Tube Talk: Fall’s TV trends

By Paula Hendrickson

It might not feel like it due to our recent heat wave, but autumn has arrived, bringing with it a new fall TV season.

With TV series debuting pretty much every month of the year, you might think the fall TV season is a thing of the past—or at least relegated to the major broadcast networks. But it’s still a big deal for networks, advertisers, and most of all, viewers.

Some new shows have already had their fall premieres, like CBS’s Young Sheldon, a prequel spin-off of the ever-popular The Big Bang Theory. Not only is it narrated by Jim Parsons (Sheldon on the original incarnation), he’s an executive producer, too.

As usual, the new season includes a few trends: reboots, special ops forces, and more comic book based series.

Seriously, does EVERY channel need its own live-action Marvel or DC Comics series? Maybe it’s because I’m not a comics aficionado, but there are just too many intersecting franchise cannons for me to keep straight these days. ABC is adding Marvel’s Inhumans to its lineup – which already includes Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which returns for a fifth season in a few months – starting this week. Believe it or not, there are even more comics-based TV series in development, if not already in production, even one for Freeform (formerly ABC Family).

Special ops teams don’t seem quite so special when three networks introduce new series focused on elite military teams in less than two weeks—especially after he first season of A&E’s drama SIX set a pretty high bar for the genre earlier this year. SIX was co-created and -written by David Broyles, who served alongside the actual Seal Team Six as a member of the Air Force’s elite Pararescue unit, so it was vital to him that SIX be as accurate as possible.

I’m betting I wasn’t the only person to confuse promos for NBC’s The Brave (with Anne Heche) and CBS’s SEAL Team (with David Boreanaz). I admit that upon hearing a clip where Boreanaz says a mission will start after dark I thought, “Angel’s a SEAL!”—something only fellow Buffy and Angel fans will probably understand. It’s also confusing that both of these shows are debuting the same week. The Brave airs Mondays at 9 p.m. and SEAL Team on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

Need more? The CW’s female-driven military entry, Valor, premieres Oct. 9 at 8 p.m.

Reboots can be good or bad. They can also be nostalgic, like Will & Grace— which isn’t a reboot as much as a continuation—or too soon, like American Idol, which is coming to ABC before anyone had a chance to miss Fox’s original, which ended less than two years ago.

Despite the lack of originality, these trends suggest, creativity is not dead. One show I’m really looking forward to is Fox’s Ghosted, a comedy starring Craig Robinson (The Office) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) as a team of paranormal investigators. It premieres this Sunday.

With so many new shows to keep up with, I’m afraid some shows I like but don’t love will have to be cut from my regular viewing. If I really need to know what’s going on with a show, I can always catch up On Demand or online.

Programming notes

Ghosted premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. on Fox.

Young Sheldon airs Mondays at 7:30 p.m. on CBS.

Valor premiered Monday, October 9 at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.

The Brave airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.

SEAL Team premiered Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.

Will & Grace returns Thursday, Sept. 18 at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.

Inhumans premieres Friday, Sept. 29 ad 7 p.m. ABC. R.

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