Fall TV: what to watch

The fall season brings a hurricane of new television shows, and it’s often difficult to decide which shows to follow and which to skip.  But don’t worry—I’m here to make sure you don’t miss out on any up-and-coming hits.  I’ve viewed the pilots of multiple recent shows, and here’s the scoop on the most promising.

Selfie (Tuesdays 8pm on ABC)

ABC’s new comedy series stars former Doctor Who lead Karen Gillan as Eliza Dooley, a quirky pharmaceutical sales rep who has an obnoxious addiction to social media, the Internet, and, of course, selfies.  The story follows Eliza as she realizes that her thousands of online connections have resulted in zero real-life connections.  She hires co-worker Henry Higenbottam (John Cho, Star Trek) as her marketing manager and mentor in order to reinvent her image and learn more about the offline world.

So far, the show seems to hover between amusing and vapid, and it may be a challenge for the screenwriters to transform a two-hour-long story into a few seasons.  We’ll see if the series can pull its weight, but for now, if you need a lighthearted, no-brain-power-required TV show with which to wind down after all that calculus homework, look no further.

Red Band Society (Wednesdays 9pm on FOX)

The Red Band Society is FOX’s take on the recent trend of stories detailing the lives of teenagers diagnosed with illnesses, this time focusing on a motley group of teens stuck together in a hospital’s pediatric ward.  The main characters, including a wise young boy in a coma, who happens to narrate the entire show (Griffin Gluck, Just Go With It) and a spiteful ex-cheerleader with a heart problem (Zoe Levin, The Way Way Back), each have their own storyline, but the show’s plot revolves around their interactions with each other.

At times, it seems as if the screenwriters are trying to force out a reaction, whether it be a laugh or a tug at the heartstrings.  Despite this, the show, with its half-The Fault in Our Stars-half-Glee appeal, is still entertaining, so I’ve decided to give it a few more chances to redeem itself.

Madam Secretary (Sundays 8pm on CBS)

Téa Leoni (Deep Impact, Flirting With Danger) makes her TV comeback in Madam Secretary, taking on the role of Elizabeth McCord, an ex-CIA analyst and homemaker who is suddenly appointed Secretary of State of the United States and has to deal with both international issues and power struggles around the office.  The show is a modern-day political drama (the pilot even references the Syrian conflict), and Secretary McCord herself is supposedly based on real-life former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The screenwriters leave a large amount of room for character development and strike a good balance of themes in the show, making sure to include equal amounts of the Secretary’s political story and her life outside of work.  It will be interesting to see what new challenges the capable and powerful main character will have to face in the upcoming episodes.

Gotham (Mondays 8pm on FOX)

Gotham focuses on the adventures of young detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, The O.C.), who has to learn the ropes of keeping the crime-infested Gotham City out of danger and anarchy.  A prequel to the Batman saga, the show is meant to explain the origins of Bruce Wayne and his companions, specifically those who remain out of the spotlight in the films.

The show is certainly not for fans of the lighthearted or cheerful (there was a bit too much gratuitous violence for my taste), but the pilot introduces many questions and leaves some intriguing mystery.  Particularly for fans of the both the comic books and the action sequences in The Batman film trilogy, this show is right up your alley, so be sure to tune in and immerse yourself in the fascinating Batman world.

A to Z (Thursdays 9:30pm on NBC)

A to Z follows the love story between Andrew (Ben Feldman, Cloverfield), a guy’s guy with a romantic side, and Zelda (Cristin Milioti, How I Met Your Mother), a brilliant lawyer who has a hard time believing in “true love.”  The pilot introduces the beginnings of a romance between the two characters, who each come across as lovable and entertaining.

The majority of the show will focus on the ups and down of their relationship (from A to Z!)—a refreshing contrast to the typical “boy chases girl” romance trope.  The show’s format mimics that of the now-completed How I Met Your Mother series, in which a narrator relays the story in a humorous fashion while select snippets are shown onscreen.  From the looks of it, A to Z is essentially a classic rom-com story in the form of a TV show, so there’s no doubt I will keep up with this series.

The Mindy Project (Tuesdays 9:30pm on FOX)

Season Three of The Mindy Project is looking promising.  The comedy centers around the life of Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), a New York City obstetrics/gynecology doctor who experiences drama in both in the workplace and her outside life.  Fortunately for fans, the show seems to be keeping up its familiar quick-wit humor and sarcastic comedy while also building upon the main characters’ storylines.

The new season will feature Mindy’s new, growing romance with a co-worker, and it should be entertaining to witness the shifting dynamics in the office along with Mindy’s antics, which will surely be as crazy as ever.  If you’ve been a fan of The Mindy Project from the beginning, make sure you don’t miss out on the new episodes, and if you’ve never even heard of it, have no fear: you can binge-watch the entire first two seasons on Netflix and pick up with Season Three of this hilarious show.

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