It's that time of year again!
Continuing the tradition started by Doctor Hmmm? back in 2010, and followed inconsistently since (2011201320142015201620172018 and 2019), here's a catchall thread about any and all shows debuting or returning this fall, with an emphasis on the shows that don't generate their own threads.

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I'm happily watching This Is Us, Superstore and Mom, and looking forward to the return of Chicago Fire, All Rise, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Grey's AnatomyThe Flash, and Supergirl, although the latter two won't happen until January, I understand, thanks to COVID-19 delays bollixing up production schedules.

As ever, I'm iffy about Legends of Tomorrow.

We watched the first episode of season four of Young Sheldon (our second favorite show following This Is Us). If they're following the backstory established on The Big Bang Theory, this should be the season Sheldon's father dies. The end of the episode [SPOILER] features a surprise "appearance" of Amy Cooper in the narration, and the revelation that Sheldon and Amy have had a son, Leonard.

I've noted elsewhere that I'd prefer that shows not introduce coronavirus into their stories, but am rethinking that position.

As we might expect, the medical shows pretty much have to, and Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Med and The Resident definitely will. The Good Doctor, however, will do what I wished most shows will do: It'll do a COVID-19 story for the season opener and second episode, and then do a time jump to the future and say, "Glad that's over with!" All Rise did a Very Special Episode about COVID for its first season finale, and its promos for the new season are full of people wearing face shields, there's a transparent plastic barrier on the judge's bench, etc.

SEAL Team will not deal with it, and neither will Mom. NCIS isn't doing a flash-forward; they're doing a flashback, setting their stories in last year.

This Is Us, we know, put in COVID and also the other big story of the summer: police brutality and the Black Lives Matter protests. This Is Us set a high bar for doing those stories, and I don't think your average cop show can clear it. Probably not S.W.A.T., which is rooted in the misguided militarization that plagues our nation's police forces. And certainly not Chicago P.D., which presents dishonest, brutal goons as noble rule-breakers protecting the public weal.

The first season of The Rookie ended in a cliffhanger, so I want to see how that plays out. But I don't think I'm coming back to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

I'm curious to see how Brooklyn Nine-Nine rises to the occasion. Star Andre Braugher has said cop shows telling us "that police breaking the law is okay because somehow it's in the service of some greater good, is a myth that needs to be destroyed." And the show scrapped four scripts it had ready for the new season and started over, because they understand business as usual won't cut it.

Did The Big Bang Theory establish when Sheldon's father dies? I just know that it was before BBT started.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

We watched the first episode of season four of Young Sheldon (our second favorite show following This Is Us). If they're following the backstory established on The Big Bang Theory, this should be the season Sheldon's father dies. The end of the episode [SPOILER] features a surprise "appearance" of Amy Cooper in the narration, and the revelation that Sheldon and Amy have had a son, Leonard.

I'm glad to see that The Unicorn, starring the versatile Walton Goggins was brought back after being announced as cancelled.

"Did The Big Bang Theory establish when Sheldon's father dies? I just know that it was before BBT started."

It was mentioned a couple of different times. I think it was shortly after Sheldon went away to college. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Did The Big Bang Theory establish when Sheldon's father dies? I just know that it was before BBT started."

It was mentioned a couple of different times. I think it was shortly after Sheldon went away to college. 

If Young Sheldon sticks closely to The Big Bang Theory's continuity, Sheldon's father should die sometime this season. So far as I know, the producers haven't said it will happen.

It could be as pivotal as Henry Blake's death in M*A*S*H.

The cynic in me says "sweeps week."

With the long delay between the premature end of last season (because of COVID-19) and the delayed start of then new season (likewise), I gave a one- or two-episode try to some show I'd always passed on.

One was Bull, which is based on Dr. Phil's work as a "jury consultant." He gets hired by the kind of rich, arrogant, elite upper-crust bastards Columbo would lock up to discern and divine which arguments would sway the juries in their trials -- going so far as to develop dossiers on the actual jurors and hiring people with similar characteristics and backgrounds to run mock trials.

In the episode I watched, Bull did a pro bono case: A young woman was suffering under the persistent attention of a stalker/rapist, until he showed up at her house one time too many and she shot him full of holes. Problem is, putting more than one hole in somebody with a pistol undermines a self-defense argument.

One wrinkle in Bull's effort to get this woman off is that he successfully did so a previous time before the presiding judge -- who, this time around, kicked him out of the courtroom, as he views Bull's work as just a hair short of jury tampering.

I was moderately entertained, but I'm not champing at the bit to come back for more.

I gave a try to the pilot episode of B Positive, the latest entry from the Chuck Lorre Factory. Thomas Middleditch is Drew, a freshly divorced sad sack with a bratty teenage daughter who learns he's also facing renal failure and needs a new kidney. Annaleigh Ashford is Gina, a high-school acquaintance of his who hasn't grown out of her party-girl ways. But she's good-hearted, and when she hears his tale of woe, she in all sincerity offers up one of her kidneys.

However, Gina is required to stay clean and sober for a full three months before the procedure can happen, and she doesn't know the meaning of the word "sobriety." (She also doesn't know basic anatomy; more than once, she points at her belly to assure Drew that she's keeping the kidney safe.) The very next day, Drew catches Gina in the afterglow of a random booze-and-bong fueled hookup with some guy whose name she never bothered to learn, and tells her off. He comes crawling back to apologize when he goes through his very small circle of friends (and acquaintances, and random strangers) who all tell him no. (He even asked his doctor.)

I gather this season will be about Drew trying to keep Gina sober long enough have the surgery, with their developing a very Odd Couple kind of bond. Ashford is charming and likeable, and she works overtime to offset Middleditch's frantic dourness -- but then, his character is dying, so how cheerful can he be? 

I say this is on a par with other projects from the Chuck Lorre Factory -- y'know, Mom, Mike and Molly, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men. It's done competently, and so far isn't trying to be deep. If you like those, you might like B Positive.

(Although I have to say, the opening credits -- with a title tune by Keb' Mo', who did the honors for Mike and Molly -- are kind of creepy.)

ClarkKent_DC said:

This Is Us, we know, put in COVID and also the other big story of the summer: police brutality and the Black Lives Matter protests. This Is Us set a high bar for doing those stories, and I don't think your average cop show can clear it. Probably not S.W.A.T., which is rooted in the misguided militarization that plagues our nation's police forces. And certainly not Chicago P.D., which presents dishonest, brutal goons as noble rule-breakers protecting the public weal.

S.W.A.T. is indeed making an honest effort at potraying policing in the Black Lives Matter era, and The Washington Post is somewhat impressed -- but the Post, like me, thinks This Is Us set a high bar to clear ("‘S.W.A.T.’ and Other Cop Dramas are Trying to Tackle Race. They Could Take a Page from 'This Is Us.'") It helps, a lot, that S.W.A.T.'s executive producer, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, is Black. He's open to looking at things from a broader perspective, unlike, say, a celebrated producer who has a blind spot. This is exactly why diversity works.

Two returning shows faced major cast departures, America Ferrera on Superstore and Anna Faris on Mom.

Ferrera announced she was leaving before the end of last season, allowing the show to build to the departure of her character, Amy. But then COVID-19 hit, and they didn't get to film her farewell episode. However, the last episode that aired did kind of fit: Amy, manager of a Cloud 9 store, gets a big promotion to the parent company's headquarters in California. Loyal boyfriend Jonah assumes he going with her and invites himself along. In the final scene, they embrace and we viewers can see -- and Jonah can't -- that she isn't all that happy about the idea.

During the hiatus, the producers developed that idea further, and asked Ferrera if she'd be willing to return in the new season to finish Amy's story. She graciously agreed, and generously also agreed to do two episodes. That helped them bridge between the end of last season and the chaos of COVID, as well. And her finale fell in the 100th episode, which was special.

With two episodes to work with, the producers could play up Amy's conflicted feelings about Jonah -- he broke up with her when he realized they weren't on the same page -- and also get farewell moments from the other characters without all of it being crowded. It worked.

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