Even shows the networks seem to be tossing away are usually tossed at someone.
For NYC 22 (* * out of four, CBS, Sunday, 10 p.m. ET), that someone would likely be people who are so enamored of traditional cop shows they'll watch any that come along, combined with people who've never seen one and won't notice how relentlessly this series replows old ground. Everyone else would be better off searching the Internet or their DVD collections for an old episode of NYPD Blue.
All cop shows have things in common; creators can't be expected to reinvent the wheel. But we can ask them to at least spruce it up a little. You can't just grab a discard from the back of the Hill Street Blues garage and call it your own.
Set in Harlem, NYC 22 follows the adventures of six sexually, racially and ethnically diverse rookies. Inclusion is a worthy and necessary goal, but not when it fills a show with types rather than people, and not when the characters seem to exist just so the network can cross off a diversity checklist.
So what do we have? There's the Older Alcoholic Restarting His Life (Adam Goldberg); the Latina from a Bad Family with Something to Prove (Judy Marte); the African-American Ex-NBA Star Returning to the Neighborhood (Harold House Moore); the Afghan Refugee (Tom Reed); the Irish Boy whose Family Has Been Wearing Blue Since Before He Was Born (Stark Sands); and the Ex-Marine with a Secret (Leelee Sobieski). As no one has claimed "gay" yet, hang on to it as a "secret" possibility.
On the plus side, in the four episodes available for preview, none of the rookies turns out to be an internal-affairs plant, nor have any of them uncovered an evil cop conspiracy. But the run is still young.
Mixed among the recurring stories and characters each week is a contained crisis to be defused or crime to be solved: a gang war, a bank robbery, a bomb threat. There are no doubt people who won't see where every plot is going, but it's doubtful any of them are allowed to stay up past 10.
In the grand CBS scheme of things, NYC 22 isn't awful. It's better-acted than some shows, less grating than others. Its greatest flaw is it's too familiar and predictable, but there's always been a market on TV for the familiar and the predictable.
If that's what you're in the market for, have at it.