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Fall TV Preview

Scene Staff Report | Monday, September 12, 2011

New Shows

“The Ringer” — Tuesday, Sept. 13, The CW

The most exciting part about this upcoming CW show is that Buffy is back! Sarah Michelle Gellar has had an almost cult following in the science fiction genre, and this show will have a creepy edge perfect for her. Gellar plays Bridget Kelly, a woman who is starting to turn her life around right as she is the only witness in a murder trial. Telling no one, she reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan, in New York. Her sister is living a pampered life and is married to a handsome self-made millionaire, played by Ioan Gruffudd of “Fantastic Four” fame. The only catch is that no one in Siobhan’s life knows that her troubled twin exists. The sisters seem to be mending their relationship when Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the decision to take on her sister’s identity. She begins to discover shocking secrets about her twin’s life, which was not the fairy tale it appeared to be. All in all, it looks like a show that will have plenty of twists and turns, as well as the mysterious secret factor that draws in the “Pretty Little Liars” crowd.

“Up All Night” — Wednesday, Sept. 14, NBC

The new comedy series stars Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as the parents of an infant struggling to keep their lives in balance. While the premise sounds a bit cliché, so is pretty much every new TV show ever. It all depends on the cast and the writing, and with Applegate and Arnett heading the show, not to mention SNL alum Maya Rudolph as a co-star, it seems to be in good hands. It’d be nice to see an Arnett project take off, as his show last year, “Running Wilde,” failed so miserably. The only possible hiccup in this show is that Nick Cannon also co-stars. Lorne Michaels is an executive producer though, so maybe he can teach Cannon to be funny.

“The Playboy Club” — Monday, Sept. 19, NBC

This new NBC drama is the story of life in Chicago in the 1960s at the downtown Playboy Club. The Club is a fantasy world full of beautiful Bunnies, powerful men and plenty of secrets and intrigue to go around. A star-studded cast compliments the provocative and ambitious new show, with actors like Eddie Cibrian (“Third Watch”), Amber Heard (“Pineapple Express”), Jenna Dewan Tatum (“Step Up”) and David Krumholtz (“Numb3rs”). Secrets, dangerous friendships and the mob promise to make this a show to put on your fall TV schedule.

“Pan Am” — Sunday, Sept. 25, ABC

Set in the 1960s, this series is positioning itself as the perfect alternative to “Mad Men” during its off-season. “Pan Am” follows a crew of pilots and airhostesses as they take to the skies and live the glamorous jet-set lifestyle of which most Americans can only dream. The show stars Christina Ricci as a free spirit who buttons up for a proper career as a flight attendant. The ‘60s style will surely be a draw for many viewers and the stewardess uniforms are certainly fashionable.

“Terra Nova” – Monday, Sept. 26, Fox

In 2149, the Earth’s resources are just about used up. To try to fix this, scientists construct a time machine that will send groups of people back in time to prehistoric Earth, where people can continue to live freely and, hopefully, save the Earth from its bleak future. “Terra Nova” focuses most closely on a single family who travel to Terra Nova, the first human colony. Unfortunately, Terra Nova happens to be in the midst of packs of dangerous dinosaurs. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Fox is banking on this big budget sci-fi show to be a hit. Previews suggest we won’t be disappointed.

“Alcatraz” — Monday, midseason, Fox

J.J. Abrams is launching a new show on Fox mid-season about a group of smart and witty people solving crimes. Typical weeknight television show, right? Wrong. J.J. would never endorse such an unoriginal set-up. The show’s crime investigators are chasing down inmates from Alcatraz who are wreaking havoc on San Francisco’s streets, 50 years after their mysterious disappearance from the prison. Now that’s more like it. Let’s remember that Abrams also brought us “Alias,” “Fringe” and “Lost,” which had a cast member that will also star in “Alcatraz,” Jorge Garcia.

“Awake” – 2012, NBC

Certainly one of the most interesting concepts on TV, “Awake” centers on a cop who is involved in a car crash with his wife and son. One dies, but he isn’t sure which one. In one of his realities, he has lost his wife, and in the other, it is son who died instead. He isn’t sure which of these realities is real, nor is he particularly keen on either of them. The writers never give any clues, at least in the early episodes, as to which of his realities is real. It’s hard to say where the story will go, but for now, it’s an incredibly compelling show unlike anything else on TV.

Returning Shows

“Parenthood” — Tuesday, Sept. 13, NBC

The Braverman fanily returns for a second season this fall. Almost dysfunctional, the three generation of family living in the same household struggle with the same issues that most families do, just with a touch more drama. The family has survived by burying all major problems under the happy surface of their family, but the problems continue to emerge in typical comedic drama fashion. Lauren Graham also shines in her first major TV role since “Gilmore Girls” as Sarah, the slightly unstable but always hilarious daughter, especially with such a star-studded supporting cast, including Dax Shepard and Peter Krause.

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” — Thursday, Sept. 15, FX

“It’s Always Sunny” is not for the easily offended. The show focuses on a group of friends who own a shoddy bar in Philadelphia. At the center of the commotion is the Reynolds family, comprised of siblings Dennis and Sweet Dee (Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson) and father Frank (Danny DeVito). Further initiating the humor are Dennis’ childhood friends, the laughably bizarre Mac and Charlie (Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day). McElhenney gained 50 pounds for the show’s seventh season, so viewers should be prepared for a barrage of inappropriate and immature fat jokes. The new season’s promo is hugely intriguing. Charlie is coaching child pageants, Frank is getting married and the Waitress and Cricket make their return to the storyline.

“The Vampire Diaries” — Thursday, Sept. 15, The CW

After a tumultuous end to Season 2, The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” promises an exciting new season, full of all the love, blood and generally gorgeous people we have come to love. To save his brother’s life, Stefan (Paul Wesley) pledged himself to be Klaus’ (Joseph Morgan) wingman, which mostly consists of biting the necks of the unsuspecting humans around them. Meanwhile, Elena (Nina Dobrev) will still be caught in a love triangle between Stefan and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), his brother, but with Stefan MIA, Elena and Damon may finally have a chance. Caroline (Candace Accola) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) will continue to build sexual tension and just might push the boundaries of vampire-werewolf relationships. A promising new season ensues.


“How I Met Your Mother” — Monday, Sept. 19, CBS

Ted’s (Josh Radnor) search for love will continue when Season 7 of the sitcom opens. With Lily (Alyson Hannigan) finally pregnant, Ted will inevitably be even more pathetically pressured to find the love of his life. But the most intriguing plot line to come stems from the cryptic image of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) at the alter, about to wed an unidentified bride. We all hope it’s Robin (Colbie Smulders), but with the show’s producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas’ affinity for dragging us in circles for seasons on end, we probably won’t know if that’s the case anytime soon.

“Glee” — Tuesday, Sept. 20, Fox

This season will be the last for “Glee” stars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer. As these three main characters prepare for graduation and their final shot at a Glee Club National Title, an intense Season 3 musical repertoire seems likely. Fans should also look out for “Glee” newcomers this year. The two winners from Oxygen’s “The Glee Project,” Samuel Larsen and Damian McGinty, have been promised seven-episode stints this season, while the two runners-up, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce, have been promised two-episode appearances. Though viewers can expect some big revelations about the characters’ futures on the show, anchors like Mr. Schuester (Matt Morrison) and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) will continue to be entertaining.

“Modern Family” — Wednesday, Sept. 21, ABC

If you enjoy a laugh, relatable characters, and the awkward situations of others, you do, or should, watch ABC’s hit show “Modern Family.” On the off-chance that you don’t watch this show, it highlights the humor in the everyday lives of the members of an extended family. Season two ended with a middle school graduation and an endearing moment (that seems to happen every episode) when the family realized how lucky they were to have each other. The third season is starting off with a one hour, instead of the usual thirty-minute, episode about the family vacationing at a Dude Ranch. The third season is sure to have plenty of laughs in store.

“The Office” — Thursday, Sept. 22, NBC

After Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) left Dunder Mifflin for the spacious views of Colorado, many fans felt the show was lacking something. Finding a replacement for Carrell is nearly impossible, but producers have tried everything to find someone who meshes well with the rest of the office. It seems that they’ve landed on a winner. In the season finale last spring, the audience saw a wide variety of potential bosses, including Warren Buffet and Jim Carrey, but the producers have chosen James Spader’s creepily intimidating character, Robert California. The show will have a totally different vibe, but true Office fans will surely tune in Sept. 22 for the premiere.

“Community” — Thursday, Sept. 22, NBC

The comedy series focused on a group of students attending Greendale Community

College has been renewed for a third season set to premiere next week. Joel McHale (“The Soup”) leads the group of misfits as they try to skate through “college,” if one could call it that. Last season ended by revisiting the greatest of all “Community” episodes in yet another school wide paintball war. The episode ended with Pierce (Chevy Chase) leaving “the group” and presumably the show. It will be interesting to see how the show deals with this, but there’s little doubt “Community” will continue to be comedy gold.


“Parks and Recreation” — Thursday, Sept. 22, NBC

When last season closed, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) had been approached about running for mayor. Leslie’s vaulting ambition and love of local government made saying “yes” easy. Unfortunately, her forbidden inter-office romance with Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) might be too big a roadblock to jump. Elsewhere in Pawnee, Ind., Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and his ex-wife Tammy #2 (Megan Mullally) were struck by the fear of God when Ron’s first ex, Tammy #1 (Patricia Clarkson) came back. Clarkson is sure to be terrifyingly wonderful in the role. Tom (Aziz Ansari) will watch as his new media company either explodes with success or crashes and burns — probably the latter. Meanwhile, April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) will continue to deal with married life in a way only they can.

“Desperate Housewives” — Sunday, Sept. 25, ABC

Viewers of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” are preparing to say goodbye to Wisteria Lane as they await the show’s eighth and final season premiere. Last season left fans marveling at the twisted, overlapping lifestyles of the housewives. This season’s premiere trailer alludes to the fleshing out of dramatic plotlines, opening with Lynette (Felicity Huffman), Susan (Teri Hatcher), Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) and Bree (Marcia Cross) rushing to bury Season 7’s murder victim. The final season does not seem to slow the fast pace of the show, still introducing new characters and revealing the sordid details of Wisteria Lane’s inhabitants.

“Psych” — Wednesday, Oct. 12, USA

Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) return to USA this fall Oct. 12 to solve the mystery of a body found in the home of a British diplomat. All your favorite main characters are returning, and drama promises to unfold as Shawn and Juliet’s (Maggie Lawson) relationship is revealed and Shawn’s abilities are called into question. The laughter also promises to continue this season with an Indiana Jones-themed episode, as well as guest stars ranging from Wade Boggs to Pitbull to William Shatner. Don’t miss a second of this hilariously awesome show.

“Bones” — Thursday, Nov. 3, Fox

The Fox TV show returns Nov. 3 after the jaw-dropping cliffhanger that ended last season. Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanez), after six seasons of dancing around each other and their feelings, are having a baby together. The two will navigate their new relationship status as well as all their new cases in this season. Although the season will focus a lot on the characters’ changing personal lives, the show will still be a crime drama at heart, and the duo will continue their unbroken streak of crime solving.