Fall Television Preview
Shalom Life guides you through the best and worst bets of this fall's television premieres.
Sunday, Oct. 4
Three Rivers (CBS) 9/8c
With a specific focus on organ transplants, Three Rivers is another medical drama which attempts to breathe fresh air into an old plot – and certainly a plot that is seeing a lot of attention this season. It has its strong points: television’s new McDreamy, Alex O’Loughlin. It has its low points: a sappy soundtrack including Swim by Jack’s Mannequin. In conclusion, we’re on the fence.
Wednesday, Sept. 30
Hank (ABC) 8/7c
Apparently, 2009’s fall line-up is brimming with great new comedies. Luckily, Hank starring Kelsey Grammer looks like no exception. The show follows the Pryor family as they go from riches to rags and decide to move into a measly two-story in their old town. Comedy ensues as the Pryors try to adjust into a new life where limos are traded in for minivans and maids are, well, non existent.
The Middle (ABC) 8:30/7:30c
We admit, The Middle looks pretty put together with a great cast and an impressive production team. And, we’re certain the comedy about two narcissistic parents running a semi-dysfunctional and untalented family will get a few hefty chuckles out of us yet. But, we feel like we’re suffering from déjà vu. Malcolm in the Middle, anyone?
Monday, Sept. 28
Trauma (NBC) 9/8c
Of the medical-focused shows beginning this fall, this is by far the least likely to succeed. Trauma attempts to spotlight the medical-personal who respond to emergency calls. But spotlighting them is an understatement. NBC insists on labeling their characters: The Father, The Fighter, The Rebel. Barf! Not to mention, the ridiculous number of over-the-top explosion sequences circa 1994’s True Lies just look foolish. This show needs to find its footing quickly in order to snag a dedicated audience.
Sunday, Sept. 27
The Cleveland Show (FOX) 8:30/7:30c
Unfortunately, we have to say it: The Cleveland Show looks stupid. Please don’t think we aren’t sad about it, either. We’ve been watching Family Guy since its premier back in ’99. We’ve been there when Peter scrapped his knee, when licking toads were still cool and when Stewie transported into the future in his self-titled movie. But, without the Griffins in the picture, this spin-off starring Cleveland Brown and his new family in Stoolbend, VA looks uninspired and dull. That isn’t to say we don’t want Seth MacFarlane to prove us wrong. Come on Seth, we’re rooting for you.
Friday, Sept. 25
Brothers (FOX) 8/7c
There will always be a special place for the family comedy. And Brothers looks like it will fit nicely into that little television niche. Starring Michael Strahan and Daryl Chill Mitchell as two middle-aged siblings who’ve never stopped competing with each other, Brothers brings together a dysfunctional but loving four-piece family that promises to hit the funny bone and the heart.
Thursday, Sept. 24
Flash Forward (ABC) 8/7c
ABC has our attention. We’ll give them that. But this sci-fi drama about every human on earth having self-premonitions on where they will be on April 29 at the same time has one whopping problem. There is an end in sight and we’ve only seen the trailer. Obviously, the episode dealing with April 29 will be the finale, but will creators Brannon Baga and David S. Goyer pull the same stunt as Lost and try to keep a successful but completed story going? We hope not.
Wednesday, Sept. 23
Cougar Town (ABC) 9:30/8:30c
The sexually-deprived middle age woman in all of us is bound to love ABC’s most anticipated fall comedy, Cougar Town. From the Friends alumnus Courtney Cox, to Scrub alumni writers Kevin Biegel and Bill Lawrence, the show has the talent necessary to attract an audience beyond divorcees and housewives. Our only concern with what should be a great season is what will happen when the menopause jokes run out.
Mercy (NBC) 8/7c
If you love a good hospital drama but you’re sick of the smarmy doctor story, then NBC’s latest surgeon drama is right up your alley. Following three young nurses in a hospital where doctors don’t have all the answers and patients aren’t the friendliest, Veronica (Taylor Schilling), Sonia (Jamie Lee Kirchner) and Chloe (Michelle Trachtenberg) try to “make people better at the worst time of their lives.” Honestly, we just feel better knowing there is something else to watch after Grey’s Anatomy gets cancelled this year.
Modern Family (ABC) 9/8c
The single-camera mockumentary style of Modern Family definitely has us intrigued, but it is the simple yet relatable story of three different families that has us waiting impatiently for the premiere. We couldn’t be happier that Emmy Award winners Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, both screenwriters and producers of the acclaimed ‘90s hit Frasier, have reunited for the series. We can only hope for a cameo appearance by Kelsey Grammer himself to top things off.
Eastwick (ABC) 10/9c
Based on the 1984 John Updike novel The Witches of Eastwick, Lindsay Price, Jaime Ray Newman and Rebecca Romijn star in Eastwick, a drama about three beautiful witches who become entangled in their own spells. Although the idea of a television series based on the novel has been shot down twice already (once in ’92 and again in ’02), David Nutter’s adaptation does seem a little more, um, magical.
Tuesday, Sept. 22
The Forgotten (ABC) 10/9c
A blend of CSI and Medium, The Forgotten looks like an old idea retold with a fresh voice. Although we expect the show won’t reach CSI proportions, we have high hopes that the eerie mood and dark story about detectives trying to uncover the names of the deceased will at least make a season two. It doesn’t hurt that the executive producer is none other than Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of Pirates of the Carribean, Bad Boys, Pearl Harbour and a lengthy list of television series including the acclaimed CSI.
The Good Wife (CBS) 10/9c
Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies stars as Alicia Forrick, the wife of a recently jailed politician. In an attempt to provide for her children and regain her crumbling reputation after her husband’s downfall, she returns to her old job as a defense attorney. The Good Wife definitely looks like something to tune in on, but we can’t stop wondering which real political scandal inspired the series.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 9/8c
A slight upgrade from its sister series NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles stars LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell as two parts of a fictional special agents team that takes down the bad guy with one too many one-liners. The series is slotted to air weekly after NCIS season seven in a weak attempt to snag current viewers. However, the original is already running dry and we don’t think a few Hollywood actors are enough to revive the show.
Monday, Sept. 21
Accidentally on Purpose (CBC) 8:30/7:30c
Advertised as the classic story of boy meets girl, boy impregnates girl and boy consequentially moves in with girl, this sitcom doesn’t look like it’ll pack the necessary punch to uplift the common worker from the Monday-night blues. But hey, there may be a diamond underneath the low-budget production value and C-list comedians yet!
Sunday, Sept. 20
Bored to Death (HBO) 9:30/8:30c
It’s an industry fact: everything HBO touches will turn to gold. And that alone is the sole reason you should tune into this left-of-centre comedy about an alcoholic writer turned personal detective for hire. Well, maybe the A-list cast lead by Jason Schwartzman and Golden Globe winner Ted Danson helps out a little… we suppose…
Thursday, Sept. 17
Community (NBC) 9:30/7:30c
A quirky group of students who attend, or in some cases re-attend college for various reasons, come together for a weekly study group. While the trailer certainly shines a heavy light on the comical side of Community, it appears that the heartfelt moments are what will make this underdog series either rise to the top or quickly lose the world’s attention.
Wednesday, Sept. 16
The Beautiful Life: TBL (The CW) 9/8c
Actor, reality star and recently turned Twitter maven Ashton Kutcher is taking on the role of executive producer of The CW’s latest fashion-focused show. The series stars Mischa Barton as a high-profile model who has returned to New York after a mysterious absence in an attempt to reclaim her throne (a la Blair Waldorf in the network’s other New York-based hit, “Gossip Girl”). Although “The O.C.” starlet will take on a leading role in the show, the drama is actually focused on an entire New York residence of catwalk wanna-bes. Our bet: the series will trip over its own stilettos and be cancelled mid-season.
Thursday, Sept. 10
The Vampire Diaries (The CW) 8/7c
Yes. We’re tired of the current pop culture vampire trend as well. But, if you judge The CW’s take on the cliché vampire/human love story by itself, than you must admit it looks pretty good. The soap opera features everything a hit series needs to keep the blood flowing: sexual misadventure, mysterious figures in the night and a cast of unnaturally attractive twenty-somethings trying to play high school students.
Wednesday, Sept. 9
Glee (FOX) 9/8c
Matthew Morrison stars as Will Schuester, an optimistic young teacher set on reviving McKinley High School’s Glee Club, in this dramedy that has had the twittersphere in hysteria since its premier was aired last May. With promising newbies such as Dianna Agron and Jessalyn Gilsig working alongside comedy veteran Jane Lynch, Glee has a good chance of putting the sparkle in this fall’s Wednesday night schedule.