Ten Promising New Shows from the Network Upfronts


During the spring upfronts, the big broadcast networks present their new fall offerings for advertisers and critics, dumping a rather overwhelming heap of new programming all at once. So we’ve whittled down the selection to ten shows that are worth checking out. You might notice there’s nothing here from CBS — what can I say? Not one trailer for a new CBS series got me going. (Maybe it has something to do with the fact that all but one of their new series have white, male leads and look super antiquated and boring.) Of course, a good trailer doesn’t necessarily mean a good show, and vice versa. But these ten upcoming series should be on your radar.

Pitch (Fox)

I’m not sure how Fox plans to stretch this concept into a full series, but the premise of Pitch is intriguing: it’s a fictional story of the first woman baseball player to join the major leagues. The show follows Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) through her early days as a member of the San Diego Padres and is produced in association with MLB.

Riverdale (CW)

I was one of those kids who could’ve filled a bathtub with all my Archie comics, so I’m both excited and a little disappointed by the CW’s Riverdale, which looks like a cross between the Archie comics and Pretty Little Liars. I would have loved to see an Archie adaptation with more of a down-to-earth, regular-people vibe than this dark, broody setting, which looks more like the title town of Twin Peaks than the sun-dappled Riverdale from the comics. “You’re a little more dangerous than you look,” Veronica tells Archie. “You have no idea,” he replies.

This Is Us (NBC)

If the name didn’t tip you off, This Is Us is cheese of the highest order, an award-winning, fancy French brie of a new series that follows a few connected characters, Love-Actually-style, who are all turning 36. The trailer is engineered to make you cry and has already broken a record for a new series with over 25 million views on Facebook, so keep this show on your radar for the fall. It boasts an impressive cast including Gilmore Girls’ Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, and The People v. OJ Simpson VIP Sterling K. Brown.

Great News (NBC)

Unfortunately there’s no trailer yet for Great News, the new comedy from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the creators of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Filmed in the NY1 newsroom, Great News looks like it might just be like newsroom comedy we’ve all been craving since Aaron Sorkin’s unintentionally hilarious The Newsroom went off the air in 2014. Great News stars Briga Heelan (fresh off the recently cancelled Undateable) as a news producer whose overbearing mother (Andrea Martin) decides to go back to work and becomes an intern at the station where her daughter works.

Speechless (ABC)

This new ABC dramedy stars Minnie Driver as Maya, a mother of three children, one of whom has special needs; ABC cast young Micah Fowler, an actor with cerebral palsy who made his debut in the 2013 Jason Reitman film Labor Day, as eldest son JJ. In the trailer, Driver is fierce and funny, with shades of her stage-mom character from 2014’s Beyond the Lights. Definitely a solid contender.

The Good Place (NBC)

“Do you have a second to talk about the environment?” “Do you have a second to eat my farts?” If the trailer is any indication, this new comedy starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson may be one of the funnier new network sitcoms on the horizon. Created by Mike Schur, the creator of the reliably funny Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place is about a woman who dies and goes to heaven — only to realize she’s been mistaken for another, much nicer person.

Making History (Fox)

“I go to the past every weekend. Sometimes Tuesdays.” Fox seems to be betting on the success of Comedy Central’s Drunk History with Making History, in which a computer science professor (The Mindy Project’s Adam Pally) invents a time-travel machine that takes the form of a giant duffel bag. Making History also marks Leighton Meester’s return to television: Aside from a 2015 TV movie, Meester hasn’t appeared on the small screen since Gossip Girl ended in 2012.

No Tomorrow (CW)

The heroine of No Tomorrow (Tori Anderson) is a familiar type, the perky single gal who’s trying her best but can’t get no respect at work — and despite her very long, very wavy, very blonde hair and her perfect slim body she’s so awkward and her love life is just a disaster! But then she meets a cute guy who informs her “the apocalypse is nigh” and she realizes she needs to start living life on her own terms. You know, before an asteroid destroys the world.

Designated Survivor (ABC)

Of all the sober, grim dramas presented at the upfronts, the highly anticipated Designated Survivor is the only one that really captured my attention. It stars Kiefer Sutherland as cabinet member Tom Kirkman, who is named President of the United States after an attack on Washington during the night of the State of the Union kills the president and all other cabinet members. Kirkman, the “designated survivor” of the title, has to step up and prove he’s fit for the job.

The Mick (NBC)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is, miraculously, still going strong 11 seasons in (it’s been renewed for a twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth season), but somehow Kaitlin Olson has found the time to star in The Mick, a new NBC comedy from Always Sunny co-executive producers John and Dave Chernin. Olson will have ample opportunity to put her physical comedy skills to work playing Mackenzie “Micky” Murphy, a hard-partying woman who moves into her wealthy sister’s home to take care of her kids after she and her husband leave the country to avoid federal indictment.