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Fall 2010 TV preview

Posted: September 10, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Updated: September 10, 2010 6:00 a.m.

After being laid-off from his job writing for a men’s magazine, Henry (Jonathan Sadowski, left) moves in with his cranky, outspoken father, Ed (William Shatner, right), on “$#*! My Dad Says.”

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Like the start of a new school year the new fall television season arrives with high expectations, usually followed by apathy, then disappointment.

This year more than 20 new shows seek to find an audience before the guillotine of cancellation too soon beheads the fresh, young promise of a failed series.

The giddy start of each new television season also reminds me of that first giddy flush of courtship - attraction, flirtation - then either true love (see "Lost" or "24) or heartbreak (see "Flashforward").

Usually, it is heartbreak, someone always either cheats - or leaves - mentally or physically.

It's hard to sustain "true love" over the long haul. The "chemistry" wears off, and all those endearing traits soon become just irritating annoyances.

As always, it will be interesting to see which series expected to be a home run finds itself at the bottom of the Nielsen (ratings) heap - and which series given little chance of finding an audience becomes "the next hot thing" (see "Glee").
The new shows I am most interested in viewing this season include: "Mike & Molly," "The Defenders," "No Ordinary Family," "Undercovers" and "The Event."

I'm fairly certain that I'll be disappointed by "The Event." It seems hard to sustain a show that starts with an unknown mysterious premise.

I'll give it a go... but I don't expect to be "married" in the spring.

A big change for viewers this year is the rollout of new series. It seems the networks have finally abandoned the suicidal practice of rolling out new shows sequentially. This year everyone seems ready to throw everything at the wall the week of Sept. 20-26 to see what sticks. It's a great excuse to buy a DVR.

I always enjoyed the practice of sampling each new show as it arrived, week after week, the new shows kept life fresh and fun. But frankly, as a business strategy, it wasn't a good idea. Face it, the early bird usually does get the worm, and so it was for a series that launched first. It had the advantage of snagging viewer loyalty before viewers had a chance to taste the competition.

"Mike & Molly" looks like a ton of fun - no "fat joke" intended. Chuck Lorre is a genius - so I'm looking forward to this comedy where Lorre serves as executive producer. Lorre has served as creator and writer of "Grace Under Fire," "Dharma & Greg," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory." Not a loser in the bunch and all favorites of mine. He is not the creator or writer of "Mike & Molly" but I'm guessing if he believes in the show enough to serve as executive producer the show must have huge potential (again, no fat joke intended.)

"Mike & Molly" (CBS Mondays 9:30 p.m., premiere Sept. 20) is a comedy about a working class Chicago couple who find love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. The show isn't about being fat. It is about people who happen to be fat. I like the emphasis being on people with "real" issues, instead of the skinny ninnies that inhabit most television programs.

"Hawaii Five-0" (CBS Mondays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 20) Based on the classic 1968 to 1980 series with the iconic theme song this is a contemporary take about a new elite federalized task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the Islands' sun-drenched beaches. Stars Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Danny "Danno" Williams and Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly. The nod to political correctness goes to Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua. The pilot captured my attention. I liked it. However, I'm not sure this show will earn a passing grade from "Five-0" classic fans.

"The Defenders" (CBS Wednesdays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 22) a drama about two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients. Stars Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell. I love this show. (See related story page 14.)

"$#*! My Dad Says" (CBS Thursdays 8:30 p.m. premiere Sept. 23) William Shatner in a comedy? Really? I'm guessing this show will have a short life span. Shatner is no Betty White.

"Blue Bloods" (CBS Fridays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 24) Tom Selleck. Need I say more? Tom Selleck. That's all you need to know. I really liked the pilot, but I'm not sure this drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement will resonate with middle America or the West Coast. However, it stars Tom Selleck, so I'm all in. The cast is brilliant with Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes and Len Cariou.

"The Event" (NBC Mondays 9 p.m. premiere Sept. 20) Premise: An average guy stumbles on a secret so big, even the President is on a need-to-know basis. Which sounds interesting... until the secret is revealed.

"Chase" (NBC Mondays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 20) is a fast-paced drama of a game of cat-and-mouse with a team of U.S. marshals who hunt down America's most dangerous fugitives. Stars Kelli Giddish. I doubt this is a keeper.

"Undercovers" (NBC Wednesdays 8 p.m. premiere Sept. 22) is an action spy television series created by J. J. Abrams ("Alias," "Lost," "Fringe"). This looks like a show I'll enjoy. First Abrams has a steller track record and I love "spy" stuff. "Covert Affairs" is among my current "can't miss" shows on the USA Network. Stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a married couple with a bit of a "Hart to Hart" vibe.

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" (NBC Wednesdays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 29) is a new version of the classic court procedural based in Los Angeles. The original "Law & Order" series recently ended after 20 seasons, leaving it tied with "Gunsmoke" as the longest-running scripted show in television history. The Los Angeles version joins its brethren "Law & Order: SVU."

"Outsourced" (NBC Thursdays 9:30 p.m. premiere Sept. 23) Ben Rappaport stars as a young manager who deals with culture clash when he's transferred to India to manage a call center. This is listed as a comedy. I'm not laughing. Too many jobs have been outsourced to other countries to make this amusing to unemployed Americans and those facing the chilling prospect of their jobs ending up overseas.

"School Pride" (NBC Fridays 8 p.m. premiere Oct. 15) Actress Cheryl Hines goes behind the camera to produce a makeover show aimed at LA's inner-city schools. It sounds inspirational.

"Outlaw" (NBC Fridays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 17) Jimmy Smits stars as Cyrus Garza, a newly resigned justice from the Supreme Court, who returns to being an attorney. An interesting premise... but Smits seems to have been around the block a few times too many for my taste.

"No Ordinary Family" (ABC Tuesdays 8 p.m. premiere Sept. 28) The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim (Michael Chiklis, "The Shield," "Fantastic Four") feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie (Julie Benz, "Dexter"), and two teenage children, Daphne (Kay Panabaker, "Summerland") and JJ (Jimmy Bennett, "Star Trek"). To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America.

When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they survive and return to their real lives, but now they each have a "superpower." I love superpower stories and this is a show with heart, not just special effects.

"Detroit 1-8-7" (ABC Tuesdays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 21 ) A drama about a homicide unit in Detroit that was filmed entirely in Detroit, Michigan. If the "stunt" city casting didn't work for New Orleans (the 2007 season's failed "K-Ville" on FOX) I don't think it will work for Detroit. It just sounds depressing.

"Better With You" (ABC Wednesdays 8:30 p.m. premiere Sept. 22) From "Friends" producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan comes a comedy about three different couples at various stages in their romantic relationships. Sounds like a fairly ordinary sitcom, nothing special.

"The Whole Truth" (ABC Wednesdays 10 p.m. premiere Sept. 22) Defender Jimmy Brogan (Rob Morrow) and prosecutor Kathryn Peale (Maura Tierney) play old pals who square off each week, preparing for cases. The audience is kept guessing until each episode's end, when the real innocence or guilt of the defendant is revealed. Another courtroom drama... yawn...

"My Generation" (ABC Thursdays 8 p.m. premiere Sept. 23) A faux documentary about members of the class of 2000 followed 10 years after graduation. My prediction? First show cancelled of the fall season.

"Body of Proof" (ABC Fridays 9 p.m. premiere Sept. 24) stars Dana Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, a troubled former neurosurgeon who has found a new career as a medical examiner. This has possibilities for the "CSI" crowd.



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