The start of the 2013-14 TV season is still more than two months away, but writers have already returned to work, and filming will start over the next several weeks.
Since we’re near the midpoint between the announcement of the fall schedule and the start of the season, it’s a good time to start assessing what might work for the broadcast networks in the fall. Zap2it sees five shows in particular that should get every chance to succeed.
That’s not to say these shows are necessarily the five best of the fall — although based on the pilots the networks have sent out, at least a couple have a chance to be very good. But looking at where they’re scheduled, the early promotional backing they’re getting and other factors, the following five shows have the best chances to score strong ratings.
The key word in all this, obviously, is “should” — network TV is not a very predictable business, so we could very well be dead wrong on one or more of these picks. But here goes:
“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (ABC, 8 p.m. ET Tuesdays): Yes, it will face serious competition in “NCIS,” which is only the most-watched show on TV. But ABC has already started pounding the marketing drum for the series, and it has the huge platform of Comic-Con in a couple of weeks to help energize fans. The fact that “SHIELD” is based on the biggest movie of the decade so far — and is being overseen by “Avengers” writer-director and fanboy and -girl deity Joss Whedon — bodes well for a strong start.
“The Blacklist” (NBC, 10 p.m. Mondays): A year ago at this time, not many people were betting that “Revolution” would become one of the few drama hits of 2012-13, but it happened. Having “The Voice” as a lead-in, however, was an immense help in driving an audience to the freshman show. NBC will try to repeat that success with “The Blacklist,” which boasts a well-known star in James Spader, a pretty strong pilot episode and something “Revolution” didn’t have — a lower barrier to entry after episode 1. There are ongoing stories set up in “The Blacklist” pilot, but they’re set on a procedural foundation that could help attract people put off by heavily serialized shows.
“The Tomorrow People” (The CW, 9 p.m. Wednesdays): How much does The CW believe in its new “X-Men”-esque drama? Enough to pair it with the network’s biggest returning show, “Arrow,” on Wednesday nights. And enough to blow up the successful “Arrow”-“Supernatural” pairing it had last season. The similar tones of “Arrow” and “TTP” — and the fact that they star cousins Stephen and Robbie Amell — should make for a pretty seamless night.
“Mom” (CBS, 9:30 p.m. Mondays): A mini-trend this season is CBS and NBC putting two of their highest-profile comedies — “Mom” and “The Michael J. Fox Show” — in 9:30 slots rather than having them lead off an hour. The strategy is more obvious with “Mom,” which will have the solidly rated “2 Broke Girls” as a lead-in. It’s also not that different in tone from “Mike & Molly,” which has successfully occupied the timeslot for the past three seasons and which CBS is holding for midseason.
“Dracula” (NBC, 10 p.m. Fridays): Ratings for NBC’s drama probably won’t be as big as for some of the other shows here. But the bar is also not as high on Fridays, and it has a near-perfect lead-in in “Grimm.” Genre shows have found traction on the night in recent years as networks have realized they can tap into what’s usually a very loyal audience without the intense ratings pressure that another weeknight might bring.
Which shows do you think have the best chance at success in the fall?