NBC’s Three Wishes debuts tonight

The only truly new network reality series debuting this fall begins its run tonight as NBC airs Three Wishes at 9 p.m. ET. The show stars Amy Grant, who travels around the country granting (alas) wishes. NBC’s description of the show makes it clear that the series’ real purpose is to make viewers cry endlessly:

The hopes and dreams of deserving people in towns all across America come true in “Three Wishes,” an inspiring and heartwarming unscripted series starring five-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Amy Grant (“Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith”). […] From simple and light-hearted to more dramatic and involved, the broad spectrum of wishes range from paying tribute to an unsung hero to helping a family grappling with a loved one’s life-threatening medical crisis to honoring a high school coach by making her heartfelt wish for her students come true. Viewers will follow the deeply personal and uplifting stories of deserving people as their hopes and dreams are transformed into life-changing reality.

The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert calls the series “shameless” and says it ” rubs your nose in altruism until you cry hot tears of guilt, gratitude, envy, whatever.” The Palm Beach Post’s Kevin D. Thompson admits that it “is sweet and touching and heartwarming, [but] there’s also something frustratingly false and manufactured about it that slightly detracts from the show’s good-natured intentions.”