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2015 Fall TV Preview

September 20, 2015

Tonight is the annual Emmy awards show, where actors and shows from the previous television year are recognized for excellence, or because they air on a network and have flumped their way to broadcasting a level of pablum that is an achievement in itself. It also marks the start of the new fall TV season, so this guide to the new network shows is just in time to let you know which shows are worth your time. My selflessness knows no ends.

Monday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
CBS 8:30/7:30 Life in Pieces This is one of those multi-family shows, in the vein of ABC’s Modern Family, except no one is gay, and they’ve found a new way to make bodily function jokes. Also, Jordan Peele (from Comedy Central’s Key and Peele) shows up for what I hope is more than just a cameo.
8/7 (Nov. 1) Supergirl Remember the CW show Smallville, which was about Superman when he was a teenager, but played by a 30-year old? This is the story about his cousin, who like Superman, was jettisoned by her parents from a dying Krypton (too bad that family didn’t bother sharing their child-saving technology with anybody else, huh?), and like Superman protects her identity by wearing glasses and living in the most densely populated city in the U.S. Importantly, the trailer for the show manages to include both a woman providing an excuse for the sexist title (why not Superwoman?), and a male co-star who mansplains to Supergirl how to be a hero. Good times!
ABC ABC is airing no new shows on Monday, preferring instead to take their counterprogramming chances with the 83rd iteration of Dancing with the Stars.
FOX 9/8 Minority Report Remember the 2002 movie by the same name, which starred Tom Cruise, and had the same dissatisfying ending of every Philip K. Dick story ever? Now you can experience that dissatisfaction every week! This is Fox’s latest failed Sci-fi drama, following last year’s Almost Human, 2012’s Alcatraz, 2011’s Terra Nova, and 2010’s Dollhouse (I had to look up that last one).
NBC 10/9 Blind Spot OK, so tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A duffel bag shows up in the middle of an empty Times Square. Inside is a naked woman, covered with tattoos. Turns out, she’s an amnesic super spy whose tattoos are a cryptic message about her past, or maybe something having to do with the future, or perhaps a lasagna recipe. This show is apparently an attempt to capitalize on the wildly popular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novel by Stieg Larsson, with the hope that audiences will remember nothing about it except that it featured a girl, with a tattoo.
CW 8/7 My Crazy Ex-girlfriend This show was originally a racy, foul-mouthed half-hour comedy on Showtime, but is now an hour-long comedy on the CW, because sure, why not?

Tuesday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
CBS 10/9 Limitless It seems most of the TV shows this season started with the pitch, “Hey, remember that time when there was that show/movie/idea…” This show is no exception, capitalizing on the somewhat popular 2011 movie by the same name, which starred Bradley Cooper as a drug-fueled supergenius. Cooper makes a return in the pilot, but only sticks around long enough to get a new guy hooked on whatever he was using. A strong, family message for the kids, really.
NBC 9/8 Heartbreaker Quick: what do you expect a show called Heartbreaker to be about? A supercute guy or gal who’s constantly disappointing would-be paramours? A horrible cardiac surgeon, perhaps? Two flatulent mice sharing a flat in Budapest? Well, the second choice would’ve been the closest, as it’s actually about a heart transplant surgeon. This show will be replaced at the start of the TV season by Chicago Med (wonder what that one will be about?), while the lead in Heartbreaker takes leave to have a child.
10/9 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris The title of the show is somewhat confusing, as it’s not clear to me whether this is, in fact, the best time you could ever, ever have, or merely the best time you could ever have with Neil Patrick Harris. But I digress. As does the show, apparently, consisting of a hodgepodge of skits, pranks, games, celebrity appearances, and amateur performances. If the opening credits don’t show someone throwing spaghetti at a wall, I’ll be disappointed.
ABC 8/7 the muppets No one will ever voice Kermit the Frog exactly the way Jim Henson did. No one else can seem to quite capture the spirit of his creations either, but we’ll watch this show anyway, in the hope it won’t be as bad as past resurrections, and for the can’t-miss doses of Statler & Waldorf in the balcony.
10/9 Quantico How often you must’ve found yourself wondering, “What do young FBI recruits look like when stepping out of the swimming pool?” Finally, here comes a show that can answer the question. Other secrets from the FBI’s training program are also revealed, such as, how to look sultry to your co-workers, and hey, one of us is a terrorist?
FOX 8/7 Grandfathered John Stamos, who played the hilarious Uncle Jessie in the iconic sitcom Full House, plays the hilarious role of a Greek restaurateur who irresponsibly fathered a child he didn’t know about for a couple/few decades, and that child also just became a father, so now John Stamos is a grandfather. Therefore, he’s not really “grandfathered” into anything, but he’s joined in the cast by Paget Brewster who played the hilarious serial-killer hunting Emily Prentiss on CBS’ Criminal Minds. It’s unclear at this time what could possibly go wrong with this show.
8:30/7:30 The Grinder Oh, I sure hope this is a show about a baked sub-style sandwich! Let me check the previews. Nope. Not about sandwiches at all. Turns out this is an Odd Couple-type story where Rob Lowe plays a character who played a lawyer on TV, and is brother to Fred Savage, who plays an actual lawyer. William Devane also stars as their father. It’s not explicitly stated in the advance materials, but I’m guessing he fathered them with two different women. After the end of an eight-year run for his show where he played the most popular lawyer on TV, Lowe’s character moves back to Boise, ID, as most TV stars do, and busies himself by meddling in his brother’s life. This is a comedy.
9/8 Scream Queens I’m a little nervous to out-and-out guess what this one might be about, so let me do some research first. Ah, I see. It’s a black comedy/satire type show that centers on Kappa House, a popular, elitist sorority that’s forced to change its ways and accommodate all comers, even though there’s a bunch of murders that happen, or something. The show is executive produced by the team that brought us Glee, and stars Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis (who plays the Jane Lynch-type role of antagonist/disciplinarian). The color of Curtis’ track suit was not revealed.

Wednesday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
ABC ABC has no new shows scheduled for Wednesdays.
CBS 10/9 Code Black If you’ve missed a high-stress, fast-paced hospital drama in your TV life, this is the show for you. Well, either this one or Chicago Med on NBC Tuesdays. You make the call. This one has the advantage of taking its name from a situation where there are more patients than resources available to help them. Look for its spinoff next year, Governmental Allocations and City Planning.
NBC NBC has no new shows scheduled for Wednesdays, because – incredibly – they couldn’t come up with anything better than Mysteries of Laura.

Thursday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
ABC ABC has no new shows scheduled for Thursdays. Does ABC know they’re allowed to have new shows? This is confusing.
CBS CBS has no new shows immediately scheduled for Thursdays, as they will be airing an NFL game, and laughing at the other networks for showing anything other than reruns.
8:30/7:30 Angel from Hell Probably the fall’s most promising comedy (although, if you’ve been reading all of these previews, that’s not a tall hurdle to clear), it stars Jane Lynch (not in a tracksuit) as the guardian angel/weird friend to dermatologist Maggie Lawson. Can a woman of science accept a spiritual being in her life? Or will it turn out that Lynch’s character isn’t an angel after all? Or will fellow co-star Kevin Pollack lose his mind and just start doing Sinatra impressions out of nowhere and the director shrugs and says, “What the hell, let’s see where this goes?”
FOX Fox has no new shows scheduled for Thursdays. They know Bones and Sleepy Hollow aren’t beating the NFL. Way to give up, fellas.
NBC 8/7 Heroes Reborn Another deceiving title for a show that is not about sub-type sandwiches. Someone lost a bet with this one; that’s the only way to explain it. (Probably the bet was with Greg Grunberg.) The original Heroes show from a few years ago had about 2.5 good episodes, but stumbled badly after that, like someone who trips over the threshold while walking into a room and clumsily attempts to regain his balance all the way across it, only to fall into the fireplace. That was the original Heroes. How this one will differ from that one, I don’t know. My suggestion is to turn it into a cooking show that demonstrates how to make great sandwiches.
10/9 The Player You probably think this one will be about a card player, or maybe some suave dude who picks up women all the time, or a suave card player, right? Well, it is set in Las Vegas, but it’s not clear why. The gambling that takes place is about crime, which presumably could happen anywhere. The important thing isn’t the ridiculous, outright laughably bad premise, it’s that it stars Wesley Snipes.

Friday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
ABC 8:30/7:30 Dr. Ken There you go, ABC! Way to get off the Schneid. I knew you had to have at least one more show in you. If you’re a fan of Ken Jeong, this is the show you’ve been waiting for, as he plays the eponymous character. If you’re a fan of unimaginative, thinly drawn, poorly written comedies, I’m pretty sure they’ve got you covered here as well.
NBC 8:30/7:30 Truth Be Told This show was originally going to be called People Are Talking, but apparently no one could come up with what it was they should be talking about. A more common problem than you’d think. Instead, we have a show about, um, two couples who hire a babysitter that they think might have done porn. Well. That certainly seems like something to talk about. I bet it turns out the babysitter has a twin sister. No wonder ABC felt safe putting a new show up against this one.
CBS Instead of coming up with new shows for Fridays, CBS and Fox looked at the two above, then gave each other a high five.
FOX

Saturday

Nobody watches TV on Saturday nights. Probably why no new shows are scheduled.

Sunday

Network Time (Eastern/Central) Show Why should you watch?
ABC 9/8 Blood & Oil ABC is the only network to offer new shows on Sunday, as Fox already has a solid lineup of comedies, NBC has football, and CBS just hopes CSI: Cyber and Madam Secretary don’t end up poisoning The Good Wife.

This half-baked monstrosity sees Don Johnson (occasionally) faking a southern accent, while acting as a patriarch eking out the living of a hardscrabble Texas oil tycoon. Some other characters are also present, but whether they’re supposed to prove more entertaining than Johnson and his accent, I can’t tell.

10/9 Of Kings & Prophets Finally! Another biblical drama. This one covers King Saul, Samuel the prophet, and David. It’s for the Game of Thrones crowd that doesn’t want to have to pay for HBO, I guess. Expect plenty of palace intrigue and politicking, bronze-age warfare, and sexytimes with people who have no access to indoor plumbing.

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