It’s mad early in the year to be thinking about fall TV, I know. But the whole point of May Upfronts—where networks preview their upcoming programs—is for advertisers and critics (and all you lowly viewers) to get a taste of the best and trashiest shows guaranteed to be on television for decades.
Dozens of new programs will be vying
to be cancelled for our attention and ad dollar viewership—shows with ridiculous concepts that are “based on” things, shameless ploys, shallow dialogue, black people, lots of white people, doctors, jerks, crime solvers, Shonda Rhimes, etc. It’s a lot.
In fact, it’s too much. Instead of worrying what’s worth your DVR space four months from now, here’s an easy-to-follow guide to TV shows that should be on your radar. No need to read any other roundups. Just trust that my fully formed opinion based on the extremely condensed information in these trailers is accurate.
(Note: All plot summaries are pulled from the networks’ official sites and YouTube pages)
Premise: “John Stamos stars in a new comedy about the ultimate bachelor who discovers he’s not only a father, but a grandfather. GRANDFATHERED is an unconventional, sophisticated comedy about coming of age—at any age.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Nope
A revealing line from the trailer: “Congratulations.”
My review: John Stamos reunites with small babies in this family-friendly semi-rom-com. It’s cute, sure, but babies don’t belong on TV shows. No.
Should you watch: Nah.
Premise: “Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, the original fallen angel, Lucifer Morningstar has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub.”
Anyone in it that I care about? What’s his name from Vh1’s Single Ladies; Rachael Elaine Harris, whom you may know.
A revealing line from the trailer: “Stop caring. You’re the devil.”
My review: What’s cool about it? Nothing, BESIDES THE FACT THAT IT’S ABOUT A HOT BRITISH DEVIL LIVING IN L.A.
Should you watch: Definitely. Let’s watch it together and tweet purple devil emojis to each other.
Premise: “She may be crazy. She may be inappropriate. But like an angel, she is always there for you...whether you like it or not.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Jane Lynch as a guardian angel, people
A revealing line from the trailer: “Remember your first orgasm when you farted just a little bit?”
My review: As previously mentioned (in the entry above), there’s already a show about the devil. Naturally, we need one about an angel to balance the universe. This plot seems thoroughly dry, with Jane Lynch being its only saving grace.
Should you watch: Yes. Let’s watch it together and tweet angel emojis to each other.
Premise: “From Shondaland’s Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, this thriller centers on the strong, successful Alice Martin (Mireille Enos). She’s a fraud investigator who’s about to be the victim of fraud by her fiancé. Between her cases, she is determined to find him before it ruins her career.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Kerry Washington. Just kidding. No one.
A revealing line from the trailer: “You wanna play? Let’s play.”
My review: Like every other Shonda show, it’s a drama about pathological liars, backstabbers, treachery, fraud, crime and the power of a good cry.
Should you watch: Yes, do.
Premise: “The new anthology series revolves around a college campus which is rocked by a series of murders and is set in a sorority house.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Every cool person on the planet, including Emma Roberts, Jaime Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Keke Palmer and I just saw Nick Jonas.
A revealing line from the trailer: “We’re terrified.”
My review: I have a low tolerance for horror (scare easily), but this is a sorority show where famous people get murdered and looks Mean Girls and hokey as hell.
Should you watch: Absolutely.
Premise: “MINORITY REPORT follows the unlikely partnership between a man haunted by the future and a cop haunted by her past, as they race to stop the worst crimes of the year 2065 before they happen.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Meagan Good?
A revealing line from the trailer: “Where did you get this?”
My review: It’s about a guy who gets flashes of the future (visions, if you will), which is exactly what happens to me (Anytime I tell people, they think I’m crazy). So I get it. A whole show about me. I’m in.
Should you watch: Totes.
Premise: “A vast international plot explodes when a beautiful Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) is discovered naked in Times Square, her body covered in tattoos in this new, one-hour action thriller.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Nah
A revealing line from the trailer: “Then why is your name tattooed on her back...”
My review: This show has to do with memory, tattoos, facial recognition and mind-erasing—a thrilling combination. Someone’s playing games. Someone (or ones...) wants to know the truth. And “it’s just the beginning.”
Should you watch: No.
Premise: “Time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter must assemble a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat to the planet…and to time itself.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Nah
A revealing line from the trailer: “You call this a team?”
My review: It’s kinda like Avengers, right?
Should you watch: Sure.
Premise: “Doctor turned actor/comedian Ken Jeong plays Dr. Ken, a brilliant physician with no bedside manner. He is always trying to be a good doctor, as well as a good husband and dad to his two kids. Luckily, his therapist wife Allison is just the right partner to keep things sane.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Tisha Campbell-Martin
A revealing line from the trailer: “...Then I will finally have grounds to fire your tiny Asian ass.”
My review: This (clap) show (clap) has (clap) a (clap) laugh (clap) track. Nah.
Should you watch: Yeah, check it out, though.
Premise: “Meet Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Junior, the most brilliant private pathologist in Miami, who uses his wildly sophisticated autopsy lab, to perform for-hire autopsies to uncover clues that the Miami PD can’t see.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Morris Chestnut, guys
A revealing line from the trailer: “This victim suffered dehydration by vomiting.”
My review: There’s medicine, there’s love, there’s crime, there’s death. What’s not to like.
Should you watch: For sure.
Premise: “The Muppets return to primetime with a contemporary, documentary-style show. For the first time ever, a series will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, breakups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Every single one of the Muppets
A revealing line from the trailer: “Kermit, what a pleasant surprise to see you and...whoever you are.”
My review: It’s about the personal lives of muppets. That’s riveting enough. Another reason to watch: to catch all the shade from Miss Piggy (see quote above).
Should you watch: Absolutely, it’s made for adults. Which reminds me...remember Muppet Babies?
Premise: “It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s not a man. It’s Supergirl. In the new drama from the world of DC Comics, Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, embraces her superhuman abilities and becomes the hero she was always meant to be.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen
A revealing line from the trailer: “Here’s your latte, hot.”
My Review: Cool feminist theme, sis. Goofy girl, neither bird nor plane, has superhuman strength and wants to save the world equals girl power.
Should you watch: Maybe one episode.
Premise: “Based on the real life of Dr. Kathy Magliato, this medical drama stars Melissa George as an iconoclastic heart transplant surgeon, one of the few women in her field.”
Anyone in it that I care about? A woman, hello
A revealing line from the trailer: “They’re whooping our asses in bio-engineering.”
My review: Woman with powerful job, hello. Intriguing.
Should you watch: Yes, so you can follow along with all the thinkpieces.
Premise: “Based on the 2011 feature, Limitless follows Brian Finch as he discovers the power of the mysterious drug NZT. In this new drama from executive producer Bradley Cooper, explore what happens when a man unlocks his limitless potential. This Fall on CBS.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Bradley Cooper, who’s probably just in the pilot for a few minutes because he does movies not TV
A revealing line from the trailer: “This conversation is here and nowhere else.”
My review: Why would I watch an entire series about Limitless, which sucked?
Should you watch: Pass
Premise: “Based on the hit movie of the same name, Uncle Buck (Mike Epps) is a fun-loving but irresponsible guy who needs a job and a place to stay. His brother and sister-in-law need some help around the house. And they just might be the answer to each other’s problems.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Nia Long
A revealing line from the trailer: “It’s your Uncle Buck!”
My review: The central figure in this remake is Mike Epps and while his career totally started out funny and promising, I feel like he plays too much for cheap laughs and can’t carry an entire series.
Should you watch: One episode just for Nia.
Premise: “From the director of How I Met Your Mother [Ed Note: WHAAAT] comes a bold new comedy about two couples for whom nothing is out of bounds, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tone Bell and Bresha Webb.”
Anyone in it that I care about? People!
A revealing line from the trailer: “Yeah, that’s my CD.”
My review: The title People are Talking succinctly sums up this fresh, interesting series that features both black people and white people, as well as crazy sitcom plots like: the hot babysitter does porn.
Should you watch: No. Bad title, guys! Can’t get past it.
Premise: “Billy and Cody Lefever dream of a new life and move to “The Bakken” in North Dakota, booming after the biggest oil discovery in American history. They’re soon pitted against a ruthless tycoon who forces them to put everything on the line, including their marriage.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Ving Rhames (Update: Actually that’s Delroy Lindo)
A revealing from the trailer: “I need a job that pays cash today, please.”
My review: Oil, fortune, Dakota, America, Republicans, love. I’ll pass.
Should you watch: Nope
Premise: “THE GRINDER is a new comedy about a famous TV lawyer who decides to move back home and join his family’s real law firm—despite having no formal education, no bar certification, no license to practice and no experience in an actual courtroom.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Rob Lowe. Fred Savage.
A revealing from the trailer: “I mean, he thinks he’s the grinder? He knows nothing about the grind. I grind. I am the grinder. I grind hard.”
My review: It’s a show about a guy with a show. He has big dreams. I’m intrigued.
Should you watch: Yes, let’s give it a shot.
Premise: “Wicked City follows a unique case set in a noteworthy era of L.A. history, starting with a murder case from 1982 centered on the rock ’n’ roll, cocaine-infused revelry of the Sunset Strip. Alliances are formed to solve a serial murder case.”
Anyone in it that I care about? If you’re into that guy Ed Westwick from that show Gossip Girl
A revealing line from the trailer: “I absolutely love children.”
My review: This show’s so wicked. Maybe a little too wicked...Clearly an attempt at a televised Serial.
Should you watch: Yes
Premise: “New animated comedy BORDERTOWN centers around two families living in a Southwest desert town on the U.S.-Mexico border, taking a satirical look at the cultural shifts occurring in America.”
Anyone in it that I care about? No
A revealing line from the trailer: “From Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy”
My review: Guaranteed to be racist.
Should you watch: Nah, don’t even watch this trailer and, also, pretend you didn’t read this.
Premise: “Whether you are on a date or at a funeral, this family’s experience feels all too familiar. Every week, watch four short stories about family in the new comedy Life in Pieces starring Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, and Colin Hanks. This Fall on CBS.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Are you familiar with Thomas Sadoski at all? Dianne Wiest? Zoe Lister-Jones?
A revealing line from the trailer: “Did I poop on the table?”
My review: I’m sorry, but this family’s experience does feel familiar. All too familiar.
Should you watch: Nah.
Premise: “Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester star in this action-packed Las Vegas thriller about a high-stakes game played by an organization of the wealthy, from the producers of The Blacklist.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Wesley Snipes
A revealing line from the trailer: “Absolutely wrong. And I liked it.”
My review: A woman is murdered, literal and metaphorical bets are being placed, and Wesley Snipes plays a powerful, perpetually unbothered gambling kingpin. Talk about high stakes.
Should you watch: You don’t need this in your life.
Premise: “Welcome to THE FRANKENSTEIN CODE, a modern reimagining of the Mary Shelley classic, about a man brought back to life by two scientists playing god.”
Anyone in it that I care about? I doubt it
A revealing line from the trailer: “What are you doing in my apartment, Mary?”
My review: Imagine a modern day Frankenstein. Are you sold? Well, this is a sci-fi thriller from the producers of The X Files, 24 and Homeland—all compelling shows. Seems like this could be fire. Plus, it’s about science.
Should you watch: Yes.
Premise: “A fresh take on a seemingly perfect Catholic family whose lives take an unexpected turn when surprising truths are revealed. Instead of ruining their family, the honesty triggers a new, messier chapter where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Nope
A revealing line from the trailer: “I’m gay.”
My review: Into coming-of-age mayhem and Catholic jokes? This might be for you but probably isn’t.
Should you watch: No. You watch Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, which officially replaced Modern Family. You have neither the time nor compassion for another family drama.
Premise: “Rachel Bloom is Rebecca Bunch, a successful driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness...in suburban West Covina, CA.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Not likely
A revealing line from the trailer: “Oh my God, I’m crazy.”
My review: It’s like if Disney made a charming rom-com musical cloned after The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt without any of the wit and with every Crazy Woman cliché imaginable. I guess it might be good.
Should you watch: For the love of god, no.
Premise: “A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11.”
Anyone in it that I care about? Various diverse people
A revealing line from the trailer: “I’m not coasting on anything, Taylor Swift.”
My review: (Taylor Swift isn’t in this). This looks like a mix of Divergent and CSI with a double shot of ~romance~ and ~terrorism~.
Should you watch: Yeah, why not.
Images via screenshot
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