Summer is officially over, and with the end of summer, comes something that TV addicts and couch potatoes like me have been waiting for: new Fall television. Every year, Fall comes with the excitement of discovering new, and hopefully good, shows that we can fall in love with… before screaming and crying foul the next Summer when the network decides to, again, pull the plug on the shows we’ve come to love but gets no love from Nielsen ratings.
But with each new Fall television, we start hoping again and this year is no different. The networks are ready to present us so many new shows in the hope that we will actually watch them and love them. Of course, it’s not humanly possible – unless your job is watching TV like Michael Aussiello and Kristin Dos Santos – to watch every new show that premieres every Fall, especially since we still have old favorites to watch. So, as any good couch potato would, we use the hot summer days to troll around various websites to get the dish on the upcoming shows as well as reviews from major publications whose taste we trust the most.
Or maybe it’s just me?
Well, in any case, after much research, I’ve compiled a list of 10 new shows you should check out this Fall. Of course I haven’t seen most of the shows here because they haven’t premiered yet, so don’t blame me if you don’t end up liking some of them. I may not end up liking some of them. But at least, this will help you weed out the truly bad ones that don’t even deserve your TiVo time.
Anyway, let’s get right to it, shall we?
1/ Glee, airing on Wednesdays at 9 PM EST on Fox.
Don’t let all the awesome singing or even the title fool you, Glee is not another “high school musical”. No, the cast doesn’t break out into a song in the school cafeteria for no reason (which was the reason why The Man hates musicals. In his own words: “Why do they have to break out into songs for no reason? No one does that!”), and no, the kids in McKinley High are not perfect little students like the kids in High School Musical. And no, Finn Hudson, the football star turned Glee club member, does not wear as much guy-liner like Zac Efron did (well, still does). On the contrary, Glee has all the edginess of the other Ryan Murphy show Nip/Tuck, toned down a bit for basic cable and a younger audience combined the humor of cult-favorite Freaks and Geeks. It’s hilarious, sweet (without being fake) and has all the feel-good nature of a musical without losing sight of the reality of high school and the nature of the outcast. It’s different, ambitious and I guarantee you’ll love it. Hey, didn’t we all start singing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing after the pilot had a special preview after Idol finale last April (or May)? You gotta love a show that can make Journey cool again.
2/ Flashforward, airing on ABC starting Sept 24, at 8 PM EST.
Arguably the most buzzed-about show this season, Flashforward has all the makings of becoming the new “Lost”, with more appeal for those of us who don’t like Lost because it’s set on their worst nightmare (the whole plane crashing on a deserted island without any electricity or bug spray, eek) – of course by “us”, I mean me, since everyone seems to not be bothered by it. The premise of Flashforward is interesting: “Everybody in the world blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds, then awakes to a world in confusion. People believe they are having memories of the event, but they turn out to be flashes of the future. Something big is going to happen, and the series focuses on the people who either want it to happen or try to stop it from happening.” (from the San Fransisco Chronicles). Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning show for me, a sci-fi loving geek. Not to mention, the cast is pretty awesome: Shakespeare In Love Joseph Fiennes and Star Trek’s John Cho (or the other guy in Harold and Kumar), among others. Expect this show to birth loyal followers and many fan websites with discussions and interpretation of each episode, much like Lost and the other JJ Abrams show, Fringe.
3/ Modern Family, airing on ABC starting Sept 23, at 9 PM EST.
I know, ABC is not known for its strong comedy, but I think this year ABC can totally own it with Better Off Ted getting a second season and this new comedy starring Julie Bowen of Ed and Weeds fame. First of all, the premise is interesting: it’s Office style mockumentary of three American families. Yes, it may sound kinda tired, but according to critics, it came out original and shockingly funny. As we know from The Office, this faux-documentary style comedy takes patience and the humor lies in its subtle nuances, so don’t expect the traditional laugh-out-loud comedy early on. But just like The Office, I think this is going to be the kind of comedy that we can fall in love with if we just give it a try. So I’d recommend you to give this one a try, especially since Julie Bowen is always awesome in whatever role she portrays.
4/ The Good Wife, airing on CBS staring Sept 22, at 10 PM EST.
Yes, we know, after ER, Julianna Margulies seems adamant about appearing in yet another legal series, but I think we should let her slide this time. If only because she plays the wife of Mr. Big without having to click her Manolos three times. If you miss Chris Noth aka Carrie’s Mr. Big on television, well this is the show for you. The Good Wife tells the story of “a woman who stepped aside from a promising law career to raise her children, only to find out later that her politician husband (Chris Noth) has been involved in a sex and corruption scandal. Standing (shocked) by her husband at his news conference, she appears to indeed be “the good wife” but quickly chooses to take charge of her life and family by going back to work. But that has its own issues because 13 years have passed and old friends are very successful while fresh young lawyers prove ultra-competitive.” (from The San Fransisco Chronicles). I know, this may sound lame after cable TV churned out so many ambitious legal shows in the recent years (Damages came to mind), but it got good reviews, and it’d be interesting to see Chris Noth play an Elliot Spitzer-like disgraced politician instead of just another version of Mr. Big for once.
5/ Cougar Town, airing on ABC starting Sept 23 at 9.30 pm EST.
I know, the title is kinda lame – after all, it leaves little to the imagination. We know exactly what the show is going to be about: cougars! Woo hoo! And okay, so Courtney Cox hasn’t really fared well on television after Friends, her F/X show Dirt was canceled after only 2 seasons. And yes, reviews are mixed on this Bill Lawrence comedy, with some recommending us to watch and some think that we should just pass on the show, but I think we should give it a shot. First of all, despite the lame but effective name, Cougar Town is more than just about cougars roaming around looking for a hot young thing to pounce on. Give Bill Lawrence some credit, people. Didn’t he bring us Scrubs? Didn’t we totally love it? And from the looks of things, it seems like Cougar Town is less about the obvious: older women trolling after younger men, but more about a recently divorced mom of a 17-year-old boy navigating a world that is age-obsessed, beauty indulgent and judgmental, especially when it comes to divorced mothers. So I recommend leaving all judgment out the door and just tune in to see whether this show really does live up to its expectations.
6/ Eastwick, airing on ABC starting Sept 23, at 10 PM EST.
If you’re wondering, yes this show is based on the 1987 film The Witches of Eastwick starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson. And if you’re skeptical about the show, I don’t blame you. The Witches of Eastwick was pretty memorable and nobody does devilish as good as Jack Nicholson. But before you sigh and roll your eyes, I suggest that you put all your skepticism aside and give this one a try. First, because as it turns out this is not the first adaptation of the movie, but the third. The first two were complete failures, never becoming anything more than unsold pilots. The fact that this one actually gets picked up says something about the quality. Second, it looks like this show has a lot going for it, not just the three main stars (it’s good to see Lindsay Price and Rebecca Romijn back so soon to television after Price’s Lipstick Jungle was canceled and Romijn’s character in Ugly Betty was written out due to her pregnancy) but also Canadian actor Paul Gross who plays Darryl Van Horne, the man/devil that brings them together. He’s no Jack Nicholson, but then again, the show doesn’t really stay close to the movie and instead becomes its own entity, which is a smart move on its own. Will it be the next Charmed? Only time will tell, but I’ll definitely check this one out.
7/ Community, airing on NBC starting Sept 17, at 9.30 PM EST.
I love Joel McHale in The Soup, so I’m already biased about this show and plans to watch it the minute it debuts on Sept 17. But my personal feelings aside, it seems like this show has generated enough buzz and good reviews to guarantee a win. Community tells the story of a disgraced, fake lawyer and brilliant con/liar who ends up going back to community college and leading what could be best described as a band of misfits in a study group. Joel McHale taking on the role of Jeff Winger, the brilliant con man is already pretty awesome by me, but this show gets even sweeter with the return of Chevy Chase to television after his guest stint in Chuck last season. Top that off with a slew of comic talents in this show, and this looks to have all the makings of another NBC comedy success (think The Office and 30 Rock). Especially with reviews that described the humor as “fast, cutting and original with a dose of silly and sweet to it”, I’m pretty much sold and I can’t wait for this addition to NBC’s already strong Thursday comedy line up.
8/ White Collar, airing on USA staring Oct 23, at 10 PM EST.
If you miss Bryce Larkin in Chuck and want to see more of him, I think this show is for you. If you are not a fan of Chuck, but a fan of smart television, I think this show is for you too. This show is described by Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger as “part Catch Me If You Can and part ’80s buddy cop movie” tells the story of the unlikely partnership of a con artist and an FBI agent who have been playing cat and mouse for years. Neal Caffrey (Bomer), an incredibly charming criminal mastermind, is finally caught by his nemesis, G-Man extraordinaire Peter Stokes (DeKay). When Neal escapes from a maximum-security prison to find his long-lost love, Peter nabs him once again. Rather than returning to jail for his daring getaway, Neal suggests an alternate plan: he’ll provide his cunning criminal expertise to assist the Feds in catching other notorious and elusive criminals. Initially wary, Peter quickly finds that Neal provides insight and intuition that cannot be found on the right side of the law. So far, this show has received glowing reviews, with critics calling it a “Bouncy, slick and very much on-brand from the channel that gives you Burn Notice and Monk.” (and uhm, Psych, of course!) – looks to be a promising show, I suggest we give this one a try.
9/ Bored To Death, airing on HBO starting Sept 20, at 9.30 PM EST.
The three stars of this show alone are enough to get me to watch, the fact that it’s in HBO and that it received glowing reviews make me even more excited about this comedy about a New York writer in crisis who inadvertently (and ill-advisedly) becomes a private detective. Jason Schwartzman, former drummer for Phantom Planet who successfully made the transition to acting as delightfully quirky oddball, is offset nicely by Zach Galifianakis, fresh off his hilarious role and shot to super stardom in The Hangover, and of course the always irreverent and crazy Ted Danson. After delivering a seriously haunting performance in Damages, it’s good to see the man back to his comedic roots. Not to mention, this show also boasts guest-starring roles by indie queens Parker Posey and Olivia Thirlby (Juno), and Golden Globe nominated actor Oliver Platt. This show looks to be another HBO comedic win like Entourage and Hung, so make sure you tune in for its debut on Sept 20.
10/ The Vampire Diaries, airing on Thursdays at 8 PM EST on The CW.
Okay, before you start protesting, I know this isn’t the kind of show us True Blood loving adults usually watch. And yes, I get the eerie similarities to Twilight, what with vampires attending high school (in broad daylight, I might add, and not catching fire like Godric did at sunrise in True Blood) and falling in love with a cute, suburban teenage girl with an Italianate first name. But it’s been a while since we’ve had anything by Kevin Williamson on TV (I was a huge Dawson’s Creek fan, can’t you tell?) and I’m willing to give this one a try. After all, if anyone can make a show with a Twilight-like premise interesting, it would be Mr. Williamson, who brought us the angsty Dawson’s Creek foursome a decade or so ago. A review from The New York Times said, “Mr. Williamson understands the modern American teenager more fully than Ms. Meyer, not only in the sharp grasp he maintains on adolescent idiom but also in his realization that young people feel as empowered in their roles as knowing cultural consumers as they can be by fulfilling their romantic longings.” In other words, I think we may like this one a whole lot more than Twilight. And even though I still don’t get why a vampire would want to go to High School despite having lived for hundreds of years, and even though I don’t understand why these melancholic teen vamps are so immune to sunlight, I’m willing to give this a try. I haven’t seen it yet despite it having already aired the pilot just last Thursday night (I still have Leverage to catch up on, and let’s face it, this one can wait till the weekend), but I will be watching, if only for the devilishly handsome Ian Somerhalder (Boone from Lost) who is sure to wreak some havoc in this vampire-age Romeo and Juliet tale.
So there you go, the 10 shows to watch this Fall. Let’s hope they are as good as the reviews depict them to be.
Which new show will you be tuning in this season?