What to Watch? New Fall TV Shows

While television continues to evolve into the splintered world of networks, cable, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, just to name a few, the networks maintain the traditional fall season premieres. What should you watch? You decide.

Doin’ It for Themselves

Powerful women taking charge of their own lives dominate many of the new dramas this fall. The best of those dramas may be “Madam Secretary” (CBS, 9/21), starring Téa Leoni as a reluctant new Secretary of State.

The more popular one may be Viola Davis as a law professor mixed up with four of her students in “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC, 9/25), which will likely appeal to fans of the equally soapy, salacious Thursday night lead-ins “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

CBC offers “Strange Empire” (10/13), a dark Western set in 1860s Alberta where a group of women and children are left to survive on their own.

Less likely to succeed are Debra Messing as a mom and police detective in “The Mysteries of Laura” (NBC, 9/17) and Kate Walsh as a judge with some personal and moral defects in “Bad Judge” (NBC, 10/2).

Superhero Surplus

With the success of superheroes on both the big and small screens, we can look forward to more in this genre. The highly-anticipated “Gotham” gives us another Batman origin story, focusing the rise to prominence of Commissioner Gordon. Another contender, “The Flash” (CW, 10/7), is a lighter companion to the CW’s successful “Arrow.”

“Scorpion” (CBS, 9/22) isn’t truly a superhero show; it is more about super nerds. A group of awkward geniuses band together to save the world.

Family Feuds

While it’s been compared to “The Cosby Show,” the new comedy series “Black-ish” definitely has a different take on the family comedy. Patriarch Andre Johnson has had a successful career and has moved his family into affluence. His father, however, feels that they are no longer “black” enough. Andre struggles to balance respect for his roots with his success. This could be interesting comedic ground.

“Cristela” (ABC, 10/10) showcases comedian Cristela Alonzo as a law student who wants to have her own life but, for financial reasons, must continue to live with her family. They, in turn, are not always appreciative of her ambitions.

Copycats

Did you like “Seinfeld”? FOX thinks you’ll like “Mulaney” (10/5). Comic and former “Saturday Night Live” writer John Mulaney stars as a same-name writer who gets hired to write for comedy great Lou Cannon, played by Martin Short. “Mulaney” includes stand-up segments and includes an array of kooky friends and lots of mishaps. Sound familiar?

No? Maybe you’re too young to remember “Seinfeld.” Then FOX is hoping you love the book and movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” in which teen cancer patients explore life and love. Because FOX is bringing you “The Red Band Society” (9/17), a show set in a pediatric ward in a Los Angeles hospital where a mix of fast-talking, smart, sick kids meet up and bond. This could be good, actually, but I have a big concern that this could glamorize illness for teens, particularly the character who has anorexia.

If neither of these shows grab your interest, perhaps you enjoy “NCIS.” If so, you’re sure to like “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS, 9/23).

Big Events

A number of promising miniseries and specials are also coming your way. PBS serves up a couple of options for history buffs. Ken Burns’ new documentary, “The Roosevelts” (9/17), plays over seven consecutive nights. Then there’s “The Boomer List” (PBS, 9/23), which explores one iconic Baby Boomer in each of 19 two-hour episodes.

Looking to satisfy the legion of mystery and Jane Austen fans, PBS presents a miniseries version of the P.D. James novel “Death Comes to Pemberley” (10/26).

Later in the year “The Book of Negroes,” based on the book of the same title by Lawrence Hill (though it was titled “Someone Knows My Name” in the U.S. version of the book), will be a CBC miniseries.

We’ll soon see if any of these shows can live up (or down) to their hype. Let us know what shows you are looking forward to watching!

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