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The 2021 fall TV season: What to watch and what to skip this year

Brooke Cain, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Entertainment News

Wednesday, Sept. 22

— The Wonder Years (8:30 p.m., ABC) — A much anticipated reboot of the beloved Fred Savage “Wonder Years” series from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s (and set in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s), but this time with a Black family at the center of the story. The show, set in Montgomery, Alabama, in the late 1960s, focuses on 12-year-old Dean (Elisha “EJ” Williams), the youngest child in the Williams family, trying to figure out where he fits in: his brother is athletic (and serving in Vietnam), his sister (Laura Kariuki) is popular, his mom (Saycon Sengbloh) is smart and his dad (Dule Hill) is cool. Dean decides to be “The Great Uniter,” and starts by trying to organize the first integrated baseball game between his team and his friend Brad’s (Julian Lerner) team. And of course, Dean has to have a crush, and that will be Keisa, played by Milan Ray. Don Cheadle narrates the story as older Dean.

My take: Sweet, funny and socially relevant. If you like to smile with a lump in your throat, or laugh one moment and cry the next, this is for you. We needed this.

— Alter Ego (9 p.m., Fox) — Another singing competition show, and another one with a twist: this one uses avatars instead of images of real people (and instead of masked/costumed people — Fox has already done that one!). Singers “from all walks of life become the stars they’ve always wanted to be” when they perform as they’ve always wanted to be seen, reinventing themselves to present their true personalities through motion capture technology. The judges are singer Alanis Morissette, singer Nick Lachey (you can watch his wife on “NCIS: Hawaii”), singer and visual artist Grimes, and singer/actor will.i.am. The host is Rocsi Diaz.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

— La Brea (NBC) — his new NBC drama opens with a heart-racing disaster: a massive sinkhole tears open in the middle of Los Angeles (with the La Brea Tar Pits at the center of the hole), pulling hundreds of people down with it. While the people above ground grieve their lost loved ones, the people in the sinkhole find themselves in a “mysterious and dangerous primeval land,” and must band together to survive.

 

The show tracks what happens above ground, as people try to figure out what happened to those who disappeared, but the most exciting action is what happens in this new LA Land of the Lost.

It stars Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Karina Logue, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie and Chloe De Los Santos.

My take: Did I need to get sucked into another “Lost”-style mystery? No. Was I on the edge of my seat throughout most of the first episode? Heck yes. The first episode — the only episode available at press time — was thrilling. Although, I watched on the heels of all of the 9/11 look-backs, so the beginning, with all of the collapsing buildings and people running for their lives through clouds of dust — that was a lot. So be prepared if you think you might be sensitive to that right now (it doesn’t last long). The story is strongest when it leaves behind the ruin in the middle of Los Angeles and follows the “lost” survivors in this new (or is it?) world.

Wednesday, Oct. 6

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