Last week, the broadcast networks announced their fall lineups and their pilot slates. NBC has a staggering ten new shows scheduled for September, while the CW plans on introducing only three. There are others slated for midseason, but it’s best to start with those arriving in the fall. With only four-minute trailers and assorted clips to suggest how these shows will be, here are snap judgments for what could be the best and worst new offerings of the fall, as well as a few question marks.
Revolution (NBC – Mondays at 10pm)
This future-set series conjures up memories of Jericho, The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, and The Event. With technology gone from the world, militias emerge and good people must fight to preserve dignity and human life. That sounds awesome, and having Giancarlo Esposito is a villain is the icing on the cake.
Vegas (CBS – Tuesdays at 10pm)
Period dramas haven’t exactly worked well on broadcast networks over the past few years, but maybe CBS can change that with this 1960s-era chronicle of lawlessness in Vegas, featuring Dennis Quaid as a sheriff and Michael Chiklis as a gangster. Carrie-Anne Moss and Jason O’Mara, fresh off Terra Nova, also star.
The Mindy Project (FOX – Tuesdays at 9:30pm)
Mindy Kaling, who currently writes and stars on NBC’s The Office, is getting her own show, and it looks pretty damn funny. Up until now, she’s only been a supporting player, but clearly the actress has talent, and it will be great to see her try to navigate life as a leading lady for once.
666 Park Avenue (ABC – Sundays at 10pm)
Ordinarily, apartment complexes plagued by the devil wouldn’t make for a great TV premise, but when Terry O’Quinn (Lost) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives are the villains, it’s worth taking interest. Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels) have the lead roles.
Last Resort (ABC – Thursdays at 8pm)
Andre Braugher has been known to command even subpar shows, and what better vehicle for him than this thriller about a submarine crew forced into exile after being targeted by the U.S. government? Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser (The O.C., No Ordinary Family) and Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) also star in this innovative and intriguing series.
Animal Practice (NBC – Wednesday at 8pm)
Justin Kirk instantly invigorated Weeds when he first appeared in its first season, so why should his follow-up part be Dr. Dolittle? Telling a monkey to scrub in is only funny so many times, and this show looks like a comedy destined for immediate cancellation, which is a shame since Kirk is capable of so much more.
Guys With Kids (NBC – Wednesdays at 8:30pm)
Anyone who saw Anthony Anderson in the fourth season of The Shield knows that he shouldn’t be relegated to carrying a baby around on his stomach in this laugh-track comedy that seems like it should have been made a decade ago. Guys sitting in bars using their babies to pick up women just isn’t all that entertaining.
Malibu Country (ABC – Fridays at 8:30pm)
Reba is back with another show that looks just the WB/CW series that aired from 2001 to 2007. ABC doesn’t need another laugh-track sitcom, and there’s no reason Reba needed to be resurrected. Maybe Lily Tomlin can save the show with her witty performance as Reba’s mother.
Go On (NBC – Tuesdays at 9pm)
Didn’t Matthew Perry make a short-lived comedy about a television executive last year? He’s at it again, this time on NBC, which the network couldn’t be more excited about, as a sportscaster struggling to get over the death of his wife. He also starred on Studio 60 a while back, and this TV-centric series doesn’t look like it’s going to fare any better than his last shows.
Could Go Either Way
Elementary (CBS – Thursdays at 10pm)
It’s never the wrong time to bring back Sherlock Holmes, but is primetime in modern-day New York City exactly the right time? Jonny Lee Miller takes another stab at playing an eccentric American after Eli Stone, and Lucy Liu plays a female version of Dr. Watson. It doesn’t look exceptional, but it could definitely find a niche audience.
Made in Jersey (CBS – Fridays at 9pm)
One thing network television does not need is a show perpetuating New Jersey stereotypes. Yet this law show could be decent thanks to the lead performance from Janet Montgomery (Human Target), a Brit who invigorated her last show quite a bit, and a strong supporting turn from Kyle MacLachlan that should hopefully given him a better character arc than he had on Desperate Housewives.
The Neighbors (ABC – Wednesdays at 9:30pm)
The trailer for this one is odd at best, as perpetual ensemble player Lenny Venito (The Sopranos, The Knights of Prosperity) and Jami Gertz (Still Standing) move to a town populated by aliens. It might be awful, but it doesn’t feel all that different from Suburgatory and could find a good audience on the same night after that show and Modern Family.