Broadcast TV doesn’t hold sway in the pop-culture conversation to the degree it did 20 years ago but it remains part of the TV entertainment ecosystem that includes cable and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the soon-to-debut Disney+ (coming Nov. 12) and Apple TV+ (launching Nov. 1).
With that competition in mind, broadcasters will premiere fewer new series during the last two weeks of September to avoid their new entries getting lost in the clutter.
Programs with local ties
Series with ties to Washington remain plentiful across platforms, including one of the most anticipated new fall series, HBO’s “Watchmen” (9 p.m. Oct. 20). Based on the late 1980s comic-book series, the premium cable drama comes from showrunner Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) and stars Regina King (“Southland”) as a Tulsa police detective investigating white supremacists. Seattle native Jean Smart (“Designing Women”) — recently seen in another comic book-inspired series, FX’s “Legion” — appears in “Watchmen” as Laurie Juspeczyk (aka Silk Spectre), a legacy character from the comic book.
Actress Elizabeth Mitchell (“V”), who moved to the Seattle area before her starring role on ABC’s “Lost” and now lives about 20 miles outside of the city, makes her Hallmark Channel Christmas movie debut in “The Christmas Club” (Nov. 17), which is based on a 2016 novel about a group of people who pay kindness forward.
Mitchell, most recently seen in season three of “The Expanse” (returning for season four on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 13), says she took the role in the Hallmark film after consulting with her mother. “She texted back within an hour and says, ‘Oh, Lizzy, please do this, it would be a Christmas present to me,” Mitchell recalls. “How can I say no? It’s my mom!”
PBS’ “Independent Lens” explores surrogacy in the documentary film “Made in Boise” (11 p.m. Nov. 2, KCTS-TV), which features the experience of Shannon Raynor, of Kirkland, who hired Boise surrogacy-agency founder Nicole Williamson to carry her child.
Yakima native Kyle MacLachlan, the erstwhile FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper of “Twin Peaks,” follows up his quirky Portland mayor role on “Portlandia” by co-starring in a traditional multicam sitcom, “Carol’s Second Act” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 26, CBS). MacLachlan plays Dr. Stephen Frost, who the pilot sets up as a potential love interest for medical intern Carol (Patricia Heaton, “The Middle”).
“I sort of made my career on trying things that might or might not succeed,” MacLachlan says. “Some work, some don’t, and this was one of those opportunities where I thought, well, let’s see how I like this.”
Fox animated comedy “Bless the Harts” (8:30 p.m. Sept. 29), sort of a distaff “King of the Hill” about a family headed by women in small-town North Carolina, is written by Emily Spivey (“The Last Man on Earth”) and executive produced by Phil Lord and Everett native Chris Miller (“The Lego Movie”).
“I grew up in Lake Stevens, which is a fairly rural area,” Miller says. “I had llamas and alpacas across the street from my house so a lot of these characters ring very true to me or are characters that I knew growing up. I can always see exactly wherever it’s coming from.”
Among returning shows, CBS’ “Survivor” (8 p.m. Sept. 25) is back with a 24-year-old Tacoma resident, Air Force veteran Missy Byrd, among the contestants.
“Grey’s Anatomy” (8 p.m. Sept. 26, ABC) returned to Seattle to film scenes that will air in episodes during the first half of the show’s 16th season. Meanwhile, Seattle-set “Station 19” won’t return on ABC until midseason (so far there are no plans to film locally).
truTV comedy “Tacoma FD” resumes production in Los Angeles this fall on season two with an expected premiere in March 2020 (still no plans to film in Tacoma).
Amazon Prime Video’s “Man in the High Castle,” which shot its pilot episode in Seattle before decamping for Vancouver, B.C., debuts its final season Nov. 15 with a full-blown rebellion taking on the Nazi regime in this post-World War II alternate history.
New series best bets
CBS’ “Evil” (10 p.m. Sept. 26), from “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” showrunners Michelle and Robert King, explores evil through the lenses of science and religion via a skeptical female psychologist (Katja Herbers) and a priest-in-training (Mike Colter, “Luke Cage).
Portland gets its close-up in ABC’s “Stumptown” (10 p.m. Sept. 25), a character-driven procedural based on a graphic novel of the same name and starring Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”) as a Portland private investigator suffering from wartime PTSD. Although the pilot filmed in Vancouver, B.C., and Portland, the series shoots in Los Angeles.
Netflix debuts “The Politician” (Sept. 27), its first original series from producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story,” “Pose”), about a possibly sociopathic high schooler (Ben Platt, “Dear Evan Hansen”) determined to become U.S. president who begins his journey with a run for student-body president.
New streamer Disney+ will have several series at launch in November that seem likely to generate buzz, including “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and the first-ever live-action “Star Wars” series, “The Mandalorian,” set after “Return of the Jedi” as it follows a Boba Fett-like gunfighter on the galaxy’s edge. Several eagerly anticipated series based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will debut in 2020 or later.