The Fall TV season is upon us, that time of year when all of the major network channels will debut their best new shows with the hope of ratings (and advertising) glory. Half of these shows won’t make it through December, but several stand the chance at beating the odds and becoming a breakout hit. We’ve cycled through them all and compiled a list of our picks of the best new shows coming out this fall.
Animal Practice (NBC)
Premieres: Wednesday, September 26 at 8/7c
Animal Practice is a half-hour laugher starring Justin Kirk (Weeds) about a House-like veterinarian who loves animals but hates their owners. I like Animal Practice because it’s a show that will never be able to take itself too seriously, mostly because one of the stars is a monkey called Crystal who has credits including The Hangover: Part II and Community. The show also stars Tyler Labine (most underrated comedic actor working in television today) and Joanna Garcia who was surprisingly not horrible in the pilot. In fact, I would go far enough to say the relationship between Kirk and Garcia (previous lovers, now colleagues) is what gives this show the best chance at standing out from the pack.
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c
I’d be lying if I told you I was interested in Elementary or that I would give it a chance this fall. I won’t. But I also didn’t bother giving The Mentalist a chance. Neither of these shows get a coveted spot on my TIVO because they’re both on CBS, which means when you strip away the bells and whistles both shows are just tightly wrapped procedural. In the case of Elementary, those bells and whistles is a modern day Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) who is a consultant to the NYPD and his partner, Watson, who this go around is a woman (Lucy Liu). So while this is not a ringing endorsement, the odds of it succeeding because of its network (CBS) is extremely high.
Last Resort (ABC)
Premieres: Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8/7c
Brought to you by Shawn Ryan, Last Resort follows the leader of a rogue submarine crew (played by Andre Braugher) who takes his ship on the run after he disobeys orders to fire nuclear missiles. The crew then declares itself a new nation. Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser and Robert Patrick co-star. For ABC’s Last Resort to be a hit two things must happen. First, the pilot must be the best show ABC has put on the air since the pilot for LOST and second, ABC has to market the show as ‘must-see’/'event’ programing (again, similar to LOST). Do you get the comparisons here? If ABC handles this right, they may finally have the next LOST. I swear, that is the only time I will make that statement in this article.
The Mindy Project (FOX)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 25 at 9:30/8:30c
I’ll be very honest with you, I am not a Mindy Kaling fan, but The Mindy Project may win me over. In the show, Kaling plays a successful OBGYN who is struggling in her personal life. Hijinks ensue, or something like that. Considering FOX’s success with New Girl, this seems to be a lock for a full season pick up and who knows, maybe The Mindy Project will actually be funny.
Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 10/9c
The success of Nashville lies completely in the confidence ABC has in the show’s creative team. The show is stocked with big time TV actors, from Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) to Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and a handful of TV vets and rising stars. Britton plays an aging country star who is forced to tour with the up-and-coming Panettiere…DRAMA! There’s a lot of promise for the show which should get a lot of eyeballs from the fly over states. But if the story begins to get too drift, don’t be surprised if it gets the early axe. Still, keep your eyes out for Britton, who proved in Friday Night Lights she has more than enough heart and soul to carry a show.
The New Normal (NBC)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 11 at 9:30/8:30c
Probably my most controversial pick of the list, Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal has critics raging, at each other. If you believe the ads on NBC, critics love it. If you believe actual tv critics, they say its the least funny new comedy on any of the networks. Who to believe, who to believe. Still, I’m going to say you should give it a shot. At the end of the day, The New Normal asks one question, is America ready to watch a (not so funny) show about two gay men wanting to have a child? Something tells me it may just be too progressive for most parts of the country.
Premieres: Monday, September 17 at 10:00/9:00c
We’ve already seen NBC’s Revolution (you can read our take on the pilot episode here) and while shows like these struggle to find an audience, NBC is making a big bet on the mythology heavy drama. From J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural), Revolution is NBC’s post-apocalyptic take on a world without power. If Revolution can captivate an audience, NBC can rightfully claim they’re back.
The Following (FOX)
Premieres: Midseason, TBD
FOX’s The Following is likely the best show of the season (which won’t hit airwaves officially until 2013 as a midseason replacement), and that’s because of the star power this “mini-series” packs. James Purefoy joins Kevin Bacon for The Following‘s game of cat and mouse, Bacon making a rare TV appearance as an FBI profiler. Purefoy plays this season’s big-bad, and the target of Bacon’s vast resources. I’m not sure what to make of this “limited run”. It’s not a move often made on the broadcast side of the biz, but this model has found success on basic cable. FOX could be onto something if it can live up to the hype, while maintaining a sense of realistic storylines and viewers attention.