December 15, 2019

Falling for New Shows Coming to Network TV

posted on: Thursday October 3, 2019

by Madison Palmieri ’22 A&E Staff

While the shift from summer to autumn means saying goodbye to beloved reality shows like America’s Got Talent and Bachelor in Paradise, the fall television season brings not only the return of hits like Modern Family and Riverdale but promises exciting new fare for viewers to fall in love with on all five major networks.

GRAPHIC BY PATRICK FULLER ’21

ABC’s new programming tends towards female-driven narratives. Emergence tells the story of a memoryless girl found at the scene of a plane crash and the police chief determined to help her. Stumptown centers around a private investigator and her personal troubles. The network will also debut mixed-ish, the second spinoff of the comedy hit black-ish, focusing on Rainbow Johnson’s formative years. Rounding out the newcomers is the rebooted variety show Kids Say the Darndest Things, hosted by comedian Tiffany Haddish.

The theme of NBC’s new programs is family. Drama Bluff City Law will explore the complex relationship between a father and daughter working together at a law firm. Comedies Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside center on the families forged when a former music professor joins a small town’s church choir and a former politician works to help a diverse group of New Yorkers achieve their dreams of citizenship, respectively.

CBS strikes a balance between work and home with comedies Bob Hearts Abishola and Carol’s Second Act, with the former set to detail the trials and tribulations of a man who falls in love with his nurse and the latter telling the story of a fifty-year-old mother and divorcee who finally begins to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. The network’s other new comedy The Unicorn centers on a widower looking for love with the support of his close friends. Drama All Rise offers a female-driven look into the lives of judges and other legal workers in Los Angeles, and Evil sees the unlikely pairing of a psychologist and a priest-in-training who investigate the unexplained for the church, raising discussion about science and religion. 

FOX shares NBC’s theme of family. Animated series Bless the Harts centers on a struggling, female-led, southern family, and Almost Family tells the story of a young woman who believed she was an only child, only to find out that she has more siblings than she could have ever hoped for. Prodigal Son promises to mix the complex work of its criminal psychologist lead with his complicated family.

While the CW is only offering two new programs, both are female-driven, steeped in beloved source material, and will be sure to please audiences. Nancy Drew sees the girl detective and her peers as murder suspects who must clear their names; Batwoman tells the story of Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane, as she takes Batman’s place after his disappearance.

In the age of streaming, these television networks are forced to compete with services such as Netflix and Hulu for viewership, so they must offer programming that is both innovative and entertaining. Whether or not these new shows will meet this challenge remains to be seen, but perhaps one of them could be the next This Is Us or Game of Thrones.

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