Outlaw (Friday, 9 p.m., NBC) features Jimmy Smits as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice but unfortunately, not one from planet Earth. Unlike any known justices, Cyrus Garza causes a ruckus at casinos and flagrantly comes on to every hot woman he meets. He suddenly grows tired of being the court's most right-wing member because it occurs to him that "following the rules doesn't always lead to justice." So he resigns to become a left-wing lawyer, confident that it's the best way for him to single-handedly change the entire U.S. legal system.
And damned if he isn't able to pull that off, though not without the help of a sexually outrageous private investigator in a miniskirt and go-go boots. Garza's crusade involves making gassy speeches about "moral rightness" in court, as if he's the first lawyer ever to be concerned with fairness.
"Dammit, Cyrus, I warned you not to bring your soapbox in here!" a judge warns.
Better With You
Wednesday, 7:30 pm (ABC)
I initially felt that Better With You was a standard couples comedy, from the generic title to the three predictably contrasting pairs: the younger sister (Joanna Garcia) with her free-spirited boyfriend (Jake Lacy); the older sister (Jennifer Finnigan) with her stick-in-the-mud partner (Josh Cooke); and the girls' sour parents (Kurt Fuller and Debra Jo Rupp). The tired punchlines didn't help: "Getting married after two months? What is she, a Kardashian?"
But just as I formulated my appraisal "painful" I found myself smiling. The cast won me over in spite of the often weak material. So I guess I'm obligated to switch "painful" to "promising."
Wednesday, 9 pm (CBS)
This new Las Vegas legal series can't decide if it's a cartoon or a serious drama. Defense lawyer Jerry O'Connell is a wild-eyed sex machine who bags even his beautiful archenemy from the DA's office. Partner Jim Belushi puts a tail on his own estranged wife to monitor her dating habits. Their new associate is an ex-stripper, and their office assistant a busty bunny. Despite all these farcical elements, he Defenders wants us to get emotionally involved with the partners' cases as they stick up for the wrongly accused.
And you know what? We might just do that if the producers play the Belushi card correctly. He rises above his dopey backstory to create a compelling character: a lawyer with both principles and street smarts. This former sitcom star turns out to have rare gravitas, and I hope The Defenders doesn't waste him in its obsession with T&A.
Thursday, 7 pm (ABC)
A documentary crew follows a high school's Brain, Rich Kid, Beauty Queen, Overachiever and Wallflower 10 years after graduation. Turns out the Brain (Daniella Alonso) is still secretly in love with the Rich Kid (Julian Morris), who made a bad marriage to the Beauty Queen (Jaime King), who flirts with the Overachiever (Michael Stahl-David), who finds out he has a nine-year-old son by the Wallflower (Anne Son), whom he'd unknowingly impregnated on prom night.
Given the show's grandiose title, how exactly does it define the twentysomethings of This Generation? Besides throwing out a few perfunctory lines about 9/11 and giving one woman a nose ring, it offers no real insights. The characters are generic brains, rich kids and beauty queens who, in different clothes, could have appeared in any soap opera from the last 50 years.
The one common thread is their dithering way of talking. Is that really the hallmark of this generation? Incessantly awkward conversations aren't the most promising hook for a new series.
$#*! My Dad Says
Thursday, 7:30 pm (CBS)
This sitcom is based on a Twitter feed in which a guy transcribes the asinine $#*! his dad says. The beauty of experiencing it on Twitter is that you don't actually have to hang out with the asinine dad. In the sitcom, comic pro William Shatner is faced with the tough assignment of making this nasty old dude appealing, and even he can't pull it off. You just sit there waiting for the next Twitter-worthy bon mots, none of which are very bon.
"Why do you keep giving me gifts?" Shatner sneers at son Jonathan Sadowski. "If I'd have wanted piles of crap around the house, I would have bought a bird!"
I don't think I'll tune in to another episode of $#*! My Dad Says. If I want to see crap on TV, I'll watch a show about birds.