News Column

Fall TV Preview: What new show is best for you?

September 10, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 10--Every fall, a new TV season rolls around with an assortment of new choices and at least one show that you instantly fall in love with and almost as quickly gets canceled. Anyone remember "Lone Star"?

Well, here's a list of possibly great, possibly horrible new shows you should at least try out this fall. But do it quick. Before they get the axe.

Best for Families

"The Crazy Ones"

CBS, 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26

This may or may not be all that family friendly. We'll have to wait and see on that. But if you throw Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar together, it can't be all that bad. In this half-hour sitcom, Williams plays the wild and unpredictable head of a Manhattan advertising agency and Gellar plays his more grounded daughter. "Mad Men" fans will recognize James Wolk as a part of the agency, and a likely love interest for Gellar's character. Because it's on CBS, this one won't be all that wild and crazy -- in case you want something to watch with your older kids -- and should have some staying power if you decide you want to start watching it.

"The Michael J. Fox Show"

NBC, 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26

Michael J. Fox is back on TV with a cool concept for a show that, from the previews I've seen, looks like it could live up to its potential. He plays a retired news anchor who, like Fox in real life, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and is returning to work after five years. Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s have a huge soft spot for Michael J. Fox and it's great to see him getting another look at network TV. It also stars Betsy Brandt, the much-maligned Marie from "Breaking Bad," taking a turn into a nicer territory as Fox's wife and Wendell Pierce, a great, little-known character actor.

Best for Bros

"Dads" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

FOX, 6 and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17

These two back-to-back comedies are going to be a little raunchy, not as much as so as, say, "Family Guy" but the crude humor is going to be there. "Dads" is executive produced by "Family Guy" and "Ted" creator, Seth MacFarlane, and stars Seth Green, who provides several voices in "Family Guy," and Giovanni Ribisi, the biggest scene-stealer of "Ted," as video game business partners who each unexpectedly have their fathers move in with them. After that, Andy Samberg heads up a cast of "Oh look, that guy. He's funny!" types in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," a single-camera sitcom about the antics of a laidback New York Police Department detective and his hard-nosed boss, played by Andre Braugher.

"Hello Ladies"

HBO, 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29

If you don't know the gawky 6-foot-7 Stephen Merchant, chances are either you're not British and you've seen him a bunch of times and don't know his name yet. "Hello Ladies" could change that. This eight-episode comedy, which doesn't bow to FCC standards since it's on HBO, is about two ne'er-do-wells who have no luck in the dating game but try effortlessly to change that with hilarious results. There are a few familiar comedic faces in there to back up Merchant, who you may know from "Hall Pass" or "Extras."

Best for Geeks

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

ABC, 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24

If there is one sure-fire hit of the fall, it's "S.H.I.E.L.D." You probably remember this as the binding organization in all of Marvel's past hits, particularly, "The Avengers." In a brilliant stroke, this TV show will share the storytelling universe created in the movies such as "Iron Man," "Captain America," and "Thor." And guess who's back to lead the way? Agent Coulson himself. Apparently, he's not dead after all. Actor Clark Gregg, who plays Coulson, is backed up by a relatively young cast of up-and-comers you've probably never heard of as well as some superheroes you don't know. But if history proves anything, it's that the guys behind this project -- including "Avengers" director and geek god Joss Whedon -- know what they're doing and already know where they'll be taking this series.

"Almost Human"

FOX, 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4

Of all the fall previews I have watched this year, none seems to have more potential than "Almost Human." It should have been a movie. Set 35 years into the future, the Los Angeles Police Department uses life-like androids paired with human officers, to fight crime. It has perhaps the best cast of any fall newcomer with actual movie star Karl Urban as its leading man, paired with the underappreciated Michael Ealy and Lili Taylor, as well as great character actor Mackenzie Crook. Oh, and let's not forget Minka Kelly. Those of you "Friday Night Lights" fans know what I'm talking about there. This is basically a sci-fi detective show and comes from the people who created "Lost" and "Fringe," plus the films "Star Trek" and "Super 8."

Best for the Ladies

"Super Fun Night

ABC, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2

Get to know Rebel Wilson, because she's about to steal your heart and then rip it in half. The not-so-lovely lady and scene-stealer from both "Bridesmaids" and "Pitch Perfect" is the headliner for a new show that basically revolves a hard-partying girl whose fun nights with her friends are beginning to come to an end as she begins to grow up and have, gasp!, responsibilities.

Best for Teens

"The Tomorrow People"

CW, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3

Young people discovering they have special powers and abilities as a result of human evolution is not a new concept. Perhaps you've heard of X-Men? This show isn't the X-Men but it will try to be. It is a revamping of the classic British series for an American teen and tween audience and stars a cast of great-looking young people who probably can't act all that well. But, it should provide at least a compelling alternative to all the vampires, werewolves and secret lives teens have been told they're supposed to like these days.

Best for Thrillseekers

"The Blacklist"

NBC, 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23

James Spader is a terrifyingly creepy dude when he wants to be. Maybe "Office" fans will remember Robert California. So it makes sense to have him play one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives who surrenders himself and claims that he wants to help bring down dangerous criminals and terrorists by brokering deals with them. "The Blacklist" refers to a list Spader's character has compiled of criminals and terrorists that are extremely dangerous, yet the FBI cannot find because they did not know about. This is one of those high-profile mystery dramas with, let's hope, a long-play storyline. Spader alone makes it promising.

"Sleepy Hollow"

FOX, 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 16

So, the ageless Sleepy Hollow and the headless horseman story is being given an update in an interesting way. In this new show from the creators of "Fringe," Ichabod Crane is a some sort of soldier for Gen. George Washington and then gets frozen in time, only to be conveniently awoken 234 years later when strange things start happening in "Sleepy Hollow." The sci-fi fan in me thinks it could be interesting based on the showrunners. The intelligent person in me thinks this could get its head chopped off like the leading baddie. It's worth a look.

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