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Don't count out the networks yet this fall season

  • "The premium cable networks and streaming services long ago cornered the market on the top-notch dramas, comedies and miniseries — the Emmy bait," says Hank Stuever. "Snootier viewers (including critics) started to treat prime-time shows like clay pigeons at target practice, but the condescension came with inaccurate insults, the biggest of which is that 'nobody' watches network TV. And that just isn’t true." Of the 50 most-watched shows last season, all but six were on broadcast TV, as ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke has pointed out. "There is a sense, these days, that network programming may yet pull through TV’s platform renaissance, especially if younger audiences keep finding and consuming the content on a streaming platform — even if it’s not called Netflix," says Stuever. "Network execs always spin positive, but lately I like their chances. Maybe it’s because, as far as this fall is concerned, the shows finally seem a little better. Because the networks’ schedules are mostly already filled with returning hits (or semi-hits), I haven’t had to watch any reboots this fall, which seems like a miracle. Except for ABC’s Mixed-ish, I haven’t had to watch more franchise spinoffs. Pilots this season are surprisingly strong and often topical: Robert and Michelle King’s Evil on CBS is a scary rumination on demonology and technology. All Rise, also on CBS, is a taut legal procedural with an eye on racial injustice. Chuck Lorre’s latest comedy for the network, Bob Hearts Abishola, verges on intercultural enlightenment while being tolerably cute; The Unicorn stars Walton Goggins as a widowed father who, as one character says, 'is like catnip' to women in the neighborhood — and the show is not as off-putting or mediocre as it might sound."


    TOPICS: Evil, ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, NBC, All Rise, Bob Hearts Abishola, The Unicorn, Peak TV