Ready for some (more) television? Behold the New Fall TV Preview
Just when you've had all the Big Brother and Jersey Shore you can stand, it happens.
The new fall TV season begins.
Officially, the 2010-11 TV season starts next week, when the bulk of new shows on the big networks lurch onto the screen. It's a time of conflicted feelings for most critics; we love to see new shows in the air with some of our favorite stars, but with a success rate hovering somewhere near 15 percent, we know how most of these stories end.
I'll be taking over all of Sunday's Floridian section to tell you about 23 new shows airing on five networks. For me, it felt like the big players stepped back a bit from the bolder days when NBC might turn a chunk of its scheduile over to one guy; at a time when all kinds of technology is redefining how we watch TV, what the biggest broadcasters are putting on television hasn't changed nearly as much.
As a nod to the era of on demand media, we've even cooked up a way for you to figure out on your own which new shows you might like to see, using our handy Interactive Fall TV Preview. Love old school TV stars? Think two Law & Orders is one too few? Ready to hand Jim Belushi any showbiz opportunity possible to keep him from an According to Jim reunion?
Then click here, answer a few questions, and check out video clips from the show you selected for yourself!
If you're crazy enough to wade through all the stuff online, you'll note that I'm a little weasely about listing my best and worst picks. That's mostly because I'm judging everything by the shows' pilot episodes; often, a series can get much better (Seinfeld) or worse (Flash Forward) than that initial program, which is many times little more than a sophisticated sketch pad.
Still, if you insist, here's my picks for best and worst of the new season; click on the show's name for a video preview:
Lone Star (Fox): I couldn't buy that a con man slick enough to keep two families going would actually fall in love with both wives. The setup, however, featuring newcomer James Wolk as the doe-eyed charmer, is irresistible.
Undercovers (NBC): A rollicking spy thriller with J.J. Abrams' wit and two cool, easy-on-the-eyes stars playing Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the 21st century.
Raising Hope (Fox): A countrified, working class schnook raising a baby accidentally fathered with a serial killer would sound like a downer unless it has a razor-sharp script like this one.
Nikita (The CW): Maggie Q has always been heart-stoppingly beautiful and balletically expert in kicking butt on screen (see: Live Free or Die Hard and Mission Impossible III). Now she has a series concept worthy of her talents.
$#*! My Dad Says (CBS): A criminally unfunny sitcom which wastes the talent of William Shatner and squanders the concept taken from a real-life Twitter page about an ascerbic dad and his grown son. I don't even think Twitter appears in the show.
Outsourced (NBC): If you're not bored by outdated jokes about a call center outsourced to India, you'll be offended by the awful lampooning of Indian culture and circumstance.
Hellcats (the CW): Even my tween daughters can't figure out why the CW turned Bring It On into a TV series.