Next week TV’s “off-season” ends and the networks are bringing back new and original programming with a vengeance. Last season the major channels had much more luck than in previous years with series such as Scorpion, Jane The Virgin and Gotham hitting the mark with audiences.
This year’s slate of freshman programs is poised for similar success, with a wide array of rookies aimed at every demographic and genre. From the world of superheroes to innovative action thrillers, you’d be hard pressed not to find at least something you’ll want to try this fall.
With more than 30 new series all together across broadcast, cable and streaming it can get a little over-whelming so we’ve poured over all the new entries to bring you the ones we think are most worth your time and the ones everyone will be talking about the next day.
Here's our list of the most anticipated fall TV shows in order of when they premiere:
Premieres: September 21st
Remember two years ago when The Blacklist first broke onto the scene? With this action drama getting that same type of buzz and with the same post-Voice timeslot, it wouldn’t be shocking if it had similar success.
The series stars Jaimie Alexander (Thor) as a woman who wakes up alone and naked inside a dufflebag in Times Square. In a plot development that seems inspired by Christopher Nolan's Memento, the woman is completely covered in tattoos that she can’t explain. So, the authorities go off the only lead they can – the name of a FBI agent (Strike Back’s Sullivan Stapleton) inscribed on her back. Now it is up to the pair to unravel the mysteries behind the markings, as each one seems to lead to a different criminal plot that only they can stop.
Blindspot is going to have a lot of factors working in its favor. given its Monday night time-slot it will be one of the first new series audiences get a chance to try out during fall’s big premiere week. Keep an eye out for this one as it has breakout potential.
5 Limitless (CBS)
Premieres: September 22
Last year the major networks went crazy ordering TV pilots based on successful films, but CBS may have pulled the biggest coup with Limitless. Having original star Bradley Cooper on board as a producer was a big win in and of itself, but having the affable actor appear in a recurring role is hands down the biggest casting win across all five major networks.
The drama picks up after the events of the film with a new character turned onto the NZT super-drug played by Jake McDorman. Joining the former Greek star is Jennifer Carpenter (of Dexter fame) as his FBI handler, who also wants to figure out the mysteries of the little clear pill. Throw in Cooper, reprising his role from the film and you have a formula that will likely appeal to viewers.
Paired with the one-two punch of NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans, this will probably strengthen CBS's most watched night of the week.
4 The Muppets (ABC)
Premieres: September 22
Everyone that has seen ABC’s presentation of its rebooted Muppets franchise has had nothing but positive things to say about the comedy; it's not hard to see why. The series’ new twist which - that it's an Office style mockumentary - could be fresh off enough to work on a brand known for its unique type of humor.
ABC’s outdone themselves this summer with a stellar marketing and PR campaign that took full advantage of both traditional and social media. From unveiling Kermit and Miss Piggy’s breakup on Twitter to integrating all of ABC’s top names into the show’s promos, everyone knows the Muppets are coming back to TV.
The brand itself is big priority for ABC’s parent company Disney and this is the latest way of bringing them front and center. As for the show itself, expect just as many celebrity cameos and music guests as in past incarnations as the same loveable cast of characters is introduced to a whole new generation.
Scream Queens (Fox)
Premieres: September 22
Ryan Murphy has basically helped bring the anthology series back to the airwaves thanks to his FX Emmy-winning hit American Horror Story and now he’s expanding his empire.
Scream Queens is a season long mystery that takes place at a college sorority where bodies start piling up on the twentieth anniversary of a sorority pledge stunt gone wrong. With a massive cast headlined by Jaime Lee Curtis, the series has no shortage of star power and possibly no shortage of viewers.
In addition to Curtis look for Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Lea Michelle (Glee), Keke Palmer (Masters of Sex) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) in the ensemble along with well-known pop musicians Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas. Together it’s a dream cast for any network to snag a few more viewers in 18-49 demographic.
Heroes Reborn (NBC)
Premieres: September 24th
When Heroes first debuted it was an instant hit, but by the time it wrapped its first season, it had already jumped the shark. It wasn’t long after that the series began to hemorrhage viewers and would never recover them.
The biggest problem was that it seemed to run out of material early on, but NBC and creator Tim Kring believe they have fixed the problem in the upcoming Heroes: Reborn. A 13 episode limited run series, Reborn will reboot the brand and reunite a number of original Heroes cast members with the next generation of super-powered humans as they find themselves blamed for a terrorist attack.
The question is: will audiences re-assemble? The series left a bad taste in the mouth of fans…many of which just plain gave up by season 3. Yet with a mix of new and returning characters, this reboot could do the trick. Viewers seem very excited to re-unite with returning fan favorites such as Noah “Horn Rimmed Glasses” Bennett (Jack Coleman), Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and Hiro (Masi Oka).
3 Supergirl (CBS)
Premieres: October 26th
When you think of super hero series you probably don’t think about CBS. In fact, you probably think more of CBS’s sibling network The CW, which has a number of DC Comics themed super-hero series populating its lineup (like Arrow and The Flash). It's because of the success of those series that the Eye wants to get into the game, and that means you can bet they're going to throw everything they have at the show to make it work.
The good news is that early buzz from San Diego Comic Con and other early screenings is very positive, and given the success of other comics-to-TV series like The Flash, Gotham and Arrow the odds are in Supergirl's favor. It’s also helpful that the cast is led by the instantly likeable Melissa Benoist and that won’t go lost on viewers.
Yet CBS took this the extra mile and surrounded the one-time Glee star with a stunning ensemble of big names to help populate the Supergirl universe. Look for celebs like Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal), Mechad Brooks (True Blood), Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy), David Harrington (Homeland), Laura Benanti (Smash) and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Step Up) to appear in both full-time and recurring roles as well as two of TV’s super-stars from generations past, Dean Cain and Helen Slater… who know a thing or two about the iconic “S” logo.
Premieres: September 27
ABC has one of the most talked about new series of the fall in this new drama and it's easy to see why the hype is building. Quantico is an ensemble drama fronted by rising star Priyanka Chopra and focuses on a group of new FBI recruits, of which one is really a sleeper terrorist who will pull off the most damaging attack since 9/11.
It’s a season long mystery and one that producers promise will be revealed by the end of its freshman run (setting up a new mystery for season two). On its surface, Quantico seems like a cross between Grey's Anatomy and Homeland, focusing on both the thrilling aspects of the latter and the fun, heartwarming aspects of the former.
Just like Lost bowed with only one “name” star, expect Quantico’s cast to begin making a name for themselves very quickly. It’s a smart premise with a strong cast and that’s a winning formula for any network.
The Grinder (Fox)
Premieres: September 29th
Ever since departing The West Wing, Rob Lowe has been trying to find a new hit series to headline, but hasn’t had much luck. Remember The Lyon’s Den and Dr. Vegas? No? We're sure he wishes we didn’t either.
While he may have struck out as a headliner, he’s had a lot of luck joining established series like Brothers & Sisters and Parks & Recreation. He may be able to turn his luck around with The Grinder, which seems tailored to the actor’s strong suits.
Lowe plays the star of a hit TV legal drama, but after his series is cancelled, he decides to try his hand at the real thing as part of his family’s firm. Wonder Years star Fred Savage and 24’s William DeVane co-star and each seemed perfectly casted to play off Lowe.
Paired with John Stamos return vehicle Grandfathered those look for nostalgia are going to be in luck if they tune into Fox Tuesdays.
2 Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz)
Premieres: October 31st
Remember the old Evil Dead movies?
They were creepy and campy all at the same time, plus, they launched the career of star Bruce Campbell. Now after returning to the top of his game in USA’s Burn Notice, Campbell is going back to this franchise with a vengeance…or least his version of vengeance, which comes complete with a comedy twist.
Make no mistake, Ash vs. Evil Dead is not for the faint of heart. Along with Campbell, Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is joining the fun and he’s managed to bring a lot of gore with him. Set 30 years after the films, Campbell realizes the demons he unleashed in the original are back and it is up to him and his trademark wit to save the world.
Debuting Halloween night on Starz, the hour long drama should be earning a ton of attention throughout October, and based on the first trailer, producers haven’t veered too far off the twisted sense of humor that made the original films cult classics.
Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Premieres: November 20
In the battle for comic book crossover supremacy, it's fairly obvious Marvel has the film market but the battle for TV dominance is still being fought.
While ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter haven’t been able to hit the same level of small screen success of The CW’s Arrow and Flash or Fox’s Gotham, Netflix has done wonders with its first foray into the comic realm.
Daredevil was met with high regard from both critics and audiences, and that has set the bar very high for the streaming service's next Marvel series Jessica Jones, which bows in November. Based on the Brian Michael Bendis comic Alias, the actioner stars Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23) and will follow the titular character after she opens her own detective agency, following her self-imposed retirement from super-hero life.
Jones is part of a grand scheme to create a combined television and movie universe. Jones will eventually team with the stars of Daredevil and the yet to be slated Luke Cage and Iron Fist to create The Defenders, which is already creating off-the-chart buzz among comic fans. Until then, they’ll settle for Jessica Jones, which could be every bit as successful as Daredevil when it bows this fall.
1 Honorable Mentions:
The Player (NBC)Premieres: September 24th
Wesley Snipes is among the most recognizable faces coming to your screens this fall, and he’s got a great vehicle to get back on top (after an unfortunate period in the slammer for tax evasion). Snipes plays the “pit boss” of the most dangerous game in Las Vegas, in which gamblers bet on whether a hired mercenary (Strike Back’s Philip Winchester) can foil real-life crimes. It’s a unique concept, and paired with The Blacklist, it could give NBC that one-two punch it desperately needs on Thursday nights.
Chicago Med (NBC)Premieres: November 17th
From 2000 to 2010 Dick Wolf was the king of NBC, courtesy of his countless Law & Order series. Only one of those series remains on the air, but Wolf has re-captured that lightning in a bottle with his Chicago franchise. First it was Chicago Fire, which gave way to Chicago PD and then it was only a matter of time until Chicago Med came along. It’s hard to think Wolf’s hot streak will end with Med, and with synergy opportunities galore with all three series and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, expect a lot of chances for new viewers to get hooked across the board.
The Man In The High Castle (Amazon)Premieres: November 20th
Amazon’s been trying to get a big “it” Netflix-esque drama and The Man In The High Castle could very well be that series. Based on the 1962 Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name, the series takes place in an alternate world where the Allies didn’t win World War II. In this reality, Axis powers divided the USA into puppet states, with the Japanese running the west coast and the Nazis running the east and a neutral zone in the middle. Produced by acclaimed director Ridley Scott, the series was Amazon’s highest ranked pilot ever and is quietly building buzz ahead of its November debut.
What other series are you looking forward to this fall? Did we miss anything that has you salivating with anticipation?