by A.C. Hall
The mid September chill in the air signaling the start of fall may be something of a myth here in Texas, but one thing that always solidifies the end of summer is the beginning of the Fall TV season. Old favorites are returning, new shows are debuting, and the networks are once again about to launch into a multi-month campaign to get you watching. Here’s how they’re going to do it.
ABC is cashing in on the superhero craze not by creating a new superhero, but by going directly to the source. Next week they’ll debut Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that follows members of the shadowy organization featured prominently in Marvel films like The Avengers, Thor, and Iron Man. Don’t expect any cameos by Robert Downey, Jr., but this show will benefit from its strong association with big budget and popular movies. The focus will be on the regular men and women in S.H.I.E.L.D., but some superhero shenanigans are sure to pop up in what could be one of the stronger new series in recent years.
Networks are turning back to some big name stars that were once massively popular on the airwaves, as both Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox are starring in sitcoms this season. Williams plays a (surprise surprise) eccentric and kookie character in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, debuting next week. The manic comedic stylings of Williams certainly aren’t for everyone, but for those that enjoy it, there’s now going to be a weekly chance to partake.
Over on NBC, The Michael J. Fox show will debut in two weeks as Fox portrays a retired news anchor who returns to the air. Early reviews are saying that the character suffers from Parkinsons Disease, just like Fox does in real life, and that the show will focus on family and health as well as plenty of comedy. This one has already received a full season 22 episode order, so NBC is banking heavily on Fox delivering them a hit here.
The Fox network is boasting some strong new shows, first with Sleepy Hollow, a modern re-imagining of the classic tale. This one takes place in modern times, where a long dead Ichabod Crane finds himself brought back to life just in time to deal with a rampaging headless horseman, who at one point in the preview can be seen brandishing a machine gun. This unlikely sounding show is getting great early buzz, and gets underway this week.
Even though it’s not debuting until November, the sci-fi Fox show Almost Human is another new show getting great early reviews. Starring Karl Urban as a cop in the future who hates robots, the show focuses on the use of robotic officers in a future world that is teetering on the brink of self destruction. High minded sci-fi concepts like these rarely succeed on television, but this one just might have a chance.
Television is a cyclical industry, and back in fashion this season is most definitely sitcoms. Every network is debuting several new sitcoms as they hope to hit on the gold mine of ratings success that shows like The Big Bang Theory have been getting recently. Surely there will be some good shows in all these new sitcoms, but the vast majority are looking like the kind of mediocre and forgettable shows that don’t make it past mid-season. If you’re a fan of sitcoms, this is definitely the fall TV season for you, as there are going to be a myriad of new ones to sample.
While the number of notable cancellations from last season was much lower than usual, there are still some popular shows that won’t be returning this fall. Sitcoms The Office and 30 Rock both wrapped up last year, at least getting to end on their own terms, but sitcoms Up All Night, 1600 Penn, Whitney, The New Normal, Animal Practice, Guys With Kids, Apartment 23, Malibu Country, How to Live with your Parents, Rules of Engagement, and Ben & Kate all got canceled.
CSI New York was canceled, making it one of the only missteps in that long running successful franchise. The Keifer Sutherland drama Touch was also canceled, but that may end up being a blessing in disguise for most television fans, as it’s since been announced that he’ll return to the role of Jack Bauer in a new limited 12 episode run of the insanely popular show 24. This won’t debut until early 2014, but expect it to be must see television when it does.
The debut days, times, and networks of shows this season is all over the place, so be sure to check local listings to get your viewing schedule in place for the 2013 fall television season.