Fall Television Preview:
With as much anticipation as we can muster, the new network fall line-ups have been released for our perusal. So what’s on the menu for this year? Lots of shows about nerds and geeks, who seem to be great fodder for comedies. There’s also a remake of an old show, several British adaptations, and “Sex and the City” redux (for both men and women). Here’s what you might be watching this fall. C.Ho.
"Chuck": Giving hope to geeks everywhere.
(NBC, Mondays 8:00-9:00 PM)
Everyone has a bad day, but for Charles “Chuck” Bartowski (Zachary Levi, the hot but callous guy from "Less Than Perfect"), your every day awkwardly cute geek at Buy More Electronics, “bad day” becomes an understatement when he unwittingly opens an e-mail encoded with subliminal government secrets (…which would make every conspiracy theorist in America proud). After figuring out that Chuck is move valuable alive than dead, the government dispatches Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin, “Firefly”) and his partner, CIA operative Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski, "Headland") to protect him. Joshua Gomez ("Without a Trace") and Sarah Lancaster (remember her from "Saved by the Bell: The New Class"?) also star. The sneak peek of the pilot looks promising, but with creator/executive producer Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and McG (We Are Marshall) at the helm, this high-concept dramedy can go either way.
Official Website: www.nbc.com/Chuck/
Post-premiere update: "Chuck" has received a full-season pick-up.
“Aliens In America”
(CW, Mondays 8:30-9:00 PM)
Not exactly politically correct, this single camera comedy aims at turning turbulent North American social climates into chuckles when a naïve Wisconsin homemaker decides to enter a student exchange program in the hopes of making her shy son more popular. What she hopes for is a Nordic god who will take Justin (Dan Byrd, The Hills Have Eyes) under his wing, but what she gets is Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan, “Spooks”), a 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim. Luckily, Justin finds an ally in Raja, and together they navigate the ups-and-downs of adolescence.
Official Website: www.cwtv.com/thecw/aliens-in-america
Post-premiere update: "Aliens in America" is still going strong, and will move to Sunday nights in February.
“The Big Bang Theory”
(CBS, Mondays 8:30-9:00 PM)
This new half hour comedy couples two television veterans: James Burrows, the television director and mastermind behind “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Friends,” and “Will & Grace,” and Johnny Galecki, who many may remember as Darlene’s awkward boyfriend, David, on “Roseanne.” In “The Big Bang Theory,” Leonard (Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons, “Judging Amy”) are two extremely intelligent but socially stunted friends who get a sexy new neighbour (Kaley Cuoco, “Charmed”) who schools them in the ways of love.
Official Website: www.cbs.com/primetime/big_bang_theory/
Post-premiere update: "The Big Bang Theory" has been renewed for a second season.
(FOX, Mondays 9:00-10:00 PM)
You have to wonder about any show that’s willing to give Anthony Anderson (Scary Movie 4, The Departed) top billing for anything, but “K-Ville” hopes to be one of the best cop dramas that you’ll ever watch. Set in New Orleans two years after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the show will follow brash but heroic cop Martin Boulet (Anderson) and his new partner, by-the-book ex-soldier Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser, The Break-Up). This mismatched twosome must learn how to get along and trust one another, even though Trevor’s got a Deep Dark Secret. Other characters on the squad include Billy "K-9" Faust (Maximiliano Hernández, The Namesake), Jeff "Glue Boy" Gooden (Blake Shields, “Sleeper Cell”), Ginger "Love Tap" LeBeau (Tawny Cypress, “Heroes”), and Captain James Embry (John Carroll Lynch, “The Drew Carey Show”).
Official Website: www.fox.com/kville/
Post-premiere update: The show's future is still undetermined, but as a result of the writers' strike, "K-Ville" producer Jonathan Lisco and writer Larry Kaplow were released from their contracts.
(ABC, Mondays 9:30-10:00 PM)
Like Memento, but funnier, “Samantha Who” brings Christina Applegate (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) back to the small screen as Samantha “Sam” Newly, a psychiatrist involved in a hit-and-run accident that leaves her with retrograde amnesia. As Sam starts to put the pieces of her old life back together, she realizes that she was actually a very nasty person, and this nastiness led to her “accident.” Armed with this knowledge, Sam sets out to make herself a better person, and to reconnect with the only person she can trust but doesn’t remember: her boyfriend, Todd (Barry Watson, “7th Heaven”). Jennifer Esposito (“Related”), Melissa McCarthy (“Gilmore Girls”), Jean Smart (“24”), and Kevin Dunn (Transformers) also star.
Official Website: http://abc.go.com/fallpreview/samanthawho/
Post-premiere update: "Samantha Who?" has been a ratings powerhouse, which made ABC happy enough to pick up the show for a full season.
(NBC, Mondays 10:00-11:00 PM)
You know, just the other day I was lamenting the cancellation of "Quantum Leap," and what do you know, NBC decided to resurrect the series without having to pay royalties by calling it “Journeyman.” According to NBC, in this hour-long “romantic mystery-drama,” protagonist Dan Vassar (Kevin McKidd, “Rome”) is inexplicably able to travel through time, which proves to be problematic as he’s also a family man with a wife (Gretchen Egolf, "Martial Law") and kid (Charles Henry Wyson). To further complicate matters, his time-travel reunites him with his long-lost fiancé, Livia Beale (Moon Bloodgood, of the short-lived "Day Break").
Official Website: www.nbc.com/Journeyman/
Post-premiere update: Due to poor ratings and the writers' strike, not to mention hype that the show failed to live up to, the show has been axed.
"Cavemen": If you've ever wondered how hilarious cavemen can really be, tune in to find out.
(ABC, Tuesdays 8:00-8:30 PM)
Based on the GEICO commercials, “Cavemen” follows three early homonids who try to integrate themselves into the modern world. Joel (Bill English, “The Pavement”), his brother Andy (Sam Huntington, Jimmy Olsen from Superman Returns), and Andy’s best friend, Nick (Nick Kroll, “Best Week Ever”) all have different outlooks on this contemporary lifestyle: while Joel is a career man with a Homo sapien girlfriend, Kate (Kaitlin Doubleday, Accepted), and Andy longs to fit in, Nick feels that they are betraying their ancestry by conforming to this way of life. Expect some sort of hilarity to ensue.
Official Website: http://abc.go.com/fallpreview/cavemen/
Post-premiere update: "Cavemen" has been placed on hiatus.
(ABC, Tuesdays 8:30-9:00 PM)
Gracen (Fred Goss, “Sons and Daughters”), Laird (Jerry O’Connell, “Crossing Jordan” and Mr. Rebecca Romijn), Aubrey (Jerry Minor, Let’s Go to Prison), and Dougie (Tim Peper, “The Guiding Light”) bitch about life and love in this new show about a foursome of men who share the carpool lane every morning. Although each man could not be more different – Gracen is the conservative family man, Laird is a recently divorced playboy, Aubrey is his family’s timid breadwinner, and Dougie is a newlywed – they serve as a sounding board for each other when the trials and tribulations of every day life gets to them. Like a locker room on wheels, the show’s motto is, "what happens in the carpool lane, stays in the carpool lane."
Official Website: http://abc.go.com/fallpreview/carpoolers/
Post-premiere update: "Carpoolers" is getting a second life with additional episode orders.
(FOX, Tuesdays 8:00-9:00 PM)
No one probably remembers (or cares to remember) Paula Cole’s 1996 hit song, “I Don’t Want to Wait,” unless they really like “Dawson’s Creek” or are haunted by “Dawson’s Creek.” Either way, the accompanying video to Cole’s song features the singer throughout different eras as she courts different lovers, only to have to say goodbye to them as they age while she stays young. “New Amsterdam,” a cop drama, has the same idea – in 1642, John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Firewall) is a Dutch soldier who is mortally wounded while trying to save a Native Indian girl. To repay the favour, the girl’s tribe grants John immortality, with the chance to age once he finds true love. Now John is an NYC cop, beating the streets like he’s been beaten in life, watching friends and lovers perish while he remains eternally young. Zuleikha Robinson (The Namesake) co-stars as John’s hot but frigid partner, Eva Marquez. Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Hoax) serves as executive producer.
Official Website: www.fox.com/newamsterdam/
Update: "New Amsterdam" will begin its run in the spring, but will be airing on Mondays.
(CW, Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 PM)
Based on the tried and tested “lovable slacker” angle, this new UPN show takes a seemingly normal and just-the-right-amount-of-underachieving guy, Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison, “The Loop”), and makes him the devil’s bounty hunter. On his twenty-first birthday, his parents break the news to Sam that they have sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise, “24”). As part of the bargain, Sam becomes a minion to the devil and must collect souls with various vessels, including a (product-placed) Dirt Devil mini-vacuum. Sam enlists his equally lethargic friends, Bert "Sock" Wysocki (Tyler Labine, “Invasion”), Ben (Rick Gonzalez, Roll Bounce), and Josie (Valarie Rae Miller, “Dark Angel”), for many wacky adventures. The pilot episode was directed by Kevin Smith.
Official Website: http://www.cwtv.com/thecw/reaper
Post-premiere update: "Reaper" is on mid-season hiatus, but its chances of renewal look slim.
(CBS, Tuesdays 10:00-11:00 PM)
Who knew sugar cane could be so seductive? Well, the creators of “Cane” did, and hope that viewers agree when the family saga premieres on CBS in the fall. The drama will follow the Duque family as they struggle to preserve their sugar cane and rum empire while dealing with their bitter rivals, the Samuel family. When the story begins, patriarch Pancho Duque (Hector Elizondo, Georgia Rule) has to decide whether he wants to continue building the family’s sugar business or focus solely on the rum industry – a decision that pits his playboy son, Frank (Nestor Carbonell, “Lost”), against his diligent son-in-law and heir, Alex Vega (Jimmy Smits, “The West Wing”). Will Pancho do the right thing, or will he let Alex down? There’s only one way to find out.
Official Website: http://www.cbs.com/primetime/cane/
Post-premiere update: The show has exhausted its pre-strike episodes, so now its fate rests in the hands of the network.
[ From "Private Practice" to "Dirty Sexy Money." Part II of the preview. ]