Consider the fall TV program-palooza about to descend upon your unsuspecting head: What to watch, where to watch, when to watch? TV has never offered so much, while viewers have never had so little time to consume so much (the latter, by the way, is a direct consequence of the former).
Well, the television industry has heard of your plight — and is prepared to ignore it all over again. The “palooza” continues.
Here are five trends that won’t necessarily make your fall TV load any lighter, but hopefully a little more comprehensible:
1. The battle of the streaming services heats up, then boils over. Hulu is entering fall with a vengeance (Ron Howard’s Beatles doc, “Eight Days a Week”). Expect two major series — “Chance” (Oct. 19) with Hugh Laurie, based on the Kem Nunn detective; then “Shut Eye,” with Jeffrey Donovan as a psychic. Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (Nov. 25) is just around the corner while CBS All Access’ spinoff of “The Good Wife” arrives next year, and then . . . ta da . . . ”Star Trek: Discovery,” next May. Also expect plenty of new offerings from Amazon Prime, Crackle, Seeso and YouTube.
2. Fewer broadcast network shows. Here’s a trend we can all get behind. In the fall of 2015, the major broadcast networks launched 23 new series. There will be “only” 17 newcomers this fall. Reason: Established series are finding new life (and a new lease on life) on streaming services and networks’ own websites. (The networks are less willing, therefore, to yank underperformers — which leaves fewer holes on schedules to fill.
3. The reboot frenzy gets re-diculous. There are, in fact, at least eight shows based on movie or TV properties arriving shortly (or early next year). They are “Lethal Weapon,” “The Exorcist,” “Prison Break” and “24: Legacy” (Fox), “Taken” (NBC), “MacGyver” and “Training Day” (CBS), and “Frequency” (The CW).
4. HBO looking for The Next Big Thing. Whenever HBO has gone hunting for The Next Big Thing, it has usually found the Next Big Thing — and changed both TV and the culture in the process. But finding that elusive Thing has been harder and harder. Will Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams’ “Westworld” (Oct. 2) or Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Divorce” (Oct. 9) be that Thing?
5. Comedy reborn — or at least re-thought. Everywhere you look, that half-hour form known as the “television comedy” is undergoing a dramatic transformation. There are the auteur vehicles — like Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” (FX) or Issa Rae’s “Insecure” on HBO (Oct. 9). There are comedies that explore disabilities — ABC’s “Speechless” (Sep. 21). Another looks for laughs in the afterlife — NBC’s “The Good Place.” In fact, both NBC and ABC are making big pushes in comedy, and not with anything that would be labeled “traditional.”