The Fall Season is here, people. And though premieres will happen up and down what is still anachronistically called a dial, the season remains mainly the domain of the broadcast networks — which seem bent for the moment not on aping cable TV, as many think they should, but rather distinguishing themselves from it. By getting classic.
Which is not necessarily to say good — though not necessarily to say bad, either.
FOR THE RECORD:
Fall TV preview: A capsule description of the new DirecTV drama "Full Circle" in the Sept. 15 Calendar II section said that the show would debut Oct. 10. It will debut Oct. 9. —
There are, for one thing, a lot of family comedies this year, albeit with a fair bit of dysfunction and kids talking about breasts (and stuff). (Teenage pregnancy is also alive and well in the 2013-14 season.) Michael J.
As usual, there are uncanny resonances among the new series — call it spooky entanglement at a distance. (If you want to be quantum about it.) There are two series in which parents move in with their adult children and one in which an adult child (with a child) moves back in with her parent; two series in which young women who like to party marry older men who sort of remember they did, too, once, inheriting three children in the bargain; three shows in which figures from literature are recast as heroes in an ancient struggle between good and evil; two buddy-cop shows with fantastic elements. Elsewhere, the legacy of "The Bad News Bears" continues not to exhaust itself.
If you are sane, or wish to remain so, you will not attempt to watch all or even most of them. Here is your seasonal guide through the thicket. Check out our interactive timeline with videos, or continue below for the text listings.
Already in progress
"Six Little McGhees" (
"Last Tango in Halifax" (
"Wander Over Yonder" (
Sunday, Sept. 15
"Liv and Maddie" (Disney Channel). Dove Cameron plays teenage
Monday, Sept. 16
"Sleepy Hollow" (Fox). Washington Irving's tale of country superstition gets a shot of steroids and whatever that juice is they keep around the production office, transforming credulous schoolteacher Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) into a Revolutionary War secret agent, Rip Van Winkled into the 21st century in pursuit of the headless horseman, whose name is now Death and whose horse is now pale. Nicole Beharie is the cop who'll be his buddy.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Fox).
"Dads" (Fox). Difficult fathers
"The New Atlanta" (
Friday, Sept. 20
"Great Performances: The Hollow Crown" (PBS). Four Shakespeare history plays, in order of succession: "Richard II," "Henry IV Parts I & II" and "Henry V." With
Monday, Sept. 23
"Mom" (CBS). Could
"Hostages" (CBS). In which the dour Dylan McDermott takes prisoner the family of surgeon Toni Collette to force her to do something bad to someone important. I can pretty much guarantee you that not only is all not what it seems but that what it appears to actually be will also not be what it seems. To be.
"The Blacklist" (
Tuesday, Sept. 24
"Trophy Wife" (ABC). Now, gods, stand up for blonds! Malin Åkerman is the hot young stereotype married to older-guy lawyer
"Lucky 7" (ABC).
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC). The season's most controversial series, among copy chiefs: Periods in the title, or periods out? Apart from that, the fact that none of the main characters in this Joss Whedon-created comic-book series is named Nick Fury is not necessarily a deal-breaker. But I will complain a little.
Wednesday, Sept. 25
"Back in the Game" (ABC). James Caan and Maggie Lawson are failed father-and-daughter ballplayers, uncomfortably back living together (with her son) after her divorce. But read the title, man. It's a "Bad News Bears"-type series, actually about baseball.
Thursday, Sept. 26
"The Crazy Ones" (CBS). Robin Williams returns to series TV to test your tolerance for Robin Williams, as a genius madman advertising executive, with Sarah Michelle Gellar as his more grounded daughter. (She'd have to be.) The pilot plays as a gigantic product placement for a certain worldwide hamburger stand, which may or not indicate a "strategy."
"The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC). Fox's new series has been precision molded to exploit both his gifts and ailment, with the former Alex Keaton as a beloved TV newsman back in the saddle after getting his
Friday, Sept. 27
"MasterChef Junior" (Fox). Does "cooking competition for kids" (open to cooks 8 to 13) betoken a softer Gordon Ramsay? Either way, this just looks awesome.
Sunday, Sept. 29
"Hello Ladies" (HBO). Gangly
"Masters of Sex" (Showtime). The life and times of Masters and Johnson, analysts of arousal, enacted over 12 episodes by Michael Sheen and
"Instant Mom" (Nick at Nite). Party girl Tia Mowry-Hardrict marries older-guy doctor
Monday, Sept. 30
"We Are Men" (CBS).
Wednesday, Oct. 2
"Ironside" (NBC). An old Universal property is taken off the blocks and supercharged, with Blair Underwood as the paraplegic police detective letting no grass grow under his wheels. Who's tougher between Underwood and original recipe Ironside Raymond Burr is nothing I'd care to decide, but abandoning SF for NYC feels wrong. I would also note that "Raymond Burr" is an anagram of "Underwood," if you spell it "Undarryomb."
"Super Fun Night" (ABC). Australian comedian Rebel Wilson stars in a (mostly) broadcast-safe sitcom variously recalling "Ugly Betty,"
"A Young Doctor's Notebook" (Ovation). Jon Hamm and
Thursday, Oct. 3
"The Millers" (CBS). TV reporter
"Welcome to the Family" (NBC). "Abie's Irish Rose" as an after-school special as a single-camera sitcom. Teenage pregnancy leads to teenage engagement (she's a privileged white mall girl, he's a hardworking formerly Stanford-bound middle-class Latino); prospective in-laws are less sanguine. Schematic as heck, but
"Sean Saves the World" (NBC). Sean Hayes is an overextended single gay dad whose mother is played by Linda Lavin, which means you have to watch this at least once. Additional presence of Megan Hilty, still hanging around NBC after the death of
"The Originals" (
Saturday, Oct. 5
"House of Versace" (Lifetime). Gina Gershon plays Donatella Versace, fighting various demons and work things. Raquel Welch plays her aunt. Ten seconds of online preview suggest this will be the greatest Lifetime movie ever.
Sunday, Oct. 6
"The Paradise" (PBS).
"Witches of East End" (Lifetime). Julia Ormond,
Monday, Oct. 7
"Dream School" (
Wednesday, Oct. 9
"The Tomorrow People" (CW). "Got to make way for the Homo superior," David Bowie sang around the time the original British version of this teen-themed awakening-mutant series hit the air. (There is some argument as to who influenced whom.) Many awakening-mutant series later, it has come to rest, remade for America, at the youth-centric, supernaturalistic CW, a bed made for it.
Thursday, Oct. 10
"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (ABC). The dual-plane device of
"Full Circle" (
Thursday, Oct. 17
"Reign" (CW). "If you were not the future king of France and I were just a girl, would you want this?" asks Mary Stuart, later Queen of Scots.
Friday, Oct. 18
"The Birthday Boys" (
Saturday, Oct. 19
"Dancing on the Edge" (Starz). Five-episode miniseries, in which a black jazz band rises to stardom in early 1930s London. Some good times, some bad times. And then … murder!
Sunday, Oct. 20
"Burton and Taylor" (BBC America). Temporally focused biopic finds the on-and-off couple-of-the-(20th)-century at the time of their final collaboration, a 1983 revival of Noël Coward's "Private Lives."
Monday, Oct. 21
"CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story" (VH1). Late 20th century period piece reenacts the rise of the supermega girl group, with
Tuesday, Oct. 22
"Trust Me, I'm a
Friday, Oct. 25
Tuesday, Oct. 29
"Naked Vegas" (
Monday, Nov. 4
"Almost Human" (Fox). From
Saturday, Nov. 9
"The Capones" (Reelz). Reality series follows some people related to
Thursday, Nov. 14
"Ground Floor" (TBS).
Saturday, Nov. 23
"Atlantis" (BBC America). The ancient lost continent of which Donovan sang ("my antediluvian baby" — come on, you remember — "way down below the ocean" — come on!) resurfaces in a 13-part fantasy drama from the people who brought you "Merlin," with Hercules, Jason, Medusa and Pythagoras (which one of these things is not like the other?) mixing it up in the days before even I was born.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
"Mob City" (TNT). Frank Darabont ("The Walking Dead") developed this fact-ish "event series" about Los Angeles cops and criminals in the days of Mickey and Bugsy, when City Hall was still the tallest thing around and they never carded my mother at the Bar of Music. (That last bit probably isn't in it.)