News Column

26 new TV shows debut this fall - check out an overview

September 15, 2013


Sept. 15--Get ready. The fall broadcast TV season is about to launch.

Although many viewers are watching their favorite TV shows online, the bulk of the viewership, as measured by the Nielsen ratings, is made up of those who watch their shows on an actual TV or replay via DVR on a set in their home.

And, yes, Virginia, some shows are being released in advance on network websites, but there will still be a traditional premiere week, starting the last week in September.

The good news is there will be 26 new series clamoring for your attention. The bad news is probably only a handful or less will make it to fall 2014.

Here's an overview.

Social buzz

So far this summer, Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has been the most buzzed about upcoming broadcast TV show with 220,034 tweets, according to But most of those tweets came during this summer's Comic-Con and the Television Critics Association panels.

The show with the next highest tweet count was "The Tomorrow People," with 68,295. It's set to air on the little-watched CW network.

Up first

Fox will be the first of the five networks to debut new shows starting Monday with the majority saving new and returning shows for the week of Sept. 23, after the Emmy Awards are given out on Sept. 22.

More stars

You will see more film actors on TV this season. Among them will be Robin Williams, Michael J. Fox, James Caan, George Segal, Toni Collette, Tate Donovan, Dylan McDermott, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges, Anna Faris, Rebel Wilson, Malin Akerman, Allison Janney, John Malkovich (midseason in the limited series "Crossbones") and Greg Kinnear (in "Rake" coming to Fox midseason).

Also returning to broadcast are former TV stars Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Marg Helgenberger ("CSI"), James Spader ("Boston Legal"), Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace"), Josh Holloway ("Lost"), Christopher Meloni ("Law & Order: SVU"), James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek"), Peter Riegert ("The Good Wife") and Andy Samberg ("Saturday Night Live"), to name a few.

Genre TV

Look for more fantasy with Jonathan Rhys Meyers jumping from playing lusty King Henry on Showtime to portraying "Dracula" as an American industrialist defying big oil in the 19th century on NBC.

Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" adapts Washington Irving's classic 19th-century tale of shy schoolmaster Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) who is resurrected 250 years in the future and discovers he must save the world.

ABC's Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is a series about a fictional law-enforcement agency in the comic-book superhero universe.

One "Once Upon a Time" wasn't enough, so ABC will also have "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland." Inspired by the Lewis Carroll fairy tale, this spinoff has Alice telling the story of a strange new -- and real -- world on the other side of a rabbit hole that includes a vanishing cat, a hookah-smoking caterpillar, playing cards that talk back and a mysterious figure named Cyrus with whom she's fallen in love.

CW's "The Originals" is a spinoff of "The Vampire Diaries" about beautiful young people who are also blood suckers. The same network's "The Tomorrow People" is populated by sexy young men and women who are part of a genetically advanced race that a paramilitary group of scientists sees as a threat to their world.

Plus, J.J. Abrams is offering up his much-anticipated "Almost Human" on Fox. It's a police drama set in the future with humans working alongside humanoid androids.

The CW ventures into historical drama, at least in name. The main character in "Reign" is factual, but the weekly exploits of young Mary, Queen of Scots, are definitely fiction.

Historical in television terms is "Ironside" with Blair Underwood playing the brilliant wheelchair-bound detective a la the late Raymond Burr.

Family comedy

"The Goldbergs" on ABC is like visiting the wacky but real family of creator Adam Goldberg back in the 1980s, he told TV critics. The same network's "Lucky 7" follows a group of New Yorkers who work at the same gas station and see their lives change after they win the lottery.

Sean Hayes (producer of "Grimm" and "Hollywood Game Night") plays a gay father of a teen (played by Tulsa's Samantha Isler) in the comedy "Sean Saves the World." Linda Lavin plays his mother.

In ABC's "Back in the Game," a daughter moves in with her irascible father (is there any other kind in a TV comedy?).

In Fox's "Dads," two best friends find their homes invaded by their fathers, and a newly single mother is faced with the return of her unmotherly estranged parent in "Mom" on CBS. The same home invasion happens to a recently divorced TV reporter in "The Millers" on CBS.

Cops and crime

"Betrayal" on ABC is a prime-time soap opera about murder, adultery and a powerful family turning on itself.

Toni Collette graces the TV screen as a surgeon assigned to operate on the president being told by a rogue agent and his henchmen holding her family hostage to kill the man during the surgery in CBS' "Hostages."

James Spader returns as a former most wanted fugitive who offers to help the FBI catch a terrorist in "The Blacklist" on NBC.

In the cop comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher team up as a childish detective and his new captain who don't mesh. No surprise there.

New 'family'

Three divorced men become friends and offer dating advice to a young man left at the altar in CBS' "We Are Men."

And, in "Trophy Wife" on ABC, a lovely third wife becomes mother to a family filled with step-children and ex-wives.

No family

Aussie comic actress Rebel Wilson ("Bridesmaids") is a lawyer who hangs out with her two best friends and tries to get in with the cool crowd in "Super Fun Night."

And, in "Welcome to the Family," a college-bound smart kid finds his hopes going down the drain after he impregnates his air-headed girlfriend.

The picks

There are plenty more shows coming your way between now and May, but this gives you an idea that yes, it's once again a lackluster season with little to tweet or Facebook home about -- "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "The Black List" and, hopefully, "Sean Saves the World" with the young Tulsa-native actress, being the possible exceptions here.

Most promising poll

As Television Critics Association members voted to determine which new series of the freshman class show the most promise. In the first poll by the organization, the members were asked to place votes in the following four categories: best show overall, best new comedy, best new drama and the most promising break-out star.

Here are the results:

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was selected the most promising new series of the fall 2013 TV season with Showtime's "Masters of Sex" and NBC's "The Blacklist" selected as No. 2 and No. 3 overall.

Among the comedies, Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" was far-and-away the top choice. It received more than twice as many mentions as the No. 2 (CBS' "Mom") and No. 3 (ABC's "Trophy Wife") choices combined.

In tight competition for the most promising new drama, "The Blacklist" edged out "Masters of Sex" and CBS' "Hostages."

Asked who will be the next break-out star, Tom Mison of Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" topped the list, with Rebel Wilson (ABC's "Super Fun Night") and Lizzy Caplan (Showtime's "Masters of Sex") close behind.


Rita Sherrow is a longtime member of the TCA.

Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360


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