There are a few extraordinarily dumb things in the first episode of the new NBC series “Rise” (Tuesday, 9 p.m., NBC/Channel 5).
This drama about a struggling high-school theater program is unavoidably going to be compared to “Glee.” So building Episode 1 around getting the star football player to join the company — just like the first episode of “Glee” — invites accusations that “Rise” is a ripoff.
It’s not. It’s based on Michael Sokolove’s book “Drama High.” “Rise” is sort of a gritty “Glee.” It deals with everything from addiction to adultery to coming out as gay and transgender.
In the first episode, the naïve, new director, Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor, “How I Met Your Mother”), decides to stage “Spring Awakenings.” That creates controversy and drama, and that can make for good TV.
Except that Lou is shocked when parents predictably object to a musical about teenagers discovering their sexuality. And that makes him kind of stupid.
Oh, and Lou is a white guy who pretty much steals the job from a Latina, which seems more than a bit tone deaf.
You’ve got to ignore those flaws. And know that it takes four or five episodes (of 10) before executive producer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and his team figure “Rise” out and we see a drama that will entertain and uplift.
Stick with it. It’s worth it.
FOX IS EVIL • On Sunday (7 p.m., Channel 13), we’ll get a glimpse of what the “new Fox” will look like after it sells its studio to Disney — and it’s an ugly picture.
Back in 2006, in the face of a huge outcry, Fox dropped plans to air an interview with O.J. Simpson in which he talked about how he would have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman … if, hypothetically, he’d done it.
O.J. was, of course, found not guilty at his criminal trial, but responsible for the murders at his civil trial.
A dozen years later, it’s been hauled out and retitled “O.J.: The Lost Confession?” And it is, of course, tasteless exploitation.
It’s not a coincidence that Fox is using this to try to blunt the return of its former hit show, “American Idol,” on ABC.
And airing this trash at all is reprehensible.
DECEPTIVELY GOOD • So ABC has this new show called “Deception” (Sunday, 9 p.m., ABC/Channel 4), which feels like a throwback to the ‘70s or ‘80s.
Big-time magician Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott), his career ruined by a scandal (no spoilers-alert), teams up with the FBI to solve crimes.
Sounds dumb. And I had zero expections. But it’s actually entertaining, in a throw-back kind of way.
Who would’ve guessed?
LEGAL EAGLES • A lot of people are describing producer Shonda Rhimes’ “For the People” (Tuesday, 9 p.m., ABC/Channel 4) as the legal version of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Which it pretty much is — young lawyers working in federal court who try Big Important Cases while living soap-opera lives.
It’s not bad. Entirely derivative of umpteen other legal dramas and soaps, but decent.