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Chris and Qualler's Guide to New Fall TV

It's officially post-summer now -- E! Network's Kendra, which was strangely addicting and likable, has finished its season, Amy and the gang from ABC Family's Secret Life have concluded being prudes that don't talk like real teenagers for the next few months, and Vampire Bill Compton will stop saying "Sookie!" in a weird, unidentifiable accent until next summer. Which means one thing -- it's time to start focusing on what new offerings come into play from the boob tube. Since the days of everyone gathering in front of the television at a certain time and muting the commercials are all but gone, we will focus on all the new shows this fall on a nightly basis and discuss a little bit about whether or not you should really set this to record on your DVR, or seek out on Hulu.com, or whatever you fancy. Let's get crackin'.

Laff factory CBS presents Accidentally on Purpose (CBS, 7:30, Sept. 21), which finally brings Jenna Elfman back to the wacky world of sitcoms in a show where she "accidentally" gets pregnant with a younger dude's baby and then keeps the baby and also the dude. Um, Knocked Up plus hilarious "cougar" situations? I think so. Over at the peacock network, Trauma (NBC, 8:00, Sept. 28) is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride about, um, first responder paramedics, and is the medical show starting on NBC this fall that doesn't feature Michelle Tractenberg. Despite being produced by the "hey he's alright I guess" Peter Berg, I'll probably skip it. Oh, also, Jay Leno isn't really leaving us, as he brings his nightmarishly disfigured face to NBC in primetime on The Jay Leno Show (NBC, 9:00, Sept. 14). For some reason ION, that network that shows ER repeats all the time is premiering a new show called Durham County (ION, 9:00, Sept. 7) which is already an "award-winning" drama about a homicide detective who gets involved in a murder mystery after his partner is killed and his wife gets cancer. Oh, the awards it won are Gemini awards. Are those Canadian? MTV goes all srrs on us, True Life style, in Gone Too Far (MTV, 9:00, Oct. 5) which asks the question of where you draw the line between who can be rehabilated and who has Gone Too Far (hey! that's the name of the show!) hosted by DJ AM. Wait, didn't he just die? Looks like he has gone too far. (Did I just go too far?) [Qualler]

The first sign of a crappy autumn with crappy new shows is a spin-off of a self-contained crime show, this time upping the ante by placing the (lack of) drama in the City of Angels. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, 8:00, Sept. 22) will not feature Mark Harmon or a creepy goth scientist, so it will certainly be even worse than the original. Meanwhile, Melrose Place (CW, 8:00, Sept. 8) will prove that since reviving the actually entertaining 90210 was a terrible move, the new attempt will be either be even worse somehow, or the inverse, amazing. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict the former to be true. The Forgotten (ABC, 9:00, Sept. 22) is Christian Slater's latest foray into the small scree after last year's mega-failure My Own Worst Enemy, this time as an ex-cop leading a squad of newbie detective. Yawn. Likewise, Julianna Marguiles will try to overshadow the debacle that was last year's Canterbury's Law with The Good Wife (CBS, 9:00, Sept. 22), where she once again plays a lawyer, but this time it's because her famous politico husband gets arrested and she must head back to the office to pay the bills. Because if there's one profession that if the husband loses it, the housewife is forced back to work, it's that of a wildly well-known politician. The latest Star Jones replacement from The View gets her own generic family sitcom with Sherri (Lifetime, 9:00, Oct. 5). She's a single mom and she's sassy; watch out! I suppose if I had to watch one of these new Tuesday night series, I'd choose death! [Chris]

Geeze louise ABC is pullin' out the stops by debuting a completely new lineup of new shows. The fun kicks off with Hank (ABC, 7:00, Sept 30) starring Kelsey Grammar, in what is reportedly a terrible new sitcom. Somehow I don't think Brigitte would give this one a Cast of Frasier rating. Next up is The Middle (ABC, 7:30, Sept 30) which is described as a family comedy about "raising kids and lowering expectations." Ah well, it's single camera, Patricia Heaton is kinda funny, and Neil "The Janitor from Scrubs" Flynn finally gets a starring role. Meanwhile Modern Family (ABC, 8:00, Sept 23) is one of the few truly promising looking shows, despite ABC's frantic "hey, this is wacky!" marketing campaign. If it's anything like Better Off Ted + ArrDev, then I'll DVR this and watch it on Saturday mornings or something. (Sidenote: with this show giving Ed O'Neill regular work, that leaves David Faustino as the only Married...with Children castmember who hasn't been in a new TV series lately. I'll let you make the requisite "hey, his career is in the stinker!" jokes yourself.) Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30, Sept 23) comes next, starring Courtney Cox as, you guessed it, a "cougar". But this has also surprisingly gotten deece buzz? Guess Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence is da man. Then the evening of newness is rounded off with Eastwick (ABC, 9:00, Sept 23), which is about, you guessed it, witches. Sounds like Desperate Housewives plus some of that supernatural business you keep hearing about. Whew, I'm tired of ABC. Mercy (NBC, 7:00, Sept 23) is NBC's hospital drama starring Michelle Tractenberg, and this one focuses in on the nursin' side. Hey Michelle -- just join the cast of Gossip Girl full time already, eh? I've already been enjoying Glee (Fox, 8:00), which takes the audacity of Ryan Murphy style shows (Nip/Tuck) and mixes it with a tasty concoction of catchy tunes and cheeky humor. Not my totes fave show but two eps in and I'll definitely make this a part of my Saturday morning rotashe with Brigitte and the dogs. The CW whips out The Beautiful Life (CW, 8:00, Sept 16), which is, get this, about young, beautiful people, this time in the modeling industry. I'll tune in out of curiosity of Mischa Barton. Oh, and did I mention that it is loosely based on the life of Ashton Kutcher? Fewer things should be based on the life of Ashton Kutcher in general. I'm extremely confused about the premise of Secret Girlfriend (Comedy Central, 9:30, Oct 7): ""Secret Girlfriend" breaks the fourth wall, making the viewer the central character in the life of a twenty-something guy, his fame-seeking friends and the multiple girlfriends he tries to keep secret from one another." Soooo...Entourage meets "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? Lock N' Load (Showtime, 7:00, Oct 21) is a reality series about peeps who love their guns and gun shop in Colorado that serves 'em. I'm scared of the "reality" genre designation but if it's a less pervy Cathouse, it could be interesting. (Not that I don't like the pervy stuff in Cathouse.) Finally Bank of Mom and Dad (SoapNet, 9:30, Sept 30),the reality series about parents teachin' their kids who've racked up debt about personal finance, looks to bring the whole family together with jokes like "Hey kids, you're spoiled!" Sure to be hilarious and not at all groan-worthy. Not! Hey, there's a joke that your parents can use. [Qualler]

The one thing that concerns me about Flash Forward (ABC, 7:00, Sept. 24), in which people get a glimpse of how the world ends and spend the show figuring out what it means and how to avoid it, is that it's being so directly marketed to Lost fans. If they're so desperate to find an audience for this show so much in advance, I can only assume it has no audience. You know, because it sucks. The Vampire Diaries (CW, 7:00, Sept. 10), despite being created by Kevin Williamson (of the fantastically entertaining Scream and Dawson's Creek), got tepid first impression reviews from Qualler and Brigitte. And it does seem too heavily inspired solely off the success of Twilight. Plus we get enough camp already from True Blood. That Gabbo episode of The Simpsons finally comes to life with The Jeff Dunham Show (Comedy Central, 8:00, Oct. 22), in which a ventriloquist uses his dummies in real life and scripted situations for shock gags. Apparently this guys Christmas special was the highest-rated Comedy Central telecast ever?! That has to be a typo. The only non-HBO show I'm covering for this preview that I care about is Community (NBC, 8:30, Sept. 17 then moves to 7:00, Oct. 8), which is sad, because even though it stars the Blogulator-loved Joel McHale of The Soup, its commercials aren't exactly knee-slapping good times. Hopefully that's just another brilliant marketing ploy of NBC's, keeping all the good jokes for the actual show, just like their gangbusters plan to switch the show's time slot a month into the season. There would be hope for the animated series Archer (FX, 9:30, Premiere Date TBA), featuring the voices of Chris Parnell and Judy Greer, if it weren't for the fact that its premise is that of bumbling spies at a top secret government agency. More like Get Dumb, amirite? Use that joke, FX; I give you my full permission. [Chris]

Brothers (Fox, 7:00, Sept 25) takes us back to the days when all our sitcoms were multi-cam laugh trackers and former NFL players tried their hand at acting. Hey Michael Strahan, it didn't work for Mike Golic in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, though you could argue for Howie Long's cameo in the original 90210. Stargate Universe (SyFy, 8:00, Oct 2) reintroduces longtime fans and new fans alike to the Stargate universe. Um...are there longtime Stargate fans? Wedded to Perfection (TLC, 9:00, Oct 2) is another one of those shows that defies the idea of The Learning Channel by being about high-end New York wedding planners. One of those shows that if Chris or I take a nap while Brigitte and Jerksica have control of the remote, there's no chance of overpowering them and the non-napping one of us has to resort to playing Mario on Nintendo DS like what happened to me over Labor Day weekend and a Bridezillas marathon. Dear Chris: never nap like that when I need you to help me change the channel ever again. White Collar (USA, 9:00, Oct 23) stars one of my fave actors Tim DeKay, he of the lamentably late Carnivale, along with Matthew Bomer (who?), Willie Garson (Sex and the City) and Tiffani Thiessen (rawr!) I've yet to really get into to a USA original series and the network's description doesn't do much to give me confidence that this one will get my attention, a "fresh and fun take on the classic buddy formula." Exactly two shows premiere in all of television on Saturdays, one called Head Games (Science Channel, 9:00, Oct 17) which is a trivia game show for the whole fami...wait. What the eff is the Science Channel? It is produced by Whoopi Goldberg and her production company Whoop Inc. Ah, that's worth a laff. Meanwhile Adoption Diaries (WE, 9:00, Oct 2) looks to be only slightly more tolerable than Bridezillas about couples who are trying to adopt. Hey, at least it's not about completely horrible people screaming at each other, amiright? [Qualler]

Seth MacFarlane continues to erode the universe of television with The Cleveland Show (FOX, 7:30, Sept. 27), which even my students have said looks terrible. And they like American Dad. Full disclosure: I still have the first season Family Guy on DVD somewhere around here and I still laugh at it when I watch it for less than 5 minutes at a time. Three Rivers (CBS, 8:00, Oct. 4) is your requisite hospital show to compete with that other hospital show that replaced that popular hospital show that hadn't been popular for years. Not that hospital show where they're outside though, and not the one that's a comedy or a soap opera, but that one where it's about feelings and sh*t. Luckily, we all know Sundays belong to HBO, at least when you or your friends have the channel, so Bored to Death (HBO, 8:30, Sept. 20) is probably the only surefire comedy success this fall. Jason Schwartzmann seems so much more fitting on the small screen, and with a noir-comedy premise (kinda like Andy Barker, P.I. without the lame NBC sheen of sterility) that could both be beautiful to watch and dryly hilarious, I'm antsy for it to start up. And just for fun, let's make sure you all know about the premieres of Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew (VH1, 9:00, Nov. 1) and The Lamas Family (E!, 9:30, Oct. 11). The former is self-explanatory and a nice hark back to the days of Loveline while the latter sadly isn't about llamas at all, but rather about Lorenzo Lamas and his son, who I guess was on one of the seasons of The Bachelor. It will be boring 99% of the time, but McHale, lucky for us, is usually at his funniest when making fun of his own network, so I'm sure there will be some gems to be Soup'd. [Chris]

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  1. Blogger qualler | 1:04 PM |  

    Reallllllllly hoping Flash Forward is deece, but I still don't see how the basic premise will last a full five-plus seasons. Plus David Goyer is the showrunner who, aside from writing the screenplay for The Dark Knight, is responsible mostly for garbage.

  2. Blogger Brigitte | 1:07 PM |  

    I can't wait to try The Beautiful Life tomorrow! I hope it doesn't blow, but I'm guessing that it will...

  3. Blogger chris | 1:16 PM |  

    Bored to Death first ep is available for free online...restraining myself to wait till Sunday!!!!

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