Your Fall Viewing Guide

We’ll be in TV overload for a couple weeks here. There isn’t a good movie coming out for more than a month and with the Emmys coming Sunday (picking the winners in Friday’s blog) and a new TV season on the way, there’s gonna be plenty of TV to cover.

For now, it’s the fall viewing calendar, a quick look at what I’ll be watching — or at least planning to watch — when the new fall season starts in about a month. Strap in, this is a long one because I didn’t feel like breaking it up into two parts.

These are just my first impressions from what I’ve seen in trailers or commercials or what I’ve read. I plan on giving just about every new show a shot, which is how I found the joys of The Middle and Vampire Diaries last year even though I had no plans to watch them more than once:


New shows: Mike and Molly and Hawaii Five-O (CBS), Lonestar (Fox), The Event and Chase (NBC).

Watching live: 8 p.m.: Chuck (NBC); 9 p.m.: Lonestar; 10 p.m.: Hawaii Five-O, but only because I never got into Castle from the start. And actually, Chuck is a take-it-or-leave-it thing for me at the point too. I’m not very excited about Mondays at all, leaving me free to check in on Raw, which actually is getting pretty good. John Cena is finally turning into the Rock-type mic guy the WWE has been dying for. And I’m digging the Nexus story for some reason.

this is ... a blog. the event is ... a new show

this is ... a blog. the event is ... a new show

DVR, OnDemand, online: The Event. This would win the 9 p.m. slot for me, but Fox doesn’t have any OnDemand options, my preferredchoice of watching something. NBC and CBS are pretty good though, so I’m OK with watching Lonestar live and waiting a day to see The Event. At least for now.

New show passing on: Chase, because it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer show and he’s el diablo. He should paint his face like Puddy. Plus, the show looks like stir-fried poop. Mike and Molly is another show from Chuck Lorre, who somehow became the Czar of TV Sitcoms and no one even bothered to ask him if anything he does is funny. Well, I’ll give you the answer — it’s not.

Most on the line: Alex O’Loughlin. Somehow this guy has managed to rope in crazy-loyal fans and an entire network, even though he’s been in two shows for CBS, and neither of them have made it through a season. Hawaii Five-O has got to be his last chance, right? Umm, right? It’s probably the most-hyped show of the year and it’s being given the best real estate of any new show on the CBS schedule. The network even sent proven ratings winner CSI: Miami into a death spot of Sunday at 10. If 5-O show fails this time, what’s next for him? Replacing Drew Carey on Price is Right? A Carson Daly-type late show after Craig Ferguson? How ’bout these three words: “Next Katie Couric.”

Biggest battle: The whole night is a tough spot, but especially for the new shows. Lonestar and The Event are two of about four new shows getting any kind of buzz this year, and they have to face off against each other? That doesn’t make sense.


New shows: No Ordinary Family and Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), Raising Hope and Running Wilde (Fox). 

Watching live: 8 p.m.: Glee (Fox); 9/9:30 p.m.: Raising Hope/Running Wilde. 10 p.m.: Detroit 1-8-7, 11 p.m. Sons of Anarchy rebroadcast (FX). Let it be said that I have little-to-no expectations for Raising Hope. I’m only watching it because I do hold out hope for Running Wilde and need something to watch at 9 p.m. But it is from Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl), so maybe I’ll be surprised.

DVR, OnDemand or online: The Good Wife is the ultimate “if I have time” show. I like it, I think it’s pretty good, I find all of the characters and actors likable, but because of its procedural nature, I feel like I can watch once a month and not miss a beat. I did that about three times last year, and I didn’t miss a thing.

New show passing on: I can see Detroit 1-8-7 getting kicked to the curb pretty quickly. I don’t have any current viewing real estate for No Ordinary Family.

please, please, please don't go south on us

please, please, please don't go south on us

Most on the line: Glee. If you didn’t know any better, you’d see all the media attention Glee’s been basking in and think it was the highest-rated show of last year. But it was 33rd in total viewers. Surely then, it must have been the highest-rated show among the coveted 18-49 demo, right? Try 15th, behind overlooked money-makers like The Office (11th) and The Bachelor (14th). So why is Glee being treated like royalty, asked to anchor a night with Fox’s first concerted effort at non-animated comedy in years? Against a juggernaut like NCIS, no less? Everything about Glee this year screams letdown.

Biggest battle: 9 p.m. Dancing with the Stars and Biggest Loser results shows are tough enough, but NCIS: Los Angeles and Fox’s comedies make it even tougher. It’s almost impossible to see those comedies making it past Thanksgiving with that kind of competition unless they’re the funniest things anyone has ever seen.


New shows: Better with You and The Whole Truth (ABC), The Defenders (CBS), Hellcats (CW), Undercovers and Law and Order: Los Angeles, heretofore known as LOLA (NBC).

the hecks were better than anyone gave them credit for

the hecks were better than anyone gave them credit for

Watching live: ABC’s comedy lineup of The Middle, Better with You, Modern Family and Cougar Town from 8-10. Better with You is much like Raising Hope — I had nothing else to watch at that time, so I’ll give it a look-see. 10 p.m.: Nothing.

DVR, OnDemand or online: Lie to Me when it comes back in November. Hellcats until something better comes on. Undercovers because a JJ Abrams-produced show is worth a try.

New shows passing on: The Whole Truth. Bruckheimer alert! Bruckheimer alert! The Defenders stars Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi. Maybe you should go back and re-read that sentence if you’re still wondering why I’m passing. LOLA because I could care less about another Law and Order. It was funny a couple years ago to make a joke about all the different Law and Order shows, now it’s just sad to think someone was lazy enough to say, “Umm, sure, yeah, let’s just make another one to plug this gaping hole in our lineup. Did we do one in LA yet?

Most on the line: ABC, which couldn’t stop smelling its own farts after all the pats on the back it got for getting a comedy night back on the schedule. They were well-deserved — Modern Family and The Middle were two of the five best new network shows of last year. But look at the total viewer ratings for last year and that lineup didn’t really fare that well. It even had meh numbers in the 18-49 demo. You can only hide behind Emmy nominations and that new show smell for so long before the network wants results. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the 2009-10 best new shows were: 1. Glee 2. Vampire Diaries 3. Community 4. (tie) The Middle and Modern Family 6. Men of a Certain Age 7. The Good Wife. With this year’s lineup, I’ll be surprised if I’m even watching three of this season’s new shows by January.

Biggest battle: It won’t come until the spring when Glee moves to Wednesdays at 9 and goes up against Modern Family and Cougar Town. Until then, the three 10 p.m. shows all are new, which is half intriguing, half weird and half stupid. Cue the Caddyshack 2 line.


New shows: My Generation (ABC), Bleep My Dad Says (CBS), Nikita (CW), Outsourced (NBC).

maybe the funniest show on tv

maybe the funniest show on tv

Watching live: 8 p.m.: Vampire Diaries (CW); 9 p.m.: Fringe (Fox); 10 p.m.: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX), and possibly 10:30 p.m.: The League (FX), just to see if anyone involved with the show has figured out what it’s actually like to be in a fantasy football league. Probably not.

DVR, OnDemand or online: NBC’s Thursday night lineup, including Outsourced. If I was straight ranking them, the comedy lineup would be what I watch live, but NBC’s superior OnDemand programming means I can check it out another day. I’ll give Nikita the soon-to-be-patented “CW Two-Week Try” before the other network shows come back.

New show passing on: My Generation because there isn’t enough time in the day, though I may try to check it out online. Breakfast Club meets Reunion doesn’t do it for me though. With all the negative buzz around Outsourced, I’d normally skip out on that but the NBC Thursday comedy lineup has earned my respect. There was a day when I thought I’d be skipping Parks and Rec and Community, too, but now they’re probably the funniest shows of the lineup. #*%& My Dad Says, because it looks like I’d want to shove rusty thumbtacks under my fingernails if I watched more than five minutes. 

there are worse ways to get attention for a new show

there are worse ways to get attention for a new show

Most on the line: CBS. For years, it had Thursdays wrapped up. Then CSI started to show its wrinkles, The Metalistwasn’t the ginormous hit CBS thought it was and Survivor was disappointing enough to get moved from the only home its known for 10 years. So it took the one up-and-coming, youthful show it has with Big Bang Theory, took it out of its comfortable Monday night spot and is asking it not just to save Thursday nights, but also lead people in to #%&! My Dad Says and make them stay there. That’s like … well, I can’t even count how many variables that is, but it’s a lot. CW is taking a big chance giving Nikita the post-Vampire Diaries spot when Supernatural already had a decent niche audience. For them, at least.

Biggest battle: 9 p.m., it’s the biggest, most important battle of any TV year. Grey’s Anatomy, CSI and The Office are all their networks’ signature scripted shows. Nikita is one of two new shows on The CW and bumped the popular Supernatural from this slot. Fringe is a cult-ish show that Fox seems happy with in that spot. With TV audiences already wildly fractured, it’s a wonder how any of these shows can get the big ratings they do.


New shows: Body of Proof (ABC), Blue Bloods (CBS), School Pride and Outlaw (NBC).

Watching live: 8 p.m. Human Target; 9 p.m. The Good Guys. I think. I like both of these shows and thanked Fox for putting them on a day and time where I don’t have anything else to watch — but for some reason, now I feel like I won’t be watching them. I have no idea why.

DVR, OnDemand or online: Nothing.

New shows passing on: All of them. The selection reminds of Warren trying to beg evil witch Willow for his life on the sixth season finale of Buffy when she just said “Bored now” and magically ripped the skin from his body. That’s the choices here. Bored now.

Most on the line: No one really takes Friday night TV very seriously, so there aren’t any expectations here. Although networks sure seem to be taking Fridays much more seriously than they did three or four years ago.

will it be jimmy smits ...

will it be jimmy smits ...

... or tom selleck winning the 10 p.m. friday battle?

... or tom selleck winning the 10 p.m. friday battle?

Biggest battle: Thursdays are one thing, there are enough people watching that a couple different shows can get ratings. Friday is like Highlander — there can be only one. Blue Bloods and Outlaw, even with their likeable, veteran TV stars, can’t both survive at 10 p.m.


Nothing on. Someday, someone will be brave enough to put a new show on Saturdays, but it won’t be anytime soon. Maybe when there is nuclear winter and we can’t come out of our houses. 


New shows: None yet (midseason shows coming).

Watching live: 8 p.m.: Simpsons; 8:30 p.m.: The Cleveland Show; 9 p.m.: Family Guy; 9:30: nothing; 10 p.m. Mad Men (AMC) until its season finale in October. Then Brothers and Sisters (ABC). IF I had HBO, I’d be undoubtedly be watching Boardwalk Empire.

DVR, OnDemand or online: Brothers and Sisters (ABC) until Mad Men is over. Or until I finally dump the show for good, I’m fine either way.

Most on the line: ABC. There are some long-in-the-tooth shows here, all of which have seen better days. The lifespan on the Extreme Makeover-Desperate Housewives-Brothers and Sisters power trio has to be running out pretty soon.

Biggest battle: 9 p.m. has football (NBC), Family Guy, Undercover Boss (CBS) and Housewives. It’s hard to believe all of them can keep surviving and thriving. the surprise hit of Boss may be the most vulnerable.

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