The fall is upon us: the leaves are turning brown, the children are turning smarter, and if you listen very, very closely you can hear the collective snap of a thousand child-proof caps of Xanax bottles being popped open by anxious TV executives all along Ventura Boulevard. So what's going to die? What's going to survive? What's going to thrive? Let's take a look.
New Fall Shows
SHOW: The Crazy Ones
SYNOPSIS: Robin Williams is a nutty partner at top notch advertising agency Lewis, Roberts & Roberts who works with his tightly wound protege and daughter, Sarah Michelle Gellar. In the pilot, they do wacky things all in the name of a Big Mac.
MOST LIKELY TO: Make You Yearn For The Days of Mork & Mindy
WILL IT SURVIVE: Some of Williams' finest work was on the small screen—but he's also starring in one of CBS' first single cams in recent history. Will the appeal translate? Probably. Will it make to season 2? It's anyone's guess.
INFO: CBS, Thursdays at 9:00 PM / Premieres September 26th
SHOW: Super Fun Night
MOST LIKELY TO: Undo All The Love You Previously Had for Rebel Wilson
SYNOPSIS: Rebel Wilson and her two friends are nerds who have spent every Friday night indoors for the last 13 years having a "Friday Fun Night" but decide to up the ante when Rebel falls for a cute coworker. This show was developed at and ultimately not picked up at CBS last season, and quickly bought by ABC.
IS THIS ANY BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND: Given that ABC network development employees are openly discussing throughout the industry how bad the dailies are coming in...no shot.
INFO: ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30 PM / Premieres October 2nd
SHOW: Sleepy Hollow
MOST LIKELY TO: Stretch The Bounds of Logic Further Than Any Other Show This Season
SYNOPSIS: Ichabod Crane dies during a mission for George Washington and wakes up in 2013 in Sleepy Hollow, but the Headless Horseman that was killed by Ichabod before he died himself shows up too. The Horseman is killing again, and only Ichabod can stop him, so he partners up with local law enforcement... even though everyone think he's a crazy person because he can't stop talking about 1776.
WILL THIS MAKE ANY SENSE IN FUTURE EPISODES: Well, the sheriff is willing to partner with a crazy person who talks about being from 1776 and believes that he has killed this Headless Horseman before. So. Um. It's a show about a murderer (and apparently writers) without a brain.
INFO: FOX, Mondays at 9:00 PM / Premieres September 16th
SHOW: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
MOST LIKELY TO: Convert You To Only Pining After Jewish Funnymen
SYNOPSIS: Andy Samberg is a goofy but excellent detective who must deal with a tough new captain and a band of merry misfit detectives.
IS ANDY SAMBERG FUNNY EVEN WHEN HE'S NOT SINGING ABOUT ORGASMING IN HIS JEANS: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It's a simple premise that's a throwback to 21 Jump Street, and it's from Parks & Rec creator Mike Schur and Parks EP Dan Goor (who wrote arguably one of the best pilots shot two years ago), so the simple premise let's the comedy shine. Throw in an excellent supporting cast (and Chelsea Perretti, but hey can't win 'em all), and this couldn't be any better.
INFO: FOX, Tuesdays at 8:30 PM / Premieres September 17th
SHOW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
MOST LIKELY TO: Make You Hate Punctuation Marks
SYNOPSIS: Agent Phil Coulson and his small squad of superheroes fight crimes and dispense justice with a side of witty repartee.
DOES IT LIVE UP TO BUFFY: LOL trick question, nothing lives up to Buffy The Vampire Slayer except for binge rewatches of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and maybe the Friends porno Buffay The Vampire Layer but that's neither here nor there). But creator Joss Whedon also brought us cult classic Firefly, so it stands to reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue his hot streak in television. Despite initial reports of a rocky start, Whedon and co-creators/showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are experts at making high-concepts come off very grounded (see: the beloved Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog), so S.H.I.E.L.D. should do just fine.
INFO: ABC, Tuesdays at 8:00 PM / Premieres September 24th
SHOW: The Goldbergs
MOST LIKELY TO: Save You Years Of Regression Therapy
SYNOPSIS: Adam Goldberg created a show based on his experiences growing up as a middle child in a loud, ornery Middle American family.
HOW IS THIS SPECIAL: That's the point. Stop asking for shows with crazy premises that have to be abandoned immediately. Goldberg created a relatable and hilarious show. Plus it stars Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Clovey as his insane, and insanely loud, parents. What's not to love?
INFO: ABC, Tuesdays at 9:00 PM / Premieres September 24th
SHOW: Masters of Sex
MOST LIKELY TO: Wear Out Your Vibrator In One Episode
SYNOPSIS: Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan take on the eponymous roles of pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson in this period dramedy about pioneering sexual research.
WILL IT LAST LONGER THAN 30 SECONDS: Haha, get it, because, sex jokes? If we're analogizing this show's ability to captivate in sexual terms, then this is some serious Sting and Trudie next level tantric shit. Why is it so great? Lizzy Caplan is so perfect it's scary, and Michael Sheen is excellent in his mad scientist love of figuring out how to make you orgasm. Also, it's a show about sex.
INFO: Showtime, Sundays at 10:00 PM / Premieres September 29th
SHOW: The Blacklist
MOST LIKELY TO: Deter You From A Career In Federal Law Enforcement
SYNOPSIS: James Spader is one of the world's most wanted fugitives, who voluntarily turns himself in to the FBI and offers to hand over the world's most wanted criminals the FBI doesn't even know about, on one condition: he get to work with a young female agent he has no apparent ties to, who's definitely not going to be revealed to be his daughter or anything later in the season.
WATCH LIVE, TIVO, OR READ WIKIPEDIA SUMMARIES?: Definitely Wikipedia. As great as Spader is, isn't this just White Collar with dangerous criminals? Bald James Spader has nothing on Matthew Bomer's bouffant.
INFO: NBC, Mondays at 10:00 PM / Premieres September 23rd
SHOW: Sean Saves The World
MOST LIKELY TO: Remind You How Much You Miss Jack 2000
SYNOPSIS: Sean is a single gay dad who just received full time custody of his daughter after her mother moves away. Unfortunately, his attempts at helicopter parenting are foiled by a tough new boss, the always brilliant Thomas Lennon.
ISN'T THIS JUST JACK AND ELLIOTT FROM WILL & GRACE: Yes and no. Hayes was made for multi-cams and plays that role effortlessly here, but surprisingly, doesn't slip right back into Jack MacFarland. The show could use some stronger laughs to get it to Just Jack status, but Hayes is consistently excellent.
INFO: NBC, Thursdays at 9:00 PM / Premieres October 3rd
SHOW: The Mindy Project
MOST LIKELY TO: Make You Never Want To See Another Guest Star As Long As You Live
SYNOPSIS: Mindy is back and just as good as before. The standout parts of last season were quippy one-liners that are brilliant even if they weren't the main joke, not the myriad guest stars, so here's hoping that season 2 of the speculum brigade will let Mindy and Chris Messina shine (looking at you Franco, go home you're drunk).
INFO: FOX, Tuesdays at 9:30 / Premieres September 17th
MOST LIKELY TO: Force You To Invest In Kleenex Stock
SYNOPSIS: Thank god the NBC gods heard our pleas and the Braverman clan is back. Christina is recovering from cancer, Julia is recovering from almost returning her child like he was a pair of ill-fitting pumps at Nordstrom, and Sarah is recovering from the fact that she still can't hold down a man and lives in her parents garage. I may sound snarky but it is all so, so, so good.
INFO: NBC, Thursdays at 10:00 PM / Premieres September 26th
MOST LIKELY TO: Liberate Women From Years Of Trying Cry Attractively In Front Of Their Boyfriends
SYNOPSIS: Carrie just helped Brody escape after the CIA is blown up at the funeral of the vice president, just after Saul tells her how she was right and he was wrong. If this is how the CIA is run, no wonder most Americans seem to have lost faith in our government.
INFO: Showtime, Sundays at 9:00 PM / Premieres September 29th
MOST LIKELY TO: Break Your Television Set (Because You Kicked It When You Found Out There Was a Three Week Break Midseason Just As Someone Got Shot)
SYNOPSIS: Three words: Olivia. Motherfuckin. Pope.
INFO: ABC, Thursdays at 10:00 PM / Premieres October 3rd