Folks, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I’m pretty savage with my fall previews. If you don’t believe me, check out the first few articles here. I pick on the broadcast networks because I honestly believe they can do better. I think it’s lazy to count on a mix of cop/doctor/judge/lawyer shows and lazy sitcoms. If we’ve learned anything in the 2010s it’s that there’s a place for well-made, well-crafted TV. Sure, broadcast TV is limited in its ability to show boobs or say cuss words, but that shouldn’t stop them from creating absolutely excellent TV.
Have they finally wised up?
I have been looking through the fall TV previews already and the first thing I’ll tell you is there’s a lot more of the same. There’s a reality show reboot of 90210 (didn’t the Muppets do this first?), a couple of spinoffs, a goodly number of cop and lawyer shows, but I was surprised to see a few shows that just might break the mold. Or, at least crack it. I’m not sure any of these is a bona fide thunderbolt, but at least one might shake up the way that we watch. At least, perhaps, a little bit. Here are a few of the shows that I think might actually be worth watching this season. None of them looks to be earth shattering, but for me to say they’re worth a look… that should tell you something.
Bob Hearts Abishola
Chuck Lorre, fresh from helming Big Bang Theory, is back with a meet-cute love story about a guy who falls in love with his nurse. Yes, this isn’t a really new premise but the execution looks interesting. There are echoes of Mike&Molly (which also starred Billy Gardell), Bridget Loves Bernie (look it up) and several other sitcoms. Filtered through the ascerbic lens of Mr. Lorre, there could be some real quality TV here that won’t have to be heavy to be good.
Carol’s Second Act
Or, perhaps we should call it Patricia’s Third Act. Patricia Heaton, a staple of network TV for almost 20 years, comes at us as Carol, a retired teacher who wants to be a doctor. Again, not earth shattering, but what you’re seeing here is a woman playing something close to her own age and who isn’t just a grandmother or gossip.
I’m thinking, Glee without the social commentary. Bradley Whitford is a razor-sharp actor and Anna Camp is on point as a church choir member. Together they all discover how to be a family and maybe there will be some fun musical numbers. This is one that really hinges on how much the producers let their actors do what they’re good at.
As for the rest…
I guess you can’t blame the networks for trying to beat a good idea into the ground. If you liked the last 5 sitcoms about special needs kids, there are a few more for you. Looking for something to cover your need for supernatural or techy thrillers? They’re there too. But at least I see a bit of light at the far end of the tunnel. Finally, I could actually have some new stuff to watch.