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Arts

Fall TV Preview

Major networks rehash old tropes for fall TV season

If you’ve ever wanted to get an intimate view of colossal effort, of the Sisyphean will at work, take a look at the networks’ fall push of new series. It’s like watching Olympic weight lifting in slow-motion.

Every year, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the CW thrust a few dozen shows our way all at once, coinciding with the “fresh start” of September and the more hearth-bound lifestyles of winter. Every year, they work to sell us a new bill of goods, some of them actually good (this year, the soap opera “Nashville”), most of them not (this year’s worst: the aliens sitcom “The Neighbors”). Every year, they fight to grab our attention, hold onto it, and raise it to unparalleled Nielsen heights, using every muscle at their disposal — publicity, focus groups, programming blocks, viral previews, and hyperbolic ads.

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