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Fox's New Fall 2016 Shows: First Impressions
May 16, 2016  | By David Bianculli  | 6 comments

The only Fox series from last fall to return for a sophomore season was Scream Queens. (A midseason premiere, Lucifer, also earned a second shot.) The X-Files, if it returns as hoped, will come back after the 2016-17 season, while another solid show from last season, The Grinder, was not renewed – an unfortunate oversight.

For the coming season, Fox, for the first time in many years without American Idol, is continuing its strategy of backloading the season, with many of its big and/or new series saved for the first half of 2017. The new 24 series, 24: Legacy, is saved for midseason, as are new shows such as the musical drama Star, the competition reality series Kicking and Screaming, and the return of Prison Break.

So what does that leave for fall 2016? For one thing, a Halloween-week event special performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Laverne Cox from Orange Is the New Black. But for weekly series, only three new ones are added to the mix in the final quarter of this calendar year.

Joining such returning fall series as Gotham, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, Empire, Bones and Hell’s Kitchen are two dramas and one comedy. Both comedies are spinoffs of vintage movie hits, and the comedy is a mix of live action and animation.

Here are details, and first tastes.


For the fall, the first new series will appear Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, as a lead-in to the vey popular series Empire. It’s Lethal Weapon, and stars Clayne Crawford of Rectify in Mel Gibson’s role of Martin Riggs from the original 1987 movie. Damon Wayans (now identified as Sr.) of My Wife and Kids co-stars as the Danny Glover role of Roger Murtaugh. First pass: Wayans carries off the deadpan reactions more than Crawford brings the crazy, and the stunts seem expensively front-loaded for the pilot episode.

Here’s a sample:

 Another vintage movie getting a new TV treatment is The Exorcist, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Fridays on Fox. Set more than four decades after the events of the original 1973 movie, this new Exorcist pairs two dissimilar priests, who investigate another alleged case of demonic possession. Stars include Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and Geena Davis (pictured above). There's no way, truthfully, to get a sense of this one from this first teaser clip reel. But it's great to hear that creepy theme music again...

A brief taste follows:

The sole new comedy for fall, nestled in the network’s Sunday comedy block, is, like most of those shows, animated – but only partly. In Son of Zorn, in the 8:30 p.m. ET slot right after The Simpsons, Jason Sudeikis provides the voice of an animated warrior from a faraway island, who returns to Orange County in hopes of reconnecting with his live-action wife and son, played by Cheryl Hines and Johnny Pemberton. It sounds like it could be funny, but very little in this first sampler makes a strong case for that.

If you have to see it to believe it, here’s a chance to see it – part of it, anyway:


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As a seasoned television critic, Fox's Fall 2016 lineup leaves me cautiously optimistic. The network's bold approach to diverse genres, from the intriguing "Pitch" to the supernatural allure of "The Exorcist," showcases a commitment to innovation. Yet, only time will unveil whether these initial impressions evolve into enduring viewer favorites.
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