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TV Fall Line-Up: What Prime Time TV Says About Our Culture

Updated on October 12, 2014
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75 TV Fall Line-Up Shows with 21 New Programs

ABC (20 total/6 new):

Once Upon A Time

This show has a moral code is that it lives by; ‘Good will always conquer Evil!’ Storybrooke is a story book community that idealizes all that is right and wrong in today’s society.

Resurrection

“The people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when a deceased loved one suddenly returns.” http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/resurrection/

This show is based on the 2013 novel “The Returned” by Jason Mott. The show asks the question of how lives might be affected by the return of those who have passed on. How is society really influenced by the people in our lives? The world is smaller than we realize, and we are all connected to one another in some way, shape or form!

Revenge

This is a soap-opera based on the seeking of truth, finding regrets and needing revenge. This show reveals the darker side of modern-day society, and how we obtain a sense of who we are by those we cannot forgive.

Dancing with the Stars

"The contestant pairs consist of a celebrity paired with a professional dancer.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_Stars_(U.S._TV_series)

This show is about competition and the timeless penchant toward triumphant over one's contemporaries!

*Selfie

This is a show about a fun loving, narcissistic young woman, looking to improve her image for her own self-interest. This show comically reveals how much of our contemporary society can be governed by the social media.

*Manhattan Love Story

This is a light-hearted comedy that illustrates how men and women think about relationships in our modern-day culture. From an early age, individuals continuously try to prove their self-worth. This matter ofself-perception shapes who we are and who we can become, grounded by our life experiences and relationships.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

In a world of political scandals, media entertainment hype, heightened social activism, global Ebola outbreak, globally scattered armed forces, impending presidential election, bizarre global climate changes, numerous countries in a state of unrest, gangs—generations of bullying, illegal immigrate queries and many missing children, the Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D program brings a sense of contentment, justice and escape from the present-day, real life evils.

*Forever

As an escape from life’s realities, this show idealizes immortality. This concept has been in existence since the beginning of life. Humanity deals with the inevitability of death by fantasizing the possibilities of one’s own existence.

The Middle

This is a sitcom of contemporary society’s modern nuclear family that holds many of the same zany shortcomings found in an average American home.

The Goldbergs

This show is a nostalgic look at a 1980’s family, and a time before social media—with its aura of physical disconnection. Many people appreciate distraction from their own semi-dysfunctional family life. I should note how I believe that every family is normally, and wonderfully semi-dysfunctional!

Modern Family

This show is yet another, wonderfully semi-dysfunctional nuclear family! People love to feel normal and what better way to experience this emotion than to have all of the past family guidelines ‘thrown out the window?’ This family-life parody is a feel-good “mockumentary” (mock-documentary) about contemporary society’s modern family.

*Black-ish

This is another American sitcom series that often parodies the conventional nuclear family. Families enjoy watching sitcoms about other families and will often even emulate a few problem solving ‘know-hows’ from the TV personality’s situations.

Nashville

This is an American soap opera series comprised of an assorted cast of country music artists. This program appeals to the romantic side of celebrity life and an escape from an otherwise mainstream, working class lifestyle. The focus on popular country music is a draw for many typical Americans who believe in the adage “working hard and playing hard” are what life is all about.

Grey’s Anatomy

This medical drama illustrates the evolution of surgical interns and residents as they study to become doctors and surgeons. Many individuals can relate to the frantic life of a hospital and emergency room, as there are many viewers who work in the medical or law enforcement field. This fictional drama creates real-life situations and conditions under which many average Americans work under.

Scandal

This political thriller series brings American politics and its management of ‘run-of-the-mill’ diplomatic crisis to the average home. Many American people like the mystique and thrill of governmental scandal and gossip. Many times these programs will imitate contemporary rumors.

*How to Get Away with Murder

This is an American legal-mystery series that entertains as it taps into the psyches of the average citizen. Joe-Average citizen is able to watch a mystery unravel and help to solve the age old question of “who done it?”

Last Man Standing

This program illustrates another modern, nuclear family with a father who is out-numbered by the women in his household. The situational humor comes into play when the father asserts his conventional principles upon his daughters. Many parents can relate to the contrasting values that may arise in one home.

*Cristela

This sitcom is about a Mexican-American woman who is interning at a law firm and trying to live the American Dream by juggling her life with work and home. Many American viewers can relate to striving toward the image of the “American Dream.”

Shark Tank

This is a reality program that pits a panel of potential investors “sharks” against aspiring entrepreneurs, who are looking for investments for their businesses or product. The show is a competition that many American viewers can relate to, like savvy business antics and the desperation experienced by today’s unreliable economy.

20/20

This American television newsmagazine brings reliable human interest stories to the homes of American viewers. Americans are able to dig deeper into contemporary stories that otherwise may not appear on regular news channels.

CBS (16 total/4 new):

*Madam Secretary

This TV drama series is about the events that occur in the life of an American female Secretary of State. Governmental intrigue has always been a popular perception in any society. Couple this concept with the feminine side of a “political man’s world” stigma and it creates a mix of ‘modern-family’ versus ‘feminism’ versus ‘capital régime.’ It becomes an appeal and advantageous mix to prime-time TV.

The Good Wife

This political/legal drama brings additional intrigue to the American living-room. Viewers are enticed and connect to the drawn pace of scandal and political corruption that they envision in present-day society.

CSI

This dramatic crime series places the typical family viewer in the driver’s seat, to unravel the threads of criminal investigation and crime solving from the comforts of an arm-chair. The thrill of danger, intrigue and corruption are safely explored without fear of consequence. This show has the ability to find the detective in all of us.

The Big Bang Theory

This sitcom has a classic quality that appeals to all ages. It is a program that defines today’s “Geek” personality type and characterizes how humans can be equally socially awkward no matter the intellect or job title that comes with what we choose to pursue in our vocations. People can relate and not feel intellectually threatened, because “book-smarts” do not always bring “common sense.”

*Scorpion

This drama series is inspired by the real life of Walter O’Brien, a brilliant computer expert who consults in problem solving scenarios. Societies have always revered its prodigies and attach fascination to the mysteries of the mind. This program brings this lure along with action and adventure of a graphic novel façade.

NCIS: Los Angeles

This military drama series was the offshoot of NCIS which is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (OSP – Office of Special Projects, or undercover operations). Viewers enjoy the action and adventure in watching the characters preform Special Military Operations. Secret governmental or military operations have always been a captivating attraction to many people in our American culture. Visualizing how American government is able to go to great lengths to protect its citizens creates a sense of security and wellbeing.

NCIS

This is the original military drama series that generated NCIS: Los Angeles and the new fall program NCIS: New Orleans. The envisioning of secret governmental protection has been at the forefront of many American’s minds since the attacks occurred ten years ago, on September 11, 2001.

*NCIS: New Orleans

This is the third and newest NCIS military drama. Many viewers can certainly relate to having an office of special projects in this end of the south. It holds a key attraction due to the devastation that occurred during Hurricane Katrina.

Person of Interest

This crime drama series has an appeal on a few levels. The first attraction is action and adventure with ‘CIA inspired’ conspiracy intrigue, in a city where “big-brother” is always watching. The second draw is maintained through the story’s use of wide-spread computer encrypting through the help of a mysterious billionaire who uses his knowledge to prevent deaths due to violent crimes. This program has a certain “Batman” attribute that many viewers appreciate.

Survivor

This is a show about opposition and the human predisposition toward overcoming challenges. The achievement of survival under perilous conditions is a trait that all humans find instinctively advantageous. The act of survival coupled with the enjoyment contests makes for excellent viewing.

Criminal Minds

This is another criminal and FBI based program. This series has a FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) which is connected to a unit that analyzes violent crimes. People have always been fascinated by the mind, and therefore the criminal mind lends a certain chilling quality. We all wonder how the mind of a person turns and what “makes them tick?”

Stalker

This new psychological thriller appeals to natural human interest. The viewer can watch how detective work gets done, with the thrill of ‘being scared.” Viewers can unravel these mysteries with the police department’s special ‘Threat Assessment Unit.’ Humans love covert strategy!

The Amazing Race

This reality TV program is a contest that sends its competitors all over the globe to find their ultimate destination and grand prize. Everyone loves an exciting contest with the general attraction of supporting their chosen ‘team.’ The age-old concept of competition is an unspoken fundamental aspect in our human culture.

Hawaii Five-O

This police drama takes place on a tropical island. Action and a laid-backed island life are the key charms to this type of programming. Most people love the beach and the romantic fascination it creates in the mind’s eye. Island living coupled with police action are sure to appeal to many viewers.

Blue Bloods

This crime fighting police series attracts many viewers. Crime in the city is something everyone can relate to. Nightly news broadcasts show a significant amount of crime in cities across the globe. Where there are cities, there is crime. Most of society can definitely relate to the stopping of crime in cities, especially one that has a large force in charge of its protection.

48 Hours

This news based documentary series gives viewers a more in-depth look at the current events occurring in their nightly newscasts. This type of programing appeals to people from all ‘walks of life,’ as humans have an intrinsic need to be informed so that they are better able to make good decisions about their lives.

CW (10 total/ 2 new):

The Originals

This supernatural drama series reveals a buried realm beneath the extant one. The eccentric family life of the characters shows an almost human side to the unearthly family. Viewers enjoy the thrill of the concept of our own material word shadowed by a secret society.

*Jane The Virgin

This new series appeals to those who enjoy religious irony. A devout ‘virgin’ and single Christian woman inadvertently becomes pregnant by her own physician. This program appears to be a situation-comedy, where prospective humor will come from circumstances surrounding the central characters’ work-place. The woman’s married and ‘playboy’ boss is the unwitting sperm-donor; this type of chaotic ‘true-life’ drama appeals to many viewers.

*The Flash

This action ‘super-hero’ series has virtuous characteristics that attract audiences of all ages. The good-guy versus the bad-guy paradigm has been a fascination since the beginning of time. This show provokes the question of “what is the right thing to do and would you do… if this happens?”

Supernatural

This spine-chilling series deals with all types of paranormal creatures—urban legends, religion, fate, humanity and being a protector; these brothers will give anything to keep family safe and humanity can relate. The brotherly sibling relationship and rapport are the core dynamics that sell this show. The appeal to this series is that most humans love scary ‘ghost’ stories! Much like a Stephen King novel, dry humor can be found within the ‘face of horror’—this always breaks up the tension. Many are attracted to the male protagonists, but also enjoy a mystery each week that ends with good overcoming evil. However, true to life, there is always a fine line that determines these ethics—viewers relate to this fundamental element.

Arrow

Society has always been attracted to the vigilante. Such legends as Robin the Hood, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, Max Payne, Ghost Rider or Dirty Harry have preoccupied the minds of many people for centuries. Many in society have an appreciation to the circumstance where the ‘good guy’ can do the wrong thing for the right reason.

The 100

The end of our planet, as we know it, is an inevitable reality that many in our culture recognize as truth. All things living are born and all things living will eventually die. This fate is true for all humankind and greatly assumed of our planet Earth. This drama series is based on the book “The 100” by Jason Rothenberg that depicts what life might be like following global nuclear disaster. Much like Noah from the Holy Christian Bible, the stories ‘Ark’ is filled with people (hope) to begin a new world on the new Earth’s surface. Humanity can relate to a hope filled new world that will continue for our children, long after we all have all gone.

The Vampire Diaries

This drama series caters to the trendy vampire mania in society today—stemming from Anne Rice’s erotic vampire chronicles or Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” book series. The appeal toward the romantic side of the preternatural has always been a fascination for people, coupled with the concepts of immortality make for a captivated audience; especially one that mixes corporeal desires with the unearthly ones.

Reign

This historical series uses fact-based history to create a fictionalized story line filled with drama, politics, romance, deception and intrigue. Since the beginning of time our culture has always been drawn by such enchantments. Today’s society is often impressed by royal dynasties and political sovereigns. Many people follow the prominent British Mountbatten-Windsor family or the American Kennedy and Bush Family as renowned monarchs in our time. Just as a Disney Princess fantasy evokes feelings of optimism, so do these recognized lives of political leaders.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

This amusing ‘improvisational’ program rouses laughter from many viewers. Purely entertaining, the single purpose of this program is to use witty tactics to make the audience laugh. Laughter brings feelings of pleasure and gratification—both factors that are instinctively sought by all people.

America’s Next Top Model

This competition reality series is popular on several levels. Beauty is a timeless attraction. The mere word ‘attraction’ brings about images of beauty. Humans are instinctively ‘attracted’ to beauty and repel from the ugly. However, beauty is subjective and therefore, the panel of judges consist of prior models and those who are active in the industry. Many viewers may not agree with the concept of superficial beauty, but may curiously watch to scrutinize this sundry lifestyle.

FOX (13 total/5 new):

Bob’s Burgers

This program is an animated sitcom that portrays a modern nuclear family that run a ‘Burger’ restaurant. Many viewers can relate to the struggle of knowing someone who owns, or owning their own, ‘Mom & Pop’ establishment in today’s economy. Viewers can also relate to the New Jersey Shore area, with all of its own appealing idiosyncrasies.

The Simpsons

Another animated sitcom, perhaps the one and only that ‘put them all on the map!’ This dysfunctional nuclear family is a definite ‘fun-loving’ and very relatable one to all TV viewers. This program continuously reinvents itself. It does this by constantly presenting innovated characters, true-life turned animated or just a re-mix of a current personalities with provocative and/or thought-provoking storylines. Society can relate as the show mocks all cultures—everyone’s philosophies, values, principles and beliefs. This sitcom says a lot about our society today, as well as the fact that we are all able to just laugh at ourselves on screen.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

America loves a comedic cop show. This series appeals to the slap-stick action monger, who enjoys a mockery of the typical American police-department. The many comedic personalities on the show are ‘fun-loving’ and very relatable to many TV viewers. Society often enjoys ‘poking-fun’ at such a hazardous and grim occupation. People are better able to relate to the workforce by finding the lighthearted aspects within the position.

Family Guy

This is an adult animated sitcom that sanctions dysfunctional families in contemporary society by using social satire and dark humor. Many viewers can relate to the show by finding the ironies that it parodies from real life.

*Mulaney

This sitcom was formed around the former SNL (Saturday Night Live) writer and stand-up comedian John Mulaney. This show’s format can be rivaled against the former Seinfeld sitcom. Viewers love comedy and most will watch to gage how funny it is and if it will make them laugh. Sometimes this is all a program needs to succeed.

*Gotham

This comic-book crime action/drama appeals to the many DC comic-book crusader followers, as well as those who enjoy police drama. However, fantasy plays a major role in this series, as there is a wide-range of fantastic characters, villains such as the ‘Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Hugo Strange, Harvey Dent, Mr. Freeze and Victor Zsasz, to name a few. Most of society likes when good overcomes evil; this factor with the eccentric cast of character will sell the show.

Sleepy Hollow

This supernatural series continues the story of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (by Washington Irving) into the 21st century. This program follows the current life of a young female police lieutenant and her sister, along with Ichabod Crane, a soldier from the Colonial Army of 1781. History buffs who like the eerie stories of the Apocalypse and the spooky Four Horsemen will find this series fascinating. Many viewers like the diversion of a good ghost story!

*Utopia

This reality show has its contestants join a mini-society that is separate from contemporary civilization. They compete by thriving in their minimal existence and those who do best will ultimately ‘win.’ Many viewers enjoy watching programs on “how to survive” situations. This type of show gives people clever or helpful ideas and may make many people feel better prepared in the event of the unexpected.

Hell’s Kitchen

This reality cooking show is very popular for many viewers. Many people can learn about cooking—helpful hits or tricks that they may bring to their own kitchen. The competition factor is always a positive attraction, as people love to compete and see winners take home prizes. The shows format is appealing to many people due to taste tests, ingredient and meal prep challenges and where everyone gets yelled at and the loser goes home. Viewers love to follow a winner through to the conclusion of a “fiery” competition!

*Red Band Society

With a focus on young adults in a hospital pediatric ward, this drama has dark humor. Viewers may like the off-beat wit of this medical drama. Teens may relate to character interactions and situations each week.

Bones

Prime time seems to excel at procedural crime dramas. Perhaps because so much of society is interested in tragic events and discovering the outcomes of them all. Many people are going to school to learn forensics and law. Forensics in anthropology, archaeology and modern day crime are a popular fixation in contemporary society. Many viewers enjoy the close working relationships of the characters in their workplace, out on the field and at home.

*Gracepoint

Crime drama is the most popular genre on television today! Again, due to high interest in real-world crime (catching the perpetrator) many viewers enjoy unwinding each night and watching police mysteries unfold. Many people in society today appreciate law and order and the anticipation of catching a criminal and then bringing that offender to justice.

Masterchef Junior

This reality cooking competition show has a growing popularity for everyone, as young adults can also relate to the ‘junior’ age group. Cooking enthusiasts everywhere love to learn new tricks of the trade, when given creative new or old recipes. Competition makes for a more exciting program.

NBC (16 total; 5 new):

The Voice

This reality singing-competition is much like the popular American Idol show. The program features popular music personalities that many people tune in to watch. Society has always had a passion for music and song. Viewers love a singing competition and the upbeat way the show makes them feel.

The Blacklist

This show has a plethora of governmental façade at every turn! Each time a new case is uncovered the smokescreen drifts slowly away until the viewer is left with another revelation that leads them ‘back down the rabbit hole.’ The series namesake is an inventory of international villains known only by one man, which remain undisclosed to the FBI until they are released. The viewer is captivated by the contrast of many virtuous characters becoming snared in the tangle of deception and murder.

2 Broke Girls

This sitcom appeals to the younger generation who are struggling to earn a living in today’s economy. The two ‘broke girls’ focus their entrepreneurial efforts on a striving cupcake business. Viewers can relate to the struggling economy and the girl’s reactions to their present condition.

*Marry Me

This sitcom features a couple who has been together for a long time but has zany concerns about ‘tying the knot.’ Present-day society has numerous unmarried couples. Some may never marry their significant other. Many viewers can relate to this fact. One reason for this statistic has to do with the present state of our economy. People on welfare collect more money if they remain single, even though they may have several children. However, spiritually, many people have digressed from the orthodox state of marriage and have attached new meanings to the institution of ‘life-partnership.’ This program mocks the emotional aspect to the commitment of marriage, and there are certainly many who can relate to this attribute!

About a Boy

This is yet another book adaptation made for television, from the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby, About a Boy. This sitcom features a bachelor who becomes influenced by a single mother and her son. Today’s society has many single parents. This status has become the norm—we may see many people get involved with that single family to offer support, advice, or develop into a surrogate family member. Humans naturally gravitate toward the domestic structure. Viewers enjoy a ‘feel-good’ story that offers solutions to the everyday domestic struggles.

Chicago Fire

This drama series has viewer appeal on many levels. The situational drama behind the fire scenes offers conflict, humor, and romance and real-life tragedy. The cast of characters are genuine, likeable and very relatable. The fire scenes are filled with action and suspense. Society has always had an interest in those who serve and the occupation of firemen certainly has a certain "je ne sais quoi!"

*The Mysteries of Laura

America loves police procedural dramas! This sitcom appeals to viewers who enjoy the action and drama of life in a police department, with the intrigue of catching criminals. Single moms can relate to a job where they must balance their job against daily life. People can relate and find humor in watching this struggle in a lighthearted manner.

Law & Order: SVU

Another police series; prime time television is filled with American police procedural, legal and crime drama series. Many viewers are passionately engrossed by this venue, and that is why the majority of prime time television is taken up with this category. This legal drama has sex, drugs, murder, and many of those true life crimes that have been seized from society’s current headlines. Viewers can relate to what they know and see on their nightly local newscasts. This program gives a more in-depth view into those existing crimes happening in our own communities.

Chicago P.D.

A police drama…what can I say? This spin-off from the popular, firefighter drama, Chicago Fire centers on a special task-force within the police force. The cast of characters are genuine. The show demonstrates the nature of how home or family life can always affect the job and that there is always a struggle to keep work separate. Much like real life, some of the show’s characters struggle with ethics and may jeopardize their own moral principles to put the ‘bad-guy’ away. Many viewers can relate to the basic struggle of morality and being honorable.

The Biggest Loser

This reality program is all about struggle. This show is a contest that pits people against one another, while having them also band together on the mission to safely lose the most amount of weight in the least amount of time. This show features personal trainers who motivate and offer excellent suggestions to the viewing audience, most of whom have some struggles of their own. Society can relate to struggle and the hope to conquer life’s obstacles against all odds!

*Bad Judge

Surprise! Another legal comedy! A popular venue of prime time television is to feature personal life against ones working environment. The series highlights the life of a carousing female county-judge who encounters difficulties from her irresponsible behavior. The character encounters one mishap after another and learns life lessons from her actions. Viewers can relate to dealing with the consequences of our own actions, and perhaps learning from our own mistakes.

*A to Z

The only programing more enticing than a legal cop show, to the average television viewer, is the romantic comedy! This sitcom brings a lighthearted feeling to the nightly viewer who just needs to relax and be swept away by a story of ‘meeting the boy or girl of their dreams.’ This show demonstrates the age old adage of how ‘opposites attract.’ Society enjoys conflict resolution, especially where love is concerned.

Parenthood

This family drama, created by the renowned Ron Howard, brings real family life into the homes of modern television. Viewers can certainly relate to such characters as the elderly couple, adults, children and grandchildren, and those with conditions such as Asperger syndrome—with all of the adversities and triumphs that come with having life challenges.

Dateline NBC

An American television newsmagazine series that primarily highlights the crime headlines featured in our current nightly newscasts. This program expands upon the special news reports or human-interests in newspapers, magazines or on television today. Viewers will always watch what may or will affect their own lives.

Grimm

Fantasy and police drama are a guaranteed success for prime time television! This cop show has much in common with the popular program the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in that both feature immoral and lawless supernatural creatures. This character casting is a very popular venue in prime time television today. Viewers can relate to police action with metaphysical undertones, as it brings ‘what-if’ situations to the run-of-the-mill settings of a police department.

*Constantine

This new preternatural program brings yet another action comic book series to life. This unlikely hero, Constantine, is yet another paranormal-investigator who can see a macabre world (Grimm) that exists parallel to our own and struggles to save humanity from unearthly fates. Viewers connect to over-coming life’s adversities at all costs—good overcoming evil and the basic concept of ‘saving the world.’

Television programming says a lot about global cultures in society today; programming has evolved with our current Informational Age concepts. Stories that have been told for centuries still exist today and will continue to exist into the future. These stories are the same ones that exist on our contemporary television, books and magazines. They are all fundamentally the same; life with adversity, undying romance, action and adventure, over-coming odds, conflict and resolution, fantasy and myth, real-life experience with current events, and more—all done through the venue of music, comedy, action and adventure, mystery and intrigue, fantasy, myth and reality. There is something for everyone, and everyone finds something in today’s Prime-Time Television!

Note: Shows with an ( * ) next to the title are Prime Time's New Programs for Fall 2014!

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© 2014 Denise Cole Aparo

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