Fox; AMC; NBC; ABC
Fox; AMC; NBC; ABC
Can you hear it? The sound of crisp fall leaves floating to the ground, pumpkin spice lattes being brewed, and your DVR overheating because there is SO MUCH NEW TV happening all at once!
Hope you enjoyed your summer TV break, because it's over—and time to make some tough decisions regarding which shows will make your DVR lineup and which you'll have to relegate to streaming (or ignore altogether).
Presenting: The E! News Fall 2016 DVR Battles! Below, we've rounded up seven of the most hotly contested TV time slots and given our educated advice as to what you should watch and how you should watch it. Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
CBS; CW; Fox
Mondays at 8 p.m.
Dancing With the Stars (ABC) vs. Kevin Can Wait & Man With a Plan (CBS) vs. Gotham (Fox) vs. The Voice (NBC) vs. Supergirl (The CW)
DWTS and The Voice have gone head-to-head for seasons now, so you're probably already set on what you plan to do with those. Similarly, if you don't already watch Gotham, you're not going to start now. But CBS has brought back two sitcom titans: Kevin James on Kevin Can Wait and Matt LeBlanc on Man With a Plan, and Supergirl has a new network so will provide a good entry point for new viewers.
Verdict: Watch DWTS or The Voice live as you've been doing for years. If you happen to like broad family sitcoms where men find it perplexing that raising a family is a difficult job, then DVR the CBS comedies. If you're into superheroes, choose your preferred DC hero and DVR, then find the rest streaming or On Demand.
ABC; CBS; Fox
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
The Middle & American Housewife (ABC) vs. NCIS (CBS) vs. Brooklyn Nine-Nine & New Girl (Fox) vs. The Voice (NBC) vs. The Flash (The CW)
Everybody knows that The Voice results shows are lotsa filler with approximately two minutes of pertinent information (the results). But it's going to be hard to choose between ABC's off-the-beat family comedies, one of the most reliable procedurals on TV, Fox's established, quirky comedies and arguably the CW's best superhero show.
Verdict: Check the Voice results on Twitter. Watch The Flash live, especially since The CW isn't posting episodes to Hulu the next day anymore (they most recently aired five episodes will only be on the network's annoying app and On Demand). Then tune in to the comedy block that speaks to you the most—and catch the other one streaming online.
CBS; NBC; Fox
Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
Fresh Off the Boat & The Real O'Neals (ABC) vs. Bull (CBS) vs. Scream Queens (Fox) vs. This Is Us (NBC) vs. No Tomorrow (The CW)
This one is even tougher than 8 p.m., considering every single show here has a different, delightful vibe. There's offbeat family comedies, a charming legal procedural, another bats—t crazy (in a good way) season of Ryan Murphy's horror comedy, a tug-at-your-heartstrings emotional family drama, and a light and fun hourlong dramedy. This is really going to come down to which existing shows you already watch.
Verdict: For the love of all things good in this world, watch This Is Us live, especially premiere night so the Internet doesn't ruin the amazing ending. Then, DVR whichever existing shows you prefer (the ABC comedies or Scream Queens). Finally, stream the remainder—you're going to want to at least try out Michael Weatherly's new series and the CW's rom-com. Our advice: Fresh Off the Boat and The Real O'Neals lend themselves well to bingeing, so if you let a few pile up and watch 'em all it once it might make this time period a little more manageable.
ABC; NBC; CW
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
Modern Family & Black-ish (ABC) vs. Criminal Minds (CBS) vs. Empire (Fox) vs. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) vs. Frequency (The CW)
Dark law enforcement dramas or sudsy prime time soap? Yet another block of fun ABC family shows or one of this season's new time travel installments? Ultimately, it's up to which shows you and your friends and family will want to discuss afterwards (whether that night or the next morning).
Verdict: Empire and all its insanity will warrant a water cooler discussion, so watch that one live. So will SVU and its ripped-from-the-headlines storylines, so if you're not an Empire fan, watch that live and if you are, DVR it and watch after. Save Modern Family and Black-ish for binges, and leave Criminal Minds and Frequency to On Demand or streaming later on (you know, during the way-less-scary daylight hours).
ABC; TV Land; FX
Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
Designated Survivor (ABC) vs. Code Black (CBS) vs. American Horror Story (FX) vs. Chicago P.D. (NBC) vs. Younger & Impastor (TV Land)
Real talk: the big problem here is that one of the fall's best new shows (Designated Survivor) is going up against one of the fall's most talked-about and anticipated new seasons (American Horror Story: ??????). Throw in a curveball with the delightful TV Land comedy Younger (and, incidentally, its time slot mate Impastor) and you have a bit of a pickle.
Verdict: By the time you have to choose between all of these, we'll know what the AHS theme is. But still—it's going to be full of trademark bananas moments that you'll want to discuss as soon as possible, so that one gets the live watch. Designated Survivor is amazing, so that'll be your DVR (and if you're not too sleepy, you can watch same night). Catch up on Younger On Demand—same with Chicago P.D. You can skip Code Black.
Fox; ABC; Lifetime
Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Notorious (ABC) vs. Thursday Night Football/Mom & Life In Pieces (CBS) vs. Pitch (Fox) vs. Project Runway (Lifetime) vs. Chicago Med/Thursday Night Football (NBC) vs. Supernatural (The CW)
Thursday Night Football starts the season on CBS before moving to NBC later this fall. So if you're a football person, you'll likely follow it wherever it goes. But this time slot also happens to hold another of the season's best shows; Scandal's TGIT replacement; a far superior medical drama to Code Black; a beloved, long-running CW supernatural drama and two of CBS' best comedies. And Project Runway, which is still on!
Verdict: Pitch is your live bet, because it's amazing and we want more episodes all the time. Notorious can get the DVR slot, because you know you're going to want some soapy drama waiting for you when you have time to watch. You can stream whichever show is on opposite Thursday night football, and catch Supernatural on the CW's admittedly terrible app. And we'll reserve judgment on whether Project Runway's worth watching until we see this year's cast, because we all know the cast makes or breaks a season.
HBO; AMC; Showtime
Sundays at 9 p.m.
Secrets and Lies (ABC) vs. The Walking Dead (AMC) vs. Family Guy & Last Man On Earth (Fox) vs. Westworld (HBO) vs. Shameless (Showtime)
We're assuming you're definitely going to be watching Rob & Chyna on E!—duh!—but after its six week run is over, you'll have quite the decision ahead of you. The second season of ABC's Secrets and Lies is even better (and much more delightfully soapy) than the first. And it's going up against juggernaut TWD, HBO's big-budget (and long-delayed) Western saga Westworld, and a surprise Fall edition of the criminally underrated Shameless.
Verdict: The Walking Dead is live, naturally—especially if you don't want to be spoiled about who Negan's victim winds up being—and since HBO is great and posts its content on HBO Go/Now as soon as it starts airing on the East Coast, you don't have to worry about Westworld. You'll want to DVR Secrets and Lies, then catch up on Shameless On Demand and the Fox comedies streaming. Simple, really!