Fall television preview 2014: 29 shows to check out
Fall is always the time for the biggest television debuts, and this year is no different. It's a strong season if you're hankering for new crime stories, as there are a ton of them, from "Gotham," following Detective James Gordon in the time before Batman, to Debra Messing's "The Mysteries of Laura," about a homicide detective. But there's lots more to see, from a basketball drama to a new take on "My Fair Lady." Here are 29 new shows you need to know about this fall:
This reality series -- produced by Zachary Quinto -- follows two first-time directors who are each directing a film from the same script. The season will end with two finished films being voted on by viewers and the winning director gets cash. (Sept. 6, 11 p.m., Starz)
Fifteen regular folks are all living together in a remote location working on building a civilization from the ground up. Three New Yorkers are participating in this reality show. (Sept. 7, 8 p.m., Fox/5)
'RED BAND SOCIETY'
Steven Spielberg produces this new dramedy about a group of friends at the teen ward at a Los Angeles hospital. Octavia Spencer plays a tough nurse and Dave Annable stars as a top pediatric doctor. (Sept. 17, 9 p.m., Fox/5)
A strong cast of Téa Leoni, Tim Daly and Bebe Neuwirth head up this political series about Elizabeth McCord (Leoni), a former CIA analyst turned professor who is brought in by the president to take over as Secretary of State after the former Secretary dies mysteriously. McCord balances her demanding job with her home life as a wife and mother. (Sept. 21, 8 p.m., CBS/2)
This DC Comics series -- the first of three in this preview -- is set in Gotham City when Bruce Wayne was a youngster. It follows Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, "The O.C.") as he takes on some of the worst foes in the city, including some future enemies of the Dark Knight. Donal Logue co-stars as fellow officer Harvey Bullock and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin. (Sept. 22, 8 p.m., Fox/5)
Based on a true story, this series centers on Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel, "World War Z"), a genius heading up a think tank of some odd, talented individuals working with Homeland Security and taking on high-tech menaces. Also starring Robert Patrick, Katharine McPhee and Eddie Kaye Thomas. (Sept. 22, 9 p.m., CBS/2)
'NCIS: NEW ORLEANS'
This second spin-off from the popular "NCIS" franchise stars the always great Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Pride, who investigates military crimes around the Big Easy. Also starring CCH Pounder, Lucas Black and Zoe McLellan. (Sept. 23, 9 p.m., CBS/2)
Ioan Gruffudd stars as Dr. Henry Morgan, a medical examiner in New York with a big problem -- he's immortal, having lived 200 years, and he doesn't know why. He spends his time now investigating crime and looking for clues to why he lives forever. Also starring Judd Hirsch. (Sept. 23, 10 p.m., ABC/7)
'THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA'
Debra Messing is back on NBC, this time playing Detective Laura Diamond, a homicide detective and mother of two dealing with a husband who won't sign the divorce papers and the difficulties of being a working parent. Am I the only person hoping that there will be a crossover with TNT's mystery "Perception," starring Eric McCormack as crime-fighting neuropsychiatrist? (Sept. 24, 8 p.m., NBC/4)
Andre "Dre" Johnson (Anthony Anderson) is a successful father of four living in the suburbs with fears that his family is beginning to lose its black identity. Also starring Laurence Fishburne and Tracee Ellis Ross. (Sept. 24, 9:30 p.m., ABC/7)
'HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER'
Viola Davis is professor Annalise Keating who teaches a course called "How To Get Away With Murder." With four law students, Keating finds she has to use what they discuss in class to unravel a murder. From Shonda Rhimes. (Sept. 25, 10 p.m., ABC/7)
This teen comedy follows the employees of an amusement park. Things are all good for Lucy, the daughter of a park mom Elena, until the new owner's son Ian shows up. Starring Bianca Santos and Shane Harper. (Sept. 30, 11 p.m., MTV)
"Doctor Who" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Karen Gillen heads this comedy -- a new telling of "My Fair Lady" -- about Eliza Dooley, a woman with 263,000 online "friends," but very few in real life, which she quickly discovers after an embarrassing incident on an airplane. To remedy this problem, she hires a marketing guy to help her in the real world, played by John Cho. (Sept. 30, 8 p.m., ABC/7)
'MANHATTAN LOVE STORY'
This meet-cute relationship story is told through voice-overs about what each party is really thinking. Starring Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman. (Sept. 30, 8:30 p.m., ABC/7)
It's pretty easy to figure out what this new detective series focuses on. Dylan McDermott plays Detective Jack Larsen, a New York City cop now working for the LAPD's Threat Assessment Unit, taking on all sorts of stalking cases, both in person and online. Maggie Q co-stars as Jack's boss. (Oct. 1, 10 p.m., CBS/2)
After an incredibly long run as Dr. Addison Montgomery, first on "Grey's Anatomy" and then on the spin off "Private Practice," Kate Walsh takes the sitcom route as Judge Rebecca Wright. Not as bad as the title implies, she plays a tough criminal court judge who doles out unusual rulings and always speaks freely. Things change quickly for her when she ends up taking in a young boy whose parents she incarcerated. (Oct. 2, 9 p.m., NBC/4)
'A TO Z'
Brought together by an errant online dating website match, the romantic Andrew (Ben Feldman, "Mad Men") and the all-business Zelda (Cristin Milioti, "How I Met Your Mother") -- the titular A to Z -- are the focus of this comedy about how the two met and subsequently stayed together. Katey Sagal narrates the series. (Oct. 2, 9:30 p.m., NBC/4)
Adapted from the British series "Broadchurch," this 10-episode show stars David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), who also starred in the original. The show investigates the death of a young girl in a small town. Also starring Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver, Nick Nolte and Michael Peña. (Oct. 2, 9 p.m., Fox/5)
'STAR WARS REBELS'
Get your "Star Wars" fix with this new animated series, set between Episodes III and IV of the films, that follows a few rebels on a starship called Ghost taking on the Galactic Empire. Featuring the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jedi Kanan Jarrus, Jason Isaacs as the villain Inquisitor and, reprising their film roles, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. (Oct. 3, 9 p.m., Disney Channel; regular episodes on Mondays at 9 p.m. on Disney XD starting Oct. 13)
LeBron James produces this new series about a guy in his early 20s who signs a huge contract to play basketball, and the troubles and issues of having to deal with helping out his family, community and opportunistic people trying to take advantage of his newfound money. (Oct. 4, 9 p.m., Starz)
Stand-up comic John Mulaney, who was also a writer on "Saturday Night Live," gets his own starring vehicle about an up-and-coming comedian and his band of friends. Mulaney is a very, very funny comedian, so this could translate quite well. (Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m., Fox/5)
Spinning off from "Arrow," the DC Comics speedster, played by Grant Gustin, runs his way to his own series where he fights crime both as the costumed hero and as his alter ego, Barry Allen, who works as a crime scene investigator. (Oct. 7, 8 p.m., CW/11)
Cristela Alonzo stars in this new comedy about a law student looking for an internship at a big-time law firm, despite her traditional family's fear that she's too focused on finding career success. (Oct. 10, 8:30 p.m., ABC/7)'
JANE THE VIRGIN'
The title Jane (Gina Rodriguez) grew up with a love of telenovelas and a belief in the importance of saving herself for marriage. So when she winds up pregnant thanks to a doctor mistakenly artificially inseminating her, things, as you might imagine, become complicated. (Oct. 13, 9 p.m., CW/11)
Jake (Ken Marino) planned to pop the question to Annie (Casey Wilson) after they got back from a romantic vacation. Annie was expecting the ring to come during the vacation, and before he gets a chance to propose, she unloads on him for being unable to commit. Now they're delaying their engagement until they're able to get it right, hopefully. (Oct. 14, 9 p.m., NBC/4)
An extramarital affair is at the center of this drama set in Montauk and told from both the male and female perspective. Starring Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson. (Oct. 19, 10 p.m., Showtime)
Gritty DC Comics character John Constantine (Matt Ryan) fights demons and other supernatural enemies. Also starring Harold Perrineau. (Oct. 24, 10 p.m., NBC/4)
You have to think that Melissa McCarthy is miffed someone did a show called "The McCarthys" before she did. This unrelated comedy follows a family of sports fanatics in Boston. Tyler Ritter plays Ronny McCarthy, the son of high school basketball coach Arthur (Jack McGee), who brings his son in to be his assistant coach. (Oct. 30, 9:30 p.m., CBS/2)
'STATE OF AFFAIRS'
Katherine Heigl takes the lead as the inexplicably named Charleston Tucker, a CIA analyst working for President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard), who helps bring together the President's daily briefing of the most important crises facing the country. She's also got a close connection with POTUS in that she was engaged to the president's son, who died in a terrorist attack. (Nov. 17, 10 p.m., NBC/4)