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The Broadcast Comedies and Dramas Most Worth Your Time This Year

The broadcast schedule is lighter than usual, but there are still some strong debuts and returns on the horizon.
  • Clockwise: Ghosts, Extended Family, Not Dead Yet, Wild Cards (Photos: CBS/NBC/ABC/The CW)
    Clockwise: Ghosts, Extended Family, Not Dead Yet, Wild Cards (Photos: CBS/NBC/ABC/The CW)

    To say the writers’ and actors’ strikes changed the landscape of television for the foreseeable future would be an understatement. After both strikes forced many to postpone or tweak their original lineups and schedules, it was the broadcast networks who were perhaps most affected heading into 2024.

    With shortened episodic runs for most returning favorites, a slew of high-profile cancellations (and final season announcements) and a lack of new comedies and dramas to promote, the new year is kicking off with a shortage of upcoming series. The majority of greenlit series on the major networks were pushed to the 2024-2025 TV season as a result of the strikes. Viewers will have to wait even longer to catch the debuts of new shows like NBC’s workplace comedy St. Denis Medical (with Wendi McLendon-Covey), Fox’s medical drama Doc (with Molly Parker) and CBS’s father-son comedy (with Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr).

    Keeping that in mind, here are 10 network comedies and dramas — both returning and new — worth revisiting or checking out for the first time.


    Extended Family (NBC)

    Premiered December 23, new episodes every Tuesday at 8:30 P.M. ET/PT

    Jon Cryer returns to star in a network sitcom for the first time since Two and a Half Men. In Extended Family, he plays a recent divorcee, Jim, who agrees to live in the family home with his ex-wife, Julia (Abigail Spencer), to raise their kids. The laughs are amplified when Julia’s fiance, Trey (Donald Faison), enters the picture and the trio form an unconventional modern family. A situational comedy with a premise like this isn’t seen often on broadcast TV; it being loosely inspired by the relationship between real-life Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, his wife, and her ex-husband makes it all the more relevant.

    Not Dead Yet (ABC)

    Premieres February 7 at 8:30 P.M. ET/PT

    If any underrated comedy from last year deserved more attention, it was Not Dead Yet. Back for Season 2, the delightfully poignant half-hour series, which revolves around obituary writer Nell (Gina Rodriguez), who gains the ability to interact with the ghosts of those she writes about, aims to continue its humorous take on the afterlife. It’s unclear what the new season will present Nell with, but considering how the last one ended — Nell cutting ties with her ex-fiance and uncertain if her abilities will reappear — it leaves a lot of room for a new creative beginning.

    Abbott Elementary (ABC)

    Premieres February 7 at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT

    No series is on as big of a high as Abbott Elementary. The critically revered workplace comedy rewrote the record books at the 75th Emmys when Quinta Brunson became the first Black actress in over four decades to win for lead comedy actress. And Season 3 is about as anticipated as any season of TV, with the romantic cliffhanger between Janine (Brunson) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams) at the top of everyone’s minds. Plus, who wouldn’t want a weekly serotonin boost from the Abbott Elementary crew?

    Young Sheldon (CBS)

    Premieres February 15 at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT

    In an already atypical television season due to the aftermath of the dual Hollywood strikes, the Big Bang Theory prequel is one of several network-defining shows ending their runs in 2024. The seventh and final season of Young Sheldon will already be a shorter one — 14 episodes instead of the usual 22 — which could lead to a tighter, more streamlined narrative arc as audiences prepare to say goodbye to this chapter of Sheldon Cooper’s (Iain Armitage) life.

    Ghosts (CBS)

    Premieres February 15 at 8:30 P.M. ET/PT

    There’s quite a lot to look forward to when Ghosts kicks back up for Season 3, most notably answers to the surprising finale cliffhanger that is sure to have lasting ramifications: Which one of the ghosts got “sucked off” into the afterlife? While that will remain a mystery until the new season begins, there are plenty of other shenanigans for Sam (Rose McIver), Jay (Utkarsh Ambadkar) and the rest of the ghosts to focus on, like if and when Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) and Trevor’s (Asher Grodman) secret affair will be outed (again).


    Wild Cards (The CW)

    Premiered January 17, new episodes every Wednesday at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT

    As The CW enters a new era after closing the book on DC superheroes and teen-filled angst, the light-hearted Wild Cards seems to be representative of its next chapter. Similar in tone to shows like Castle and White Collar, the hour-long Canadian drama follows a recently demoted detective (Grey’s Anatomy’s Giacomo Gianniotti) and a con woman (Riverdale’s Vanessa Morgan) who are forced to partner up to solve crimes in order to redeem themselves. There’s actually nothing novel about Wild Cards, but there’s something alluring and comforting about watching two good-looking characters who are polar opposites stumble through the awkwardness of working together.

    Tracker (CBS)

    Premieres February 11 after the Super Bowl

    Justin Hartley graduates from the teary family dramatics of This Is Us to the lone-wolf action of Tracker, CBS’s high-profile drama series debuting after Super Bowl LVIII. Based on Jeffery Deaver’s novel, The Never Game, Hartley steps into the shoes of Colter Shaw, a survivalist who’s skilled at tracking people and uses his expertise to help others solve all sorts of mysteries. As good as Colter is at his job, there’s bound to be underlying trauma driving him. Securing the post-Big Game time slot is the highest honor any TV show — let alone a new one — can receive; expectations will be high for the Eye Network to have a return on its investment.

    Elsbeth (CBS)

    Premieres February 29 at 10 p.m. PT/ET

    When Carrie Preston was first introduced as quirky attorney Elsbeth Tascioni in Season 1 of The Good Wife in 2010, it probably didn’t dawn on her that she’d be back leading her own spin-off almost 15 years later. That speaks volumes to the positive impact her character immediately made on viewers, so much so that she regularly appeared on The Good Fight as well. In Elsbeth, she’s no longer practicing law in the Windy City, instead taking her intuitive deduction skills to investigative field work with the NYPD, where she collaborates closely with Captain C.W. Wagner (Wendell Pierce).

    High Potential (ABC)

    Coming 2024

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson leads the upcoming drama, one of the few network series greenlit for the year so far, which is based on the popular French detective series, H.I.P. (High Intellectual Potential). The series will most likely put Olson in a new light, as she portrays Morgan, a single mother with three kids and a bright mind, who helps solve an impossible case when she rearranges evidence while working as a cleaner for the police department. Due to successfully helping them close the investigation, she’s recruited to work as a consultant alongside by-the-book detective Karadec (Daniel Sunjata), forming an unexpected team-up.

    Matlock (CBS)

    Coming 2024

    In CBS’s reimagining of the Andy Griffith classic from the 1980s and 1990s, Matlock puts Kathy Bates in the gender-swapped role of Madeline Matlock, where she plays a brilliant septuagenarian who rejoins the work force at a prestigious law firm. Showing that age is just a number, Bates’ Matlock uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to advantage to win cases and expose corruption from within. The reboot has all the ingredients of a potential modern hit with an ensemble cast rounded out by Skye P. Marshall, Jason Ritter, David Del Rio and Leah Lewis.

    Philiana Ng is a Los Angeles-based writer covering TV, celebrity, culture and more. Her work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Entertainment Tonight, TV Guide, Yahoo Entertainment, and The Daily Beast, among others.

    TOPICS: Abbott Elementary, Matlock (2024)