Fall 2013-2014 Television Full Schedule With What To Watch Analysis

This year, the fall television schedule is a decidedly crazy beast. I know, that doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that separates any year from any other, but television is in the midst of dizzying spins of theory, and comparisons to previous years show some serious changes.

Most striking is probably the extent to which the big networks are content to leave each other alone. Also noticeable is the unspoken admission that perhaps DVRs exist, and the schedule doesn’t really need to worry quite as much about who is watching what at the exact moment it airs. We’re still pretending to a degree, but there are hints.

At the moment, you’ve only got a quick look, but we will be constantly updating this page as any changes occur, and as the new shows are available for review (sure, we’ve seen them, but we aren’t supposed to “review” them… shhhhh), we will update with links to reviews and deeper info. Thus, a good page to bookmark.

Check out what’s headed your way, and let us know what new shows are already on your radar.

Fall Television Schedule

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MONDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Dancing with the Stars Castle
CBS How I Met Your Mother We Are Men New 2 Broke Girls Mom New Hostages New
The CW Hart of Dixie Beauty and the Beast Local Programming
FOX Bones Sleepy Hollow New Local Programming
NBC The Voice The Blacklist New
Almost Human replaces Bones in the late fall. Intelligence replaces Hostages at midseason.

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THE BLACKLIST - fall television
Photo by: David Giesbrecht/NBC

The beautiful thing about Monday is that is that everyone is content to let you know right where you stand, and we aren’t “really” directly competing… at least, not until 10:00.

This is an evening that starts out with no need for direction at all. If you’re watching The Voice, you don’t need any input on whether or not We Are Men is a good show. If you’re a comedy fan, there’s no sell that’s getting you over to Dancing with the Stars. FOX makes a good move here with Bones, which has been on about three seasons too long, but still has a good-sized and loyal fanbase, and none of them are too interested in the other options.

We Are Men looks solid and with Tony Shalhoub, Kal Penn, and Jerry O’Connell, it has a lot to draw viewers in. It’s a bit of a crazy theme (that could go wrong) about dating, divorce, and “being men,” but it’s probably in safe hands, and this is the perfect theory of having a lead-in show time slot, because what are your options really? Switch over to the last half of Hart of Dixie? Of course, that’s pre-DVR scheduling mentality that means almost nothing anymore, but still, it looks like it’s going to be a winner.

At 9:00 things aren’t a lot different. Sleepy Hollow actually looks better than you expect, but it’s going to have to play up its main character quite a bit, and there’s a fine line it has to walk there. The “man from the past” could get too cutesy, and these shows that blend fantasy (ala Grimm, as an example that has worked out decently) are pretty hit or miss.

New show Mom has the pedigree, and Anna Faris, but it may have too much going on to really take off. On the other hand, it has the spot and does look pretty funny. There’s nowhere to go, especially if you’re now on your fourth comedy in a row.

10:00 is where the action is, and where there’s a real decision to be made. Castle is still going pretty strong, though it’s actually outlived its usefulness. It has its fans, but the show is running out of ideas, and a show that I once championed strongly is now just helping prove the point that sometimes you should just quite while you’re ahead.

If you aren’t a die-hard Castle fan, then you’ve got The Blacklist vs. Hostages. A very brief look makes this seem like a tough call, but if you dig into the shows just a little, you’ll realize that this is a no-brainer, whichever way you end up going. The Blacklist is, by all appearances at this stage, one of the season’s best chances to break out into a major player. Always looking for a new spin, we have the most wanted man in America turning himself in so that he can help take down other criminals.

Hostages, on the other hand, despite some star power in Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott is one of the worst shows, just based on the extended preview at this point, I’ve seen since Scandal. Of course, Scandal is doing quite well, so maybe you know where you are based on that statement. It’s one episode of just about every drama in the last twenty years turned into a series, and it plays it so serious that it seems to believe you’ve never run into this plotline before.

When we get to the mid-season replacements, people may really prick up their ears… or receivers, or whatever. Almost Human and Intelligence will both have to do a lot of screwing things up to not have winners with their interesting hooks and crowd-drawing stars. Almost Human has Karl Urban as a future cop who gets paired with a very human-appearing “robot” partner, and Intelligence has LOST‘s Josh Holloway as a secret weapon with a superchip attached to his brain. Both look to have real potential, and both are far better than what they’ll be replacing.

 

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TUESDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. New The Goldbergs New Trophy Wife New Lucky 7 New
CBS NCIS NCIS Los Angeles Person of Interest
The CW The Originals New Supernatural Local Programming
FOX Dads New Brooklyn Nine-Nine New New Girl The Mindy Project Local Programming
NBC The Biggest Loser The Voice (Results Show) Chicago Fire
The Voice moves to 8/7c at midseason and is replaced by About a Boy and The Family Guide at 9.

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MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC/Bob D’Amico

A new television season is obviously one giant clash of old vs. new, but nowhere is that as tangible as Tuesdays this fall. There is still a bit of that “leave each other alone” mentality spilling over from Monday, and that makes sense given the fact that Tuesdays haven’t had a solid feel to them for years. It’s reality vs. drama vs. comedy vs. comic-book, so you probably aren’t facing a difficult decision here, but as we enter a new season, it may be old vs. new that comes into play when we’re trying to make sense of the rating numbers that come down.

NCIS vs. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could hardly be more old vs. new, and the question mark on the night is whether or not people (or some segment of them) have had enough NCIS and/or The Biggest Loser. There’s a certain “pulse” to television viewing, and as we saw with the massive rating decline of American Idol this year, it may be that people have had enough of the things that have been kicking around for a decade or more. The two-hour block of NCIS is still going to have its superfans, but will those teetering on the edge jump ship, and do they really have somewhere to go? (Again, for the sake of argument, play along with the pre-DVR thought process)

S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to come out pretty big, that’s just obvious, but is it solid enough to keep people around? It actually looks like it might be, and it has the right names involved to not only create tons of buzz, but keep that buzz alive. The Originals has its demographic (people who watch the CW) wrapped up, but is a dangerous sort of game when it comes to attracting anyone.

Then there’s FOX‘ comedy effort, which is problematic throughout the two-hour window. Dads looks like it could be great, and has a mix of talent that could really win over a wide audience. It appears to be written well, and plays to the strengths of the actors involved, which ought to spell success. With no direct comedy competition, it’s one that should be safe long enough to get past its shtick and settle into something that becomes a favorite.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks like it might end up on the “Andre Braugher can’t catch a break pile.” Andy Samberg will pull in some viewers, but cop comedies are tricky, even when everything clicks, and this one looks pretty stupid. In a different time, the show might be safe for a while, because where are the Dads viewers going to go at 8:30? But, this isn’t that world. They don’t have to go anywhere, they’re just going to go.

9:00 is a curious black hole largely created by ABC‘s “throw everything and anything at the wall” mentality. Where a lot of cable networks are becoming famous for setting the trend of renewing shows after one or two episodes, ABC is becoming known as the network that may well cancel a show during the pilot. That, and the idea that they will just keep bombarding you with new shows, until some freak alignment gets us just past the X number, and we can hold onto it for a while. The combination makes it hard to believe they actually like any of their own shows, and certainly doesn’t get viewers interested in investing their time in something they might like, when it’s probably going to be gone next week. This leads us to things like The Neighbors, which returns on Friday night. (If you like The Neighbors, stop reading now. You’re all set.)

All of this leads to our first real competition. Comedy vs. comedy. Outside of that, it’s The Voice, more NCIS, and Supernatural, and once again, you know where you are there. The battle is between two shows that aren’t particularly hits, and two new comedies that aren’t going to be. I’ve always liked New Girl, though it hasn’t really broken out into the massive vehicle I thought it might, and The Mindy Project is moderately entertaining, managing to sit on the bubble for quite a while before being renewed.

I have no hopes for The Goldbergs at all, though I’ve been surprised before. I can’t even figure out the sell to the show. Trophy Wife has too much and not enough, and has all the makings of something we can add to the “Bradley Whitford can’t catch a break” pile. I have a certain hope that the show will do well, because I’m a fan of several members of the cast, including Malin Akerman, who I wish would get more shots at better things, but the show (also starring Marcia Gay Harden) is a lot to take. With kids and wives coming at you from every direction, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of effort devoted to making sure people care, and the focus is instead on building a set-up that leaves no second unfilled.

At 10:00, there’s a bit of a battle, but one that doesn’t leave a lot for the newcomer. Person of Interest, a show I loved at the beginning, and love to hate now, will go down in the television annals as the only show to, curiously, purposely jump the shark, come very close to saving itself, and then jump it again. Still, people dig the show, and it will continue to do well for at least half the season. Chicago Fire is doing well, and will keep chugging along. Lucky 7 has almost nothing going for it beyond its ability to say that it is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. A “Hey look, the poor slobs won the lottery,” effort that has been done scores of times in film now comes to the small screen. Everyone has their set of problems, and winning the lottery comes with a lot of highs and lows, and if anyone cares at all, I’ll really be surprised.

 

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WEDNESDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC The Middle   Back in the   Game New Modern Family Super Fun Night New Nashville
CBS Survivor Criminal Minds CSI
The CW Arrow The Tomorrow People New Local Programming
FOX The X Factor Local Programming
NBC Revolution Law & Order: SVU Ironside New
American Idol replaces The X Factor at midseason.

[divider]

BACK IN THE GAME
ABC/Randy Holmes

Wednesday will be slightly tricky for some, and gives us our first reality and drama battles. Still, most people probably know what they’re after here. Hopefully, you’re noticing a trend.

NBC figures it has a nice spot for Revolution, though this is a show that is so ludicrous and just plain awful that it probably doesn’t matter what time slot it takes up. If you’re watching this level of nonsense, you’ll pick it over anything.

The X Factor and Survivor are the reality battle, but they are distinct enough that people are solidly in one camp or the other. On the other hand, with new, and questionable, judges (and an old, questionable judge), coupled with American Idol‘s massive ratings drop, The X Factor could be in trouble.

Meanwhile, ABC is hoping that comedy can prevail, and they’re sticking with the time-honored method of leading in from the popular. You’d almost like to see them put The Middle and Modern Family together, and risk the full hour tune out, just to show that they really believe in the new offerings, but that’s a certain kind of suicide you aren’t likely to get.

Back in the Game looks pretty good, and has James Caan and Psych fans on board from the start. Of all the new comedies out there, this one may have a chance just based on the idea that you figure Caan might be able to pull off anything. Super Fun Night is a different ball game though, and may be one that suffers from too much reliance on its star to pull it out. Rebel Wilson may be all the rage right now, but the show doesn’t seem to offer much beyond the ability to say that she’s in it. Of course, this is the early stages, and maybe things will be different come fall, but I wonder if this one can keep viewers. It’s likely to be one of those true tricks of the ratings game, because the pilot episode is going to do pretty well, but that is no indication of whether or not viewers will return.

The rest of 9:00 pits old police drama against old police drama, and the idea that either show can still hang onto viewers is hard to get behind. The continued existence of these offerings seems reminiscent of the days when “I can’t find the remote,” could get you a decent rating.

10:00 is another slot that isn’t trying that hard to pull anyone anywhere. Ironside looks pretty good, though it may well get lost in its own effort to throw a lot of drama at things. One of the best things about the original show was that we didn’t have to wallow in the fact that there was a wheelchair on set every five minutes, but that doesn’t seem in line with current trends. The most current and trendy way to watch shows like these is on a smart TV, you can even check your Facebook messages at the same time whilst watch, all from one screen!!!

 

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THURSDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Once Upon a Time in Wonderland New Grey’s Anatomy Scandal
CBS The Big Bang Theory The Millers New The Crazy Ones New Two and a Half Men Elementary
The CW The Vampire Diaries Reign New Local Programming
FOX The X Factor (Results Show) Glee Local Programming
NBC Parks and Recreation Welcome to the Family New Sean Saves the World New The Michael J. Fox Show New Parenthood
American Idol replaces The X Factor and Rake replaces Glee at midseason.

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michael-j-fox-show

Thursday is where we enter Crazy Town. The week so far has been its own strange game of trying to seem aloof, but everyone wants Thursday. 8:00 is particularly wild just based on the fact that ABC threw in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which doesn’t seem to be here for any real reason. If you’re just absolutely opposed to comedy, aren’t part of The CW‘s demographic, and hate The X Factor, well then you can watch a spin-off about a fantasy world… good luck with that.

Don’t get me wrong, it actually looks pretty good, and might be one of those amazingly rare shows that surpasses its parent, but the time slot feels strange.

The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation square off, and try to buoy new shows for their respective networks. The Millers has Will Arnett in yet another attempt at a sitcom, this time focusing on his parents and how his own divorce inspired theirs. Though it looks to have some moments, this one is just about as rough as his last two or three tries, giving us yet another fall “can’t catch a break,” moment. NBC‘s Welcome to the Family, if you have to make a snap judgment, looks even worse, and despite the clash of families, cutesy potential, doesn’t look like it will last more than a few episodes.

Moving into 9:00 gives us the Shonda Rhimes variety night spectacular, and if you’ll be watching those two shows, you don’t really need reviews. The rest of the battle rages on though, and another hour of comedy is up for grabs, along with possibly the coolest thing The CW has ever put out (fans of Arrow will disagree… that’s pretty cool too). A period piece on Mary Queen of Scots could turn The CW into a more legitimate, over-20 network, and open the doors to a new theory of programming. Of course, it could be ridiculous, but it actually looks pretty good.

Glee has seriously overstayed its welcome, and though once a truly great show, its just milking things now, and has been for at least two seasons.

The comedy battle is among almost all new shows, with Two and a Half Men oddly not leading for a newcomer.

This is an hour that is going to be tough. Hurray, DVR! The Crazy Ones brings Robin Williams back to television, and people are going to watch that. It looks solid, and you don’t want to be against Williams being able to deliver comedy. He’s up against Sean Saves the World, which stars Sean P. Hayes and (of all people) Linda Lavin, and there’s some pretty serious appeal here as well. The show looks fun, and almost harkens back to a style and sensibility that made Will & Grace as popular as it was. It could easily do well, and the whole “Dad suddenly thrown into the father role despite being gay,” shtick is something that can draw in audiences.

But, these lead into the battle of Two and a Half Men vs. The Michael J. Fox Show. That’s a TV showdown for the ages… well, maybe if it were Two and Half Men from a few years ago. Still, the show has plenty of fans still, and Michael J. Fox is Michael J. Fox. Plus, he’s got a self-reflective show about a guy leaving television because of Parkinson’s who returns to television after a few years off that looks pretty good.

At 10:00 everyone gives up. That’s enough fighting for one night, and it’s Scandal vs. Elementary vs. Parenthood, and everyone can rest easy with their no-brainer decision. As a side note, I really love that Scandal is on opposite Elementary. That’s just hilarious.

 

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FRIDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Last Man Standing The Neighbors Shark Tank 20/20
CBS Undercover Boss Hawaii Five-0 Blue Bloods
The CW The Carrie Diaries America’s Next Top Model Local Programming
FOX Junior Masterchef New Sleepy Hollow (Encores) Local Programming
NBC Dateline NBC Grimm Dracula New
Crossbones replaces Dracula at midseason. Bones replaces Junior Masterchef and Raising Hope and Enlisted replace Sleepy Hollow in late fall.

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Dracula

Friday is generally considered a wasteland, trumped only by Saturday, but there is a serious effort to change that in the works. Last Man Standing did pretty well last season, only to now find itself paired with the curiosity The Neighbors. It’s hard to hold out much hope for either of them now, but that’s based on the idea that The Neighbors is just about the dumbest show I’ve ever watched, which doesn’t seem to be hurting it much.

Undercover Boss is still holding on, and you have to like that it is… most of the time. We may be running out of willing participants that are interesting enough to get viewers tuning in, but the show seems to have a loyal enough following. The Carrie Diaries is doing well enough, and Junior Masterchef is just cute enough to get some viewers. All in all, this isn’t exactly a grudge match.

9:00 puts a spin on things though, and the most notable surprise is that Hawaii Five-0 has been sent to the “last chance before we pull you” pile. Shark Tank has been doing well here, and is one of the best things Friday has seen in a while. Grimm is holding on, and has the viewers to make it worthwhile, but now we’ve got a fight going on during a night that can’t get any viewers in the first place. America’s Next Top Model is still on, and I suspect mostly to see how many people we can get to say, “That’s still on?”

10:00 on Friday has Blue Bloods vs. Dracula, and that isn’t much of a fight. Blue Bloods is just barely hanging on, and Dracula is just crazy enough to get some Friday viewers, but nothing exactly screams that you need to adjust your normal Friday plans. This is a time slot dedicated to the old people who aren’t going out, and sticking Dracula here is a move that screams an admission of DVRs, or a network that accidentally bought a show and has to put it somewhere.

 

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SATURDAY 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC Saturday Night College Football
CBS Comedytime Saturday Crimetime Saturday 48 Hours
The CW Local Programming
FOX Fox Sports Saturday
NBC Repeats

[divider]

Saturday night is… Hey, look at that, nothing is on.

 

[divider]

SUNDAY 7:00pm 7:30pm 8:00pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:30pm 10:00pm 10:30pm
ABC America’s Funniest Home Videos Once Upon a Time Revenge Betrayal New
CBS 60 Minutes The Amazing Race The Good Wife The Mentalist
The CW Local Porgramming
FOX NFL on Fox The OT The Simpsons Bob’s Burgers Family Guy American Dad! Local Programming
NBC Football Night in America Sunday Night Football
American Dream Builders, Believe and Crisis replace Sunday Night Football at midseason.

[divider]

Sunday really has very little on offer in terms of upsetting the status quo. Wherever Sunday has found you in recent years, that’s right where you’ll be now. It’s actually a rare night for a fall schedule, because you almost never run into so few changes. That has its positive and negative notes. Some fans of The Mentalist, for instance, may be feeling the age, and suspect that the show continues on for lack of a replacement.

The only newcomer is ABC‘s Betrayal, and it looks to be exactly as good as ABC Sunday at 10:00 leads one to believe. Which is to say, it isn’t in the Shonda Rhimes block, but we are really huge fans.

 

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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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