The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

Ask The Yearbook Office Contributors: New Fall TV Shows

September means more than just back-to-school season, it also means the return of TV! Every year, new favorites debut all across your television's dial in September. With the spirit of "lovable gang of goofballs" in the air, we gave our contributors carte blanche to create the kinds of TV shows they would like to see on the fall lineup.

Whitney Reynolds

Hettienne Park and Natalie Dormer join forces. They don't fight crime, though. They just sit drinking cocktails, knowing precisely how everyone around them will die, doing nothing to stop it. The banter is delightful and the making out is implied. </SMIRK>, Wednesdays at 10.

Joseph Scrimshaw

A gritty adult drama for HBO called YOU LOOK LIKE SHIT. It would star a gritty female cop who never sleeps because of her haunted past, thus looking like shit on the regular. It would co-star a deranged but brilliant male doctor who doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks, thus looking like shit on the regular. They would solve crimes, break hearts, stare off into space during depressing musical montages, and remind one another they look like shit on the regular. Twist: It’s supernatural. There is a vampire. The vampire has looked like shit for over 1000 years. Set your fucking DVRs.

Jeremiah Robert Craig Shepersky

Constable Vargas Goode has been stationed on a frontier planet for the last 10 years, and things run pretty smoothly in the small colony of Fermi’s Folly. She’s never had to draw her laser in anger, and out here the Plasma Wars are little more than a rumor. Her partner and mentor is finally retiring, and when Headquarters said they were sending a replacement, she was expecting anything but what she got: Constable-in-Training Vargas Goode Prime!

Can Goode help her clone avoid the same mistakes she made as a rookie? It can be tough to believe in yourself -- especially while you’re finding out who you really are. Find out why critics are saying too much of 2 Much of A Goode Thing is never enough! Coming to Fox this fall: Tuesdays at 7:30, then Thursdays at 10:00, then Sundays at 8:30.

Alice Lee

Ladies' Night is the new must-see NBC sitcom featuring Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Ellen Wong (The Carrie Diaries) and Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black) as a trio of friends trying to make it in a post-apocalyptic world after all men were killed in a violent uprising. Can they balance foraging for food, fighting off predatory gangs and meeting the right girl to settle down with?

Worried this is too much girl power for you? Fear not! Despite the show being created by and starring only women, the writers are still mostly white dudes who went to Harvard and there are at least two Star Wars jokes in each episode.

Christie Baugher

The prevailing wisdom in network TV seems to be "throw two or three things you already know people like together and see what happens". The fundamental mistake usually made in that process, though, is an attempt to appeal to as broad a demographic as possible. Let's flip the script. Here's a show tailored for an audience of one: me. Mash up Quantum Leap, The West Wing and Wishbone and you get Paws For Thought, an hour-long dramedy in which the White House Press Secretary (Lily Rabe, let's say) wakes up one day to discover she's now sometimes a time-traveling Jack Russell Terrier. ("Sometimes a dog. Sometimes a time-traveler. Always in charge.") Full of heart, intrigue and Sorkinesque walk-and-barks. Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as doomed love interest and Third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson.

Gary Butterfield

My show is The Files, a hyper-intense thriller/drama about a group of government agents tasked with retrieving files. What are the files, you ask? Well, the audience wouldn't find out until the season finale but let's just say that they contain #secrets. Yes, a full viral marketing campaign would be necessary for The Files. I'd try to get certain hashtags trending hard. Things like, “Can you keep a #secret?” and “#WhoShotGorbo?”

The agents would be chosen for their ability to find files but they'd also have personalities. There'd be a #sassy one, a #nerdy one and a coupla #hunks and #babes. Also, there'd be some will they/won't they between the leads. Then it'd all come crashing #down when the main babe found out the main hunk was keeping a #file on her! Who does he work for? Did he shoot Gorbo? Tune in and find #out!!

Janice Barlow Collier

A reboot of 1988's Isaac Asimov/William Link skeptical-mysteries show Probe executive produced by Rebecca Watson and Jamy Ian Swiss. The catch? Instead of Parker Stevenson as the computer genius and Ashley Crow as the Designated Girl, it's Laverne Cox and Jasika Nicole. They're co-founders of a startup, and they run around saving people's kids and family fortunes with evidence-based debunking of frauds. Also guest starring Neil deGrasse Tyson as the startup's long-suffering money-and-tactics VC-smooth-talkin' guy. Tell me you wouldn't watch the shit out of that.

Chad Collier

Warplane Party (30 minutes): Strike Eagle invites 50 of his zoomy warplane friends -- a dozen types in all -- to a party full of irresistible warplane fun, shoot-alongs and more. Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as Strike Eagle, Benedict Cumberbatch (Paws For Thought) as Tornado GR4, Viggo Mortensen (G.I. Jane) as Sukhoi PAK FA.

Josh A. Cagan

My show would be about guys doing guy things, and being all like, “It sure is tough being married to our wives,” and the other guys would be like, “Yeah, especially when they want you to go shopping.” Then they’d be like, “And we have KIDS! And they want things like food!” Then they’d drink beer, and their wives would be like, “YOUR CHILDREN HAVEN’T EATEN IN A WEEK,” and the guys would be like, “NAG ALERT!” Then the Department of Youth Services would throw the guys in jail, and they’d be like “WHOOOAH-OH, HOW WE GONNA WATCH FOOTBALL?” Then someone would fart. It would just be this every week, and everyone would grow exponentially older, slower and more beaten down by life as they joylessly go through the motions of this gross charade. After 1000 episodes the last episode would be in black and white and seven hours long.

Nicole Dieker

Okay. So this is the TV show you want to see but you don't know it yet. All the other TV shows, you're just watching them because this one doesn't exist. It's the TV show where there's a person kind of like you, making the kind of choices you would make, and all the best things happen. You get the job and you're good at it. People show up in your life and stay; they're not special guests who leave after a few episodes. You don't have to watch with one eye over your shoulder, wondering when you'll get stood up at the altar or when heads are going to roll. This is the TV show where you have the meaningful conversations, form the deep connections, and feel the way you've always wanted to feel: secure.

Of course, you're not the person in the TV show—I mean, what, you seriously thought I was going to ask you to star in a TV show?—but you're going to watch it because you want to be that person. You're going to watch it because you want to learn how to be that person.