All this week, we've been hard at work prepping you for the giant cultural event that is Fall TV.
Sam Eichner highlighted five under-the-radar shows to keep an eye out for. Thompson Brandes compiled a definitive fall TV binge-watching guide, a helpful primer on all the shows you can catch up on before they get too-many-seasons deep. Najib Benouar, in a piece future cultural/linguistic scholars will surely look back on as a landmark work, helped classify fall TV's new-old shows as reboots, revivals, prequels, spinoffs or some combination of the four. Meanwhile, all of the editors shared the shows they're most looking forward to watching over the next few months. And Carl Samson just sat there twiddling his damn thumbs. (Kidding. There is no one at UrbanDaddy named Carl Samson.)
In an effort to bring it all home, we subjected the our team to a series of forced prognostications and hypotheticals, known affectionately around the office as The Fall TV Preseason Questionnaire.
You can read our responses here, but feel free to get at us on Twitter with yours.
1. If you could only watch one TV show this fall, which one would it be?
Thompson Brandes: I'll have what 2 Chainz is having.
Hannah Kim: Only one? That's fucked up. Probably Stranger Things.
Hadley Tomicki: Broad City, for all the hot pegging action.
Geoff Rynex: Bojack Horseman, because I can watch each episode a dozen times and still not catch every easter egg.
Sam Eichner: Below Deck, on Bravo. Kidding. Kind of. I have a hard time not answering this question with Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Najib Benouar: The right answer is probably whatever zietgeisty prestige tv show will get you the most mileage out of the next few months of popular culture discourse. But I’m choosing Designated Survivor because I’m a Jack Bauer stan and there’s still no way anyone is convincing me that Kiefer Sutherland isn’t just playing Jack Bauer as the goddamn president. The way it should be.
2. Which actor/actress do you think is poised to break out this fall?
TB: If Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are still spinning comedic gold with Future Man, Hunger Games typecast Josh Hutcherson could be due for a nice Hey, this guy is actually pretty funny! Moment.
HK: Jon Bernthal. Even though he's been around, they've been small or supporting roles. Now he's leading in his own Netflix series. I was a huge fan of his when he played Frank Castle in Daredevil so I'm pumped to watch The Punisher this fall. This role was made for him... literally. It's his performance that sparked the idea to create the standalone series.
HT: Whoever the little boy playing Young Sheldon is. He was strong in Big Little Lies.
GR: Gary Carr, a complicated pimp on The Deuce. I think he’ll be the breakout star of the show, à la Idris in The Wire.
SE: I imagine Tiffany Haddish will solidify her breakout in Girls Trip by continuing to break out in The Last O.G., if that makes sense.
NB: Method Man’s perm.
3. Which new show do you think will get cancelled the quickest?
TB: Whoa, dark.
HK: I'm thinking Kevin (Probably) Saves the World will probably get cancelled. Probably.
HT: I don’t know. Let’s say Will & Grace, since they all have savings/careers.
GR: ABC: “Hmm, we’ve got Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a big-budget show no one seems really attached to that we’ve been dragging along for several seasons despite tepid ratings. I think the smart business move is a spin-off.”
I vote Inhumans as the first to go. They're trying to make Ramsay Bolton play someone other than Ramsay Bolton. Good luck.
SE: Thursday Night Football. It’s not new, but shit’s doomed.
4. Which new show do you think will run the longest?
TB: HBO's The Deuce stars two James Francos, so I think the answer here has to be The Deuce.
HT: Evil Things. People love evil things. They even vote for them.
HK: The Good Doctor. Seems like ABC is trying to find its Grey's Anatomy successor and who knows...this might be it.
GR: Whatever geriatric-aimed procedural CBS is wheeling out this season.
SE: A recurring nightmare of mine is waking up in 2027 to find that I have no teeth and ABC’s The Good Doctor is still on the air.
NB: Whatever the new Shonda Rhimes show is.
5. Which show, new or returning, will end up becoming the biggest letdown?
TB: I am very scared that this will be Stranger Things 2.
HT: Orville. As record numbers of viewers tune in to learn the gritty true story behind the dog-eat-dog world of microwave popcorn, they’ll be disappointed to find out it’s just about Seth MacFarlane wanking around making Star Trek jokes.
GR: American Vandal, unfortunately. I hope I’m wrong, but it feels like a joke that’ll get old after half an episode, like an Onion article they only ran because they had a great headline.
SE: The Deuce, mostly because the combination of porn, James Franco and David Simon seems too big to fail, and we all know how things ended the last time someone used that phrase.
NB - Yeah, has to be The Deuce, right?
6. Pick a show that will, by the end of its season, be described as a “sleeper hit.”
TB: Let's keep the ball rolling for Future Man here. Rogen and Goldberg rarely miss.
HT: The Good Doctor. People hate hospitals but love doctor shows.
GR: 60 Minutes.
SE: Ghosted, starring Craig Robinson and Adam Scott, will be heralded as that "sneaky-funny" new network comedy, probably by me.
NB: The Last O.G. I’m all in.
HT: Fuck 'em all.
GR: I’m not going to look up what those are just to answer this.
SE: Fuck Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, marry The Mayor and kill To Tell the Truth. This mental exercise has no happy ending.
NB: *Takes vow of celibacy.*
10. Be honest: Did you know that Grey’s Anatomy was still on the air?
HT: Nope. Never seen it.
GR: That can’t possibly be true.
HK: Um. Yes. Even though they killed off McDreamy... I've invested too many tears to not see the series through.
SE: *Pulls millennial card out of Patagonia sweater and waves it around frantically*
NB: I had my suspicions.
11. What’s your Fall TV guilty pleasure?
HT: I wish I could say MacGyver.
HK: How To Get Away With Murder. Viola Davis is a badass bitch.
GR: Probably re-watching Angel for the third time.
NB: Football. Until basketball season comes back. Then I’ll be doubly guilty-pleased.
HT: Sarah. Always, forever, Sarah.
GR: Silverman, if she can keep the character-y schtick to a minimum.
SE: Klepper was one of my favorite Daily Show guys. And it seems like he's tapping into the zeitgeist in a more interesting way, what with the whole Colbert-meets-Alex Jones thing, than Silverman is.
NB: That’s an extremely valid point, but Sarah Silverman.
13. 50 Central, premiering 9/27, is a sketch comedy series starring 50 Cent. Please give your reaction to this news in one sentence.
HT: I like this like a fat kid loves cake.
GR: See what happens when you let Chappelle’s Show nostalgia go unchecked for 13 years?
SE: Vitamin Water was better than I anticipated it would be.
NB: 50 Cent wasn’t even the funniest guy in G-Unit. (We all know that was Lloyd Banks.)
14. Given forces outside of your control, you’re condemned to watch one Chicago show. Which one do you watch—Chicago Fire (premieres 9/28), Chicago PD (premieres 9/27) or Chicago Med (premieres midseason, so probably sometime Nov-Jan)?
HT: Eeny, meenie, miney, mo…
GR: Recently I asked my girlfriend if Jennifer Lopez still acted, and she said she was on one of these. Right? Was that right?
SE: If this is secretly a referendum on who I like better, firemen/women, policemen/women or doctors, the answer is Chicago Fire.
NB: Which one is the one with J-Lo?
15. Name something you would rather endure than a half-hour of Young Sheldon.
HT: An evening of light pony play with Leslie Jones.
HK: Go on a date with the real Sheldon.
GR: A half hour of Mike Pence.
SE: A half hour of The Big Bang Theory.
NB: Complete silence.
16. Which new show would you be reluctant to watch sober but stoked to watch stoned?
HT: The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Not sure what that’s about, but it’s giving me HR Puffenstuf vibes.
HK: Vice Principals. Plus, wouldn't mind getting stoned with Danny McBride
SE: Oddly enough, and I'm shocking myself by saying this, but I'm going to go with Young Sheldon.
GR: I thought you’d already asked about 50 Central.