Every fall the big networks start a new season for their programs, with new projects they bought from pilot episodes in the spring, and with the next season of shows renewed from last season. A new line-up, new schedule, and new stories. I get so excited. I get the TV Guide magazine, and for the last few years in September, they have covered the new shows in one issue and covered the returning shows in the next. I read these issues with marker in hand, seeing which shows I’m interested in and which I’m not, noting the day of the week they will be on and when they start. This year was no different, and I have enjoyed the shows that have premiered so far. More premiers to come in the weeks ahead.
The new fall season is a tradition I have followed since I was a child and teenager. TV was a lot different back then, with only three major networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC plus PBS. Not every household got every channel though, because of using an antenna that might not receive them all. If you watched TV, you watched shows from their line-ups, and chances were high that your neighbors and co-workers watched the same thing the night before. No VCRs or other recording devices, so we watched shows as they aired or we missed them. Well, until re-runs in the summer, when networks would often repeat the just-finished season of a show to fill the slow summer schedule.
We would often watch one channel the whole evening, like CBS’s Monday night line-up, or NBC’s Thursday block of shows. Some of the shows I watched back then were Cagney & Lacey, All in the Family, M.A.S.H., Wonder Woman, Hill Street Blues, and Masterpiece Mystery.
In the 80s and 90s, other channels launched, some successful and some not. UPN, Fox, WB, CNN, HBO. Now we have hundreds of channels to choose from, depending on our cable package, and more shows than we can keep up with. We also have new shows all year round, not just in the fall, from this array of cable networks. This influenced the major networks to also run new shows in the spring and the summer. Shows I watch now, from my choices of network and cable channels, are The Good Wife, Modern Family, Mom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Doctor Who, Face Off, Downton Abbey, and Major Crimes.
In last few years, the field of choices has grown again, as the internet sprouted sites for web-shows with original content that did not start on television or a television network. Hulu, Netflix, and other sites have followed with original content of their own that can be streamed and watched on whatever electrical device we have. This can be exciting, but also overwhelming, and no one can watch everything that is available.
So I am glad that the major networks, now CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, with PBS and CW, still have the fall season, with new shows and new seasons for the returning programs. Though they space out the premiers a lot more than they did, and some shows don’t premier until January, it is still a fresh start and a definite new slate. One of my favorite traditions.