PaleyFest Fall TV Previews Are Here To Help You Decide Which New Shows Are Worth Your Time

File: Nathan Fillion seen at the Lionsgate, Comic-Con HQ and Amazon Channels celebration for Con Man, Kings of Con and Mark Hamill's Pop Culture Quest at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Steve Cohn/Invision for Lionsgate Home Ent./AP Images)

Choosing what to watch with the never-ending avalanche of content on TV, streaming, and elsewhere can be a crapshoot. But the nonprofit Paley Center for Media's offering a chance to get in on the ground floor with a bunch of new shows, along with previewing new seasons of continuing favorites, with their PaleyFest Fall TV Previews.

"For this event, we meet with each of the networks to talk about what their lineups are coming up," the Paley Center's Rene Reyes told us. He works as their executive in charge of production, putting together Los Angeles programming all year long.

While Reyes usually gets to see the shows before they're screened, he said that sometimes they're being worked on right down to the wire since they're being screened up to a month before they air.

"The final mix might not be done; sometimes I've had where we're screening something and not every scene in the first episode is done," Reyes said, "and I think that's really cool to get that kind of a look at the creative process."

Each of the big networks has their own night across a week and a half of programming. They've also got nights featuring Netflix, Hulu, and other cable networks, from Lifetime to Telemundo.

Reyes said the shows being presented also include diverse casts, with examples ranging from CBS's The Neighborhood to CW's All American. Both those shows are also set in L.A.

Reyes said he's excited to see more shows in the lineup who also shoot and take place in Southern California.

"L.A. sometimes gets a bad rap, but it's such an amazing, vital, and diverse city," Reyes said. "And there's so many stories that you can tell with just even the different neighborhoods in town. And that's reflected, I think, this season on television."

The fall previews have a number of shows dealing with hot button issues. Beyond fictional worlds, that's also seen in Sarah Silverman's Hulu variety show, I Love You, America. It deals with current issues as Silverman tries bringing people together.

"You know, TV is one thing that can unite us, and I love that Sarah's exploring what unites us in this country in the face of so much division at the moment," Reyes said.

More than 100 stars and creative team members are part of the festival this year. Reyes has to put together the logistics for all of that.

"We have 17 different casts taking part in the festival," Reyes said. "Anywhere from five to 15 people on the panels."

Reyes said they also listen to Paley Center members about what they're dying to see. That can range from returning shows to shows with actors who've previously been popular — that was the case with ABC's The Rookie this year.

The show stars Nathan Fillion, who's been a hit with fans after years on Castle, as well as previously making his mark on Firefly. Fillion plays the oldest rookie on the LAPD, and fans will get the chance to hear from him directly at the fall previews.

It's a big year for comedy, Reyes said. He added that one of the real highlights is Happy Together, based on a situation singer/actor Harry Styles found himself in — though the show's been fictionalized and stars Damon Wayans Jr.

Another highlight, according to Reyes: The Cool Kids on Fox. It comes from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Charlie Day, but stars a number of TV comedy legends, from Vicki Lawrence to David Alan Grier.

As far as returning shows, they're premiering the new season of Bojack Horseman this week, which includes a wide variety of cast members who've been part of Paley events in the past. It kicks off the festival, and it's also the only animated series on the lineup, showing the diversity of programming being offered.

Reyes sees the Paley Center's mission as more important than ever in the social media area.

"There's a lot of sometimes negative back-and-forth, but when you're here at the Paley Center, you're just sharing in the love of great TV in a communal way," Reyes said. "Television so many times is a solitary experience. You're watching it at home, you're watching it on your phone, on a television, on a laptop — but sometimes you're not with groups of people. Here you're sitting in a theater with 200 or so strangers, but you're all united by the fact you love great television."

The whole event is part of the public side of the preservation work the Paley Center does behind the scenes.

"Everybody thinks that, 'Oh, everything's on YouTube,' or 'every show is saved,'" Reyes said. "But I can't tell you how many times we are pulling master tapes or reels out of someone's garage, that are essential parts of television history — and it's the last remaining copy of it."

Tickets are still available for most of the fall TV panels online, and content from the panels also shows up on the Paley Center's YouTube page. You can go there to see video of panels from previous years as well.


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