Dynasty Could Help The CW Improve Its Batting Average This Fall

Ranking the network’s two new freshman shows

The network's new fall shows, Valor and Dynasty, couldn't be more different.
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: The CW

Adweek’s weeklong look at each broadcast network’s new fall shows concludes today with The CW. After two consecutive falls featuring strong freshman entries like Jane the Virgin, The Flash and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the network’s winning streak came to an end last year, as Frequency and No Tomorrow were both canceled.

The network could improve its batting average this fall, as one of its two new shows should connect with the network’s core audience of millennial women (the other series, judging by its pilot, could be going the way of last year’s newbies). But The CW’s most intriguing two freshman shows, Black Lightning and Life Sentence, won’t arrive until midseason.

For the final time this week: While a pilot isn’t always the best way to judge a show’s potential, it’s frequently the only episode that audiences watch before deciding whether to stick around for more or throw in the towel for good, especially in the Peak TV era. And it’s the only one that advertisers and buyers see before deciding where to direct their upfront dollars. Also, the network hasn’t yet given critics a “final” version of the Valor premiere, which could differ slightly from the pilot provided to buyers.

With that in mind, here are The CW’s new fall shows, ranked from least to most promising.

2. Valor (Mondays 9 p.m., premieres Oct. 9)

The plot: The Shadow Raiders, a top unit of U.S. Army helicopter pilots, embark on a botched mission in Somalia, where only two members (Christina Ochoa and Matt Barr) make it home. They discover that one of their fallen comrades is still alive and being held by terrorists, and try to bring him home will navigating a vast conspiracy involving that secret mission.

The verdict: Of the several new military-themed series this fall, Valor is least likely to stick around, and could struggle to engage CW viewers. I don’t buy that most of these people would be in the military; much less be able to move up the chain of command (some of the casting is roughly as plausible as when Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough).

Is it good for your brand? If you’re looking for a military show, then CBS’ SEAL Team and NBC’s The Brave will be better (and higher-rated) options. As for the CW audience, look elsewhere on the lineup.

1. Dynasty (Wednesdays 9 p.m., premieres Oct. 11)

The plot: The CW is rebooting, and shaking up, the hit ’80s primetime soap. This time around, the younger-skewing network has shifted the focus from Blake Carrington (Grant Show) and his new fiancé Cristal (Nathalie Kelley), to his ambitious daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), whose plans to become the COO of her father’s empire are derailed by Cristal’s arrival.

The verdict: A throwback to soapy CW shows like Gossip Girl (not coincidentally, this comes from that series’ executive producers, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage), this one will need some work if it wants to reach the level of that series, or the original Dyansty. If this exchange sounds good—“Bite me, Cristal!” “Please, call me mom!”—then this reboot will be in your wheelhouse (if not, then don’t bother). The premiere feels overstuffed, with what would have been a season’s worth of backstabbing, catfights, killing and secrets in the original Dynasty packed into a single episode. However, paired with returning drama Riverdale, which The CW says built a bigger audience on Netflix this summer, Dynasty could provide audiences a guilty-pleasure double-feature.

Is it good for your brand? If you’re looking for a female-heavy, soap-loving audience, yes. Luxury brands should think about integrations, as their products will be lovingly showcased, at least until they end up getting damaged during the next catfight.

Recommended articles