Let’s get right down to it. Here’s what to watch and what to avoid this fall on TV — along with all the shows that evoke no passion, either positive or negative.
Six reasons to watch network TV this fall
1. “All American” (Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30): A star prep football player is recruited to play ball for Beverly Hills High — a story inspired by the real life of former NFL player Spencer Paysinger. It’s part “Friday Night Lights,” part “Beverly Hills, 90210” — and it’s a highly promising series that produced the best pilot of the fall season. Go team!
2. “Murphy Brown” (Thursday, Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • When this show was good, it was great — and what better time to bring back big-mouth Murphy (Candice Bergen) and political humor than in the Age of Trump? Plus, the show's creator, Diane English — who helmed the show through its first four (and by far best) seasons — is back in charge. (Not available for preview.)
3. “Single Parents” (Wednesday, Sept. 26, 8:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Here’s a rarity — a comedy that’s actually funny. A newly single dad (Taran Killam) falls in with a group of other single parents, all struggling to make life work for themselves and their offspring. It’s fresh and funny, and the cast (Brad Garrett, Leighton Meester, Kimrie Lewis and Jake Choi) is great.
4. “The Kids Are Alright” (Tuesday, Oct, 16, 7:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Another funny comedy, this one a period piece set in the 1970s. It’s about an Irish-Catholic family with eight boys, ranging from an infant to a young man studying for the priesthood. It’s based on the creator’s real life, and it’s a hoot.
5. “The Rookie” (Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • This feels like a vintage TV premise — 40-something guy having a midlife crisis decides to join the LAPD, becoming the Oldest Rookie Ever. But Nathan Fillion (“Castle”) stars, and his charm is enough to make this show work.
6. “The Conners” (Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Can “Roseanne” work without the fired Roseanne? I think so. And it’s worth tuning in to see how they kill off the character. (Not available for preview.)
Four reasons network TV is dying
1. “Happy Together” (Monday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • It’s possible that this sitcom about an Australian pop star who moves in with his buttoned-up accountant (Damon Wayans Jr.) and his wife could be worse — but it’s hard to see how. This is truly atrocious.
2. “The Cool Kids” (Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13) • I really wanted to like this show about four people (David Alan Grier, Leslie Jordan, Vicki Lawrence and Martin Mull) living at a retirement home, but it’s really bad. Like … unbelievably unfunny and just plain awful.
3. “Manifest” (Monday, Sept. 24, 9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) • A commercial airliner hits turbulence but lands safely … more than five years after it took off. Even dumber, the passengers have acquired ESP. And how much do you want to bet it will leave viewers hanging because it won’t last long enough to explain itself?
4. “A Million Little Things” (Wednesday, Oct. 26, 9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Wow. A “Big Chill”-like drama that wants to be another “This Is Us” — but it’s about a bunch of unpleasant, self-absorbed people whose lives are all affected when one of them kills himself. Ugh.
And 12 things that’ll make you say, ‘Meh’
These are in alphabetical order because it’s hard to rank mediocrity.
1. “The Alec Baldwin Show” (Sunday, Oct. 14, 10 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): The ever-polarizing Baldwin interviews celebrities. (Not available for preview.)
2. “Charmed” (Sunday, Oct. 14, 8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • At the risk of incensing fans of the original — which ended in 2006 — it wasn’t a great show. This new version features a multiethnic cast and the pilot is decent. The best news is the creator of the wonderful “Jane the Virgin” is in charge, so maybe there’s hope.
3. “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors” (Sunday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) • Oh, good. A chance to see kids cry when they’re eliminated. That’s entertainment?
4. “FBI” (Tuesday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • From Dick Wolf, the executive producer of all those “Law & Order” and “Chicago” shows, comes a procedural about — you guessed it! — the FBI. It’s familiar and unoriginal, but not bad … except for one extraordinarily stupid plot development in the pilot. (This is a no-spoiler zone, so I won’t specify.)
5. “God Friended Me” (Sunday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • If you miss “Touched by an Angel” and liked “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” you’ll probably like this show about an atheist (Brandon Michael Hall, “The Mayor”) who gets friended by God on Facebook and starts helping people. It’s not bad, but it’s not anything special.
6. “I Feel Bad” (Thursday, Oct. 4, 8:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) • I feel bad that this sitcom about the daughter of immigrants from India struggling to balance a husband, children, parents and career isn’t a better show. I wanted to like it, but it just isn’t very good.
7. “Last Man Standing” (Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13) • More than a year after ABC canceled it, this sitcom returns. It’s the same show, with pretty much the same cast. I’m happy for fans, but … it wasn’t like this was great TV the first time around.
8. “Legacies” (Thursday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • This spinoff of “Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals” is set at a boarding school for witches, vampires and werewolves. According to showrunner Julie Plec, the only thing it has in common with “X-Men” is “a little similarity in the school sign” and “the premise.” I am NOT making that up. (Not available for preview.)
9. “Magnum P.I.” (Monday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • It’s nice to see some more diversity in this reboot — Magnum (Jay Hernandez) is Latino; Higgins (Perdita Weeks) is a woman — and the Hawaiian backdrop is spectacular. But this show already feels old. It’s TV-by-the-numbers with only one surprise — the beginning is a fake-out.
10. “The Neighborhood” (Monday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • 8 p.m., CBS): A white family moves into a black neighborhood, and black dad (Cedric the Entertainer) isn’t thrilled to meet overly enthusiastic white dad (Max Greenfield). The premise could work, but the pilot is mostly just lame jokes.
11. “New Amsterdam” (Tuesday, Sept. 25, 9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 2) • Imagine — a medical drama filled with earnest doctors diagnosing dreadful diseases. How (un)original. It’s not bad, except for the confusing title, which is the name of the New York hospital in which it takes place.
12. “Rel” (Sunday, Sept. 30, 8:30 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13 — previewed Sept. 9): Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out,” “The Carmichael Show”) has to reinvent his life after his wife leaves him. Howery is likable, but the show needs to be funnier.