The fall TV season is upon us, with a slate of new series to check out (click here for a list of premiere dates). Unlike last fall, though, there aren’t a whole lot of new shows that intrigue me.
NBC’s complicated conspiracy thriller “The Event” hopes to be the new “Lost,” but I’m afraid it’ll follow the path of “FlashForward” and end up being completely lost itself. By its nature, it’ll be a series that will require a commitment by viewers, and I’m just too gun shy. The barrage of commercials for “Undercovers” (NBC) hasn’t made me any more eager to tune in, despite the involvement of J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Alias”). It looks OK, but with “Chuck,” “Burn Notice,” “Covert Affairs” and possibly “Nikita” already on my plate, I don’t really need another spy series. Gotta draw the line somewhere. “Lone Star” (Fox) is getting good buzz from critics, but the story of a con man leading a double life with two families sounds too soapy for my taste. The superhero adventure “No Ordinary Family” (ABC) looks like it might be good, but maybe a little too family friendly for me. I like shows with a bit of an edge (and I can’t see Michael Chiklis as anyone but a snarling Vic Mackey, ready to grill a perp’s face on a stovetop). And “Hawaii Five-O” (CBS) looks like nice eye candy, not particularly compelling.
So what’s left? Here are my picks for the five new shows to look out for this fall:
(10 p.m. Wednesday, FX)
This mystery dramedy comes from the creators of “The Shield” and “Ocean’s 11,” and already looks like a winner. Donal Logue (“Grounded for Life,” “The Tao of Steve”) stars as a mess of an ex-cop who partners with a small-time crook (Michael Raymond-James, “True Blood”) as unlicensed private eyes. Expect lots of humor, buddy banter and just a hint of darkness. This looks like the lightest, breeziest drama FX has made so far, more along the lines of USA’s “Burn Notice” than the gritty, violent “The Shield.”
(9 p.m. Thursday, The CW)
This is at least the third American incarnation of the classic French spy thriller, and could be the best yet. Hong Kong action star Maggie Q (“Mission Impossible III”) stars as a super spy/assassin trying to escape the clutches of the sinister government agency that made her a killing machine. It looks super stylish and super action-packed. Plus, Maggie Q’s super hot. Aren’t those enough super reasons to tune in?
(10 p.m. Sept. 19, HBO)
Is this HBO’s Next Great Show? Sure sounds like it. The Prohibition-era crime drama comes from “Sopranos” writer Terrence Winter and Martin Scorsese (he directs the first episode), and stars Steve Buscemi as a crooked politician who rules the illegal booze trade in a violent, vice-ridden Atlantic City. Michael K. Williams (Omar from “The Wire”) co-stars as the de facto mayor of the local African-American community. This one looks epic in scope, with the kind of high-end production values that only HBO can pull off.
(9:30 p.m. Sept. 21, Fox)
It’s probably not the second coming of “Arrested Development,” but it might be the best we can get until that movie finally gets made. “AD” creator Mitch Hurwitz is the man behind this sitcom, starring Will Arnett (Gob from “AD”) as a self-absorbed, buffoonish playboy who’s trying to win back the heart of his childhood sweetheart (Keri Russell of “Felicity”), who’s a kooky environmentalist engaged to an equally radical David Cross (Tobias from “AD”). This one’s full of potential. I hear the pilot was only so-so and it was extensively reworked after a critics’ screening, but the cast is good enough that I’m hoping it gels after a few episodes, much like “Cougar Town” did last year. Hey, even “30 Rock” was uneven at the beginning.
(10 p.m. Sept. 21, ABC)
“The Shield” and “The Wire” pretty much spoiled me from cop dramas for years to come, but this might be the best the networks have to offer. This one sounds reminiscent of David Simon’s pre-“Wire” series, NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street”: A gritty look inside the homicide unit in a city plagued by violent crime. This time it’s Detroit instead of Baltimore. Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos,” “Life on Mars”) stars as a damaged but driven detective. It looks more like “Southland” than “The Wire,” but should be better than most run-of-the-mill network crime procedurals.
What do you think, do these look like they’re worth a look? What new shows are you most looking forward to?
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