Pop Culture Spin

The 10 Best Shows Returning to Network TV This Fall

It’s September and network premiere season is almost here. Over 50 shows are returning to network TV in the coming months. Which ones are deserving of your time? Here are my choices for returning shows to watch out for this season.

10. How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)

While this show’s original hook was the mystery element, it quickly stood out for its ensemble of characters. It delivers on twists and turns, but the real reason to watch each week is how interesting Annalise Keating and her students are even in the moments when what they’re doing is mundane. It strikes a perfect tone and artfully combines soap opera-like drama with emotionally earnest character moments. It also probably has the most attractive cast on television right now. How to Get Away with Murder returns September 24.

9. The Middle (ABC)

This family sitcom has been one of the most consistent comedies on television since 2009. The outstanding, uniquely funny characters– in particular, Sue and Brick– make it an endearing watch every time. Unlike other sitcoms, it hasn’t stumbled as the characters age and evolve and it should be exciting to see what happens next season now that Sue has graduated high school. The Middle manages to push emotional buttons without becoming overly cheesy.  The Middle returns September 23.

8. Black-ish (ABC)

This comedy was a standout among last year’s new shows. It combines reliable family sitcom formulas with a willingness to take risks and be surprisingly cutting with its humor. It’s an impressive ensemble: each member of the Johnson family really pulls their weight comedically. Black-ish returns September 23.

7. The Flash (The CW)

Although the quality of the plot on this superhero show is somewhat inconsistent, the incredible cast of characters always shines. There’s a degree of guaranteed enjoyment each week because of how endearing and charismatic every single character is. It defined itself well early on and has found a great tone. The Flash returns October 6.

6. Arrow (The CW)

Arrow is one of the most exciting shows on television because it’s truly unafraid to take risks. They proved this with their brilliantly gradual development of Oliver Queen as a character and the way they put aside the source material when Oliver and Felicity emerged as a strong romance. Next season we’ll find out what new ways the show has come up with to reinvent itself and embrace the unexpected while continuing to explore the same beautifully defined characters. Arrow returns October 7.

5. Scandal (ABC)

It may not be as tightly written and perfectly plotted as it was in the first couple seasons, but Scandal continues to be engaging because of its strong characters. Olivia Pope, Mellie Grant and Cyrus Beene are all completely unique figures in the television landscape and it will be exciting to see what happens to them next. Scandal returns September 24.

4. Empire (FOX)

Empire was a genuine phenomenon last year and proved to be an absolutely addictive show. The ensemble drama is exciting at every turn and there’s no reason it would slow down going into its second season. Empire returns September 23.

3. iZombie (The CW)

This zombie procedural comes from the creator of Veronica Mars and has a wonderful balance of drama, action and comedy. Its unique heroine and sharp writing make it a must-watch. Plus, last season it left off on some incredible cliffhangers. iZombie returns October 6.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

Since its premiere, it’s been impressive how immediately Brooklyn Nine-Nine found its groove as an ensemble comedy. In its second season, it showed no signs of getting off track. Everyone on the show is incredible, but its protagonist Jake Peralta who has proven to truly be a breath of fresh air. The show has beautifully demonstrated how to make a sitcom funny without any cruelty or cynicism. Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns September 27.

1. Bob’s Burgers (FOX)

Bob’s Burgers is going into its sixth season and it’s been one of the strongest shows on television for that entire run. This show is consistently dense with jokes, showing an amazing attention to detail and love for comedy on the parts of everyone involved. It has never once felt lazy or phoned in. The characters are fresh and exciting, the familial relationships are genuine and it’s always funny. Bob’s Burgers returns September 27.

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