TV Tried:
Nine television shows debuting,
and expected to be canceled,
in the coming season.

with Aaron Vehling

Master craftsman Norman Lear himself brings us this “new” sitcom about a cranky Jewish funeral home director (Carl Reiner) and his “blended” family—including the ghost of his late wife (Helen Mirren; CGI by ILM)...: PLOTZ! Michael Rapaport and Christopher Titus co-star as the cross-dressing probate lawyers of Shegetz and Boychik, LLP. Based on the British program Zed and Buried. (ABC, Mondays.)

FAT CHANTS (reality game show) is The Biggest Loser meets The Sing Off: Overweight crooners loosen their belts and belt out the hits until only one remains standing on the scale of public opinion... weighed down by a hefty cash prize and a binding recording contract! Hosted by chunky chanteuse Nikki Blonsky. (FOX, Fridays.)

In the historical spin-off NCIS: DCIV (drama, fleet procedural), magistrate Gaius Furius (Eric Roberts) and neophyte acolyte Marcus (Frankie Muniz) investigate violations of the Corpus Juris Militaris on the ships of the Roman Navy in the year 604. Will Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs make a special guest appearance? Almost certainly not. (CBS, Tuesdays.)

SENSE US (mystery, comedy-drama): In which the overpopulated, understaffed, and nearly bankrupt city of Clifton, New Jersey hires blind Homer (Tony Cox) and deaf Gabrielle (Jenna Elfman) to go door-to-door, gathering demographic information about their neighbors. When (in each episode) this disabled duo stumbles upon signs of misdeeds... (restrained) hilarity ensues. Whoopi Goldberg appears from time to time as “Mayor Winfrey.” (FX, Wednesdays.)

The timely documentary mini-series ANGLES AND DEMONYMS, narrated by Eddie Izzard, focuses on the creation of the world's newest country. Kicking off with a discussion about land use, civil engineering, and culture, the British neo-anthropologists set out ultimately to answer the question, What do you call a citizen of South Sudan? Featuring a score by Phil Collins. (BBC America, Tuesdays.)

HIRE POWER: A dramedy in which Heaven doubles as a temp agency. Betty White plays “God.” (NBC, Sundays.)

What’s the deal with the brutal king of the fictional Ramtovia (Cedric the Entertainer)? Why is he moonlighting as a stand-up comic? Do his subjects dare not laugh? And what will happen if his beautiful, trusting Queen (Latifah) finds out? It’s BARELY REGAL. (BET, Mondays.)

WARSHIP: ZERO (space opera). When the ships of the valiant Milky Way Armada are attacked without warning by a merciless Kossaq invasion squadron in the year 3013, only a single vessel survives the massacre—an aging, unarmed towship. Captain Benjamin “Skip” Cockburn (Dan Aykroyd) takes the diverse but dedicated crew of the M.W.A. Jostle out of Earth orbit on a sublight quest for help… that none of them signed up for. (Syfy, Thursdays.)

DIRGE! Glee, but in a nursing home. Cast extremely subject to change. (CBS, Mondays.)

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.