Labor Day is history, football has kicked off another season, the days are growing depressingly shorter, and there’s an occasional chill in the air. Fall is approaching (too rapidly for me), and on the television front that means the return of some favorites and the debuts of some new shows. For your elucidation and convenience, I thought we would take a look at the list of top returning programs and then consider some of the most promising new series.
Leading off with the returns on Monday, Sept. 21, we have “Gotham” at 8 p.m. on Fox followed by “Scorpion” on CBS at 9 p.m. The former is a great crime drama set in Gotham City before Bruce Wayne donned the cape and cowl to become Batman, and the latter is a wonderfully imaginative show about a group of young geniuses who use their minds to avert a major crisis each week.
The always entertaining “Nashville” returns for another season on Wednesday, Sept. 23, on ABC at 10 p.m., and it looks as if Thursday is once again going to be one of the week’s best TV nights because Sept. 24 welcomes back “Scandal” on ABC at 9 p.m., “The Blacklist” on NBC at 9 p.m., and “How To Get Away With Murder” at 10 p.m. on ABC. The small-screen offerings just don’t get much better than this.
On Friday, Sept. 25, McGarrett and Danno will be back policing the tropical paradise in “Hawaii Five-O” at 9 p.m. on CBS, and on Wednesday, Sept. 30, “Criminal Minds,” one of my favorite crime shows, returns to CBS at 9 p.m.
My DVR will really get a workout on Sunday, Oct 4, as the following outstanding shows all return: “Madam Secretary” on CBS at 8 p.m.; “The Good Wife” on CBS at 9 p.m.; “Homeland” on Showtime at 9 p.m.; “The Affair” on Showtime at 10 p.m.; and “The Leftovers” on HBO at 9 p.m. How’s that for a lineup of great entertainment?
Now let’s turn our attention to some of the promising new shows set to debut in September. First up is “The Bastard Executioner,” which airs this Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 10 p.m. The show is set in the 14th century and stars Lee Jones as Wilkin Brattle, a great warrior who wants to give up his career and live peacefully. But when certain circumstances arise, he’s forced to become a journeyman executioner who serves at the will and pleasure of Annora (Katey Sagal), a healer with strange powers. He also must answer to Milus Corbett (Stephen Moyer), a corrupt Chamberlain who craves success in the political world. As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate, he also must handle a developing romance with Baroness Lowry “Love” Aberffraw Ventris (Flora Spencer-Longhurst).
One of the most intriguing new shows is “Blindspot,” which makes its debut on Monday, Sept. 21, at 10 p.m. on NBC. The story begins with the discovery of a beautiful woman who emerges completely naked from a bag that has been dumped in Times Square. Dubbed Jane Doe (Jamie Alexander), she has no idea who she is or how her body came to be completely covered with strange tattoos. Sullivan Stapelton also stars as FBI Agent Kurt Weller, who must figure out what the tattoos mean in order to find out Jane’s true identity and solve the mystery surrounding her.
Another show that looks fascinating is “Limitless” starring Jake McDorman, and it is set to debut on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 10 p.m. on CBS. This series is based upon the 2011 film of the same name. In the TV version, which is set after the events in the film, McDorman plays Brian Finch, a guy who discovers a magic drug called NZT. When Brian takes one of these pills, his IQ goes off the charts to the point that he becomes somewhat of a Superman. But his newfound powers soon lead him into trouble, and he suddenly finds himself working with an FBI agent (Jennifer Carpenter) on a murder case.
What would the fall season be without a juicy new soap opera, and it looks as if we definitely have one in “Blood and Oil,” which will air Sundays at 9 p.m on ABC beginning Sept. 27. The plot revolves around Billy (Chace Crawford) and Kelly (Rebecca Rittenhouse) LeFever, a young couple seeking a fortune by moving to North Dakota in the wake of an enormous oil strike. But their dreams are threatened when they encounter an unscrupulous tycoon (Don Johnson) who could very well destroy their lives.
Although all of the preceding shows look excellent, I think the one I’m looking forward to the most is “Quantico.” This series will follow “Blood and Oil” on Sundays in the 10 p.m. time slot, and it’s also set to debut on Sept. 27. Billed as a cross between “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” this story is about a group of FBI trainees at Quantico, Va., and it has received great promos. From what I’ve read, it is filled with all kinds of twists and surprises, and it deals with everything from terrorists to domestic violence to suicide. The lead female is an Indian actress named Priyanka Chopra, and once you see her, you’ll never forget her. When you add this show to the Sunday viewing list, you may need to invest in another DVR.
Now all we need to add to the mix is a good medical drama, and I think we will have one in “Code Black,” which begins on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 10 p.m. on CBS. Based upon a documentary by Ryan Mc Garry, this series is set in the crowded and absurdly busy emergency room of Los Angeles County Hospital, where the overworked staff headed by Dr. Leanne Rorish, the ER residency director played by Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden, works frantically to treat a glut of needy patients. Joining Harden in the talented cast are the following: Luis Guzman as Jesse Salander, a senior nurse overseeing the residents; Raza Jaffrey as Dr. Neal Hudson; Benjamin Hollingsworth as Mario Savetti, a first-year resident; Bonnie Somerville as Christa Lorenson, a first-year resident; Melanie Chandra as Malaya Pineda, a first-year resident; and Harry Ford as Angus Leighton, a first-year resident.
Keep in mind that many more new shows than the ones I’ve just mentioned will be airing this fall, but those listed above definitely are on my must-watch list.