1. The Flash (CW, Tuesday October 7, 8 p.m.) – I had the opportunity to catch an early screening of the pilot episode and The Flash definitely lived up to the expectations. Set in the same television universe as Arrow, The Flash certainly feels grounded in that reality while maintaining its own tone and idiosyncrasies. Grant Gustin is admirable as the titular character/Barry Allen but the real casting highlight for me is Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Cavanagh since NBC’s Ed and am looking forward to what he’ll bring in the coming weeks.
2. A to Z (NBC, Thursday October 2, 9:30 p.m.) – Seemingly the heir apparent to How I Met Your Mother (even going as far to include narration from another iconic 90’s parent – Katey Sagal), this show stars The Mother herself Cristin Milioti, and Ben Feldman previously of Mad Men. Of all the new rom-com shows debuting this Fall season, A to Z appeared to be the most promising based on preview trailers alone. And luckily after viewing an advanced online stream of the pilot, I was able to confirm those assumptions. Milioti and Feldman have an undeniable charm and chemistry as Andrew and Zelda. My hope is that the writers will be able to sustain a consistent engaging narrative while further developing supporting characters like Stu, Stephanie, Lydia, Lora, and Dinesh into individuals we can invest in as well.
3. Black-ish (ABC, Wednesday September 24, 9:30 p.m.) – Some of my favorite shows growing up were family comedies primarily starring minority actors. Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Cosby Show were all programs that engaged me in a socially-conscious way and as pure entertainment. Over the years, however, there has been a sharp decline in programs predominantly starring diverse lead actors on all networks. Fortunately, ABC has remedied that this coming season and is coming out with 3 new comedies focusing on Mexican-American families (Cristela), Asian-American families (Fresh off the Boat), and African-American families (Black-ish). The story of Black-ish is described as “A family man (Anthony Anderson as Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson) struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.” And on one of the preview clips we see Andre’s son discussing his desire to convert to Judaism in order to throw a bar mitzvah. Black-ish also stars Tracee Ellis Ross as Andre’s wife Rainbow and Laurence Fishburne as “Pops”. With a great time slot following Modern Family, a loveable cast, and a take on the family comedy looking at the ever-evolving meaning of being a minority in America, here’s hoping Black-ish can connect with all audiences like The Cosby Show did 30 years ago.
4. Gotham (FOX, Monday September 22, 8 p.m.) – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show when it was first announced. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy recently finished and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a short couple of years away. And despite The Dark Knight being one of my favorite super heroes ever, I’m a bit fatigued with Bruce Wayne and his alter ego. Still, serving as an origin not only for how James Gordon would become the Commissioner we know but also for the various villains Batman would one day combat, there is certainly a lot of fascinating material to be covered. Moreover, as a self-professed fan of The O.C., my interest was certainly piqued when Ben McKenzie was announced as Gordon (although Donal Logue signing on to be Harvey Bullock is my favorite casting choice). And as clips were released and reports began coming in about every episode in the first season featuring a character that could potentially become The Joker, Gotham eventually became a must see show.
5. Star Wars: Rebels – (DISNEY CHANNEL, Friday October 3, 9 p.m.) – It’s a new dawn for the Star Wars universe. With the previous established Star Wars Expanded Universe now no longer canon and new shows/books/films coming, we find ourselves in a period of
civil war endless story possibilities. One of the new stories that will be told revolves around a “crew of the starship Ghost — cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the muscle Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and cantankerous old astromech droid Chopper” set 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and 5 years before A New Hope. Now one of the reasons I’m really excited for this show is that the animation style is inspired by Ralph McQuarrie original Star Wars concept art. That sets the animation apart from the previous (and unjustly canceled) Star Wars: The Clone Wars series that was on Cartoon Network. Nevertheless, the style and tone of Star Wars: Rebels is a welcome one.
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways (HBO, Friday October 17, 11 p.m.)