I had hoped to pick up my two copies of this year’s TV Guide Fall Preview issue yesterday, which is when it was supposed to be on sale. I didn’t have time so I went out earlier today and spent a good three or four minutes trying to find it among the checkout aisles at the grocery store. Either it was only stocked in a single aisle or a lot more people are buying it than I thought.
The big news this year is that the day-by-day previews include a few cable shows in addition to the networks. Is this the first time that’s happened? I think so. I pulled out last year’s Fall Preview issue and confirmed that it only previewed network shows. There was a section on streaming in last year’s issue and it returns this year. PBS also gets its own section once again this year.
I find the inclusion of just a handful of cable shows confusing because there is more than enough original programming on cable to warrant its own Fall Preview issue. What is so special about The Bastard Executioner (FX), Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz), and The Last Kingdom (BBC America), among others, that they were chosen to be previewed in this issue?
I agree with most but not all of the Editors’ Top 10 Picks this year. If you don’t plan on buying a copy of the issue, you can find Matt Roush’s thoughts on those 10 shows here. The promos I’ve seen for The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend don’t look great so I was surprised to see it as one of the Editors’ Picks. I did learn something new from the preview, however: I had no idea that each episode will feature raunchy musical numbers.
For the most part, Roush isn’t too brutal in his reviews. He does savage NBC’s The Player, however, calling “a parody of a movie that went straight to video.” Another NBC show, Truth Be Told, also gets a critical drubbing: “Offensive only because it’s all so phony, and that’s the truth.” Perhaps the worst review goes to ABC’s Mr. Ken. Star Ken Jeong, according to Roush “has his sardonic moments insulting patients at work, but at home, playing the dimwitted dad in a stereotypical TGIF format, he flails desperately to find humor in situations only a script doctor would love.”
As has always been the case, some shows get more coverage than others. Many shows, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Super Girl, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Blindspot, get two-page spreads with a large picture. Several other shows get a full page while some are relegated to half a page or less (Chicago Med gets about a third of a page). ABC’s Quantico receives three pages.
There is no schedule grid this year. One of the two copies I purchased came with only a single subscription card while the other came with three.
Buying the TV Guide Fall Preview issue every year is a tradition for me. I doubt there are many people who still use it to decide what new shows to watch every fall–I know I don’t–but it’s comforting to know it’s still being published after six decades. Including cable shows was a mistake, in my opinion, but I may be the only one who feels that way.