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Fall 2009 Television Schedule Preview

September 2, 2009

I am a pretty big fan of TV. This summer has been stacked with surprise hits and my DVR has been full for most of the summer. Hell’s Kitchen, Leverage and Royal Pains have all been entertaining and have made my cut to get into my DVR.  However fall is the time when major networks launch their new shows and continue airing poor reality shows and try to force underwhelming comedies down the viewer’s throats. The problem with all of this is sifting through all the crap to get to some decent shows.

Since I treat fall preview time as something of a minor holiday so it’s probably best that I break down the best and worst network shows of this fall lineup.

Before this begins here is the list of shows not returning: According to Jim, Boston Legal. Cupid. Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, The Goode Family, Homeland Security USA, In the Motherhood, Life on Mars, Opportunity Knocks, Pushing Daisies, Samantha Who?, Surviving Suburbia, The Unusuals.

Monday:

It’s a pretty dry line up here unless you’re a fan of CBS.  It’s their fall comedy night with 2 and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. The new show added to the comedy lineup is Accidentally on Purpose, staring Jenna Elfman, who gets knocked up by a younger guy. CSI Miami follows.

ABC is throwing in the towel giving you 2 hours of dancing with the stars and the crime drama Castle

Fox has House and Lie to Me. I am a fan in House only in that I have seen a few episodes. Admittedly it’s good, so put it on your DVR

NBC: Heroes, Trauma and Jay Leno.  It’s surprising that since ER ended NBC will fire back with a new medical drama.

My suggestion: Unless you’re a fan of CBS comedy’s lineup go for Monday Night Football

Tuesday makes Monday look like a big TV night:

As if two hours of Dancing… on Monday was a good thing, ABC gives you another hour sandwiched between Shark Tank and The Forgotten. Shark tank reminds me of a BBC show about inventors and The Forgotten is going to be like Cold Case/Bones with Christian Slater

CBS continues the trend of spinning off crime shows. Tuesday gives you NCIS and NCIS: LA (groan). The Good Wife is their new legal drama starting Julianna Margulies as a housewife turned lawyer when her husband is arrested.

Fox gives you So You Think You Can Dance, that’s it.

NBC gives you Biggest Loser and Jay. Admittedly there is something about fat people losing weight by punishing themselves that entertains me. Plus one of the girls last year when from Chubster to cutie and the host is kind of hot too…

My suggestion: Since you DVR’d House and CBS comedies on Monday to watch football, watch those shows on Tuesday. The only hope for Tuesday is Scrubs is going to be a midseason replacement for Dancing with…

Wednesday:

Things are starting to pick up but are a long way from good.
Wednesday is ABC’s comedy night. Kelsey Grammer stars as Hank, a wall street guy that moves in with his small town family after losing his job; The Middle, which starts Patricia Heaton and I have no idea what it’s about; Modern Family Ed O’Neill returns to relevance in this multigenerational family comedy and Cougar Town staring Courtney Fox as a cougar. It’s by Bill Lawrence so it’ll be funny.  At 9/10pm, ABC introduces Eastwick, a show about suburban witches.

CBS has nothing new on Wednesday but puts the rest of their comedy shows up against ABC starting off with New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried. After that it’s Criminal Minds and CSI: NY

Fox goes with another hour of So you think… and Glee. I’ve heard Glee is very good, I may DVR this show

NBC goes with: Mercy and Law and Order: SVU.  With both Trauma and Mercy premiering this fall, ER may have been was canceled, but cloned twice.

My suggestion: Try ABC’s new shows. I’ll watch Cougar Town. Maybe Glee on Fox.

Thursday is the night for TV. Clear your schedule and program your DVR it’s the night TV watchers live for.

ABC starts off with a new drama Flashforward. The premise is that everyone on earth blacked out for two minutes. Cast includes stars Harold from Harold and Kumar. ABC follows this up with Grey’s and Private Practice.

CBS has another season of survivor followed by CSI and the Mentalist, nothing new.

Fox goes with Bones and Fringe, also nothing new.

Thursday is the one night that NBC doesn’t really suck.  They start with Thursday Weekend Update, then move to comedy shows.  Both Parks and Recreation returns and their new comedy Community makes its debut.  Community looks like it’s out of the same cut as The Office and Parks and Rec.  30 Rock will return once Thursday Weekend Update ends. Which will hopefully be soon.

My suggestion: Unless your girlfriend loves McDreamy more than you, wrestle the remote away and go to NBC. I am a fan of Joel McHale and wish that Chevy Chase would return to “Vacation” form so maybe this will be good.  But if you’re still into CSI make sure to DVR that too.

Friday is a dustbin of things that just didn’t fit in for the rest of the week.

ABC has Supernanny, Ugly Betty and 20/20

CBS lumps all of their leftovers shows here with Ghost Whisperer, Medium, and Numbers

Fox Fridays seem to accept that their comedies are sunk, including Brothers, staring Michael Strahan, ‘Til Death and Dollhouse (which is not a comedy).

NBC has Law and Order and Southland

My suggestion: Unless you like crime drama’s the only reason you should be watching TV on Friday is to bet on how long some of these shows will last. My bet is Fox has a whole new Friday line up by November and Ugly Betty’s ratings suffer and it takes the place of The Forgotten or two comedies.

Saturday night is useless for TV. Check out CBS for some college football

Sunday is pretty much wrapped up by Fox but ABC takes a close second*. Fox brings back The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. They give Seth McFarland an extra half hour for The Cleveland Brown spin off show.

ABC has Extreme Makeover, Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters.

*NBC football game will take precedent if it’s a good game, but after the season is over its ABC or Fox for the best night.

My suggestion: Go for the Simpsons and Family Guy, and give the Cleveland Show a try (American Dad sucks). Admittedly I used to watch Desperate and Brothers and Sisters. I think I will return to Bros and Sis’ unless it gets even more gay.

Things to consider: Again this is a fall network preview, there are a lot of shows that will be back in after Christmas and if some of these shows fall flat on their face quickly there will be some shows that will have to take their place.  Also don’t forget about cable, Sons of Anarchy returns on September 8, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns September 17 and both Nip/Tuck and South Park return on October 17.

Predictions:

Quickest Cancel (Comedy):  If it’s not Brothers it will be The Middle. But it will be brothers.

Quickest Cancel (Drama): Eastwick. And that’s a bold pick considering the Forgotten, Flashfoward and Castle. I just don’t see the premise working out, though I don’t see a long life for any of the above shows.

Biggest Surprise Hit: I could say brothers here, because the expectations are so low that if it limps along it’ll look like a hit. But I’ll say Flashforward. The cast is good and ABC seems to have pretty high hopes for this show, but if Pushing Daiseys and Life on Mars couldn’t make it, Flashforward seems destined to fail. But it’ll hold on longer than it’s supposed to because of time slot. Expect a change it time slot after the sweeps before its taken off for good.

Most Likely to be renewed (comedy): Cougar  Town/ Community. Both have a good chance of making it for awhile. Bill Lawrence is pretty good at creating good shows and Community just fits with the Thursday awkward comedy routine NBC has going.

Most Likely to be renewed (drama): The Good Wife. Julianna Margulies is due? I think its just a rough drama line up this year, this could be the best of the worst.  Though toss Trauma or Mercy in there. It’ll have to attract former ER watchers.

Non first season show on the rocks: Heroes/Ugly Betty. Ugly betty on a Friday will be a bold move if it works out, but one of those shows may not make it.

The Wait they brought this back award: Dollhouse. The show has a 13th episode that went unaired and it’s going to be brought back after that. On a Friday. It wouldn’t surprise me if the show is canceled before the second commerical break

If you’re going to watch one episode of one show: Give than the Family Guy episode “Partial Terms of Endearment” won’t air because of its content you’ll want to watch that but its not on TV;  Watch the Family Guy Episode “Something Something Something Dark Side.”  It’s the continuing Family Guy Star Wars spoof.

Shows that will switch time slots: The Simpsons. Yes the hallmark of Sunday night will switch. Probably in an attempt to prop up another show  during Fall sweeps. Runner up goes to Ugly Betty. If it can hang on, it’ll probably move to a better spot.

Biggest Mistake of Fall season: Putting Chuck into a sort of limbo was an odd move but Giving Leno a prime time spot and phoning in the 9/10 pm spot it’ll kill NBC.

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