Once upon a time, fall TV season was this magical period when the big networks would release their much-anticipated shows. Well, thanks to everything from binge-watching to winter and summer starts to Netflix releasing their seasons all at once, the start of the fall season has lost of a little of its buzz. Still, a few new shows have caught my attention, making me update my DVR preferences so to include these possible hits.
How to Get Away With Murder (ABC/Sept. 25)
If there’s one thing I love about Shonda Rhimes—showrunner extraordinaire—it’s that she consistently delivers with all her new shows an over-the-top, tear-soaked, heart-pounding, sex-filled first season set to an emo-filled soundtrack. And for that I will tune in to her latest endeavor, a law-school drama set in Philadelphia (but not filmed here). It also helps that the star of the show is one Ms. Viola Davis—if you don’t know who she is, hang your head in shame and immediately go rent The Help and Doubt before you finish reading this post—supported by an impossibly beautiful cast who play her law students. From the trailer it looks like Scandal meets Greys Anatomy—and I’m ok with that.
Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, Jane has the ridiculous premise of a 23-year-old virgin getting accidentally inseminated at a hospital and finding herself pregnant. If it hadn’t been for my deep and abiding love for the first two seasons of Ugly Betty, another American show based on a telenovela, I would have probably ignored this one completely. But America Ferrara proved to me that you can’t discount a show for based on a ludicrous plot. Critics seem to agree, calling it the sleeper of the season.
Marry Me (NBC/Oct. 14)
This show’s conceit hasn’t convinced me it’s a sustainable series—it’s about a couple not sure if they should get married after a bunch of botched marriage proposals—but it does feature to very funny actors Casey Wilson and Ken Marino. And James from Scandal, whose reincarnation proves better lives are in store for good people.
Transparent (Amazon/Sept. 26)
Following in Netflix’s footsteps, Amazon Prime released a bunch of original content, but with a bit of a twist. During its “pilot season” it let the viewers vote on which ones they would like the retail giant to order up. One of the winners was the splendid Transparent, a series that stars Jeffrey Tambor as the father of a dysfunctional family in the process of transitioning to a woman. The show’s creator is Jill Soloway who produced Six Feet Under, one of my other favorite family dramas. The cast is pretty good as well, including Judith White as Tambor’s ex-wife and the always eccentric Gaby Hoffman as one of his daughters (whose character may or may not be involved in twincest). Amazon will be releasing the season all at once—thankfully, since the pilot left me wanting more.
Kind of like the movie Closer (that dreadful Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman movie) about infidelity, The Affair follows two families ripped apart by cheating. Dominic West plays Noah, a New York teacher and writer who while happily married has an affair with Ruth Wilson’s Allison, while on vacationing in Long Island in the summer. Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson (aka Pacey) play their spouses. The teaser that’s making the rounds seems like there is a mystery attached to the affair—with the show told through flashbacks.