One of my favorite parts of fall is the arrival of new TV shows. I love the unpredictability - will we get a solid, fast-paced drama like last year’s “The Blacklist” or a tired, comedy dud like “The Millers”? Well, to help you steer clear of those sure-to-be-canceled shows, I’ve come up with a list of the 10 must-see series you should tune into this fall.
1. “How to Get Away with Murder”
For many TV watchers, creator Shonda Rhimes can do no wrong. Her sexy, edge-of-your-seat drama “Scandal” is can’t-miss viewing for millions obsessed with the watercooler gossip surrounding Olivia Pope and her BF, the President. Rhimes’ new drama, “How to Get Away with Murder” (premiering Sept. 25 on ABC), has a lot going for it, namely a bright young cast led by the always amazing Oscar-nominee, Viola Davis. Plus, there’s sure to be interesting legal cases and a lot of steamy love scenes (which are Rhimes’ speciality after all).
2. “Madam Secretary”
This political drama, starring Tea Leoni, premiered Sunday on CBS, bringing to network television what “Homeland” has provided cable - an inside look into the fight against terrorism. Leoni stars as an ex-CIA analyst who takes over the position of Secretary of State after the former Secretary dies in a mysterious plane crash. Although network TV can’t provide some of the raw, often violently realistic scenes that “Homeland” delivers, this drama is still worth watching for its behind-the-scenes look at the State Department.
3. “Red Band Society”
Most people wouldn’t exactly be excited about watching a TV show centered around sick kids living in a hospital. However, “Red Band Society” (which premiered last Wednesday on FOX) has so much heart that you pretty much fall in love with all of the characters right away. The dramedy has an interesting setup - the action in the hospital is narrated by a kid in a coma - and the cast of supremely talented actors (both the kids and adults) will draw you in.
4. “Marry Me”
A lot of marital comedies tend to be filled with stereotypes (schlubby guy marries overly hot wife, etc.), but “Marry Me” is a fresh look at marriage that is surprisingly realistic. Premiering on Oct.14 on NBC, the show stars Ken Marino (“Eastbound & Down”) and Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”) as a couple just trying to deal with life’s crazy moments as a couple. Critics are already raving about the pair’s chemistry and spot-on comedic timing.
Even non-comic book fans can get behind the fantasy of “Gotham,” which aired its first episode on Monday on FOX. The drama takes place in a pre-Batman era and follows Detective Jim Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) as he tries to restore order in a town run by a pack of villains. Don’t know the full Batman backstory? You’ll still get a kick out of campy characters like Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney and the future Penguin himself, Oswald Cobblepot.
6. “The Affair”
Looking for a relationship drama with a little mystery thrown in? Showtime’s “The Affair” (premiering Oct. 17) offers a twisted story of two couples engaged in the messy world of adultery. The main reason to tune in is the cast, including Dominic West, Maura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson. Don’t have Showtime? Sign up for DirecTV now, and you’ll get 3 free months with a coupon code!
7. “The Flash”
Love a good superhero show? The CW has created a spinoff of the popular “Arrow” series, and “The Flash” (premiering Oct. 7) is sure to have the same amount of high-speed action and hot guys in spandex costumes. If you love special effects, the series is guaranteed to provide some pretty amazing looking scenes - in fact, there are over 200 F/X shots in each episode!
8. “Jane the Virgin”
If telenovelas are your thing, you’ll definitely dig The CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” based on a hit Venezuelan show. Starting Oct. 13, the series will follow one girl’s experience after she’s accidentally inseminated during a routine ob-gyn checkup (yikes, right?!). Reviewers who have gotten a sneak peek at the show say the comedy has plenty of laughs and a ton of heart.
9. “The Mysteries of Laura”
Sometimes you just need a nice and simple show that can allow you to check out for a bit. Although “The Mysteries of Laura” (which airs on Wednesdays on NBC) proclaims itself a drama, it’s pretty light-hearted - which makes sense considering its star is former “Will and Grace” funny lady Debra Messing. The cop setting makes for an interesting procedural, but it’s not difficult to follow, allowing you to veg out and watch Messing do her thing.
If you didn’t happen to catch the British drama, “Broadchurch”, tune into FOX’s remake, starting Oct. 2. “Gracepoint” has an amazing cast (including “Breaking Bad” star Anna Gunn), and the mystery surrounding a young boy’s murder will definitely have you coming back week after week.
So, make some popcorn, and settle down with these 10 shows you’re sure to love!