As the fall TV season nears, it’s time to get a feel for the fresh fare coming our way. In Fancast’s First Look, Two Takes series, executive editor Matt Mitovich shares a snapshot overview of each new show, noting strengths and areas for improvement, and then invites senior editor Julie Zied to offer a second opinion.
Today we saddle up for…
‘LONE STAR,’ FOX
Time slot: Mondays at 9/8c, premiering September 20
Competition: The second hour of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (ABC), ‘Two and a Half Men’/’Mike & Molly’ (CBS), ‘The Event’ (NBC) and ‘Gossip Girl’ (CW)
Cast: Includes newcomer James Wolk, Jon Voight (’24’), David Keith (‘Office and a Gentleman’), Adrianne Palicki (‘Friday Night Lights’) and Eloise Mumford (‘Crash’)
Executive Producers: Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman (‘Party of Five’), Marc Webb (‘(500) Days of Summer’) and series creator Kyle Killen
The Bullet: Bob Allen’s got it all – a beautiful home in Houston, Texas; a gorgeous wife named Cat (Palicki); and upward trajectory at his father-in-law Clint’s (Voight) oil biz. Oh, did we mention that 400 miles west Robert also has a gorgeous girlfriend and wholly separate life? Yeah, turns out our boy’s in the midst of a long, potentially lucrative con, co-plotted by his grifter dad (Keith). This is gonna get messy.
What Works: Part ‘Dallas’ and part ‘Big Love,’ ‘Lone Star’ is all suds – and wonderfully so. Keith is so skeevy as Robert’s pop, you want to shower after his scenes, while Voight’s a sufficiently steely tycoon. With few credits behind him, Wolk seems up for this lead role, bringing at the very least to the screen a watchable hybrid of Kyle Chandler and George Clooney.
What Needs Work: For how long can this con go on? In the pilot alone, Robert/Bob is threatened with exposure at least a couple of times. Plus, a twist at the end promises to make his dual life more than doubly troubling. But heck, I’m way curious to see where this goes. Giddy-up!
Take Two, from Fancast senior editor Julie Zied: ‘Lone Star’ has all the trappings of a quality soap – the three D’s: deception, double lives, and daddy issues (and maybe merits a fourth – Dallas-esque, for the show it’s frequently been compared to). Wolk is both believably devious and sympathetic; on one side with his cunning smile and quick wit, and the other, his tortured self-hatred. To Matt’s point, my one grievance is simple: with so much resolved in the pilot, where can it go? Could Robert’s need for redemption in fact be a long con on us, the audience? I’m eager to find out.
The Fancast Forecast: Alas, ‘Lone Star’ is far from alone in its time slot, facing off against the always formidable ‘DWTS,’ an hour of Chuck Lorre sitcoms and NBC’s sure-to-be-hyped ‘Event.’ Hopefully, it can dig in its spurs early and lasso the audience it deserves.