22 New Broadcast Shows Are Debuting This Fall. Here Are the 6 You Should Actually Watch

All American and Single Parents are among the most promising new series

You can safely ignore many of the new shows premiering this fall, but these six series deserve your attention.
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: ABC, CBS, The CW

The 2018-19 TV season begins Monday, which means that over the next month or so, 22 new broadcast series, including revivals of Murphy Brown and Last Man Standing, will join the 319-plus scripted shows and several hundred unscripted series that have already aired this year.

In Peak TV, it’s nearly impossible to find time for even more new shows, and given the mediocre crop of freshman broadcast series this fall, very few newbies are worth making the effort to watch.

So Adweek is dropping its usual weeklong fall TV approach of breaking down each network’s new lineup, show by show. Instead, we’re highlighting the six new series (including one revival) that are actually worth your attention this fall.

That doesn’t mean these are most likely hits—for starters, CBS’ Magnum P.I., which isn’t on the list, should appeal to the same sizable audience that watches Hawaii Five-O and S.W.A.T.—but they are the ones that have the most potential to develop into something special.

(As for the fall shows on the other end of the spectrum, there are very few out-and-out misfires, but steer clear of Fox’s The Cool Kids.)

Here are the broadcast fall shows you should keep your eye on, in order of their premiere dates:

Single Parents (9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC; premieres Sept. 26)

The plot: An ensemble comedy about a group of single parents (including Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam, Leighton Meester and Brad Garrett) whose 7-year-old kids are all in the same class.

Why it could work: This is a particularly dire fall for new comedies—at least, the ones that aren’t revivals or spun off from a revival. In fact, out of all the new comedies, this is the only pilot with the promise of creating a world that audiences might want to visit each week. If it can play to the strengths of its strong and funny cast, it could be a worthy addition to ABC’s comedy lineup. Plus, with Modern Family as a lead-in, Single Parents is guaranteed some solid audience sampling for its first couple of episodes.

Potential stumbling block: Comedy pilots are always more about what the show could be than what it currently is. And while Single Parents might evolve into something special, it could just as easily self-destruct.

A Million Little Things (10 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC; premieres Sept. 26)

The plot: A group of longtime Boston friends reexamine their lives after one of them (Ron Livingston) dies by suicide.

Why it could work: This is the first series clearly on the air because of This Is Us’ success two years ago, and A Million Little Things has a lot in common with that show, including time jumps, emotional shifts and an intriguing ensemble cast. It should be right at home at ABC, which had success with dramas like Brothers & Sisters and Thirtysomething.

Potential stumbling block: A Million Little Things is not This Is Us—or even This Was Us. Which is to say that while the pilot has promise, it isn’t in the same ballpark as Dan Fogelman’s superb first episode of the NBC drama. If audiences feel like the new show doesn’t measure up, they might not stick around.

Murphy Brown (Thursdays 9:30 p.m. on CBS; premieres Sept. 27)

The plot: Candice Bergen’s TV journalist signed off 20 years ago, and now she’s back on CBS, with most of the original cast in tow. But this time around, Bergen’s Murphy Brown toils on a morning show at a cable news network, while her grown-up son Avery is working for the competition.

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