What I’m Watching: Fall 2016 edition

Well, well, well. Here we are again, new primetime season. It feels like just yesterday we were talking about A to Z (RIP), Marry Me (RIP), and the final seasons of Parks and Rec (RIP) and Parenthood (super RIP). Yes, NBC did slay my soul last season. Although original content distribution platforms and timetables are ever-evolving, it’s still safe to say television amps up the in the fall. Every September+ brings a fresh batch of new shows to get pumped about and returning favorites to mark your calendars for.

A few important notes before I get to the meat and potatoes:

a) As you may know, I gravitate toward comedies. I’ve been weaning myself into more dramas lately with goodies like Breaking Bad (re-watching), American Crime (still working on but loving so far!), The Wire (watched because I liked American Crime and Amy Poehler told me to), and The Americans (also really great). People don’t actually consider Orange is the New Black a drama right? I digress…

b) This year’s new shows are really laser-focusing on that 90’s-obsessed Gen Y and Millennial audience. (Note: that’s me and yes, I am listening.) I see you throwing these actors from decades past in my face. Looking at you Rob Lowe, John Stamos, Fred Savage, all ya’ll Muppets, NPH, Jamie Lee Curtis, I COULD GO ON. But here’s the deal: it’s one thing to entice an audience – and an entirely different thing to keep them around. Like everyone else raised with Beanie Babies and water beds, I tuned into Girl Meets World (#respect), and it was apparent Disney brand-slapped Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel hard. I realize rolling beloved actors into brand new characters is an entirely different feat, but don’t stake your campaign/show entirely around talent. Here’s to hoping the writers and producers of these new series also do their homework so that some of these new players (especially on networks) build some audiences who stick around.

c) This season is TOUGH. With hardly any returning favorites and new series I’m only slightly intrigued by, I’m a little less than enthused with what’s on the table. This summer set a lot of high standards for programming (OITNB, Difficult People, Wet Hot American Summer, The Fosters, Mr. Robot, probably a lot more I’m forgetting), so maybe that’s what makes falling into the fall a littler scarier this time around.

Now with all of that out in the open, here’s what I am most looking forward to tuning into over the next few months. [All times listed in ET, the only timezone that matters ;)]

fall tv lineup

Brand spankin’ new content:

  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC): The network god (NBC) and its vastly talented holy spirt triple threat (NPH) is are attempting to bring back the variety show format to primetime television. For as much street cred and punch as NPH can pack, I’m not quite sure if an audience will stick the landing. Regardless, I’m there for the ride. Premiered September 15th and will continue airing on Tuesdays at 10pm
  • Life in Pieces (CBS): I don’t know that the world needs a new Modern Family (mostly because the original is still holding up just fine), but I’m curious to see CBS’s supposedly “edgier” twist on “authentic” family humor told through chopped up vignettes. Premieres on Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm
  • Blindspot (NBC): While the premise (a memory-less tattoo-mapped girl winds up in a bag in Times Square) is a little hokey, NBC has been doing their darndest to push this show and I could stand to get in on an action-based thriller. Premieres Monday, September 21 at 10pm
  • The Muppets (ABC): I mean, I think we’re all curious. And as a single adult woman, I would love to live in a world where “did you see what happened on last night’s Muppets?!” is an acceptable and interesting first-date topic. Please grant my wishes, ABC! Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Scream Queens (Fox): Scream Queens to Fox feels like Blindspot to NYC. Couldn’t be more different re: premise (SQ= Lots of lady-power helmed by JLC that’s purposely silly-scary, put on by the makers of Glee and American Horror Story), but there’s just so. much. promotion. Did you guys know I work in marketing? So yeah, I’ll check it out. Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Grandfathered (Fox): My conscience knows this isn’t going to be an older Jesse Katsopolis (just wait for Fuller House, Mandy!), but even after all the greek yogurt commercials, I will still follow John Stamos around like a lost puppy. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm
  • The Grinder (Fox): I welcome back Rob Lowe and Fred Savage to my television set with open arms in this weird, impractical, lawyer-centric story line. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8:30pm
  • Wicked City (ABC): True Detective for network? But it’s with Chuck Bass and set on the 1982 Sunset Strip with a focus on serial murders. Enough buzzwords for me to at least give it a shot. Premieres Tuesday, October 27th at 10pm
  • Master of None (Netflix): Aziz Ansari’s new series about a New York actor (loosely based on himself who, as he puts it, “[is] in his early 30s, he has good friends, and realizes, ‘Oh shit, I’m an adult now.’” Aziz is a hilarious genius, and if this show remotely resembles his previous work (Parks and Recreation, his book Modern Love, his standup in general), I’ll likely be a huge fan. Premieres Friday, November 6

Oldies but goodies (aka returning, and some revised, favorites):

  • The Mindy Project (Hulu): Premiered September 15th
  • Modern Family (ABC): Season seven premiers Wednesday, September 23 at 9pm
  • Jane the Virgin (The CW): Season two premieres Monday, October 12
  • Transparent (Amazon): Season two premieres Friday, December 4
  • New Girl (Fox): Season five premiere date TBD

What else am I missing? Because I truly am always looking for more reasons to skip the gym.

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