WELCOME! Here's the place to find out which new fall shows are coming next, and what we here at TV WORTH WATCHING think of them. This year we will have a rolling start – we’ll be adding, expanding and even revising opinions as more episodes become available. And this year, you can add your own opinions, too, so weigh in at the comment section below as you see the shows yourselves! (Previously premiered shows have moved to the bottom of the page.) -TVWW

Premiering Soon (For Already Premiered, scroll to bottom)

 

DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY

Premieres October 22
Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET
BBC America

This 2016 adaptation of the Douglas Adams novels (Stephen Mangan took a turn in 2010) stars Samuel Barnett (Penny Dreadful) as the self-styled detective who relies on seemingly disconnected fragments then back-peddles into victory despite himself. Elijah Wood stars as sidekick Todd.
Eric Gould: The 2010 version of this Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) story starring Stephen Mangan was wonderful. So, the presumption here is that these madcap, comedic sci-fi romps about a self-made detective who wins by getting his clues from what he believes are the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things" will be fun and very worthwhile Ed Bark: Trying to comprehend the intentionally absurd goings-on in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency may be completely beside the point. Those who have devoured the swervy, same-named Douglas Adams books could very well find themselves immensely entertained. Those who haven’t -- guilty as charged -- at least can admire the energy, cheekiness and slick production values without caring all that much how everything comes out.  
 

MAN WITH A PLAN

Premieres October 24
Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET
CBS

Matt LeBlanc returns to the network sitcom as a Dad who, now that his wife is returning to the work world, has to start pitching in more at home. And that’s where all the problems, challenges, and fun begin.
Bill Brioux: This sitcom about another stupid stay-at-home dad is worse than Pucks, the fake sitcom LeBlanc was supposedly headlining in the Showtime gem Episodes. Why prove you can ace self-effacing satire only to stoop to more Joey?

Ed Martin: The only good thing there is to say about this tired-on-arrival family comedy is that it’s not CBS’ worst new comedy. (For that, see Kevin Can Wait.) Matt LeBlanc obsessives will be fine with it, but for the rest of us this ain’t no Episodes.
Linda Donovan: As a Friends freak from way back, I’m the one who should say it – Joey Tribbiani has grown up, gotten married, and is stuck in this sitcom. If things don’t improve quickly, Matt LeBlanc will be dreaming of Joey – otherwise known as a nightmare. Eric Gould: Unsurprising, paint-by-numbers, formulaic. Rinse, repeat, dispose.

Gerlad Jordan: Matt LeBlanc is back. He’s a contractor who is trying to build a stay-at-home-sometime dad wing in his busy life so that his wife can resume her career. With the obligatory three-child lineup the situations will occasionally be funny.
 

THE GREAT INDOORS

Premieres October 27
Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET
CBS

Joel McHale takes up a network sitcom as an intrepid reporter chained to an office full of millennials after budget cuts turn his venerable journal into an online magazine.
Bill Brioux: Fans of Community will weep openly as McHale submits to this pedestrian sitcom. Or is it a fantasy? Imagine – people actually getting hired to work at a magazine. What is this, another time travel series?

Gerald Jordan: Nearly nothing is funny about The Great Indoors. The characters lack comedic appeal. The laugh track wears thin in the opening scenes. The idea of turning a failing magazine into an online presence has potential but there’s so much to dislike about The Great Indoors that it might be beyond rescue.

Ed Martin: The pilot is frequently very funny, and it is blessed with the comedy pairing of the year in Joel McHale and Stephen Fry. And it’s about time somebody took on Millennials for the egregiously enabled individuals that most of them are. But is the generational humor going to hold up over time? It may not be one note, but it may only be good for a song or two.

David Hinckley:
McHale scores as a writer who discovers his publication doesn’t really care about writing or stories anymore, just empty-headed clicks. A must-watch for pretty much everyone in media these days.
Eric Gould: Those of us who never missed McHale on Talk Soup and occasionally checked in on him in Community will likely let him go to The Great Indoors without much trouble. This show is built around canned jokes about millennials in the workplace – and their podcasts and their PC feelings and their entitled expectations that work should be fun.
 

PURE GENIUS

Premieres October 27
Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET
CBS

A Silicon Valley billionaire (Augustus Prew) starts up a cutting-edge hospital. Dermot Mulroney stars as Dr. Walter Wallace, a radical surgeon and Chief of Staff.

Bill Brioux: Another pilot I completely forgot I had already watched. Forget surgeon, they should have hired a super smart script doctor. Three words which doom any show: show-killer Dermot Mulroney. David Hinckley: All that’s missing is Dr. House, and frankly, this show could use him. Gregory, wherever you are, turn the bike around and come home. All is forgiven.

Gerald Jordan: Pure Genius is like universal health care on steroids. A Silicon Valley zillionaire turns his attention to health care by building a dream of a medical center that boasts the brain power of the best and brightest brought on board to solve medical riddles. The disease of the week isn’t a new TV concept, but the overlay of computer-powered diagnostics and treatment raise the temperature on fascination.

Ed Martin: Tough as it is to believe that CBS chose to renew Code Black for a second season, it is even harder to understand why the network decided to go with yet another atypical medical drama – this one about the use of super high tech in health care. As I watched the pilot I couldn’t get past the expense of it all, given the skyrocketing cost of medicine and medical treatments that are currently crippling most working- and middle-class Americans.
 

THE CROWN

Premieres November 4
Streaming
Netflix

Netflix’s high-budget dramatization of young Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne in 1947, just after the war.
Not yet reviewed.    
 

GOOD BEHAVIOR

Premieres November 15
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET
TNT

Based on the novels by Blake Crouch, Good Behavior gives the chance for Michelle Dockery to throw off the role of Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary and play con artist Letty Dobesh, who gets star-crossed with a hitman.
David Hinckley: OMG, Lady Mary Becomes Charlie Sheen. Once you get past that part, you start noticing that a dark rom-com has crept into the room and the real show starts and it’s pretty good.    
 

Already Premiered

 

THE GOOD PLACE

Premieres September 19
Mondays at 10:00 p.m. ET
NBC

Kristen Bell stars as a recently deceased, foul-mouthed woman who’s mistakenly arrived to the wrong place -- heaven. (Co-starring Ted Danson.)

David Hinckley: A nifty little comedy that has some of the same quirky charm as the late Pushing Daisies. Danson is terrific as the deadpan semi-competent bureaucrat running the idyllic afterlife, and Bell is a riot as an ungood girl who realizes she’s there by mistake. May not sustain forever, which would be ironic, but for now, good fun.

Gerald Jordan: This is a delightful comedy that shows life as a continuous work in progress – even when it’s ended. Bell's ignoble death has landed her in an idyllic environ run by Michael (Ted Danson), presumably the Archangel. And yes, there is a Great Scorekeeper in the Sky; at least after Michael’s presentation on people’s lifetime of deeds in something that looks like Jurassic Park meets Bill Nye the Science Guy. Danson and Bell portray endearing characters, that after the pilot, seem to have lots of opportunities to grow.
Ed Martin: The fall’s funniest new broadcast comedy stars Kristin Bell and Ted Danson in roles seemingly custom-made just for them – and that’s not bullshirt. With all due respect to fans of Veronica Mars, this may be Bell’s best performance to date. It is easily Danson’s best since Cheers. Wisely, this show has been designed for future longevity on Netflix or Hulu with a little cliffhanger built into the end of each episode. One day it will be a blast to binge.

Linda Donovan: Who wouldn’t want to see Ted Danson and Kristen Bell together in a comedy? Exactly. And they are as brilliant as ever in TV’s latest answer to the afterlife question. The cutesy bad words in the Good Place will get old very fast, and Danson and Bell both deserve better, but there’s a charming chance here, so I’m willing to hang in.

Bill Brioux: Kristen Bell is irresistible as ever, and Ted Danson never disappoints, but it’s just not a great place. There is fun at hearing everybody near-swear in The Good Place, but the comedy goes all to hell by the end of 22 minutes.

Eric Gould:
Albert Brooks covered this story of an unworthy arrival to the afterlife in his 1991 film, Defending Your Life. Kristen Bell takes up the role here, with some legitimately great gags in Ep. 1. The Good Place feels like a sitcom with a roadmap.

Tom Brinkmoeller: Advice to anyone who has wonderful memories of Ted Danson as part of Cheers, one of television's classic comedy series: Hold that thought. Viewers will hear no laughs, perhaps because even the laugh-track operator couldn't find anything funny. The inconsistencies could short-circuit your neural pathways. For eternity.
 

KEVIN CAN WAIT

Premieres September 19

Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET
CBS
CBS

Kevin James returns to his natural sitcom realm, this time as a newly retired police officer with too much family time on his hands.

Bill Brioux: He should have waited – for a better script! Comedian Kevin James plays a retired cop who finds out home life is tougher than anything he ever faced on the street—because he doesn’t have cable and is stuck watching dumb-ass network sitcoms like this.

Tom Brinkmoeller: King of Queens was about a schlub with a much smarter wife who hangs out with his witless friends. Likewise, here, he’s a just-retired cop who’s a schlub, has a smarter spouse, and a bunch of also-retired cops with Krispy Kremes for brains for friends. You can't fall down when you stumble laterally.
David Hinckley: America’s most famous mall cop becomes America’s most clueless Dad. CBS takes a small swing in this sitcom-by-the-numbers and isn’t likely to get a big hit out of it.

Gerald Jordan: Our blue-collar hero is a retired cop who still has lots of energy and more time on his hands than money in his pocket. He’s (surprise) married up­ – and his children might very well turn out to be bright and capable, but that would ruin the show. There’s enough sheer silliness in Kevin Can Wait to ensure that it’ll be at least a one-season success.

Eric Gould: Kevin James' continuing parable of how us tubby, out-of-shape guys have a shot with model-pretty actresses.
Ed Martin: Edwin can’t wait to forget about this one. It feels like the kind of broadcast sitcom that I thought was in our collective rear-view mirror. This show is either a step in the right direction as a cheerfully mindless alternative to all the brain food on cable networks and streaming services or another damaging blow for broadcast. I’m guessing the latter.

Linda Donovan:
Kevin James has picked a bit of a clunker for his return to network television. CBS is selling this show as what happens when a guy retires from the police force. But the pilot seems to go another way. Perhaps it’s both. Either way, neither looks promising.
 

THIS IS US

Premieres September 20
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET
NBC

This new family drama (in the mold of Parenthood, and others) goes deep into the dilemmas of everyday trouble.
Bill Brioux: Ventimiglia, Moore, Brown and always dependable MacRaney are all outstanding in the season’s most emotional and heartfelt new network series. If you miss “Parenthood,” this is better..

Tom Brinkmoeller: Going out on a limb here without being able to evaluate the whole tree: This Is Us could be the next St. Elsewhere. It is a compelling, hour-long drama without a zombie or drug pusher in sight.

Linda Donovan: A beautifully crafted drama filled with compassion, warmth, and love without being sentimental. I thought I’d finished my TV-related emotional tumult when Parenthood was over. Wrong again. Thanks a lot, Dan Fogelman.
David Hinckley: A well-intended dramedy about broken people trying to patch their lives back together. Scores points for heartwarming, not as many for entertaining.

Ed Martin: This is broadcast? If only that question weren’t relevant. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this profound, excitingly original family drama can stand alongside The Good Wife and Empire as proof that quality contemporary adult drama need not be confined to cable and streaming services. It opens with a quick close-up of a main character’s naked ass. Will the Republic endure?
Eric Gould: If there is such a genre, this is a high-concept family drama -- about siblings and others who share the same birthday. This Is Us also charts some additional unconventional territory – a network show with an authentic heart and emotional stakes that are uncontrived and feel plausibly sincere. Gerald McRaney brings his usual, high-powered chops.

Gerald Jordan: This is probably too engaging for casual TV viewing, but it’s stocked with some compelling stories that should earn a season of audience appreciation. The tales are as varied as they are rich in character studies. Kudos for breaking the drama cliché mold.
 

BULL

Premieres September 20
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET
CBS
Michael Weatherly stars as Dr. Jason Bull (based on the early career of Dr. Phil), founder of a prolific trial consulting firm.
Bill Brioux: Weatherly is always charming and funny in interviews and deserves a true comedy shot. CBS plays it safe by casting the “NCIS” second banana in this slick legal drama loosely based on the pumped up exploits of TV gasbag Phil McGraw.

Gerald Jordan: Absolutely. There’s no other word to describe this show. Michael Weatherly continues his run as a prime time smart aleck. This time he’s in charge of profiling juries. The camera zooms to knowing stares and Dr. Jason Bull’s soliloquies might be a better fit for a TV movie, but unable to carry a series.
Linda Donovan: Straight from the box marked “how to create a CBS procedural drama” – including the quirky computer genius – Bull is fine if you want mindless TV distraction. A Dr. Phil signature device is borrowed here: a handkerchief at the ready for anyone about to become unglued. The handkerchief on the Dr. Phil show, however, has his logo stitched on the fabric; he knows how to promote his brand.  So far, everything surrounding Dr. Phil has turned to gold, so if Bull does, too, we won’t be surprised. Ed Martin: The most CBS-like of the Eye Network’s new fall shows, an observation which can be construed as good news or bad, depending on how old you are. The folks who enjoy NCIS and The Dr. Phil Show will be very satisfied. Michael Weatherly, in the title role, remains one of TV’s most reliable charm dogs, even if his character is based on Phil McGraw.

David Hinckley: Show of hands, please: How many viewers were clamoring for a Dr. Phil origin story? If you were, be aware that this surrogate starts out as an arrogant jerk, which makes it a little harder to watch.
 

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

Premieres September 21
Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET
ABC

Kiefer Sutherland returns in another government upheaval as the unlikely survivor to the Presidency after a terrorist attack wipes out almost everyone else during the State of the Union address.

Bill Brioux: The newly-elected president and his next nine successors get blown to smithereens. This leaves Canadian Kiefer Sutherland to lead America out of this current election nightmare. This time, however, Kiefer can’t call Chloe to bail him out of a series of obvious clichés, such as butting heads with a top general. Solid Sutherland pairs nicely with Californication’s Natacha McElhone but can the series continue at this explosive, movie of the week pace? David Hinckley: At a time when we’re choosing between two real-life candidates that most of us don’t really want, here’s a TV show president who doesn’t even want the job himself. But he’s got it, and Sutherland makes this the best new broadcast show of the season.

Ed Martin: Kiefer Sutherland is back to save the world once again – this time as a somewhat reluctant low-level member of the Cabinet of the United States who becomes Commander-in-Chief when the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and every other government big-wig are blown to bits during the State of the Union Address. Methinks he’ll need his very own Jack Bauer to get through the rest of his term – or even a full season.
Eric Gould: Kiefer Sutherland stars in a preposterous scenario – a thoughtful, mild-mannered, likeable person becomes the next President of the United States. Designated Survivor has an urgent, page-turning premise and feels like one of the early hits.

Gerald Jordan: Wow! There’s no way for the series to pack the wallop that the pilot portrayed, but what a story. You’ve seen the White House, the Capitol and even the planet attacked on big-screen productions. Kiefer Sutherland’s thoughtful, intelligent leadership qualities make this a referendum on the fall presidential campaign.
 

LETHAL WEAPON

Premieres September 21
Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET
Fox
 
This series adaptation of the film franchise of a mismatched pair of cops – one (Damon Wayans) a by-the-book straight arrow, the other (Clayne Crawford) an erratic rogue with a recurring death wish.
Bill Brioux: The inspired casting of Wayans and Crawford as buddy cops elevates what is otherwise just another movie makeover. One of those, “Hey—that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” hour-killers.

Ed Martin: The jury is out on this one. I don’t care if I ever see another episode, but critics I respect keep telling me how much they like it.  Stars Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford are appealing, but Weapon doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the buzz of other fall season retreads and offshoots, including CBS’ MacGyver and Fox’ own The Exorcist.
David Hinckley: As someone who loved all the LW movies – yes, even the fourth – I was apprehensive. I still am. Sometimes the knock-off just isn’t as satisfying.

Gerald Jordan: Damon Wayans is endearing. Clayne Crawford conveys the insanity of Detective Martin Riggs, but not quite the full charm of Mel Gibson. Were it not for so many iterations of the successful movies and repeated runs on TV, a new audience might discover this Fox drama and let it stand on its own. These tough guys have a tough act to follow.
Eric Gould: Clayne Crawford chose this middling rehash after his stint in Rectify, proving yet again that critically acclaimed dramas where nothing explodes are no big payday. 
 

SPEECHLESS

Premieres September 21
Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET
ABC

Minnie Driver stars as a brainy, no-nonsense wife and mom whose family includes a special-needs son who cannot speak.
David Hinckley: This may be a tough sell, but it’s worth taking a look to see if it’s your style. Driver is relentless as a bulldozer Mom who will run over anyone to get the best for her disabled son, who can’t speak. BTW, it’s a comedy.

Ed Martin: The latest entry in ABC’s remarkable and increasingly invaluable lineup of modern family comedies may be the most distinctive of them all, in that it revolves around a non-verbal teenager with cerebral palsy, played by an engaging young actor (Micah Fowler) with the same disability. It’s not very funny, but it is important.  Let’s see what develops.
Bill Brioux: Not funny enough to be a comedy, not dramatic enough as a drama, it seems more like a tragedy—as in, it’s a tragedy nobody ever seems to know what to do with Minnie Driver on television.

Tom Brinkmoeller: There is nothing even close to mini in Minnie Driver’s Speechless character. This mother of a disabled son is a repeatedly loud and belligerent “advocate.” It’s an unfunny premise that can only worsen. As the spouse of a disabled person for the past 17 years,, I’m even more appalled than you will be — but just slightly, I’m guessing.
Eric Gould: Here’s a disabled teen at the center of an otherwise normal family -- except for their grating, mile-a-minute quips and rim-shot timing.

Gerald Jordan: Minnie Driver is more than a helicopter mom who has her disabled son’s best interests at heart; she’s a fully weaponized Black Hawk. So much so, that when she tears down a city street at 60-plus mph, even the cops won’t intercede. “It’s not worth it.” At first she seems obnoxious, but her love for all three of her children shines brightly as the family runs a gauntlet of circumstances that would make mere mortal moms cave.
 

MACGYVER

Premieres September 21
Fridays at 8 p.m. ET
CBS

A prequel exploring the back-story of the crime–fighter with a knack for last-second, ingenious escapes from imminent doom.
Bill Brioux: CBS took a bunch of old MacGyver scripts, added a battery and some gum and MacGyvered them into a paint-by-numbers vehicle for Lucas Till. Watch with the sound off and pretend it’s “MaGruber.” Ed Martin: Here’s an interesting conundrum: The new fall series that has generated some of the biggest buzz (just ask around) is the one nobody has seen yet. Credit a dazzling marketing campaign, the appeal at first sight of star Lucas Till, and the familiarity of that title. Unless it’s a total stinker it is going to do very well for CBS on Friday nights.

Gerald Jordan: MacGyver should be a high school science teacher; maybe a university physical science teacher. Instead Lucas Till shows the character who preceded Richard Dean Anderson and his seven-year run that ended on ABC in 1992.
Ed Bark: CBS’ new and very prettified Angus “Mac” MacGyver presumably can chew gum and turn it into a tracking device at the same time. He cannot, however, work wonders with this mechanically scripted and acted re-do of ABC’s durable MacGyver, which ran from 1985 to 1992 on ABC.
 

PITCH

Premieres September 22
Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET
Fox

Pitch follows the disruption, positive and otherwise, that would follow the first woman (Kylie Bunbury) to pitch in the major leagues.
Bill Brioux: Newcomer Kylie Bunbury is hard to resist as the first woman to crack a Major League Baseball lineup. She’s surrounded by a strong team, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Ali Larter, Mark Consuelos, Dan Lauria and Bob Balaban. The big twist in the pilot, however, kinda hung over the plate for me. The series should at least benefit from the eleventy-zillion promos that will choke Fox’s World Series coverage. David Hinckley: I really wanted this to be the sports show that worked. It does a lot of things right and there’s great chemistry between Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. But then she takes the mound and, as in almost all those other sports dramas, you just can’t suspend enough disbelief to make it work.

Ed Martin: One of the nicest pilots of the new season falls apart near the end by incorporating one of the laziest (and most widespread) plot devices around – a terrible car crash that happens only because the driver takes his eyes off the road long enough to read this review and is then surprised to learn (in his final moments) that there are other vehicles on the road. Up until then, Pitch feels very fresh and original. It’s definitely worth a try.
Eric Gould: Presumably inspired by the story of little league pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis, Pitch doesn’t solely live on network clichés about a girl (Kylie Bunbury) makin’ it in the show. But this is a broadcast network and the schmaltz oozes like the mustard pump at the hotdog booth. Mark-Paul Gosselaar provides the Bull Durham-standard grizzled old vet with a heart.

Ed Bark: Television is still pitching a no-hitter with series built around baseball.
 

NOTORIUS

Premieres September 22
Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET
ABC

Daniel Sunjata and Piper Perabo star in a legal drama based on real-life lawyer Mark Geragos and Larry King Live news producer Wendy Walker.
Bill Brioux: I forgot I watched this pilot, that’s how notorious it is. No one four miles outside of Hollywood wants to watch a drama about the relationship between the media and criminal law.

Gerald Jordan: Notorious slips easily beneath the limbo pole of ethics – across the board. Piper Perabo needs deep-sea diving gear to plumb the depths of her lack of ethics as a TV news show producer. Daniel Sunjata has the ethics of a barracuda, which probably is appropriate because he’s a shark of a lawyer.
Eric Gould: What if The Newsroom and The Practice had a baby? They would hatch a world where both broadcasters and lawyers alike are gorgeous, sexually ravenous smart-alecks.

Ed Bark: Re-title it Noxious and at least there’d be truth in packaging. Not that it would improve the series otherwise known as Notorious.
Ed Martin: Who wouldn’t want to watch a good show starring Piper Perabo, Daniel Sunjata, and Ryan Guzman? Indeed, a mediocre show starring these three would be easy to take. But, I’m sorry to say, Notorious at best aspires to mediocrity, hindered by one of the lamest narrative foundations any drama has been built upon in years.
 

THE EXORCIST

Premieres September 23
Fridays at 9 p.m. ET
Fox

This adaptation of the 1973 horror film continues the church’s battle against Satan and his preference for demonic possession. (With Geena Davis.)
Bill Brioux: Is it wise to cast Geena Davis – so Botoxed she can no longer register fright – in a re-make of The Exorcist? The pilot had its moments, and great care was taken to shoot on location, but this is one of those remakes no one asked for except studio lawyers sourcing expiry dates on Intellectual Property contracts.

Gerald Jordan: This small-screen version of The Exorcist shadows the movie, but because you know the movie, it’s not as frightening, that is at first. It’s sneaky good in places and you just know that the presence of Geena Davis assures at least some fine work. Viewers might learn more about Catholicism if they can keep their eyes on the screen.
David Hinckley: Thanks to Geena Davis, it’s not so bad it makes your head spin. But it’s not very good, either.

Ed Martin: Easily the most improbable concept for a broadcast TV series in forever. Where can it possibly go? The demonic possession of the week? Of the season? I’ll believe its long-term viability when I see it. Still, I love that this show takes place in the same world as the classic 1973 fright flick that inspired it, and I’m very willing to go for this ride (even if the movie scared me so badly as a kid that I didn’t sleep for two days).
Eric Gould: A reprisal of the 1973 thriller presumably looking to cash in on the popular horror genre, this adaptation is more workmanlike, more psychological – and more under lit -- than its American Horror Story, The Walking Dead counterparts.

Ed Bark: Surprisingly filmic and textured, Fox’s weekly version of the 1973 horror classic just might make some viewers’ heads turn, too.
 

SON OF ZORN

Premieres September 25
Sundays at 9 p.m. ET
Fox

A live action and animated sitcom that envisions what happens when a comic book warrior (voice of Jason Sudeikis) retires and returns home to suburbia to reconnect with his ex-wife (Cheryl Hines) and son.

Bill Brioux: There are plenty of chuckles in the swift-moving pilot. The blend of animation and live-action totally works. The cast is ‘toon-friendly, including Sudeikis as the voice of Zorn as well as flesh and blood players Cheryl Hines, Johnny Pemberton and Tim Meadows. So why does this feel like an extended SNL “Cartoon Funhouse” sketch?

Tom Brinkmoeller: Most of the actors in Son of Zorn spend their screen time talking to emptiness — with the animated title character at the other end of the conversation being added later in production. It should prepare this cast well for the predictably nonexistent audience this bizarre concept should attract (except for the millennials, of course).
Ed Bark: Does a “hybrid live-action/animated comedy” need to be more or less brilliant from the start to succeed? Well, it really helps. But in the case of Fox’s Son of Zorn, it’s just a few grins here and there. And that likely won’t be enough to save this particular world.

David Hinckley:
Crude, a little stupid, a lot funny, even when Cheryl Hines isn’t having intimate relations with a toon.
Eric Gould: You’d think the tale of a Conan the Barbarian-styled cartoon character trying to make nice with his live-action ex-wife and son would have plenty of absurdist territory to wander through, but Zorn is firmly stuck in Sitcomia by the second commercial.

Ed Martin: Beware of bad shows that clip well. Need an example? Watch the trailer for this one … laugh your butt off … marvel at the creative merging of live action and animation … and then try to sit through the first episode.
 

MARVEL'S LUKE CAGE

Premieres September 30
Streaming
Netflix
Netflix continues it's anti-superhero sagas, this time about the crime-fighting ex-con with unbreakable skin.
David Hinckley: Like Jessica Jones, dark. Like Jessica Jones, good.    
 

WESTWORLD

Premieres October 2
Sundays at 9:00 ET
HBO
HBO's sci-fi thriller revives the 1973 film about a western theme park populated by robot actors that goes very dark, and very wrong. With Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins.
David Hinckley: So you’re diligently following who’s alive and who’s dead and stuff like that when suddenly you realize it really isn’t worth the trouble. Ed Bark: Westworld, adapted from the still resonant 1973 feature film, arrives as an alternately gripping and tedious sci-fi meld of “hosts” and “guests,” big ideas and bigger trigger fingers. Its body count is bottomless, because all of the hosts on the receiving ends can simply be taken back to the shop for repairs while the paying guests supposedly are impervious to physical harm. Through the first four episodes, Westworld flexes its lavish production values and has the kernels of what could turn into an increasingly absorbing morality play.  
 

TIMELESS

Premieres October 3
Mondays at 10 p.m. ET
NBC

This sci-fi series envisions a mismatched trio fighting crime throughout history in order to preserve life as we now know it.
Bill Brioux: I was on the set of this in Vancouver when the cast jumped back to the Watergate era. Other stops include Nazi Germany, the Lincoln assassination and the explosion of the Hindenburg. Stars Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett and Goran Visnjic are having fun wearing bell bottoms and other vintage duds in this breezy mix of Mod Squad meets Quantum Leap.

Ed Bark: From the network that brought you Quantum Leap, it’s NBC’s Timeless, which can be far-fetched even for a show of this genre. But it’s also agreeably fast-paced and a good deal of fun before jumping through another hoop at the end that might make the present an almost equally wild mini-ride.
Eric Gould: The cast of Rectify has scattered and is off to make their well-earned rewards – although they certainly don’t appear to be the most guaranteed. It's Abigail Spencer's turn, starring here in a weekly time travel tale full of cliffhangers. Ironically, the time travel machine itself is the CBS eye refashioned into a kind of 3D steel capsule. Perhaps NBC wishes the show were somewhere else.

Gerald Jordan: Time travel is a reliable science-fiction staple. This one pulls together at the last minute a hodgepodge of problem-solvers whose mission is to chase a terrorist into years past. The fascinating twist is something that rings of The Twilight Zone. The formula might not survive over seasons, but the early start is entertaining.
Ed Martin: You’ve got to appreciate a show that is full of surprises and unexpected twists. To wit: In the pilot the heroic time travelers at the center of this science-fiction adventure, who are trying to stop a villain that stole their time machine and plans to change history, are unable to prevent a legendary historic disaster from not happening.  What??  The consequences of screwing around with the past can be highly problematic, as we recently learned from Hulu’s 11/22/63, and that goes a long way toward making this one of the fall season’s most enjoyable new shows.
 

CONVICTION

Premieres October 3
Mondays at 10 p.m. ET
ABC

A young attorney (Hayley Atwell) investigates cases where people may have been wrongly convicted.

Bill Brioux: AKA what this show lacks. Idiotic premise finds former bad girl first daughter (Hayley Atwell) blackmailed into working for a New York District Attorney (Eddie Cahill). Wait, what…blackmailed…into working for the DA?! Shawn Ashmore and others are solid in support, but Atwell still seems to be on a comic book bender. Eric Gould: Forgettable, by-the-numbers procedural about an attorney who, surprise!, overturns seemingly impossible cases. If you’re looking for an hour of mindless distraction, this is it.

Gerald Jordan: Hayley Atwell is supremely confident and certain of just about everything. Her life as a bratty former First Daughter is used to get her to lead investigations by a politically loaded Conviction Integrity Unit, which is supposed to boost higher political aspirations by the New York district attorney. The brat turned conscientious investigator fools everyone – her own staff included – with her brilliance and newfound integrity.
Ed Martin: Agent Carter lives! Okay, not really, but in one of the more pleasing developments of the TV year Hayley Atwell lost one series and gained another seemingly without taking a breath in between. And she’s just as engaging here as she was there playing the take-no-prisoners leader of a team of legal professionals seeking to help individuals who may have been wrongly incarcerated.
 

NO TOMORROW

Premieres October 5
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET
CW

What happens when a woman meets a guy who convinces her to make a list (an “apocalyst”) of things to do before the world ends in eight months and twelve days. (Based on the Brazilian series How to Enjoy the End of The World.)
Ed Martin: Critics are calling this pleasing show a rom-com. That’s not entirely correct. So I’m going to coin the phrase rom-dram. Tori Anderson and Joshua Sasse as young adults bucket-listing their way through what may be earth’s remaining eight months are giant stars waiting to happen and together comprise the sexiest new couple of the season. David Hinckley: So the world’s going to end and you have to cram your whole life into the next couple of months. Do you save the best stuff for last? Or do you front-load the good stuff in case your show gets cancelled?

Gerald Jordan: Would that we all had the courage to toss responsibility aside and live as though the world is ending soon. No Tomorrow makes an interesting run at that premise. Tori Anderson portrays a cubicle-confined quality control assessor who is reluctant to party at all, let alone like it’s 1999. Joshua Sasse is the devil on this angel’s shoulder. Her family and friends provide the laugh track.
Bill Brioux: New drinking game: when this gets canceled, and it could take years since it is on The CW, take a drink for every headline which reads, “There’s ‘No Tomorrow’ for CW series.”
 

FREQUENCY

Premieres October 5
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET
CW

A high-concept adaptation of the 2000 film, this time about a New York City detective who discovers she can communicate with her deceased father over his old ham radio.
Bill Brioux: It’s the Frequency of time travel shows this fall that is startling. This daddy-daughter ghost detective series is also a movie makeover, so bonus points if you’re playing TV Bingo.

Ed Martin: As R.E.M. might ask, what’s the thinking here, Kenneth?  Based on a long-forgotten movie from 16 years ago, I think this science-fictiony drama will be forgotten 16 months from now.  It’s at least one movie-inspired new series too many this season and one new series that plays with the time-stream too many.
David Hinckley: Expect a few changes from the film so it can string out into a series, but it’s got good characters and nice touches on how time-travel can affect history. A better time-travel show than Timeless over on ABC.

Gerald Jordan: Much of the entertainment value in time travel TV shows is the audience’s ability to play pop history and enjoy the bemusement of events changed. Frequency takes audiences on about half the journey – time travel – but back through the personal stories of a police family. Their stories are interesting, but not truly compelling. Maybe in time we’ll care more. For now, we just don’t.
Eric Gould: Question: how many time travel situations can the over-50 demographic follow? Answer: Advertisers don't care.
 

DIVORCE

Premieres October 9
Sundays at 10 p.m. ET
HBO

Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO as a suburban mom who goes into a long, drawn-out battle against her husband.
David Hinckley: Sex and the Suburbs turns out to be a whole lot less edifying for Sarah Jessica Parker. But it gives viewers an engrossing show that understands how to find laughs in a story where the laughter sometimes just stops. Breaking up can be really hard to do. Ed Bark: Shorthand for HBO’s Divorce could be War of the Roses in weekly doses. But there’s no need to wilt at the thought. Sharp scripts and terrific lead performances from Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church take this dramedy beyond the mere contention we expect from the title.  
 

INSECURE

Premieres October 9
Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET
HBO

Issa Rae takes her popular web series into this new cable stint (co-created with Larry Wilmore) about an awkward, modern-day African-American woman.
David Hinckley: If you didn’t think any half-hour show could have more sex jokes than 2 Broke Girls, well, sugar, Issa Rae is here to prove you’re wrong. And it’s pay-cable, so she can just blurt all this stuff right out. She’s funny enough, but a lot of the show does get stuck on that one note. Ed Bark: Insecure gives voice to Issa Rae in a comedy drawn from her Awkward Black Girl web series. Some of her best moments are when her character squares off with herself in a mirror and rehearses what she should or shouldn’t say in big moments.Rae very much deserves to be resoundingly heard at length.  
 

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE

Premieres October 11
Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET
ABC

Katy Mixon (Mike and Molly, Eastbound and Down) stars as an average mom in a wealthy Connecticut town trying to keep her kids’ feet on the ground.
Bill Brioux: Good to see Mixon and Bader again, but this lame, insulting series about a mom who thinks she’s fat after moving to a tony Connecticut neighborhood will make viewers hungry for cable sitcoms with bite and taste.

Ed Martin: I grew up in Fairfield County very close to Westport, the Connecticut town where this so-called sitcom is based – and I can’t relate to anything I saw in the pilot. Conversely, I connected to black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat right from the start. That says a lot about the writing in those two shows and even more about the storytelling in Housewife, a laugh-free, unpleasant misfire in every way.
David Hinckley: If you were looking for echoes of Roseanne, set in a trendy upscale suburb where all the women except our heroine sip tasteless green slime and wear Fitbits on both wrists, have at it. One warning: You’ve now heard most of the jokes.

Gerald Jordan: Katy Mixon couldn’t be more perfect for this sendup of Desperate Housewives. The family’s efforts to move into suburban Connecticut – as renters no less! – so that their special needs child will have access to a wealthy school system with resources galore runs headlong into values and behavior that mom abhors and dad scarcely notices. With a dash of Family Ties thrown in, this comedy has a chance to succeed.
Eric Gould: Katy Mixon was memorable as the unwitting, sometimes impure love interest in Eastbound and Down. She has to play it more down the middle in this sitcom that upturns vanilla suburbia. She’s the sole reason to return and see if American Housewife gains footing, and an audience.
 

FALLING WATER

Premieres October 11
Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET
USA

A high-concept drama involving unrelated characters seemingly sharing the same dreams.
David Hinckley: What if we were all connected in our dreams? Does that mean if we won the lottery in our dreams, we’d have to share it with everyone else Eric Gould: With the addition of Mr. Robot last year, USA continues its move away from its former "Blue Skies" programming format towards more challenging concepts. They hit it out of the park with that show. We'll see if they're able to turn out similar audiences here with even more esoteric content.  
 

HATERS BACK OFF

Premieres October 14
Streaming
Netflix

Colleen Ballinger stars as Miranda Sings, a singer succeeding on the power of her own confidence despite her obvious lack of talent.
Not yet reviewed.    
 

GOLIATH

Premieres October 14
Streaming
Amazon

Billy Bob Thorntn stars as an antihero high-end attorney turned public defender.
David Hinckley: Billy Bob Thornton plays a once-gilded lawyer who now trolls for low-grade public defender gigs and spends the modest proceeds on distilled spirit. Amazon Prime’s new series Goliath doesn’t reinvent television drama. It just reminds us how good it can be when it’s done well. Goliath is the best new series on television this fall. It’s a closed-end story, meaning it will be resolved at the end of its eight episodes. If the franchise returns it will have new players and a new tale, a la Fargo or True Detective. Ed Bark: Given all the loose-ended, bizarro world TV dramas currently in play, it turns out to be a distinct pleasure to review a limited series with a linear storyline and a definitive ending. Amazon Prime’s eight-episode Goliath, provides a bonafide, stand alone payoff with no need for a long wait between seasons to find out what the hell just happened. It also provides another plum TV role for Billy Bob Thornton. Goliath builds to a predictable courtroom confrontation, but it wouldn’t be satisfying without this inevitability. It’s a crackling good yarn of semi-good versus abject evil.  
 

GRAVES

Premieres October 16
Streaming
Epix

What happens when an ex-President, finally free of having to parse his words, does exactly that.
Ed Bark: Nick Nolte is tattered, battered but still standing -- both as an actor and as former Republican President Richard Graves. Nolte’s voice sounds as though he’s just gargled with glass shards. Moreover, his overall physical appearance resembles a totaled car. But at age 75, Nolte’s still a vigorous on-screen presence, cursing his way toward redemption by publicly admitting that the Graves administration did a lot more harm than good. David Hinckley: Nick Nolte as a former president who wakes up one morning and decides to tell the truth. Relax, Washington, it’s just a TV show. Pretty good one, though.  
 

CHANCE

Premieres October 19
Streaming
Hulu

Hugh Laurie returns as a doctor – but this time as a neuropsychologist who becomes the enemy of a corrupt San Francisco detective.
Ed Bark: Laurie plays Eldon Chance, a monotonic San Francisco neuropsychiatrist who spends a lot of time dictating the particulars of his findings. The character is drawn from a novel by Kem Nunn, who previously collaborated with David Milch on both Deadwood and John From Cincinnati. Fair warning, though. Chance can also be too much of a slog with side roads that have little or nothing to do with the central storyline. So far it’s involving to a degree but never enthralling to the max. David Hinckley: Considering what a mess Dr. Gregory House became on Hugh Laurie’s last TV series, it’s hard to believe that in his new one, the situation looks even worse.Yet it does. In Chance, a new Hulu drama, Laurie (top) plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco neuropsychiatrist who lets desperation lead him into several very bad decisions. Laurie proves his versatility again by deftly handling a character quite different from Gregory House or Richard Roper of The Night Manager.   
 
       
 
 


 

 

 

 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
Bohdan Klymkiw
I loved NCIS from day 1, & Bull, too! Bull himself has a heart, and smarts, and charm. If all you see is arrogance, you're not really watching it. Your loss ...
Dec 21, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Derrick Jonson
Is anyone watching Atlanta? The show funny, dramatic, real and surreal at the same time. Most interesting I have seen in years only a few episodes left!
Oct 15, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
 
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