Fall TV Preview
By Bert Ehrmann
September 3, 2010
The 2009-10 TV season will probably be remembered as the year the network sitcom returned to top prominence. CBS had top rated sitcoms with Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory while Modern Family on ABC was a hit with the coveted 18-49 age demographic. And while sitcoms on NBC didn’t do as well ratings-wise, 30 Rock, The Office and Community were all critical darlings.
While the sitcom made a grand return the network drama faltered. Most of the highly rated dramas were standard (read boring) procedural shows like NCIS and The Mentalist while not one of the interesting looking new dramas from last season including V and FlashForward fared well. V will (barely) return for a second season while FlashForward was cancelled.
Which begs the question; which network shows look interesting this upcoming season?
The Event, which premiers Monday, September 20 on NBC, looks promising. The Event seems to involve all sorts of people, from an everyday Joe (Jason Ritter) to the US President (Blair Underwood), and their relation to some gigantic “cover-up.” Does the cover-up involve aliens, a shiny-light in a cave or something else? Regardless, if Lost/The X-Files has taught me anything it’s to be skeptical of network shows that promote a series long mystery as so often is the case that these mysteries turn out to be not that interesting. Still, I’ll give The Event a shot.
Raising Hope and Running Wilde, both set to premier Tuesday, September 21 on Fox, might be the first two shows in a loooooong time to draw me back to that network. Raising Hope follows a down on their luck and none-too-bright family who’s charged with raising a baby after their 23 year old son finds out he’s a dad. The series was created by Greg Garcia who also created My Name is Earl for NBC.
Running Wilde stars Will Arnett from Arrested Development who plays, according to Fox, “…a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart.” Again, it’s the people who created the show that’s got me excited. Running Wilde was created by Mitch Hurwitz and Jim Vallely. Hurwitz created Arrested Development while Vallely served as a producer on that show.
The other new drama next season that’s piqued my interest a bit is Undercovers on NBC that premiers Wednesday, September 22. Created by J.J. Abrams who also created Alias and co-created Lost and Fringe, Undercovers seems to be a take the plot to the spy film Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and tweak it a bit. This time the two married spies are working together instead of against one and other.
I’ve always liked Abrams’ shows but they all seem to lose momentum after a few seasons. I’m not sure if that’s the point where Abrams leaves the show in other’s hands in order to go do something else, as was in the case of both Alias and Lost, or if it’s a case of a great premise that makes an incredible first episode that seemingly goes nowhere like Fringe? Still, even after all this, of being constantly let-down by show after show of Abrams I’m willing to give Undercovers a go.
While neither Modern Family or Cougar Town are new, both these returning second season shows are too good not to mention. I didn’t start watching Cougar Town until about half-way through its first season but when I did discover the show I was amazed as to just what a gem I was missing. And what more can I say about Modern Family is the show I’m second most excited to return next season?
Modern Family and Cougar Town return September 22 on ABC.
Thursday nights have traditionally been the most contested nights of TV and this season is no different. First, starting September 23 CBS is moving Big Bang Theory to Thursday night sin order to steal some of the viewers from the slate of comedies on NBC including 30 Rock, Community, The Office and new Outsourced, all also premiering September 23.
Unfortunately, Big Bang Theory, a show I like, is going up against the show I’m most excited about returning, Community which gets about 30% the viewers as Big Bang. A few months back Community creator Dan Harmon tweeted, "Well, if CBS thinks I'm a big enough threat to send a terminator, the least I can do is prove them right." Let’s hope there’s room for both shows.