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.

The Best and Worst New Midseason Shows: Which Ones Should You Watch?

We look at Promised Land, Good Sam, The Cleaning Lady, and more

Tim Surette

Whether they're filling in for a show that has been canceled or giving an old vet a break during a long 22-episode season, midseason shows are the unsung heroes for broadcast networks. They're the new shows that spice up primetime hours during winter funks, they're the hail marys that can save a struggling channel, they're the versatile spackling paste that covers up holes in schedules. Let's all hear it for midseason shows! But let's be honest: Not all of them are good, and some just sort of show up and disappear (did Council of Dads even really exist?). We're taking a look at this year's new midseason shows — like ABC's new series Promised Land, about Latinx families in the wine business — to help you sort through the clutter and decide which ones to watch.

Below, you'll find quick reviews of each of the new midseason shows on the Big 5 networks — ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, and NBC — as well as trailers, cast information, and premiere dates. We'll be adding more shows to the list as their premiere dates come up. Note: Most of these can be found on Hulu or Paramount+ the day after they air.


Promised Land

Premiered: Monday, Jan. 24 at 10/9c on ABC
For fans of: Primetime soaps, wine, the so-called American dream
Who's in it? Bellamy Young, John Ortiz, Christina Ochoa, Andres Velez
What it's about: Various generations of two Latinx families in the wine business battle for power and wealth in Wine Country. 
Is it good? It's got the chops to be a new fun, twisty, extra soapy family drama about the rich and powerful, with the welcome added flavor of centering it on Mexican-American families and their journey from have-nots to have-alls. However, aside from two timelines connected in a way that I'm not allowed to mention here, it's not reinventing the genre, but it does what it knows pretty well. Tonally, it takes itself fairly seriously, but that's coupled with heavy subject matter, like undocumented immigrants, business takeovers, and obviously multiple murders. The first episode is packed with spinning a web of characters and their connections, loading it with reveals at every turn, so the real question Promised Land faces — the same problem all broadcast family soap operas contend with — is if it will be able to sustain that pace or how long it will take to descend into absurd silliness. We'll probably be able to get a good season and a half out of it, so enjoy the early ride while you can. -Tim Surette


The Cleaning Lady

Premiered: Monday, Jan. 3 at 9/8c on Fox
For fans of: Strong women, organized crime, the struggle of the undocumented
Who's in it? Élodie Yung, Adan Canto, Oliver Hudson, Martha Millan
What it's about: A Cambodian doctor (Yung) comes to America looking for specialized treatment for her immunocompromised son, but ends up taking a job as a cleaning lady in Las Vegas to get by while she searches for the right medical help. After witnessing a murder on a job, she agrees to clean up the mess and unwittingly becomes a literal cleaner for Vegas gangsters. 
Is it good? We're not totally sure yet. Just reading that description, you knew there would be a tricky tone to navigate, and The Cleaning Lady, with its undeniably important issues like immigration and female empowerment mixed with telenovela-style silliness, could use some cleaning itself. But after a bumpy beginning involving improvised tracheotomies and underground fight clubs (yep!), the drama finds its sweet spot in telling a story of a woman doing whatever it takes to help her son in a country that claims to want to help but does everything it can to make it difficult. There's also plenty of room for The Cleaning Lady to grow into a broadcast-friendly, female-led Breaking Bad lite if it maximizes its potential. This one's worth checking back in on after a few episodes. -Tim Surette

That's My Jam

Premiered: Monday, Jan. 3 at 9/8c on NBC
For fans of: Jimmy Fallon laughing uncontrollably, celebs showing off their talents
Who's in it? Jimmy Fallon, guests such as Chance the Rapper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taraji P. Henson, Ariana Grande
What it's about: Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon gets his famous friends together for a round of games centered around music that cover everything from new takes on Name That Tune to goofy spins on karaoke. 
Is it good? Primetime game shows are usually just cost-efficient ways of taking up space in a schedule, but That's My Jam is... good? The games here are fun and demand creative improvisation from an impressive roster of celebrity contestants, like a music-based trivia game in which players must answer by catching microphones that are launched into the air at them or Chance the Rapper singing a country-Western version of Nelly's "Hot in Herre." The scoring system is all over the place, as is usually the case with these shows, but winning clearly is an afterthought to having fun. Fair warning: Jimmy Fallon is peak Fallon here, practically hyperventilating with his extremely egregious good-time havin'. But in this case, he may actually be having a legitimately good time? -Tim Surette

Abbott Elementary

Premiered: Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 9/8c on ABC
For fans of: Making light of tough situations, portraying children as the demons they are
Who's in it? Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti
What it's about: This workplace comedy is set at a Philadelphia public elementary school and follows a group of underpaid and overworked teachers trying to do their jobs while the clueless principal (James) just tries to keep her job. 
Is it good? You bet. Abbott Elementary comes in as a surprising candidate for the best new broadcast show of the year after little hype from ABC. Brunson, a Black Lady Sketch Show vet who created Abbott Elementary, plays second-grade teacher Janine Teagues, the heart and soul of the series who does all she can to give her students an education despite every possible obstacle getting in her way. The focus is on the teachers and treats the kids as a mostly unruly mob, which helps the comedy maintain its perspective and reveal its tongue-in-cheek take on schoolchildren: they're monsters! -Tim Surette

American Auto

Premiered: Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 8/7c on NBC
For fans of: Superstore, bumbling executives, rapid-fire jokes
Who's in it? Ana Gasteyer, Jon Barinholtz, Harriet Dyer, Tye White
What it's about: The latest workplace comedy from Superstore creator Justin Spitzer moves away from the toils of the entry-level big box store worker and into the executive offices of a powerhouse Detroit automaker. Gasteyer plays the company's new CEO who comes from a pharma background and knows nothing about cars, leaving the rest of the staff to lick her boots and jockey for position up the corporate ladder.
Is it good? Definitely. Spitzer's knack for creating different but complementary characters works great here, too, and the goofy humor about an out-of-touch boss (like there's any other kind, amirite?) working in an industry being taken over by tech works well and reminded me of Better off Ted's excellent quirkiness. There's less heart here than Superstore, but it's just as funny. -Tim Surette

Grand Crew

Premiered: Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC
For fans of: Hangout comedies, wine
Who's in it? Echo Kellum, Nicole Byer, Justin Cunningham, Carl Tart
What it's about: Six friends navigate friendship, romance, and everything else that comes with being young and alive in hipster Los Angeles. And they do it at a wine bar!
Is it good? Grand Crew is your typical broadcast hangout comedy following the tried-and-true formula of half a dozen pals shootin' the s*** and just living the life of the young (and surprisingly comfortable despite various statuses of employment, another tradition of millennial hang-coms). The all-Black cast certainly gives it a different feel from Friends and New Girl, but the laughs just aren't there in early episodes. However, the likable cast and a much-improved second half of the pilot gives the show promise if it can iron things out. You can skip this one, but keep an eye out for word of improvement. -Tim Surette

Good Sam

Premiered: Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10/9c on CBS
For fans of: Bad dads, father-daughter dynamics, hospitals
Who's in it? Sophia Bush, Jason Isaacs
What it's about: Sam (Bush), a talented but undervalued heart surgeon, takes over as head of surgery after her arrogant boss, Griff (Isaacs), falls into a coma... until he wakes up and starts demanding to resume his duties. It's all complicated even further by the fact that he's also her dad who doesn't respect her!
Is it good? Eh. The worst sin this show commits is being boring. I'm not sure if we really needed another medical show, and this one definitely isn't breaking any new ground, but the messiness of the father-daughter relationship at least gives it a little bit of an edge. The dialogue is almost exceedingly corny, the tone is all over the place, and it really rushes through the whole coma thing, but it's helped by the fact that Isaacs, playing a true man child, and Bush, his long-suffering, tightly wound counterpart, have a fun back and forth when the show actually allows them to share scenes (less often than you might think!). If it leans into that in future episodes, we might just have something here. -Allison Picurro

Women of the Movement

Premiered: Thursday, Jan. 6 at 8/7c on ABC
For fans of: Important women in civil rights, watered-down history, the safety of broadcast television
Who's in it? Adrienne Warren, Tonya Pinkins, Cedric Joe   
What it's about: This first season of an anthology series looking at women who were instrumental in the civil rights movement follows Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, who was murdered by whites in the Jim Crow south. 
Is it good?: We all understand the need to tell important stories of women in history, particularly of women of color, and Women of the Movement does that. But the miniseries would have benefitted from spending more time examining Mamie as a character and what aspects of her personality made her become an icon, rather than just sticking with the story from the newspaper. There's also nothing too exciting from the production or performances, at least early on (we watched two episodes), making it feel like a second-tier telling of a first-rate hero. A better use of your time would be to watch the three-episode companion docuseries Let the World See (which airs after Women of the Movement at 10/9c on ABC) about Mamie Till-Mobley, featuring interviews with Till's family, civil rights icons, and historians who paint a better picture of Mamie than the scripted series does. -Tim Surette & Liam Mathews 

Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer

Premiered: Thursday, Jan. 6 at 8/7c on Fox
For fans of: The Bachelor, trashier reality shows than The Bachelor
Who's in it?: People who probably didn't make the cut for The Bachelor
What it's about: A group of women compete for the affection of two men who are both successful blue-collar businessmen, but one of them is a multi-millionaire and the other is not. The women don't know which is which. So they have to decide which is more important, true love or big bucks?
Is it good?: The original Joe Millionaire premiered in 2003, during a crueler era of reality television. "Last time, Joe Millionaire was about deceiving women into believing a fantasy," the show's host says early in the premiere of the revival. "This time, we're focusing on what matters: human connections." It's a nice sentiment, but the fact of the matter is that Joe Millionaire is a show about men trying to hide the truth about who they are from women who aspire to be gold-diggers. It's a misanthropic show. It follows many moves from the Bachelor's reality dating competition playbook, but with less polish (which is to say the leads are less charismatic and people do more tequila shots on-camera). All that being said, if you are predisposed to reality dating shows, you will inevitably find yourself sucked into the drama. It's addictive! I watched the first episode and thought "Damn, I'm going to keep watching this, aren't I?" -Liam Mathews


Premieres: Sunday, Jan. 9 at 8:30/9:30c on Fox
For fans of: Female friendships, New Year's resolutions, terrible people
Who's in it? Eliza Coupe, Maggie Q, Ginnifer Goodwin
What it's about: Three Long Island women reevaluate their lives after the death of their childhood best friend. Amy (Coupe) resolves to be a better mother. Sarah (Q) quits medicine, gets a job bagging groceries, and tries to put herself back out there after her divorce. And Jodie (Goodwin) takes up fitness while fantasizing about escaping her unhealthy marriage for a fling with her trainer.
Is it good? Nope! It should be more fun to watch these women be awful. Coupe, Q, and Goodwin have solid old-friend chemistry, but Pivoting traps a talented cast in a setup so tired it's almost offensive. (We're really going to pretend Ginnifer Goodwin is frumpy?) Bad moms and bored housewives have been making for great TV for decades, but Pivoting is too basic to really have bite, watering down the potential for fun nastiness and leaving only a depressing outlook on being a wife and mother. There are glimmers of something better in there: Maggie Q, who gets the most laughs so far, is essentially in her own Superstore where she's the Ben Feldman character. But Superstore this is not. They've got to pivot this one. -Kelly Connolly


Premieres: Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 9/8c on The CW
For fans of: Super teens, multiverses, Superman
Who's in it? Kaci Walfall, Mary-Charles Jones, Barry Watson
What it's about: A young girl named Naomi (Walfall) runs a Superman fan site but soon learns she may have more in common with the superhero than she thought. Naomi is based on the DC Comics character of the same name.
Is it good? Maybe! The CW apparently wasn't done with superhero shows from the DC universe, and at first glance, Naomi looks like any other teen superhero origin story. It may look like that on a second and third glance, too, but there's a chance it breaks the mold thanks to developer Ava DuVernay, who brings her keen sense of social justice to the mix but doesn't make it all about that, either. Throw in a backstory that's rooted in the multiverse, and there's no telling where the show will go. But if it does go somewhere interesting, it will have to do so after the fairly plain pilot episode. -Tim Surette

The Most Anticipated New TV Shows of 2022

Alan Ritchson, Reacher

Alan Ritchson, Reacher

Keri Anderson