Just around the time the air begins to cool down here in Texas, the major television networks flex their muscles and gear up for a new season of shows, both old and new. This season brings us 65 returning shows as well as 27 new ones, of which only a few will survive. So we here at COLLIDE decided to throw together a Fall TV Preview to help you sort through the junk and also to highlight some of our favorites.
Worst Week (CBS, premieres Sept. 22)
This new comedy follows Sam Briggs, an entertainment magazine editor, in his attempts to impress his fiancé’s parents, but instead, disaster follows in a manner similar to Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents.
America’s Toughest Jobs (ABC, premiered Aug. 25)
America’s Toughest Jobs is a new reality competition that places contestants in the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs, promising the winner the annual salary of each job completed.
My Own Worst Enemy (ABC, premieres Oct. 13)
Henry, a middle-class suburban father, battles with his super-spy alter ego, Edward, when the implant in his brain begins to malfunction, in this Jekyll and Hyde meets Borne Identity thriller.
Opportunity Knocks (ABC, premieres Sept. 23)
Family game night will never be the same when a huge TV crew and host JD Roth knock on your door to play a trivia game based on your families history. Only the closest of families will succeed, so you better get to know yours before ABC comes knocking on your door.
The Mentalist (CBS, premieres Sept. 23)
A bogus psychic gone detective for the California Bureau of Investigation uses his sharp observation skills to help solve crime and ultimately find the man who murdered his family. Sounds like a serious version of USA’s Psych, which we love.
90210 (CW, premiered Sept 2)
This contemporary version of the original Beverly Hills, 90210, brings an edgy new feel to the oh-so-innocent 90’s classic and attempts to win fans back, both new and old. JT’s not the only one bringing sexy back.
Fringe (FOX, premiered Sept. 9)
A new sci-fi drama from J.J. Abrams, the producer of Lost (ever heard of it?) that promises to blur the lines between the possible and impossible, all beginning with mysterious deaths aboard an airplane.
Knight Rider (NBC, premieres Sept. 24)
He’s back, again. The iconic 80’s classic about the coolest car ever, KITT, is being reinvented and revamped for a new generation. Third times a charm.
Eleventh Hour (CBS, premieres Oct. 9)
Dr. Jacob Hood is a brilliant biophysicist and the government’s last line of defense who investigates unusual scientific events with unlimited jurisdiction and runs into trouble along the way.
Kath and Kim (NBC, premieres Oct. 9)
A new comedy adapted from Australian TV that takes a look into the dysfunctional relationship of a 40-something divorcee mother and her self-absorbed princess of a daughter.
Ex List (CBS, premieres Oct. 3)
This comedic drama is about a single, 30-something woman who learns from a psychic that her future husband is actually an ex-boyfriend. The catch is that she must find him within the next year or risk remaining single for life.
Crusoe (NBC, premieres Oct. 17)
A new ambitious adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s masterpiece, “Crusoe,” that follows the life of a castaway and his friend through the perils and adventures of living on a deserted island. Also, there’s a sweet treehouse.
Chuck (NBC, returns Sept. 29)
Despite the ridiculous premise of the show, we can’t help but root for Chuck’s Chuck, a dork/nerd/geek who was unwittingly dragged into the world of international espionage when the US Government’s top secret spy computer downloaded onto his brain. As he nervously navigates through spy missions and thwarts terrorist plots with the help of his trained-operative handlers (read: deadly babysitters), Chuck retains his boy-next-door, goofball-with-a-heart-of-gold charm.
Eli Stone (ABC, returns Oct. 14)
Eli Stone is by no means a great show, and yet we keep coming back. The writing isn’t as sharp as we’d like and the show itself hasn’t quite found its rhythm, but we’ve seen every episode because we really want to know what is going to happen to Eli next. See, God might be sending him prophetic visions or the aneurysm in his brain might be causing him to lose his mind. Or it could be both. Stone helps people in need on behalf of the Almighty while his friends, family, and coworkers fluctuate between faith and doubt.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, returns Sept. 25)
Like another show or two on this list, Grey’s Anatomy falls into the “guilty pleasure” category. Watching this ensemble cast of ambitious doctors make messes of their lives and then try to untangle themselves can be good TV. It can also be melodramatic and over-sexed, but isn’t that par for the course among prime-time soap operas? Despite its shortcomings, Grey’s is good for a weekly dose of humor, tension, and redemption.
Heroes (NBC, returns Sept. 22)
Time travel, catastrophic viruses, teenagers grappling with their superpowers, and a set of prophetic paintings … either those sound to you like the ingredients of a great show or they don’t. This season–Heroes’ third–is titled Villains and promises to deliver just that. Most of our heroes still aren’t sure exactly who they are or what future events will require of them, but what better than a fleet of evildoers to help them figure it out?
House (FOX, returns Sept. 16)
House’s titular character is an acrimonious, limping medical genius with a permanently disheveled appearance and a Vicodin addiction. Need we say more? Dr. House’s strained relationship with his only friend in the world should make for a good arc to start this season. From episode to episode we can expect more medical mysteries, wisecracks, and debates about human nature, reason, and God.
Life (NBC, returns Sept. 29)
Life is the story of Charlie Crews, a Los Angeles detective wrongly imprisoned for 11 years. Once new DNA evidence set him free from prison, Crews negotiated a massive settlement with the city, which included his return to the force. “Life was his sentence,” his attorney says, “and life is what he got back.” As he searches for inner peace and the conspirators that framed him for murder, Crews solves crimes, eats a ton of fresh fruit (there isn’t any in prison), and hassles his ex-wife’s new husband (she divorced Crews while he was locked up)–trust me, it’s quirky but quality programming.
The Office (NBC, returns Sept. 25)
America’s #1 comedy (or maybe just ours),The Office, is back for its fifth season after a short summer stint and we just can’t wait. This satirical documentary-style sitcom follows the everyday lives of employees in the office of Dunder Mifflin, a small, dying paper company in Scranton, PA. This season, we expect more awkward laughs, ingenious pranks, relational tension, and the occasional shocker. Will Jim propose to Pam? Will Dwight win Angela back? Will Michael find the love of his life? (We promise this isn’t a soap) Only season five will tell.
Entertainment Weekly has an extensive Fall TV Preview on their site if you want more details.
TVguide.com has a network line-up grid listed by day.