With fewer new shows (and more reboots), the 2018 fall season looks like a ho-hum broadcast experience.
Don’t be fooled.
While you might be binging something on a streaming service, shows like “New Amsterdam” and the revived “Murphy Brown” might just rewrite the way networks view the traditional fall season.
Look for “Magnum,” “Murphy,” “Charmed” and “Last Man Standing” to attract longtime fans. But be prepared for what “FBI” and “New Amsterdam” can accomplish. They’re two newcomers that have the goods to remind you of the golden age of David E. Kelley and Steven Bochco.
By network, here are the fall’s entries:
The Alec Baldwin Show (9 p.m. Oct. 14) – A TV mainstay, thanks to “Saturday Night Live,” Emmy winner Alec Baldwin offers his version of a talk/variety show, complete with guests and comedy. No word yet about a mini-“Match Game” in the mix, but it’s part of his portfolio. (Unpreviewed)
The Conners (7 p.m. Oct. 16) – The reworked edition of “Roseanne” supposedly will focus on the extended family – all those kids who were introduced in the successful reboot season. Whither Roseanne? That’s been hinted at. But even John Goodman’s Dan had a different history than we remember. (Unpreviewed)
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors (7 p.m. Oct. 7) – Celebrity kids get a chance to strut their stuff. Olympian Adam Rippon, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore and dancer Val Chmerkovskiy sit in the judges’ box. Rippon says they won’t be brutal with the contestants, just honest. If this isn’t mere brand extender, look for surprises (and no oldies to slow the pace). (Unpreviewed)
The Kids are Alright (7:30 p.m. Oct. 16) – There’s more than a little “Wonder Years” to this look at growing up in a house filled with boys. A piece of “The Real O’Neals” lingers, too. But if you watch this more than once, you’ll see how defined the characters are – and how fitting this is to the 1970s experience. (Grade: B plus, with a chance to move up)
A Million Little Things (9 p.m. Sept. 26) – When their friend commits suicide, those left behind don’t know how to process the information. “Things” borrows the flashback technique of “This Is Us” to help us understand the man who isn’t there. In film terms, this is TV’s look at “The Big Chill.” (Grade: B minus)
The Rookie (9 p.m. Oct. 16) – Nathan Fillian returns to television as an older-than-normal rookie cop who learns plenty on the job. The series has the same feel as “Castle.” It just doesn’t boast the same attitude. (Grade: C)
Single Parents (8:30 p.m. Sept. 26) – Brad Garrett steals every scene he’s in as an older single parent who tries to deal with the parents in his daughters’ class. Taran Killam takes the lead as a stay-at-home dad who’s way too hands-on. (Grade: B plus)
FBI (8 p.m. Sept. 25) – Considering it’s from the king of procedurals, Dick Wolf, this could be another crime of the week story. Instead, “FBI” digs into relationships and preconceived notions. Zeeko Zaki is a revelation as a special agent who has to fight battles most wouldn’t consider. Expect him to be a breakout star this year. (Grade: A minus)
God Friended Me (7:30 p.m. Sept. 30) – An atheist (Brandon Micheal Hall) gets signs that maybe he was a bit too hasty about a higher power. Like “Touched by an Angel” or “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” this tries for a kinder vibe that seems absent in the rest of the world. It’s just OK. (Grade: C plus)
Happy Together (7:30 p.m. Oct. 1) – Based on the producer’s experience housing Harry Styles, this comedy plays with the idea of a pop star moving into a suburban neighborhood. It’s cute, but even Justin Bieber has a short shelf life. (Grade: B minus)
Magnum P.I. (9 p.m. Sept. 24) – Jay Hernandez takes the wheel of the iconic Ferrari as an investigator working the mean streets of Hawaii. He’s fine – in a replacement sort of way – but this isn’t a radical revise, just a newer model. (Grade: C plus)
Murphy Brown (8:30 p.m. Sept. 27) – The cranky journalist gets a chance to take on a snarkier world in this reboot. Candice Bergen still has the chops; creator Diane English is in tow, suggesting it could be the best new comedy of the season. Time will tell. (Unpreviewed)
The Neighborhood (7:30 p.m. Oct. 1) – When a white couple moves into a predominantly black neighborhood, there’s concern that change is in the air. Some have tried to spin the concept as a new millennium “All in the Family,” but the writing isn’t there. Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield star. (Grade: D)
Charmed (8 p.m. Oct. 14) – This is not your mother’s “Charmed.” Three new actresses step into the roles and attempt to deal with new powers. This tries too hard to be different and, as a result, loses us in the process. If it gets a footing, it could be around for a while. (Grade: C plus)
Legacies (Oct. 26) – Like Harry Potter, this takes us behind the scenes of a school where witches, vampires and werewolves learn to pass in a less forgiving world. Continuing the world of “The Originals” and “The Vampire Diaries,” it’s a great way to expand the franchise. (Unpreviewed)
The Cool Kids (7:30 p.m. Sept. 28) – What’s life like in a retirement community? More fun than you ever thought, according to this comedy. Vicki Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Leslie Jordan join forces to ply their trade as the 2018 answer to “The Golden Girls.” Jordan lands all his jokes. But there are questions about the show’s dynamics. The biggest: Why are they in this place? (Grade B minus)
Last Man Standing (7 p.m. Sept. 28) – Tim Allen returns in the comedy that cruised under the radar for years. Now, he’s confronted with some new challenges and a different administration. Producers say they had planned a bunch of Hillary jokes had it returned after the last ABC season. Now, they’re tempering the politics and concentrating on family dynamics. (Unpreviewed)
Rel (8:30 p.m. Sept. 30) – If you liked “Barbershop” (and any number of Madea comedies), this could be an option. Lil Rel Howery, the breakout star of “Get Out,” plays a man trying to get his life back on track after divorce. Howery stretches, but it’s not always in the right direction. (Grade: C minus)
I Feel Bad (8:30 p.m. Oct. 4) – Saraya Blue plays a wife and mother hoping to find balance at work and home. Unfortunately, there are wild cards in both venues. Blue juggles nicely, but the jokes aren’t always there. (Grade: B minus)
Manifest (9 p.m. Sept. 24) – If you thought you’ve been on nightmarish flights, you might want to consider this one. Folks presumed missing return five years later, unaware of what happened. Like “Lost,” it preys on your ability to stick with it even when you know better. (Grade: C)
New Amsterdam (9 p.m. Sept. 25) – This is the best new show of the year. The reason? Ryan Eggold. The former “Black List” actor proves compelling as a physician who dares to change the culture at a New York hospital. The writing, the supporting cast and the feel remind us of the glory days of NBC dramas. (Grade: A)