Upfronts Week — The Best and Worst of the New Shows


We've come to the end of Upfronts Week, a time when the networks roll out their new fall schedules and showcase their new shows. Between the five networks a total of 20 new shows will air in the fall, with many more set for mid-season. But for the purposes of this coverage, we stay locked on the fall offerings.

The new shows break down as follows: NBC, 3; FOX, 3; ABC, 5; CBS, 7; and The CW, 2. I've sorted through them all and given you gems and mirages for each individual network. Now it's time to take them as a whole.

Below are the three shows I like the best, based on trailers and descriptions, and the three I like the least. Now we just have to wait until Fall and see how it all shakes out.

Most Promising New Series:
1. The Orville, Thursdays at 9 p.m. on FOX
About: First off, it has a terrible time slot. That's something I'll be looking at tomorrow when I consider battle points for networks. Second, it has a weird title that wouldn't tell you a lot about it. But then there's Seth Macfarlane, and the fact this is a pitch-perfect weekly send up of "Star Trek." At least that's what the trailer looked like. I enjoyed the cast and the presentation and, surprisingly, this was my favorite new show of the lot we were shown. I hope it finds and audience and delivers as consistently as promised.

2. Star Trek Discovery, on CBS All Access
About: This might feel like a cheat, and I guess it kind of is since this is a streaming series for CBS. But it was part of the CBS Upfront presentation, so I'll allow it. This should have been the series I highlighted on that write up, too, but it's hard to see where it fits in the larger picture sometimes. This long gestating "Star Trek" series often felt like it would never debut. Then we got a trailer that was, honestly, phenomenal. The cast looks great, as does the visual style. And I can't wait for this series — a prequel of sorts to the original "Star Trek" timeline. This might be a reason to get CBS All Access!

3. The Mayor, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC
About: There's not a ton of new comedies in the lineup of 20 new series this fall, but this one stands out. It also stands out because I'm mildly looking forward to it and it's on ABC, a network that delivered perhaps the most uninspiring set of pilots of all the options. But this one, about a young rapper who runs for Mayor as sort of a joke and wins, looks like it could be engaging. I like the cast and the premise, and the trailer pulled me into the world. It seems to fit the ABC comedy mold, and I feel like it's geared to succeed.

Least Promising New Series:
1. The Good Doctor, Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC
About: I've watched the trailer four times and I still don't get it. Freddie Highmore is fine, but this plot feels as forced and generic as the show's name. This series has a great cast, and I love creator/showrunner David Shore, but this medical drama about a man with high functioning Autism who isn't great with people but is excellent with problems feels like one cliche built on top of another. No thanks.

2. The Gospel of Kevin, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC
About: I wanted to like the show, even a little, but I just can't. The premise — a shiftless loser who returns to live with his widowed sister and niece and gets a mission from God via a meteor — is a wacky stretch. And while I liked the cast, the trailer was too goofy for me. A guy who appears to be talking to himself? This skewed more "Imaginary Mary" than I'd like. Plus, they picked up a show to fall and prepared a trailer that showcases and actress in a role that they're now recasting. That seems like a bad sign to me. Again, I wasn't wild about ABC's fall slate, and this won't help their 10 p.m. problem.

3. Wisdom of the Crowd, Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS
About: I've read some interesting defenses of this series and premise, mostly based on the fact that CBS is so good at procedurals that they'll do it right. Perhaps. But this feels lazy and uninspired, like a rip off of other series we've seen the past few years, this time with Jeremy Piven and seemingly no humor. I also don't get the placement on Sunday nights where it will compete with football. This show's trailer made a Browns-Jaguars game seem appealing. Plus, I've met the people that live in my community, I don't trust them to solve my crimes. Premise rejected.

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