Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and culture:

The broadcast networks have announced their fall schedules. Here are my initial takes on what’s new, night my night (New Shows in Red), from a creative and likelihood to uplift perspective. All times are ET

Mixed-ish (Tuesday, 9:00 PM)

Comment: I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude toward this Black-ish spinoff except to say I think Rainbow would make for a better title. From a Beliefnet perspective, it does take on the subject of impact being raised in a religious cult. For a serious look at that subject, I would suggest the book Spiritual Sobriety: The Promise of Healthy Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad by Elizabeth Esther. Just one more thing, if ABC wants to expand on the Black-ish franchise, why don’t they pickup its Grown-ish spinoff from its smaller cable sibling Freeform.

Emergence (Tuesday, 10 :00 PM)

Comment: The pilot was originally produced for NBC which took a pass.  It strike me as a little like the movie Fargo meets The Twilight Zone. Time will tell whether the interesting premise holds up beyond the pilot.

Stumptown (Wednesday, 10:00 PM)

Comment: Terrible title. Call it The Good Detective and pair it with The Good Doctor. If this works, it could be a female Rockford Files. It it doesn’t, you’re looking at a female version of any of a number of crappy TV private eye shows.

Bob Hearts Abishola (Monday, 8:30 PM)

Comment: Bob Hearts Abishola producer Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Mom) has proven to be a master at producing comedies with true “heart,” so I’m going to give this one a chance. Lots of potential.

All Rise (Monday, 9:00 PM)

Comment: The original title for All Rise was Courthouse which I think was more solid-sounding. If the writing is good, this could be a classic legal drama like LA Law. If it doesn’t, well, it could be pretentious and suck.

The Unicorn (Thursday, 8:30 PM)

Comment: Right up there with Stumptown in the bad title department. This looks to me like a really poor companion series to the excellent Young Sheldon which will precede it at 8:00 PM and not a particularly good lead-in to the also-excellent Mom. It may play out better than the trailer looks but, for now, this looks like a thumbs down to me.

Carol’s Second Act (Thursday, 9:30)

Comment: A nice hopeful second-start premise. Also, I’m a fan of Patricia Heaton since her days on Everybody Loves Raymond (one of the best domestic sitcoms of all time). She also got a nice long run out of The Middle,  so I would never bet against her when it comes to choosing winning sitcoms.

Evil (Thursday, 10:00 PM)

Comment: I’m just not into this kind of stuff. If you ask me, they should flip the concept. Have the protagonists investigate hope-filled miracles, pair it with God Friended Me on Sunday nights and call it Extraordinary Occurrences. Or reboot NBC and PAX TV’s underrated Mysterious Ways.

The CW
Nancy Drew (Wednesday, 9:00 PM)

Comment: The pilot has the young sleuth putting off going away to college to solve a ghostly mystery in her hometown. To me, it might have been more interesting to send her off to college, solving mysteries from her campus’ student newspaper/website.

Batwoman (Sunday, 8:00 PM)

Comment: Self-consciously dark. What can I say? My favorite Batman is Adam West.


Prodigal Son (Monday, 9:00 PM)
FOX – 8:00 9-1-1 ; 10:00 Prodigal Son

Comment: I’m not generally a fan of shows about serial killers (which, surprisingly, after Dexter, has become something of a genre).

Not Just Me (Wednesday, 9:00 PM)

Comment: A family drama – like The Waltons if Papa Walton was a fertility doctor whose sperm fathered an enormous number of kids.

WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown  (Friday, 8:00 PM)

Comment: So, apparently the WWE is now considered an actual sports franchise. For this, they bumped the successful, faith-friendly and amusing Last Man Standing from its fall perch?

Bless the Heart (Sunday, 8:30 PM)

Comment: This either humorously humanizes or mocks white southerners. It’s all in how you decide to react to it.

Bluff City Law (Monday, 10:00 PM)

Topic: Father and daughter lawyers tackle injustice.  Sounds like The Defenders for a new generation. I like it. Yet another terrible title though. Call it The Underdogs and you have a hit.

Perfect Harmony (Thursday, 8:30 PM)

Comment: If it ups the warmth (without getting schmaltzy) and tones down the temptation to be overly clever, this has potential.

Sunnyside (Thursday, 9:30)

Comment: Plenty of diversity here which is a good thing. I do wonder about the longevity of the premise though.

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