24 New Fall TV Shows – Will They Sizzle or Fizzle?

Television trance

I’ve come to realize that Fall television viewing is very much like dating. Stay with me, I’m about to load up on metaphors. I know, you’re excited.


Consider a first date, or the pilot episode of a new show. You go in expecting a good time. After all, you really liked her online dating profile (the trailer)—a good mix of humor and sincerity. And she (the lead actor) is sultry and sexy (at least from her pictures, but why is every picture the same angle and everything slightly blurred?) You show up to the date, and everything is even better than anticipated. The conversation (dialogue) is snappy and smart. The course of the date (plot) is smooth and intriguing. And that final moment (that last scene), the goodnight kiss (a cliffhanger if there ever was one), leaves you so satisfied that you want to come back for more (but only once a week; you’re taking things slowly). You feel renewed, and you’re hoping she will be too (at least for a season or two).

But a great date leading into a great love affair, much like a great pilot episode leading into a great series, is a rare charm. Last year, for instance, only nine of the 26 new programs were renewed. Soooo, you’re most likely going to invest in a show that will likely up and leave, leaving you forlorn with a bag of potato chips, nagging regret, and a rerun of Law and Order.


So let me attempt to save you some time and emotional turmoil by telling you which series will sizzle and which will fizzle!



Madam Secretary: SIZZLE

Tea Leoni plays a former CIA-analyst-turned-professor who is tapped by the Commander-in-Chief (her former boss) to fill the high-powered position of Secretary in State. And she does this all as a favor—begrudgingly returning to a life of politics that she desperately tried to leave behind. She’s a trooper. Perfectly paired with similarly themed The Good Wife, this show will do well.

Mulaney: FIZZLE

It’s a comedy series based on the life and stand-up comedy of John Mulaney. Who’s Jonh Mulaney? Exactly… Based on the show’s trailer, this looks like a poor man’s version of Seinfeld—making the whole thing feel stale and dated. Also, it’s not funny.



Scorpion: SIZZLE

A computer genius (with an I.Q. greater than Einstein!) and his team of like-minded geniuses work with the U.S. government to investigate high-tech crimes and stop possible threats. Seems like a good deal of light-hearted fun.

Jane The Virgin: SIZZLE

This dramedy follows a young woman who is waiting until marriage to have sex, yet is accidentally artificially inseminated when a trip to the hospital goes hysterically awry. It’s an absurd set up, but if it explores deeper themes with the same level of absurdity it could make for a funny and thoughtful series.

Gotham: SIZZLE

It’s pre-Batman Gotham. Can’t fail.

State of Affairs: FIZZLE

According to show’s website, Katherine Heigl plays a “top CIA analyst who assembles the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB).” That’s legitimately what this show is about. Bwahahahahaha. Bye.



Selfie: FIZZLE

This modern take on My Fair Lady is about a social media-obsessed narcissist who has thousands of Instagram followers yet zero friends in real life, so she hires a marketing genius to help her turn that all around. Wait. Pause. Really? The title alone should alienate half the potential audience. Least they didn’t hashtag it. #pass

Manhattan Love Story: FIZZLE

This love story explores the thoughts, mostly through internal monologues, of a young couple as they start a relationship. If that sounds like a terrible concept for a TV show, that’s because it is.

Utopia: FIZZLE

This reality show where a group of strangers is given three acres of land and is tasked with building a perfect society (ya know, a utopia) has already started airing. Spoiler alert: it’s doing poorly in the ratings. Dystopian bad.

The Flash: SIZZLE

This adaptation of the DC Comics character gives life to the fastest man alive, The Flash. The CW has done well with supernatural series from Smallville to Arrow. This series will…oh yea, a pun is coming…get renewed in a flash.

NCIS: New Orleans: SIZZLE

It’s a new NCIS. This is catnip to CBS’ general audience. Enjoy kitties. Enjoy for years to come.

Marry Me: SIZZLE

The creator behind Happy Endings is back with this comedy that follows a long-time couple’s rocky road to getting married. It’s the only comedy in its timeslot. That should help. It’s also funny. That’ll help too.

Forever: FIZZLE

This light-hearted drama follows a New York City medical examiner who can’t die. Well, he can be killed, but he’ll come right back…naked and in a body of water. Do you need to know more? Oh, you don’t want to know more. Gotcha.



Black-ish: FIZZLE

Anthony Anderson plays a father who worries his four children, being raised in a mostly white neighborhood, are losing touch with black culture. Looks a bit one-note-ish. Not sure it’ll sustain itself past a few episodes.

Stalker: SIZZLE

Another classic CBS entry, this one led by Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q who investigate stalker-related incidents for the LAPD.

The Mysteries of Laura: FIZZLE

Debra Messing plays a NYC detective who juggles her busy job and her hectic home life as a single mom of twin boys. The trailer shows an uncomfortable blend of action, drama and comedy and Messing doesn’t seem quite right for this.

Red Band Society: SIZZLE

Set in a pediatric ward in a Los Angeles hospital, this medical drama follows teen patients dealing with life-threatening illnesses and the biggest struggle of all: adolescence. Sounds terribly depressing, but the tears we’re sure to shed will be the life-affirming, cathartic kind I’m sure. And Octavia Spencer is there to keep things light.



How to Get Away With Murder: SIZZLE

Shondra Rhimes. Viola Davis. And that title. It’s all very How to Get a Series Renewal.

Gracepoint: SIZZLE

A remake of British series Broadchurch, Gracepoint tells the story of a missing child and the town’s search for the killer. This is a limited 10 episode series, so this should air in full even if gets lost in a highly competitive timeslot. It’s dark, it’s intriguing and it’s led by a brilliant cast including Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn, Doctor Who’s David Tennant, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena, and Jackie Weaver.

Bad Judge: FIZZLE

Kate Walsh plays a respected criminal-court judge who has an unorthodox style and whose private life is a bit wild. Listen, she likes her tequila, and wine and cake for breakfast. That’s how wild people do. That’s how I do. This show may succeed; I hope it does. But its place on the schedule is likely to doom it.


Another romantic comedy. Here, an idealistic online matchmaker falls for a no-nonsense lawyer. How generic. More like A to zzzZZZzzz. That was so corny; I could totally write for sitcoms.

The McCarthys: SIZZLE

This show about a sports-loving family from Boston dealing with a gay son is nothing more than a generic sitcom with a laugh-track underscoring every middling wisecrack. In other words, this will be a huge success for CBS.



Cristela: SIZZLE

The best thing I can say about Cristela is that it is paired with Last Man Standing and airs on the low-stakes wasteland that is Friday night television. Last Man Standing is awful yet beginning its fourth season. Cristela, which, admittedly, seems like a better show, albeit just slightly by the lowest of standards, might find plenty of life in this timeslot.

Constantine: SIZZLE

Inspired by the DC Comics character of the same name (based on the comic Hellblazer), Constantine follows a former demon hunter pulled back into the darkside (Hell, really. No, really, it’s Hell) to help save an old friend’s daughter. Oh the things we do for friends. Well, there’s something in it for him, too—his soul, which he damned to Hell years ago. Paired with Grimm, this should do well.



There’s nothing new on Saturdays. There’s nothing at all on Saturdays. Were you expecting something here? Go out! Live a little. See a movie. Hit the dance floor. If you must be home though on a Saturday night, tonight’s the night for Netflix. Have you watched The Killing? Get some Kleenex, a pint of ice cream and find out who killed Rosie Larsen.



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Jason Tropiano

Writer at hutchbydesign
A writer of screenplays and things who pays himself in cupcakes.

Latest posts by Jason Tropiano (see all)

A writer of screenplays and things who pays himself in cupcakes.

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