The fall TV season is literally just a few days away, and before you know it you will be up to your eyeballs in new series to pick and choose from. Don't stress! It will give you wrinkles. Instead, we've handpicked the five best new network pilots for you to keep tabs on to ensure that your fall TV viewing experience doesn't entirely suck. Read the list over, and then make sure you have your couch reserved for the appropriate times.
Scream Queens (Fox)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 22 at 8:00pm
Remember Harper's Island? That CBS show had the right idea: make a murder mystery and kill one of its ensemble characters in gruesome ways in each episode. But the fun of the slaughter was missing, and that's exactly what Scream Queens injects into the model thanks to a sugar-coated sorority-house setting and a satire of the Greek system and slasher flicks. Emma Roberts is delightfully wicked as the Queen B of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority and Jamie Lee Curtis as the anti-sorority college dean is unexpectedly perfect. Campy, clever, and corny, it's a slick mix of Glee and American Horror Story.
The Grinder (Fox)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 29 at 8:30pm
You can take those DirecTV ads off your DVR because Rob Lowe is back on TV! Lowe's character on The Grinder, an actor who played a lawyer on the tube, returns home to give real lawyering a shot... with his legal genius but socially challenged brother (played by Fred Savage). The odd dynamic works great, particularly thanks to Savage's performance, and Lowe knows how to ham it up and be part of the ridicule.
The Player (NBC)
Premieres: Thursday, September 24 at 10pm
Some shows know exactly what they are and what they're going for, and The Player is one of those shows by balancing the predictable, cliché, and explosive in a tight package that's ridiculous fun. Take the premise, for example: It's about rich people who bet on whether or not a blackmailed ex-security expert (Strike Back's Philip Winchester) can stop crimes in Las Vegas as part of their selfish rich-person entertainment (guess they got bored of Baccarat). Plus, Wesley Snipes is on board as the mysterious metaphorical pit boss making sure everything goes without a hitch. It isn't the greatest, but it's full of mindless thrills without the air of self-importance (ahem, Blindspot).
The Muppets (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
This big swing from ABC revives a franchise that's impossible to hate (seriously, if you are anti-Muppet, then WHO ARE YOU?) for a mockumentary-style comedy following the lives of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the felt crew in present day. Pitched as a more adult version of the classic series, The Muppets mixes snickering adult humor with kid-friendly talking puppets for a half-hour sitcom that's mostly family friendly, provided gags about gay subcultures and Alcoholics Anonymous go unnoticed by your tykes. It may not be as good as the 10-minute presentation that sold it, but it's still one of the better new comedies of the network season.
Premieres: Monday, October 26 at 8:30pm
We're just going to have to deal with it: Supergirl isn't bad! In fact, it's primed to be accepted by the masses as a harmless hour of girl power rather than the makeover special that the first trailers made it out to be. Melissa Benoist has enough charisma to go up, up, and away as the next superhero star, and the throwback positive storytelling is simple enough to work for casual viewers who feel other superhero fare is too deep and brooding. The action is solid (girl carries a plane!), the look is clean, and Calista Flockhart is delightfully nasty as the Devil Wears Prada-like boss.