Five shows to watch this fall (and a few more to consider)


Five shows we're looking forward to this fall:

"Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris": Amateur magician Harris attempts his most stupendous trick to date by bringing back comedy skits, music, audience giveaways and practical jokes to prime-time TV. That formula once dominated television before being relegated in recent decades to the late-night and daytime hours. If anyone can bring back the dead, though, it's Harris, one of entertainment's nimblest and most versatile personalities. (Premieres 10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC)

"Empire": Network TV's most popular new series last season tries to avoid a sophomore slump with help from Alicia Keys, Chris Rock, Marisa Tomei and Lenny Kravitz. High-profile guests won't be enough if creator Lee Daniels can't keep the sudsy stories bubbling. Buzz about a premature spinoff should have fans concerned about producers taking their eyes off the ball. (Premieres 9 p.m. Sept. 23, Fox)

"Indian Summers": PBS' campaign to duplicate the success of "Downton Abbey" has a legitimate contender in this nine-part series. It's set in 1930s India, where British imperialism is just beginning to be seriously questioned in a colonial retreat run by Oscar nominee Julie Walters. (Premieres 9 p.m. Sept. 27, PBS)

"Supergirl": It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... woman? Caped crusaders may battle all ilks of evil, but they have rarely fought for gender equality, with females largely being relegated to the dated roles of damsels in distress. "Glee" veteran Melissa Benoist takes the lead in a project that tries to prove that superheroines can soar on the small screen without being dressed like high-priced hookers. (Premieres 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26, CBS)

"The Man in the High Castle": Philip K. Dick's novels, the source for "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall," now provide the inspiration for this brainy drama that imagines what the world might be like if Germany and Japan won World War II and now ruled the United States. The cast is largely unknown, but with such an intriguing concept, who needs Harrison Ford? (Streaming Nov. 20 on Amazon Prime)

And a few more:

"The Bastard Executioner": Kurt Sutter brings the brutal nature of his "Sons of Anarchy" to the 14th century, with swords filling in for automatic weapons. 10 p.m. Tue., FX

"Minority Report": Predicting crime promises more mental anguish than medals in this spinoff of the popular Tom Cruise vehicle. 9 p.m. Sept. 21, Fox

"The Muppets": Kermit and the gang are back in action with assistance from humans Elizabeth Banks, Reese Witherspoon and Imagine Dragons. 8 p.m. Sept. 22, ABC

"Scream Queens": Ryan Murphy isn't done scaring the bejeezus out of us with this "American Horror Story"-style anthology series that will initially be set in one very unlucky sorority house. 8 p.m. Sept. 22, Fox

"Heroes Reborn": We were too busy launching a campaign to bring back "Misfits of Science" to notice that fans want more from this sweet, but short-lived, NBC series from a decade ago. 8 p.m. Sept. 24, NBC

"Blood & Oil": North Dakota takes the place of Texas in this contemporary oil-soaked soap opera in which Don Johnson slips on the 10-gallon black hat. 9 p.m. Sept. 27, ABC

"The Daily Show With Trevor Noah": Following Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" debut comes a newcomer with decidedly lower expectations from a skeptical audience. 11 p.m. Sept. 28, Comedy Central

"Dr. Ken": Comic sidekick Ken Jeong revisits his stint as a real-life physician in this family-friendly sitcom that's about as intrusive as a tongue depressor. 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2, ABC

"The Walking Dead": Once idyllic Alexandria is under threat in the new season of cable's most popular show, which once again reminds us to never, ever invite Rick Grimes over for supper. 9 p.m. Oct. 11, AMC

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend": An attorney decides love is the law in this imaginative dramedy that leans on highly choreographed musical numbers. 8 p.m. Oct. 19, The CW