Three shows from last season return for a second season: Fresh Off The Boat, How To Get Away With Murder, and Black-ish. For the readers of last week’s new shows on ABC preview, expect only two (maybe three) to make a triumphant Fall 2016 return. Fresh Off The Boat premiered in February 2015. Amazingly, I wrote more than two sentences about the returning Last Man Standing.
CASTLE returns Monday, September 21 at 10PM
Season 8 could be the last. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic returned for season eight, but Katic didn’t commit for season nine. Series creator Andrew Marlowe left the series. Two Castle veteran writers became the show runners. Katic said the new show runners have a grand cosmic vision for why the characters came together. Unfortunately, the history involves stupid, lazy tropes such as Rick’s past memory loss. Stories that investigate the patterns of the character’s lives can be extraordinary or…not. The first two episodes set up the rest of the season.
THE MIDDLE returns Wednesday, September 23 at 8PM
The main news about season seven of The Middle is that viewers will see a three-part Halloween homage to The Twilight Zone, with Brick as Rod Sarling. Halloween episodes rock. Three part Halloween episodes rock more.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT returns Tuesday, September 22 at 8:30PM
Jessica worried about her family losing their Chinese identity in the season finale. Eddie Huang, the author of the book which inspired the series, criticized the series for not depicting a more genuine Asian-American experience, but he’ll return to narrate season two. The only other news out there involves casting for a one-off character. If you’ve never seen a theme park employee that takes his or her job too seriously, then you’ve never watched a mainstream movie or TV show. That’s the guest character coming to your TV September 29 in episode two.
THE GOLDBERGS return Wednesday, September 23 at 8:30PM
The Middle pays homage to The Twlight Zone, and The Goldbergs pays homage to Risky Business. Adam F. Goldberg told critics at press tour, “I’m sinking cars.” The Goldbergs has a new series regular played by AJ Michalka. She will throw the Risky Business party. The series will continues its yearly tradition of paying homage to classic 80s movies. Goldberg didn’t reveal the movie to critics, because why would he, but he confirmed it’s a John Hughes movie. Also, TV Adam experiences puberty in season three.
MODERN FAMILY returns Wednesday, September 23 at 9PM
The season 6 finale was the show’s lowest rating in the series’ history, down 38% from the season 5 finale, and it lost 14% of viewers from the previous week’s episode. The show still finished tied for the top spot. One of the subplots in the season six finale was, “Claire wants to find a better gift for Alex.” Season six hung its cliffhanger on iPad/Skype technology. Haley and Andy love each other, but Andy will marry Beth. Sitcom stuff. Phil tried to alert the two of their love for each other, but gosh darn Skype stopped working before they heard him.
So, what’s coming in season 7? Andy and Haley will figure out their love for each other, I assume. Alex starts college and meets her “interesting” roommate (Willa, from Seattle, eh, Steve Levitan?). The most delightful thing about the new season could be Mitchell and Cameron entering the Airbnb business and meeting “interesting” characters.
BLACK-ISH returns Wednesday, September 23 at 9:30PM
Black-ish will devote an episode to the ‘N’ word in season two. Anthony Anderson told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s about who has the right to say the word, and whether it should be said at all.” Another episode will deal with gun ownership. Thus the series continues to pad its polarizing and divisive reputation.
NASHVILLE returns Wednesday, September 23 at 10PM
Someone flatlined in the finale and fans don’t know who! Most folk think Deacon died. Deacon and Rayna never had their chance to be together. Deacon’s death would affect Nashville fans the way every scene in Rectify affects me. The writers titled the premiere “Can’t Let Go.” Nashville fans, Deacon won’t let go. Hell no. Believe in Deacon, and the writers. Nashville isn’t a Chekhov story. The writers won’t take away Rayna and Deacon before it began.
GREY’S ANATOMY returns Thursday, September 24 at 8PM
No McDreamy anymore. Is McCreary still around? Season 12 begins three months after the finale. Meredith is single, living with her sisters, and contemplating the next years of her life, which seems like a bold departure from the heart of Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe not. It is Meredith’s story, I think. Shonda Rhimes promised new romances for other characters, though, and an overall lightness to the episodes--so, perhaps only one catastrophic event at the hospital this season.
SCANDAL returns Thursday, September 24 at 9PM
The premiere begins immediately after the explosive finale. Characters need to pick up the pieces, or something. I wonder was there an explosion in the episode or is it hyperbole. We’ll never know, as we’ll never know the identity of the man in Macintosh. Ah, Shonda used “blown apart” as in the characters are torn apart inside, emotionally shattered, and two characters may separate. Also, an actress from The Strain signed on for a mysterious role.
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER returns Thursday, September 24 at 10PM
Season 2 of How to Get Away With Murder will have less murder. One presumes characters will more easily get away with murders. Executive producer Pete Nowalk teased dark, twisted backstories for characters the audience thought they knew but didn’t. Another popular ABC show tried that in season 2. It didn’t work so well. I’m still disappointed by “Fire + Water” and “The Long Con” and much of that season. Nowalk also told press that things become more complicated the longer the show goes. Complicated or dramatic? People love the trio of Rhimes’ show. Shonda’s not slowing down.
LAST MAN STANDING returns Friday, September 25 at 8PM
New show runners for the fifth season. Last Man Standing changes show runners as frequently as The Walking Dead. You will never find Last Man Standing and The Walking Dead sharing a sentence again. Tim Allen’s sitcom will celebrate the 100th episode. Tim Allen promised to “drill Hillary Clinton” this season, and he may insult Donald Trump, too. Jay Leno will guest star in an episode this season.
ONCE UPON A TIME returns Sunday, September 27 at 9PM
“This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.” Will Emma speak those words after the darkness leaves her? Emma is going dark. Will I wake from night terrors because I quoted Shakespeare’s fantastical final play in reference to a show I despise? Merida and King Arthur come to Storybrooke. Arthur’s girl, Guinevere, is another new character. Lancelot joins those two. The first half of the season follows Emma’s journey and the other’s characters’ journey to save her from wherever she went to rip out hearts. The series will air its 100th episode in 2016. Eddie and Adam might write a musical. Oh, dear.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.LD. returns Tuesday, September 29 at 9PM
Season three jumps ahead in time. How long? Claire Bennett told critics that enough time has passed for the agents to accept Simmons is missing. Simmons accidentally fell into/was absorbed by something The Inhumans wanted secure right before her and Fitz confessed their feelings to each other. Henceforth, Skye is Daisy. Whoa. There’ll be less Hydra in the new season. Clark Gregg told critics that episode two will be the biggest episode yet. Season three will have a new Inhuman, Lash. Finally, the Secret Warriors are in season three.