X

Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

We grade the good, the bad and the ugly from the fall schedule

Angelique Anest
report-card.jpg
1 of 15 Giovanni Rufino/NBC, Danny Feld/ABC, Nicole Wilder/ABC

report-card

So many new shows, so little time! While the fall TV graveyard isn't as full as normal this year -- only ABC's Wicked City has officially been canceled -- Fox's Minority Report, ABC's Blood & Oil and The Player and Truth Be Told, both on NBC, have all had their episodes orders trimmed and are as good as dead. But what about the shows still standing? Let's assess the remaining fall lineup to see what's worth keeping on your DVR and which series you can safely skip.

2 of 15 Giovanni Rufino/NBC

Blindspot (NBC)

The Good: Unlike many serialized procedurals, Blindspot is remarkably well paced. Instead of purposely evading the mystery or tossing out a bunch of new ones to muddle the waters more, the drama is not afraid to explore and answer your burning questions, like who tattooed Jane. It's executed in a tightly plotted way that gives you confidence that they know exactly where they're going with this.

The Bad: Jane is supposed to be an amnesiac blank slate, but what's Kurt's excuse? Sullivan Stapleton is frighteningly dull, and he and Jaimie Alexander have about as much heat between them as two beached whales. This is one procedural pair you don't want to 'ship.
Grade: B

3 of 15 Elizabeth Sisson/NBC

​Chicago Med (NBC)

The Good: The show is high on action and contains its dramatics to the daily grind of the hospital rather than the personal lives of the doctors (ahem, Grey's Anatomy). But that doesn't detract from the strength of the characters. While veterans S. Epatha Merkerson and Oliver Platt tend to get the juicy moments, Colin Donnell's Dr. Rhodes is also an early standout.

The Bad: Again, there's not exactly any reinvention of the medical drama here. Worse, it's hard to see this as anything other than a way to expand Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise.
Grade: C+

4 of 15 Monty Brinton/CBS

Code Black (CBS)

The Good: The grittier of this season's two medical dramas, Code Black is anchored by a powerful performance by Marcia Gay Harden, who manages to overcome the often wonky dialogue she's sometimes saddled with. (Harden is best opposite Luis Guzman, who is also turning in solid work.) The show's greatest strength, however, might be its ability to create moving moments that accurately represent the emotions and humanity that come with constantly working with life-or-death stakes.

The Bad: The show wears the influence of pretty much every medical procedural that preceded it on its scrub sleeve. And because the show is so committed to the chaos of its titular code blacks, many of the characters still remain nothing more than mere sketches this many weeks into the season.
Grade: C+

5 of 15 Greg Gayne/The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)

The Good: Daring and original, this is a beautiful, unlikely marriage of a zany rom-com and an off-the-wall musical. Creator and star Rachel Bloom is perfect in the leading role, and she helps the show balance its exploration of ugly human truths and deep-dives into the psyche with gut-busting humor and charmingly catchy songs.

The Bad: All of the things that make this show unconventional can also be its downfall. The whiplashing between dark and light sometimes results in a murky tone. Plus: The plots are so outrageously loony that it becomes difficult suspend the disbelief required to buy to the "grown woman still in love with a guy from summer camp" premise in the first place.
Grade: B+

6 of 15 Ron Tom/ABC

Dr. Ken (ABC)

The Good: Ken Jeong is a decent sitcom leading man and the show features national treasure Albert Tsai.

The Bad: The writing is lazy, the jokes are predictable and everyone at the Welltopia Medical Group is insufferable. Dr. Ken might be better off dropping the workplace aspect altogether. Plus: ABC already features much better family comedies: Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs and Black-ish.
Grade: C-

7 of 15 FOX

Grandfathered (Fox)

The Good: Grandfathered has found its legs in recent weeks after it finally stopped writing Jimmy as an irresponsible idiot and more of an excited, willing-to-learn (grand)father. John Stamos and Paget Brewster's easy chemistry makes us wish Ponyboy and Sushi were a real couple too.

The Bad: The aw-worthy moments are so sweet they can give you a cavity. The show would also be well served to break out of the "Jimmy screws up, Jimmy makes up for it, everyone forgives him, everything is OK again" blueprint.
Grade: B-

8 of 15 Patrick McElhenney/FOX

The Grinder (Fox)

The Good: Easily the best new comedy of the season - but what if it wasn't? - the show has found a happy medium between goofy parody and a meta tribute to the genre and business it delightfully spoofs. Rob Lowe's aggressively exuberant, narcissistic TV star and Fred Savage's bumbling straight man are the odd couple we never knew we wanted.

The Bad: While The Grinder has managed to not make Stew's wife Deb and their kids sitcom stereotypes, it hasn't quite figured out what to do with William Devane's patriarch.
Grade: A

9 of 15 Neil Jacobs/CBS

Life in Pieces (CBS)

The Good: The wonderfully cast ensemble - shout out to the kids who are precocious but not annoying - and their great interplay are the best parts of the show, which is proving more to be a serviceable sitcom version of Parenthood than the next Modern Family.

The Bad: It needs some consistent material to match the performances. You never really know what you're going to get with the four-story vignette structure, which can veer from downright hilarious to crudely vulgar to weirdly wacky to incredibly forgettable.
Grade: B-

10 of 15 Best Possible Screen Grab/CBS

Limitless (CBS)

The Good: By mixing the NZT nonsense with a case-of-the-week format, the show has done a decent job distinguishing itself from the movie that inspired it. And even though we wish she had more to do, we love seeing Jennifer Carpenter back on our TVs each week.

The Bad: Those Bradley Cooper cameos might be doing more harm than good. While those episodes have been among our favorites, the show has to be careful not to lean on that crutch too heavily. Having Cooper around is also a reminder of how bland Jake McDorman can be.
Grade: B-

11 of 15 Carol Kaelson/ABC

The Muppets (ABC)

The Good: Visiting our favorite felt friends again really hits the nostalgia button and brings out the kid in all of us. It's fun to see which celebs are game to make mostly hilarious cameos.

The Bad: Unfortunately, the show's exploration of the Muppets' personal lives often veers into awkward, even icky, territory, like when Kermit's new girlfriend Denise comes on too strong. Also, with the huge cast of characters, some threads are left dangling over several episodes and some characters are given short shrift. More Gonzo!
Grade: B-

12 of 15 Phillipe Bosse/ABC

Quantico (ABC)

The Good: A Mack truck of twists charging full steam ahead at you, the FBI thriller is instantly, relentlessly addictive and makes every hour pass by in a flash. Plus: It's nice to see Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra cross over in such a big way.

The Bad: Quantico has never heard of nuance. Because the show is built arguably solely on twists, the self-serious plots and characterizations are illogical, repetitive and gimmicky for the sake of hoping to shock you with that CRAZY reveal. It's a fast ride that doesn't want you to think because when you do, you realize that none of it really makes any sense.
Grade: B-

13 of 15 Michael Desmond/FOX

Rosewood (Fox)

The Good: Morris Chestnut is a charismatic leading man whose charms -- and, let's be honest, his abs -- make this stock procedural go down a little easier. And it's safe to say that this show has exceeded ratings expectations, becoming one of the bright spots on Fox's fall schedule.

The Bad: Everything about the show, from its case-of-the-week format to the tired will-they-won't-they setup, is something we have seen hundreds of times before, often executed better. (While we like newcomer Jaina Lee Ortiz well enough, we're not sold on the chemistry between her and Chestnut). Plus: Lorraine Toussaint is being wasted as Rosewood's overbearing mother.
Grade: D

14 of 15 Patti Perret/FOX

Scream Queens (Fox)

The Good: Ryan Murphy's latest is a guilty pleasure that has managed to keep the identity of the serial killer unpredictable. Just as Glee celebrated the underdog, this show takes tired college stereotypes and whacks them (sometimes literally). And the wardrobe is to die for (no pun intended).

The Bad: It's a hot mess. The show tries to be too many things at once - scary, campy, funny, serious, clever, edgy - and does not do any of them particularly well. And for an anthology murder mystery touting at least one dead body a week, it's afraid to off its main cast - the kills have so far been guest stars and nameless, faceless sorority sisters. Raise the stakes!
Grade: C+

15 of 15 Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc/CBS

Supergirl (CBS)

The Good: Because there's plenty of dark and brooding superheroes at the movies, this show smartly keeps it light. Melissa Benoist is super-charming as Kara Zor-El and brings an "adorkable" quality to the character without making her over-earnest or annoying. Plus: The show has also done a good job of cooking up a variety of super-villains for Kara to battle on a weekly basis.

The Bad: The feminist drama set out to equal the playing field with all of the guys saving their respective cities, but it's developed an annoying dependence on Superman, Kara's more famous cousin. You don't see or hear him, but the Man of Steel is still an overbearing presence on the show. (The back half of the season will even feature a teenage Clark Kent.) We wish the show would renew its focus on its own heroine.
Grade: B