Two new shows premiering this week that I watched but didn't end up writing about for Las Vegas Weekly:
Windfall (NBC, Thursdays, 10 p.m.)
This show has been kicking around for over a year, originally developed as a pilot for Fox, and I've been looking forward to it for just as long. Next fall is full of these high concept, serialized shows, but at the time Windfall was announced it was fairly distinctive, and the concept still stands out, following the interconnected lives of 20 people who share a massive lottery jackpot. Unforunately, the show does very little with the unique premise, and if you're looking for a serious examination of how sudden wealth can change your life, forget it. Instead, this is a pretty standard nighttime soap, with plenty of bad dialogue and wooden acting. It has a certain cheesy charm, and occasionally builds some good melodrama. I previewed the first two episodes, and I might watch more only because it's summer and there's not much else on. But like so many of these shows with striking high concepts (Prison Break, Heist, Reunion), this is a great idea and a bungled execution.
Saved (TNT, Mondays, 10 p.m.)
TNT is pairing this with the second season of The Closer, one of my favorite shows on TV, summer or fall. Basically, this is Rescue Me with paramedics instead of firefighters, and, other than its obvious straining to seem edgy and daring, it works well enough. Tom Everett Scott goes against his wholesome image as the main character, who's got a gambling problem and women problems and other problems that he refuses to face, but of course goes above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of others. Ironic, eh? So, yeah, it's not subtle, but Scott pulls it off, mostly, because he retains enough wholesomeness that you can't help but like him. There's a running gimmick where each time the characters respond to a call, you see flashes of what led people up to the point of ending up in a car wreck, having a heart attack, etc. It's obviously something the producers think is distinctive, but it's totally pointless since these aren't people we ever see again, and they're really just plot devices to get the main characters from one place to another, or to put them in some new situation. When the show calms down on the flashy gimmicks and strained grittiness, though, it has some interesting moments and could develop into something worthwhile.