TODAY'S PAPER
54° Good Evening
54° Good Evening
EntertainmentTV

Best TV shows for fall 2015: Top new and returning picks

From Don Johnson's return to network TV in the primetime soap "Blood and Oil" to a new "Heroes Reborn" miniseries and a whole new "Muppet" show, the 2015 fall television lineups are filled with comebacks. Take a look at some of the must-watch shows coming this fall.

CODE BLACK

CBS' well-done new medical drama stars Marcia Gay
Photo Credit: CBS / Neil Jacobs

CBS' well-done new medical drama stars Marcia Gay Harden as a residency director in charge of newbies in a busy, intense ER. "Code Black" is not for the squeamish, but its strong cast, sharp directing and uncluttered story make it unlike other shows of its kind.

QUANTICO

The major draw of this show about FBI
Photo Credit: ABC / Eric Liebowitz

The major draw of this show about FBI recruits (considered by some as ABC's most promising new series) is Priyanka Chopra, a Bollywood superstar with enough screen wattage to stop the thumb of even the most inveterate channel changer.

ROSEWOOD

Star Morris Chestnut is the reason to watch
Photo Credit: FOX / Jeff Daly

Star Morris Chestnut is the reason to watch this straight-ahead procedural. As the season goes on, he and the rest of the cast (which includes Lorraine Toussaint, Vee from "Orange Is the New Black") jell as a unit. Pleasing visuals help, too.

LIFE IN PIECES

CBS' new single-camera comedy certainly is in pieces
Photo Credit: CBS / Darren Michaels

CBS' new single-camera comedy certainly is in pieces (vignette "slices of life" crammed into a frantic half-hour), but its instant-impact actors, including James Brolin and Colin Hanks, are just enough reason to keep tuning in.

THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT

The real Stephen Colbert has revealed himself to
Photo Credit: AP / Richard Shotwell

The real Stephen Colbert has revealed himself to be smart and easy to listen to, since his "Late Show" debut on Sept. 8. With guests including George Clooney (on the premiere), Donald Trump (Sept. 22) and Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai (Sept. 25), Colbert promises to continue to keep it interesting.

BEST TIME EVER

Neil Patrick Harris wants to revive/reinvent the variety
Photo Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

Neil Patrick Harris wants to revive/reinvent the variety genre. As did Rosie O'Donnell. As did The Osbournes. But this longtime TV star, Broadway fave and generally beloved celeb may have the bona fides to pull it off. (NBC, Sept. 15)

BLINDSPOT

An amnesiac woman (Jaimie Alexander) is found in
Photo Credit: NBC / Virginia Sherwood

An amnesiac woman (Jaimie Alexander) is found in Times Square with "clue" tattoos all over her body ("Prison Break"), including the name of a key FBI agent ("The Blacklist"), whose efforts she is mysteriously able to assist (she speaks rare Chinese dialects). Throw in some "Person of Interest," "Die Hard" and "The Bourne Identity" to cook an action stew that is nevertheless surprisingly tasty. Weekly payoffs aid the requisite overarching conspiracy. (NBC, Sept. 21)

MINORITY REPORT

From what I've seen of this latest whack
Photo Credit: AP / Bruce MacCauley

From what I've seen of this latest whack at the Philip K. Dick classic, it looks very intriguing. Or maybe I was just bedazzled by the special effects. (Fox, Sept. 21)

BRIAN WILLIAMS

Williams arrives at MSNBC (as breaking news anchor)
Photo Credit: NBC / Justin Stephens

Williams arrives at MSNBC (as breaking news anchor) on Sept. 22 in a bid to restore that which has gone missing -- notably his reputation and this network's audience. A gamble, but one worth taking, and watching.

THE MUPPETS

A
Photo Credit: AP / Eric McCandless

A "contemporary," "personal," "docu-style" comedy a la "Modern Family"? Surely you jest, ABC. Oh, you do not jest? Very well, then. I'll be watching when it premieres Sept. 22.

SCREAM QUEENS

Photo Credit: Fox / Steve Dietl

"Scream Queens," with Ariana Grande, from left, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin and Billie Lourd, was created by Murphy and co-created with frequent collaborators Ian Brennan ("Glee") and Ryan Falchuk ("American Horror Story," "Nip/Tuck")...which means...hit? Or at the very least, must-watch-the-pilot. I didn't love this -- mean-spirited and a wildly uneven opener. (Sept. 22, Fox)

LIMITLESS

Based on the 2011 movie of the same
Photo Credit: AP / Jeff Neumann

Based on the 2011 movie of the same title starring Bradley Cooper, CBS' adaptation features Jake McDorman as a man who discovers the super drug from the movie and uses it to solve crimes for the FBI. Cooper will reprise his film role in a recurring guest spot. (McDorman appeared alongside Cooper in last year's Oscar-nominated "American Sniper.") Another one of those high-concept shows that look appealing, but unclear whether potential is limitless or limited. Nice looking opener, though! (Sept. 22, CBS)

EMPIRE

The only surprise left for this smash hit's
Photo Credit: Fox / Chuck Hodes

The only surprise left for this smash hit's second season (Sept. 23) is in who won't be making a cameo. Half of Hollywood, or at least half of the music industry, is lined up -- conga style -- to share a scene with Cookie. Good luck with that: She has a way of devouring that scenery.

HEROES REBORN

Hopefully my interest will also be reborn. (NBC,
Photo Credit: TNS / NBC

Hopefully my interest will also be reborn. (NBC, Sept. 24) Hopefully your's too. It has been five long years, after all, and the TV superhero world (See: The CW and just about every network and streaming service too) has undergone a true explosion in interest, or possibly it's just over-saturated right now. Creator Tim Kring said at the recent press tour, "because we didn?t get to have that fifth season, I did always have that in my mind, that there was an unfinished nature to all of this." Cast includes: Jack Coleman (H.R.G.), Masi Oka (Hiro), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder), Jimmy Jean-Louis (the Haitian) and Christine Rose (Angela Petrelli). And a quick glance at this list confirms an obvious concern: Hayden Panettiere, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Zachary Quinto and Adrian Pasdar are not in the cast. So it appears that some business will remain unfinished.

CSI

Come on! After all these years (15), and
Photo Credit: AP / Michael Yarish

Come on! After all these years (15), and all those murders, and all those cadavers, and all those times Capt. Jim Brass (the always terrific Paul Guilfoyle) looks wearily, bleakly, at a lying perp as if to say "You gotta be kidding me?" After all that do you really think I'm gonna miss the Sept. 27 finale, which promises the return of William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger?

BLOOD AND OIL

Photo Credit: ABC / Fred Hayes

"Miami Vice" star Don Johnson makes his return to network TV with this prime-time soap set on the North Dakota oil patch. With Amber Valletta ("Revenge") and Chace Crawford ("Gossip Girl"). Odd thing about the pilot -- it's supposed to be set in North Dakota but (I believe) was shot in Utah. Otherwise, audiences just might be looking for another primetime oil patch soap -- even one set in the mountains. I liked what I saw of this. (Sept. 27, ABC)

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

Finally gonna get into this Fox series (which
Photo Credit: TNS / Jordin Althaus

Finally gonna get into this Fox series (which returns Sept. 27) because everyone tells me I should.

THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH

You can't go home again, and you can't
Photo Credit: Peter Yang

You can't go home again, and you can't re-create that which was so indelible at "The Daily Show" -- Jon Stewart's long run. So Noah's attempt will, out of necessity, be something entirely different. The outstanding question before the Sept. 28 launch is, will it be watchable?

THE GRINDER

Rob Lowe (
Photo Credit: Fox / Ray Mickshaw

Rob Lowe ("Parks and Recreation") never seems to be out of work for long and, paired with generally behind the camera Fred Savage, "The Grinder" promises a comedic dynamic duo, and this does appear to be one of the more promising new comedies out there. Lowe: As a former TV lawyer who returns to his hometown to become a real (sort of) legal beagle. (Sept. 29, Fox)

THE UNAUTHORIZED BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 STORY

Following the buzz-magnet backstage
Photo Credit: Lifetime / Scott Schaffer

Following the buzz-magnet backstage "Full House" movie is more '90s TV nostalgia. On Oct. 10 comes "The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story." (Lifetime, Oct. 3)

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL

Lady Gaga gets evil in the latest single-season
Photo Credit: FX / Suzanne Tenner

Lady Gaga gets evil in the latest single-season creepfest, also with Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Evan Peters, Chloë Sevigny, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett. Expect serial murders, blood drinking -- the usual. (FX, Oct. 7)

THE LAST KINGDOM

Please, who wouldn't want to see a BBC
Photo Credit: Kata Vermes

Please, who wouldn't want to see a BBC America eight-part period drama on King Alfred the Great? (Oct. 10)

FARGO

Photo Credit: FX / Chris Large

"Fargo" ended Dec. 14 on a positive note. But what did it all mean? Lou (Patrick Wilson) and Hank (Ted Danson) ponder life's meaning. Death's too.

TRACY MORGAN HOSTING 'SNL'

Tracy Morgan After almost being killed in a
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mark Davis

Tracy Morgan After almost being killed in a June 7, 2014, accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that claimed the life of fellow comedian and friend James McNair, it was unclear whether Morgan would survive in the days following, much less return to a career. He will in fact be back, on the very show that launched his career in 1996, as host of "Saturday Night Live" on Oct. 17. Mark this return "triumphant."

AMY SCHUMER: LIVE FROM THE APOLLO

The white Rockville Centre-raised standup hits the legendary
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Neilson Barnard

The white Rockville Centre-raised standup hits the legendary theater of black Harlem, directed by Chris Rock. (HBO, Oct. 17)

SUPERGIRL

Based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El
Photo Credit: CBS / Darren Michaels

Based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El (Superman's cousin), this new action-adventure stars Melissa Benoist ("Glee") as a girl who decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth. Opener's charming, so is Benoist, but some of the violence is not -- she may be super but also a woman, and it's jarring to see her get roughed up by a big brawny bad guy. (Oct. 26, CBS)

ASH VS. EVIL DEAD

Darned right I'm looking forward to Starz's continuation
Photo Credit: Matt Klitscher

Darned right I'm looking forward to Starz's continuation of the story of Ashley "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell), last seen in a pair of Sam Raimi splatterpaloozas from the early '80s. (Oct. 31)

MASTER OF NONE

Photo Credit: Netflix / KC Bailey

"Parks & Recreation's" Aziz Ansari gets his own series, as Dev, a struggling 30-year-old actor in New York City. Mike Schur of "Parks and Rec" is an executive producer. (Netflix, Nov. 6)

MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

And yet another Dick adaptation arrives this fall,
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios / David Berg

And yet another Dick adaptation arrives this fall, this time on Amazon Prime. It's based on his 1962 "alternative history" that supposes the Allies lost World War II. (Nov. 20)

CHILDHOOD'S END

OK, admittedly I'm into adaptations this fall, especially
Photo Credit: Syfy / Narelle Portanier

OK, admittedly I'm into adaptations this fall, especially SyFy's attempt to finally conquer that which is unconquerable: Arthur C. Clarke's ambitious, complicated, philosophical 1953 novel about a "peaceful" alien invasion of planet Earth. This miniseries arrives Dec. 14. (Another newbie, "The Expanse," in which humans colonize the solar system, should also be worth watching.)

More Entertainment