Our weeklong look at each broadcast network’s new fall shows comes to a close with The CW. Over the past two falls, The CW has collectively fielded the strongest lineup of freshman series among all the broadcasters, with Jane the Virgin, The Flash and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. That’s a phenomenal run—the network’s top-rated show and two Golden Globe-winning series, without a single cancellation in the bunch.
It would be difficult for any new pilot to measure up to that trio, and while both of The CW's new shows are intriguing, they aren’t exhilarating or groundbreaking from the start as those shows were. And both programs will be overshadowed by the other new arrival on The CW’s fall schedule—Supergirl, which is moving over from sister network CBS. Last month, network president Mark Pedowitz predicted Supergirl would be the network’s No. 1 or No. 2 show this season.
And for the final time this week: While a pilot isn’t always the best way to judge a show’s ultimate potential, it’s often the only episode audiences watch before deciding whether to stick around or throw in the towel, especially given all the other new and returning shows fighting for attention. With that in mind, here are The CW’s new fall shows, ranked from promising to slightly more promising.
Frequency (9 p.m. Wednesdays, premieres Oct. 5)
The plot: It's based on the 2000 Dennis Quaid/Jim Caviezel movie about a father and son who are able to communicate, decades apart, via ham radio. In this version, the offspring is now female (Peyton List) and also a detective trying to prevent the death of her undercover cop dad (Riley Smith) 20 years earlier.
The verdict: I enjoyed this more than fall’s other big time-traveling series, NBC’s Timeless—though both of them share a similar reveal at the end of their respective pilots. I’m not convinced this can work as a long-term series, even with a longer mystery involving a serial killer. (I have the same concerns about another fall movie-to-TV adaptation, Fox’s The Exorcist, though Lethal Weapon will have a far smoother transition to television.) The pilot seems to burn through many of the most compelling concepts that would work in a weekly, parallel time structure, so this show could go south in a hurry.
Is it good for your brand? This should fit in just fine with your non-superhero CW buy, though among the time-travel shows this fall, the clear edge in viewer reach goes to Timeless, which airs after The Voice on NBC.
No Tomorrow (9 p.m. Tuesdays, premieres Oct. 4)
The plot: A super orderly woman (Tori Anderson) falls for a carefree hottie (Joshua Sasse) who seems to be the perfect guy. At least, that is, until he reveals that he believes the world will end in eight months—cause of death: runaway asteroid—and wants to complete everything on his bucket list before that happens.
The verdict: This show will grow on you, thanks to Anderson and Sasse’s palpable chemistry. The duo have an unforced connection that was absent from other recent series that centered around budding relationships like Manhattan Love Story and A to Z. The “Let’s cross an item off each week” approach recalls My Name Is Earl, which started strong but later lost its way. That's also a distinct possibility with No Tomorrow. Like Frequency, I question what this show will look like in Season 2—for starters, what happens eight months from now when the asteroid doesn’t hit?—but for now, there should be enough to entice The CW’s female viewers, especially if the writers keep coming up with excuses for Sasse to disrobe as he does in the pilot.
Is it good for your brand? With superhero shows taking up 40 percent of The CW’s fall schedule, this will be one of the best opportunities this fall to target a female-centric audience.