Revolution Television: Fall TV Preview 2018, Networks

Editor’s Note: This was due to be dropped back on Sept 19 – as I’m currently on the 22nd straight day of work, some of which were 15 hour days with virtually no breaks, I ran out of time to get this in. Even fashionably late, I should have known this might happen and prepped earlier in the summer in anticipation. Lesson learned, just pretend we’re still ahead of the game. Thanks.

You may notice that we have snuck in a new feature here at Interjections, with the title REVOLUTION TELEVISION. That’s not exactly the case, as this is a new moniker for the unwieldy “This Will Be Televised” segment we’ve been doing for years. We found the wordy title to be a little too much, and this new designation is no slouch in the subtlety department. Mostly this segment has been utilized for fall season’s preview of all the new shows debuting on basic cable, while highlighting some mid-season, cable and now streaming programs.

Without further adieu, let’s peer behind the looking glass and see what’s coming to the big five channels this autumn:

CBS

“God Friended Me” 8pm Sundays (9/30)

godfriendedme

We picked a doozy to start out this year – the title will certainly be divisive, despite a sentimental premise. Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party) had a proven show last year with ABC’s The Mayor, but it didn’t prove to click with audiences. He still deserves a showcase of his own, but I’m worried this will be another dud. An avowed atheist, Hall’s character Miles has his life turned upside down when the actual GOD friends him on Facebook. Odd situation that’s reminiscent of Joan of ArcadiaEarly Edition, and Quantum Leap all rolled into one, I don’t expect this to blow up the internet, other than “WTF were they thinking with that title” conversations, especially with the inevitable “GOD unfriended by audiences” articles.

“The Neighborhood” 8pm Mondays (10/1)

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Boy, I was ready to steamroll over this one before I read the cast. The premise here is that a ‘nice guy’ from the Midwest heads to a big city and meets some rough characters…but doesn’t let it get to him? Is that it? Well, we have Max Greenfield as that nice guy, coming off his run on New Girl, alongside Beth Behrs, who just closed the chapter of her life that was 2 Broke Girls. Cedric the Entertainer rounds out the cast, and he just won rave reviews for his turn in the indie drama First Reformed. So the talent is here, but what’s the point of it all?

“Happy Together” 8:30pm Mondays (10/1)

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Another guy straight off of New Girl has himself a new series – Damon Wayans, one of the hottest tickets in town stars in this sitcom about a couple hoping to reconnect with their younger selves by housing a budding pop star. The better half of Wayans’ couple is Amber Stevens West, who’s coming off a scene-stealing role in Ghosted, so this is another reason this looks promising. Originally a fun story that may or may not have actually happened to British superstar Harry Styles, the stand-in for him here is Australian actor Felix Mallard (Neighbours). There was a neat episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show that used this as a storyline, and it was mined pretty well for laughs. Let’s just hope this is more than a one-joke show.

“Magnum, P.I.” 9pm Mondays (9/24)

Magnum-PI

Now I have a conundrum. Do I support this new revival because I liked the original premise, or do I pull down the MacGyver route I took last year and steer clear of anything that disgraces the good name of Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV? Good things – the cast: Jay Hernandez should fill Tom Selleck’s shoes just fine, much like Lucas Till (I begrudgingly admit) has filled Robert Dean Anderson’s. He’s joined by Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Tim Kang (The Mentalist) and Perdita Weeks (The Tudors), the latter of which is pulled a gender bend on the sidekick Higgins. I’ve never been bothered with that fad, as it gives more women work in more interesting roles. Higgins was also my favorite, so I’m intrigued to see how Weeks does, and if they’ll shoe in an unnecessary romance with Magnum or not. I’m sure this will be just fine, much like Macgyver ended up, but was there any reason they couldn’t make a new show that was just inspired by the original? I guess not, after Hawaii Five-O. It makes sense, I just love when they have the extra effort.

“FBI” 9pm Tuesdays (9/25)

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In the same mold as the entire Law & Order universe, Dick Wolf has finally branched out of his police procedural realm. Stepping up to the federal level is something somewhat new for Wolf, though I’m sure he’ll be able to handle it. He has partners Missy Peregrym and Jeremy Sisto stepping up to bat in the lineup, as well as newcomers Zeeko Zaki and Ebonee Noel. The original L&O made some names and careers, including Sisto – so I wouldn’t be surprised if these two start out on long ones themselves. Must-see? Maybe for the procedural junkies.

“Murphy Brown” 9:30pm Thursdays (9/27)

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In a way, this isn’t quite a new show. Many millennials are semi-aware that there was a brilliant show in the early 1990s that focused on Candice Bergen’s eponymous character, who is an investigative journalist and news anchor. The ins and outs of the newsroom would remind the world of Network and Broadcast News, and later inspire shows like The Newsroom and Sports Night. The show lasted form 1988 to 1998, and virtually everyone is back for this revival – Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud. Charles Kimbrough and many others will likely pop up in arcs similar to the recent “Roseanne” revival. Sadly, Robert Pastorelli and Pat Corley passed away over a decade ago, which is the collateral to late revivals like these. The update will feature Murphy Brown’s son Avery as a rival anchor working for a conservate cable morning show – played by Jake McDorman (Limitless). Other newcomers include Nik Dodani and Tyne Daly as Phil’s sister. It looks to be quite the scoop to tune in this time around.

Returning Shows – Sunday

Mainstay animation on FOX continues with Bob’s Burgers’ ninth season, Family Guy’s seventeenth season and The Simpsons’ record thirtieth season! The CW will position Supergirl on a night that will influence the return of Charmed and potentially future superhero projects for a night of powerful women, while surprise sleeper hit Good Girls will rile things up over on NBC. Finally, Tea Leoni turns in another season in the popular political drama Madam Secretary.


NBC

“Manifest” 10pm Mondays (9/24)

Manifest - Pilot

 

Jeff, longtime contributor to the Interjections podcast, thinks this looks like a clear-cut cash grab from Robert Zemeckis to manipulate everyone’s fears after the disappearance of Malaysian Air Flight 370. I have to agree a bit, but this also seems very Lost-esque in its approach. Will it land with audiences? The premise skips over the island parts of a Lost scenario, and has a bit of flavor left over from another ABC mystery that stemmed from that same genre, Flash Forward. In this version, Flight 828 out of Jamaica mysteriously vanishes without a trace into thin air on their way to New York. Five years later, the plane re-appears and no time has passed in the plane. How ever will they readjust? Think of all the Game of Thrones spoilers they’ll have to avoid! Honestly, I think we have a whole lot of explaining to do to these passengers for the way we’ve let the world turn out….maybe they’re better off staying vanished?

“New Amsterdam” 10pm Tuesdays (9/25)

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So I sat the whole way through Blackkklansman wondering who the magnificent actor playing the Denver Klan leader was – he certainly wasn’t a missing third Wilson brother, but damn did he look like Luke. Where had I seen him before? Well, it was commercials for this bland cliche of a show. Ryan Eggold, the actor in question, plays Dr. Max Goodwin, a brilliant doctor who becomes medical director of Bellevue Hospital and aims to reform their failing system. One end goal for him? Finding a cure for his terminal illness. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s basically the plot of the terrible show Pure Genius from two seasons ago, the one with Dermot Mulroney. While both programs premiered with the same premise, the advantage this one has is the cast. Check this out: Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil) and Anupam Kher (Silver Linings Playbook). The pedigree here is enough to ensure this hospital is running on all cylinders. Shame it has a ton of hurdles to leap over beyond the cancer storyline.

“I Feel Bad” 9:30pm Thursdays (9/19 Wed)

I Feel Bad - Season Pilot

This is the big reason we’re debuting this afternoon – this was the first new show of the fall season to premiere. Do I Feel Bad that I got here so late? Absolutely. Can it be helped other than with a time machine or your generous patience? Yes. Anyway, this seemingly innocous family comedy stars Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow) as a put-upon mother/wife/daughter who decides to ignore her own pre-conceived notions of perfection and feels bad doing so. Is that funny? I’m not sure. The one thing I do know is that Blue stole every scene she had on No Tomorrow, so I’m glad she got something immediately after that show ended. Is this the best showcase for her talent? Not sure, but if this turns out to be a touching gem, something to pair with This Is Us, then I’ll be glad for her. It just looks a little too easy for someone with her obvious talent.

Returning Shows – Monday

Following a blockbuster first season, 9-1-1 kicks off its two-part premiere by introducing Jennifer Love Hewitt as a replacement dispatcher for the departed Connie Britton. Will sparks fly between her and breakout star Buck (Oliver Stark)? Not romantically, since she’s playing his sister. The Resident, or as I like to call it – The Bad Doctor – will face off against his diametrically opposite counterpart The Good Doctor across rival networks. In the former, Matt Czuchry will continue bending the rules at Chastain Park Memorial to his will, while Sean (Freddie Highmore) will attempt to help his mentor (Richard Schiff) beat cancer in the latter. Michael Weatherly has somehow managed to squeeze a third season out of the uncharismatic Bull. Finally, over at the CW, stalwart Arrow will anchor the night alongside the surprisingly deft Legends of Tomorrow. Will their incredible run continue after this year, or is 2019 the beginning of the end for the DC TV universe?


FOX

“Rel” 9:30pm Sundays (9/9)

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Okay, I lied. This actually already premiered at the beginning of the month, making it the true launch of the fall season. Picked up as a showcase for Lil’ Rel Howery’s talents, the Get Out sidekick plays a single father dealing with the fallout after his wife has an affair. I haven’t been able to check it out, but if it’s as funny as he was in that movie, there’s room for a highlight on Sunday nights in between all the animation. The most interesting part? Sinbad pops up as Rel’s father, at long last proving he isn’t dead. We’ve got video evidence!

“The Cool Kids” 8:30pm Fridays (9/28)

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The only other new show for now on FOX looks like it might be a complete dud. David Alan Grier (Jumanji), Martin Mull (Mr. Mom) and Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace) star as retirees that run the old folks home until Vicki Lawrence (Carol Burnett Show) comes in and upends everything. Seems like a lot of talent for a half-baked premise, no? It seems strange to pin all your hopes on this garbage, especially when they dumped every other comedy, including some quality ones (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth). What are they doing over there, anyway, at FOX?

Returning Shows – Tuesday

The naval criminal investigative service train keeps on rolling with the fifth season of New Orleans, the tenth season of Los Angeles (regularly on Sunday) and the Sixteenth season of the main program, NCIS. The primary superhero evening launches on the CW with The Flash and Black Lightning, while The Gifted rivals them over on FOX. Splitting Up Together and Black-ish are here for the family fare, while Lethal Weapon was inexplicably picked up after the controversial exit of franchise star Clayne Crawford. The big draw of the night will be must-see ratings juggernaut This Is Us, milking everyone’s tears to fuel their third season.


ABC

“The Conners” 8pm Tuesdays (10/16)

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Given its controversial nature, I’m pretty sure I don’t even have to preview this one for all of you. On the other hand, this is the first I’ve ever actually been intrigued enough to watch. Don’t get me wrong, Roseanne the show was probably fairly funny – there’s a reason it was so popular and got revived. However, I’ve never cared for the actual woman Roseanne – mostly because of how loudly obnoxious she is as a comedian. So, to my delight, she did something abhorrent and got herself killed off her own show. (Obviously I would like for her to have been a genuinely compassionate human being, but I digress.) What’s left in Roseanne’s wake are John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, two of our finest actors, and what comedy will they actually find after the funeral?

“The Kids Are Alright” 8:30pm Tuesdays (10/16)

SAWYER BARTH, SANTINO BARNARD, CALEB FOOTE, CHRISTOPHER RICHARDS, JACK GORE, MICHAEL CUDLITZ, MARY MCCORMACK

In the vein of The Goldbergs, ABC hopes they’ve tapped on another family comedy angle – one that honestly reminds me a bit of The Real O’Neals. This one’s even more Catholic and set in a time period, so perhaps it’s a mash-up of the two. Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) heads up this working family, and it honestly seems just as forgettable as the rest of this new crop. Will this be the family-friendly answer to Shameless? Do we even want an answer to that?

“The Rookie” 10pm Tuesdays (10/16)

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Nathan Fillion just can’t leave ABC, can he? Well, I guess if they think he’s their cash cow, even ditching Stana Katic towards the end of Castle but holding on hard to him, then this makes sense. It’s the only natural progression to have him basically take over Katic’s role in a way, but meld his whimsy as Castle to that overachieving investigator character. This doesn’t really interest me whatsoever, mostly because it’s a stale concept of older person falling into the rookie job, such as Robert DeNiro did in the film The Intern. Does Nathan Fillion really want this? Dollar signs to donuts, I bet he’s fine with it all.

“A Million Little Things” 10pm Wednesdays (9/26)

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I suppose this is the next natural step for producers once they saw the ratings behemoth that is This Is Us. Ron Livingston puts in a Kevin Costner style performance in the pilot episode, offing himself to set things in movement for the cast of friends that realize life is short and they have to rekindle their friendships, which had fallen by the wayside due to work and other obligations. The good news is that some of them are talented, such as Romany Malco (Weeds), James Roday (Psych) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica). The bad news is that I can’t see this going very far, though I’m clearly not the target audience, it’s those that fell in love with the tension behind This Is Us and their manipulative editing. I’m sure there’s plenty of sweetness to go around here, but is it worth putting up with the glacial pace?

“Single Parents” 9:30pm Wednesdays (9/26)

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There’s a lot of broad concepts this season (see above), but perhaps none moreso than this one, which puts forward four single adults who must navigate life with their children. Yeah, I guess that would strike me as fascinating, if done well, but a lot of the time these are made to have feel-good popcorn and candy up there for families that want to watch something wholesome with their kids. I think I’ve just been veering towards difficult, dark stuff in the past few years, although The Good Place and GLOW would beg to differ. They picked a great foursome to follow, including Taran Killam (SNL), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Kimrie Lewis (Scandal). I’ll give it a chance if I hear good things from the pilot.

Returning Shows – Wednesday

Continuing to take us back to the ’80s, The Goldbergs has far surpassed my expectations with its lengthy stay on ABC. American Housewife pairs nicely in its sophomore season alongside Modern Family. The soapiest section of the week belongs to the Archie adaptation Riverdale, which will soon be joined by a sister series over on Netflix…Empire and Star sing their way into our hearts, while Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise dominates the evening, with Med followed by Fire followed by P.D. CBS has its own procedurals to counter-balance their rivals: SEAL Team, extending David Boreanaz’s extensive stay on network television, with Criminal Minds backing it up on the way to its fourteenth season.


 

The CW

“Charmed” 9pm Sundays (10/14)

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Fun fact, one of the three new witches on this series that continues the legacy of the charmed Halliwell sisters has been in my car. Madeleine Mantock was in a film I worked on, so I got to know her a bit during that time. She’s also spent time on the show Into the Badlands, so her pedigree for strange fantasy is set. She’ll play the eldest Vera, actually a half-sister to the younger two – played by Melonie Diaz and Sarah Jeffery. The three match up respectively to Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano from the original, for those keeping track. Their mentor in the series is surprisingly played by Rupert Evans, who I thought was one of the lead actors on The Man in the High Castle, so I’m hoping this doesn’t interfere with his schedule, or give any spoilers away by his employment here. Their mission is the same, the plot is the same, the characters are virtually the same. It’s basically a re-do here, and should be charming enough. Yes, I’m fully aware and couldn’t resist.

“All-American” 9pm Wednesdays (10/10)

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This may be the most promising show of the newcomers. It reminds one immediately of earlier teen dramas like Veronica Mars or the CW’s own Riverdale, in that there’s a clash between class, as star football player Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) is recruited for Beverly Hills High’s football team out of South Central. His coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) does his best to help him acclimate, but the challenges may be greater than they anticipate. Simple expectations for this, but the CW has delivered some quality stuff recently, so this could be on the better side of this kind of story.

“Legacies” 9pm Thursdays (10/25)

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Expanding the universe of The Vampire Diaries, this follows up the first expansion The Originals with a younger generation character, Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) as she navigates a boarding school for magical people, such as vampires, witches and werewolves. It seems like a natural progression, and given the ties to the original – she’s the daughter of two recurring characters – this seems like a no-brainer for The CW. If they can pull this off better than the insane The Magicians, then this could become one of their landmark shows for Thursday nights.

Returning Shows – Thursday

Long-running programs Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory face off in what could be each show’s final season (the latter has already confirmed as much). Young Sheldon will continue the story of that young man’s legacy. Mom labors on under the weight of Oscar winner Allison Janney’s talent, and Amy Faris. Station 19, a show I’ve never heard of until now, gets a second season already, while Supernatural and Superstore last longer than anyone gave them credit for. The former is in its incredible fourteenth season, but that’s not even the oldest show on the evening. That honor goes to the ever-present Law & Order: SVU, which ties its flagship show at 20 seasons (as well as Gunsmoke). Olivia Benson has been nailing criminals this whole time. Will & Grace return for a second rebooted season, following growing hit The Good Place, which takes its existential run into new ground, as our heroes have seemingly resurrected themselves. SWAT continues to be a boon for star Shemar Moore, who followed up a lengthy CBS show with another star turn just like Michael Weatherly. Finally, ABC keeps figuring out How to Get Away With Murder.

Returning Shows – Friday

Friday night mainstays Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods are joined by ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat and former ABC show Last Man Standing, which got unceremoniously dumped by the Mouse House and revived over at FOX (who did the same thing to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a mid-season NBC show now). Speechless proved that ABC has a knack for finding small shows a good home. Dynasty surprisingly continues their run on the CW, while Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will finally figure herself out in one final season. The tragically boring Blindspot keeps chugging along, though it’s been passed off onto Fridays alongside cult fantasy show Midnight, Texas.


There you have it – a lot of comedies and dramas that boast talented actors, but none with truly grandiose plots. It’s back to the basics for basic cable – so maybe it’s time to take a look at those with paywalls, like HBO or Showtime, as well as their cousin channels FX and AMC. Tune in tomorrow for what we’ve got coming up in that realm!

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