The fall television season has kicked off and for TV aficionados like myself, this means deciding which shows will make the cut and which ones won’t. To help you make your game plan, I’ve compiled a list of 10 notable new shows worth checking out (or at the very least, saving a spot for on the DVR):
Terra Nova – Mondays 8 p.m. on FOX – Two-hour premiere Monday night at 7 p.m.
Set in the year 2149, this sci-fi, adventure series takes place during a time where all life on planet Earth is threatened to become extinct. Naturally in response to this crisis, scientists develop a time machine in order to travel back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth. We follow the Shannon family as they time travel and begin their pilgrimage to the first human colony, Terra Nova, that just happens to be smack dab in the middle of a group of carnivorous dinosaurs. How convenient.
The budget for the pilot has been said to be one of the most expensive network pilots of the season, estimated at $10-20 million. There hasn’t been a network pilot this notably expensive since Lost premiered in 2004. The series was also originally set to air last spring, but was pushed back due to the amount of time needed for visual effects.
I am slightly on the fence about this show, but figure it’s worth checking out. Hopefully it’s not all bells and whistles and there actually are interesting characters to follow on this journey. It has a couple of things going for it though - dinosaurs, Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, and in the words of aspiring kid filmmaker Charles from Super 8, the show has some “serious production value.”
Ringer – Tuesdays 8 p.m. on the CW
Almost a decade after Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended, Sarah Michelle Gellar marks her return to the small screen in a thrilling noir mystery. In it, she plays drug-addicted stripper Bridget, who goes on the run after witnessing a murder and assumes the life of her wealthy identical twin sister in hopes to leave her troubled life behind. She finds out her twin sister’s life isn’t all butterflies like she thought it would be.
I’ve been patiently waiting for
Buffy’s, Gellar’s return since she disappeared from my TV screen in 2003, and I’m excited to have her back in weekly doses once again. Ringer is sure to provide plenty of Gellar (she plays both characters!), action, mystery and crazy twists and turns throughout the whole season. We can overlook the fact that it’s on the CW just this once, right?
H8R – Wednesdays 7 p.m. on the CW
What happens when you take a celebrity’s number one “hater” and have them spend a day with that person? You get the CW’s newest reality show, H8R. Spelled in a hip way that is sure to bring in their targeted youthful audience. As ridiculous as the show sounds, it’s not half-bad and it's sure to provide some great material for The Soup. Though I must warn you, the show uses the word “celebrity” as loosely as Dancing with the Stars uses the word, “star.”
In the first episode, a man who has expressed relentless frustration with Snooki, gets surprised by her at a bar, and a woman who claims Kim Kardashian is all fake gets confronted by Kim herself, during a grueling session of yoga. The stars try their best to show a side of them that doesn’t always come across on television to see if their "haters" will change their mind. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show has booked over 20 celebrities, including Eva Longoria and Kat Von D. Mario Lopez also hosts, furthering his path to become the next Ryan Seacrest.
Up All Night – Wednesdays 9 p.m. on NBC
Executive produced by Lorne Michaels? Starring Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph AND Will Arnett? I’m sold!
Applegate and Arnett play a couple embarking on the journey of parenthood all the while trying to balance their personal lives with their work lives. Can you really go wrong with a trio like this? Rudolph was hilarious in Bridesmaids and both Applegate and Arnett have made a name for themselves as great comedic performers. Arrested Development anyone?
My only concern with the show is the fact that NBC decided to put it on Wednesday nights, when it could’ve fit better on Thursdays. Critics have also been on the fence about the pilot. Here’s to hoping that the show doesn’t turn out like Running Wilde, Arnett’s previous attempt of permanently getting back into television and the combination of all these great actors plus a cute baby is enough to pull in the viewers.
Free Agents – Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. on NBC
The show stars Hank Azaria, who is known for his voice work on The Simpsons, and Kathryn Hahn of Crossing Jordan, as two PR executives — the former being recently divorced and the latter, a woman who is trying to move on after the death of her fiancée. In typical Grey’s Anatomy fashion, they have a drunken one night stand and develop an attraction for each other. Problem is, they work at the same company so they must try to find a way to stay professional around the workplace.
The series is an adaptation of the U.K. version of the same name and seems to take a more adult approach to the typical workplace comedy when compared to the rest of the NBC comedies. The jury is still out for the show — there’s still many things not playing in its favor so far. For example, it’s on a Wednesday night, away from the successful Thursday comedy line-up, it’s paired with another new series, Up All Night, losing the chance of getting led in by an established show and the critics have a wait-and-see approach to the show to see if it’ll win viewers over. But hey, at least it’s not Whitney.
The New Girl – 8 p.m. on FOX
Zooey Deschanel stars in this comedy as Jessica Day, a bubbly, sweet and adorable woman in her late 20s who, after discovering her boyfriend has been cheating on her, moves out and finds a new place to stay at an apartment with three single guys. The series has room for some interesting pairings and the opportunity for various “will they or won’t they” storylines, which could be a good and bad thing. But honestly...who can resist Zooey’s puppy-dog eyes and overall adorableness? Critics couldn’t. According to Deadline, critics listed the show as one of the 8 “Most Exciting New Series” at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards last June.
The X Factor – Wednesdays 7 p.m.on FOX
Oh great – another singing reality show? But this one has Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and a pussycat! The X Factor has immigrated over to the states from the UK to try its luck here. What makes this different from every other reality show? For starters, there’s no age limit, auditions are performed before a live audience and now groups and couples can compete. Then there’s a whole thing about judges being mentors during the final rounds of competition and Mariah Carey fits in somewhere down the road as well. So it sounds to me like American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent combined.
The show has gained some attention because of Simon Cowell and the drama surrounding Nicole Scherzinger replacing previous judge Cheryl Cole. FOX is doing all that it can to make sure the show is a hit, advertising during the Super Bowl and whatnot. I think half the fun will be seeing if the show can actually succeed and be as big as American Idol. After the first week, it hasn't.
Charlie’s Angels – Thursdays 7 p.m. on ABC
Each year, there is always at least one remake, reboot, or adapation that is produced in hopes to capture the nostalgic audience that made the original series a hit in the first place. Charlie’s Angels is one of those. Set in Miami, the series follows three women who are given a chance at redemption by an anonymous millionaire named Charlie Townsend and recruited to solve crimes. The series is bound to attract an initial audience for the premiere, but the real test will be if the audience sticks around in weeks afterwards. Only time and ultimately ratings will tell if the show will follow the same successful path as Hawaii-Five-0 or be a disaster like Knight Rider. The new set of angels includes Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), Annie Ilonzeh (Entourage), and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy).
Person of Interest – Thursdays 8 p.m. on CBS
The ever-so-creepy Michael Emerson is back on television doing what he does best – being mysterious and creepy. Emerson plays Mr. Finch, a billionaire who has developed a type of software that can predict the identity of a person who will be connected to a violent crime in the future. There’s only one problem – the software can’t determine if the person will be a victim, witness or perpetrator or when the crime will take place. Mr. Finch therefore enlists the help of a former CIA agent who is presumed dead to stop these crimes from taking place.
Created by Jonathan Nolan, the mastermind behind The Dark Knight and executive produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost), the series seems to have many things already going for it. According to CBS programming chief, Nina Tassler, Person of Interest received the highest test rating of any drama pilot in 15 years and caused CBS to move the powerhouse that is CSI to another time slot to make room for Person of Interest. To put it in perspective, CSI has occupied the Thursday night time slot for 10 years. Jim Caviezal (The Passion of the Christ) stars as the former CIA agent.
Grimm – Fridays 8 p.m. on NBC – Premieres Oct. 21
I’m a sucker for sci-fi/fantasy and if you are as well, Grimm will definitely be worth checking out. The show is as gritty and creepy as Supernatural was in its first season and has a great mythology that’s sure to expand ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show centers on a homicide detective who learns he is a descendent of a group of hunters known as “Grimms,” and is destined to protect humanity from the evil creatures that come straight out of the tales told by the Brothers Grimm. The only catch is that these creatures look like ordinary people.
Part of the fun of the show will be seeing how they bring them to life as the show provides glimpses of the creature’s true form through the eyes of the detective. In the pilot, we get to see the story of little red riding hood and the big bad wolf come to life. NBC decided to play it smart and premiere it right around Halloween and seeing as how fairy tales, vampires and the like are in again, Grimm should be able to find a reasonably sized audience. Newcomer, David Giuntoli stars.