The sun is setting earlier, Long Islanders are scrambling to feel the sand in their toes one last time time (stay away from the Alligator Snapping Turtle), and kids have officially succumbed to the inevitable pre-Labor Day state of depression that envelopes youngsters who have been in perpetual bliss since the end of June. The glorious summer of ’15 is practically a thing of the past. But things aren’t as bleak as they seem, dear readers. That’s because the megalomaniac executives from TV networks who annually dictate our TV viewing habits depending on how much our selfless corporate overlords are willing to spend in advertising fees are here to save us. We humbly accept their gracious offering. Yes, the fall TV schedule is around the corner, which means hit-or-miss newbies will debut, old favorites return, and audiences continue their stressful tolerance of cliffhangers (thank you Neflix—and Amazon—for saving us the misery of waiting a week). Forget about those gross soggy leaf piles! Organize those snacks and scrunch up on the couch. Here’s a list of small-screen candidates to strain those eyes. (And while we’re at it, thank you “Mr. Robot” for saving our summer.)
Fear the Walking Dead – Sunday, August 23, 9 p.m., AMC
The inevitable spinoff leads fall’s TV lineup with a zombie-like lumber. Hardcore fans reacquainted themselves to the same outbreak but in L.A. Though the zombie trend mostly died out, “Walking Dead” prevailed as a figurehead and it’s likely the spinoff will survive the hordes of critics, too. “Fear the Walking Dead” scored the largest rating for a cable premiere in history.
Hand of God – Friday, September 4, Amazon Instant Video
The show follows grieving judge-turned-vigilante Pernell Harris (Ron Perlman), who believes his actions are the instructions of God. The pilot premiered last August to test audience reception. Amazon later picked up all 10 episodes. Zealotry is an edgy topic nowadays, but hulking Ron Perlman’s masterful dramatic acting balances what could be a promising series.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert – Tuesday, Sept. 8, 11:35 p.m., CBS
The former host of the immensely popular “Colbert Report” on Comedy Central makes his return to TV as David Letterman’s replacement on the “Late Show.” Colbert, who formerly played a conservative blowhard on his political satire show, was a popular pick to take over the venerable late night show. Colbert had his own show since 2005, but viewers rarely saw the real Stephen Colbert, a bit of mystery that adds intrigue to the debut show. The lineup for the premiere includes George Clooney and Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush—two men on opposite ends of the political spectrum. His first week will also include guests Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer, and Stephen King, among other notable names in the entertainment industry.
Live! Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris – Tuesday, September 15, 10 p.m., NBC
Based on popular British show “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris hosts an hour of goofy debauchery. Stunts, skits, pranks, audience interactions, musical numbers, and giveaways are all wrapped up in a comedic night for all ages to enjoy.
The Big Bang Theory – Monday, September 21, 8 p.m., CBS
The geeky gang returns with more nerd-oriented humor. After a heartbreaking season eight finale, continued drama will likely open up the season, suggesting a deeper exploration into the main casts’ uncertain relationships.
Gotham – Monday, September 21, 8 p.m., FOX
Following a fresh perspective outside of Gotham City’s Dark Knight, season one set the stage for Detective Jim Gordon’s real threats. Season two brings new disturbing villain performances for familiar faces, including the origins of everyone’s favorite psycho clown.
Life in Pieces – Monday, September 21, 8:30 p.m., CBS
One distant, dysfunctional family is brought together through a series of awkward and all-too-familiar life experiences. Whether it’s bringing home a date, starting college, or attending a funeral, this comical family rivals “Modern Family” and “Parenthood.”
Minority Report – Monday, September 21, 9 p.m., FOX
Set ten years after Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film adaption, the dangers of pre-crime have been brushed under the rug, except for surviving test subjects still suffering from visions. A good balance between action and thrills and the psychological impact of pre-crime on the characters sparks some initial interest, but it’s hard to say how long that will hold up.
Limitless – Monday, September 21, 10 p.m., CBS
Based on a 2011 film, executive producer Bradley Cooper (who starred in the film) explores the limitless potential of the human mind and body when under the influence of a mysterious, life-altering drug called NZT. The premise struggled at the box office, but veteran cast member Bradley Cooper’s involvement may help improve the film’s flaws for the television adaption.
Blindspot – Monday, September 21, 10 p.m., NBC
No name. No memory. Just a Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) with mysterious freshly inked tattoos and a lot of unique combat skills. While her origins are unknown, the show’s influences are not. “Blindspot” looks and feels like a tweaked cross between the Jason Bourne series and Director Christopher Nolan’s “Momento.” While mimicking a premise isn’t unheard of, the lack of creativity leaves concern for what the show has to offer.
The Muppets – Tuesday, September 22, 8 p.m., ABC
Everyone’s favorite gang of puppet pals has been slowly revived since their return in the 2011 film. With appropriate satire, Kermit and friends adapts well to the modern times. Grow impatient with Kermit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, stand up for inter-species relationships with Fozzie, and take selfies with Miss Piggy. Not even the taunts and criticisms of elderly Statler and Waldorf can stop us from watching this show.
Scream Queens – Tuesday, September 22, 8 p.m., FOX
In a troublesome sorority house tainted with murders, three snobby “sisters” investigate the latest massacre to defend their house. The trailers–and plot–hint at an uneasy power struggle between spotlighting the controversies of sororities/fraternities and a seemingly unrelated murder mystery. With corny college portrayals and a darkly unusual sense of humor, the fate of this new anthology series is uncertain.
Rosewood – Wednesday, September 23, 8 p.m., FOX
A slight variation on the police-solve-mystery trend, the focus turns to pathologist Beaumont Rosewood (Morris Chestnut, “Kick-Ass 2”), who solves crimes with the use of his autopsy lab. Exchanging couple-like banter with a female cop friend, the two uncover what Miami PD can’t. Aside from the political, social, and business inaccuracies of Rosewood’s line of work, he and his partner’s dynamic may hold audiences’ attention well enough to keep the show running.
Empire – Wednesday, September 23, 8 p.m., FOX
The show accumulated a large following by the end of season one’s shocking finale. Blood will be shed in the second season. Fans will also acquaint themselves with the backstories of the sassy Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) and her narcissistic ex-husband, Lucious (Terrence Howard).
Heroes Reborn – Thursday, September 24, 8 p.m., NBC
The 2006-2010 series returns with creator Tim Kring emerging from hiding, much like his superhero characters. Hiding, hunted, or embracing lives as vigilantes, heroes old and new join the action to discover and wield their extraordinary abilities in what is expected to be a successful revival.
The Player – Thursday, September 24, 9 p.m., NBC
When security consultant Alex Kane (Philip Winchester) loses his wife, he invests in a high-stakes game orchestrated by wealthy pit boss Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes) to hunt down his wife’s killer.
Bob’s Burgers – Sunday, September 27, 7:30 p.m., FOX
Laugh it up with one of America’s favorite animated family. Season six will feature new guest voices, such as Steve Buscemi, Ben Garant Thomas Lennon (both from “Reno 911!”), Paul Rudd, and Henry Winkler (Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital”) to contribute to the pee-your-pants comedy.
Once Upon A Time – Sunday, September 27, 8 p.m., ABC
The fairy tale residents of Storybrooke face their greatest threat yet: Emma Swan. The Dark Swan’s rise sparked a major game changer for the series. Embracing Disney’s modern princesses, including the bow-wielding Merida from Brave, season five promises plenty of surprises in the fan base’s fantastical quest to a happy ending.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Sunday, September 27, 8:30 p.m., FOX
Returning for their second season, jokester Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and his uptight boss, Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), exchange hilarious dialogue in this whacky workplace comedy of New York’s finest that mirrors the humor of “Parks and Recreation.”
Blood and Oil – Sunday, September 27, 9 p.m., ABC
Playing dirty to get filthy rich is the show’s tagline. The show is a straightforward story about a couple’s ambition for wealth–and ultimately drama–in a modern oil boom. Based on the footage shown so far, the show appears to be an attempt to corner a dramatic take on oil-focused reality shows, sprinkling in some raunchy sex scenes. Suspicious that there’s not much else to the show, “Blood and Oil” could possibly fall face-first in the mud.
The Last Man on Earth – Sunday, September 27, 9:30 p.m., FOX
It’s pretty lonely–and funny–being the last humans alive on Earth in this comical variation on the apocalypse genre. Ordinary Phil Miller (Will Forte) and the bizarre Carol Pilbasian (Kristen Schaal) make the apocalypse less traumatizing and more appealing. Ambitious for its genre, there is the looming risk of originality dying out fast.
Quantico – Sunday, September 27, 10 p.m., ABC
From the look of things, “Quantico” is set to join a long line of suspense-filled shows following law enforcement officers as they investigate the latest fictional terrorist attack on American soil. But this time it all starts at the FBI training base in Quantico, Virginia. However, it appears viewers won’t be confined to the secretive walls at Quantico. After the aforementioned terror attacks shocks a major US city, FBI investigators immediately point the blame at one of its trainees, hinting at an inside job. Expect plenty of cliffhangers as the agent-in-training seeks to clear her name.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Monday, September 28, 11 p.m., Comedy Central
We do not envy Trevor Noah. The South African-born comedian has big shoes to fill as he takes over as host of Comedy Central’s premiere political satire show, hosted by Jon Stewart for 16 years. After losing Stephen Colbert and now Stewart, Comedy Central is entering a new era, one with many unanswered questions. Noah has some history with the “Daily Show” audience. He first joined the crew as one of Stewart’s many “corespondents.” Prior to coming to the States, Noah hosted his own show in his native country.
Grandfathered – Tuesday, September 29, 8 p.m., FOX
Putting a slight twit on reconnecting irresponsible parents with accidental children, bachelor Jimmy Martino (John Stamos) meets not only his long-lost son (Josh Peck), but also his granddaughter. With a solid cast, there are high hopes for what looks like a cute coming-of-age-at-any-age story.
The Grinder – Tuesday, September 29, 8:30 p.m., FOX
This show is about an actor turned lawyer (Rob Lowe), who justifies his expertise based on his portrayal of a lawyer. Or maybe it’s about his jealous real-life lawyer brother (Fred Savage), because the trailer seems to flip back and forth between the two as main characters. It’s hard to pinpoint who this show is really about. “Grinder” is filled with enough sibling jealousy and stale jokes to issue a warrant for this show’s cancellation.
Code Black – Wednesday, September 30, 10 p.m., CBS
When an ER is understaffed and overcrowded, a “code black” occurs. This is a daily reality for Angels Memorial Hospital in LA, the busiest ER in America. If Code Black doesn’t detract from their interesting premise, intensifying the heart-clenching moment of miracles prayed for and performed, this show may have a shot.
Sleepy Hollow – Thursday, October 1, 9 p.m., FOX
The supernatural drama lost a lot of people both in and out of the show. Season two concluded with several major character deaths, the showrunner quitting, and a minor character not returning for season three. So many casualties leave some head-spinning confusion for the upcoming season’s plot.
The Blacklist – Thursday, October 1, 9 p.m., NBC
Season 2 ended with a whirlwind of a finale, with The Cabal—seriously, The Cabal?—framing Lizzie, err Masha, for the fatal poisoning of Sen. Hawkins, forcing her to escape custody inside the Post Office, her former place of employment. Her escape, with an assist from, Red, of course, also brought her face-to-face with duplicitous US Attorney General Tom Connolly, a particularly heinous member of the war-hungry Cabal. Lizzie shoots the no-good AG, instantly making her one of the most wanted fugitives in the world. Now she has to run for her life—a truly f’d up life. Aside from the whole Most Wanted List problem, the shooting serves another purpose: it awakens dormant memories from her past, like the time she fatally shot her dad. Yikes. Little Lizzie never had a chance. If that’s not enough, we discover that Liz is not Liz, but Masha, the daughter of a Russian agent. We were definitely served a spoonful. Season 3 has plenty to work with.
Dr. Ken – Friday, October 2, 9:30 p.m., ABC
Ken Jeong (“Community,” “The Hangover”) emphasizes his previous career as a doctor by playing an inappropriate physician with a loving but crazy family. Based on his role in “Community,” Ken’s humor can be family-friendly, which ABC will strictly enforce for general audiences. Competition against similar family-oriented sitcoms will make Ken’s reputable act a deciding factor for the continuation of this show.
The Flash – Tuesday, October 6, 8 p.m., CW
The speedy superhero returns with a new suit, characters, and villain. With the help of the original Flash, Jay Garrick (“Teddy Sears,” “Masters of Sex”), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and his flashy outfit combat the evil Zoom, who rivals Flash in every way. The general surge of quality comic book adaptions allows Flash to keep running the distance.
iZombie – Tuesday, October 6, 9 p.m., CW
Surviving the dying zombie trend with a more lighthearted approach, the brainy show returns for a second season. Alongside new characters and a unique concept, the show’s greatest challenge is capturing the attention of adult audiences. With supportive fans, and only “The Walking Dead” to compete with, the show stands a chance and may be worth the watch.
Arrow – Wednesday, October 7, 8 p.m., CW
Season three’s jam-packed finale left viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering what lay ahead for Oliver Queen and his alternate bow-wielding persona. With uncertain futures in the balance, and a new villain possibly on the rise, the series nailed a perfect arrow shot straight to the chest for a lot of passionate fans. Hopefully season four will open with a bang and not drag out the suspense.
Supernatural – Wednesday, October 7, 9 p.m., CW
In season 11, things are going to go from bad to worse for the reunited Winchester brothers now that The Darkness has been released. To satisfy the absence of some late characters, fan favorites are expected to return in surprising ways. After eleven seasons and probably still counting, it’s not too late to binge watch the first nine seasons on Netflix and join the loyal mass following.
The Vampire Diaries – Thursday, October 8, 8 p.m., CW
After some major blows at the end of season six, fans will return to find many characters in states of mourning as well as blooming romances, deadly villains, and divided loyalties. Actor Ian Somerhalder emphasized returning the show to its roots, meaning a stronger focus on the characters over the complicated mythology. Similar to “The Walking Dead,” “Vampire Diaries” cornered a trending market. Entering its seventh season, it’s likely no one will be sucking the life out of this show anytime soon.
The Originals – Thursday, October 8, 9 p.m., CW
If “Vampire Diaries” isn’t enough vampires for you, follow the spinoff centered on the Mikaelson siblings. Season three continues the origin stories of broken families, damaged friendships, destructive curses, and brewing witch wars.
Reign – Friday, October 9, 8 p.m., CW
Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) and the social and political power struggles between devious families returns for a third season with more blood-curdling backstabbing and lustful romance.
The Walking Dead – Sunday, October 11, 9 p.m., AMC
Perhaps one of the most anticipated shows in fall’s schedule, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the group continue their struggle for survival. Though the fleshed-out cast is large and the guts spill less and less, fans return for even the tiniest sprinkles of suspenseful cliffhangers, even if it’s just to see which character will die.
Truth be Told – Friday, October 16, 8:30 p.m., NBC
The director of “How I Met Your Mother” brings a new gang of tight friends, two married couples, and their comical day-to-day lives. It’s similar to “Seinfeld,” being a show about nothing, minus the laughter. Truth be told, this looks bad.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Monday, October 19, 8 p.m., CW
The musical comedy revolves around a single woman’s lonely love life and her decade-long obsession to date/marry her ex-boyfriend from high school. While desire and fixation in 2015 is interesting, portraying anyone so one-dimensional is disappointing and implies that the show doesn’t intend to explore the complex layers of human interaction. No amount of music or laughs will save such a lack of depth.
Supergirl – Monday, October 26, 8:30 p.m., CBS
The iconic hero’s Kryptonian cousin joins the family business in saving a helpless humanity from disasters. Avoiding Superman’s shadow, a female lead is long overdue but cautiously anticipated. Ideally, the showrunners won’t hold back Supergirl’s true potential and let her take flight.
Wicked City – Tuesday, October 27, 10 p.m., ABC
In 1980, on Sunset Strip, Los Angeles was the serial killer capitol of the world. Hiding in the shadows are Kent and Betty, two devious killers turned lovers and modern audiences’ portals to this dark, rock-and-roll-centric era. Saturated with even the tiniest details of the time, the show will shine a light on the frightening dark side of what feels like another world.
Angel From Hell – Thursday, November 5, 9:30 p.m., CBS
Crazy and inappropriate as ever, Jane Lynch is the guardian angel everyone wants. Unfortunately, Maggie Lawson claims her in this cute, uplifting, and comical series about the simple human desire for an occasional helping hand. Depending on the audience’s investment in the characters, and the true hilarity of Lynch, “Angel From Hell” may be a fun show to check out.
Into the Badlands – Sunday, November 15, 10 p.m., AMC
Based loosely on the Chinese tale Journey to the West, enter a unique world ruled by feudal barons. Struggling to survive in a primitive lifestyle, a katana-wielding warrior fights with stylistic over-the-top action, almost comic-like in its execution. It’s original enough to stand out but the setting is odd enough to alienate general viewers.
Chicago Med – Tuesday, November 17, 9 p.m., NBC
This last month, “Chicago Fire’s” spinoff suffered the loss of “Walking Dead’s” Laurie Holden and their showrunner. Offering no signs of life outside a typical medical drama, it’s likely the show will flatline.
The Man in the High Castle – Friday, November 20, Amazon Instant Video
Based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, the show explores a chilling alternate history if the Axis Powers won WWII. The gripping direction season one goes is easily immersive, pulling audiences into a well-realized dystopia, and season two should be expected of no less.
-With Rashed Mian