Your guide to Wednesday TV this fall

Red Band Society

Red Band Society

Fox continues to be the first out of that gate as they launch their new series Red Band Society tomorrow evening. It's a great show, one of my favorite pilots of the season and it joins some great returning dramas and comedies on what looks to be a very packed Wednesday evening this fall.

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MUST SEES

Arrow (7pm on the CW, premieres October 8)
What started out looking like a Nolan Batman clone has grown into a fine helping of superhero fun. The show's second season improved on its solid first, delivering a barn-burner of a finale. If that wasn't reason enough to get excited about its third year, every bit of information out of the Arrow camp has me buzzing with excitment. A new setting for the occassionally stale flashbacks is a welcome change, I'm always happy to see Brandon Routh appear in anything (especially when he gets to show his comedy chops) and the beloved Felicity Smoak is getting her own episode (it's number five and it airs at the beginning of November, not that I'm counting down the days or anything). This show needs to come back now, please before I start to get the shakes.

Red Band Society (8pm on Fox, premieres September 17)
An hour-long dramedy about patients and personnel in the children's ward of a hospital sounds like a bit of a minefield, but this new series is surprisingly adept at balancing its depressing subject matter with a brand of humor that doesn't in any way undercut the serious illnesses its characters are suffering from. The young ensemble has shades of Glee to it but in far less annoying, overplayed way. It's heartfelt without being sappy and funny without being disrespectful.

The 100 (8pm on the CW, premieres October 22)
I was pretty surprised at how much I enjoyed this Lord of the Flies meets Battlestar Galactica sci-fi/teen soap when it premiered earlier this year. Yes, the teen drama can wear thin and the young cast members frequently leave something to be desired but, as is often the case with CW shows of this era, it's gleefully unafraid to burn through plot at an alarming rate. In only a half season it killed off several characters and, by the finale's end, completely turned the show's entire premise on its head. Even if The 100 weren't as entertaining as it is, I'd be tuning in just to see the writers continue their amazing story acrobatics.

South Park (9pm on COM, premieres September 24)
Yes, I still love Trey and Matt, what more is there to be said.

The Bridge (9pm on FX, currently airing)
The first season started strong but then fizzled some as it got wrapped up in the resolution of its not that interesting murder mystery. The second season has, thankfully, re-aligned to focus on the fascinating relationship between the two detectives from either side of the Texas/Mexico border, while also charging headlong into the murky subject matter of the long arms of the Mexican drug trade. It's been an excellent, if under-watched sophomore season and Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir have been turning in consistently  fabulous performances.

The League (9pm on FXX, currently airing)
It's impossible not to love this case and the glorious ways they play off of each other. The antics are crazy fun and even if, like me, you give two shits about football, you'll have no problem enjoying yourself.

Key & Peele (9:30pm on COM, premieres September 24)
This continues to be one of my favorite shows and television. In its new season that show has made a few cosmetic changes, most notably, dropping the forced Comedy Central format of having the fellas introduce sketches on a stage, in front of an audience. Now it's just a half-hour of pure sketch goodness that's both filled with joyfully nerdy observations and send-ups, while also making biting social commentary.

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

Black-ish (8:30pm on ABC, premieres September 24)
The premise of Black-ish, in which a well-to-do middle-aged black man becomes concerned that good life he's provided for his family has lead his children to be too disassociated from their cultural roots, is sound and fruitful subject matter for a family sitcom. The execution, however, leaves something to be desired. There’s too much reliance on stale point of distinction like hair and butt size for the series to be as ambitious as it seems like it really wants to be. Still, the cast is packed with talent, even amongst the kids. Once it shakes off the status quo, this could really be something special.