The fall television season is upon us, and while not all of the new additions to the schedule will make it to a sophomore season, several of the new TV shows currently being rolled out to the airwaves have something exciting to offer viewers. Whether or not they find the audiences they intend is another matter entirely.
Yet, setting aside the fact that these shows could have their lifespan cut tragically short, let’s take a look at some of the best new TV series hitting the small-screen this fall. For the record, we’re focusing only on the five major networks for this list, namely ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and The CW.
1. Designated Survivor (ABC)
This season brings a revamped version of 24 back to the airwaves, but that’s not where Kiefer Sutherland will appear. Rather, the former Jack Bauer will take the lead in this political drama as the U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, who assumes the presidency after a bombing kills all the other Cabinet members in line to assume the position. The show already received a full season order, and hopes are high that Sutherland has another winner on his hands. It will be interesting to see if Designated Survivor manages to find the audience that Touch — Sutherland’s last foray into network TV — never could.
2. Frequency (The CW)
Loosely based on the 2000 film, Frequency follows an NYPD detective (Peyton List) who discovers she is able to communicate with her deceased father over a ham radio. However, her attempts to save his life set off a “butterfly effect” that changes things and not always for the better. Developed by Jeremy Carver — a writer and producer who’s previously worked on Supernatural and the U.S. version of Being Human — the series is one of many dealing with time travel this season. However, it remains a standout due to its expansion on what many regard as a vastly underrated film.
3. No Tomorrow (The CW)
The CW strikes again with this series about a young woman (Tori Anderson) who is inspired to create a list of things she wants to do before the apocalypse hits, an event which her new beau (Joshua Sasse) believes is only months away. A flawless blend of fantasy, romance, comedy, and drama elements, No Tomorrow has all the makings of a hit, though it will have to sustain its distinct tone and seemingly finite story if it hopes to truly win over viewers in the long haul.
4. Son of Zorn (Fox)
Jason Sudeikis voices the animated warrior Zorn in this comedy, as the hero aims to reconnect with his son (Johnny Pemberton). Executive produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie), the show also boasts a strong supporting cast in Cheryl Hines, Tim Meadows, and Artemis Pebdani as Zorn’s ex-wife, her husband, and Zorn’s boss, respectively. A weird and quirky premise, to be sure, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s this group of talented people.
5. Speechless (ABC)
Created by Scott Silveri — best known for his work on Friends — Speechless stars Minnie Driver and John Ross Bowie as the parents of a family set on relocating to an upscale neighborhood. Barely more than a week after its first episode aired, the series received a full-season order from ABC, and it has been consistently recognized as one of the best offerings from this fall’s crop of new shows. Only time will tell if it manages to perform consistently over the coming months.
6. This Is Us (NBC)
Many critics have declared this NBC series to be the heir apparent to the network’s beloved Parenthood, in that both shows feature emotionally grounded, character-driven stories focusing on a group of interconnected people. This Is Us follows a group of individuals who all share the same birthday and become curious about what other ways their lives may be linked. Filmmakers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Crazy Stupid Love, Focus) are among the producers, and actors like Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Sterling K. Brown, and Chrissy Metz are among its gifted cast.
7. Timeless (NBC)
This sci-fi thriller centers on the manhunt for a criminal (Goran Visnjic) who steals a time machine to dismantle the country from within. Together, a history professor (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter), and a scientist (Malcolm Barrett) must band together to stop him and travel through time to protect the nation’s history from being entirely rewritten. Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) created the show together, and reviews so far have been largely positive.
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