Should you be watching the latest TV shows this Fall? We review them all. Find out what to Follow and what to Forget!
When I first went to Sparks and said “hey, I am a complete nerd with no life, I’d like to review all the new shows coming to TV this fall,” I was met with “that’s great! Go for it!” I sat down to begin writing what I thought would be a simple article about a few new TV shows. Then I found out that just this fall, 23 shows will be making their debut, and most of those are hour long dramas. I had my work cut out for me.
So the first thing you’ll notice is that some of these shows are already running, and maybe you missed the premieres. Well, that’s what this article will help you decide. With the advancement of DVR, and Video On-Demand services, I will do my best to let you know what’s worth getting caught up on (Follow It), and what you can leave behind (Forget it). The second thing you’ll notice is that this is only network TV. Yeah, what about it? I had a hard enough time getting caught up to those, now you want to throw in the fledgling ScFy show that’s a rip off of The Walking Dead? I’ll pass. I’m a guy who grew up without cable, and network TV was all I had until I was in my late twenties, so I have a love for the 4 channels.
Also, since the network premiere season stretches from September to November this year, this article will be updated while we make our way through the premiere season. So below you’ll find all the shows that premiered in September (most shows have had 2 episodes air, light work to binge on and get caught up).
Kicking things off in premiere date order…
The Mysteries Of Laura – (NBC) Wednesday’s-8PM
Photo Credit: Hulu
Starring: Debra Messing, Josh Lucas
The Skinny: We’ll start here in hopes that there is no place to go but up. Listen, maybe it’s me (and I realize that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a huge success) but the comedy cop show has never done it for me. At least Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. Mysteries of Laura felt VERY scripted to me, and the characters related to each other in ways that normal people don’t talk to each other. Besides Messing, the show is filled with “hey it’s that guy/girl” character actors. The first episode plot, a rich guy is killed in his mansion and everyone’s a suspect. Is this a TV show, or a game of Clue? The store “Target” was referenced several times as to how great they are. Not kidding, almost like they knew advertisers weren’t going to buy ads during this show, so they needed to wedge them into the dialogue.
Worst Line: “I could pick something like this up at Target; you’d be surprised by their selection.” Not joking, that’s in the episode as dialogue between characters.
Follow Or Forget It: This feels like another “NBC cram Debra Messing down your throat shows”. If you like Debra Messing, you’ll watch it. Otherwise, forget this show.
Red Band Society – (Fox) Wednesdays 9PM
Photo Credit: Variety
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable, a true ensemble driven show
The Skinny: I was a little apprehensive going into this show. In advertisements it looks like a show about children with cancer, and what could be more depressing? What I got was an ensemble driven show about life in a hospital. Imagine if the kids in The Breakfast Club were all terminal patients. No, that doesn’t sound good, but is somewhat accurate. This show is told through the perspective of a boy in a coma, and paints the picture of kids who have to come face-to-face with their own mortality. Honestly this was the surprise of all the shows I watched. Good humor, believable story lines (somewhat), and lots of heart. I can see Fox is hoping this will take the place of their teen driven dramedies like Glee.
Follow Or Forget It: I’d say give it a shot and follow it. The ratings drop between episode 1 and 2 are somewhat concerning, but I can easily say this is the best show on TV that people aren’t watching. This show could go one of two ways. It’ll either grow to be a huge success and last for a good run, or it’ll be another Freaks and Geeks, have a cult following, but last one season and quietly fade away.
Madam Secretary – (CBS) Sundays 8PM
Photo Credit: TVWise
Starring: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth
The Skinny: There were only a few shows that were debuting this fall that got both my wife and I’s attention and this was one. While watching, the best description I could come up with was that it feels like a combination of Homeland and House Of Cards. Now, while the writing isn’t nearly as good, the story lines are decent in their own respect. There have also been conspiracies that this show was created as both anti and pro Hillary Clinton propaganda. Leoni does bear a resemblance to a younger Clinton, but I would be surprised if either side would take the time to create a show to either make their candidate look good, or bad.
Follow Or Forget It: My only complaint after watching the first two episodes, I realize the Middle East is a hotbed of activity, but if every episode is going to be about some terrorist group threatening to kill someone, I could lose interest fast. Maybe one week, the Canadians get wild on maple syrup and start being rude to people and we have to intervene militarily. Follow it.
Scorpion – (CBS) Mondays 9PM
Photo Credit: Paste Magazine
Starring: Robert Patrick, Katherine McPhee, Elyes Gabel, Eddie Kaye Thomas
The Skinny: If the Big Bang characters ever stopped fighting about who is in Sheldon’s spot, and did bad ass projects for the government, you’d get Scorpion. No, in all seriousness Scorpion is the story of four super geniuses’ who are called upon by the government to stop cyber terrorism. It’s all done under the guise of “Based on a True Story” so how based that is, is up for interpretation. The first episode’s premise and solution was a bit outlandish, but the characters did a great job carrying the load.
Follow Or Forget It: I’ll most likely follow it. If you’re into nerds and don’t want to just see another cop/crime show this one is for you. Plus, with all the recent hacking’s and data being compromised this is more what I imagine tracking criminals to be like.
Forever – (ABC) Tuesdays 10PM
Photo Credit: Fan Pop
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Alana de la Garza, Judd Hirsch
The Skinny: A decent premise (however outlandish), but bad execution. This show tells the story of Henry Morgan who can’t die. Therefore he lives his life trying to find love, and solving murders. Yeah, maybe that decent premise line was somewhat premature. In all actuality I didn’t mind it; however there was very little character development in the show. Like, why does this guy keep living? Think Groundhogs Day meets House, except in Groundhogs Day you kind of figured he kept living the same day because he was a jerk and needed to change. In Forever, you don’t really ever get it, but (spoiler) there is another immortal person out there tracking Henry. Again, huh?
Follow Or Forget It: This show airs at the same time as Sons of Anarchy, and I won’t be choosing it over that. I might watch the next few episodes on DVR, but I’m not holding my breath. Forget it.
Gotham – (FOX) Mondays 8PM
Photo Credit: Nuke The Fridge
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, Jada Pinkett Smith
The Skinny: A Batman story without Batman. This was the show I was probably most looking forward to this fall. The show, if you haven’t guessed from the title, is set in Gotham city, home to the world’s greatest detective, Batman. However, this is set in the time right after the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and tells the story of a young Jim Gordon as he navigates the corrupt city he loves. In terms of performances; Ben McKenzie isn’t the most compelling actor, but Donal Logue certainly makes up for that. Also, the “Fish Mooney” character fell flat for me. I just had a hard time believing Jada Pinkett Smith as a big wig Gotham mobster. Also, at times it felt like they were just trying to do as many winks and nods to characters from the Batman universe that it was like, “ok I get it, that’s Poison Ivy.” Problem is, she’s 8, so you see her as kid doing nothing. Exciting right?
Follow Or Forget It: I will say that my love for Batman isn’t enough for me to keep watching. This show will need to get better in order to keep me interested. The thing I love most about Batman is his rogue’s gallery and watching him fight against great villains like The Joker, Two-Face, The Riddler, The Penguin etc. In Gotham you don’t get the typical flash forwards after the death of his parents. It’s more like Law and Order. I’m going to follow it, but it needs to have that epicness added to keep someone like me interested. Go ahead Batman fans crucify me, but at the end of the day, you know I’m right.
NCIS: New Orleans – (CBS) Tuesdays 9PM
Photo Credit: Christian Post
*The above image was not photoshopped by me. That is the actual photo CBS is using for this show. That should let you know the quality of the show.*
Starring: Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan, and C.C.H. Pounder
The Skinny: Why? Why do we need another NCIS? Listen there was a time when I watched both NCIS and NCIS: LA. My parents still watch both of them. I get it CBS; you have a successful mold for a show like the original NCIS so why not just repeat it? However, this show felt like an exact replica of NCIS except for the bad southern accents. You have the tough street smart chick, the young charming agent trying to prove himself, the aging director who’s passionate and stand-offish, and the quirky medical examiner. All they did was change the characters names, and cram some Jazz music in to remind us we’re down in the Bayou. Also, whenever I see Scott Bakula I just keep wondering if his next leap will be the leap that takes him home.
Follow Or Forget It: NCIS lovers will watch it and defend it as vastly different from the original, but trust me, it’s not. However, I will guarantee that this show sticks around a while. It’s CBS and their viewers are old enough to forget when they are watching the same show over and over. My opinion, forget it, forget it, forget it (did I make myself clear?).
‘black-ish – (ABC) Wednesdays 9:30
Photo Credit: The Geek Generation
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Peter Mackenzie, Laurence Fishburne
The Skinny: It’d be easy to call this show The Cosby’s for a new generation. Problem is, The Cosby Show was better, and this generation deserves better. The show tells the story of a black man trying to be a successful black man, while dealing with stereotypes of being a white man (you got that?). I commend it for tackling some topics that could make people uncomfortable (the over-usage of the word ‘urban’), but the show is based on a man who doesn’t want his family to “act white”. The Cosby Show was great because it showed diversity among people of different stations in life. At the end of the day, Bill didn’t care if you were white, black, blue, purple or orange, we’re all the same and we all have quirks that are funny to exploit. ‘black-ish had laughs, but it felt as though they were trying to make me realize they were black and therefore we are different and I could never connect to that. Plus the white people in the show were totally awkward around the main characters, including one character mimicking DJ scratches, and doing the robot. I’ve never done that, and have never seen anyone do in real life.
Follow Or Forget It: This show made white people seem so awkward and racist around black people it makes me feel I can’t say to forget it without being accused of being racist. I’m not the only one who feels this way either, several other sites (The Independent, Huffington Post to name a few) have addressed that the show was not met with open arms like ABC claims. It did bring in huge numbers for ABC, however I might credit that to the fact that it’s lead in is Modern Family, which could make any show look good. For now, forget it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it stays around for a while.
How To Get Away With Murder – (ABC) Thursdays 10PM
Photo Credit: Courtney Luv
Starring: Viola Davis, Alfred Enoch, Matt McGorry, Tom Verica
The Skinny: I might wager this is quickly becoming the most talked about show this fall. It killed (hah, get it) in the ratings on its premiere beating out Greys Anatomy, and Scandal. It tells the story of a bunch of first year law students as they make their way through learning how sometimes, it’s not about if the client is guilty or not, but whether you win or lose. Acting and writing is great (probably the best out of all the first volume shows). The show jumps between storylines showing the students while they go to class and try to gain the favor of their hardnosed professor played by Viola Davis, and the other storyline well, I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but look at the title of the show.
Follow Or Forget It: I will say it is quite a highbrow show as it tells the story set against the backdrop of academia, and isn’t the typical court room, find the murderer and then get a guilty verdict. I’d say follow it, and impress your friends by making them think you are deeper than you actual are.
Selfie – (ABC) Tuesdays 8PM
Photo Credit: Hollywood Spy
Starring: John Cho, Karen Gillian
The Skinny: An ugly girl when she was younger, works to grow up to be a hot social media obsessed millennial. This show pokes fun at our obsession with our online persona’s, while showcasing our complete lack of social skills. After an embarrassing moment at work, Eliza turns to marketing genius Henry to “fix her” manners and social skills. Think “My Fair Lady” (I mean the characters names are the same) if they had smartphones. Karen Gillian is perfect as the annoying narcissistic obsessed youth (you can’t help but dislike her, in a good way, with her using internet speech in regular conversations, and saying things like #the struggle, or LOL and cray). Cho is good enough, and even though I realize he is in his forties, I have a hard time believing he isn’t as into social media as his character exhibits in the show. Does the show have issues, absolutely. For one, we are given small hints at back-story to catch us up to present day, but honestly it’s funny enough and has a bit of heart as well.
Rating: B (I took some points off because they pronounced GIF like JIf. C’mon…)
Follow Or Forget It: Here’s the thing. I’m someone who hates the term, “instagram celebrity” or “twitter sensation” and I found myself interested in this show. Yes, the dialogue and things Eliza talks about infuriate me, but they make fun of it in a way that satisfies me, and best part; the people who they are making fun of won’t get the joke. I’ll follow it for now, but just like a 20-somethings profile picture, that could change at a moments notice.
Manhattan Love Story – (ABC) Tuesdays 8:30PM
Photo Credit: Digital Spy
Starring: Analeigh Tipton, Jack McDorman, Kurt Fuller, Nicolas Wright
The Skinny: The last of the new September shows. Since we started rough with Mysteries of Laura, it’s fitting we go out the same way. A she hates him, he thinks she’s crazy but they are attracted to each other and fall in love by the numbers love story. Alright, maybe that’s just fatigue setting in. Dana moves to the big city to start a new job and is set up on a date with Peter. They fight, and leave never wanting to see the other person again. But, oh wait (spoiler) they realize they like each other and end up holding hands at the Statue of Liberty. I actually consider myself to be pretty sappy and actually like stories like this, but for whatever reason I felt like it was really predictable. The writing and acting were ok. It had some laughs, but felt forced at times.
Follow Or Forget It: I’m going to make a prediction. They are going to start dating, be in love, then oh no something that is a big misunderstanding happens and Dana dumps Peter. For a few episodes they dance around getting back together, then Peter shows up with some item she had mentioned from a previous episode and they get back together (roll credits). Even though I like a good love story, forget it.
That’s it for all the September new TV shows. Which show are you most excited for and will follow? Comment or tweet us (Paul Oh’s Twitter or SparksRadio ) and let us know what will keep you on the couch this fall!