TV’s long ‘fall’ season begins

Marcia Gay Harden is a doctor on CBS’s new ‘Code Black.’
Marcia Gay Harden is a doctor on CBS’s new ‘Code Black.’ TNS

It seems like only one year ago this month that television was having a fall season. I seem to recall a lot of other TV seasons between then and now, some of which might have consisted of a single show. It is hard to keep track of them all, but fall somehow retains its conceptual if not its chronological purity. (It will still be summer when some of these shows debut, and they will keep on premiering, not within a few weeks as in days of old, but all the way to winter’s doorstep.) September is still where the TV year begins, as the networks’ big new shows are harvested and brought to market.

Here’s most of what has already come or will be arriving all the way into December on a TV screen near you.


Blindspot (NBC, 10 p.m.): In which Jaimie Alexander, with not a memory in her head but a body covered in new tattoos, awakens naked in a bag in Times Square. No, it’s not The Hangover: The Series, simmer down, but a wheels-within-wheels thriller from Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl). Sullivan Stapleton is the G-Man.

Life in Pieces (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Parenthood by way of Modern Family, take that as you will. Much silliness, but a cast that could populate the next Woody Allen film: James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Colin Hanks, Zoe Lister-Jones, Angelique Cabral, Thomas Sadoski, Betsy Brandt, Dan Bakkedahl.

Minority Report (FOX, 9 p.m.): Sequel to Steven Spielberg’s big-screen Philip K. Dick adaptation, set in 2065. Stark Sands plays a psychic “precog” who teams with detective Meagan Good to stop crimes before they happen. My takeaways from the pilot: Vinyl is still collectible in the future, selfies remain a thing, holograms are cool. And The Simpsons is still on.


The Muppets (ABC, 8 p.m.): Muppets go meta in this mockumuppetmentary about the staging of a new Muppet show, Up Late With Miss Piggy. Not your parents’ Muppets, for better or worse, and arguably not the Muppets at all. But still the Muppets.

Limitless (CBS, 10 p.m.): Sequel to the 2011 Bradley Cooper movie, with Jake McDornan as another man whose mind expands to its full potential when he takes a special pill, turning him into a kind of superhero. On drugs. Cooper recurs as his film character.

Scream Queens (FOX, 8 p.m.): Ryan Murphy remakes American Horror Story as a comedy, but on purpose. Year one involves a sorority and a serial killer, because: women. Jamie Lee Curtis is here to remind you of Halloween, alongside Lea Michele, Nasim Pedrad, Oliver Hudson, Keke Palmer, Ariana Grande.


Moonbeam City (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Comic cop cartoon steeped in a big-shouldered, 1980s new wave aesthetic, something like St. Elmo’s Fire and Miami Vice ground together into a fine paste, used as the ground for a Patrick Nagel painting. Rob Lowe stars as the vain, lucky nincompoop Detective Dazzle Novak, a ringer for Lowe in St. Elmo’s Fire (sans saxophone). Elizabeth Banks is his chief, Pizzaz Miller; Will Forte his rival, Rad Cunningham.

Rosewood (FOX, 8 p.m.): Quincy, M.E., if Quincy were self-employed, cheerful, black, hot and living in Miami with a heart condition. Everyone seems weirdly fine with Morris Chestnut’s title character acting like a real cop, even new detective in town Jaina Lee Ortiz, but maybe that’s just a Florida thing.


Heroes Reborn (NBC, 8 p.m.): “We could be heroes, just for another 13 episodes,” David Bowie might sing of this Heroes reboot were he in a mood to shill for NBC. Zachary Levi is a hunter of superheros in a world that has no time for mutants (in a real world that apparently has nothing but time for mutants). Jack Coleman, Greg Grumberg and Masi Oka are back from the olden days. Hayden Panettierre still has a job on ABC.

The Player (NBC, 10 p.m.): Your intuition that the world is just the plaything of the rich will find fictional support in this crime-stopping series in which Philip Winchester literally has to beat the odds to keep horrible things from happening, as shadowy figures lay their millions down. Wesley Snipes runs the game.


Blood & Oil (ABC, 9 p.m., begins Sept. 27): The derrick-shaped hole left in television by the second disappearance of Dallas will be filled by Don Johnson in this new soap set in sexy North Dakota.

Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m., begins Sept. 27) : It’s like Grey’s Anatomy, but with baby FBI agents instead of hospital residents. And a terrorist twist.

Sept. 29

Grandfathered (FOX, 8 p.m.): The notion of John Stamos discovering that he’s a grandfather is inherently hilarious only in a society where being really good looking means never having to settle down and nobody has kids until they’re over 25. The show is funny, though, with restaurateur Stamos surprisingly relaxed at finding himself an instant patriarch.

The Grinder (FOX, 8:30 p.m.): Rob Lowe is not a lawyer, but he plays an actor who plays a lawyer on TV and decides he’s s going to be one for real. Fred Savage, back in front of the camera, is the brother who is a lawyer but doesn’t play one on TV, except for this show.

Sept. 30

Code Black (CBS, 10 p.m.): Into every generation an ER is born. This one’s set in Los Angeles, lays on the chaos and stars Marcia Gay Harden as the resident genius. And Luis Guzman as a nurse is something I feel I have waited to see, without ever knowing it.

Oct. 1

Benders (IFC, 10 p.m.): Hockey-themed, beer-fueled dude comedy, from Denis Leary’s production company.

Oct. 2

Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Super-old-fashioned (except for the Korean main cast) multi-camera sitcom offers Ken Jeong as a doctor (a thing he’s been) and family man (a thing he is). Dave Foley’s in it, too.

Oct. 7

Casual (Hulu): Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) moves into television. Michaela Watkins is divorced, Tommy Dewey is her brother, Tara Lynne Barr is her daughter, and they all live together. Complications to come.

Oct. 8

SuperMansion (Crackle): Stop-motion superhero domestic comedy, from the Robot Chicken people. Bryan Cranston, stretching, stars.

Oct. 9

Red Oaks (Amazon Prime): Old-school, ’80s-set coming-of-age series has Craig Roberts as a young tennis prodigy moving on up at the local country club. Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, Paul Reiser are in it. Steven Soderbergh is a producer, Magic Mike XXL director Gregory Jacobs a co-creator.

Oct. 10

The Last Kingdom (BBC America): Refreshingly matter-of-fact Viking yarn saga adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s novels. Alexander Dreymon is a 9th century Saxon nobleman, kidnapped as a child and raised among the Danes; loyalties will be tested. Dutchman Rutger Hauer lends Scandinavia-adjacent cred.

Oct. 12

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, 8 p.m.): Musical magic-realism, with Rebecca Bloom, tearing up the trailers as a girl who moves across the country in pursuit of an ex-boyfriend whom every rule of romantic comedy says is not the guy for her.

Oct. 1

Truth Be Told (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Vanessa Lachey and neighbors Tone Bell and Bresha Webb play a mixed-doubles game of middle-class angst. In the opening episode, the men (and later the women) try to work out whether a new babysitter is also a porn star.

Oct. 20

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime): The season’s other Philip K. Dick adaption, alongside Minority Report, is a Ridley Scott-produced alternate history thriller in which the Allies lost World War II and the Axis didn’t. Alexa Davolos, Rufus Sewell, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and DJ Qualls live that life.

Oct. 26

Supergirl (CBS, 8:30 p.m., moves to 8 p.m. the following week): Superman’s also Earthbound cousin Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) goes to the city to feel her power. Calista Flockhart is the boss who tortures her; Helen Slater, who played her in a movie, and Dean Cain, who was Superman on TV, have been cast as her adoptive parents.

Oct. 27

Wicked City (ABC, 10 p.m.): Period cops and killers stuff, set around the Sunset Strip in the big-haired 1980s. An L.A.-set anthology series, assuming a subsequent season.

Oct. 31

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz, 9 p.m.): Show of the year? Ten-episode giddy gorefest reunites original Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, producer Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell, who straps on the chainsaw once again to fight an army of darkness. Plus Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Mimi Rogers.

Nov. 5

Angel From Hell (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): Jane Lynch, a little rude, a little crude, plays a guardian angel to dermatologist Maggie Lawson, who takes some convincing. But how else could she know about what happened at the Red Lobster?

Nov. 6

Master of None (Netflix): Aziz Ansari plays someone rather like himself, except probably not as successful, in 10 individually themed episodes for Netflix. Guests and regulars include H. Jon Benjamin, Claire Danes, Eric Wareheim, Ansari’s own folks.

Nov. 8

Flesh and Bone (Starz, 9 p.m.): Dark ballet drama with Sarah Hay as a messed-up small-town dancer in the messed-up dance world of the greatest messed-up city in the world, New York. Ben Daniels is the Boris Lermontov in this picture. Real dancers make the sweat authentic.

Agent X (TNT, 9 p.m.); Jeff Hephner is a hyper-secret agent serving at the pleasure of Sharon Stone as the vice president of the United States.

Nov. 15

Into the Badlands (AMC, 10 p.m.): Six-part martial arts drama, set in a feudalistic future follows Hong Kong action star Daniel Wu as he makes his way across a gunless America with a karate kid (Aramis Knight) in tow. Those still mourning Revolution might find themselves distracted here. From the writers of Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Noon.

Nov. 17

Chicago Med (NBC, 10 p.m.): Law & Order kingpin Dick Wolf opens up a third branch of his Chicago franchise, to join his Fire and P.D. With Oliver Platt, without whom it wouldn’t feel like a fall season and S. Epatha Merkerson, among others.

Nov. 19

The Art of More (Crackle): Auction house melodrama, with Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth, Christian Cooke.

Dec. 14

Childhood’s End (Syfy): Miniseries adapation of the 1953 Arthur C. Clarke novel about invisible aliens who bring peace to an Earth where no one has ever seen The Twilight Zone. With Charles Dance, Colm Meaney, Daisy Betts, Mike Vogel.

The Expanse (Syfy): Like an interplanetary edition of True Detective, with police inspector Thomas Jane and spaceship skipper Jim Holden hopping around the solar system as a search for a missing girl uncovers a conspiracy. Not for the first time the survival of humanity is threatened.