Midseason TV preview

A look at 12 new series -- on any platform -- worth sampling.

Although the original programming outlets at present are considered 52-week broadcasters, the midseason template still very much exists. For a broadcast network that guts the fall airwaves with the majority of its new series premiere dates within a one-week (September) window, midseason offers some breathing space. The time frame is January through April, and in the halls of television history in midseason were the launches of classics like "All in the Family," "Happy Days," "Hill Street Blues," "The Wonder Years," the original "Dallas" and "Dynasty," and countless others.

As we head into 2019, the following listing – in order of premiere date – highlights 12 new series (on any platform) that are vying for eyeballs and could very well be worth a look.

"Schooled" (ABC) – debuts Wednesday, January 9, 8:30 p.m. ET

From a scheduling standpoint, it makes sense to position "Schooled" following "The Goldbergs." The concept aired as a backdoor pilot on an episode of "The Goldbergs" last season, and the retooled new series, also set in the 1990s, follows the faculty of William Penn Academy, led by new music teacher and WP graduate Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka), Principal Glascott (Tim Meadows), Coach Mellor (Bryan Callen) and young, enthusiastic super-teacher Charlie Brown, or CB for short (Brett Dier).

While this storyline is certainly nothing new, lead-in still matters. And "Schooled," like "The Goldbergs," looks generic enough to evoke some solid laughs.

"Fam" (CBS) – debuts Thursday, January 10, 9:30 p.m. ET

Nina Dobrev of "The Vampire Diaries" trades small bats for multi-camera comedic chuckles in this tale of a young woman (Dobrev) and her new fiancé (Tone Bell) who face the arrival of her younger train wreck half-sister (Odessa Adlon). Airing out of "Mom" (and in place of "Murphy Brown"), "Fam" should have no trouble getting at least sampled.

Interesting footnote: Odessa Adlon is the daughter of "Better Things" star Pamela Adlon, who at her daughter’s age (in 1983) was co-starring on classic sitcom "The Facts of Life."

"Pure" (WGN America) – debuts Thursday, January 10, 10 p.m. ET

Described as a Mennonite crime drama. "Pure" follows Ryan Robbins as Noah Funk, a recently elected Mennonite pastor who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police. To protect his family, however, he must get involved into the illegal operations himself and into a world of violence, greed and betrayal.

"Sex Education" (Netflix) – available for streaming on Friday, January 11

Two days following the debut of "Schooled" comes the Netflix version of life in high school. Here, Asa Butterfield is an awkward and inexperienced high school student, Gillian Anderson is his sex therapist mother, and the focus is on his decision to team up with a bad girl to open an underground sex therapy clinic at school. Needless to say, Netflix sounds like the ideal platform for this subject matter.

"The Passage" (Fox) – debuts Monday, January 14, 9 p.m. ET

Based on the Justin Cronin book series of the same name, this sci-fi drama tells the story of a federal agent (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who is assigned to retrieve a young girl (Saniyya Sidney) who has been chosen to be a test subject for a top-secret medical trial that could either eradicate all disease or cause the end of the human race. What sets "The Passage" apart is the relationship that forms between the two, with Gosselaar’s Federal Agent Brad Wolgast becoming a surrogate father of sorts to this young girl.

"In Pursuit with John Walsh" (Investigation Discovery) – debuts Wednesday, January 16, 10 p.m. ET

Dedicating his career to tracking down fugitives on the run and finding missing children for 25 seasons on "America’s Most Wanted," John Walsh is back, this time with son Callahan and in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Each week, the focus will be on unsolved crimes in need of closure, where two missing children each hour will be featured.

Amazingly, 37 years have passed since the tragic murder of John’s seven year-old son Adam in 1981.

"Black Monday" (Showtime) – debuts Sunday, January 20, 10 p.m. ET

If you like nostalgia, and the 1980s is the "in" decade at present, check out comedy "Black Monday," this tale of a group of outsiders who take on the old boys' club and cause the great stock market crash of 1987. Don Cheadle and Regina Hall star; Seth Rogen is one of the executive producers.

"Miracle Workers" (TBS) – debuts Tuesday, February 12, 10:30 p.m. ET

Considering Steve Buscemi’s history of playing not-so-good guys, this time he is God (all the more reason to at least give "Miracle Workers" a look), with Daniel Radcliffe as Craig, a low-level angel in charge of handling all human prayers. When his boss, God, starts slacking on his duties (sounds like perfect casting for Buscemi), Craig has to pick up the slack or risk the destruction of Earth. If anything, this sounds different.

"The Umbrella Academy" (Netflix) – available for streaming on Friday, February, February 15

Given the obsession with superhero-themed action dramas, it is no surprise to see yet another series featuring a barrage of do-gooders. But, this time, the focus is on a dysfunctional family of superheroes — Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, The Boy, and The White Violin — as they attempt to work together to figure out what caused their father's death. "The Umbrella Academy" is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name.

"Whiskey Cavalier" (ABC) – debuts Wednesday, February 27, 10 p.m. ET

Yes, the title sounds pretty juvenile. But Whiskey Cavalier is a codename in reference to Scott Foley as a tough but tender (aren’t they all?) FBI super-agent named Will Chase, who is assigned to work with CIA operative Francesca "Frankie" Trowbridge. Together, they lead an inter-agency of spies, including a behavioral scientist named Susan Sampson and a jittery genius (aren’t they all?) named Edgar Standish. What sounds like an odd concoction of potential schlock, has potential sleeper success written all over it.

"Now Apocalypse" (Starz) – debuts Sunday, March 10, 10 p.m. ET

Described as a "sexy, vibrant and fast-moving series that has a flipside of mythic, dreamlike creepiness," this coming-of-age Los Angeles-set comedy from Steven Soderbergh follows Ulysses (Avan Jogia) and his friends Carly (Kelli Berglund), Ford (Beau Mirchoff) and Severine (Roxane Mesquida), who are on various quests pursing love, sex and fame.  All 10 episodes are co-written by author and Vogue.com sex columnist Karley Sciortino, creator and host of "Slutever" on Viceland. 

"The Fix" (ABC) – debuts Monday, March 18, 10 p.m. ET

Under the executive producing eye of famed prosecutor Marcia Clark, "The Fix" tells the story of a former prosecutor named Maya Travis (Robin Tunney) who, after losing the biggest case of her life, leaves Los Angeles for a new start in rural Oregon. But, eight years later, the murderer strikes again, forcing Maya to return to Southern California to pursue him again in what looks like an intense mixture of human drama and thriller escapades.  

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.com , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free