Ready For Fall: 30 New TV Shows at a Glance
The Fall TV season is finally here, with most new series beginning to premiere next week. There may be 30 new shows listed below, but the overlap of premises is impressive, especially among the major networks. We’ve got your moving-back-in-with-the-parents cases; spin-offs, fairy tales, vampires, period pieces and adaptations of novels; several TV stars of the ’90s looking to land comebacks; several movie stars taking comfort in the thriving TV game; and a Lifetime series about witches. Not all of these shows will survive the year — maybe not even the month — but there’s plenty debuting this season that appears worth a try. So, set your DVRs as you so please.
Fall TV 2013:
Fox, Monday, Sept. 16, 9/8C
The cast: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie
The gist: Washington Irving’s tale is brought to the present, along with lead character Ichabod Crane, frozen in time for 250 years. He returns to Sleepy Hollow to help the sheriff fight the town’s general evilness, including the Headless Horseman.
Fox, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 8/7C
The cast: Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Joe Lo Truglio, Melissa Fumero
The gist: Samberg is an immature police detective; Braugher is his by-the-books captain. Hijinks! From Parks and Recreation’s Dan Goor and Michael Schur.
Fox, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 8/7C
The cast: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Peter Riegert, Martin Mull
The gist: Two video game developers aren’t pleased when their fathers move in with them. So, it’s Sh*t My Dad Says, brought to you by Seth MaFarlane.
NBC, Monday, Sept. 23, 10/9C
The cast: James Spader, Megan Boone
The gist: One of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives offers to help the bureau track down other elusive criminals, but he’ll only work with a rookie agent for reasons she’s not yet sure of. Spader is always solid, and although the previews give away much of the pilot’s plot, the series looks promising.
CBS, Monday, Sept. 23, 10/9C
The cast: Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott, Tate Donovan
The gist: An FBI agent-turned-terrorist kidnaps a surgeon and her family the night before she is to operate on the president of the United States. He threatens their lives if she doesn’t kill the president. Collette’s presence definitely raises my hopes for the series, despite its CBS home.
CBS, Monday, Sept. 23, 9/8C
The cast: Anna Farris, Allison Janney
The gist: A single mom (and recovering alcoholic) moves to Napa Valley, Calif., to begin a new chapter in life and try not to clash with her mother. This is another Chuck Lorre vehicle, so proceed with caution.
ABC, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9/8C
The cast: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, Sean Giambrone
The gist: It’s the ’80s, and this family is crazy! They even wear matching sweaters! The 11-year-old son is there to film it all, standing in for creator and childhood-rememberer Adam F. Goldberg.
ABC, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 10/9C
The cast: Stephen Louis Grush, Matt Long, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Summer Bishil, Anastasia Phillips, Lorraine Bruce, Luis Antonio Ramos
The gist: The lives of seven employees of a Queens gas station change dramatically once they win the lottery. Adaptation of the British series The Syndicate.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 8/7C
The cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge
The gist: Agent Coulson lives! And he’s got a team of secret agents in this Avengers spin-off via Joss Whedon, which, who are we kidding, you’re all going to watch.
ABC, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9/8C
The cast: Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins
The gist: Former partier Kate marries Brad after they meet at karaoke, and with Brad comes three crazy kids and two ex-wives. The presence of Whitford and Harden (who has been fabulous on The Newsroom this season) is reassuring, but the premise isn’t.
Back in the Game
ABC, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 8/7C
The cast: Maggie Lawson, James Caan
The gist: A divorced single mother and former all-star softball player moves in with her estranged father (and ex-baseball player). So you see, the title has more than one meaning.
The Crazy Ones
CBS, Thursday, Sept. 26, 9/8C
The cast: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar
The gist: An eccentric father runs an advertising agency with his more serious daughter. From David E. Kelley, this marks Williams’ first return to TV since Mork & Mindy and Gellar’s return since the short-lived Ringer.
The Michael J. Fox Show
NBC, Thursday, Sept. 26, 9/8C
The cast: Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt
The gist: The always lovable Fox returns to network TV with a character not unlike himself: A retired news anchor, who left to focus on his health (Parkinson’s) and his family, returns to work after five years. No way is this show not sweet.
CBS, Thursday, Sept. 26, 8/7C<
The cast: Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale
The gist: A news reporter informs his parents he’s getting divorced, which spurs his dad to leave his mom and the mom to move in with the son. The only way this could be good is if Margo pulls a Mags Bennett and shares some of her Apple Pie with her family …
ABC, Sunday, Sept. 29, 10/9C
The cast: Hannah Ware, Stuart Townsend, Chris J. Johnson
The gist: In the vein of Revenge, the soap promises affairs, legal battles and possibly murder.
HBO, Sunday, Sept. 29, 10/9C
The cast: Stephen Merchant
The gist: The Office co-creator Merchant enlists Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky to make us all uncomfortable watching Merchant play Stuart, an awkward English designer who moves to L.A. and lacks the first notion of how to successfully interact with women.
Masters of Sex
Showtime, Sunday, Sept. 29, 10/9C
The cast: Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan
The gist: A look at real-life researchers Williams Masters and Virginia Johnson, who were pioneers in studying sex, from humans’ sexual responses to sexual disorders. Based on the book by Thomas Maier.
We Are Men
CBS, Monday, Sept. 30, 8/7C
The cast: Chris Smith, Jerry O’Connell, Tony Shalhoub, Kal Penn
The gist: After Carter (Smith) is left at the altar, he moves to a short-term apartment complex and befriends three bachelors. One has been divorced twice, one has been divorced four times and one cheated on his wife and is trying to win her back. Lovely.
NBC, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 10/9C
The cast: Blair Underwood, Brent Sexton, Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer, Neal Bledsoe, Kenneth Choi
The gist: A remake of the 1970s series and yet another police procedural. Ironside is a tough New York cop who, after being shot in the back during a chase, has to use a wheelchair.
Super Fun Night
ABC, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 9/8C
The cast: Rebel Wilson, Lauren Ash, Liza Lapira
The gist: Three friends try to maintain their traditional “Friday Fun Night” in the face of adulthood and changing responsibilities. Created by Rebel Wilson and Conan O’Brien.
CW, Thursday, Oct. 3, 9/8C
The cast: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Charles Michael Davis, Phoebe Tonkin
The gist: A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, the Original vampires from that tale have left Mystic Falls and set up camp in New Orleans.
Sean Saves the World
NBC, Thursday, Oct. 3, 9/8C
The cast: Sean Hayes, Sami Isler, Linda Lavin, Thomas Lennon
The gist: Career-oriented, divorced and gay, Hayes is a dad trying to win over his 14-year-old daughter, who has just moved in with him. We’ll see just how Just Jack things get.
Welcome to the Family
NBC, Thursday, Oct. 3, 8/7C
The cast: Mike O’Malley, Mary McCormack, Ricardo Chavira, Justina Machado
The gist: A white girl falls in love with a Latino boy, and their respective families have to come together to, you know, survive in this crazy time of 2013?
Witches of East End
Lifetime, Sunday, Oct. 6, 10/9C
The cast: Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston, Eric Winter
The gist: Joanna Beauchamp has to break the news to her daughters that they’re immortal witches with some serious untapped powers. Inspired by the novel by Melissa de la Cruz. You had me at Lifetime + witches.
The Tomorrow People
CW, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 9/8C
The cast: Robbie Amell, Peyton List, Luke Mitchell, Aaron Yoo
The gist: A group of teens represent the next stage in human evolution with their abilities to hear voices and teleport, among other special powers.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
ABC, Thursday, Oct. 10, 8/7C
The cast: Sophie Lowe, John Lithgow, Michael Socha, Barbara Hershey, Naveen Andrews, Peter Gadiot
The gist: A spin-off of Once Upon a Time based on Alice and her Wonderland adventures, among other memorable characters.
CW, Thursday, Oct. 17, 9/8C
The cast: Adelaide Kane, Toby Regbo, Megan Follows, Rossif Sutherland
The gist: The tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, comes to the small screen and surely takes detours from history.
NBC, Friday, Oct. 25, 10/9C
The cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessia de Gouw
The gist: Bram Stoker’s tale is told yet again, this time with Dracula hanging around Victorian London, posing as an American entrepreneur. There’s a romance on his horizon, naturally
Fox, Monday, Nov. 4, 8/7C
The cast: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy
The gist: Futuristic crime drama in which LAPD officers are paired with highly evolved androids. From J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman (Fringe).
Fox, Friday, Nov. 8, 9/8C
The cast: Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell, Parker Young
The gist: Three brothers in the armed services all assigned to the same base for soldiers not deployed overseas.
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.