Fall Arts Preview 2015: Television

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By Jay Bobbin | Gracenote

While new TV shows debut year-round these days, the five major broadcast networks cling to tradition and save a large chunk of their series to roll out in fall. Here are 10 of the most notable:


NBC (premieres Monday, Sept. 21)

One thing is for sure: This mystery-adventure has one of the most striking introductory visuals of any new show, with Jaimie Alexander as a woman found naked in Times Square … naked, that is, except for the tattoos that cover her entire body. They provide clues to various crimes, which naturally interest an FBI agent (Sullivan Stapleton, “Strike Back”) and his colleagues. The series returns former “Without a Trace” co-star Marianne Jean-Baptiste to the genre, though she certainly didn’t have to concern herself with remotely as many tattoos then.


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“Blood and Oil”

ABC (premieres Sunday, Sept. 27)

It’s been a while since “Nash Bridges,” and even longer since “Miami Vice,” but Don Johnson was a bonafide television star in those two shows – and this saga, which smacks of “Dallas” and “Dynasty,” will indicate whether it’s still the case. (We’re betting “yes.”) Also an executive producer of the show, the actor plays a North Dakota tycoon whose power and domineering ways threaten a young couple, played by Chace Crawford (“Gossip Girl”) and Rebecca Rittenhouse of last season’s “Red Band Society.”

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

CW (premieres Monday, Oct. 12)

Can a show developed for premium cable – Showtime, specifically – work on a broadcast network? The CW hopes so, especially since it’s the network’s only new fall series. Fans of “Felicity” should find some echoes in the premise, casting Rachel Bloom as Rebecca, who follows her high school ex (Vincent Rodriguez III) from the East Coast to California in the hope of renewing their romance. One very hopeful sign: This was created by Aline Brosh McKenna, the screenwriter of “The Devil Wears Prada” and the underrated “Morning Glory.

“Heroes Reborn”

NBC (premieres Thursday, Sept. 24)

The title says it in the case of this continuation of “Heroes,” purposely planned as a limited series … which isn’t to say it couldn’t go farther if the ratings warrant it. Jack Coleman reprises his character from the original fantasy-drama about ordinary people with extraordinary abilities, and Masi Oka, Greg Grunberg and Sendhil Ramamurthy also are expected back to varying degrees. Notable cast additions include Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) and Ryan Guzman (“The Boy Next Door”), and also notable is the return of “Heroes” creator Tim Kring as executive producer and writer.

Dianne Wiest and James Brolin on “Life in Pieces.” | CBS

Dianne Wiest and James Brolin on “Life in Pieces.” | CBS

“Life in Pieces”

CBS (premieres Monday, Sept. 21)

To put it mildly, there’s a lot going on in the family that fuels this comedy, with two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest and James Brolin as the heads of the brood. At various stages of their own relationships are their grown children, played by Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”), Thomas Sadoski (“The Newsroom”) and Colin Hanks (“Fargo”). The regular cast is made even bigger by those playing the offsprings’ significant others, but no actor is likely to get shortchanged, since the show is formatted to tell a quartet of short stories each week.


CBS (premieres Tuesday, Sept. 22)

The 2011 movie by the same title was significant in Bradley Cooper’s career, since its profits proved he could “open” a film … so it’s not a huge surprise he’s staying involved with this series version as an executive producer and recurring cast member (continuing his movie role). Jake McDorman, of last season’s “Manhattan Love Story,” takes the lead as a man whose brainpower gets a big boost from a revolutionary drug, making him a valuable resource to the FBI. Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”) and Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”) play his comrades in the field, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (“The Abyss”) also featured.

“Minority Report”

Fox (premieres Monday, Sept. 21)

If the title of this sci-fi series sounds familiar, you probably know the Tom Cruise-starring, Steven Spielberg-directed movie that inspired it. Spielberg remains on board as an executive producer as Stark Sands, Meagan Good and Laura Regan play futuristic “precogs’’ … people who can see the future and, in their cases, use their gift to help police detect crimes before they can happen. The situation may not be as pure as they’d like, though, setting up the show’s drama. Wilmer Valderrama also stars.


Fox (premieres Wednesday, Sept. 23)

Morris Chestnut plays the pathologist-for-hire title character in this medical mystery, created and executive-produced by “Psych’’ veteran Todd Harthan, which sees Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. frequently outdo the Miami police. That doesn’t stop one of its detectives (Jaina Lee Ortiz) from becoming his new ally, despite her skeptical take on his methods, in getting to the bottom of crimes. Gabrielle Dennis co-stars as his toxicology expert, who also happens to be his sister.

Melissa Benoist on “Supergirl.” | CBS

Melissa Benoist on “Supergirl.” | CBS


CBS (premieres Monday, Oct. 26)

Look! Up in the sky! CBS is getting into the superhero – or, more accurately, superheroine – business by turning “Glee” alum Melissa Benoist into Krypton’s favorite daughter. The casting around her is smart, too, with Helen Slater (the 1980s movie “Supergirl”) and former TV “Superman” Dean Cain as her foster parents, plus Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Jeremy Jordan (”Smash”). Expect this show, which is easily one of the most anticipated of the new season (and is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, who also has “The Flash” and “Arrow” under his own cape), to soar.

“Wicked City”

ABC (premieres Tuesday, Oct. 27)

If NBC’s “Aquarius” has gotten you in the mood for period dramas set sufficiently but not extremely in the past, another slice of an earlier Los Angeles also may appeal. Here, a Sunset Strip-related murder circa 1982 involves a cross-section of characters – and we’re especially looking forward to Erika Christensen in a role vastly different from “Parenthood’s” Julia. Ed Westwick (“Gossip Girl”) and Taissa Farmiga (“American Horror Story”) also are among the stars.

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