Welcome to the 2017 Fall Season
Our guide to the new grownup shows on network TV
by Susan Wloszczyna, AARP, July 28, 2017
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PHOTO BY: Illustration by Paul Spella; Images Courtesy
What to Watch
Get ready for network prime time 2017 with our guide to the new series. The schedule is full of familiar faces, riveting revivals and fresh formats, all with
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PHOTO BY: Simon Mein/NBC
The first of a trio of new military-minded dramas
putsAnne Heche in charge. She’s the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and oversees an elite crew of operatives backed by spy technology to pull off rescue missions around the world.
Why you should watch: Heche, an intriguing performer both on TV (Men in Trees) and film (Wag the Dog; Six Days, Seven Nights), anchors a network show for the first time since the short-lived sitcom Save Me in 2013.
Premiere: Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC
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PHOTO BY: Neil Jacobs/CBS
Me, Myself & I
A high-concept comedy that centers on Alex Riley, an aspiring inventor who is depicted at three stages of his life: as an upbeat 14-year-old in 1991 (Jack Dylan Grazer); a 40-year-old sad sack in current day (Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night Live); and a wistful 65-year-old in 2045 (John Larroquette of Night Court).
Why you should watch: It’s a rare sitcom that has both heart and humor. Besides the welcome presence of 69-year-old Larroquette, Sharon Lawrence of NYPD Blue fame — still a stunner at 56 — stars as a widowed diner owner who was his youthful crush.
Premiere: Sept. 25 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS
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PHOTO BY: Justin Lubin/NBC
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
This eight-part anthology
spinoffof the long-running crime series starts with the harrowing story behind the nationally televised trial of Lyle (Miles Gaston Villanueva) and Erik Menendez (Gus Halper). After a mistrial and two deadlocked juries, the brothers were eventually convicted of the grisly 1989 murders of their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1994.
Why you should watch: All eyes will be on Erik Menendez’s crafty attorney Leslie Abramson — played by 54-year-old four-time Emmy winner Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), who sports a curly blond hairdo that rivals Marcia Clark’s perm during the O.J. Simpson trial.
Premiere: Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC
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PHOTO BY: Skip Bolen/CBS
David Boreanaz (Bones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) stars as Jason Hayes, leader of a super squad of Navy SEALs who is haunted by a tragic loss as he and his team take on dangerous assignments across the globe. Also aboard is Jessica Pare — Megan Draper on Mad Men — as a CIA analyst who helps pull off their missions.
Why you should watch: As he regularly proved during his 12-season run as FBI Special Agent Seely Booth on Bones, Boreanaz can exude authority and strength without breaking a sweat while appealing to both male and female viewers.
Premiere: Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS
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PHOTO BY: Chris Haston/NBC
Will & Grace
The four key players behind the Big Apple-based sitcom that left the air in 2006 — roomies Debra Messing and Eric McCormack and pals Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes — will pick up 11 years later for 12 more episodes, including a Christmas-themed show. This 1998 groundbreaker, first airing when gay main characters were a rarity, won 16 Emmys.
Why you should watch: Besides the comedic chemistry of its ensemble, there has been much speculation about how the show’s creators will deal with the original show's finale, which had Will and Grace reuniting 20 years after a bad split as their college-age kids are about to marry each other.
Premiere: Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC
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PHOTO BY: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Ten Days in the Valley
Kyra Sedgwick’s Jane Sadler is a TV producer of a controversial crime series and a single mom in the midst of a separation when her daughter is abducted. For the next 10 days, she tries to solve the mystery — with a number of her acquaintances among the likely suspects.
Why you should watch: Some are calling this one of the best dramas of the season. Fans of 51-year-old Sedgwick’s The
Closer won’twant to miss her. Other familiar faces in the cast include Erika Christensen (Parenthood) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show).
Premiere: Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC
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PHOTO BY: Marl Hill/CW
Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow) stars as Army Capt. Leland Gallo, a veteran hotshot helicopter pilot, and Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom) as Officer Nora Mandani, a gung-ho junior flier. All goes awry when they engage in a cover-up when a member of their Night Raiders special ops unit is left behind in Somalia.
Why you should watch: While The Brave and SEAL Team play it rather straight, Valor allows room for more soap-operatic plotlines (read: steamy sex and intrigue), as befits the CW’s rep.
Premiere: Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on the CW
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PHOTO BY: Jace Downs/CW
Those who never missed an episode of the '80s original during its nine seasons are bound to be intrigued by this 21st-century update. But this is a modern update: The setting is Atlanta, not Denver. Krystle Carrington is now a Latina named Cristal Flores. The Colbys are African American. And femme fatale Sammy Jo is now Cristal’s gay nephew Sam Josiah. But money still can’t buy happiness.
you shouldwatch: Can a show that defined the glitz and glamourof the Reagan years make it in the gilded age of Trump? Probably. Watching the rich cheat, scheme and make one another miserable never goes out of style. And it will be interesting to see how Melrose Place’s Grant Show, now a distinguished 55, handles the role of Blake Carrington.
Premiere: Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. ET on the CW
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PHOTO BY: Cliff Lipson/CBS
Executive producer and star Mark Feuerstein’s own life is the basis for this multigenerational sitcom about Josh Roberts, a just-divorced and out-of-work actor who moves into a New York City apartment that is sandwiched between his parents and his brother and sister-in-law’s units.
Why you should watch: As Josh’s parents, Linda Lavin, 79 (Alice), and Elliott Gould, 78 (Ray Donovan), are fully capable of swiping the occasional scene away from younger cast mates.
Premiere: Oct. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS
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PHOTO BY: Michael Yarish/CBS
Based on the '70s series and 2003 film, this revival features Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Lt. Daniel “Hondo” Harrison, who is in charge of a SWAT team in the L.A. neighborhood where he grew up. He struggles to balance his allegiance to his roots and his colleagues in blue.
Why you should watch: Not only does the show retain the original’s memorable theme song, it injects contemporary relevance to the mix by reflecting the ongoing tensions and breakouts of violence between urban communities and those who are tasked to serve and protect them.
Premiere: Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS