Thoughts on TV Guide’s 2015 Fall Preview Issue

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.


2 Comments

  • Rogers Cadenhead says:

    Truth Be Told and Dr. Ken were the top new shows on the Ted Marshall Open TV death pool this year:

    http://tedmarshalltv.com/cgi-bin/parse_cease.cgi

    A good subject for an article here would be the actors who had the worst luck with new shows. Our contest used to be named for Alison La Placa because she had been in so many one-season flops, but she had a lawyer send a complaint.

    Kyle Bornheimer has been a series regular on four shows the past decade that only lasted one season: Worst Week, Romantically Challenged, Perfect Couples and Family Tools. Now he’s in Angel From Hell this year, which I think looks like a streak breaker for him.

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    I remember picking up a local copy of a free guide (not TV guide) each year to find out what was going to be on and reading those previews. But back then you didn’t have the Internet and all the info you can get from it now. One can find out about the fall lineup for a channel the same day it’s announced. Then you often didn’t know until a week before they aired.

    It may be getting harder to find TV Guide because they may not be publishing as many as they did in the past. Print has been fading away and many magazines have closed or gone online-only. That’s also why they’re including some popular cable shows; to help increase sales. Some will buy the magazine simply because of the Ash vs. The Evil Dead article. (Which would also make the magazine harder to find.)

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