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Comedies and dramas, documentaries and miniseries, revivals, spinoffs, superheroes and new series starring familiar favorites—they’re all here in the shows you’ll be watching this fall.

 

REBOOTED FAVORITES


Will & Grace

One of the most popular sitcoms in history—and one of the first to feature gay lead characters--with 83 Emmy nominations and 16 wins in its eight season-run, Will & Grace will return to NBC Sept. 28 for a 12 episodes that reunite Will (Erick McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally) in what promise to be side-splitting situations. The ten-years-after reunion came about when producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan recruited the cast for video tied to the presidential election, encouraging people to vote. Now, as the cast sings in a promotional trailer, “Everything’s as if we never said goodbye.”
Will and Grace

 
DynastyDynasty

In the 1980s, the nighttime soap Dynasty hooked audiences with its irresistible blend of beautiful people, plots full of sex and scheming, and trendsetting fashion that had viewers salivating. It ran for 220 episodes over nine seasons before going off the air in 1989. Now, 28 years later, the story of the Carrington clan gets a present-day reboot on the CW, with familiar characters like energy tycoon Blake (Grant Show), his bride-to-be Cristal (Nathalie Kelley), daughter Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), and Sammy Jo, now male (Rafael de La Fuente as Cristal’s nephew. There’s plenty of rivalry and backstabbing, with a wedding, a catfight, several secret trysts and a few shocking twists in the first episode. The over-the-top fun begins Oct. 11.

S.W.A.T
S.W.A.T  

The action series S.W.A.T (short for Special Weapons and Tactics), about an elite unit of the LAPD, ran for just two seasons in 1975-76, but it spawned a 2003 movie starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. It gets a revival on CBS this season starring Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as former Marine Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson, the new head of the squad who’s torn between his loyalties to his brother cops and the community where he was raised. Premiering Nov. 2, it’s set to the same instrumental theme music as the original series, a #1 hit in 1976.



SPINOFFS AND FRANCHISES


Young SheldonYoung Sheldon

After 10 years on the air, CBS’ hit comedy The Big Bang Theory gets its first spinoff, the hilarious Young Sheldon, which sheds light on how eccentric genius Sheldon Cooper became the way he is. Set in East Texas in 1989, the show begins on 9-year-old Sheldon’s (Iain Armitage) first day of class at the high school where his dad coaches football. The adorably naïve brainiac immediately gets off to a bad start by ratting out classmates for dress code violations and pointing out the female teacher’s mustache. Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre and star Jim Parsons are producers on the series and Parsons serves as narrator. It will premiere on CBS Sept. 25 after the 11th season premiere of BBT, then move to Thursdays on Nov. 2.


Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

This drama from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf takes the venerable franchise in a new direction. The first installment of a planned anthology, The Menendez Murders focuses on only one case, the notorious story of the Beverly Hills brothers who killed their parents in 1989. Premiering Sept. 26 on NBC, the eight-episode series stars Emmy winner Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) as defense attorney Leslie Abramson and co-stars Julianne Nicholson, Josh Charles, Heather Graham, and Anthony Edwards.
Law and Order

 
Star Trek: Discovery

The first new installment in the Starfleet series since Enterprise in 2001, the latest voyage into the Star Trek universe is a prequel, set a decade before the original 1960s TV series. Star Trek: Discovery, which will premiere on CBS Sept. 24 before shifting to the streaming service CBS All Access thereafter, focuses on first officer Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green), a human educated on Vulcan who must balance her logical Vulcan training and her human emotions while battling Klingons and other villains. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry originally wanted to have a woman in command of the Enterprise, but NBC nixed the idea, although the ship’s bridge was quite diverse for the time, with black and female Uhura and Asian Sulu on the crew. Discovery continues that diversity, with African-American Burnham and Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp), a gay character. The cast also includes Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, and guest star Rainn Wilson as criminal Harry Mudd, who fans will remember from the original Trek series.

Star Trek

The Orville

While not technically part of the Star Trek franchise, the Fox comedy The Orville has quite a bit of Trek DNA: it both pays homage to and parodies the Star Trek world, with its color-coded uniforms and cheesy-looking aliens. Set 400 years in the future, the sci-fi comedy is the brainchild of Seth McFarlane, who stars as starship captain Ed Mercer in his first live-action television role. “I've wanted to do something like this show ever since I was a kid,” says the diehard Trekker. Premiering Sept. 10 following NFL football, the series will move to Sundays Sept. 28. Its cast includes Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Norm Macdonald (as the voice of a blob-ish alien), and Adrianne Palicki as the Orville’s first officer, who happens to be Mercer’s ex-wife.
The Orville

 

FAVORITE STARS IN NEW ROLES


Ten Days in the Valley starring Kyra Sedgwick

Kyra Sedgwick: Ten Days in the Valley

For seven seasons on The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick solved crimes as police chief Brenda Johnson. Now she’s on the victim side of the crime in ABC’s Ten Days in the Valley, playing a TV police show producer named Jane Sadler whose young daughter goes missing in the middle of the night. There are secrets (including Jane’s cocaine use), affairs, and axes to grind that complicate the plot and make for a twisty mystery.



Jeremy Piven: Wisdom of the CrowdWisdom of the Crowd starring Jeremy Piven

After winning three Emmys and a Golden Globe for his role as agent Ari Gold on Entourage and subsequently starring as department store magnate Mr. Selfridge, Jeremy Piven returns to TV in the CBS drama Wisdom of the Crowd as a tech mogul who creates a crowdsourcing app that enables the public to share information to solve crimes. Motivated by the murder of his daughter Mia, and the belief that the wrong man was convicted, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeremy Tanner invents the online platform Sophe in the hope it will lead to new evidence in Mia’s case as well as other unsolved crimes. The fast-paced series premieres Oct. 1.



John Larroquette: Me, Myself & I

A TV legend known for the long-running hit Night Court and many shows since including The Practice and Boston Legal, John Larroquette returns to comedy Sept. 23 in CBS’ Me, Myself & I, playing the main character Alex as a 65-year-old in 2042. He shares the role with Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, who plays Alex in the present day and Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays him as a 14-year-old in 1991.The charming, clever comedy flashes back and forth between Alex as an awkward teen, struggling inventor, and successful older retiree-to-be, and the relationships with friends and relatives throughout his life. The supporting cast includes Jaleel White and Sharon Lawrence as the grown up version of Alex’s boyhood dream girl.
Me Myself and I starring John Larroquette

 

ROLE REVERSALS


The Good Doctor

Freddie Highmore: The Good Doctor

Known for his magnetically chilling portrayal of psychotic killer Norman Bates in five seasons of Bates Motel, Freddie Highmore saves lives as Shaun Murphy, the young surgeon at the center of ABC’s The Good Doctor. The twist: he has autism and savant syndrome, which means he’s a medical genius but socially awkward, making it difficult for him to get along with colleagues and navigate the world. Flashbacks to his troubled, traumatic childhood in the premiere (Sept. 25) help tell his remarkable story.


Mark Feuerstein: 9JKL

Playing against his usual nice-guy type, Mark Feuerstein was last seen as the villainous mastermind in Prison Break.  This season, the star of Royal Pains and numerous sitcoms including Conrad Bloom and Good Morning Miami returns to his comedic roots in 9JKL, which was inspired by his real life. Feuerstein plays actor Josh Roberts, newly divorced and unemployed after his series gets axed, who relocates to New York to regroup. He moves into the apartment between his loving but meddlesome parents (Elliott Gould and Linda Lavin) and his brother and sister-in-law (David Walton, Liza Lapira), and tries to set privacy boundaries to no avail. Feuerstein knows about that all too well: he lived in the New York City apartment next to his parents’ while filming Royal Pains’ first season on Long Island, and his brother’s family moved into the flat on the other side while their place was renovated. 9JKL premieres Oct. 2 on CBS.

9JKL

 

FASCINATING DOCUMENTARIES


Spielberg

Spielberg

The director responsible for some of the most iconic and successful films of all time is the subject of the documentary Spielberg, an in-depth portrait of the creative genius behind Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. Through film clips and more than 80 interviews filmmaker Susan Lacy conducted with friends, relatives, colleagues and Steven Spielberg himself, a revealing, often surprising picture emerges of the director’s life, career, and creative process. It premieres Oct. 7 on HBO.





The Vietnam War

In addition to his documentary series Baseball, Jazz, The Roosevelts and National Parks, among others, Ken Burns has examined major conflicts in The Civil War and The War, about World War II. In his latest project, Burns tells the story of The Vietnam War in a 10-part, 18-hour series that begins Sept. 17 on PBS. Ten years in the making and featuring interviews with more than 70 Americans and Vietnamese who fought in the war as well as civilians from both sides, the series includes rare archival footage and photographs, home movies, audio recordings and popular songs of the era that bring the controversial conflict—and the chaotic time—into focus. More than 58,000 American lives were lost in a war many believe we had no business fighting. Comments Burns, “More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it."

Vietnam War

DRAMATIC MINISERIES


Liar

A viewer favorite as lady’s maid Anna Bates in six seasons of Downton Abbey, Joanne Froggatt stars in Sundance Channel’s excellent psychological thriller Liar, a gripping six-part contemporary drama in which she plays an English teacher who accuses the father of one of her students of raping her. Laura Nielson accepts a dinner invitation from widowed surgeon Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) that starts off well but ends very badly: she claims he forced himself on her, but he insists the sex was consensual. One of them is lying, but which one? Your perception constantly changes as the story flashes back to the dinner date and secrets and deceits from both parties’ pasts emerge, threatening to destroy their lives and the lives of the people they care about. It premieres September 27th.

Liar


Alias Grace

Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), adapted and produced by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron, the six-part Netflix miniseries Alias Grace is based on the true story of a young servant who was convicted, along with a stable hand, of murdering her employers in 1843 amid controversy about the true nature of the crime. Sarah Gadon (11.22.63) plays the title role of Grace Marks, and Anna Paquin plays victim Nancy Montgomery. It begins streaming in November.

Alias Grace


THE EXPANDING MARVEL UNIVERSE

Series based on Marvel Comics characters populate the network, cable, and streaming landscape, and that population is growing. Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist successfully launched and will return to Netflix, which launches The Defenders—with all four of those heroes joining forces—on Aug. 18. Next up is the Daredevil spinoff Marvel’s Punisher, due in 2018.

ABC is saving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fifth season premiere for a midseason launch, but will introduce Marvel’s Inhumans on Sept. 29, after a brief theatrical two-episode sneak peek on Sept. 1. I Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) heads an ensemble cast in the story about the Inhumans Royal Family, who escape to Hawaii following a decimating military coup.

On Nov. 21, Hulu will begin streaming Marvel’s Runaways, about six very different teens who don’t like each other but are united by a common cause when they discover that their parents are evil, and they must band together to fight them. Freeform will launch two Marvel series in 2018, Cloak & Dagger, about a pair of symbiotic super-powered teens, and New Warriors, a comedic take on the genre about young people coping with their newfound abilities.

The BraveThe Defenders

 

MILITARY MATTERS

Seal TeamCBS’ Seal Team is about an elite unit of Navy SEALs starring David Boreanaz (Bones) as team leader Jason Hughes, who guides secret missions into the world’s most volatile hot spots. The Sept. 27 premiere involves capture of a terrorist leader and the rescue of an American woman who’s being held hostage. A very similar plot sets up the premise in the Sept. 25 premiere of The Brave, NBC’s drama about an undercover Special Ops team of intelligence analysts, mission specialists and ground operatives led by Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche).

The CW’s serialized drama Valor, premiering Oct. 9, offers more complications than dangerous missions alone. Flashbacks set up the story of a botched operation in Somalia that left soldiers behind, and only the two surviving helicopter pilots (Matt Barr, Christina Ochoa) know the truth about what happened. When it turns out that one of the stranded men is alive, the pilots—who’ve become secret lovers—devise a plan rescue him.
Valor

 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 194 - November 7379
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