The first few weeks of the 2016-17 television season have been surprising not so much for their failures as their successes. For example, CBS – widely criticized by the press in recent months for an uninspired freshman class filled with the sort of programming that the legendary Brandon Tartikoff once dismissed as “cookie-cutter” and for a rather startling lack of diversity in the lead roles of those shows – is smiling all the way to ratings central. Its dramas Bull, starring former NCIS supporting actor Michael Weatherly (pictured at top) and based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, and MacGyver, a reboot of the 1985-92 ABC adventure series winningly cast with Lucas Till (a co-star of several recent X-Men movies) in the title role, are arguably the two new series that are doing the most to help their network right now. (Close behind is ABC’s Designated Survivor, which I would describe so far as a “quiet success.”)
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