Fall TV Preview: Highly-Anticipated Returning Shows and Dominant Streaming Television

Photo Courtesy of NBC

This fall, one of the most highly anticipated returning shows is NBC’s “The Good Place,” now in its third season. When we last saw our protagonists, shameless telemarketer Eleanor (Kristen Bell), indecisive moral philosopher Chidi (William Jackson Harper), haughty socialite Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and dopey amateur DJ Jason (Manny Jacinto), they had just been given a second chance at life on Earth by their demon friend Michael (Ted Danson) in a last-ditch effort to save their eternal souls from “The Bad Place.” The last two seasons of the Michael Shur-helmed comedy have been relentlessly inventive and complex, musing on the nature of life, death and morality while remaining genuinely funny. If the three-minute preview released by NBC is any indication, this season should be no different. “The Good Place” returns with a special one-hour premiere on Sept. 27 on NBC at 8 p.m.

Also returning to NBC for its third season is ratings juggernaut “This is Us”. The third season will feature flashbacks of the early courtship to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) as well as follow the present day lives of their three children, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown). “This is Us” will return on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m.

Moving on to series premieres, streaming television is proving to be a major player in the fall TV line up.  One highly anticipated new show is Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” It is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, a darker spinoff of the Archie Comics series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” that spawned the ABC sitcom of the same name. However, the Netflix show has a decidedly different story. The show follows Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), a half-human, half-witch approaching her sixteenth birthday. She struggles between giving herself over to the forces of darkness or pursuing a normal human life with boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch). Accompanying her on her journey are her aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, played by Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto respectively. The series was originally commissioned by the CW as a darker companion show to Riverdale, also based on an Archie Comics series,  but was then picked up by Netflix for a two-season order. “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” premieres Oct. 26 on Netflix.

Also premiering this fall is Amazon Prime’s original series “Homecoming,” directed and produced by “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail, which follows the work of the fictitious Homecoming Agency, a government facility supposedly devoted to preparing soldiers for reintroduction to civilian life. The trailer for the show alludes to a world of suspense, paranoia and shadowy intrigue where nothing can be taken at face value. Julia Roberts takes top billing in her small screen debut, playing the role of a counselor at the facility. “Homecoming” premieres Nov. 2 on Amazon Prime.

Continuing the recent trend of reboots that include “Will and Grace” and the ill-fated “Roseanne” is “Murphy Brown.” The classic newsroom sitcom will return on CBS this fall after 20 years off the air. Most of the original cast will be returning including Candice Bergen, who won five Emmys for her portrayal of sharp, witty news anchor, Murphy Brown. The show, which ran for ten seasons between 1988 and 1998, tackled a wide range of social issues including divorce, breast cancer and single parenthood. A storyline involving the unwed pregnancy of Murphy Brown attracted the ire of former Vice President Dan Quayle who claimed that the show was denigrating the importance of fathers. The reboot will follow Murphy Brown and her colleagues as they come out of retirement after the 2016 election, as well as Murphy Brown’s relationship with her son, who is now her professional rival after accepting a job at a competing news network. Murphy Brown premieres Sept. 27 on CBS at 9:30 p.m.


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