Five Must-See New Fall TV Shows

Plus what you should've been watching last season and which shows probably won't make it to Halloween

There are times when my immense nerditude even surprises me. This is no small feat, considering I can quote whole scenes — and do, frequently — from Ghostbusters and Clue. (Mrs. Peacock was a man?) But I think the moment that made me reevaluate my life, occurred earlier this month when I found myself creating an Excel spreadsheet to plan my Fall TV watching schedule — which, upon reflection, I have done for the past 10 years. Seriously. I block out the times for my must-see returning shows (The Good Wife, Parks and Rec) and add in the new shows that a) sound interesting to me or b) are ones that Entertainment Weekly or Esquire have told me to watch.

I live in a house with two DVRs so one would assume I would no longer need to Sophie Choose between Family Guy, The Good Wife, and Dexter. But, alas, even I can’t bring myself to watch three shows on at the same time. (Sorry, Family Guy.) A man must have a limit.

So let my OCD-ish behavior help you. Here are my picks for the five shows that look most promising and the five shows that everyone should be watching. I’ve also thrown in a few shows you shouldn’t waste your time on — they’ll probably be gone by Halloween.

Most Promising

2 Broke Girls: A billionaire-heiress, after losing her fortune, must work at a slummy diner. Starring Kat Dennings as the waitress who must take the ex-heiress (Beth Behrs) under her wing, the pilot crackles with tremendous chemistry between the two stars. [CBS, Mondays]

Up All Night:
Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett and smart writing elevate a trite premise about new parents raising a baby into a sure-to-be success. [NBC, Wednesdays]

Terra Nova: Time travel. Dinosaurs. Executive Producer, Steven Spielberg. This ain’t no Land of the Lost. [Premieres Monday, September 26th on FOX]

American Horror Story: From the kinda disturbing promo, it looks like creator Ryan Murphy has left Glee’s Ohio for some place a little darker. Starring Dylan McDermott (The Practice) and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as couple that moves their family into a haunted mansion, this series — also starring Jessica Lange — will rely on the show runners to keep us scared. [Premieres Wednesday, October 5th on FX]

Person of Interest:
J. J. Abrams reteams with his Lost star Michael Emersen for this update on the crime procedural. [CBS, Thursdays]

Honorable Mention

Ringer: No, Sarah Michelle Gellar is not returning to TV in a reboot of Buffy. (Blerg.) But she does play twins — ex-drug addict Bridget and pampered Siobhan — on this soapy, guilty pleasure. [CW, Tuesdays]

Everyone Should be Watching

The Good Wife: With a cast that boasts Emmy winners Julianna Margulies, Archie Panjabi, and Christine Baranski, this tremendous drama, beginning its third season this Sunday, is one of the smartest, best acted, most intriguing shows on TV — network or cable. [CBS, Sundays]

Parks and Recreation: After the brilliant last season, where Parks and Rec finally hit its stride, I cannot wait to see what season four has in store. Let’s hope we get more Snake Juice, chicky chicky parm parm, and Ron Swanson. Lots and lots of Ron Swanson. [NBC, Thursdays]

Modern Family: If you do not know who Fizbo the Clown is or if you don’t laugh when someone says “sugar jacket,” you are missing out on one of the funniest and most heartfelt comedies of all time. [ABC, Wednesdays]

Dexter: Though last season was a bit of a let down in comparison to season four — but of course, everything pales in comparison to John Lithgow as a bad guy — it is still fully compelling show. While the subject matter, a serial killer as a protagonist, can be bothersome, Michael C. Hall’s wonderful performance keeps you coming back. [Showtime, Sundays]

Cougar Town: Two years ago, I thought this show was destined for cancellation. But by the end of the first season, the writing clicked and the show became one of the silliest, most delightful shows on TV. While the botoxed cast can be a bit distracting, I oftentimes find myself quoting the show … and wanting to play Penny Can. [Premieres in November on ABC]

Honorable Mention

Raising Hope: The highest ratio of sight-gags and one-liners per minute than any other comedy currently one. Come for the wonderful ridiculousness of Cloris Leachman’s Maw Maw, but stay for the tremendous Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt. [FOX, Tuesdays]

My TV Death List

Even a television lover like myself can’t recommend everything. Here’s two shows that are destined to go the way of last season’s duds Running Wilde or The Cape.

The Playboy Club: Once the novelty of the bunny tails wears off, viewers will see that this NBC show is nothing more than the network’s cancelled show Las Vegas playing Mad Men dress up.

Free Agents: While Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) are talented actors, their lack of chemistry will make people turn the channel. It probably also doesn’t bode well that 99 percent of viewers probably never even heard of this show.


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