We’re tackling the new fall TV schedule night by night, moving onto Wednesday night. We’re not going lie – this one is a bit meh.
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.
WEDNESDAY TV DEATHMATCH
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Hourly Breakdown: 8pm EST
- ABC kicks things off with the new season of what a small, but vocal contingent of people argue is the true gem in the net’s comedy block: The Middle (Sept 23). The (mis)adventures of the Heck crew continue (in spite of?) Sue heading off to College. Meanwhile, the 80s set The Goldbergs starts off S3 with the eternal dilemma: whether or not to throw a party when the adults go out of town in a Risky Business-inspired premiere.
- CBS‘ Survivor (Sept 23) is about to kick off season 31 (!). One of CBS’ few remaining flagship reality series, Survivor hopes to inflate slightly sagging viewership numbers by bringing back 20 fan favourites from seasons past. Will strategies change? Will potential winners get the boot first? Here’s hoping that whatever happens the results are more interesting than the last few seasons have been. Also: less misogyny/racism/despicable human beings would be nice.
- FOX kicks off the night with a Blue Skies reject in the form of Rosewood (Sept 23). Stop me if you’re heard this one: a private doctor, pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., works crime cases in sunny Miami (while looking ridiculously attractive). This is one of two incredibly bland, generic new series (see Code Black below) and unfortunately with nothing to help it stand out, this one looks like an early candidate for cancellation.
- Blame a weak crop of new shows and an overall terrible slate for the return of NBC‘s “mom cop / cop mom”, The Mysteries of Laura (Sept 23). S2 introduces a new Captain portrayed by Callie Thorne who will – naturally – butt heads with Laura before eventually – naturally – come around to her way. MOM COP!
- The CW Arrow (Oct 7) shoots for the lighter, more fun vibe of early seasons after last year’s “all crying, all the time” season (the numbers for the more gleefully optimistic and fun superhero series The Flash probably didn’t hurt, either). S4 introduces new baddie Damien Darhk, lands Diggle a new not great-looking costume and gives Thea a BF of her own (Parker Young) to learn to lie to. Plus Constantine himself stops by to help resuscitate Sara.
Hourly Breakdown: 9pm EST
- ABC kicks off the 9 o’clock hour with its most critically lauded comedy, Modern Family (Sept 23) with Phil freaking out that guest star Adam Devine is falling in love with Haley. Or something. If we’re being honest, Modern Family has been in a creative decline for a number of years and each year seems to phone it in a little bit more. black-ish (Sept 23), on the other hand, felt fresh and funny and new in its debut last season and should continue to build on its solid foundation by tackling topics both controversial (the n word) and slight (moisturizing).
- CBS continues offering the most misogynistic of all crime procedurals as Criminal Minds (Sept 30) kicks off a serialized arc for S11. Kate (aka J. Love Hewitt) is one and done and JJ is on maternity leave, which leaves sometimes comedian Aisha Tyler to fill in. Expect the same amount of dead bodies and ladies being tortured as usual.
- FOX is betting the house on Empire‘s (Sept 23) second season. The powerhouse phenomenon broke pretty much every viewership record in its inaugural season and looks poised to dominate the fall with a bevy of formidable guest stars (Alicia Keys, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravtiz, Ludacris, Mariah Carey, and Marisa Tomei) and expectedly soapy plotlines (Tomei plays a powerful lesbian who may or may not put the moves on Cookie). Empire looks even bigger and more outrageous in its second season than ever before, which should appease fans and give the haters plenty to complain about. Either way, look for the biggest series on TV to command all eyes on Wednesday either way.
- NBC counters with aging procedural Law & Order: SVU (Sept 23), which continues to “rip from the headlines” as it heads into S17. As the sole remaining L&O on the air, it remains to be seen how many more cases this aging franchise has in it (considering the NBC/Dick Wolf relationship has shifted to the Chicago threesome), but for now…here we go again.
- The CW‘s Supernatural kicks off S11 on Oct 7 (fun fact: remember when the series was going to end after five seasons? Good times). There’s lots to discover about the identity of villain The Darkness and Castiel should be around to help once he figures out a way to thwart Rowena’s curse. Basically: more heaven and hell, with hopefully a few fan favourites back to complement the brothers’ longing looks at each other.
- Cable has Audience Network/DirecTV’s Kingdom back for a second season on Oct 14. The Mixed Martial Arts series was an unexpected surprise in its first season, with meaty performances – both brawn and emotional – from its talented cast, especially Frank Grillo as gym owner Alvey and Jonathan Tupper (always a fave) as troublemaking son Jay. Shit basically hit the fan at the end of S1, so it should be interesting to see how this under the radar season rebuilds in year two. Just in case you’re on the fence because you don’t like cage fighting, this is to MMA what Friday Night Lights was to football – it’s a backdrop, not the focal point.
Hourly Breakdown: 10pm EST
- ABC shifts gears as they have done for the last few years in the 10pm hour with the return of Nashville (Sept 23). We stopped watching the country sudser a few years back, but it looks like things have hit the rocks between Avery and Juliette (yay for Hayden Panattiere cry face!) while Deacon and Rayna remain separated. The real question is whether the show’s OK, but not great, viewing numbers and decent music downloads can keep this aging (and likely expensive) series afloat. ABC has the whole season to make a decision, but fans better start propping this series up.
- CBS puts on hospital blinders and pretends that we’ve literally never seen a medical series before. This series looks to be one trope after another: difficult personality, Marcia Gay Harden, who is a miracle worker in the OR; clichéd dialogue about life and death, trauma unit BS, blah blah blah. There’s literally nothing fresh or new or exciting about this show. We’re calling this one DOA (we can use clichés, too, Code Black!)
- NBC‘s second Chicago series, Chicago PD (Sept 30) dedicates its premiere to Lindsay’s downward spiral, especially if it means using the words “lone wolf” and involves breaking glass coffee tables. We know even less about this Chicago series than its predecessor, soooo…that’s all she wrote.
- Technically 10pm cable began weeks ago when FXX launched their fall comedies early. This means that the final season of fantasy football series The League (Sept 9) and the funniest comedy you’re not watching, You’re The Worst (Sept 9) have both already debuted. This means that you’re officially missing the funny.
- Meanwhile on FX proper, Ryan Murphy’s other series, American Horror Story plots a new standalone season: Hotel (Oct 7). The latest iteration swaps Murphy muse Jessica Lange for fashion/music icon Lady Gaga, but features many of the stable AHS regulars including Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Matt Bomer, Lily Rabe, and Finn Wittrock. Expect the usual nonsensical narrative amidst the gorgeous fashion and cinematic direction.
- Hulu debuts another new series: Jason Reitman’s Casual (Oct 7). If there’s one reason to be excited, it’s the lead role for Michaela Watkins, who’s had a great year between Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Transparent. Little is known about the series other than the logline (courtesy of EW): a “divorced mom Valerie…rediscovers herself while living with her brother (Tommy Dewey) and teenage daughter (Tara Lynne Barr).”
That’s it for Wednesday. Check back tomorrow for Thursday TV deathmatch.