The good news is that, after years of reboots, revamps, remakes, and rehashes, this year's crop of new series for the 2019-2020 U.S. broadcast television season finally feel (mostly) original.
The bad news is that, according to London-based media research company Ampere Analysis, the production of pilot episodes has declined by 32 percent over the past four years as the five major broadcasters in the U.S.--ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and The CW--move toward an SVoD model with straight-to-series orders.
It would be great if the new crop of original series were due to the fact that U.S. TV execs finally realized that audiences are hungry for unique and exciting content, but it's more likely that they sought out these series because new incarnations of onetime hits like CBS's Murphy Brown saw low ratings and were cancelled after just one season. In short, the powers that be at the networks seem to at long last be grasping that everything old can't be new again every year.
Truly innovative concepts abound this season.
CBS has Evil, a drama about a skeptical female psychologist who joins forces with a priest-in-training, and a blue-collar contractor to investigate miracles, demonic possessions, and other unusual happenings; Tommy, a midseason show focusing on a former high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female chief of police for Los Angeles; Bob Hearts Abishola, a comedy about a man who, after suffering a heart attack, falls in love with his Nigerian nurse; and Carol's Second Act, a comedy about a woman who, after raising her children and retiring from a teaching career, decides to become a doctor.
FOX has Almost Family, which tells the tale of an only child whose life is turned upside down when she learns that her fertility doctor dad used his own sperm to conceive dozens of kids over the course of his career; Prodigal Son, a drama about a criminal psychologist and son of a notorious serial killer called "The Surgeon," who uses his skills to help the NYPD stop killers; and Filthy Rich, a midseason series that follows the family of the CEO of a Christian network, who, after his death, are shocked to discover that he had grown illegitimate kids who are also in his will.
NBC's most interesting offerings are Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, a musical dramedy about a smart, but socially awkward twenty-something who finds herself suddenly able to hear the innermost thoughts of the people around her as songs and big musical numbers that they...