Fall TV season kicked off last week, bringing with it a plethora of programs with which to fill your DVR. While some of TV’s latest offerings aren’t worth your time, others will bring back some of our favorite actors to the small screen. Here’s our guide to some of what's new this fall, so clear your DVR and get ready to spend a night on the couch. This TV ain’t gonna watch itself.
Mondays, NBC, 9/8c
Eighties dirtbag James Spader returns to TV in this crime thriller that critics are hailing as “the best new show of the season.” For decades, ex-government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (Spader) has been one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. Now, he's mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: Red will help catch terrorist Ranko Zamani under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen, an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico.
Mondays, CBS, 9:30/8:30c
West Wing vet Allison Janney is trading in her power suits for a new role — motherhood. She joins the sometimes-funny Anna Faris in this new comedy from showrunner Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory). Faris is a newly sober single mom raising two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls, with Janney starring as her critical, estranged mother. If you’re game for a laugh-track, tune in. But don’t expect Emmy-winning fare here.
Tuesdays, FOX, 8:30/7:30c
Andy Samberg! The goofy Lonely Island-er raised eyebrows when he left his cushy Saturday Night Live gig for television, but I’m happy to report that his decision wasn’t in vain. He joins other such indie comedy names as Joe LoTruglio (Superbad) and Chelsea Perretti (Parks and Recreation, Louie) in this cop comedy, wherein Samberg stars as all-star Detective Jake Peralta, a success story who doesn’t want to follow the rules.
Tuesdays, ABC, 9/8c
Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions brings this 80s set comedy, which stars comedy all-stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) and Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) matriarch and patriarch of the Goldberg family. The 1980s were the wonder years for geeky 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone), and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. In the same vein as The Wonder Years and Freaks and Geeks, both of which captured audiences’ hearts, this nostalgic comedy could have legs. Maybe.
Wednesdays, ABC, 9:30/8:30c
Malin Ackerman stars as Kate, former party girl turned third wife to Pete, played Bradley Whitford (another West Wing alum). After a wild night at a karaoke bar, she falls into his arms, and a year later is begrudgingly welcomed into a new family, complete with two ex-wives and three stepchildren. The star quality of the show’s cast is enough to bring viewers, so this is worth a shot.
Wednesdays, ABC, 8:30/7:30c
Maggie Lawson (Psych) stars as Terry, an all-star softball player who returns home after her marriage ends, moving in with her estranged father, played by James Caan. It’s a story we’ve heard before (think Clint Eastwood movie plot), but the cast’s chemistry is at least palpable.
Wednesdays, ABC, 9:30/8:30
After her hysterical turn in this year’s Pitch Perfect, it seems the world is eager to see more of Rebel Wilson. This comedy hasn’t been without its pitfalls — another network reportedly passed on the initial pilot — but those just looking for Wilson’s signature comedic style should not be disappointed. Wilson stars as Kimmie Boubier, who, with her two best friends, has a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. Trouble ensues when she meets a suitor (surprise, surprise) who causes Friday Night Fun Night to take a backseat. Think Never Been Kissed goes to New Zealand.
Thursdays, NBC 9/8c
Michael J. Fox makes his long-awaited return to TV with this semiautobiographical show, in which he stars as Mike Henry, one of New York's favorite news anchors, who has to put his career on hold in order to spend time with his family and focus on his Parkinson's disease diagnosis. The story picks up after his kids are grown and he's looking to get back to work. Fans of Fox are sure to be pleased, and Breaking Bad fans can take solace in the fact that Marie finally moves on from Hank (Betsy Brandt stars as Fox’s wife).
There you have it. Of course some of your old favorites will be back, some will soon be ending (RIP, Breaking Bad), and some we’ll have to wait for forever (Mad Men, ugh). But at least fall will bring some opportunities to find a new favorite.