I don’t have to tell you that TV is unsettled at the moment, due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can tell every time you turn your television on and see the paucity of original scripted programming and the near total lack of live sports.
And we don’t know when Hollywood will get back to work and start producing new shows. But the networks, nonetheless, have announced new shows they plan to air during the 2020-21 season … eventually.
Here’s a rundown, along with a few editorial comments.
The network plans to premiere two new shows this fall, although it hasn’t announced any dates yet.
“Big Sky” (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., Ch. 4) • Private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) team up with Cody’s ex-wife, Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) to search for two sisters kidnapped by a truck driver in Montana — and learn other young women have disappeared. It’s based on a series of books by C.J. Box.
This is from creator/executive producer/writer David E. Kelley (“L.A. Law,” “Picket Fences” “Chicago Hope,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Public,” “Boston Legal,” “Goliath,” “Big Little Lies”), so, yeah, I’m very hopeful.
“Supermarket Sweep” (Sundays, 7 p.m., Ch. 4) • This old-timey game show — which originally aired from 1965-67 — returns with Leslie Jones as the new host. It features quizzes and contestants racing around a supermarket throwing items into a shopping cart.
Jones is funny, but prime-time game shows are not high on my must-see list.
“Call Your Mother” (Midseason, Ch. 4) • Empty nester Jean (Kyra Sedgwick) moves across the country to be near her adult children and reinserts herself into their lives.
This show was supposed to premiere this fall, but — perhaps not surprisingly — ABC put “black-ish” back on the fall schedule and it’s saving “Call Your Mother” for midseason.
“B Positive” (Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., Ch. 2) • Drew (Thomas Middleditch) is a newly divorced single father/therapist who needs a kidney transplant. Gina (Annaleigh Ashford) is a “rough-around-the-edges woman from his past” who volunteers one of hers. And they develop “an unlikely and life-affirming friendship as they begin a journey that will forever impact both of their lives.”
Chuck Lorre (“Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Bob Hearts Abishola”) is the creator/executive producer, so anyone who counts this one out is foolish.
“The Equalizer” (Sundays, 7 p.m., Ch. 2) • The original version of this show (1985-89) starred Edward Woodward as a retired spy with a mysterious past who came to the rescue of “little people” who were in serious danger. Denzel Washington assumed the role in 2014 and 2018 “Equalizer” movies. And now CBS is bringing it back with Queen Latifah in the title role, “an anonymous guardian angel and defender of the downtrodden.”
I wasn’t a big fan of the original, but I am a big fan of Queen Latifah. I’m looking forward to seeing this.
“Clarice” (Midseason, Ch. 2) • This will be the further adventures of FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) beginning six months after the events of “The Silence of the Lambs” in 1993.
I’m beyond skeptical.
Supposedly, The CW will launch its new shows (and new seasons of most of its old shows) in January. This fall, it’s planning to air a bunch of shows it acquired from elsewhere — “Swamp Thing” (recently canceled by streamer DC Universe); “Tell Me a Story” (recently canceled by CBS All Access); “Two Sentence Horror Stories” (originally on streamer CW Seed); “Dead Pixels” (acquired from the U.K.); “Coroner” (acquired from Canada); and Season 3 of “The Outpost” and Season 2 of “Pandora” (each formerly a summer series).
“Walker” (Thursdays, 7 p.m., Ch. 30) • This reboot of “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993-2001) casts Jared Padalecki (“Supernatural”) as the widowed father of two who returns home to his kids, mother, father and brother after two years undercover “only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home” while he’s fighting crime with a new partner (Lindsey Morgan).
I was not a fan of the original, but that may have been because I am not a fan of original star Chuck Norris. I do like Padalecki. (We’re promised that “Walker” won’t go into production until after Padalecki finishes work on the interrupted final season of “Supernatural.”)
“Kung Fu” (Midseason, Ch. 30) • The original (1972-75) infamously cast David Carradine — not Bruce Lee — in the lead role; this reboot actually casts an actor of Asian descent. And switches the gender. Olivia Leung stars as Nicky Shen, who returns from a Chinese monastery to fight crime in San Francisco.
The fact that the showrunners are coming over from “Blindspot” does not fill me with confidence.
“The Republic of Sarah” (Midseason, Ch. 30) • A young high school teacher, Sarah Cooper (Stella Baker), leads a successful effort to declare her small New Hampshire hometown’s independence from the United States — and then has to figure out how to create a new nation.
Well, it sounds like something different. Another one I’m looking forward to seeing.
“Law & Order: Organized Crime” (Thursdays, 9 p.m., Ch. 5) • Chris Meloni returns as Elliot Stabler, the character he played for 12 seasons on “SVU.” He’s returning to the NYPD “after a devastating personal loss” to do battle with — you guessed it! — organized crime. If it seems problematic to be adding another cop show in light of what’s happening in the real world, we’re told that Stabler “must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.”
I haven’t exactly been a loyal viewer of the “Law & Order” shows for a very long time, but I like Meloni and his character.
“Kenan” (Midseason, Ch. 5) • This sitcom stars Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”) as a recently widowed father who hosts a morning show in Atlanta.
“Mr. Mayor” (Midseason, Ch. 5) • Ted Danson stars as a rich guy who runs for mayor of Los Angeles “for all the wrong reasons” and has to figure out what to do when he wins.
A comedy about a rich, unqualified guy who wins elective office seems less than funny these days. But Danson is a TV treasure and it’s coming to us from the producers of “30 Rock,” so I’m optimistic.
“Young Rock” (Midseason, Ch. 5) • This sitcom is “inspired” by the “formative” years of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’ll appear in every episode as himself.
It sounds like a terrible idea, but Nahnatchka Khan (“Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” and “Fresh Off the Boat”) is the showrunner, so I can’t write it off.
“That’s My Jam” (Midseason, Ch. 5) • Jimmy Fallon will host this prime-time show “inspired by the wildly popular, celebrity-fueled musical segments made famous on ‘The Tonight Show.’”
If I wanted to watch Fallon’s silly games, I’d watch “Tonight.” And I don’t.
“True Story” (Midseason, Ch. 5) • Ed Helms and Randall Park will host this show, which will feature “everyday Americans” telling their “most extraordinary and unbelievably true stories,” which are “humorously brought to life by a star-studded cast of comedians and actors in heightened, dramatized reenactments of cinematic proportions.”
I’m highly skeptical, but we’ll see.
The network is holding a couple of completed series that were supposed to air this summer for the fall, and adding another series that not much of anybody has seen. And it plans to launch a more “normal” schedule in early 2021.
“L.A.’s Finest” (Mondays, 7 p.m., Ch. 13) • Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba star in this cop show, which has been seen only on Charter Spectrum cable.
“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” (Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Ch. 13) • This science series sequel has already aired on the National Geographic Channel.
“Filthy Rich” (Tuesday, 8 p.m., Ch. 13) • When the patriarch (Gerald McRaney) of a mega-rich family behind a hugely successful Christian TV network is killed in a plane crash, his widow (Kim Cattrall) and adult children are shocked to learn that he had three illegitimate kids by three other women — and he included them in his will.
I love a good soap. I hope this is one. (This was supposed to air this summer, and all the Season 1 episodes are finished.)
“neXt” (Mondays, 8 p.m., Ch. 13) • A Silicon Valley mogul (John Slattery) learns that the powerful artificial intelligence he created is running amok and might cause worldwide disaster. He teams up with a “cybercrime agent” to fight it.
I have a hard time getting excited about sci-fi series on network TV, because they all seem to get canceled before we get to the end. (We’ll get to the end of Season 1, at least. This show is also in the can.)
“Call Me Kat” (Midseason, Ch. 13) • This sitcom stars Mayim Bialik as a 39-year-old woman who uses the money her parents set aside for her wedding to open a cat cafe.
Bialik is an executive producer, along with her “Big Bang Theory” spouse, Jim Parsons. I’m more encouraged by the fact that the cast includes Swoozie Kurtz, Cheyenne Jackson and Leslie Jordan.
“The Great North” (Midseason, Ch. 13) • This animated series is about a single father in Alaska.
It doesn’t matter what I think about this show. Fox has already ordered a second season.
“Housebroken” (Midseason, Ch. 13) • Originally titled “Therapy Dog,” Fox is describing this animated show as an “irreverent” comedy that explores the dysfunction and neurosis of humans through the eyes of their pets. Lisa Kudrow, Clea Duvall, Will Forte, Nat Faxon and Tony Hale provide voices.
This sounds like a terrible idea. Every once in a while, terrible ideas turn out to be good shows … but only once in a great while.