The Fall Season is here, people. And though premieres will happen up and down what is still anachronistically called a dial, the season remains mainly the domain of the broadcast networks — which seem bent for the moment not on aping cable TV, as many think they should, but rather distinguishing themselves from it. By getting classic.
Which is not necessarily to say good — though not necessarily to say bad, either.
Fall TV preview: A capsule description of the new DirecTV drama "Full Circle" in the Sept. 15 Calendar II section said that the show would debut Oct. 10. It will debut Oct. 9. —
There are, for one thing, a lot of family comedies this year, albeit with a fair bit of dysfunction and kids talking about breasts (and stuff). (Teenage pregnancy is also alive and well in the 2013-14 season.) Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams and Kirstie Alley, stars of 20th century situation comedy, are back. Three-camera comedies continue to hold their own. Warming hearts is the order of the day.
As usual, there are uncanny resonances among the new series — call it spooky entanglement at a distance. (If you want to be quantum about it.) There are two series in which parents move in with their adult children and one in which an adult child (with a child) moves back in with her parent; two series in which young women who like to party marry older men who sort of remember they did, too, once, inheriting three children in the bargain; three shows in which figures from literature are recast as heroes in an ancient struggle between good and evil; two buddy-cop shows with fantastic elements. Elsewhere, the legacy of "The Bad News Bears" continues not to exhaust itself.
If you are sane, or wish to remain so, you will not attempt to watch all or even most of them. Here is your seasonal guide through the thicket. Check out our interactive timeline with videos, or continue below for the text listings.
Already in progress
"Six Little McGhees" (OWN). Sextuplets.
"Last Tango in Halifax" (PBS). Seventysomethings Derek Jacobi and Ann Reid take the road previously not taken and find belated love in picturesque Yorkshire. Facebook did it! Sweet, smart.
"Derek" (Netflix). Ricky Gervais' sometimes vexing, more often moving meditation on usefulness, set in a nursing home. Kerry Godliman, as the woman who runs the place, does the heavy lifting, but Gervais producer-stooge Karl Pilkington also acquits himself well. "It's more important to be kind than clever," says Derek (Gervais), stating a theme.
"Wander Over Yonder" (Disney Channel). Jack McBrayer of "30 Rock" voices the lead, a kind of hillbilly alien, in a new cartoon from Craig McCracken ("The Powerpuff Girls"). Think Kenneth in Space, without the darkness. (The darkness of Kenneth, I mean, not of space.)
Sunday, Sept. 15
"Liv and Maddie" (Disney Channel). Dove Cameron plays teenage twin sisters. This being Disney, one of them is famous.
Monday, Sept. 16
"Sleepy Hollow" (Fox). Washington Irving's tale of country superstition gets a shot of steroids and whatever that juice is they keep around the production office, transforming credulous schoolteacher Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) into a Revolutionary War secret agent, Rip Van Winkled into the 21st century in pursuit of the headless horseman, whose name is now Death and whose horse is now pale. Nicole Beharie is the cop who'll be his buddy.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Fox). Andy Samberg is the designated wiseacre super-sleuth ("the only puzzle he hasn't solved is how to grow up") in this motley-crewed, multicultural police comedy. As the new, button-down captain, Andre Braugher classes up the joint, but he can't help that.