Andy Samberg | Film and TV | Joss Whedon | Michael J. Fox | Rebel Wilson | Sean Hayes | Seth MacFarlane | Television

Five New Shows To See (And Five To Skip) This Fall



With the fall TV season just around the corner, it’s time to clear the Law and Order: SVU reruns you amassed over the summer off your DVR and get ready to program some new series. 

If you haven’t been keeping up with the trailers and early reviews, we’ve rounded up some picks for the strongest contenders to earn your TiVo’s coveted season pass, as well as a few that aren’t worth the time.  


Five to See:

Masters of Sex

Premieres Sept. 29 on Showtime

The story of pioneer human sexuality researchers William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson gets a stylish retelling starring Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) and Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Party Down) in what’s sure to be a sexy Showtime original. There’s no plan yet to tackle the duo’s later dubious work around gay conversion therapy, but the series will touch on homosexuality throughout its first season. 


The Blacklist

Premieres Sept. 23 on NBC

James Spader stars as one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives working alongside the feds to stop criminals and terrorists. Spader’s twisted performance is reason enough to give this one a shot, but its longterm success depends on maintaining the tension waiting for his character’s true agenda to be revealed.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Premieres Sept. 17 on FOX

Your typical cop show gets a twist of M*A*S*H-style comedy in this new show starring SNL-alum Andy Samberg. If you’re not a fan of Samberg’s brand of hipster humor, tune in for a promising supporting cast, including Andre Braugher, Terry Crews and Chelsea Peretti.


Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Premieres Sept. 24 on ABC

Bringing his signature wit and geek-chic cool to this action-packed series, Joss Whedon will attempt to bridge his Marvel films (including the wildly successful The Avengers) with network TV. There’s plenty of buzz around the show’s strong pilot, but we’ll see if this small-screen outing can continue to shine without some of the heavy-hitting star power of its big-screen companions.


The Michael J. Fox Show

Premieres Sept. 26 on NBC

Early previews of Michael J. Fox’s return to a starring TV role show some promising self-aware humor. However, this one could easily lose viewers with too much pathos. Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt helps round out the cast, with recently announced recurring actors Charles Grodin and Candice Bergen portraying Fox’ parents.


Five to Skip:


Premieres Sept. 17 on FOX

Seth MacFarlane’s usual sophomoric schtick comes to a live-action television program as Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi deal with their fathers (played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull, respectively).


We Are Men

Premieres Sept. 30 on CBS

Dude humor abounds as four three single men (played by Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell and Tony Shalhoub) attempt to help a recently single addition to their short-term housing complex adjust to his new life.


The Millers

Premieres Oct. 3, on CBS

We’re not sure what Will Arnett did to deserve such terrible TV luck, but this may be his worst outing yet. Margo Martindale, who has been garnering so much praise for her work on The Americans, shouldn’t be forced to wallow in this low-brow schlock.


Super Fun Night

Premieres Oct. 2 on ABC

Rebel Wilson is stripped of all her charm (and her accent!) for the sake of some pretty weak material.



Premieres Oct. 17 on the CW

It’s a teen drama take on Mary, Queen of Scots, with a score featuring contemporary bands like Mumford and Sons. Maybe that’s your thing, but we prefer our period pieces more Downton Abbey and less Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Special Mention:

Sean Saves the World

Premieres Oct. 3 on NBC

On the one hand, this is the new network show with the most prominent LGBT character (not to mention one played by an openly gay actor). On the other hand, it looks terribly dated and clichéd. It’s worth keeping an eye on to see how they handle Sean’s sexuality, but don’t expect a ton of smarts behind the laughs.

Which new shows are you most excited for?

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  1. Yeah, unfortunately, I've read advance reviews for the "Sean Saves the World" pilot that say it's terrible. That's bad, cause I like a lot of the cast (Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, Thomas Lennon), but a good cast can't always save bad writing.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Sep 10, 2013 11:28:50 AM

  2. Not sure about the evaluation of the rest but "Reign" looks interesting. I can forgive the modern sound tracks, while enjoying the scenery, costumes, and the history (hopefully it will be close to reality).

    Posted by: Continuum | Sep 10, 2013 11:39:53 AM

  3. Masters of Sex is the only good one. The rest is same old same old and boring and tryouts to repeat the success other shows (Blacklist - Homeland, Brooklyn - Office/Castle, MA of Shield - Heroes) and those are the "good" ones. Biggest disappointment is Reign, what a wasted opportunity!

    Posted by: Matt27 | Sep 10, 2013 11:50:30 AM

  4. I'm not excited about Sean Saves the World :(. I want The New Normal back!!

    Posted by: Lucas H | Sep 10, 2013 11:55:09 AM

  5. meh to most of those

    looking foreword to the reboot (3rd version) of The Tomorrow people

    Arsenio Hall's return last night was interesting for the nostalgia affect. Would be cool if he could get clinton to come back on his show to talk about clinton imitative and the time he played the saxophone on hall's show

    Posted by: Moz's | Sep 10, 2013 12:03:35 PM

  6. @MOZ'S - I'm glad you mentioned The Tomorrow People... I hadn't heard of it and had to Google it. It looks good! I'm going to have several things to set my DVR for... (good lord I watch too much TV)

    Posted by: Lucas H | Sep 10, 2013 12:15:04 PM

  7. Note to Towleroad editor: Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell and Tony Shalhoub are not "four men."

    Posted by: jomicur | Sep 10, 2013 12:19:18 PM

  8. I have a low-brow side and Super Fun Night looks funny. We Are Men looks a bit funny too.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 10, 2013 12:37:37 PM

  9. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. maybe. Everything else looks like a must miss. My partner and I watch very little network TV anyway. The one with Spader though, how long until it turns into a manhunt?

    Posted by: Esteban | Sep 10, 2013 12:47:34 PM

  10. Um hello? You forgot VH1's Ratchet Queens! DEFINITELY one to see!

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 10, 2013 1:29:03 PM

  11. I saw a long trailer for Sean Saves the World. It was painfully unfunny. Please, people, hire decent writers. They are out there. Casting is important but without a script you're doomed. What I saw was Hayes, Lavin, etc trying very hard to get laughs with weak, tired material. Maybe it will improve? That almost never happens. It's a good cast and there's potential in the material. Why does it look so tired when it's supposedly uncharted territory?

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Sep 10, 2013 1:42:42 PM

  12. What's it called when you mix a twink with a hunk - you get a twunk or Seth Green. I'd watch more of 'Dads' just to see him in his underwear but it's unfortunate it's on Faux Broadcasting.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 10, 2013 2:40:49 PM

  13. I'm betting on Tony Shalhoub and Rebel Wilson. These shows are low-brow and probably hit or miss, but if Two and A Half Men can be on for 10 years, these two shows can stand up for a few seasons.

    Sean Saves the World...terrible title for a show we feel like we've seen a thousand times. Replace Tony Danza with Sean Hayes, replace any single father in history with Sean Hayes...same show, same mother, same jokes. Lavin and Hayes are crack comedians, but it just feels like been there, done that.

    Posted by: Bart | Sep 10, 2013 2:43:17 PM

  14. Ugh, I just do NOT get Rebel Wilson. Her schtick is so one-minute and useless.

    Masters of Sex and Agents of SHIELD are the two I expect more from. The others, not so much.

    Posted by: Princely | Sep 10, 2013 3:02:50 PM

  15. ;-) Lucas

    Hopefully the new version will be as multicultural as the original. Though the original had horrible 70's clothes and aliens to boot

    Posted by: Moz's | Sep 10, 2013 3:54:42 PM

  16. Toni Collette has a new show on CBS, Hostages I think it's's not normally my kind of TV but I will watch anything with Toni Colette...she is criminally underrated.

    Posted by: Thomas | Sep 10, 2013 4:13:32 PM

  17. I don't watch TV during the first season. Sometimes I skip the second season too.

    I let the people who have time to waste watch these things, and then I judge based on their reaction whether I missed anything worth watching.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 10, 2013 6:09:54 PM

  18. Lucas, I'm with you. Bring back The New Normal!!!

    Posted by: Wyatt | Sep 10, 2013 6:57:24 PM

  19. Very much excited about "Almost Human." Didn't see it on the list.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 10, 2013 9:08:48 PM

  20. My insider's pick as the best new show to watch: The Goldbergs!

    Posted by: RomanHans | Sep 11, 2013 10:55:10 AM

  21. Almost Human is science fiction on FOX. Which means it will either be awful, or, far more likely, brilliant and doomed to an early cancellation.

    Seriously, has a decent Sci-Fi show survive on Fox since the X-files? I still haven't forgiven them for canceling Firefly.

    Posted by: Lymis | Sep 11, 2013 1:13:58 PM

  22. Masters of Sex - only because of the homosexuality 'touch'.

    Blacklist - Nope. Can't stand James Spader.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks very good. Very funny trailer.

    SHIELD - I'll probably watch.

    Michael J. Fox - snooze fest.

    Dads - Questionable. Don't find the two dads funny but the sons are.

    We Are Men - Yeah, I like this one. I love the speedo.

    The Millers - As long as the jokes are good I'll watch.

    Super Fun Night - Probably won't make my dial.

    Reign - probably not.

    Sean Saves The World - anything he does is funny. I will watch.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Sep 11, 2013 2:31:38 PM

  23. "We" will take sofia coppola's marie-antoinette over downton abbey anytime. I sure hope reign lives up to your criticism.

    Posted by: la castafiore | Sep 11, 2013 5:34:08 PM

  24. @Continuum - I'll give "Reign" a chance as well, but from what the showrunners said at TCA, I don't expect much historical accuracy. And really, they didn't even got Mary's hair color right .. lol!

    TCA interview at Deadline:

    Posted by: Rexford | Sep 11, 2013 6:05:01 PM

  25. Even if the pilot is bad, I'm hoping that SEAN SAVES THE WORLD can quickly find its feet and gel into something good. I love Linda Lavin and Megan Hilty, in addition to Hayes, so I'm hoping they figure out what works and go with whatever that is. Even PARTNERS last year was really starting to improve from its dreadful opening episodes when it got the ax.

    Posted by: Jere | Sep 13, 2013 1:46:36 PM

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