In the three previous blogs, I rate this fall's 24 new fall shows. Before reading those, however, catch this overview:
By MIKE HUGHES
Each September, TV people pretend their world hasn’t
Cable retreats (briefly); broadcast networks introduce
20-some new shows and say these will change everything. Occasionally, they do.
Now the season is ready. One series (the “Utopia” reality
show) starts Sunday (Sept. 7); two arrive Sept. 17. Most wait until the week of
Sept. 21 or later. It adds up to 24 new shows; trends include:
COMEDY NIGHTS CRUMBLE:
First, NBC forfeited its “must-see” comedy stronghold on Thursdays.
(This year, it starts the night with “The Biggest Loser.”) Now CBS – the night’s
new comedy champ – is temporarily putting football games there; for eight
weeks, Thursdays will be almost mirthless.
There’s more: For a quarter-century, CBS has had four
comedies on Mondays; this fall, it has two.
SITCOM SLICE: That means fewer new comedies, There’s only
one each on CBS (a good one) and Fox (a bad one), only nine overall.
Still, networks do sometimes achieve a goal aimed at young
viewers – creating slick, movie-style comedies filled with youthful romance and
irony. ABC’s “Selfies” and NBC’s “A to Z” hit the mark.
IT’S A MARVEL-OUS/DC WORLD: The future of TV seems to be
sitting on comic-book shelves.
ABC and Marvel Comics (both owned by Disney) already have
“Agents of SHIELD”; coming next, at mid-season, is “Agent Carter.”
Now DC Comics has “The Flash” on CW (its usual stop) and
“Gotham” – a lush look at life before Batman – on Fox. And NBC has
“Constantine,” based on a Vertigo Comics tale.
BIG-SCREEN LOOK: Last season, “Sleepy Hollow” brought a
lush, movie look to TV screens. This season, “Gotham” does the same; when those
two are back-to-back Mondays on Fox, viewers will be dazzled.
There’s also a big look to “Constantine,” “Flash” and ABC’s
“Forever” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” TV may or may not be better, but
it will look wonderful.
GLOBAL TV: Two of the four networks (ABC and Fox) now have
an Englishman in charge. So it probably shouldn’t surprise us that there’s an
international feel. Fox turned a British series into the richly detailed,
10-week “Gracepoint.” It also has the American version of the Dutch “Utopia.”
And the CW has turned a Venezuelan telenovela into the jaunty “Jane the Virgin.”
There’s also more diversity, including progress for black
producers. Shonda Rhimes has ABC’s entire Thursday, with “Grey’s Anatomy,”
“Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” Larry Wilmore is working on ABC’s
“Black-ish,” before his “Minority Report” takes over the spot after “The Daily
Wilmore’s new show, incidentally, will be on cable (Comedy
Central) in January. By then, some of the 24 new broadcast shows will be gone
and cable will be back to seizing our attention.