THE FALL-SERIES DELUGE IS UPON US, with more than 25 new network shows vying for viewers’ collective attention. Only time will tell which shows will make the grade and which will suffer a worse fate. If past years are any indication, however, those with great characters stand the best chance of scoring a prosperous run (or at least a Season 2 order). With that in mind, we’ve highlighted some of the freshest, funniest and most interesting characters from the upcoming season.
CHRISTY and CHEF RUDY
Played by Anna Faris and French Stewart
As seen on: Mom, CBS,
Mondays at 9:30*
Faris’ frazzled single mother, Christy, has a lot on her plate. She’s focused on staying sober as she copes with her own dysfunctional mother and daughter while trading quips with her boss, an elitist chef played by Stewart. With both touching and funny bone-tickling moments, Mom offers some poignant comedic gold.
Played by Michael Ealy
As seen on: Almost Human, FOX,
Mondays at 8
In a RoboCop-like future, police officer John Kennex (Karl Urban) is revived from a coma and teamed with an android partner (Ealy), whom he distrusts. While solving the mystery behind a botched raid and a mole inside the department, the two begin bonding. Ealy plays the almost-human Dorian warmly and believably, chipping away at his partner’s cold demeanor.
Played by Stephanie Beatriz
As seen on: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX,
Tuesdays at 8:30
This cop spoof not only gives Andre Braugher the chance to lampoon his frequent police roles and Andy Samberg a vehicle to showcase his trademark goofiness, it offers Beatriz the chance to shine as the smart, sexy and seemingly scary detective who has a co-worker smitten. She’s hard to read, which makes it all the more fun.
SIMON and SYDNEY ROBERTS
Played by Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar
As seen on: The Crazy Ones, CBS,
Thursdays at 9
As the head of a father-daughter advertising firm, Williams hams it up while facing what he believes to be his twilight years. Gellar earns laughs, too, by being willing to make Sydney look silly, all in the name of earning ad dollars. The way the pair tries to rope a resistant Kelly Clarkson into doing a McDonald’s jingle is hilarious. We can’t wait to see what they’ll stoop to next.
THE GOLDBERG FAMILY
Played by Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey, George Segal, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia and Sean Giambrone
As seen on: The Goldbergs, ABC,
Tuesdays at 9
Squabbling TV families can get tiresome, but the Goldbergs, a 1980s family, earn our sympathy because they go beyond being mere caricatures and show a range of emotions. The nosy, overly cautious mother learns to relax (a little), the blustery father requires emotional subtitles, and George Segal adds warmth as the young-in-spirit grandfather trying to school the boys about life while tangling with their mom about his need for independence.
Played by Michael J. Fox
As seen on: The Michael J. Fox Show, NBC,
Thursdays at 9:30
Fox’s first starring role since Spin City finds him playing a once-successful news reporter with Parkinson’s disease contemplating a return to work. Fox deftly balances humor and pathos, finding the funny side to his condition while showing us his struggles.
Played by Hannah Ware
As seen on: Betrayal, ABC,
Sundays at 10
As an unhappily married photographer who falls for an equally unhappily married lawyer (Stuart Townsend) — unaware of how fate will entwine them further — Ware projects great passion, vulnerability and emotional turmoil. Her strong chemistry with Townsend and her convincing performance give this familiar material a strong lift.
ICHABOD CRANE and ABBIE MILLS
Played by Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie
As seen on: Sleepy Hollow, FOX,
Mondays at 9
Ichabod Crane and the Revolutionary War soldier who killed him (and lost his head in the process) are magically revived in modern-day Sleepy Hollow to continue their sparring. When the Headless Horseman is revealed to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it becomes clear that when he finds his head, we’re all dead. It’s silly stuff, but Mison and cop Beharie sell it with conviction.
*All times are EST