Hey guys are you READY FOR SOME NEW TV!?!?!?!? Me too! But I have some bad news, and there's no way to put this lightly: This year's fall television slate looks atrocious, particularly with regard to the dust cloud that is the selection of new network shows. But that won't stop us from compiling a seasonal list of our most-anticipated new series, no sir it will not! Who cares that we're not nearly as excited about fall TV as we have been in the past? We're putting on a smile and pretending, just like we do whenever we eat our in-laws' broccoli casserole.
That isn't to say that there's nothing worthwhile out there, because some of this year's freshmen series look like a genuine good time—including one about adultery, one about immaculate conception, and one about a super speedy guy. But with cable networks largely avoiding of the fall rush and broadcast networks holding some of their more impressive offerings for the midseason, I'd be lying if I said that filling out the second half of this list didn't feel a bit forced.
Yikes—sorry to get all Negative Nancy on you, but I like to tell it how it is. So, uh, while I'm at it, no, Gotham is not on the list (here's why). But with that said, let's take a look at the 10 best-looking new shows coming at you this fall!
WHEN IT'S ON: Fridays at 10pm starting September 12
WHO'S IN IT: Tom Everett Scott, Harold "Waaaaaaalt!" Perrineau, DJ Qualls, and a bunch of people who will be eaten by zombies
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! This is Syfy's answer to The Walking Dead, in which a survivor of the zombie plague who might be the answer to finding a cure is hiked across the country by a tough guy with a gun, en route to the last-known-functioning virus lab. The "Z" stand for zombies, we think.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: Guys, the fall season is so dismal that a Syfy series from the same production company that brought you Sharknado has made the "most-anticipated" cut. But hey, it's got a decent cast and maybe a tornado will suck up a bunch of zombies and send them hurtling through the air at poor chumps.
9. The Comeback (HBO)
WHEN IT'S ON: Sundays at 10pm starting November 9
WHO'S IN IT: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Akerman, Lance Barber, Dan Bucatinsky, Robert Michael Morris, Laura Silverman, and Damian Young. Basically the entire cast of the original.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Technically this isn't a brand-new show, but it's been so long since The Comeback first aired that it may as well treat it like one! Kudrow stars as reality-show personality Valerie Cherish in this satire of unscripted television and celebrity from Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: The original was canceled way too soon (it ran for only one 13-episode season, in 2005), and with reality television having sunk to even crazier lows in the last decade, this comeback for The Comeback is just we need. We're looking forward to seeing Cherish act even more self-absorbed and nutso.
8. Constantine (NBC)
WHEN IT'S ON: Fridays at 10pm starting October 24
WHO'S IN IT: Matt Ryan (not the one you're drafting in the 11th round of your fantasy football league), Harold "Waaaaaaalt!" Perrineau, Charles Halford, and Angelica Selaya.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: This is yet another take on the DC Comics character John Constantine (Keanu gave it a go on the big screen), a master of the occult who must save the world from demons and other horrible monsters we aren't yet aware of. He's a bit of a smartass, too.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: Constantine could finally be the Friday-night complement to Grimm (sorry, Dracula) that we've all been looking for. It's somewhat humorous while banishing demons back to hell, and it almost has a Supernatural feel to it... just with a little less chiseled cheekbone. The pilot was a pleasant surprise; here's hoping the series can keep up the quality for a whole season.
7. Madam Secretary (CBS)
WHEN IT'S ON: Sundays at 8pm starting September 21
WHO'S IN IT: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Erich Bergen, Evan Roe, and Geoffrey Arend.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A former CIA analyst is plucked out of retirement to become the new Secretary of State. And she's a woman!
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: It's kinda like The Good Wife but in the White House! Madam Secretary is poised to revitalize the careers of several of its stars, and Leoni's title character—Elizabeth McCord—shows real promise as a commanding female force. However, word's still out on whether the show can make its "family drama" element work.
6. The Chair (Starz)
WHEN IT'S ON: Saturdays at 11pm starting September 6
WHO'S IN IT: Zachary Quinto (sorta, as a mentor and an executive producer) and a bunch of people you probably aren't familiar with.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Two unknown directors adapt the same screenplay in this Project Greenlight follow-up (both shows were/are executive-produced by Good Will Hunting producer Chris Moore). It's a reality competition about the art of creating film... or the disastrous practice of destroying it. The directors' finished movies will air on Starz as well as in theaters, and there's a $250,000 prize on the line.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: It's like dueling Project Greenlights in one show! But instead of focusing solely on the filmmaking process, The Chair will also examine how different people interpret the same raw material. Hey, at least it isn't another reality show about sleeping around!
5. Transparent (Amazon Instant Video)
WHEN IT'S ON: All 10 episodes of Season 1 will be available Friday, September 26 on Amazon Prime Instant Video
WHO'S IN IT: Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, and Judith Light.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A family is kicked in the pants when its patriarch (Tambor) shares some big, life-changing news with his adult children.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: This art-house indie series from writer Jill Soloway is easily the best thing Amazon has produced to date (which, okay, isn't saying a whole lot), and it's already a hit with critics because of its sharp writing and open-minded attitude toward gender politics.. Tambor's fantastic in it, too.
4. Red Band Society (Fox)
WHEN IT'S ON: Wednesdays at 9pm starting September 17
WHO'S IN IT: Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable, Griffin Gluck (the kid from Back in the Game!), Nolan Sotillo, Charlie Rowe, Brian Bradley, Zoe Levin, and Ciara Bravo.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Several kids battle life-threatening illnesses and other ailments in the pediatric ward of a hospital while forming bonds they never knew they were capable of, and you cry your little eyes out because life is great and all that. But it's uplifting! Probably!
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: Unlike so many other shows about pretty teenagers, Red Band Society centers on pretty teenagers who live in a world without the trappings of high-school politics—and where death (of the non-murder variety) is a reality. Expect emotional storylines that run deeper than who's dating who. Plus, it's narrated by a kid in a coma and may feature a more mystical element as well.
WHEN IT'S ON: Tuesdays at 8pm starting October 7
WHO'S IN IT: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, and Wentworth Miller.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Regular-speed guy becomes super-speedy guy after an accident turns him into television's handsomest new superhero.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: Ever since the extended trailer for the show was released back in mid-May, a good chunk of the TV.com team has been drooling over The CW's upcoming superboy drama. Yeah, TV pilots are known for making a splash with dazzling special effects that their series won't be able to afford for a whole season, and origin stories are beat-by-beat predictable, but come on! The guy runs really fast! And unlike other, more serious superheroes, The Flash likes to have fun.
2. Jane the Virgin (The CW)
WHEN IT'S ON: Mondays at 9pm starting October 13
WHO'S IN IT: Gina Rodriguez, Justin Baldoni, Brett Dier, Andrea Navedo, Yael Grobglas, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil, and Michael Rady.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, Jane the Virgin follows a 20-something woman whose grandma burned a no-sex-until-marriage policy into her brain at a young age, but her world goes whoopsie-daisy when she's *ahem* accidentally artificially inseminated by a doctor. Yikes!
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: Yes, Jane the Virgin is seriously at No. 2. It may have one of the most ridiculous premises of any show ever made, but it's also a shockingly heartfelt dramedy about faith, family, and love, and with a strong cast, to boot. Keep an eye on Gina Rodriguez (Jane), because she's about to break out as one of The CW's biggest new stars.
1. The Affair (Showtime)
WHEN IT'S ON: Sundays at 10pm starting October 12
WHO'S IN IT: Dominic West (McNulty!), Maura Tierney, Joshua Jackson (Pacey!), and Ruth Wilson.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: An affair, dummy! When two halves of two different married couples decide to have a fling, it tears their families apart and makes for a compelling premium-cable drama.
WHY WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT: That cast is as excellent as it gets! And they've got plenty of good material to work with, as The Affair is a complex character study that delves into the psychological effects of infidelity rather than portraying it as sexy escapism. While the series may not sound all that great on paper, we've already screened the pilot and we can't wait to see more, thanks to a riveting storytelling style that we don't want to spoil for you. Trust us.
– Marry Me (NBC, October 14): This sitcom from Happy Endings creator David Caspe stars Happy Endings' Casey Wilson and Childrens Hospital's Ken Marino as a couple looking to take the plunge into marriage.
– Black-ish (ABC, September 24): Anthony Anderson headlines this family comedy as a successful black man who's trying to raise his kids to respect their roots and culture, but is finding it difficult to do so in today's society. Damn iPhones!
– How to Get Away With Murder (ABC, September 25): Shonda Rhimes produces this drama (of course she does) about a group of law students who get caught up in a murder plot. It'll be so crazy and Scandal-y that your eyeballs will melt.
– Gracepoint (Fox, October 2): This American adaptation of the U.K. series Broadchurch retells the story of two detectives investigating the death of a young boy (though it's currently unclear how similar or different the two stories will be as Gracepoint progresses). Doctor Who's David Tennant reprises his lead detective role from the original—but with an American accent—and Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn co-stars as his female counterpart.
TV.com's 2014 Fall Preview:
New Shows, Network Schedules, Trailers, and More
AIRED ON 10/2/2015
Season 2 : Episode 4
AIRS ON 10/9/2015
Season 2 : Episode 5