Fall TV Preview: Hidden Gems

It looks like our fall preview guide has become an annual tradition. This is great because it’s 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 isn’t always the case and I agree. Much of what passes as the “hottest TV shows” are lukewarm retreads of well-worn tropes. We’ve seen it all before but back then it was better. (For example, I’m sure today’s sci-fi shows don’t hold a candle to Stuart’s precious Star Trek.)

I share Stuart’s 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. I’ve seen nearly every sitcom plot device and gag there is. I’m really over all the superhero shows. I also don’t see the need for four series dedicated to Chicago’s 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, I’m 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:

60 Minutes – Sure, it’s 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, it’s 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 – The Reagans, America’s 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 – While perhaps not the best sci-fi series, it’s 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 it’s habitable. When the young punks arrive, they soon discover they’re not the only people on the planet.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – 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, it’s Rebecca Bunch’s (Rachel Bloom) decision to move across the country to be close to her ex-boyfriend.

Bob’s Burgers – American viewers love lovable losers. TV is rife with amiable clods who awkwardly fumble their way through life’s defining moments. Such is the case with Bob’s Burgers. You want the Belcher family to succeed but you’ll still love them if they don’t. Could it be that there’s a little “Belcher” in all of us?

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

Blindspot – Like The BlacklistBlindspot 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 you’d think I would know better, I’m going to give Blindspot a whirl. Who knows? It could take the top slot for NBC crime dramas in my house.

What’s on Your List?
These are my picks for fall’s top TV shows. I’d like to know what you’re looking forward to watching and why. What shows are you avoiding like the plague? Let us know in the comments section below.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.