TV Shows Coming Fall 2016 That Are Sure To Fail

The networks have revealed all the new shows that will be debuting this fall, and boy do a lot of them look like total stinkers. While there are a few promising-looking new series, far too many look like ideas drawn randomly out of the Stupid Hat. Oh, it's certainly possible that some of these new fall shows might do okay in terms of ratings. But there are many kinds of failure, and on every other level, these series have already failed. Here's a look at why they're sure to keep on failing once Premiere Week arrives.


TV shows about arrogant lawyer types are a dime a dozen. So the folks behind the new CBS series Bull decided to add a twist: the main character isn't actually a lawyer, but a doctor who consults on criminal cases. And he's actually Dr. Phil! Yes, you unfortunately read that right. Bull is based on Dr. Phil's early career, before he became the television equivalent of that crusty stuff in the corner of your eye when you wake up. Based on the trailer for Bull, they've at least managed to make the main character as unlikable as the real Dr. Phil. So that's ... somehow a good thing?

Chicago Justice

Given that Chicago has earned a reputation (deserved or otherwise) as the murder capital of America, the whole concept of serving up "Chicago justice" seems a bit wacky. Deep dish pizza? Sure. Justice? Ehhh. But this is just the latest entry in NBC's ubiquitous Chicago franchise, which previously brought us Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med. We'll give it props for casting the awesome Carl Weathers as a main character, but seriously — we don't need a second-rate drama about every single aspect of life in Chicago. This is just one step closer to Chicago School Superintendent or Chicago Sewer. Enough is enough.

Kevin Can Wait

Kevin James isn't the only person who can wait. For instance, we could have waited an eternity before wanting to watch a retread of King of Queens. The incredibly innovate premise behind Kevin Can Wait: James plays a cop who retires in order to spend more time with his family, only to discover that family life is tougher than he thought! You don't say. Note to CBS and Kevin James: this is literally the premise of every sitcom made in the last 30 years. Now, if you renamed it Chicago Family, we might be interested, but otherwise, this just has "fail" written all over it.

Lethal Weapon

We'll give Fox this much: if you're going to do something as hackneyed as a buddy cop series, at least steal from the original source material. That's the good part about Lethal Weapon. On the other hand, if the "good part" involves necromancy on a concept that was outdated three decades ago, you might want to rethink what you're doing. Plus, TV shows based on films almost never work. Networks keep hoping for the next M*A*S*H, but again, that show ended over 30 years ago. On behalf of probably all television viewers: collectively, we are all too old for this shizzle.


Speaking of ideas that are pretty much doomed to failure, have you heard about CBS's new MacGyver series? This isn't exactly a reboot of the '80s hit, which itself was basically a retread of the A-Team, except with only one guy and no awesome van to justify the show's existence. Instead, the new version is a prequel, showing us MacGyver's early days as a youthful prodigy. So if you wondered how MacGyver learned to make a clock out of a potato, but always wished the original series featured a lot more Millennial angst, you're in luck!

Pure Genius

CBS continues to innovate by ordering a medical drama. Thank goodness they aren't playing it safe! But this time, they've managed to come up with an idea so boring and derivative, even their target demographic—aging baby Boomers who accidentally leave the TV on while they are scrapbooking—might finally say, "enough is enough." Pure Genius is about a "young Silicon Valley tech billionaire who builds the ultimate cutting-edge hospital that treats only the most rare and insurmountable medical mysteries." That's actually the official network synopsis. So it's House, only with Elon Musk. Yeah ... no.


Here's a recipe for sure success: take everything wrong about the MacGyver reboot and mix it in with some hardcore exploitation and watch the ratings just pour in! That seems to be the formula for NBC's Taken, which is a prequel to the Liam Neeson film franchise about a paid killer who's only interested in stopping sex trafficking if it involves a close relative. This time, we get to see Bryan Mills in his younger days dealing with — oh, we're just spitballing here — people being taken. No word on when they will stage their inevitable crossover with Law & Order: SVU, but they should probably do it quickly, since this series is unlikely to get a second season. Or a second episode.

Man with a Plan

Finally, there's Man with a Plan, which has the exact same premise as Kevin Can Wait: take an aging and barely relevant sitcom star from 15 years ago and put him in a derivative show about how men are clueless at parenting. In this case, it's Matt LeBlanc as the hapless dad, and he's stuck at home raising his kids as his wife returns to the workforce to bring home the bacon. This is actually a really interesting and timely idea for a comedy ... it's just that the comedy in question was Mr. Mom, and the time was 1983. If you guessed that this show is, like Kevin Can Wait, also from CBS, take a bow! And try to aim for the bucket when you throw up.

American Housewife

For a show originally titled The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, viewers shouldn't be expecting much intelligence, compassion, or humor. The show takes the fish-out-of-water premise to the town of Westport, Connecticut, where every female is married and a size 2. The main character is married (achievement unlocked), but feels self-conscious about her size while trying to raise two children. Also, one of these kids has some kind of behavioral issue that causes her to pee in the front yard and obsessively kick each stair as she walks up to her school. Her husband doesn't seem to help by referring to her stomach as feeling like a "bag of flour."

To recap, we have fat-shaming, making light of psychological disorders in children, and regressive attitudes toward women in general. Since this isn't 1959, that's most certainly a recipe for an early-season cancellation.

The Great Indoors

This show seems built on the idea that Millennials are, as a whole, awful people. According to the kings of edge that wrote Great Indoors, Millennials are tech-obsessed, socially stunted, milquetoast doofs who don't know how to engage with the "real world." What they need is a tough, rugged outdoorsman who can show them how to live life to the fullest. Enter ... Joel McHale? Seriously? From his performances on Talk Soup and Community, McHale is the posterboy for wisecracking, hipper-than-thou commentary. He's made a career of being the likable jerk, and that's fine, but his role here is to play against people more inept at human interaction than he is. That makes him the hero, and boy are we not buying him as a hero.

Aside from the show's premise alienating a significant part of its potential viewership, it's sad that this show would waste McHale and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin!) by placing them in a slog of a workplace sitcom that's populated by stereotypes that were already tired years ago.

The Exorcist

Inspired by the success of American Horror Story, and undeterred by the failure of earlier efforts (The Following), Fox is going back to the granddaddy of all supernatural horror by trying to serialize The Exorcist. The washed-out gray tones and the sound of Geena Davis' hushed accounts of the "sounds in my house" try to create a super-spooky feel. However, the story beats are too obvious to elicit any real drama or heightened suspense.

The biggest issue, though, has to be how they plan to keep the series going. Most likely, they'll resolve the exorcism over the course of a single season, which could be too long in its own right. Maybe they'll send the priest on the road, like Bill Bixby in The Incredible Hulk, to solve a rash of exorcisms. Oh wait — it will never get that far.