With the fall comes cooler weather, fewer hurricanes -- a worry for those of us along the Gulf Coast, especially -- and new TV shows. Television has become rich with quality programming over the last decade, for all intents and purposes surpassing films in practically every way. Now that cable-only networks, subscription outfits like HBO and streaming services like Netflix have entered the fray, new, outstanding shows are popping up all over the place.
The big networks may not always come strong with the kind of quirky, dramatic programming to be found on Showtime or Amazon, they still know how to deliver in a big way. It makes sense. Ultimately, almost every creative would love for his show to end up on a network. They pay the most and offer some of the largest budgets. Maybe you can't make True Blood on NBC, but Scandal seems tailor made for weeknight network programming.
With quite a few decent new shows premiering this fall, my DVR is already loaded and the big networks are well represented.
Gotham (FOX) Chance it stays on my DVR the whole season: 90 percent
The prequel to the very concept of Batman, this Fox drama will be as comic book nerdy as you might imagine. Part noir, part graphic novel and part crime joint, Gotham will tell the story of how it all began, how Bruce Wayne became the Dark Knight and what sent the infamous city down the rabbit hole to near destruction. The show features a strong cast of veteran actors and it wisely tapped Danny Cannon, who produced the CSI shows, to keep it from running off the geek rails, we hope.
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) Chance it stays on my DVR the whole season: 85 percent
Few women have deserved a star turn as long as Viola Davis and she gets her shot with this year's Shonda Rhimes creation. And if How to Get Away with Murder is half as successful as Scandal, Rhimes could be a dynasty builder. This show's strong woman in a pants suit is a law professor teaching, well, you know. Naturally, there is more than just teaching going on. My sincere hope is that Rhimes doesn't turn every piece of dialog into a speech -- she's rapidly turning into a melodramatic version of Aaron Sorkin, if that were even possible -- and holds off on the bizarre love triangles, but I'm not holding my breath. Still, like Scandal, I'm betting this will be addicting, particularly with Davis on board.Gracepoint (FOX)Chance it stays on my DVR the whole season:
If you never saw the BBC's fantastic series Broadchurch, you might want to take a look. Gracepoint is the Americanized version, but featuring the British show's star David Tennant to boot. It also stars Anna Gunn, fresh off her Best Supporting Actress nod for her role as Skyler, the beleaguered wife on Breaking Bad. Set in a small town after the murder of a young boy, Gracepoint looks taut and complicated. Fox will have a ways to go to live up to its British counterpart, but U.S. networks always paint with much broader strokes, so the shows will undoubtedly feel quite different. If it can hold onto some of what made Broadchurch so successful, it could turn into one of the more compelling shows on this fall.
Scorpion (CBS) Chance it stays on my DVR the whole season: 50/50
There is something about people who are really smart that makes them seem like super heroes. Hacking feels almost like magic to those who aren't well versed in computers and when combined with government conspiracy, it becomes almost irresistible as a serial drama. Enter Scorpion, a show that is part Big Bang Theory and part Mentalist about a bunch of super geniuses enlisted by the government to protect the world with their giant nerd brains. If the jokes don't become annoying and there isn't some frustrating long game that makes me want to smash my remote, this has a chance of being a keeper.
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Forever (ABC) Chance it stays on my DVR the whole season: 30 percent
I want to have high hopes for this fantasy crime drama that blends Elementary with science fiction, but the previews have been underwhelming. Still, the idea of a coroner that can't die and using himself to test out his theories about various murders is a promising concept. We'll see if ABC can pull it off, but if it veers into Once Upon a Time territory or, worse yet, the land of romantic drama (this will most certainly happen with former Law and Order hottie Alana De La Garza as his partner), it might be lights out for my interest.