Well, this is the best time of year for TV fans, when the networks unveil their new lineups for the rest of us. Of course, only a small percentage of the shows will actually stick in this day and age, because networks no longer have the patience to nurture a show along to develop its audience.
Imagine if Seinfeld had debuted today—NBC would have deemed it “not spongeworthy.” These days, I don’t think all of NBC’s lineup combined equals the viewership of Seinfeld in its prime.
Anyway, odds are you’ll get hooked onto at least one show that will meet an early demise, while something you avoid will turn out to be a hit. So, what should you be watching? Here are my picks:
(in no particular order)
1. The Whole Truth (ABC). I was shocked that this was probably my favorite offering of all the Big 5 series. Even though I saw the unaired pilot with Joely Richardson in a role that’s been taken over by Maura Tierney, I found myself hooked into the story, which breaks down a trial from the POV of both the prosecutor (Tierney) and the defense attorney, played here by Rob Morrow. You genuinely don’t know if the guy is guilty or not, nor whether the jury will find him guilty or not. The producers do give you a definitive answer at the end. What could have been just another run-of-the-mill legal show is worth an hour of your time.
2. Boardwalk Empire (HBO). Probably the most anticipated new show of the season, it harkens back to HBO’s years of The Sopranos following a corrupt politician (Steve Buscemi) who runs Atlantic City in 1920, when Prohibition is declared. It’s a gritty show that weaves in real-life historical figures into the drama, with top-notch production values.
3. Terriers (FX). Thus far, my favorite new show of the season. Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James star as a couple of low-rent private eyes who get caught up in murder, corruption and other messes. Very much like Justified in its mix of drama and comedy, I’ve seen the first five episodes and can tell you it gets even better every week.
4. No Ordinary Family (ABC). Michael Chiklis continues to show his range as an actor, playing a Ward Cleaver-type patriarch to a family that suddenly finds itself endowed with superpowers—Chiklis has superstrength and invulnerability, his wife (Julie Benz) is a speedster, his daughter (Kay Panabaker) is a telepath, and his son (Jimmy Bennett) is a genius. Romany Malco steals a lot of scenes as Chiklis’ best friend and sort-of sidekick. Family isn’t nearly as dense as Heroes was, and gives off more of vibe like The Incredibles.
5. Lone Star (Fox). James Wolk plays a con man leading a double life, with two different women (Adrienne Palicki and Eloise Mumford), creating a series of long, complicated cons at the behest of his father (David Keith). While there’s kind of a soap opera vibe to the show, it should appeal to men and women with its clever—if complicated—story.
Honorable mentions: Nikita (CW); The Event (NBC); Hawaii Five-O (CBS); Blue Bloods (CBS); and Body of Proof (ABC).
1. Outlaw (NBC). Dumb premise, about a Supreme Court judge (Jimmy Smits) who gives up his seat to become a lawyer and fight for the little people. Yeah, right.
2. Outsourced (NBC). “The Office” in India? Nope. I think the funny got shipped overseas.
3. Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC). An incredibly generic, boiler-plate cop drama. The only thing worse would be an actual trip to Detroit.
4. (Bleep) My Dad Says (CBS). Shockingly, this thing isn’t the worst thing to come out of Twitter. But it’s right down there.
5. Undercovers (NBC). You know, I had a lot of high hopes considering it’s a spy show created by JJ Abrams. One of the biggest disappointments of the year, because it’s bland and uninspired. It tries to capture “The Avengers” spirit, but fails.
Which are your favorites—and least favorite—of the new TV Season? Comment below.
Tags: (Bleep) My Dad Says Blue Bloods Boardwalk Empire Body of Proof Detroit 1-8-7 Fall TV 2010 Hawaii Five-O Lone Star Nikita No Ordinary Family Outlaw Outsourced Phillip Ramati Terriers The Event The Whole Truth TV Reviews Undercovers Write On! Reviews