It’s that time of year again! After months of reruns and tumbleweeds and questionable summer series, our favorite shows will be returning soon (except the ones that were canceled, of course), and the new Fall TV pilots will be premiering. This is always a tricky time, because you have to decide what shows you want to give a chance based only on trailers and descriptions and early reviews, and a lot of the time the ones you don’t give a chance end up being the best. In short, I’m stressed.
We already told you a few of the new shows we think might be in danger of cancellation (or at least should be), so now it’s time to talk about the shows that actually look promising. Watch the trailers, read the plots, and plan your schedule accordingly.
1. Gotham - Monday September 22 at 8/7c on FOX
This is arguably Fall’s most anticipated series, since we live in a pretty Batman-obsessed society. Ben McKenzie (Yo, Ryan Atwood in the [pool] house!) stars as Jim Gordon, future police commissioner of Gotham (played by Gary Oldman in the Christopher Nolan movies). He’s now just a young detective investigating the murder of little Bruce Wayne’s parents. Various villains like Catwoman will also have their origin stories told.
2. The Flash – Tuesday October 7 at 8/7c on The CW
Yep, another superhero show. This one’s a spin-off of The CW’s already successful Arrow, and it stars Grant Gustin (from Glee and also that Lifetime movie about the evil girlfriend) as Barry Allen, a young man who acquires superhuman speed and becomes The Flash. Oh, what the hell. It could be fun.
3. Marry Me - Tuesday October 14 at 9/8c on NBC
I have my fingers crossed so hard that this one will be good, because it was written by Happy Endings creator David Caspe, who just so happens to be married to Happy Endings star Casey Wilson, who is also in this. She stars with Ken Marino, who also happens to be hilarious. They star as a couple who just can’t get their marriage proposal right. Please let this be good.
4. Gracepoint - Thursday October 2 at 9/8c on FOX
This one’s based on the acclaimed British series Broadchurch, about a murder investigation in a small town. Both versions star David Tennant, and on the one hand why do we have to remake everything for American audiences? On the other hand, David Tennant is great, as is his co-star Anna Gunn. She’s won enough Emmys for Breaking Bad, so she better be good.
5. Bad Judge – Thursday October 2 at 9/8c on NBC
The concept behind this show is that Kate Walsh plays a judge who can’t get anything right in her non-work life. Get it? A judge with poor judgment! But something about this just makes me want to give it a chance. Kate Walsh won me over on Fargo, and I have this weird feeling this show could be this year’s Trophy Wife — a concept you think is dumb but turns out to be really funny. Or I could be wrong and you’ll all say “I told you so.”
6. Constantine - Friday October 24 at 10/9c on NBC
Another comic book adaptation that I initially thought wouldn’t win out against Gotham, but commenters came out in full force to insist this one has promise as well. It’s based on the comic Hellblazer, about a demon hunter. Let’s give it a shot.
7. Forever - Monday September 22 at 10/9c on ABC, then in its regular slot on Tuesday September 23 at 10/9c
Ioan Gruffudd stars as an immortal medical examiner who studies dead people in order to figure out why he can’t die. Hmm, that actually sounds pretty interesting. Sure, it’s another procedural, but at least it has a fresh angle. I’ll give it a whirl.
8. Red Band Society - Wednesday September 17 at 9/8c on FOX
This show is set in the children’s ward of a hospital and narrated by a patient there who’s in a coma. It co-stars the fabulous Octavia Spencer, and based on the trailer it looks like it might be able to avoid becoming a cheesefest and actually tell some heartwarming stories.
9. Madam Secretary - Sunday September 21 at 8/7c
The big theme this year on TV seems to be “women in charge.” Here Tea Leoni plays a former CIA agent who becomes Secretary of State. Of course she has an unconventional approach to things as well as a family at home (GASP). I’m usually zero percent interested in CBS’ offerings, but they have done well with The Good Wife, so let’s give this one a shot.
10. How to Get Away With Murder - Thursday September 25 at 10/9c on ABC
This one has Shonda Rimes as a producer, so if you got sick of Scandal and want to try out something similar when it’s still fresh-faced, maybe this is what you’re looking for. It doesn’t hurt that Viola Davis is the star, since she’s pretty damn awesome. Here she’s a tough-as-nails law professor.
11. Mulaney - Sunday October 5 at 9:30/8:30c on FOX
Another one I’m hoping will be good, since it was created by and stars John Mulaney, very funny stand-up comedian and former SNL writer. He plays — surprise! — a New York comedian who writes jokes for a game-show host played by Martin Short. Please be good, please be good. The trailer actually made me giggle, so that’s a good start.
12. Houdini - Monday September 1 at 9/8c on History
This is a two-part miniseries starring Adrien Brody as the famous magician. As someone who was once (and still sort of is) very interested in how magic works (The Prestige and The Illusionist were my jams in 2006), I am very intrigued. And it’s nice to see History showing something semi-historical and not related to aliens or pawn shops for once.
(Image: Fox, via NY Daily News)