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Critics Pick the New Fall Shows They Want to Succeed — IndieWire Survey

From the high-concept "Manifest" to the offbeat dog-starring drama "In the Dark," these shows have critical hopes up.

Natalie Morales and Neil Flynn, "Abby's"

Natalie Morales and Neil Flynn, “Abby’s”

Justin Lubin/NBC


Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: What’s the one new fall or midseason broadcast TV show announced at upfronts that you would like to survive?**

**This is a snap judgment based on anything you like — title, pedigree, star, whether you’ve seen the pilot yet or not.

Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Uproxx

Between “Parks and Rec,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Good Place,” and “The Office” (which he didn’t create, but which not coincidentally took a big creative dip when he and Greg Daniels went off to do “Parks”), Mike Schur is as creatively reliable a name as there is in the comedy business right now. “Abby’s” isn’t one of his creations (it’s from “New Girl” and “Superstore” vet Josh Malmuth), but as we’ve also seen with “Master of None,” Schur has excellent taste in what shows to put his stamp on, and both the premise (a young woman runs an unlicensed bar in her backyard) and cast (headed by Natalie Morales, who may finally have the breakout role she’s deserved for a while) sound right up his, and my, alley.

Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling), TVGuide.com

There is only one show I am truly interested in at the moment: The CW’s midseason series “In the Dark.” I was initially sold by the logline alone – a blind woman tries to solve her friend’s murder with her guide dog Pretzel – but after reading a copy of the script, I feel comfortable in saying that the offbeat series is now my favorite show of the entire 2018-19 season. Sorry to all the other shows! I am sure that (some of) you are probably all right, but I have made my choice and sworn my allegiance already. Do not try and change my mind.

Honestly, part of the reason I like this show so much already is because it seems to be the kind of out-of-the-box series The CW really needs right now. The network is too bogged down in costumed superheroes, reboots, and whatever the hell “Riverdale” is these days. Now that next season marks the end for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Jane the Virgin” and “iZombie,” The CW could really use something unique and fun to once again set it apart from the rest of TV. Plus, have you SEEN the dog who will play Pretzel? I rest my case.

Daniel Ezra, "All American"

Daniel Ezra, “All American”

The CW

Allison Keene (@KeeneTV), Collider

I was pretty charmed by The CW’s “All American,” because if it’s done well it could be a worthy successor to “Friday Night Lights” and even “The O.C.” Having its protagonist caught between two worlds both financially and racially is also a really potent dynamic, and the core cast seems likable. Basically, I didn’t cringe while watching the trailer, which is about all I can ask for.

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

I would like The CW’s Blind Sex Addict Solving Murders With The Help Of Her Dog dramedy “In the Dark” to survive, because the poster and trailer are among the worst I’ve ever seen and if it survives, that means it’s actually a real show and if it’s actually a real show? We’ve lost all control of the TV universe and anarchy has been unleashed across all our screeners. and more seriously, Alternatively, “All American,” basically “The O.C.” only with football instead of cage-fighting, looks like my jam. If it survives and continues on the “O.C.” path, we’ll get to see the “All American” version of Rooney and there’s nothing I want more in the world!

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, "Whiskey Cavalier"

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, “Whiskey Cavalier”


Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman), Give Me My Remote

My hopes are highest for NBC’s “Manifest,” but every ambitious drama could swing to incredible or awful REALLY fast; I’m trying to stay cautiously optimistic. That being said, I am allll in on ABC’s “Whiskey Cavalier.” Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan as a bantering duo who need to save the world/probably each other? This is extremely right up my alley, and I will be watching every single episode of the show. Sometimes it’s really hard to imagine what a Season 2 (or even an Episode 2) of a show will be like, but “Whiskey Cavalier” seems to have a wide open field. Bring it on.

Read More:New Fall 2018 TV Trailers, Ranked From Worst to Best

Tim Surette (@timsurette), TV.com

Is this a trick question? Is there supposed to be a new show we’re going to like? Broadcast television is always more risk-averse than cable, but the upcoming broadcast TV season is coming out in one of those bear-armor suits inside of a Bubble Boy ball. The revivals that don’t need to be revived, the “This Is Us” clones, the lifeless multi-cam comedies… this is one of the most dreadful seasons for new shows in a long time and will soften up the dirt as broadcast continues to dig its own grave. Hard pass on all of them. Except maybe that CW show with the dog who helps solve crimes.

MANIFEST -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, Jack Messina as Cal Stone -- (Photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/NBC/Warner Brothers)


Craig Blankenhort/NBC/Warner Brothers

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

You know what would make me happy? “Manifest” actually turning out to be good. I’m always a bit of a sucker for high-concept broadcast dramas trying to capture that “Lost” magic, and presuming that the show has learned from the past-decade-plus of failed attempts to do so, it’d be fun to have a new knotty supernatural mystery to get hooked on. That said, this is based only on watching the extended upfronts trailer. I wouldn’t be surprised if after watching the pilot, I feel quite differently. But at this moment, I’m optimistic!

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

Okay. My age is showing here but I really, really, really want FOX’s upcoming “The Cool Kids” to take off a la “The Golden Girls.” This has such an outstanding comedic pedigree, holy cow. The “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” crew and a slew of comedy greats. This series is set in a retirement community and the stars, Martin Mull, David Alan Grier, Leslie Jordan, are an all-boys club invaded by Vicki Lawrence’s character.

The multi-cam sitcom trailers and clips remind me of the shows I loved on Broadcast TV when I was young. Add the pedigree of the talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera, it should be TV comedy Yahtzee. Add to my hopes and dreams is the fact that I adore writer Charlie Day’s work, it augers well for all of this.

The too-true premise of older adults finding themselves in an organization or a group rife with cliques is a real struggle that never goes away, y’all. You would think high school politics and clique jockeying would end… but it never does. I am hoping this show takes off and has the TV legs it deserves.

"The Cool Kids"

“The Cool Kids”


Diane Gordon (@thesurfreport), Freelance

“Abby’s,” the NBC midseason comedy from Mike Schur (“The Good Place”) and Josh Malmuth (“Superstore”) because it’s got a “Cheers” vibe and I love the fact that they’re shooting it on an outdoor set dressed to look like a backyard bar. The cast is also strong with Natalie Morales and Neil Flynn heading up the ensemble. NBC is on a solid comedy run with the very strong “A.P. Bio,” “Superstore,” “The Good Place,” “Will and Grace” and the wise decision on their part to rescue “Brooklyn 99.” NBC is echoing the days of Must See TV with their comedy stable, and I’m here for it!

Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook), TV Guide Magazine

Well, I was gonna say “Murphy Brown” but then they introduced the social-media character who referred to the original cast as “olds” and I immediately realized that I now hate anything that still thinks millennials-versus-adults is funny. I will still watch, though, if only to see Grant Shaud remind everyone why he’s a national treasure. And to spare you a full rundown of every option possible (which I am sure has already happened at least once in this column), I will just admit that I am garbage and disturbingly into ABC’s “Grand Hotel.” Basically a Latinx mashup of “Dynasty,” “Hotel” and The CW’s briefly interesting “South Beach,” this looks like glossy trashy fun, and Demian Bichir is so Zaddy as the mogul with the messed up family. So yeah, I am totally gonna get a room for this one.

"Grand Hotel"

“Grand Hotel”


Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

I wish to see no fall shows survive. I’m sure some of them will be good. Some of them might even be great. But my response at the end of upfronts week is the same every year: maybe it’s time to give this television thing a rest. I’ll be in my cave, and I’ll see you all in September.

Joyce Eng (@joyceeng61), GoldDerby

As a grammar nut, I cannot support “Magnum P.I.” after it eliminated the comma from its title (and the ‘stache). Points to “Roswell, New Mexico” for remembering the punctuation mark, but I also am not a fan of reboots and revivals, so I don’t need either of these shows in my life. And as much as I love Pretzel as a dog’s name, I probably won’t be watching “In the Dark.” So I will back “Schooled,” the ’90s spin-off of “The Goldbergs.” As one of the few who loved “The Goldbergs” from the start while most people were grumbling about how loud everyone is, I never thought we’d get to the point where it was successful enough to have a spin-off. And well, we almost didn’t get it since ABC passed on it last year. It’s taken such an circuitous, atypical route to get here — and will be different from the original concept — so I hope good things for it. Plus, as someone who grew up in the ’90s, I am ready for all of the childhood nostalgia it can throw at me.




Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

Is choosing “Cosmos” a cheat? If so, I’m hoping “The Neighborhood” survives, if only to maintain Max Greenfield’s consistent presence on television, and it would be nice if “Abby’s” and “Single Parents” lived up to their pedigrees (Mike Schur and Leighton Meester, respectively). Otherwise, I’m very much in the “wait and see” camp.

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Killing Eve” and “The Americans” (five votes each)

Other contenders: “The 100,” the Royal Wedding, “The Terror”

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

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