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The state of TV 2016: There's a lot of it

Watching too much TV is now a point of pride. If there was a Fitbit for hours watched, we'd reach our daily goal easily. Caught up with the new season of Mr. Robot? Check. Finished the new season of Game of Thrones? Of course. What about summer's biggest hit, Stranger Things? Done. Three times.

With a record-setting number of shows enriching our lives, you're nobody without good taste in prime-time programming.

Once upon a time, the most coveted premieres came between September and October. But streaming services Netflix and Amazon blew up that model, expanding our TV diets to a year-round indulgence. Network and cable channels are trying to keep up with a constant smorgasbord of good TV.

But we didn't say "great."

The era of peak TV means a push for quantity over quality -- FX Networks CEO John Landgraf predicts more than 500 original scripted series this year -- creating an overwhelming boob-tube buffet.

The limit doesn't seem to exist, yet. Nearly 50 shows are premiering over the next few months. We -- three self-proclaimed small-screen gluttons -- watched most of them. We're happy to report there's some great stuff ahead.

Whether you want to laugh, cry or gasp, there's a serving for everyone.

We've scheduled out your week with one must-watch daily addition to your already full plate. We're not complaining, but this was hard because some days dish out stronger options than others. On Thursdays, NBC's The Good Place, from comedy veteran Michael

Schur, delivers belly laughs. But you're going to want to make room for Pitch on Fox first.

So we also recommend stuff to savor later -- in order of best to "meh" -- and the shows you can skip altogether.

We couldn't stomach much of CBS's familiar programming, but the network will no doubt continue laugh-tracking at the top of the viewership list. CBS caught a lot of heat when everyone realized all its new shows star white men: Joel McHale (The Great Indoors),

Dermot Mulroney (Pure Genius), Michael Weatherly (Bull), Kevin James (Kevin Can Wait), Matt LeBlanc (Man With a Plan) and Lucas Till (MacGyver). At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the network execs promised to "do better" midseason.

Coincidentally, the shows we're most excited for are more diverse. This season you'll definitely be hearing about FX's Atlanta, Insecure on HBO and Pitch, which all star black actors. ABC's family sitcoms (Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat) and Shonda Rhimes dramas (Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder) continue to dominate. But two of its new shows, American Housewife and Notorious, probably won't.

Some of the standouts are also the weirdest. It's been a long time coming for HBO, but Westworld, the bonkers adaptation of a bonkers movie about murderous robots at a futuristic Wild West theme park, will finally premiere. Controversy surrounds Westworld after it took years to shoot and had an uncomfortable first episode, but hey, it's HBO. Everyone will be talking about this show come Oct. 2.

Over on cable networks, TBS's clever comedy People of Earth follows an alien support group. Falling Water on USA gives us major Wachowski (Sense8, The Matrix) vibes. And Son of Zorn on Fox delightfully mashes up live action, animation and a little He-Man.
And while lots of fresh faces and concepts sprinkle the list, remakes remain a thing. (Just look at the movies that came out this summer.) The Exorcist, Lethal Weapon, MacGyver, Frequency and Rocky Horror Picture Show all get reimagined. Some work okay (Lethal Weapon) while others don't, yet (The Exorcist). Viewers' tastes soured with last season's movie-to-TV reboots Limitless and Minority Report, which failed to get another season.

After a summer of sloppy seconds (looking at you, UnReal) and satisfying binges (can we squeeze in one more viewing of Stranger Things?), it's time for a fantastic fall feast on the small screen to begin.


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