• Fall TV Preview: Hidden Gems



    It looks like our fall preview guide has become an annual tradition. This is great because itís the one time I get to publicly disagree with Stuart Sweet!

    In October, the TV networks roll out what they hope will be the best of the best TV programs. As Stuart is keen to point out, this isnít always the case and I agree. Much of what passes as the ďhottest TV showsĒ are lukewarm retreads of well-worn tropes. Weíve seen it all before but back then it was better. (For example, Iím sure today's sci-fi shows don't hold a candle to Stuartís precious Star Trek.)

    I share Stuartís disdain for much of what passes for TV these days. The Big Bang Theory, for example, is neither funny, nor cute, nor even mildly entertaining. Iíve seen nearly every sitcom plot device and gag there is. Iím really over all the superhero shows. I also donít see the need for four series dedicated to Chicagoís public service sector. (I'm talking to you, NBC!) Despite all this, I still proudly fly my yagi antenna above my roof as if it were a flag.

    The key to being a proud cord cutter is finding those TV shows that are true gems. Like my cantankerous colleague, Iím listing broadcast TV shows with fall premiere dates. (I review plenty of streaming content in my Streaming Saturday column.) Without any further ado, here are my top picks for fall over-the-air TV on a network by network basis:

    CBS
    60 Minutes Ė Sure, itís an old dog but that dog can still hunt. This news magazine show still uses its tried-and-true formula of three long-form news stories and opinion segments. In a day and age where probing journalism seems to be on the wane, itís good to know that you can still count on 60 Minutes. And who doesn't love that iconic stopwatch that goes tick tick tick tick tick!

    Blue Bloods Ė The Reagans, Americaís favorite cop family, are back. When not solving crimes in under 45 minutes, this family has heated debates at the dinner table. The best are between Danny (Donnie Wahlburg), the conservative, and Nicky (Sami Gayle), the social justice warrior. Ham, yams, and handcuffs, anyone?

    The CW
    The 100 Ė While perhaps not the best sci-fi series, itís probably the best one that OTA TV has. The plot involves a group of juvenile delinquents sent to a post nuclear war-earth to find out if itís habitable. When the young punks arrive, they soon discover theyíre not the only people on the planet.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Ė Nearly everyone has that one who got away. What if you had a chance to get back together with your first love? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes this premise and runs with it as a comedy, of course. Add in the concept of all the crazy things that happen when someone jumps into an emotional decision. In this case, itís Rebecca Bunchís (Rachel Bloom) decision to move across the country to be close to her ex-boyfriend.

    FOX
    Bobís Burgers Ė American viewers love lovable losers. TV is rife with amiable clods who awkwardly fumble their way through lifeís defining moments. Such is the case with Bobís Burgers. You want the Belcher family to succeed but youíll still love them if they donít. Could it be that thereís a little ďBelcherĒ in all of us?

    NBC
    The Blacklist Ė Admittedly, James Spader is the only reason I still watch this show. Heís wowed this Gen X film buff in many 1980s classics such as Tuff Turf, Less Than Zero, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. The plot of The Blacklist, however, has become a twisted, convoluted mess of its former self. Still, thereís James Spader and for now, heís enough to keep this show in the regular rotation at Casa del Buckler.

    Blindspot Ė Like The Blacklist, Blindspot is a crime drama based upon an impossible premise. In it, a mysterious tattooed woman is found naked inside a travel bag in Times Square. (Because hey, it could happen.) The tattoos are clues to crimes that the FBI has to solve, and the woman has no recollection of who she is. (Naturally.) Although youíd think I would know better, Iím going to give Blindspot a whirl. Who knows? It could take the top slot for NBC crime dramas in my house.

    Whatís on Your List?
    These are my picks for fallís top TV shows. Iíd like to know what youíre looking forward to watching and why. What shows are you avoiding like the plague? Let us know in the comments section below.

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