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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fall TV Preview: If it's Wednesday, this must be Dynasty

The five major networks revealed their 2017-18 schedules this week, and once again almost all of their preview trailers made me want to turn off my TV. And in order to make room for their yawn-inducing new shows, the networks had to cancel many old ones, including two of my favorites - ABC's American Crime and The Real O'Neals (I'm going to miss Martha Plimpton's hilarious Catholic mother).

And here are two ABC pilots that sound promising but did not get picked up:

Household Name, a sitcom starring Carol Burnett as 93-year-old Vivian Valmont, "a glamorous, Hollywood film star whose larger-than-life persona is larger than her current fan base" (apparently the show is "still alive" but will need some retooling - I'm not going to hold my breath).

Bluegrass/Blood Red, a drama created by Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids) and starring Reba McEntire as the sheriff of a small town in Kentucky (the show is being shopped around to other networks).

Now instead of posting the trailers for this fall's underwhelming slate of shows as I usually do, I'm just going to feature the five new series that I plan to watch (at least their pilot episodes) as well as my selection for the Worst New Show. You can see a complete fall schedule at

So let's begin with the worst - 9JKL, a CBS sitcom that will air on Mondays at 7:30 PM (CST). My pick for Worst New Show last fall was also a CBS sitcom with a horrible laugh track - the Joel McHale comedy, The Great Indoors, which was thankfully canceled. Unfortunately, CBS has replaced it with another laugh-less, cringe-inducing "comedy" about an actor who moves home after his TV series is canceled. We can only hope that this also happens to this lame show, which wastes the talents of a bare-chested Mark Feuerstein and the lovely Linda Lavin.

As for the Best New Show, I'm going to go with Rise, an NBC mid-season drama based on Michael Sokolove's wonderful 2013 nonfiction book, Drama High, about a high school drama program in Pennsylvania. No preview trailer has been released yet, but hopefully the show will be as a good as the book. It stars Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and Rosie Perez, and it's created by Jason Katims (Parenthood) and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller.

Another NBC mid-season show that I plan to check out is Good Girls, a "comedy-infused drama" that follows three frustrated suburban moms who rob a local supermarket with a toy gun. It's being called Thelma & Louise meets Breaking Bad, and it stars Retta (Parks and Recreation) and Mae Whitman (Parenthood).

And then there's The CW's new Dynasty, which is based on the original 1981-89 ABC series and will air on Wednesdays at 8 PM (CST). The cast includes Grant Show (still hot at age 55) as Blake Carrington, Nathalie Kelley as Cristal Flores, Elizabeth Gillies as Fallon Carrington, James Mackay as Steven Carrington, and Rafael de La Fuente as Sam Flores, a gay male version of Sammy Jo from the original series. The preview trailer is okay - but I expect (and hope) that Alexis will be showing up eventually to give the series a boost.

Finally, I will be tuning in to see the revivals of Roseanne (an ABC mid-season replacement) and Will & Grace, which will air on Thursdays at 7 PM (CST) on NBC. Here's hoping that both shows will be as entertaining as the originals.

I'm also happy that my three favorite new shows from this past season were all renewed - The CW's Riverdale and NBC's This Is Us and Trial & Error. And I plan to continue to watch ABC's The Goldbergs, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, and Fox's Empire. So despite the networks' disappointing crop of new shows, I will be tuning in for plenty of television next season, including some cable and streaming series.

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