Times are tough in network television, kids. Ideas are hard to come by, and decent scripts even harder. Prestige cable and Netflix are making everybody nervous, and goddammit, Time Warner doesn’t even carry CBS anymore. The scrambling is evident in the sheer number of bad pilots which the networks put up this season. There are shows that think that putting a family in a bunch of matching sweaters is “so 1980s,” and others that think “We Are Men” counts as a witticism about the state of the single father. Le sigh.
But we are not totally without new things to watch. Here, by network, is the lowdown on what I think you will be most pleased to find on your DVR when you come home this fall. Evaluating a show by its pilot is a tricky thing, of course; most shows take a while to rise and bake in the oven, and even the best pilots can spin out of control by episode three. But looking out long-term, this is what seems promising.
Trophy Wife (ABC, September 24)
I don’t generally go in for these women-at-war type network shows, because the notes from the executives usually mean we get a ton of stereotypes and very little red meat for all the production value expended. But this particular show is the partial creation of the internet-beloved Sarah Haskins. Who knows from stereotype. I’ll be interested to see if the show ends up more subtle and funny than this somewhat terrible trailer.