It’s officially September and that means new network TV and lots of it. Below are the new shows with air dates, trailers and descriptions (along with links to the pilots on Hulu if applicable). If you already know what you want to see, skip to after the list for my take on this year’s new shows and head to the comments to share what new shows you’ll be trying out!
Honestly, this is the weakest line-up of new shows I’ve seen in a couple years. Unlike previous years, none of the trailers or descriptions made me feel like I was really excited for the show. That said, I haven’t been great in the past at correctly identifying what shows I will like based on the trailer and even my previous strategy of watching at least the pilots for all the new shows hasn’t worked out very well. Sometimes shows will take me by surprise and I end up watching the whole series after expecting to hate it and other times I get things very wrong and I end up watching the entire first season of The Following and hoping it was going to improve.
I have currently seen three of these new shows thanks to early releases online – Red Band Society, Selfie, and A to Z. I liked each of them enough to watch the second episode when it comes out but I’m not at all certain I will continue watching any of them yet.
I wanted to like Red Band Society more than I did. Unfortunately in leaned pretty heavily into one of my least favorite tropes (the bitchy cheerleader) for the first part of the episode. I was a cheerleader in high school and loved the dancing/stunting/performing aspects of it very much so while I’m very used to the portrayal of them as terrible, mean people who never take off their uniform (which are super uncomfortable, btw) that doesn’t make me like it any better. You also lose points if you aren’t properly cheering, though I’m less cranky about that. The combination of mean cheerleaders and bad cheering, however, just annoys me to what is admittedly an irrational level and Red Band Society did both. Fortunately, it’s not something that looks like it’ll play a huge role going forward and there were parts of the episode that I did really enjoy. I liked the ending with Jordi running through the halls and encountering the other patients, it was a little cheesy but I’m not at all averse to that sort of thing so it really worked for me.
I also want to like Selfie more than I do. I loved Emily Kapnek’s last show and I love John Cho but both of the leads are almost startlingly unlikable for a comedy pilot. The entire point of the show is that people change and that neither of these extremes that these two people occupy is good for them but I don’t know that I want to wait for that process to take place. That said, it’s a comedy pilot and they are hard to do well. I’m ok with giving it a little bit more time in the hopes that it’ll settle into itself quickly.
In my first surprise of the year, I was much more taken by A to Z than I expected to be. This almost entirely comes down to the talents of Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti and the fact that they are just incredibly charming to watch. I actually like the idea of going into a show knowing that the relationship that I will be getting invested in is going to fail. I want to see that progression from beginning to end because if it’s done well, I think it could be interesting.
Of the other news shows that aren’t available early, I currently have Madam Secretary, The Flash, Cristela and State of Affairs listed as shows that I think I’ll probably end up watching. This is all subject to change after first viewing, but from the trailers and early reviews, that’s what I foresee happening. I’ll also try out Mulaney, Gotham, Marry Me, Black-ish, How to Get Away with Murder, The McCarthys, and Constantine.
I am torn on Gracepoint. It’s been a few months now and I still don’t understand why it exists or how I feel about watching it. I like David Tennant and Anna Gunn but I don’t necessarily want to watch the story over again even if it does have a different ending. The trailer is just so identical to the original and that doesn’t give me high hopes.
So what are your thoughts on this year’s group of shows? What will you be watching? What are you sure you’ll avoid? If you’ve seen any of the pilots, what did you think of them? And if you’re so inclined, what are your predictions for the success of these shows?