Betting on which pilots will actually yieldgood shows is a fools’ errand: On network, quality shows might just disappear in two weeks, while on cable or streaming, they might devolve into something far more average over the length of their respective runs. But it’s hard to shake the back-to-school-season hope that a whole slate of new shows brings, and easy to forget that pilots are not always indicative of a show’s long-term quality. (Comedies in particular tend to grow into themselves in their first year.) Based solely on promise, then, these are the shows you ought to check out this fall—ranging from a horror reboot to several raucous family comedies, and from 1960s New York to small-town Mississippi to heaven, or something like it.
Made in cooperation with Major League Baseball, this series is premised on something that the league has yet to see happen in our world: The debut of a female star. The magnetic Kylie Bunbury sells both star pitcher Ginny Baker’s athleticism on the field and her struggles off it: Rather than wilting at teammates’ mockery and media scrutiny, she does what an athlete does and pushes through it. Time will tell if a show about a sport whose popularity has dwindled in recent years, and one whose win-loss count over the course of a season tends to provide all the drama a fan might need, can support a showweek-in and -out. But keep your eye on Bunbury’s gritty, internal performance. From her first moment onscreen, she’s got that intangible toughness team scouts, and TV fans, look for.