Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 2014 Fall TV Season Day-by-Day

In a TV world where more of us are eschewing broadcast networks for Premium Pay TV or cable networks, the Fall season certainly means less, but it still means something.  We've been gorging on summer series like The Strain and Tyrant on FX, Extant on CBS, The Knick on Cinemax and so on, yet for anybody who's a real TV fan the start of the Fall season still brings back memories of anticipating the TV Guide Fall Preview issue where all the upcoming delights would be unveiled.


Never have we had more shows or more information available about those shows, and The Flaming Nose TV Blog wants to help you sort it all out.  This is our day-by-day look at the schedule, concentrating on the new shows.  We learned long ago that people don't watch networks, they watch shows.  Now with delayed viewing becoming completely normal and expected, maybe even what time and day a show is on means almost nothing.  And yet...it does.  There is still the sense of success when initial viewing is big, just like a movie debuting to big box office on opening weekend.

So let's go!

SUNDAY    SUNDAY    SUNDAY

Sunday  
7pm
7:30p
8p
8:30
9pm
9:30p
10p
10:30
      ABC
America's Funniest Home Videos
Once Upon a Time
Resurrection
Revenge
    CBS
60 Minutes
Madam Secretary
The Good Wife
CSI

CSI: Cyber
       NBC
Football Night in America
Sunday Night Football

            FOX         

NFL
The Simp-sons
Brook-lyn Nine-Nine
Family Guy
    Mu-laney
Local


Bob's Bur-gers
       CW
Local
Local
Local
Local

  

CBS:  At 8pm The Eye debuts one of two series this season about characters in the Hillary Clinton-esque mode, namely a troubleshooting highly placed government figure who's a woman.  Madam Secretary stars Tea Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III, Tower Heist, Fun with Dick and Jane, The Naked Truth, The Family Man), Tim Daly (Wings, Hot in Cleveland, Private Practice, The Sopranos, The Mindy Project,  From the Earth to the Moon),  Zeljko Ivanek (True Blood, Revolution, John Adams, Argo, The Bourne Legacy, Tower Heist, The Event, Damages, Heroes, Big Love, Oz). Geoffrey Ahrend (Body of Proof, Trust Me), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys, Gossip Girl), young actress Kathrine Herzer (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Bored to Death, Frasier), and Patina Miller (upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, All My Children, on Broadway in Sister Act and Tony-winner in Pippin).  (The always terrific Keith Carradine (Fargo, Dexter, Damages) is in the pilot but isn't showing up in the credits of further episodes, alas.)



The challenges balancing her professional position and her private life are supposed to be a big part of Madam Secretary. (You know how the worst parts of series with men in power positions are often the parts about the home life?  Guess what?  Those parts are not particularly any more interesting when the main character is a woman.  Just saying.) This show looks like a perfect example of a well-produced network show. That also somewhat takes away the notion that you'll be seeing anything particularly unexpected and of course it's an 8pm show which puts certain expectations into place. Producer/writer Barbara Hall (Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia, Northern Exposure, I'll Fly Away, Army Wives) has extensive and impressive credits which have not disappointed.  There's probably nothing wrong at all about Madam Secretary but we'll see if there is anything especially right about it, either.  Good lead-in with 60 Minutes for the older mostly female viewers who will be attracted to this.

Madam Secretary premieres September 21st.  Official show website is here.


Later in the season CSI: Cyber takes the 10pm CSI spot.  More on CSI: Cyber as it near the air.

FOX:  Fox is interspersing live-action comedies into its animation block, moving the successful Brooklyn Nine-Nine to 8:30p following The Simpsons and then newcomer Mulaney at 9:30p following Family Guy.

Mulaney stars comedian/actor/writer John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live, Kroll Show, I Love the 30s) as an up-and-coming comedian/writer whose career path steers him to writing for a game show hosted by an aging egotistical ex-stand-up sensation. (Episodes open -- like on Louie and Seinfeld --with some stand-up from Mulaney.)  Co-starring cast is good: Martin Short (SCTV, Primetime Glick, Three Amigos, Weeds, Damages, Clifford, Innerspace), Elliot Gould (MASH, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Long Goodbye, California Split, Capricorn One, Bugsy, Ocean's Eleven, Friends), Nasim Pedrad (Saturday Night Live, ER), comedian Seaton Smith and Zack Pearlman (The Inbetweeners, Key and Peele, The Power Inside).



There doesn't seem to be much positive buzz about Mulaney, not because John Mulaney isn't a funny guy but early responses have been of the "ho hum" variety.  Going against football won't be easy in any case.  Mulaney will have a hard time finding an audience let along making one laugh.

Mulaney premieres October 5th.  Official show website is here.


MONDAY    MONDAY    MONDAY


Monday
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10pm
10:30pm
ABC
Dancing with the Stars
Castle
CBS
The Big Bang Theory/
2 B G
2 Broke Girls/
Mom

Scorpion
NCIS: Los Angeles
NBC
The Voice

The Blacklist
State of Affairs
FOX         
Gotham
Sleepy Hollow
Local
Local
CW
The Originals
Jane the Virgin
Local
Local


ABC:  Keeping with its successful formula.

CBS:  Moving back to one hour of comedy.  The Big Bang Theory anchors at 8pm until football ends and TBBT returns to its Thursday night slot, at which point  2 Broke Girls slips back to 8pm and returning Mom gets the 8:30 slot.

9pm brings a new drama Scorpion based on the real life of Irish super-genius hacker/entrepreneur Walter O'Brien whose elite team of brainiacs solves hopefully fascinating crimes with an eccentric and adventurous spirit.  Scorpion stars Elyes Gabel (World War Z, Game of Thrones, Body of Proof), as O'Brien (sounding not so Irish anymore), Robert Patrick (The X Files, Terminator 2, True Blood, The Unit) is a government agent, Eddie Kaye Thomas ('Til Death, American Dad!) is a behavior specialist, Jadyn Wong (Being Erica) is a mechanical whiz, Ari Stidham (The Crazy Ones) a statistics expert, and Smash star Katharine McPhee plays the waitress mother of a super smart young boy (shades of Jodie Foster's Little Man Tate).




Already being dubbed a "fun procedural" rather than the typical blood and guts variety, Scorpion clearly hopes to bridge CBS' two major strengths -- crime and comedy.

Scorpion premieres September 22nd.  Official show website is here.


NBC:  The Voice remains strong at 8pm.  At 10pm The Blacklist also holds its successful slot until mid-November when State of Affairs will takes its place; The Blacklist will return to Thursdays later.  

State of Affairs stars Katharine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy, Knocked Up, Roswell) as a top-ranking CIA official whose job it is to keep the President (played in a very forward-thinking optimistic casting choice) by Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave, True Blood, Copper, Desperate Housewives) on top of world affairs.  State of Affairs also stars Tommy Savas (The Last Ship, Hollywood Heights, and online series Psycho Girlfriend, The Online Gamer, Extra Butter, Please), Adam Kaufman (Without a Trace, Taken, Dawson's Creek), Iranian American actress Sheila Vand (Argo), and David Harbour (WGN's Manhattan, The Newsroom, Rake, Pam Am, Quantum of Solace).



The you-love-her or you-hate-her fan status and fractious professional reputation of star Katharine Heigl probably would make the behind-the-scenes of State of Affairs as engrossing as what's on the screen.  (Her mother is one of the executive producers.)  Will the TV audience take to Heigl again after her unhappy separation from Grey's Anatomy several years ago?  If State of Affairs works, all will be forgiven.

State of Affairs premieres November 17th.  Official show website is here.

FOX:  One new Monday show at 8pm, up against lots of competition but predicted to succeed.  Gotham tells the pre-Batman story of the famous comic book city, full of weirdo villains and one overworked police detective named Gordon.  Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C.) leads the cast as Gordon, starring with Donal Logue (Law & Order: SVU, Vikings, Sons of Anarchy, Copper, Royal Pains), Jada Pinkett Smith (Hawthorne, Collateral, The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded, Ali, The Nutty Professor, A Different World, A Lowdown Dirty Shame), Zabryna Guevara (Burn Notice, 3 lbs., The Guilt Trip), Sean Pertwee ()Elementary, Equilibrium, Dog Soldiers, David Mazouz (Touch) as a young Bruce Wayne, John Doman (Rizzoli & Ives, Person of Interest, Borgia, Law & Order: SVU) Robin Taylor (Another Earth, Accepted), Virginia Cartagena (The Bedford Diaries) and newcomers Camren Bicondova and Cory Michael Smith.





Comic book shows are the younger viewers equivalent of older audience's love affair with police procedurals -- instantly appealing and setting hearts aflutter with promising hopes of melodramatic action and great-looking production values. Gotham looks to deliver on all counts. Though it will probably get beat up opposite The Big Bang Theory when it's running on Mondays in the Fall, there is really nothing else on for male viewers to love once that goes.

Gotham premieres Sept. 22nd.  Official show website is here.

CW: New series at 9pm with Jane the Virgin, based on a popular telenovela from Venezuela.  It's got a typically melodramatic telenovela-ish premise, too -- an innocent young woman just starting her way up in the world suddenly finds herself pregnant after being accidentally artificially inseminated in her doctor's office. The premise is deliberately outlandish and Jane the Virgin is getting unanimous raves from early viewers, especially for the performance of its titular star Gina Rodriguez (The Bold and the Beautiful, Filly Brown, Army Wives, Sleeping with the Fishes). Co-starring with Rodriguez are Andrea Navedo (Law & Order: SVU, Golden Boy, How to Make it in America, Law & Order, Guiding Light, One Life to Live), Ivonne Coll (Teen Wolf, Switched at Birth, Joan of Arcadia, The Godfather: Part II), Justin Baldoni (The Bold and the Beautiful, Blackout, Everwood), Brett Dier (Ravenswood, The L.A. Complex, Bomb Girls), Yael Groblas (Reign), and Bridget Regan (White Collar, Beauty and the Beast, The Legend of the Seeker, The Black Donnellys).



Lots of time period competition for Jane the Virgin, but if the buzz is positive enough and viewers can at least be persuaded to put it on their DVR list the show could break through.

Jane the Virgin premieres October 13th.  Official show website is here.


TUESDAY    TUESDAY   TUESDAY

Tuesday
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10pm
10:30pm
ABC
Selfie
Manhattan Love Story
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Forever
CBS
NCIS
NCIS: New Orleans
Person of Interest
NBC
The Voice
Marry Me
About a
Boy
Chicago Fire
FOX         
Utopia
New Girl
The Mindy Project
Local
Local
CW
The Flash
Supernatural
Local
Local

ABC:  Two new comedies lead off the night.  8pm's Selfie has a terrific cast -- red-headed British actress Karen Gillan (fan favorite for her role as Amy in most of the Matt Smith Doctor Who episodes) and John Cho (the new Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, Harold and Kumar) star in this tale of a narcissistic internet sensation who enlists a marketing guru to help her change her life and online image.  Character names are Eliza and Henry with direct thanks to G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, of course.  Co-stars include David Hardwood (Homeland), Broadway actress Da'Vine Joy Randolph, and Allyn Rachel (Weeds).



The pilot is available to view now -- click here -- and I think you'll find that although it's 100% steeped in "here today, passe tomorrow" net jargon, the level of acting talent is well above the norm and keeps it interesting in spite of everything else that's annoying (which is a lot).  John Cho is terrific (as always) and Karen Gillan demonstrates that her success in Doctor Who was no fluke.  Though like many contemporary comedies there is too much gratuitous gross-out humor and sexual innuendo (especially for an 8pm show), there's something charming there.  O, wouldn't it be loverly if Selfie could be a success?  Don't count on it, though.  Time slot competition has many thinking Epic Fail, understandable as long as they don't blame it on Cho and Gillan. (What I didn't like is that Selfie and Manhattan Love Story, the show that follows it, seem to think it's okay to make fun of less attractive women, a fairly hateful practice that isn't funny at all really.  It's a nice step up from killing women for ratings on all the crime procedurals, though.)

Selfie premieres September 30th. Official show website is here.

At 8:30pm ABC premieres the half-hour relationship comedy Manhattan Love Story which deconstructs a budding romance between a NYC man and woman.  Starring Analeigh Tipton (Hung, web miniseries The Power Inside, America's Top Model, Buttwhistle) and Jake McDorman (Shameless, Are You There, Chelsea?, Greek, Quintuplets) as the couple, Manhattan Love Story uses lots of interior monologues to get us inside the heads of this love-addled duo.  Co-stars include Nicolas Wright (White House Down, Accidentally on Purpose), Jade Catta-Pretta (Californication, web comedy series Daddy Knows Best), and Kurt Fuller (Parenthood, Psych, The Good Wife, Scandal, Midnight in Paris, Supernatural, Wayne's World, Anger Management).



If you'll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, too, then you'll love the fact that Manhattan Love Story actually is doing a lot of filming in NYC locations. Also not predicted to fare well for competitive as well as early buzz reasons.  

Manhattan Love Story premieres September 30th.  Official show website is here.

ABC moves Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to 9pm, and at 10pm debuts Forever, the story of a NYC medical examiner with a crazy little secret -- he's immortal. The talented Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer, Glee, W., The Fantastic Four, Horatio Hornblower in a series of TV movies) stars as the 200-year-old doctor, alongside a good cast which includes Judd Hirsch (Numb3rs, Taxi, Independence Day, Damages), Alana De La Garza (Do No Harm, CSI: Miami, Law & Order, All My Children), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black, The Young and the Restless, Body of Proof, Friday Night Lights, Ugly Betty, Saving Grace), Joel David Moore (Bones, Medium, Avatar), and Donnie Keshawarz (Homeland, The Sopranos, Damages, 24).



The tone appears to be quirky from the looks of the promo, but Ioan is always terrific to watch.  Forever is up against solid competition but should be worth a look to genre aficionados and fans of Fox's Sleepy Hollow, a show with another long-lived fellow, and maybe fans of Elementary who love a good British accent.  The pilot is online and OnDemand for early viewing.  I watched it, and as I predicted, Ioan is adorable, the premise is intriguing, there is chemistry between Gruffudd and De La Garza, and an actually quite touching relationship between Hirsch's character and Gruffudd's whose nature is explained near the end of the pilot. It's worth the price of admission, I think.  We're officially rooting for Forever to make it though industry odds-makers aren't holding their breath.

Forever sneak previews on September 22nd but regularly airs Tuesdays. Official show website is here.

CBS:  Only one new entry at 9pm, the latest in the NCIS collection. This time CBS is getting into the "Laissez les bon temps roulez" spirit with NCIS: New Orleans starring TV veteran Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise, Quantum Leap, Behind the Candelabra, Desperate Housewives, Chuck, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Murphy Brown).  Co-starring with Bakula are Lucas Black (Sling Blade, American Gothic, Ghosts of Mississippi, Crazy in Alabama, Friday Night Lights, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Zoe McLellan (NCIS, Dirty Sexy Money, JAG) and C.C.H. Pounder (Avatar, Sons of Anarchy, Warehouse 13, NCIS, Law and Order: SVU, The Shield, Millennium).



NCIS fans will find no trouble in staying put on CBS for this new spin-off.

NCIS: New Orleans premieres September 23rd.  Official show website is here.

NBC: One new entry at 9pm, the half-hour comedy Marry Me, about a couple who've loved every moment together except the time he tried to propose, starring Ken Marino (Party Down, Eastbound & Down, Children's Hospital, web series Burning Love, Reaper, Veronica Mars, Dawson's Creek, What I Like About You) and Casey Wilson (Happy Endings, Saturday Night Live, The Hotwives of Orlando web series).  Co-stars include Sarah Wright Olsen (Parks and Recreation, Mixology, Mad Love, 7th Heaven, Quintuplets), John Gemberling (Super Fun Night, Broad City, The Heart, She Holler), Tymberlee Hill (The Hotwives of Orlando, Drunk History, Grey's Anatomy, Numb3rs) and Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Suburgatory, Glory Daze, Mean Girls).



Comedy competition from New Girl over on Fox, but Marry Me is for a slightly older audience looking for laughs.  it's kind of like the junior version of Everybody Loves Raymond, say, sans kids.

Marry Me premieres October 14th. Official show website is here.

FOX:  Fox adds in a new 8pm show with Utopia, already premiered on Sept. 7th. It's a reality-based competition show (based on a Dutch hit) with the premise of throwing a dozen or so strangers together, transporting them to primitive isolated environment (in California) and charging them with the task of starting a civilization from scratch over a year's time. If you like to see Survivor-like competition and don't like singing, Utopia fits the bill.



Official show website is here and it's elaborate.

CW: The CW opens Tuesday with a new adaptation of the DC comic book hero The Flash, spun-off from their series The Arrow.  When scientist Barry Allen is caught in a particle accelerator accident and lies in a coma months, it wouldn't be a super hero story if he didn't wake up with a mysterious power, which he does -- he has super speed.  Grant Gustin (Arrow, Glee, 90210) stars as The Flash, alongside costars Candice Patton (The Game, Man Up, Entourage, Heroes, The Young and the Restless), Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries, Australian series The New Inventors), Danielle Panabaker (Justified, Arrow, Necessary Roughness, Bones, Shark, The Crazies), songwriter/actor Carlos Valdes (Arrow), Tom Cavanaugh (Ed, The Following, Royal Pains, Scrubs, Trust Me, Eli Stone, The Capture of the Green River Killer, Love Monkey), and Jesse L. Martin (Rent, Smash, Law & Order, The Philanthropist, Ally McBeal, 413 Hope St.).  In a nice and informed nod to the first adaptation of The Flash which ran for a season on CBS in 1990, actor John Wesley Shipp who played Allen in that version will be seen in this version as the father of The Flash.





Coming off CW's success with The Arrow and being a true alternative in the time period, The Flash is getting positive buzz.  It's a perfect CW show and it might even be pretty darn good.

The Flash premieres October 7th.  Official show website is here.


WEDNESDAY  WEDNESDAY   W'DAY

WED.
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10pm
10:30pm
ABC
The Middle
The Goldbergs
Modern Family
black-ish
Nashville
CBS
Survivor

Criminal Minds
Stalker
NBC
The Mysteries of Laura
Law and Order: SVU
Chicago PD
FOX         
Hell's Kitchen
Red Band Society
Local
Local
CW
Arrow
The 100
Local
Local


ABC:  The network introduces one new comedy at the tail end of their comedy block.  black-ish stars Anthony Anderson (Treme, Guys with Kids, Law & Order, web series Matumbo Goldberg, K-Ville, The Shield, The Bernie Mac Show, All About the Andersons, Big Momma's House, Life) as an upper middle-class African American father with concerns that his family is assimilating a little too much into the gentrified class.  Tracee Ellis Ross (C,S,I., Girlfriends, Reed Between the Lines, Labor Pains) co-stars, alongside Laurence Fishburne (C.S.I., Hannibal, Man of Steel, Contagion, Thurgood, Mission: Impossible III, Mystic River, The Matrix trilogy, What's Love Got to Do with It?, Pee-wee's Playhouse), and Yara Shahidi (The First Family, Alex Cross, In the Motherhood),



Sitting in a beautiful spot to succeed if it's got what it takes -- right after Modern Family -- black-ish has the potential to work as a wide appeal show, hitting the funny bone of all family comedy-loving viewers regardless of ethnicity.

black-ish premieres September 24th.  Official show website is here.

CBS:  The network premieres its new crime drama Stalker at 10pm.  Starring Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Hostages, American Horror Story, Olympus Has Fallen) and Maggie Q (Nikita, Priest, Balls of Fury, Live Free or Die Hard, Mission:Impossible III), Stalker focuses on a special Los Angeles police unit investigating stalking incidents. Co-stars include Victor Rasuk (Godzilla, ER, How to Make it in America, Lords of Dogtown, Raising Victor Vargas) and Mariana Klaveno (True Blood, Devious Housewives, Dexter).



CBS is proven great at providing audiences with all the ingredients to create real-life nightmares.  While producers say this one won't be all about women getting chased by psychos, there is still something vile about the concept and this country's obsession with violent crime as entertainment. Is it the audience getting what it really wants or the producers pushing it down their throats?  If you believe in a free market then let it all hang out, right?  Sociologically speaking, that America likes its violence juxtaposed with commercials says nothing good about this culture. I think we can safely say that there are a lot of Americans who simply love guns to death and like to see them brandished, especially against a genuine boogie man.  If they can't shoot to kill themselves, then a little vicarious firepower courtesy of the broadcast networks is a dandy stand-in. Despicable kudos to CBS for using the hoodie image, with its horrifying real-life connection in the Travon Martin vigilante crime, to lure in the viewers,

Stalker is poised, lurking in the bushes, ready to capitalize on America's paranoia and hurtle to an easily-predicted ratings success. I'll pass on this one, thanks.

Stalker premieres October 3rd. Official show website is here.

NBC: Wearing a Columbo-esque raincoat, Debra Messing (Will & Grace, Smash, The Starter Wife, Prey, Ned and Stacey) leads the cast of The Mysteries of Laura, an hour-long detective/family dramedy starting the night at 8pm.  Debra's co-stars are Josh Lucas (The Lincoln Lawyer, Poseidon, Sweet Home Alabama, A Beautiful Mind), Laz Alonso (Southland, Deception, Breakout Kings, Jumping the Broom, Avatar, Fast & Furious), Janina Gavankar (The Vampire Diaries, The League, True Blood, Arrow, The L Word) and Max Jenkins (web series Gay's Anatomy).



Despite Messing's fan following, early buzz is not positive for The Mysteries of Laura, either from the competitive angle -- it's a slot NBC hasn't had success in -- or what's on the screen so far.

The Mysteries of Laura has an early preview on September 17th at 10pm then moves into its 8pm slot.  Official show website is here.

FOX:  Get out your handkerchiefs for Fox's new 9pm hospital-set dramatic heartwarmer Red Band Society.  Adapted from a Spanish -- actually Catalan -- series, Red Band Society deals with the camaraderie of a group of seriously ill teenagers under treatment together. Teen viewers are expected to embrace the content and the cast which includes Octavia Spencer (The Help, Mom, Fruitvale Station, Raising the Bar, Ugly Betty), Dave Annable (666 Park Avenue, Brothers and Sisters, Reunion) and newcomer Rebecca Rittenhouse as the medical staff.  The ailing teens are played by Griffin Gluck (Back in the Game, Private Practice, The United States of Tara), Nolan Sotillo (Prom, Corey and Lucas for the Win), Charlie Rowe (Never Let Me Go, Pirate Radio), Astro (The X Factor, Earth to Echo), Ciaro Bravo (Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush), and Zoe Levin (Trust, Beneath the Harvest Sky).



Positive buzz from some for this, even as early watchers admit to maudlin touches which many potential viewers may not mind or even notice. Think of it like Glee in hospital johnnies minus the singing.

Red Band Society premieres September 17th.  Official show website is here.


THURSDAY  THURSDAY  THURSDAY

Thursday
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10pm
10:30pm
ABC
Grey's Anatomy
Scandal
How to Get Away with Murder
CBS
Fall: Football
The Big Bang Theory
The Millers

Two and a Half Men
The McCarthys
Elementary
NBC
The Biggest 
Loser
Bad Judge
A to Z
Parenthood
FOX         
Bones

Gracepoint
Local
Local
CW
The Vampire Diaries
Reign
Local
Local

ABC:  Thursday nights on ABC are a producer Shonda Rhimes trifecta, with her previous hit series Grey's Anatomy -- entering its 11th season -- and Scandal -- coming into its 4th -- leading up to her newest drama How to Get Away with Murder.  With a story revolving around a brilliant and elusive law professor who embroils her students in a real-life murder mystery, How to Get Away with Murder promises thrills as stylish for the legal arena as her other shows have brought to the worlds of medicine and politics.  


Viola Davis (The Help, Beautiful Creatures, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Eat, Pray, Love, Knight and Day, United States of Tara, Law & Order: SVU, the Jesse Stone movies) leads a cast which includes Charlie Weber (90210, Underemployed, Everwood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Billy Brown (Sons of Anarchy, Hostages, The Following, Dexter, Lights Out, Cloverfield), Alfred Enoch ( Dean Thomas in several Harry Potter movies, Sherlock), Jack Falahee (Slider, Twisted, Escape from Polygamy), Katie Findlay (The Carrie Diaries, The Killing), Aja Naomi King (Emily Owens, M.D., Black Box), Mexican actress Karla Souza, Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black), and Liza Weil (Scandal, Gilmore Girls, ER).

Positive buzz is strong and hopes are high that How to Get Away with Murder will experience a double halo effect and make Thursdays solid for ABC.

How to Get Away with Murder premieres on September 25th.  Official show website is here.

CBS: At the end of October, post-Thursday football, CBS unveils a new comedy at 9:30pm.  The McCarthys is about a very close and very Irish sport-loving family in Boston whose dynamics change when one of their non-identical twin triplet boys announces he's gay.  Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory, HBO's Getting On, Easy Money, Desperate Housewives) stars as mother McCarthy, with Jack McGee (Common Law, Moneyball, Common Law, Players, Rescue Me) is the father, Kelen Coleman (Men at Work, The Newsroom, The Mindy Project, The Office) is their daughter.  The triplets are played by Tyler Ritter (John Ritter's son, Jason Ritter's brother, Grey's Anatomy), Joey McIntyre (The Hotwives of Orlando, Boston Public, 90210) and stand-up comic Jimmy Dunn.



Coming at the tail end of CBS' strong Thursday comedy line-up, The McCarthys sits in a strength position.  Sitcom competition is NBC's rom-com A to Z which sets up male-oriented The McCarthys as the one true choice for that demo.

The McCarthys premieres October 30th. Official show website is here.

NBC:  Two new comedies beginning at 9pm.  First up is Bad Judge, wherein Kate Walsh (Private Practice, Fargo, Grey's Anatomy, The Drew Carey Show) plays a good time girl by night, unorthodox but brilliant judge by day. Co-starring are John Ducey (Jonas, Will & Grace, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), Tone Bell (Whitney), Ryan Hansen (Bad Teacher, Party Down, 2 Broke Girls, Veronica Mars, The League, Burning Love) and Miguel Sandoval (Medium, Entourage, Alias).



She's a tarty tort...er. a torty tart for sure...but fostering a little miscreant, too?  Too much.  Early buzz isn't very positive, with not a great lead-in and besides evidently The Blacklist is supposed to inherit the 9 - 10pm timeslot later in the season, so this too probably shall pass.  How quickly and painfully-- or not -- we'll when the audience jury is in.

Bad Judge premieres October 2nd.  Official show website is here.


Buzz is better from some sources for the 9:30pm entry A to Z, a rom com starring Ben Feldman (Mad Men, The Mindy Project, Medium, Living with Fran) and Cristin Miloti (How I Met Your Mother, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Sopranos) as "meet cute" couple who after a rough start find they are meant for each other.  Co-stars include Christina Kirk (Girls, D.E.B.S.), Henry Zebrowski (The Wolf of Wall Street, web series Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, I Love the 2000s), Hong Chau (Treme, Trenches web series), Lenora Crichlow (Back in the Game, Being Human) and Parvesh Cheena (Sean Saves the World, The Book Club, Outsourced), with off-camera narration by Katey Sagal.



The gimmick to the premise is that the show examines the relationship from A to Z -- we get the A to Z of the characters Adam and Zelda -- and let's hope that the series lasts long enough to make some headway into the alphabet.

A to Z premieres October 2 but the pilot is online now for early viewing.  Official show website is here.

FOX:  For the 9pm time period the network borrows a show and a star from the UK as the acclaimed limited series Broadchurch (it ran on BBC America here) becomes the limited series Gracepoint and David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Royal Shakespeare Company: Richard III) comes with it to star alongside Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad, Deadwood, The Practice).  The story examines the repercussions from the murder of a young boy in a small town.  Tennant -- unfortunately minus his great Scottish accent -- reprises his role as a police detective, Gunn is his partner,



They lead a cast which includes Kendrick Sampson (The Vampire Diaries, Greek), Kevin Rankin (Breaking Bad, Dallas Buyers Club, White House Down, Unforgettable, Justified, Big Love), Madalyn Horcher, Josh Hamilton (The Bourne Identity, Louie, American Horror Story, Outsourced), child actor Jack Irvine, Jessica Lucas (Pompeii, Evil Dead, Friends with Benefits, Melrose Place, 90210), Sarah-Jane Potts (Felicity, Keen Eddie), Kevin Zegers (The Colony, Titanic: Blood and Steel, Gossip Girl), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Parkland, Homicide, Picnic at Hanging Rock) Virginia Kull (The Following, Boardwalk Empire), Hollywood veteran Nick Nolte (The Thin Red Line, The Prince of Tides, Mulholland Falls, 48 Hours, North Dallas Forty among many others), Michael Pena (Cesar Chavez, American Hustle, Tower Heist, The Lincoln Lawyer, Battle Los Angeles, Eastbound & Down), and Stephen Louis Grush (Lucky 7).

Imitation is the most sincere form of television, as comedian Fred Allen famously said (and this was in the very early days of the medium!), and this season is no exception.  The original Broadchurch was a critical and audience favorite but on a more niche network and with English accents, so let's go for a do-over, the thinking goes. Will Broadchurch lovers opt to partake again of the mystery with Fox's Gracepoint?  Evidently lots of direct similarities but some differences, too.  Decent lead-in but also plenty of competition.  No matter what, you can hardly get better actors than Tennant and Gunn, but we wish he didn't have to swallow away his brogue.

Gracepoint premieres October 2nd. Official show website is here.


FRIDAY     FRIDAY     FRIDAY

Friday
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10pm
10:30pm
ABC
Last Man Standing
Cristela
Shark Tank
20/20
CBS
Amazing Race
Hawaii Five-O
Blue Bloods
NBC
Dateline
Grimm
Constantine
FOX         
MasterChef Junior
Utopia
Local
Local
CW
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
America's Next Top Model
Local
Local



ABC: ABC pairs up returning sitcom Last Man Standing with the new Cristela, from title star/writer/producer Cristela Alonzo (The Book Club web series, Mind of Mencia writer).  Alonzo plays a Latino law student who's facing some flack from family members who are wondering when she'll finally actually become a lawyer.  Alonso's co-stars include Carlos Ponce (telenovela Dos Hogares, Nickelodeon's Hollywood Heights, Deuce Bigolo: European Gigolo, 7th Heaven), Maria Canals-Barrera (The Wizards of Waverly Place, Curb Your Enthusiasm, American Family), Terri Hoyos (Cold Case, Parks & Recreation, Town & Country), Andrew Leeds (NCIS: Los Angeles, Bones, Nip/Tuck), Sam McMurray (ABC Family series The Fosters, Scandal, Breaking Bad, The King of Queens) and popular stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias.



Cristela will be the only sitcom in the time period, but could get lost if Last Man Standing doesn't pull its weight at 8pm.  Early Buzz is that Alonzo is terrific and talented but that Cristela is fairly run-of-the-mill.  At least there's another nod to Latino culture on our mainstream TV screens but is that enough to set this apart and make it a success?  Good intentions won't be enough if there aren't enough viewers.

Cristela premieres October 10th.  Official show website is here.

NBC:  At 10pm more comic book-inspired mayhem with the debut of Constantine based on DC's popular Hellblazer series.  John Constantine is a weary demon hunter already consigned to hell who finds renewed purpose when his friend's daughter comes under supernatural attack and he's the only one who can help her survive.  Welsh actor Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Armistice, The Tudors) plays the title character (which nobody is mentioning much was also played by Keanu Reeves in a not-particularly-successful 2004 movie adaption with the same name.) Charles Halford (True Detective, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Event), Harold Perrineau (Lost, Sons of Amarchy) and Lucy Griffiths (True Blood, the BBC's Robin Hood series, Don't Look Back) co-star.



NBC's Grimm would seem to be a perfect lead-in for Constantine. Both shows have that special combination of dark humor and scary thrills that genre audiences often crave, a quality lacking in last season's unsuccessful version of Dracula which debuted in the same time period. Though likely viewers may be out scaring up their own version of fun on Friday nights, nobody is afraid to use the DVR and delayed viewing may turn Constantine into a big winner.

Constantine premieres October 24th.  Official show website is here.

FOX: Fox offers up a second hour of its new show Utopia at 9pm.  See Tuesday for Utopia description.


SATURDAY  SATURDAY  SATURDAY

Saturday
8pm
8:30pm
9pm
9:30pm
10p
10:30p
ABC
Saturday Night College Football
CBS
Comedytime Saturday
Crimetime Saturday
48 Hours Mystery
NBC
Primetime Encores
Primetime Encores
Primetime Encores
FOX         
7pm: Fox Sports Saturday
11pm Animation Domination HD
CW
Local
Local
Local
Local


Mostly sports and encores for folks who forgot to program their DVRs.  


OVERVIEW    OVERVIEW    OVERVIEW

It's a battle between comic books and by-the-numbers crime procedurals for eyeballs, the first hoping to capture them before they need reading glasses, at which point the procedurals can take over.

Most of all, we would recommend not limiting your viewing to the five broadcast networks -- FX probably has the most stylish dramas, including the newest season of American Horror Story coming up in October, but USA and TNT may also come up with some interesting concepts along the way.  Pay networks continue to offer interesting choices, too. and the delivery services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon also are getting into the act.

Bask in this flourishing of TV choice while you can.  Already there are not-so-subtle rumblings about how much all this television is costing to produce, and how is the industry going to make it financially feasible in the long run.  Talent costs more, production costs aren't going down, and viewers don't seem to be exactly willing to fork out exponentially more money for this unprecedented bounty.

Until the dust settles, enjoy the view!



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