12 New Fall TV Shows: Why to Watch, Why to Worry, & Why Feminists Will Want to Weigh In
For a TV fan, few times of year are worse than August. Nearly all summer shows have come to an end; you've run out of things to watch on Netflix; the memories of last year's series have almost faded away. Even a weirdly-timed Emmy Awards can't stop the slump. The only thing keeping us going? The promise of tons of new and returning shows just around the corner.
This year's crop of fall TV is a pretty eclectic mix, featuring series about everything from female presidents to Batman's childhood to, as you may have heard, lessons on how to get away with murder. It's an exciting time to be a TV fan, but if you're not sure where to start, it can also be a bit overwhelming. To make it a little easier, here's a guide to the 12 fall shows you won't want to miss.
'Gotham' (Sep. 22)
Reasons to Watch: It’s about a beloved comic book world, looks dark and spooky, and stars Ryan Atwood.
Reasons to be Worried: It’s a Batman-based project not made by Christopher Nolan.
Is it Feminist? Not overtly, but Jada Pinkett Smith’s crime boss character has been praised by critics for her complexity and fun.
'A to Z' (Oct. 2)
Reasons to Watch: As one of TV’s only real rom-coms, it looks like a charming mix of How I Met Your Mother and (500) Days of Summer.
Reasons to be Worried: Its gimmick — the season follows the two leads’ relationship timeline from “A to Z” — could grow tired, fast.
Is it Feminist? Yes — it gives equal time to its female star (Cristin Milioti) as its male star (Ben Feldman), and both characters have interesting, fully-formed personalities.
'How To Get Away With Murder' (Sep. 25)
Reasons to Watch: Five words: Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis.
Reasons to be Worried: It could be a bit too soapy, and as the title suggests, the plot could wear thin pretty quickly.
Is it Feminist? I’d bet my Scandal DVR pass it is.
'Bad Judge' (Oct. 2)
Reasons to Watch: Kate Walsh is great, and NBC single-camera comedies tend to be good.
Reasons to be Worried: “Brilliant, workaholic woman is good at everything except romance” isn’t exactly a new concept.
Is it Feminist? See above.
'Black-ish' (Sep. 24)
Reasons to Watch: Focusing on a black father’s attempts to teach his children about their cultural identity, it seems like one of the most original and important shows of the season.
Reasons to be Worried: Early reviews criticized the comedy’s weak jokes and cliched dialogue.
Is it Feminist? The show’s diversity and discussions on equality are promising, but it’s too soon to tell.
'Gracepoint' (Oct. 2)
Reasons to Watch: It’s a remake of the U.K.’s beloved Broadchurch , but more importantly, that cast. David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Michael Pena, Nick Nolte — this is gonna be good.
Reasons to be Worried: Was there really a need to remake Broadchurch? It’s too good a show to be messed with.
Is it Feminist? If it’s like the original, then yes.
'Jane the Virgin' (Oct. 13)
Reasons to Watch: The concept — virgin gets accidentally artificially inseminated by her gyno, finds out the dad is her hot boss — is so weird that it just might work.
Reasons to be Worried: Or it could be an epic disaster. I mean, really, what kind of TV show is this?!
Is it Feminist? Possibly, but a few episodes are needed to tell for sure.
Image: The CW
'Madam Secretary' (Sep. 21)
Reasons to Watch: Tea Leoni is always wonderful, and Washington-set dramas are rarely not fun to watch.
Reasons to be Worried: It’s yet another woman-has-great-job-but-crazy-home-life series, just with higher stakes.
Is it Feminist? Hopefully. It’s hard to imagine that a TV show about a female Secretary of State isn’t good for women, but we’ll see.
'The Mysteries of Laura' (Sep. 17)
Reasons to Watch: This could be the Debra Messing comeback Smash wasn’t. Laura, about a NYPD detective, looks silly, but entertaining.
Reasons to be Worried: That picture.
Is it Feminist? There’s a high probability, especially considering how NBC’s been marketing this show as a sister to SVU.
'Marry Me' (Oct. 14)
Reasons to Watch: With star Casey Wilson and creator David Caspe, it’s as if Happy Endings was never cancelled.
Reasons to be Worried: The premise of the show is botched marriage proposals. Can that really sustain an entire series?
Is it Feminist? The character descriptions — “Annie is emotional, while Jake is rational!” — don’t bode well, but I trust the Happy Endings crew enough to make the female lead more than a cliche.
'State of Affairs' (Nov. 17)
Reasons to Watch: It’s Katherine Heigl’s long-awaited return to TV.
Reasons to be Worried: See above.
Is it Feminist? It has every reason to be, but I wouldn’t be too sure.
'Red Band Society' (Sep. 17)
Reasons to Watch: Octavia Spencer, inspirational children, a Breakfast Club-ish tone. What more could you want?
Reasons to be Worried: As the preview showed, it could be more sappy than sweet.
Is it Feminist? It should and could be, but the trailer did focus far more on the male stars than the female. Here’s hoping that’s not telling of the entire show.