With Labor Day weekend in the rear view mirror, my thoughts have started to turn to the start of the fall television season. I’ve secretly enjoyed the last few weeks of re-runs and Olympics coverage (which I do not watch) because it has given me not only a reprieve from the marathon that is my television viewing but a chance to get myself caught up on a few shows that I’ve been meaning to watch. Lately I’ve been binge-rewatching Bob’s Burgers and Gilmore Girls, even though I’ve seen every episode of the former and all but the last season of the latter. That’s the kind of late summertime indulgence that I’m not used to – just watching shows again because I enjoy them and not having things pile up on the old DVR. It’s been luxurious.
But as the temperatures cool and kids go back to school, my television watching habits change as well. I’ll no longer be able to go on flights of fancy without new content accumulating and putting me in a TV watching hole. I get anxiety when my DVR gets above the 50% full mark, slightly overwhelmed at finding the time to watch everything. As much as I look forward to new episodes of some of my favorite shows, autumn has also become the most fraught time in my television viewing as I decide what new shows to take a gamble on. Many of the shows that I used to watch were either canceled or I gave up on, so I do have a relatively light (for me) TV viewing schedule for the fall. But I’ve burned so many times before and I have been not particularly bowled over by many of the new television offerings this year that deciding what shows get my precious viewing time is always a complicated process. I hate to be the last one to the party for a popular show – I pride myself on being a Breaking Bad viewer since the initial pilot – but I also refuse to watch a show just because it is potentially going to be popular, especially if it’s on CBS, which I generally think caters to the lowest common denominator. Experience has taught me that I’m generally OK taking a flyer on anything on FX, as that network lines up nicely with my sensibilities. Beyond that, it’s kind of a crap shoot and after the bloodbath that was last year’s cancellations, I am even more hesitant to commit to a show that is unlikely to make it through its first season, let alone get renewed. So my foray into new shows will be very limited this year. And now that TV seasons are more fluid, with shows debuting at different points in the year and seasons varying in length, what I’m watching in the fall isn’t necessarily what I’ll be watching in the spring. Netflix and Hulu are also wild cards, as I spend a lot of time watching them, but they don’t fit the traditional TV schedule model.
With all those caveats, this is how my TV schedule is shaping up for this fall:
All day – football
7:30 pm – Bob’s Burgers (Fox)
8:00 pm – Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz)
8:30 pm – Blunt Talk (Starz)
9 pm – Westworld (HBO) new show
11 pm – Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
8:00 pm – Supergirl (CW) new network
8:00 pm – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
9:00 pm – Scream Queens (Fox)
10:00 pm – Atlanta (FX) new show
10:30 – Drunk History (Comedy Central)
9:00 pm – Empire (Fox)
10:00 pm – American Horror Story (FX)
10:00 pm – South Park (Comedy Central)
10:00 pm – Rectify (Sundance)
10:00 pm – You’re the Worst (FXX)
8:00 pm – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
9:00 pm – Pitch (Fox) new show
10:00 pm – Better Things (FX) new show
Friday and Saturday:
Catch up for the week/Netflix/Hulu/Go outside
- Not listed above – The Daily Show and The Tonight Show, which I watch daily during the week.
- Despite all evidence to the contrary, I do actually have a life outside of television. You have a lot of free time when you don’t have kids.
- At this point the only new show that I’ve seen is Atlanta, which I highly recommend. The first two episodes debuted last week and were fantastic. If you only know Donald Glover from Community, Atlanta is a totally different vibe. I can’t wait to see where this show goes.
- Of the other new shows I’m taking a chance on, Pitch is on the shortest leash. The idea of a show about the first female player in MLB is appealing to me and definitely has potential, but I can’t say that I’m that confident in the actual ability to execute it as a series.
- Also on the bubble this year: Empire and Scream Queens. Neither are great shows – though they have some great moments, the whole is less than the sum of their parts. If I sense diminishing returns, I have no problem bailing on either one.
- Not a show that’s new, but that’s new to me is You’re the Worst, which I am currently obsessed with. I binge-watched the first two seasons in a weekend and I love it so much. If you haven’t been watching, I encourage you to jump on the band wagon (though this is definitely an “adult” show, so it won’t be for everyone).
- I cannot defend the inclusion of The Big Bang Theory on here as I fully admit that this isn’t a very good show. But it is mindless entertainment and I’ve seen every episode at this point, so I might as well see this show through to the end (which I assume is sooner rather than later)
- Honestly, I’m just watching all this stuff to make the time pass more quickly before new episodes of Game of Thrones happen.
So what does your fall TV schedule look like? Any new shows that you are particularly excited about? Any returning shows that you are psyched to have back in your life? Sound off in the comments.