Fall TV Preview: Fridays are for Cult Horror and Oldies Crime Shows

NBC has carved out some space for its dark fantasy shows while ABC clings to multi-camera comedy, but CBS has those Blue Bloods!

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Fridays were once where TV shows went to die, but now they're where network sends its most weird and wonderful material that has no other home. For CBS, it's the TV that even CBS thinks skews too old; for ABC, it's a weird pairing of multi-camera comedies; and for NBC, it's a pair of fantasy horror shows, one funnier than the other, that can chug along just fine with their low ratings.

8 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Cristela (NEW): Watch out—Cristela might not be sticking around on Fridays. Because it's actually good. This laugh-track sitcom centered around standup comedian Cristela Alonzo has the verve and spirit of the family comedies we enjoyed by the bucket-load in the 90s. And it also has just a liiiittle bit of edge; our title character is a law student in Dallas who accepts an internship at an office run by an old-school rich white guy (Sam McMurray). It's a surprising timeslot partner for the uh, regressive Last Man Standing, but it's well worth watching. [Premieres 10/10 on ABC]

The Amazing Race: Hey, The Amazing Race is still on! I have very little to say about The Amazing Race, but it used to air on Sundays. Now it's moving to Fridays, where it will probably continue to churn out okay viewership for CBS's aged audience until it's one day canceled. But that's long in the future. [Premieres 9/26 on CBS]

Also in this timeslot: Tim Allen's "grr, my lady-family!" sitcom Last Man Standing (ABC, 10/3) won't go away, the adorable cooking tots of MasterChef Junior (FOX, 11/7) will show up after Utopia is done, and the zombified Whose Line is it Anyway? (CW) round out this hour.

9 p.m. - 10 p.m. 

Shark Tank: The best reality-competition program on network TV is Shark Tank. There, I said it. Why isn't everyone watching Shark Tank, dammit? It's really funny and compelling! It does fine on Fridays, so ABC will keep it around as long as possible, but still, more people should be watching Shark Tank(Premieres 9/26 on ABC)

Hawaii Five-0: Keep getting those checks, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Masi Oka! I enjoyed you all on different, better shows, and I can't believe this thing is still on, having apparently added Chi McBride to its main cast. In case you don't know: this is a police procedural set in Hawaii. And now you know. [Premieres 9/26 on CBS]

Grimm: If CBS uses Fridays for old-man cop shows, and ABC uses it for various detritus, NBC uses it for cult genre shows. It's a move that's worked very nicely for Grimm, which has a solid little fanbase and will start its fourth season with no sign of real ratings diminishment. I don't watch Grimm, but I occasionally catch ads for it when watching other NBC shows. Grimm looks very weird. [Premieres 10/24 on Fox]

Also in this timeslot: America's Next Top Model (CW, 10/3) because The CW doesn't mess with success.

10 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Blue Bloods: The wrinkled CBS lineup concludes with the NYPD drama that has just about the oldest audience on television. Like most things on CBS, Blue Bloods is competently made and staffed with professionals like Tom Selleck and Len Cariou. Its fifth season premieres September 26. It probably isn't going anywhere. [Premieres 9/26 on CBS]

Constantine (NEW): After Dracula failed to make much of an impression last year, NBC is going for genre again with Constantine, an adaptation of the comic book character who you might remember from that great, underrated Keanu Reeves film. This Constantine is closer to the original character: he's a Brit (played by Welsh actor Matt Ryan), he's got blond hair, and he's real grumpy about all the demons he has to fight all the time. The pilot is a mess because it focuses on a young woman (Lucy Griffiths) who looks like she's going to be Constantine's protégé, but NBC decided to go in a different direction and introduce a different character later on. So, don't judge the (moody, effective, slightly cheap-looking) pilot too harshly. [Premieres 10/24 on NBC]

Also in this timeslot: Don't forget 20/20 (ABC, 9/26). That's a thing too, guys.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.