There’s over two dozen new shows premiering this fall, not counting new and returning shows on cable and Amazon/Hulu/Netflix. That’s a ridiculous amount, and many won’t even make it till the end of the season. Some look really, really good (Gotham) and some are already circling the dreaded hiatus designation (Red Band Society, The Mysteries of Laura). That’s all fine and good, but which shows am I the most excited about? Glad you asked!
1. The Comeback (HBO)
So ok, this isn’t a new show, per sé, but a 6 episode second season of HBO’s original The Comeback, which aired in 2005 and was quickly cancelled. Nine years later, Val Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) is back to star in a new “show” for HBO, a dark comedy written by frenemy Paulie G based on his experiences on Val’s Room & Bored (Aunt Sassy!). Cameras are still following Valerie around, this time for a web show, instead of a reality show like the first season. The Comeback is one of those brilliant but cancelled shows that never got the audience it deserved until it was already off the air, and Valerie Cherish is one of the most original sitcom creations ever, a self-centered, completely oblivious D-List actress obsessed with her own fame, predating Bravo’s Real Housewives. For those who haven’t seen the original series, HBO is making it available via HBO GO starting in Novemeber.
Premieres: Sunday Dec. 6
2. The Flash (CW)
I’m not a comic book geek, and I’m not usually one to tune into CW’s take on superheroes (Arrow, Smallville). The Flash was a backdoor pilot in an episode of Arrow that has been spun off into it’s very own show. Where Arrow is dark and brooding, The Flash seems more optimistic, with the engaging Grant Gustin (Sebastian from Glee) starring as the world’s fastest man. With what looks to be decent special effects and guest stars, I’m definitely getting Greatest American Hero vibes from this show, which I was a sucker for back in the 80s.
3. Gracepoint (FOX)
Gracepoint is an Americanized version of the British Broadchurch, a highly esteemed series on BBC that I’ve never seen. David Tennant reprises his role (without the British accent, unfortunately) as the lead investigator of a small town murder with a completely different ending than the BBC’s version. Speaking of Greatest American Hero, William Katt has a small part in this series, so there’s that. It sounds interesting and has the insanely good Anna Gunn (Skyler on Breaking Bad) as a costar, and oh my god is that Nick Nolte?!
Debuts: Thursday, Oct. 2 9PM
4. American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
I’ve loved every season of this wildly ambitious anthology series, and this one looks especially deranged. Most of the cast from AHS: Coven is back, with Jessica Lange as the owner of a traveling freak show that moves into a small Florida town that’s home to a murderous clown in the 1950s. Kathy Bates is back as the bearded lady, Sarah Paulson plays a double headed twin, and Neil Patrick Harris is rumored to be making an appearance as well. Each season of Horror Story is always insane, over-the-top fun. The only real question is will it top the first (and best) season?
Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 8, 10 PM
5. Gotham (FOX)
I may not be a huge comic book geek, but I do love Batman like no other superhero. The story has been ingrained since the Batman and Robin cartoon and the laughable 60s series that ran forever in syndication during the 70s, the Tim Burton movies in the 80s, and the recent Dark Knight Trilogy. This prequel delves into the decline of Gotham in the years leading up to Batman’s debut, kicking off with Bruce Wayne’s parents brutal murder in an alley and the subsequent investigation by Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie The OC, Southland). I’m always onboard for a good origin story, and this one has all the villians that later torment Gotham and Batman (Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler, et all) before they assume their identities. This is one of Fall’s biggest and most cinematic premieres and I cannot wait for Monday’s debut.
Debuts: Monday, Sept. 22, 8PM
6. Constantine (NBC)
This is the third comic-based show to make this list and I am seriously worried. And its based on the same source material as that dumb Keanu Reeves movie of the same name. Normally those two things would throw up huge red flags, but this actually looks promising. John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is an excorcist obsessed with the occult, battling weekly supernatural occurances, while trying to determine what is bringing all these things to the surface. I’m hoping the showrunners make this work better as a weekly procedural than it did as a two-hour feature. Plus, I’m all for a good show about the occult, so count me in.
Debuts: Friday, Oct. 24 10PM
7. How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
Small confession: I’m only a casual fan of Scandal and I am kicking myself for not keeping up with a show that has such insane buzz around it. With HTGAWM, ABC is turning it’s Thursday primetime into an all Shonda Rhimes block and this show, starring Viola Davis, about a hard-edged law professor and her students, is a legal thriller that looks like House MD crossed with Clue. Davis seems to be relishing the role from the trailer and interviews she’s given, and given Rhimes’ predilection for high-camp, this looks to be one to watch from the beginning.
Debuts: Thursday, Sept. 25, 10PM
8. Mulaney (FOX)
One of my favorite podcasts is How Was Your Week, hosted by national treasure and Red-Head Hall of Fame authority Julie Klausner. When she’s not hosting her weekly deep-dive into her own neuroses and interesting people, she writes for various shows including Fuse’s Billy on The Street and, happily, this show. John Mulaney is an NYC standup who hangs out with friends (Elliot Gould, Nasim Pedrad) and works for a game-show host, played by Martin Short. Mulaney was previously on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show and is a well-regarded stand up in real life. Produced by Lorne Michaels, fingers crossed that this show lives up to it’s potential.
Debuts: Sunday, Oct. 5, 9:30PM
9. A to Z (NBC)
I don’t know a whole lot about this show, but what I have seen looks promising. The likeable Ben Feldman (Mad Men) and Cristin Mlioti (How I Met Your Mother) play a couple in what sounds like a tv version of 500 Days of Summer: each episode is themed around a letter (A for Acquaintances…) and each season will tell an entire alphabet of stories. Feldman was one of the best parts of the last two seasons of Mad Men as Michael Ginsburg, and seems to have instant chemistry with Milioti. You can even watch the pilot now: http://bit.ly/AtoZPremiereNBC. Plus, I’m a sucker for meet-cute rom-coms done well (like 500 Days), especially ones that promise to reference pop cultural touchstones like Laverne & Shirley and Back to the Future.
Debuts: Thursday, Oct. 2, 9:30 PM
10. Transparent (Amazon)
I’ve been meaning to watch the pilot of Transparent on Amazon Prime for awhile now, but am just getting to it. Jeffery Tambor stars as the head of the Pfefferman family who comes out as transgender to his ex-wife and three adult children, which is all I need to tune into a show, to be honest. Tambor, who also played the family patriarch in Arrested Development, alone is worth watching, and this looks to be a funny, sweet and poignant take on not just trans-individuals, but a whole bunch of sexual-identity topics. Progressive! It’s from United States of Tara and Six Feet Under producer Jill Soloway, who has a reputation for making smart, lively television. And like Netflix, Amazon is releasing all episodes at once, so binge-watch away!
Debuts: Friday, Sept. 26
11. Kingdom (DirecTV Audience Network)
For the past six months, Nick Jonas has been posting to his Instagram account and teasing his followers as he whipped his body into shape for the role of a sexually questioning young MMA fighter, and… SAY NO MORE.
Did I miss the mark? Any shows I should check out? Let me know in the comments!
Images: The Comeback, HBO; The Flash, The CW; Gracepoint, FOX; American Horror Story: Freak Show, FX; Gotham, FOX; Constantine, NBC; How To Get Away With Murder, ABC; Mulaney, FOX; Transparent, Amazon.