using H. G.’s time machine. It’s billed as an epic love story between H. G. and the woman he meets in modern-day NYC, with some time travel shenanigans sprinkled throughout as H. G. realizes who his friend really is and tries to stop him from bringing his past reign of terror to the present. And there is definitely a heavy focus on H. G. and his new “special friend” Jane, but I was most interested in the friendship-turned-rivalry between H. G. and John. I wish there would have been more time spent focusing on them as friends before H. G. learned the truth about John, but hey, there’s only so much time in a pilot!

The writing was definitely smart, as there are some on-the-nose observations made by and to H. G. about modern race relations and gun control. Let’s just say that 2016 is hardly the utopia H. G. thought it would be. I mean, just turn on the news and you see why. I hope Time After Time keeps up its social commentary throughout the rest of the season.

And it has to be said: Freddie Stroma is just so charming, and Josh Bowman is perfectly cast as the magnetic villain with a dangerous edge. I can’t wait to see more of these two.

Worth watching? Yes. This is another show that is being held until winter, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

And there you have it! Got any questions or want even more of my snap judgments? Tweet me at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: Warner Bros. TV

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