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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Over on Mom, as they were gearing up for the new season, Anna Farris announced she wasn't coming back, and she did not return for an episode to wrap Christy's story. This was a little more controversial than Ferrera's departure in Superstore. Both Ferrera and Farris indicated they wanted to try new things and were leaving on good terms, but Farris was halfway through a two-year contract extension, which seemed odd.

Also, Farris clearly was no longer the lead on Mom, which initially was about a divorced single mother with a nasty teenage daughter and an affable tween son, coping with keeping her sobriety and dealing with her mother Bonnie, who's a rhymes-with-witch on wheels.

Gradually, the focus shifted away from Christy and her job. The kids were written out of the show, replaced one-by-one with Christy's and Bonnie's friends in their support group, to the point, as somebody said, that it's more like "The Golden Girls with AA meetings." The writers made fitful stabs at Christy-centered stories -- Christy went to law school, Christy joined Gamblers' Anonymous, Christy got an internship at a law firm for an insane demanding boss -- but none of it seemed to stick.

Was Ferris jealous that Alison Janney essentially became the lead of what was her show? She hasn't publicly said so, so maybe not. But this is hardly the first case of the lead being overshadowed by a supporting character (Happy Days, WKRP in Cincinnati, Family Matters).

How did Mom write Christy out? In the season premiere, Bonnie and her husband Adam are driving home from the airport, proud that Christy got a full-ride scholarship to Georgetown University School of Law. So Christy is still in the world of the show.

It seems, however, that the rhythm of Mom is off without Farris in a way that it's not with Superstore

We saw the episodes of Superstore and Mom you discussed. When an actor leaves a show, the writing has to shine to make it work for the viewers. It helps both shows that they have strong ensemble casts.

On Superstore, Jonah and Amy worked as the less-quirky point-of-view characters. The other characters on the show are quite diverse* and some are quirkier than others. I understand that Jonah is staying, so we will still have him as a POV character.

I enjoyed watching Anna Faris interact with the other characters and she is easy on the eyes. I agree that they didn't seem to know what to do with her character. It was good casting to bring in actors from 3rd Rock from the Sun and My Name is Earl. It looks like Anna Faris will be playing rival twins in the movie Summer Madness.

*The diversity was no accident. IIRC, the actors were hired and they had a lot to say about which characters they wanted to play.

Richard Willis said:

We saw the episodes of Superstore and Mom you discussed. When an actor leaves a show, the writing has to shine to make it work for the viewers. It helps both shows that they have strong ensemble casts.

On Superstore, Jonah and Amy worked as the less-quirky point-of-view characters. The other characters on the show are quite diverse* and some are quirkier than others. I understand that Jonah is staying, so we will still have him as a POV character.

I enjoyed watching Anna Faris interact with the other characters and she is easy on the eyes. I agree that they didn't seem to know what to do with her character. It was good casting to bring in actors from 3rd Rock from the Sun and My Name is Earl. It looks like Anna Faris will be playing rival twins in the movie Summer Madness.

*The diversity was no accident. IIRC, the actors were hired and they had a lot to say about which characters they wanted to play.

Diversity can't be accidental. If it is left up to chance, you get things like Mom, which has an all-white cast.

I hadn't realized this was announced as cancelled. It's a fun show, basically a hang-out show among friends, and I'm glad it's back.

And it's nice to see Natalie Zea appear as a love interest, as she co-starred with Goggins in Justified as well. (She was also a lot of fun in The Detour.) We'll see how long she lasts here, since the first season saw Goggins character as not really seeing anyone long-term. Season 2 might be changing it up.

Richard Willis said:

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

Last weekend, BET put on episodes of Bob ♥ Abishola, The Neighborhood and All Rise, to promote them ahead of their return on corporate sibling CBS this fall season. So I gave them a try.

Bob ♥ Abishola I've never watched before, but I felt like I have because it is incessantly promoted. Also, because It's from the Chuck Lorre Factory, which gave us The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Two and a Half Men, B Positive, and stars Billy Gardell from Mike and Molly as "Bob."

It's about the courtship of Bob, a small-business owner who has a heart attack, and Abishola, the nurse who treats him at the hospital. Folake Olowofoyeku is Abishola, an immigrant from Nigeria who is a single mom estranged from her husband and who lives with her son, aunt and uncle. Bob is very patient with Abishola, who is oh-so-slowly getting to know him and oh-so-ever-slowly letting down her walls. It's amusing, but no great shakes.

The Neighborhood is as painfully unfunny as it was every other time I've watched it. There have been lots of promos ahead of its season premiere promising to introduce the Black Lives Matter protests into the story. All I can say, This Is Us set a very high bar, and I wish them well ... without me.

The third show BET put on was the pilot episode of All Rise. I was dismissive of it a year ago, but I’ve grown to like the show.

All Rise stars Simone Missick – Misty Knight from Luke Cage and the other Marvel shows on Netflix – as Lola Carmichael, a Los Angeles County district attorney who becomes a Superior Court judge. All Rise is an odd fit with the seeming endless roster of law-enforcement dramas on CBS (the CSI franchise, the Criminal Minds franchise, the FBI franchise, etc.), because it’s more earnest.

I think of All Rise as the liberal antidote to original Law & Order, which grew increasingly conservative the longer it was on. In the early days, with Michael Moriarty as prosecutor Ben Stone, they were concerned about justice and doing the right thing. Over the stretch when Sam Waterston played Jack McCoy, the Executive Assistant District Attorney of New York County, that went out the window; McCoy was all about winning.

Andre Braugher of Brooklyn Nine-Nine 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." Law & Order was all about that, as McCoy – and successor Michael Cutter, after McCoy became the D.A. – routinely engaged in dubious, unethical, and extra-legal tactics. But they’re the “good guys” locking up the “bad guys,” so, um, yay?

Not so on All Rise. This is the kind of show where the public defender passionately plies her trade; where the prosecutor spends his days proving defendants are innocent; where the judge fires a defense lawyer for providing incompetent counsel. In the pilot, rookie Judge Lola blows up a plea deal and encourages the defendant to go to trial because she actually cares to know if the defendant is guilty or not … which is, like, almost science fiction.

All Rise is based on Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse by Steve Bogira, a warts-and-all depiction of the criminal justice system, represented by the busiest felony courthouse in America, which is in Cook County, Ill. In moving the action from Chicago to Los Angeles, everything is given a nice, sunny sheen. There’s a certain level of humorous soap operatics among the characters, which is fine. Key is the relationship between Judge Lola and Prosecutor Mark, her work husband. They’re good friends from both being assistant D.A.s, and there isn’t any sexual tension; fortunately, they aren’t doing a will-they-or-won’t-they routine.

And, frankly, what keeps me coming back is Simone Missick; she is winsome, always well-dressed, charming and quite beautiful. Plus a show that was more like Courtroom 302 would be too grim to want to see week after week. Looking forward to watching the Season 2 premiere.

TVLine presents this year's versions of its Renewal Scorecard, a running list of what is and isn't on the chopping block. "2021 Broadcast-TV Renewal Scorecard" is for the on-air networks, "Cable TV Scorecard: Renewals, Cancellations and Premiere Dates" is for cable, and "Streaming TV Scorecard: Renewals, Cancellations and Premiere Dates"

Shows on the broadcast list fall into these categories:

  • already renewed
  • officially renewed
  • a sure thing
  • a safe bet
  • too early to tell
  • could go either way
  • already canceled

This list is updated as the season goes on.

Thanks for posting the links to the Renewal Scorecards.

I watched the first season of Castle Rock and will soon watch the second. The lamentations of its cancellation seem to "overlook" the fact the J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company will be producing the Overlook series on HBO Max. It couldn't have been part of the Castle Rock series anyway. Fictional Castle Rock is in Maine* while the Overlook Hotel (from The Shining) is in Colorado.

* Stephen King wrote The Shining while living in Colorado. I suspect he got the name of the fictional Castle Rock from the real Castle Rock, Colorado.

One casualty already, per TVLine: "One Day at a Time Cancelled (Again)" 

Blame it on COVID-19; they were only able to get six episodes done this season. They squeezed out a seventh by doing a Very Special Episode in animation. 

Too bad. The critics gushed over this show like it was the greatest thing ever, which kind of baffled me, because it didn't seem like they were watching the same show I was. Justine Machado is very likable, and the show was blessed with the presence of goddess and living legend Rita Moreno. Still, it didn't knock my socks off.

We enjoyed the new One Day at a Time. It wasn't the greatest show on TV but IMO was better than a lot of them. If it had started on on of the broadcast networks would it have done better? We'll never know.

I liked it a lot; it pushed a lot of nostalgia buttons for me -- not so much of the original show, but of the rhythms of old sitcoms. We're still in season 2, and enjoying it little by little, one day at a... well, you know. It's a good comfort food show.  

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