It’s well known we’re currently living in the Golden Age of Television, inundated with just way too much great TV. It’s honestly such a burden, I don’t know how any of us make it through the day. So with our precious time at stake, we have to skim the fat and decide which shows are worth our time. This problem is even more prominent in the fall when a whole new crop of programs come into our lives vying for our love and affection. Luckily, with every new batch of freshman shows, there’s always ones that turn out to be the next Jane the Virgin and ones that will probably end up being more like Wicked City. Exactly. So we’re here to help you decide which shows to let into your life and which ones you can do without.
Definitely Watch This
This Is Us
What: A drama about a loosely connected group of people (think Crash, Love Actually) who were all born on the same day. Fills the character-driven, life-affirming drama spot vacated by the likes of Parenthood and Friday Night Lights.
Why: So I got to see the first episode a couple months ago and I think it’s maybe the best pilot I’ve ever seen? Including Friday Night Lights? I laughed. I cried. I gasped. I screamed. I cried again. It’s everything that you want in a Parenthood/FNL-type show and more. When the trailer was released during upfront week in May, it made history when it was viewed over 15 million times in a little over 48 hours on Facebook. And all those people better tune in come September 20th. On top of it being a well written and unique show, it features Milo Ventimiglia & Mandy Moore as new parents, the dude from Passions and Chrissy Metz as twins, and The People Vs OJ Simpson’s Sterling K. Brown making you wonder why he isn’t more popular yet again. Seriously, you’re going to be missing out at 11:01pm if you don’t watch live. I have a feeling it’s going to be trending on Twitter. And in a good way.
When: Tuesday, September 20th @ 10pm on NBC
The Good Place
What: Centers on a woman (Kristen Bell) who was killed and wakes up in the afterlife aka The Good Place. She’s stuck in a world where everyone is nice, and she’s caught between staying in The Good Place or trying to find a way to return to the mundane life she had back on Earth.
Why: Do you miss Parks and Rec? Love Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Like comedy? Mike Schur, the creator of both those shows, has created The Good Place, which is the right place for you. It’s one of the most promising new shows with the best people starring in it – Kristen Bell and our 80s/90s crush Ted Danson. Plus, we know the writing will be up to par based on Schur’s resume alone, so all these things make for a series that’s better than good.
When: Monday, September 19th @10pm on NBC
Maybe Watch This
What: Centers on a young female pitcher (Kylie Bunbury) who defies the odds when she becomes the first woman to play in the major leagues.
Why: Can you believe a woman can be a baseball player? CRAZY, right? Well you better buckle up, skeptical men, because it’s gonna happen and it’s gonna be great. In this fictional world, we get to see the drama behind the woman, and I am here for it. Especially since Mark-Paul Gosselaar is in it. God bless you, preppy.
When: Thursday, September 22nd @9pm on FOX
What: Centers on an ambitious college drop-out and his estranged cousin, who suddenly becomes a star in the Atlanta rap scene. Donald Glover, who created, executive produces and stars in the show, jokingly described it as “Twin Peaks for black people”.
Why: If you’ve ever seen him do stand-up or listened to Childish Gambino, Donald Glover has always had a unique voice that’s not really anything similar to what others are putting out in the world. Enter Atlanta. If you’re looking for Community 2.0, I don’t think this will be your answer, but I imagine it will be as well-written as the first few seasons of Community, but with, you know, more substance. Also, Donald Glover needs us to do this for him. He’s given so much to us, it’s the least we can do.
When: Tuesday, September 6th @ 10pm on FX
What: A low-level Cabinet member becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.
Why: Although the concept sounds a LITTLE like ABC Drama Word Soup (Cabinet! President! Catastrophe! Lines of Succession!), the trailer is solid and, if Scandal and The West Wing has taught us anything, it’s that presidential dramas make for great television.
When: Wednesday, September 21st @ 10pm on ABC
What: Based on the feature film of the same name, Lethal Weapon centers on a Texas cop/former Navy SEAL suffers the loss of his wife and baby and he moves to LA for a new life. He gets paired up with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans Sr.), who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life. Comedy and action ensue.
Why: TBH, I’ve never even seen any of the Lethal Weapon movies. But this trailer actually appeals to me for some reason? Maybe it’s because I have nothing to compare it to, but on its own, the story looks compelling, so why not try it out?
When: Wednesday, September 21st @ 8pm on FOX
Frequency and Timeless
What: Two shows built around the concept of time travel.
Why: I’ve been obsessed with time travel since I read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in fourth grade – but with such similar concepts and with two OTHER time travel shows set to premier mid-season, these shows will have to duke it out for a spot on our schedule. Here’s what we’re looking at:
- Frequency – a police detective communicates with her father, who died in 1996, via radio
- Timeless – a criminal steals a time machine to ruin America; other time travelers have to go stop him.
Check back in January when we introduce Making History and Time After Time, the midseason replacement time travel programs. Too much of a good thing, perhaps?
When: Frequency – Wednesday, October 5 on the CW; Timeless – Monday, October 3 @ 10pm on NBC
What: A tech billionaire and a surgeon team up to build a hospital that uses innovative technology and doesn’t burden the patients with sky-high bills. Believe it or not, it is not billed as a fantasy (can we get an ‘amen’ from anyone who got a surprise ER bill recently?).
Why: The concept doesn’t grab me right away, but the show was created by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and we will watch anything he creates or produces because he has earned it. This man gave us Tim Riggins, Tami Taylor and the Bravermans; we can give him an hour of our time.
When: Thursday, October 27 @ 10pm on CBS
What: A middle-class family moves to an affluent area to provide better opportunities for son JJ, who has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal.
Why: Some of the ABC Wednesday Night Family Sitcom Lineup (modern TGIF, basically) is very good; some of it is mediocre. This show has potential to be one of the better ones; besides, there aren’t enough characters or actors with disabilities on television and when one comes around, we like to give it the benefit of our viewership numbers.
When: Wednesday, September 21 @ 8:30pm on ABC
The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey
What: A six-hour docuseries about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the theories about who killed her.
Why: Between Serial and Making A Murderer, true crime is having a moment. There are several JonBenet documentaries leading up to the 20th anniversary of her death (CBS and A&E series, a Lifetime movie, and ID and Dateline NBC specials), but with a full-scale replica of the Ramsey home and six hours to devote to all of the theories and loose ends, this one is our pick. Also, we need you to watch so we have somebody to discuss our 20-year-old suspicions with.
When: Sunday, September 18 @ 8:30PM.
Don’t Waste Your Time
Kevin Can Wait
What: It’s like CBS bingo: Kevin James. Cop. Family life. Skinny wife.
Why: See Above.
When: Monday, September 19 @ 8:30pm on CBS
The Great Indoors
What: Joel McHale works with millennials in some kind of internet office
Why: Look. This was on our “maybe” list until I watched the trailer. It’s all “millennials love the internet and texting and vocal fry” jokes, with a side of “gay joke where the whole punchline is just that a person is gay and another person said it.” Basically The Big Bang Theory with hipsters instead of nerds.
When: Thursday, October 27 @ 8:30pm on CBS
What: A reboot of MacGyver.
Why: I’m just not confident that anyone who wants this is still alive.
When: Friday, September 23 @ 8pm on CBS
Basically Anything On CBS
What: Most of the shows on CBS
Why: Remember when CBS had the reputation as the Grandma channel (Touched By An Angel, Dr. Quinn, Everybody Loves Raymond), and then they went after suburbanites with their Fat Guy/Skinny Wife lineup, and then they redeemed themselves with How I Met Your Mother, and then they completely betrayed our trust with that finale? They’re going to have to earn it back, and that hasn’t happened yet.
When: Monday-Friday @ 8pm – 11pm on CBS
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