Ever since 2009, I have been posting my annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall” post, a recommendation of the ten new shows that I, after an exhaustive research, think will be a hit in the coming Fall Television season. I did pretty well in my first year, only two of the shows I recommended were canceled (80% success is pretty good, you guys!) and of the eight successful show, one even won an Emmy Award (Modern Family). However, I could not repeat my success last year. My report card for 2010 was embarrassing, with Lone Star and My Generation canceled after only two (TWO!) episodes, Running Wilde and Undercovers canceled before the season was even over, No Ordinary Family, The Event and Better With You suffered the same fate at the Upfronts last May, and Nikita, even though it’s renewed for a second season, has been sent to Programming Siberia, or Friday nights, making it not quite a hit. Out of the 10 I recommended, only two were actually successful, and even so, their ratings were not spectacular (Hawaii Five-O and Raising Hope).
It is safe to say that 2010/2011 was a really bad television development year. Most Fall new shows collapsed and were canceled after one season, and even the mid-season premieres (The Cape, Mr. Sunshine, The Chicago Code, etc) didn’t do well either. It was frustrating for both the networks and us avid TV watchers. But, in times like these, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? So the networks unveiled their new pilots for the 2011/2012 development season with optimism and we all hope for the best.
This year, despite last year’s massive failure, I decided to continue the tradition of giving my recommendation on the Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall, and you decide if any of them is worth your time and energy. Just like the last two years’ posts, I haven’t actually seen all these shows, but I’ve done enough research to sort of make an assessment. Like the networks, I’m hoping for the best, and crossing my fingers that this year will be better. So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:
1/ Pan Am, airing on ABC, starting Sept 25, 10/9c.
Thanks to the success of AMC’s critically-acclaimed Emmy darling Mad Men, the 60s are back in style and the world just can’t get enough of it. This television season, both ABC and NBC have shows set in the swingin’ 60s, about the alluring worlds of Pan Am stewardesses and Playboy bunnies respectively. However, since The Playboy Club, NBC’s answer to Mad Men stars Eddie Cibrian and I can’t stand the guy, I am going to choose ABC’s Pan Am to be in this list instead. Pan Am tells the story of “the Jet Age”, when the Cold War was underway, the world was poised on the brink of a cultural revolution and everywhere change was in the air, according to the ABC website. In short, I think Pan Am would be a little like that one Mad Men episode when Don Draper hooked up with a Pan Am stewardess in season four (three? Can’t remember) but without the excessive smoking and with the addition of the always magnetic Christina Ricci. It should be a fun watch.
2/ The New Girl, airing on FOX, starting Sept 20 , 9/8c.
This new comedy got all the critics and journalists all excited when it was unveiled during last May’s Upfronts, and it’s not just because Zooey Deschanel is everyone’s favorite actress. This show pairs the always adorable Miss Deschanel with three dudes, and the result is a quirky, delightful comedy that I’m pretty sure we all will fall in love with. The New Girl tells the story of Jess Day, an offbeat and adorable girl in her late 20s who, after a bad breakup, moves in with three single guys. Unlike most female characters who are surrounded with straight guys on TV, Jess is neither tough nor overtly sexy. She’s goofy, dorky and awkward, which made her interaction with her new roommates a lot of fun to watch, and the trailer is both so adorable and hilarious I am positive you’ll fall in love with this show as much as I have.
3/ Person of Interest, airing on CBS starting Sept 22, 9/8c.
Lost fans, get ready for Michael Emerson’s return to TV! One of the most anticipated new shows to premiere this Fall, Person of Interest tells the story of a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using their own brand of vigilante justice. Jim Caviezel, aka Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of The Christ, plays the presumed dead former-CIA agent while Michael Emerson plays a software genius who invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes. The premise sounds promising and it is one of JJ Abrams’ new projects to premiere in the 2011/2012 season (the other one is the mid-season Fox show Alcatraz), so I’m guessing this will be a hit almost right out of the gate. It is after all on CBS!
4/ Two Broke Girls, airing on CBS, starting Sept 19, 9.30/8.30c (8.30/7.30c starting Sept 26).
The man behind Sex and The City, Michael Patrick King, returns to television with this CBS comedy that promises to be more than just a SATC clone, and I hope for the sake of the always amazing Kat Dennings, it lives up to the promise. The show tells the story of two young women, street-smart, sassy Max and former Uptown trust-fund princess Caroline who are down on their luck waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unexpected friendship in the hopes of launching a successful cupcake business. The pilot (trailer) looks promising and Kat Dennings is always fun to watch, so I hope it will be a fun addition to CBS’ Monday Night comedy. Sure, the laugh track is little annoying but it’s CBS. It comes with the territory.
5/ Once Upon A Time, airing on ABC starting Oct 23, 8/7c.
Fairy tales not only come true but are actually real this Fall on ABC, thanks to this new show that marks the return of House’s Jennifer Morrison and Big Love’s Ginnifer Goodwin to television. Once Upon A Time tells the story of bail bonds collector Emma Swan, whose 10-year-old son that she has given up for adoption years ago finds her and is in desperate need of her help. He takes her to Storybrook, a place “where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were” according to the show’s website. I’m not a big fan of fairy tales and princesses and evil witches, but this show sounds a lot of fun to watch. Besides, it’s a welcome change from all the vampires and werewolves that seem to have dominated the supernatural genre in television.
6/ Up All Night, airing on NBC starting Sept 14, 10/9c.
I think it’s safe to say that we all love Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. But with Applegate’s Samantha Who? canceled after only two 13-episodes seasons and Arnett’s Running Wilde pretty much died on arrival when it premiered last year, their return to television hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing. However, their luck may just change with this charming new show from creator Emily Spivey (Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live) and executive producer Lorne Michaels (SNL, 30 Rock) that gives us a funny, irreverent look at parenthood through husband and wife Chris and Reagan Brinkley. With Applegate playing working mom Reagan, Arnett playing stay-at-home dad Chris and Maya Rudolf playing Regan’s ambitious, self-centered yet vulnerable boss, I think NBC may have another hit comedy on their hands, and for the sake of both Applegate and Arnett, I hope I’m right.
7/ Ringer, airing on The CW starting Sept 13, 9/8c.
Sarah Michelle Gellar hasn’t done television since Buffy The Vampire Slayer wrapped so forgive me if I’m a little excited about this show. She may have given up on the supernatural and ass-kicking slayer business, but she has definitely decided to stick with the genre she knows she’s good at: mystery. In Ringer, she stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. This drama is a little grown up than most of the network’s other dramas, but it may be a good thing. In any case, I’m just happy to see SMG back on my TV, especially when she brings Ioan Grufford and Kristoffer Polaha with her.
8/ Suburgatory, airing on ABC starting Sept 28, 8.30/7.30c.
Okay, I admit, I only put this show on the list because of Alan Tudyk, and as an avid Firefly fan, I just have to get behind anything that the former cast of Firefly is in. I still watch both Castle and Suits, don’t I? 🙂 But a show that has Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and of course Alan Tudyk can’t be that bad, can it? Suburgatory tells the story of single dad George, who decides to move from New York City to the suburbs after he finds a condom on his teenage daughter Tessa’s nightstand. Tessa is horrified at the “plastic franken-moms” and over-manicured lawns, but little by little she and George begin to find a way to survive the clean streets of the ‘burbs. If you’re still trying to adapt to suburban living like me, I think this will be a fun show to check out this Fall.
9/ Hart of Dixie, airing on The CW starting Sept 26, 9/8c.
The OC fans, get ready for the return of Summer Roberts this Fall! Sure, I’m still trying to get my head around
Summer Roberts Rachel Bilson playing a doctor, but this show does reunite her with executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, both of whom were responsible for her rise of fame in the first place, so I’m definitely giving this show the benefit of the doubt. Especially since in addition to Rachel Bilson, this CW drama also stars Friday Night Lights Scott Porter, who gets to show off his acting skills while walking, dancing and running! 🙂 It’s a fish-out-of-New York story in which Zoe Hart, a brand new doctor, is transplanted from NYC to a small Southern town, and it can either be surprisingly charming or incredibly bad, but I think you should give it a watch anyway, if only because Rachel Bilson’s weekly presence on our television screen is sorely missed.
10/ Charlie’s Angels, airing on ABC starting Sept 22, 8/7c.
I know what you’re thinking. *Eyes rolling* Oh no, here comes another Charlie’s Angels reboot. Seriously? Don’t anyone in Hollywood have fresh new ideas for a TV show? And yes, most reboots of popular 70s and 80s shows sucked and have failed to garner interest. But I think we should give this show a break simply because Charlie’s Angels is always a fun watch. We did not mind the Drew Barrymore remake so much, did we? And all three angels; Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh are super hot and sizzling on screen. Add the sunny beachy Miami as primary location and I think, if done right, this could be our newest guilty pleasure show. And admit it, you want to hear mysterious Charlie to say, “Hello, Angels” one more time, don’t you?
Also worth a mention:
Enlightened, airing on HBO starting Oct 10, 9.30 PM.
HBO knows how to pick good shows, even Entourage was a fun watch back in the good ol’ days. So it’s safe to say this new Laura Dern comedy may just be a great addition to your DVR come October. Created by Mike White (School of Rock), this show tells the story of a self-destructive executive who after three-months of contemplation and meditation at a treatment center in Hawaii, returns to pick up the pieces of her old life and reshape the world she left behind. With Luke Wilson starring as her drug-addled ex-husband and Diane Ladd as her mother Helen, this comedy sounds just like what the doctor orders for all of us this Fall.
American Horror Story, airing on FX starting Oct 5, 10 PM.
After the success of Glee, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk decided to go the very non-wholesome route of icky gorefest with American Horror Story, and judging from early reviews circulating on the web, they have succeeded. American Horror Story is crazy scary, fast-paced and totally campy fun and we all want that from a Ryan Murphy vehicle, especially one that stars
Mrs. Coach Tami Taylor Connie Britton and the always brooding Dylan McDermott. Critics are unsure as to how Murphy and co will be able to maintain the frenetic pace of the pilot, but it’s safe to say that this new FX show is worth checking out, especially if you love any of Murphy’s other shows, like Nip/Tuck or Glee.
What new shows are you planning to watch this Fall?