Fall TV Preview: Guide To The New Shows

by | August 25, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Fall TV Preview 2009, TV News

Figuring out the fall TV season is like staring at a jungle and wondering how you are going to make it through without getting lost. You need a guide, an expert who has traveled through the darkness, suffering through the traps, and made it out the other end. Enter us, your Fancast bleary-eyed editors. (We aren’t really complaining; we are just dehydrated and sleep deprived.) We’ve watched the shows, spoken to the producers, and interviewed the stars. If you stick with us, you won’t get lost. Below, you will find our take on the new shows hitting prime time, starting this September. Rather than mention the clinkers, we have provided a list of the shows you don’t want to miss, those you want to DVR and a few that we didn’t want to ignore in case your taste is a little different than ours.

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DON’T MISS

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MODERN FAMILY – (ABC, September 23) A deft, biting satire focused on an extended, multi-racial, multi-generational family being filmed by a Danish film crew for a reality TV series. It’s “Soap” meets PBS’ classic “American Family”, with elements of modern sitcoms like ‘The Office.” Watching, you ask, “Are we that nuts?” Yes, we are. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE.

Stars: Ed O’Neil and Julie Bowen
Why You Should Watch: It’s a show within a show, so you are getting two for one – and it’s funny

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NCIS: LOS ANGELES (CBS, September 22) As NCIS soared to the top of the ratings last season, produces ripped a page from the CSI handbook and decided to make a spin-off. One agent is an enigmatic ace, the other is a former Navy Seal who is fluent in Arabic. Think terrorists in the City of Angels. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

Stars: Chris O’Donnell, L.L. Cool J
Why You Should Watch: It feels like another air-tight procedural, with the best police partnership in L.A. since Gannon and Friday.

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COMMUNITY – (NBC, September 17) Ever wonder what it’s like to screw up your life and have to start over as an adult? It’s not pretty, but this sitcom about a suspended lawyer going back to community college proves it can be funny. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

Stars: Joel McHale, Chevy Chase
Why You Should Watch: From ‘The Soup,’ McHale is hilarious, and Chase, used to be hilarious and should still get laughs as a fellow student who has been married seven times.

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GLEE – (Fox, September 9) Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy wraps his dark, comedic claws around the high school choir, treating the world of competitive singing as an acquired taste, but one worth sampling, fearing, and ultimately celebrating; not despite but because of the students’ quirky, exoctic, awkward, endearing geekiness. The show makes you glad you aren’t in high school anymore but happy to revisit. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

Stars: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch
Why You Should Watch: For the music, silly.

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MELROSE PLACE – (CW, September 8.) Just as E! is all about celebrities, the CW is all about trashy, sexy nighttime soaps, that latest being this remake of of a ’90s classic? Remakes haven’t done well on any of the networks lately (think ‘Knight Rider’), which begs the question, did television need a remark when the original, which you can watch here, still raises the temperature in the room? Despite the odds, the early word is that this show is red hot. The other outstanding question? Heather Locklear. After a few episodes, though, no one will care if she returns. Our guess: Look to see the well-preserved sexpot in sweeps. WATCH PREVIEW HERE

Stars: Katie Cassidy, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Laura Leighton, Thomas Calabro
Why You Should Watch: If you have to ask, you aren’t going to get it anyway. Nonetheless, just so you are in the know at work, this could be the birth of Cassidy as TV’s sexy new super-bitch – yum! – and you don’t want to miss it

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SET YOUR DVR

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THE CLEVELAND SHOW – (Fox, September 27) In this ‘Family Guy’ spin-off, Cleveland says goodbye to Quahog, sets out for California and ends up in his Virginia hometown. It’s as if comedy genius Seth MacFarlane reinterpreted novelistDouglas Adams’ chestnut about not ending up where you intended but where you need to be. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

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COUGAR TOWN – (ABC, September 23) Fearfully, this premise of a divorced mother with a 17-year-old son, and his young, virile friends, has the feel of a concept looking for substance. But you can’t bet against Courteney Cox and more importantly the talent and vision of executive producer Bill Lawrence, whose resume is highlighted by his creations ‘Spin City’ and ‘Scrubs.” Theirs is a match made in sitcom heaven. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

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VAMPIRE DIARIES – (CW, September 10) This series hopes to find the same magic that ‘Twilight’ has brought to movie theaters. It may not have Pattinson and Stewart, but the genetic makeup is poster-ready, including nubile star Nina Dobrev, the two vampire brothers who pursue her (Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) and executive producer Kevin Williamson, he of Dawson’s Creek. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

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THE GOOD WIFE – (CBS, September 22) Any sucker for a good nighttime, adult drama will want to check out Juilanna Margules as a mother who returns to lawyering after her politician husband, played by Chris Noth, is been jailed following a corruption scandal. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but there will be lots of problems worse than yours. WATCH A PREVIEW HERE

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GONE TOO FAR – (MTV, October 5) Former coke-addict and plane crash survivor DJ AM (aka Adam Goldstein) has produced this series exploring the life and death drama of addiction. Each of the eight, one-hour episodes finds AM, along with a local addiction expert, leading an intervention with the addict’s family and friends, and following them through rehab and back into society. (Previews are not yet available.)

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MAN SHOPS GLOBE – (Sundance, October 7) In the event you’ve never been to the store Anthropologie, just know it is a way cool place to shop, where you tend to look at stuff and ask yourself, “Where did they find this?” Well, this show follows Keith Johnson, the buyer-at-large for the innovative specialty retailer, as he travels to new countries in search of fantastic and unusual decorative objects, furniture, and textiles, as well as artists and craftspeople. Best of all, you don’t have to get out your credit card! (Previews are not yet available.)

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KEEP THESE IN MIND

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BROTHERS – (Fox, September 8.) Quick, name the last NFL player to star in a successful, non-reality TV series. Try Alex Karras, who left off in the ’80s when he starred on ‘Webster.’ (Apologies to Joe Namath and Merlin Olsen.) Recently retired NFL standout Michael Strahan is aiming for TV glory of his own in this series about – guess what – a retired NFL star who returns home to his colorful, demanding family. Watch A Preview Here.

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ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE – CBS, September 21) Jenna Elfman plays a San Francisco film critics who finds herself preggers after a fling with a younger guy. No, this isn’t ‘Cougar Town’ (see above), but as a weekly romantic comedy, it’s a charming showcase for Elfman’s affable comedic dharma. Grant Show sweetens the pot. Watch A Preview.

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THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE – (CW, September 16) Between ‘Punk’d’ and Twitter and his wife, Ashton Kutcher has shown a pretty good sense for the pop culture’s hot zone, so it’s likely this sudsy expose of the fashion world’s seamy side is going to be steamy, seductive and well done. It’s got all the right ingredients: sexy newcomer Sara Paxton, aging eye candy Elle MacPherson as the model agency boss, and troubled B-lister but always interesting Mischa Barton as a past-her-prime star. Watch A Preview.

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FLASH FORWARD – (ABC, September 24) Depending on your taste, this could be your favorite series of the fall. A strange event enables everyone on the planet to see two minutes and seventeen seconds into the future – and the aftermath is not pretty. Why? How do they react? An FBI agent in LA, played by the handsome Joseph Fiennes (thank goodness mostly gorgeous people survive, which sadly doesn’t bode well for me) tries to figure it out. Fantastic premise, great cast. Watch A Preview.