Yesterday, we took a look at some of the hot new shows premiering this coming week, the official start week for the fall season. Today, we look at the rest of the fall season, focusing on some of the most anticipated new shows premiering in October and November. What’s worth watching? Check out the list below!
[All shows are listed in the order of their premiere date, from earliest to latest]
Super Fun Night
Premiere Date: Wednesday, October 2, at 9:30 PM
Overview: For the past 13 years, three single ladies have set aside every Friday night as “Friday Fun Night”. Of course, this all changes when Kimmie Boubier decides it’s time to take partying to the next level after forming a friendship with an attorney.
Why You Should Watch: This series marks the official arrival of Rebel Wilson to TV comedy, as the Pitch Perfect star looks to break out on TV in the same way she’s broken out on film. The premise relatively simple, but it could prove to be effective in giving Wilson a platform for her unique brand of self-deprecating physical comedy. But for the show to have legs, it will need more than that. Thankfully, the series does have other valuable talent, in the form of co-stars Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom) and Liza Lapira (NCIS). The cast also includes Ashley Tisdale and Matt Lucas (who starred as Wilson’s brother in Bridesmaids). The show doesn’t pretend to be high-minded comedy, but that kind of levity and lack of self-seriousness, coupled with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, could make for some raunchy, hilarious TV.
Premiere Date: Thursday, October 3, at 8:30 PM
Overview: A half-hour comedy that follows Nathan Miller (Will Arnett), whose parents — father Tom (Beau Bridges) and wife Carol (Margo Martindale) — get a divorce after forty-three years, complicating Nathan’s life, as he’s recently gone through a divorce of his own. While Tom works things out with Carol, Tom finds shelter under the roof of his daughter Debbie (Jayma Mays) and her husband Adam (Nelson Franklin).
Why You Should Watch: The premise seems to indicate a series of divided story paths, similar to Modern Family. Ultimately, the stories will find points of connection, but it should be an amusing look into an uncommon family unit at a crossroads. The cast is also pretty solid from top-to-bottom, with Arnett teaming with Martindale while Bridges teams with Mays. There should be some pretty good comedy on display, as all of the principals are gifted comic talents.
Welcome to the Family
Premiere Date: Thursday, October 3, at 8:30 PM
Overview: The series focuses on the clash between two families united by a teen pregnancy. When Junior, the son of a Latino family, and Molly, the daughter of a Caucasian family, decide to get married after discovering they’re expecting a baby, the two clans are forced to try and get along, despite the vast cultural differences between the two.
Why You Should Watch: The premise could lead to some divisive viewing, but the cast is strong enough to carry off the material. I mean, really, Mike O’Malley must be special if he managed to front a sitcom that improbably made it to six seasons (Yes, Dear). The show seems to play on some relatively light culture conflict, in addition to taking a Modern Family-like approach to the story of how separate families can still find points of similarity and union. That could be poignant, although the writing will need to match the potential of the (admittedly uninspired) premise. But then, the show isn’t purporting itself to be high-brow. This could easily end up being a perfectly good middle-of-the-road comedy, or it could end up surprising viewers by just being good. I guess we’ll see soon enough.
Sean Saves the World
Premiere Date: Thursday, October 3, at 9:00 PM
Overview: In this half-hour comedy, Sean Hayes returns to NBC in the role of a divorced, gay father whose 14-year-old daughter moves in with him full-time. He is forced to balance his hectic work life, his daughter’s needs, and the presence of her overbearing mother. Yet despite the demands of his life, Sean remains committed to being the best father ever.
Why You Should Watch: The show is looking to juggle comedy and heart, and Hayes is more than capable of pulling off that balancing act. Though it’s been a long time since Will & Grace, NBC is banking on Hayes still retaining a loyal following from those halcyon days when the network was actually something the TV world took seriously, in contrast to its status now as a glorified punchline. If the show is a success, it could go a long way in anchoring the Thursday night comedy bloc, and returning the network to prominence. Of course, for that to happen, the show would have to be good. Luckily, the show has tons of talent to its credit, including Megan Hilty (Smash) and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!). The show seems really warm and endearing, which TV is missing in primetime. But to realize it’s full potential, it will have to actually be funny. Fingers crossed, but let’s hope executive producer Hayes still has some magic left in his tank.
Network: The CW
Premiere Date: A sneak peek premiere will air after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 3, before taking over its regular time slot a week later on Tuesday, October 8, at 8:00 PM.
Overview: The series is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. Set in New Orleans, The Originals follows the world’s original vampires, the Mikaelson siblings: Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Rebekah (Claire Holt). Klaus must take down his protégé, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), in order to retake New Orleans, the city he built. Complicating matters is werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), who is pregnant with Klaus’ child, the first vampire-werewolf hybrid.
Why You Should Watch: A lot of TV critics will tell you that The Vampire Diaries is one of TV’s most addicting series, and The Originals is looking to hook that same audience with a spin-off that offers itself as a slightly more mature, even darker version of its parent series. The Originals has many of the same salacious elements as The Vampire Diaries, but it also seems a bit more self-serious, which could actually be a good thing, if it means less bombast. Although if it really embraces its bloody, lusty pedigree, it could be a real thrill ride, a la True Blood. The CW is really banking on this being a hit.
Witches of East End
Premiere Date: Sunday, October 6, at 10:00 PM
Overview: Lifetime is getting into witchcraft. The series stars Julia Ormond as Joanna Beauchamp, a witch and the mother Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) and Ingrid (Rachel Boston), the next generation of witches. The show is loosely based on the book of the same name by Melissa de la Cruz, although with one crucial change: neither Freya nor Ingrid are aware of their supernatural heritage.
Why You Should Watch: Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first time Lifetime has ever ventured into the supernatural. For that reason alone, I’m curious about the network’s approach. Julia Ormond is well-suited to the role, and although Mrs. Channing Tatum is a big question mark, she seems well-cast here too, from what little I’ve seen. And I’ve always thought Rachel Boston was a vastly underrated actress. But even outside of the main cast, the recurring roles feature a slew of recognizable faces, such as Virginia Madsen, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Grey’s Anatomy alum Jason Winston George.
Network: The CW
Premiere Date: Wednesday, October 9, at 9:00 PM
Overview: In the fourth revival of the popular British series, The Tomorrow People centers on a group of youths who possess incredible powers as the result of an evolutionary change. Originating from all over the world, these young people represent the next stage in human evolution, with unique abilities such as teleportation and telepathy. Of course, it’s not as if they don’t have obstacles in their path. The titular Tomorrow People will have to band together to fight the forces of evil. Good times.
Why You Should Watch: Aside from the fact that the franchise is one of the most popular in the history of British television, this American take offers an action-oriented focus that looks a lot like Heroes on speed. The show seems like a relatively straight-up good vs. evil story, and that’s something that TV could really use a lot more of, given the premium placed on shades of grey in storytelling these days. If there’s one concern, it’s that it looks like it will be less character driven than similar genre series. However, that could easily change as the series moves forward, and the series begins to look into how these developing abilities affect who these youths could be, and who they have become.
Premiere Date: Thursday, October 10, at 8:00 PM
Overview: This spin-off of Once Upon A Time is still based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but with the added twist that it shares continuity with the Once Upon a Time universe. This means we’ll not only get stories centered in present-day Wonderland, but we’ll also get flashbacks to pre-Curse Wonderland, including occasional crossovers with the spin-off’s parent series (such as cameos from characters from OUAT, both pre- and post-Curse).
Why You Should Watch: There aren’t many family-oriented dramas on TV, but Once Upon A Time in Wonderland is actually a series you could watch with your loved ones without fear of seeing someone get bludgeoned to death like you might in darker network fare. It also helps that the series is familiar. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Once Upon A Time, the average viewer more than likely has a comfortable familiarity with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, making it easy for new viewers to dive down the proverbial rabbit hole. If it shares the same sense of lightness and whimsy as its parent series, it could make for a colorful, fun hour of TV each week.
Network: The CW
Premiere Date: Thursday, October 17, at 9:00 PM
Overview: This period drama offers a soap opera take on the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), in 1557 France, and features other historical figures as Dauphin , Catherine de’ Medici (Megan Follows), King Henry II of France (Alan Van Sprang) and Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland). The show is a chronicle of Mary’s life, from her arrival in France as a 15-year-old betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), to her defense against foes within the French Court. In this world of sex and political intrigue, Mary struggles to survive with few allies other than her ladies-in-waiting (which include The Chronicles of Narnia‘s Anna Popplewell).
Why You Should Watch: It’s kind of absurd how excited I am about this show, and I think part of it is because the story of Mary, Queen of Scots hasn’t been told in this fashion before. Yeah, it’s pretty much a teen costume drama, but it’s grounded in actual history. Given the background of the person they’re portraying, this could be a really involving series. Even in her early years, Mary had more going on in her life than you could make up in most teen dramas (except maybe Degrassi, where every possible bad thing happens to those kids). I recognize that there’s as much trainwreck potential here as there is potential for genuinely compelling television, but I’m seriously excited all the same. Here’s hoping Reign is able to fully realize the potential of its premise.
Network: ABC Family
Premiere Date: Tuesday, October 22, at 10:00 PM
Overview: Another spin-off, this time from Pretty Little Liars. The series is set in the fictional, exceedingly creepy town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, and will focus on five strangers — including PLL alum Tyler Blackburn reprising his role as Caleb Rivers — as their lives intersect thanks to a deadly curse that has its roots in the town’s mysterious past.
Why You Should Watch: This is one of the more intriguing entries of the fall season, primarily because it’s a supernatural spin-off of a series that lacks any supernatural elements whatsoever. I’m not entirely sold on Ravenswood as a compelling location in and of itself, since the episodes featuring the town seemed a bit too “quaintly creepy” instead of “genuinely creepy.” But maybe that’s the point. Either way, I think there’s a lot more to this series than meets the eye. If it’s anything like PLL, it’ll be worth giving a shot.
Premiere Date: Friday, October 25 at 10:00 PM
Overview: Who doesn’t love (or at least know about) Dracula? NBC is hoping the vampire craze isn’t dead just yet, as they bring us this series, in which Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) comes to London posing as an American entrepreneur. He claims to want to bring modern science to his Victorian society, but in actuality, Dracula is seeking revenge on those who betrayed him centuries earlier. But complications arise when the ice-cold vampire falls desperately in love with a woman who may or may not be the reincarnation of his long-dead wife.
Why You Should Watch: NBC gave this 19th Century Gothic drama a straight-to-series order, and it’s easy to see why. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is perfectly cast here, and though the subject matter seems a bit pulpy and over-the-top, Friday night is the perfect place for a soapy drama. The show is ambitious in its reinterpretation of a story nearly everyone knows, introducing well-known characters in new and interesting ways. In fact, I’d argue this is one of the fall’s most ambitious new series, given the high-concept premise and the expense involved in bringing a 19th Century period drama to network television. An added bonus, Daniel Knauf will serve as showrunner and head writer. Why is this good news? Knauf was the creator of the darkly engrossing, criminally-underrated HBO series Carnivale. The pedigree on this show is worth the buzz already.
Premiere Date: Monday, November 4, at 8:00 PM
Overview: This futuristic series, starring Karl Urban, Lilli Taylor and Minka Kelly, is set 35 years in the future, and focuses on LAPD detectives who are paired up with life-like androids. Urban plays a detective who isn’t exactly crazy about having to work with a robot, but his world is rocked when he’s partnered up with an android that has actual emotions.
Why You Should Watch: If nothing else, J.J. Abrams-produced series have a tendency to feature complex, long-form storytelling that relies on a rich mythology that builds mysteries on top of mysteries. Of course, what’s most interesting and maddening about the approach is how little the mysteries matter against the larger, character-focused arcs, like with Lost and Revolution. This show looks to be more character-driven than most Abrams-produced series, so if you’re more into character studies nestled within a rich mythology, instead of a rich mythology that pays lip service to character, then this might be a show you’d enjoy.
So what do you think of the new fall TV season? What are you looking forward to? What do you think will crash and burn? Sound off in the comments!