I write about TV for a living, so it’s safe to say that the beginning of the fall television season is like my Christmas. Apart from This Is Us, I’m not actually waiting for the return of many broadcast shows this year. I have fingers crossed for announcements about The Crown and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel premiere dates soon, and in other streaming news, I’m still working my way through both completed and currently airing shows online. But thanks to both my job and other expert opinions on what new shows can’t be missed this season, I’ve picked a few shows from the new crop of network TV that I’ll be trying out.
I already had my eye on these four shows when promos began airing for them, but after reading critics’ opinions on TVLine and in Entertainment Weekly‘s fall TV preview issue, I feel even more confident about investing time in them. With that said, these choices are already in my Hulu queue and I have their premiere dates emblazoned on my mind. Ultimately, there’s probably more of a chance of me abandoning some or all of these than there is of me sticking with them, but based on the early reviews I’ve seen, I have high hopes!
Single Parents (Wednesday, Sept. 26, on ABC)
TVLine‘s panel of critics unanimously loved this pilot episode. Many of them even called it the only new comedy that actually made them laugh. A group of single parents at an elementary school makes it their mission to reel in fellow single dad Will from his child-obsessed life and help him become a true adult again. Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester is supposedly hilarious as the ringleader of the single parent gang, and I loved Taran Killam on SNL. Brad Garrett is one of those actors who is hard to separate from an iconic role, but I always love seeing him in new work too. Early reviews promise non-irritating child actors and an overall delightful watch, so I’m hoping this becomes the trademark feel-good comedy in my TV lineup.
A Million Little Things (Wednesday, Sept. 26, on ABC)
Okay, if you’ve watched any of the Bachelor franchise this summer, you’ve seen ridiculously edited versions of this trailer play on every single commercial break without fail. A group of friends reconnects after one of its members unexpectedly kills himself, and the series seems to focus on the friends’ inner conflicts and demons while they try to cope as a team with their buddy’s death. The ads’ dramatic lines and sappy song choices became the stuff of Twitter jokes, and although I definitely wanted to see how it was, I was also expecting A Million Little Things to be an overblown drama that quietly stumbles off the air.
I might end up covering the show for work, and after reading that it isn’t as sappy and melodramatic as it looks, I’m finally properly excited for it. I already cry easily at TV that doesn’t even intend to be sad, and if anything, I love my cleansing sobfests while watching This Is Us. One more ugly-cry watch won’t hurt.
Manifest (Monday, Sept. 24, on NBC)
Manifest is definitely the series I’m most likely to abandon from this list. After an extended family coming home from vacation is split between two different flights, two adult siblings and one of the brother’s kids experience horrible turbulence on their plane. When they land, they learn that their plane has actually been missing for five years, and they and the other passengers must cope with the fact that everyone in their lives has moved on, assuming they were dead.
It’s hard to gauge how this kind of show will work in today’s TV landscape, and I’m admittedly only intrigued because of how heavily its publicity is comparing it to Lost. In the four-plus years since I finished Lost, I’ve yet to watch a series that was as emotionally immersive and complex as it felt for me. No kidding, but Lost seriously ruined any other TV for me right after I reached its end. Of course, a Lost-esque situation only comes around every now and then, so we’ll have to wait and see if Manifest comes close to stirring those feelings in me.
The Kids Are Alright (Tuesday, Oct. 16, on ABC)
This is basically The Goldbergs meets The Wonder Years. I don’t keep up with The Goldbergs, but I love The Wonder Years and its sentimental take on childhood (and yes, it makes me cry). Like with those two shows, The Kids Are Alright features a grown narrator looking back at his childhood in a very specific era of America. He’s one of eight boys in an Irish-Catholic family in the 1970s, and his oldest brother causes a stir when he leaves the seminary to pursue a more hippie lifestyle.
Firstly, I love throwback shows. I also find the family dynamic and background very familiar and reminiscent of both my own life and my parents’ childhoods in the ’60s and ’70s. Now with The Middle over, I’m in need of a more heartfelt comedy, and while Single Parents might serve as the clever sitcom, I could definitely use a comedy that will make me shed a tear or two.