Evan Paszamant ’18

Every fall TV season, numerous networks attempt to win your viewership by both creating a vast array of comedies and dramas, and creating a swarm of advertising campaigns smattered all over every media outlet. However, what ultimately wins this television competition is the quality of the show or, in other words, how well crafted and entertaining the show really is. So after watching nearly every single series premiere and the following episode or two, here are my Yays and Nays for the Fall 2016 Television Season.

Yays:

This Is Us (NBC)

Designated Survivor (ABC)

Speechless (ABC)

Timeless (NBC)

Shameless (Showtime)

Superstore (NBC)

Pitch (FOX)

Conviction (ABC)

Westworld (HBO)

American Horror Story (FX)

The Get Down (FX)

This fall season has the return of some incredible shows as well as some incredible new shows. What’s interesting is that, at least in my opinion, not a single CBS network TV show was truly appealed or entertaining in any way. MacGyver was the same old show from the 1980’s but modernized, nothing original; and the new comedy Bull was cheesy and bland. Bull could very well be my least favorite new show of the Fall 2016 season on TV at the moment. It’s unfortunate because I do enjoy the older CBS TV shows including 2 Broke Girls, Criminal Minds and NCIS, but CBS’s fall 2016 offering is pretty weak compared to previous years.

FOX has released a small but mighty lineup for the new Fall 2016 season TV shows including some shows that have yet to premiere. While The Exorcist is good (more on that later), in my opinion, FOX’s best offering so far is Pitch, the story of MLB’s first female pitcher. The show is very strong and the pilot left enough room to elaborate the story for future episodes and seasons. However, the best pilot episode  this season so far was NBC’s dynamite new offering This Is Us,  starring Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia. This Is Us tells the stories of 4 individuals who share the same birthday. That’s all I’m going to say about this show in order to avoid spoiling it! The Pilot for This Is Us is probably the best pilot episode I have ever seen in a TV show, which is saying something. All I will say is that by the end of the episode, you will be smiling from ear to ear.

NBC’s other notable new offering is Timeless, the story of a criminal going back in time to rewrite history to a damaging effect. The show left a lot of questions to be answered but was extremely entertaining and strong.

Another thing that I loved about Timeless is that the idea was original. So many shows on TV follow the same premise while Timeless takes a whole new route in terms of storyline. NBC also brought back the comedy Superstore for its second season and already I see improvement. I loved the show’s first season but I thought that there was room for the show to become great. One of the writers must have overheard me talking about the negative aspects of this show because already in their first episodes of the second season, so many improvements have been made. The script for each episode is tighter and the comedy has increased. The writers also gave the smaller roles in the first season, bigger parts in the second season. I found those background characters in the first season to be hilarious and wished that there was more of them. Though they are not main characters, they are now inserted more into the show and it works. Definitely a must see! Other returning, and incredible shows, include Showtime’s Shameless, which never fails to impress, and FX’s American Horror Story: Roanoke. Both series are exceptionally strong and don’t seem to be slowing down for they are nominated for emmy’s and golden globes every year.

The dominating Network of the season in my opinion is ABC. Last year ABC had a mediocre fall season new show lineup. This year something crazy must have happened over at ABC’s headquarters because they are on fire. First off, the new comedy/drama Speechless takes the concept of a dysfunctional family, Modern Family-esque, and adds in a child who has a condition that leaves him with unique mobility and communication challenges. The show has the same charm that Modern Family used to have and a fresh breed of comedy due in part to Mini Driver’s mama bear demeanor. She truly steals the show in this one of a kind, charming TV show that I hopes lasts for a while.

Moving onto the Drama department, Designated Survivor and Conviction steal the show with their stellar actors and easy to follow storylines that still leave the audience with an itch to want more. Out of the two I like Designated Survivor slightly more just because the story touches upon the political side of the presidency and the familial side as well. There’s also a side story of that is building up the suspense for future episodes. For me, a good TV show is a show where you are easily entertained and can follow along a storyline and relate to what the characters are doing or what they are feeling. If during a TV episode you find yourself angry at a character or cheering them on, then that TV show is a success. ABC has found its footing and I really hope it lasts.

Almost Yays:

The Exorcist (Fox)

The Good Place (NBC)

Notorious (ABC)

American Housewife (ABC)

Code Black (CBS)

When I say almost yay, I mean that the shows are good and are slowly going in the right direction. They aren’t excellent but they are getting there. The Exorcist needs to build up on the genuine fear factor but the acting, storyline and camera work is incredible. The Good Place is a great feel good show but to put it in the same category as FX’s Louie or NBC’s The Office would be a stretch. The premise is sweet though and the show is only just beginning to get its footing so I am giving it a chance. Notorious is trying to be Scandal or Grey’s and could ultimately become that but the storyline needs to be tightened. American Housewife’s pilot episode was great but until I see the next episode it will be under this category. Lastly is CBS’s Code Black. Now, in its second season, Code Black barely got renewed and the producers and creative team are taking no chances with this series, and its shows. Not only has the cast been refreshed, but the show is turning into something similar to NBC’s Chicago Med in that it mostly focuses on the patients, and has the doctors and nurses lives revolving around the patient’s. Hopefully this change is good and will improve the show.

Always Decent or Haven’t Really Changed:

How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)

Empire (FOX)

Bob’s Burgers (FOX)

Law and Order: SVU (NBC)

Chicago Med (NBC)

The Blacklist (NBC)

All of these shows listed have ran for more than one season and are solid shows. I consider them to be fallback shows when you have nothing else to watch and you’re in a TV craze. These shows are good but they tend to be repetitive and not as exciting as the shows in my Yay category.

Nays:

Bull (CBS)

MacGyver (CBS)

Chicago PD (NBC)

Chicago Fire (NBC)

I’m going to just say it. CBS’s Bull and MacGyver are terrible in my opinion and are two series that should never have left the drawing room. In terms of MacGyver, why do you have to bring back an idea that was once great and mess with it? Watch the original series, don’t watch the new series. As for NBC’s Chicago PD and Chicago Fire, though they are part of a money making TV series franchise, they are really old hat. Their first seasons were pretty good but now I just don’t find the shows enjoyable. If I have the urge to change the channel to find another show, then that show I’m watching is not worth my time.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite new or returning shows this fall?

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