Jennifer Rathwell: The Queen Of Screen


Fall TV Preview Part 1: Try These Dramas, Mama!

Four to Try and Three to Skip

Strange Empire premieres this Fall on CBC

With the turning of the leaves comes kids back at school, the slow cooker comes out…that groove in the couch starts to feel a bit groovier. Though seasonal TV is getting to be a strange idea in these days of binge-watching, there’s no denying that sweater weather is cozier with some brand new TV for indoor nights. Here are my picks out of the new Fall season to try, plus a few that look headed for Cancelled City:



Strange Empire, Tuesdays on CBC, Starts October 6:

Set in 1869 Alberta-Montana border country, it’s a Western focusing on the women in town, who are struggling with survival and life in the pioneer West. If it’s not too earnest, it might be worth your time.

Forever, Tuesdays on ABC, starts September 23:

A medical examiner drama with a twist—our mystery-solving M.E. seems to be about 200 years old…he just doesn’t know why he’s never ended up in the morgue. I am a total sucker for time travel and/or immortality plots, which almost never make it a full season. I’m still going to give it a try, and cry when it’s inevitably cancelled before Christmas.

Astronaut Wives Club, "Coming Soon" on ABC:

Based on the book, it’s what happens to the earthbound women who are married to astronauts at the height of the space race. Smartly limited to a 10-episode runmuch like the most binge-watched of the cable and streaming seriesbut watch for a magically longer pick up if it’s a hit.

State of Affairs, Mondays on NBC, starts November 17:

I would like it known that I have been a Heigl-hater since well before it was cool. I haven’t enjoyed her performance in anythingI don’t really care what she’s like on set. But, I will give an hour to try out a show that features a female president (Alfre Woodard) LIKE IT’S NO BIG DEAL. Bonus points to NBC (kinda) for terming their Wednesday programming block “Woman Crush Wednesday.”



The Mysteries of Laura, Wednesdays on NBC, starts September 24:

An awkward cop-family vehicle starring Debra Messing (whose agent must not like her very much). Just read the network's own description:

“Debra Messing ("Will & Grace") stars as Laura Diamond, a brilliant NYPD homicide detective who balances her "Columbo" day job with a crazy family life that includes two unruly twin boys and a soon-to-be ex-husband - also a cop - who just can't seem to sign the divorce papers. Between cleaning up after her boys and cleaning up the streets, she'd be the first to admit she has her "hot mess" moments in this hilariously authentic look at what it really means to be a "working mom" today.”

You just threw up in your mouth a little bit, didn’t you? Or at the very least, changed the channel. Look, even Debra doesn't seem impressed:

Scorpion, Mondays on CBS, starts September 22:

A super squad of mega nerds, each skilled in their own right, comes together to solve high-tech threats. And be socially awkward! Probability of cancellation: high.

NCIS New Orleans, Tuesdays on CBS, starts September 23:

Scott Bakula can do very little wrong, but it’s hard to believe audiences are clamouring for yet another spin-off crime procedural. Related: is anyone else a little bit bothered every time they see Mark Harmon with grey hair on NCIS? Like a piece of our youth is dead? Just me?

Check out Part 2 of our Fall TV Preview. It’s about the funny stuff.

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