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

1 of 22 Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Brownie Harris/FOX; Justin Lubin/ABC


So many new shows, so little time! The fall TV graveyard is already littered with casualties — RIP Ironside, Lucky 7, We Are Men and Welcome to the Family — but what about those still standing? Let's assess the remaining fall lineup to see which shows are worth keeping on your DVR and which you can safely skip.
2 of 22 Richard Cartwright/ABC

Back in the Game (ABC)

The Good: Maggie Lawson is infinitely charming opposite the gruff James Caan; they make the estranged-father-daughter premise work. The supporting cast of misfit ballplayers and their parents are always dependable for a laugh or two. The Bad: Well, first up, ABC still hasn't picked up a back nine, which is never a good sign. In the meantime, though, Caan's shtick can be excessive. And the Bad News Bears setup is both familiar and dated. Grade: C
3 of 22 Matt Dinerstein/ABC

Betrayal (ABC)

The Good: Um, it's still on the air? James Cromwell has a place to chew the scenery this season? Help us out here! The Bad: Where to begin? The overwrought drama, the sterile chemistry, the facepalm-inducing dialogue — Betrayal is like bad fan fiction brought to life. Grade: F
4 of 22 Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The Blacklist (NBC)

The Good: James Spader is having the time of his life hamming it up, Hannibal Lecter-style, as evil genius Red Reddington. It's hard to imagine anyone else doing as well wearing that fedora. The Bad: Well, first of all, have you seen Megan Boone's terrible wig? The Blacklist's case-of-the-week procedural format might be in danger of becoming a one-man show if the rest of the cast isn't given more to play with. Plus: If they're going down the road we think they are with Keen's daddy drama, The Blacklist might end up on our blacklist. Grade: B+
5 of 22 Eddy Chen/FOX

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

The Good: Among a freshman crop of family comedies, this workplace half-hour fills the void left by The Office and 30 Rock. The show's very funny ensemble appears to have no weak link; we've even come around to liking brownnoser Santiago (Melissa Fumero). The Bad: Andy Samberg is a great physical comedian, but how did his Detective Jake Peralta get to be so unlikable amidst a squad room otherwise filled with lovable kooks? Grade: B
6 of 22 Richard Cartwright/CBS

The Crazy Ones (CBS)

The Good: The show has reined in Robin Williams' tendency to, um, overemote, which has helped the show find its easy balance between laughs and heart. Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Wolk have a real sparkly chemistry. And Kelly Clarkson's winning turn in the pilot was not a fluke. Great guest stars such as Josh Groban and Ed Asner have continued to tickle us. The Bad: The client-of-the-week formula is already wearing thin. We know it's a slippery slope, but we'd like to see some more serialized backstory arcs that venture outside the office. Grade: B
7 of 22 Eddy Chen/FOX

Dads (Fox)

The Good: Seth MacFarlane's past work has shown us that he knows how to skate that edge between irreverent and offensive, so we remain hopeful. Plus: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull and Peter Reigert have all proven themselves to be winning comedic talents. The Bad: Unfortunately, just not with this material. The show's attempt at boundary-pushing comedy is racist, misogynist, and perhaps most damning, not funny. Worst of all, the show's tepid ratings are hampering Fox's otherwise solid comedy block. Grade: D-
8 of 22 Jonathon Hession/NBC

Dracula NBC)

The Good: His implacable American accent aside, Jonathan Rhys Meyers makes a perfect Dracula. By focusing on Dracula's origin story, the show, which features great sets and incredible costumes, sets itself apart from the glut of vampire fare. The Bad: Although the gore isn't gratuitous, the show is a little oversexed. (We get it! He's a very horny vampire.) Grade: C+
9 of 22 Ron Batzdorff/ABC

The Goldbergs (ABC)

The Good: Loud, schmoud! Adam F. Goldberg's autobiographical ode to his childhood has been a hilarious nostalgia trip. The '80s references are fun, but the show excels at meshing heart and humor into a surprisingly cynicism-free tone. The Bad: While Troy Gentile (Barry) and Sean Giambrone (Adam) are fantastic discoveries, their on-screen sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) has been fairly unmemorable. (Maybe it's because Goldberg doesn't have a sister in real life.) Grade: B+
10 of 22 Jeff Neumann /Warner Bros.

Hostages (CBS)

The Good: The star-studded cast makes the most of the breakneck pace and (sometimes groan-worthy) plot twists. Connecting the dots is often a chore, but thus far, the mystery and suspense has pulled us through. The Bad: The show wants to be a pulsing serial, but the detours through every character's personal secrets (Brian's affair, Jake's drug dealing, Morgan's pregnancy) end up feeling like stall tactics. At this point, we aren't confident that the "big reveal" at the end will be satisfying. Grade: C
11 of 22 Justin Lubin/ABC

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

The Good: Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson is a smooth character, with a tantalizing backstory mystery about his resurrection. And we love watching Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) kick ass and take names. The Bad: We get that the show isn't really about superheroes, but the agents for whom we're supposed to be rooting — Chloe Bennet's Skye and Brett Dalton's Ward — are pretty one-dimensional. Many of the episodic plots are clichéd and predictable, and the show's uneasy relationship with the film franchise is distracting. Ultimately, everything feels a bit uninspired. Grade: C
12 of 22 Eric Liebowitz/NBC

The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)

The Good: We're always happy to have Michael J. Fox on TV. His easy chemistry with Betsy Brandt makes the marriage at the show's center feel real and lived-in. Plus: We're totally digging Anne Heche as Mike's anchorwoman foil. The Bad: The show's just kind of boring. Because Mike is a good husband, father and reporter, there's not a lot of conflict, except with the aforementioned Heche, who brings out other shades of Mike. (In truth, we'd support shifting the balance between home and work toward the latter). Grade: C+
13 of 22 Monty Brinton/CBS

The Millers (CBS)

The Good: The show has a great cast, anchored by veterans Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges and Will Arnett, the latter of whom has proven to be a solid straight man. And true to his word, creator Greg Garcia has cooled it with the fart jokes. The Bad: There's very little surprise in the show's approach to the "grown man living with a meddling mother" premise. (Mom ruins son's dates! Mom interrupts son in the shower!) The show is a competent family sitcom, but it's certainly not trying anything new. Grade: B-
14 of 22 Darren Michaels/Warner Bros

Mom (CBS)

The Good: Chuck Lorre & Co. have wrung dark humor out of a serious issue — addiction — without being overly preachy. Allison Janney and Anna Faris also make for a realistic mother-daughter duo and elevate the sometimes underwhelming material. The Bad: The show seems hell-bent on trotting out every tried-and-true TV trope in the book so far: pregnant teen daughter, a relapse-themed "very special episode" and a dreadful, pointless "sleeping with the boss" story line. It's too much, too soon and unnecessary this early in the game. Grade: B-
15 of 22 Jack Rowand/ABC

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)

The Good: Sophie Lowe is endlessly appealing as Alice and carries the show on her young shoulders. The Bad: Corny and inconsistent, Wonderland spends too much time on the CGI pyrotechnics and not enough on the paper-thin story and cartoonish characters. Grade: C
16 of 22 Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Originals (The CW)

The Good: The Vampire Diaries spin-off has done an admirable job of setting itself apart from its mothership, cuing up darker, grittier, more adult stories that make TVD's exploits look like child's play. Plus: Charles Michael David's Marcel is a great foil for Klaus. The Bad: The drama is already planting seeds for several love triangles — including Klaus, Marcel and Cami — which have been TVD's downfall. What's next? Doppelgängers? Grade: B
17 of 22 Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

Reign (CW)

The Good: While it's not exactly filling Gossip Girl's fashion void, this guilty pleasure's costumes are eye-catching. Adelaide Kane is strong and graceful as a young Mary Queen of Scots, and the show is brimming with teen lovers' angst. Which — even 16th-century-style — is right on target for the CW. The Bad: Even though the real Mary was fascinating, the show clearly has no interest in honoring history, which makes us wonder why the CW attempted a period piece in the first place. And we know the CW really likes pretty people, but … Nostradamus as a hunk? Grade: B-
18 of 22 Chris Haston/NBC

Sean Saves the World (NBC)

The Good: The cast — Sean Hayes, Megan Hilty, Thomas Lennon, Linda Lavin, Samantha Isler, Echo Kellum and Vik Sahay — have a great rapport already. The Bad: Hayes is essentially playing a toned-down version of Jack McFarland, so his character's periodic histrionics seem out of character. Plus: Sean's cliched plots are as predictable as Will & Grace was progressive. Grade: C-
19 of 22 Brownie Harris/FOX

Sleepy Hollow (Fox)

The Good: In an era of bleak storytelling, it's nice to have a drama that is actually fun. Sleepy Hollow fully embraces its loopy self, twisting horror, mystery, comedy, fantasy and American history into an addictive braid of craziness. Best of all, despite Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie's great chemistry, it has resisted the urge to make Ichabod and Abbie TV's umpteenth will-they-won't-they couple. The Bad: Yeah, we know Katrina's stuck in Purgatory, but for a main character and Ichabod's wife, she's so glaringly underdeveloped that it's hard to care about their relationship. Grade: A
20 of 22 Ron Tom/ABC

Super Fun Night (ABC)

The Good: The girls' friendship is sweet and endearing, and Rebel Wilson is a fearless performer who deserves to be headlining her own show. The Bad: Unfortunately, Super Fun Night is not that show. Instead of showcasing Wilson's signature bite, the comedy — and its comedy — is stale and repetitive. Enough with the fat jokes, guys! Grade: C
21 of 22 Cate Cameron/The CW

The Tomorrow People (CW)

The Good: Robbie Amell may get top billing, but Luke Mitchell and Mark Pellegrino are the most fun to watch. The show is at its best when dealing with such morally gray matters as John's killer past working with Ultra. The Bad: The show seems to care mostly about the derivative love triangle between Stephen (Amell), Cara (Peyton List) and John (Mitchell). Plus: As villainous groups go, we're not all that frightened by Ultra. Overall, the show is competent but forgettable — which is perhaps the reason the show has zero pop-culture buzz. Grade: C
22 of 22 Ron Batzdorff/ABC

Trophy Wife (ABC)

The Good: It's Modern Family when it was good! The blended family sitcom is not only a delightful romp, but it has already fleshed out its large ensemble beyond their stereotypes (icy first ex-wife, loony second ex-wife, third trophy wife). Plus: Albert Tsai is the show's undisputed breakout star. Just watch him cook salmon or take one right in the uterus. The Bad: Meg, Kate's BFF, is a nice thread to Kate's pre-marriage, party-girl life (and we loved seeing her play beer pong with Diane), but her appearances can feel out of place and forced. And then there's the show's title, which probably overestimates the general public's enjoyment of irony. Grade: B