Traditions have always been important to me. Apart from holiday rites and rituals that make celebrating more meaningful, I have other seasonal customs. I always wear lilac perfume the first day of spring, I have a snowman I bought at 20 that comes out the first snowfall of each year, and I like to celebrate my birthday on the actual date.
When I think about the traditions that were part of my childhood, two things come to mind immediately. There were two days I looked forward to every year. One was the day the Sears Wish Book came in the mail. We would pour through the catalog, planning our Christmas list for Santa and looking at all the unusual decorations they featured.
The other day was the day the TV Guide September Preview came out. With the same anticipation we had in paging through the Christmas catalog, we would read about all the new shows debuting on the three major networks. I picked out my favorites and marked down when each one would begin.
I know I could still go to the store and buy the TV Guide that previews the fall shows, but it is not the same. There are no longer three networks; there are hundreds, and even though many of them don’t feature new fall shows, it is still hard to find a spot where you can preview everything that is being produced.
Looking at some of those years and the shows that began each fall, I picked three seasons that featured some long-lasting, classic shows.
1960 – While I did not preview any of these shows since I was not born yet, I included this season because it featured The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, and Pete and Gladys. Who knew back then that almost 60 years later, an entire town would be devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, drawing thousands of visitors yearly. Talk about long-lasting! My Three Sons is one of my favorite shows. It continued on the air until 1972, so I literally grew up with the Douglas boys. I only got to know Pete and Gladys through reruns, but it was one of those shows that sparked my interest in older sitcoms.
1965 – I was only 4 when these shows debuted, but I have spent most of my life watching them. September of 1965 introduced us to Get Smart, F-Troop, Gidget, Green Acres, Hogan’s Heroes, I Dream of Jeannie, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and The Smothers Brothers – eight shows that continue to be watched by viewers. I Dream of Jeannie went to reruns as soon as the show was cancelled, and has never not been on television since 1965 – pretty amazing. Turn on ME TV or Antenna TV and you can still watch most of these series.
1970 – The late 60s and early 70s featured the shows I lived for. I read about the stars in Tiger Beat and other magazines. We had slumber parties around the Friday night line-up of shows. In 1970, we saw the beginning of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Odd Couple, The Partridge Family, and Nanny and the Professor. We still discuss the significance of Mary Tyler Moore and the way the show featured single women. The Odd Couple just saw the remake of the second or third series since the original debuted. When I watch an episode of The Partridge Family, I am ten again and have not a care in the world, except that I can’t find a way to meet Keith who I know is just waiting for me. I have not watched Nanny and the Professor since my youth but I do remember watching every week then.
So here we are 47 years later, and I have to search the internet just to find a full listing of new shows coming out. It’s not the same as sitting down with the glossy issue, knowing I can do the crossword puzzle later. We have hundreds of networks, not three. Yet some things remain the same.
In reviewing the new shows, I still only came up with 7 that looked interesting to me. I don’t see the This Is Us of 2017. What I did see were a lot of legal and medical dramas. I wonder why can’t the networks figure out that one or two well-written shows about the medical and legal fields are great, but 32 of them glaze our eyes over.
I loved the fresh approach of Trial and Error last year, and I will continue watching that show, but I’ll pass on the Trial and Error-Wannabees I see coming out this year. Again, creativity and originality are more important than another rollout of a successful show already on the air. I also get tired of shows that call themselves sitcoms like Two Broke Girls, but have no humor, just a lot of crude language and not much originality. Would you eat at their restaurant?
So, with all that being said, here are the shows that are piquing my interest this fall. I copied the series descriptions directly from the preview site on Entertainment Weekly: http://ew.com/tv/2017/04/21/fall-tv-pilots-2017/.
- The Trustee
In this fun, female buddy cop dramedy, a driven but stubborn detective finds unlikely help from her precinct’s trustee, a larger than life ex-con finishing out her prison sentence doing menial tasks for the police department. Though these two have completely opposing views on crime and punishment, a highly entertaining and successful partnership is born.
Team: Jay Scherick and David Ronn will write and executive-produce with Elizabeth Banks and Michael Engler.
Cast: Meaghan Rath, Micheal Cudlitz, Laverne Cox, Gail Bean, Lance Gross, L. Scott Caldwell, Trevor Lerner, Berto Colon, Tim Kang, David Warshofsky.
I may be placing more hope in this show that I should, but I am still in mourning over Rizzoli and Isles ending, so I am looking for a replacement.
- Household Name
This multi-camera comedy follows a family who has an opportunity to buy the house of their dreams but under extremely abnormal circumstances: They must live with the previous owner, an eccentric, larger-than-life actress (Carol Burnett).
Team: Michael Saltzman will write and executive-produce with Amy Poehler, Brooke Posch, Carol Burnett, Dave Becky, and Michael Pelmont.
Cast: Carol Burnett, Timothy Omundson, Matt Oberg, Mary Holland, Zoe Anne Pessin, Maverick Thompson.
How can you not be excited about a show starring Carol Burnett. I admit, I will give this one several chances and the benefit of the doubt just to watch her.
- The Mayor
After an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.
Team: Jeremy Bronson will write and executive-produce with Daveed Diggs, Jamie Tarses, and James Griffiths.
Cast: Brandon Michael Hall, Lea Michele, Bernard David Jones, Marcel Spears, Yvette Nicole Brown, David Spade.
This show is going to be great or a total flop. Let’s check it out and see which way it goes.
- Splitting Up Together
Based upon the original Danish series created by Mette Heeno, Splitting Up Together is the story of a couple whose relationship is reignited by their divorce.
Team: Emily Kapnek will write and executive-produce with Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Mette Heeno, Mie Andreasen, and Hella Joof.
Cast: Jenna Fischer, Oliver Hudson, Lindsay Price, Olivia Keville, Bobby Lee, Diane Farr, Van Crosby, Sander Combs, Geoff Pierson, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Kelsey Asbille.
I am putting faith in Ellen DeGeneres that this one will be a hit. I am also looking forward to Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson pairing up.
- Perfect Citizen
After his involvement as a whistleblower in an international scandal, the former General Counsel for the NSA (Noah Wyle) embarks on a new career at a storied law firm in Boston, facing the reality that while half the country thinks he’s our greatest patriot, the other half thinks he’s a traitor.
Team: Craig Turk will write and executive-produce with Ridley Scott, David Zucker, and Paris Barclay.
Cast: Noah Wyle, Shanley Caswell, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephanie Szostak, Adrienne Warren, Lenny Platt, Brian Stokes Mitchell.
I am a big Noah Wyle fan and never watched The Librarians although I had good intentions, so I am going to watch this one. The plot intrigues me.
- Life Sentence
When a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”
Team: Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith will write and executive-produce with Bill Lawrence, Oliver Goldstick, Jeff Ingold and Lee Toland Krieger.
Cast: Lucy Hale, Dylan Walsh, Jayson Blair, Gillian Vigman, Brooke Lyons, Elliot Knight, Carlos PenaVega.
This plot also has me creating story lines in my mind. It could be an interesting concept or another Two Broke Girls. Let’s hope for the first option.
- Will & Grace (straight-to-series)
A 12-episode revival of the long-running Emmy-winning comedy, which will reunite Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally.
Team: Original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will act as showrunners and executive producers, while prolific director James Burrows, who directed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, is on board to direct and executive-produce.
Cast: Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally.
Based on the writing from the original and the cast chemistry between these four stars, I can’t imagine not liking this show. I’m not sure if the 12 episodes is a first taping or if that is all we will get.
Let me know what shows you plan on checking out this fall. In January, I’ll let you know how I think the shows panned out and which ones may or may not be back next fall. Happy fall preview week!