We’re tackling the new fall TV schedule night by night, moving onto Tuesday night.
Let’s bitch it out…
The following table does not include online / streaming series from Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. These will be addressed at the bottom of the post on the appropriate days.
TUESDAY TV DEATHMATCH
[table id=3 /]
Hourly Breakdown: 8pm EST
- ABC kicks off the night with the prime time return of Jim Henson’s lovable felt crew, The Muppets (8pm, Sept 22). The gang is back and working backstage on Miss Piggy’s variety series, which promises all kind of gentle mockery of showbiz theatrics. Most shocking of all, though: the breakup of longtime couple Kermit and Miss Piggy, both of whom have already moved on (which Piggy lookalike Denise and Josh freaking Groban!) Is nothing sacred?! If the felt crew can tow the line between kids and adults, ABC could have a big hit on their hands. Less certain is the compatibility of accompanying series Fresh Off The Boast (8:30pm) now entering its second season with ardent fans but a general lack of awareness despite the amazing comedic talents of actress Constance Wu.
- We don’t watch CBS‘ NCIS (Sept 22), but we know that it is the most popular show on TV (total audience-wise, not the all-important 18-49 demographic). Obviously the ~20 million people who watch this show care that Mark Harmon’s Gibbs was shot in last season’s finale, but it’s probably safe to assume that he’ll survive to shepherd the series through its 13th season.
- FOX ditches funny ladies for handsome white guys, kicking off Tuesdays with a one hour comedy block that features the return of John Stamos in Grandfathered at 8pm and Rob Lowe in The Grinder* at 8:30 (both Sept 29). Grandfathered has Stamos as a career bachelor learn he not only has a son but a granddaughter, while Grinder finds Lowe’s successful TV actor crash his brother’s real life law firm. Both leads are likable enough for a decent sampling, but give the edge to the latter series thanks to the return of The Wonder Years’ Ben Savage and a slightly less tired premise. Expect both series to do better than FOX’s ill-fated female comedy block, The Mindy Project (see below) & New Girl, last year, though ratings-wise these may not be ahead by much when the numbers are crunched at the end of the day.
- *Please note the appropriate spelling of the latter, which is not about Lowe cruising on a gay app looking for other silver daddies.
- Technically NBC‘s adventurous variety show, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris is debuting in the 10pm time slot on Sept 15 before transitioning to this 8pm time slot Sept 29 to make way for Wicked City (see below). Essentially Best Night is a free for all: pranks, celebrities, skits, games, etc (ie: whatever NPH wants). NBC is throwing money (and airtime) at one of the best hosts working today, though whether the live hour-long format works for audiences accustomed to singing and snogging reality shows remains to be seen. Don’t be surprised to see this series start well, then drop like a stone within three weeks and off the air by November. Prove us wrong NPH!
- The CW kicks off their most enjoyably action-packed night of the week with the return of last year’s breakout hit, The Flash (Oct 6). Things ended on a cliffhanger, though it appears most of the dangling plot threads will be settled in the premiere. Big changes afoot include the promotion of Iris (ugh) in Dr. Wells’ absence and the appearance of original Flash, Jay Garrick, from an alternative timeline. Here’s hoping the teen-network’s most popular series can retain its fun, adventurous spirit in S2.
Hourly Breakdown: 9pm EST
- ABC‘s continues to try and turn the most mainstream of Marvel’s TV properties into a hit with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Sept 29). S2 was a series of highs (Mockingbird! May! Skye becomes Daisy!) and lows (Phil and his wall scribbling! Mack! The false Inhuman conflict!) so much so that we ultimately gave up on the series. This season the writers are doubling down on Daisy and Mack as Inhuman seekers/trainers, and presumably Gemma will eventually be freed from her monolith prison. Eh…call us when Mockingbird gets her own spinoff (again).
- CBS: S2 of the Scott Bakula-led, New Orleans version of NCIS (how many permutations are there?!) presumably sees the team continuing their work in titular city (Sept 22).
- FOX shifts gears for arguably their biggest new series of the season: Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens (8pm, Sept 22). The horror comedy from the creator of Glee & American Horror Story centers around a sorority being massacred by a vengeful red devil and boasts an enviable cast of up and comers along with genre stalwarts like Jamie Lee Curtis (!!!). Expect Murphy’s typical illogical plots, overwrought acting and sensational murders that aren’t a wee bit scary, not that it will make a lick of difference because this is a guaranteed massive hit. Expect big numbers for the premiere (which debuts with a 2 hour premiere). Obviously we’re watching.
- NBC has a second night of The Voice.
- The CW‘s iZombie (Oct 6) may not have the critical pedigree of Jane the Virgin or the fanboy appeal of The Flash, but it certainly has the heart – and brains – of like-minded female protagonists Buffy and Veronica Mars. Fronted by Liv Moore, the “everything going for her” girl who turns into a zombie after a boat party, this Rob Thomas (not the singer) series was tons of fun in S1 and like fellow Tuesday night series, it ended with a ton of cliffhangers. We can’t wait to see Liv, Major, Blaine and returning villain Steven Weber back on our Tuesday screens, especially in this new “vote of confidence from the network” fall time slot.
- Cable only debuts one series in the 9pm time slot and that’s season two of the quietly compelling atomic bomb drama, Manhattan (Oct 13). The drama, which already boasts a great cast (including the incomparable Olivia Williams), is hoping that the presence of former CSI lead and all around great actor William Peterson, as authoritarian Col. Darrow, will give the tiny series a big profile boost. Airing on little known WGN America is a bit of an asset since the bar for success is low. Throw in the fact that Manhattan is well-liked by critics, and these factors could save it even if its numbers are soft (see also: FX’s The Americans).
Hourly Breakdown: 10pm EST
- With Wicked City (Oct 27), ABC debuts arguably the riskiest show of the night. Think David Duchovny’s Aquarius (period serial killer drama) only with less well-known actors. Or, considering that summer series’ rating implosion and subsequent move to Saturday nights, don’t. Wicked City takes over from Neil Patrick Harris’ variety show with a healthy dose of sex, drugs and murder courtesy of The O.C. actor Ed Westwick, whose killer is pursued across the Sunset Strip by character actor Jeremy Sisto. Critics already hate this one (it opens with a murderous blowjob), so unless it’s salacious enough to cause a stir, this’ll be a blink and you miss it. Honestly, if Wicked City were debuting earlier in the season, we’d earmark it for first cancellation of the year.
- CBS aims to generate a big splashy debut in a relatively weak time slot with this TV sequel to the hit feature film Limitless (Sept 22). The film starred Bradley Cooper (who is executive producing and will also recur as his big screen character), but the lead is actually played by Greek (yay) and Manhattan Love Story (blech) star Jake McDornan. Dexter alum Jennifer Carpenter tags along as the FBI handler tasked with working with/catching him. Expect a heady mix of procedural and serialized storytelling with relatively high budget (albeit repetitive) visuals. Unless this one crashes and burns right out of the gates, it’s a good bet to last at least the season.
- NBC introduces former The Vampire Diaries heartthrob Steve R. McQueen to Chicago Fire (Oct 13) where he’ll vie for the affection of both Brett and Chili. More sparks arrive in the form of Rachel Nichols (Continuum) who’ll woo the recently demoted Severide. We know nothing else about the Chicago series apart from the fact that they’re made by Dick Wolf and will likely need to be killed by fire to be cancelled.
- Cable: Are you missing the SAMCRO boys now that Sons of Anarchy has finished? Welcome to your next dose of testosterone, blood and poor narrative pacing! Kurt Sutter brings his particular brand of badass (and his wife, Katey Sagal) back to FX for The Bastard Executioner (Sept 15) a period drama about one of King Edward 1’s knights who poses as an executioner. Expect lots of blood, gore and naughty language from this cable drama.
- Hulu resuscitates beloved (but marginally watched) The Mindy Project (Sept 15) online for a supersized 26 episode S4. Expect Joseph Gordon-Levitt to pop up as Mindy’s new husband (?) while Danny ventures to India to meet her parents. Also funny lady Famous Fortune joins the cast. In Hulu’s “we’re not Netflix or Amazon” tradition, new eps roll out weekly.
That’s it for Tuesday. Check back tomorrow for Wednesday TV deathmatch.