Written by: Ron Bricker
The fall upfront presentations have come and gone and now we know what to expect for next year's TV season: a handful of hopefully cool new sci-fi shows on Fox and ABC and, in CBS's case, yet more detective shows with very slight twists on the genre. NBC has a surprisingly uninteresting new lineup – after cool newcomers like Friday Night Lights, Chuck, Heroes, and the like in seasons past, the best that newbie head honcho Ben Silverman can come up with this year seems to be the "new" Friday night adventure Crusoe. The best part is that since the pilots have already been made, many of these shows already have previews out – check them out below.
On the top of everyone's list seems to be Fringe, the new Fox show from J.J. Abrams. Perhaps opening the series with an airline disaster is not the best way to convince people you're not just riding on Lost's coattails, but the show quickly seems to morph into an X-Files-type series. We've been led to believe that mad scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) are the two leads, but from the looks of the promo below, FBI agent Olivia Warren (Anna Torv) is the central character:
Also sci-fi and also on Fox, but not coming until midseason, is Joss Whedon's new series Dollhouse. The concept sounds like the type of thing that should be wrapped up in 1-2 seasons, but I'd like to know more, because it's an intriguing premise. And Eliza Dushku…she and The Sarah Connor Chronicles' Summer Glau (both Whedon alums) seem to be practically the same person, but who's complaining?
We'll take a break from the sci-fi to bring you CBS's new star-driven detective procedurals. The first one, The Mentalist, is about a psychic detective played by Simon Baker (the A-hole from The Devil Wears Prada and the really nice guy from Something New); the other one, The Eleventh Hour, is about basically the same thing, starring Rufus Sewell (the A-hole from The Illusionist and the really nice guy from Dark City).
Finally, here's Life on Mars on ABC. As I've mentioned before, it's a remake of a recent British show that I saw briefly and loved; the original star (John Simm) seems cooler than the new lead (Jason O'Mara) but I guess I can give the guy a shot:
That's it for previews I could find on YouTube; still unseen is footage from the new 90210, the aforementioned Crusoe, some new sitcoms, and the Christian Slater vehicle My Own Worst Enemy. To check out the full schedule, head over to TV Guide.
Every new scripted primetime show this week
The week starts off strong, but really, Monday is the only day with an abundance of new programming, so enjoy it while it lasts. You've still got your CBS comedies; you've still got Bones and House; you've still got your ABC Family and CW soaps. (I guess NBC just gave up.) Enjoy it while it lasts, because we're on the brink of the summer.
The Big Bang Theory, 8:00, CBS
How I Met Your Mother, 8:30, CBS
Two and a Half Men, 9:00, CBS
Rules of Engagement, 9:30, CBS
CSI: Miami, 10:00, CBS
Bones, 8:00, Fox
House, 9:00, Fox
Gossip Girl, 8:00, CW
One Tree Hill, 9:00, CW'
Greek, 8:00, ABC Family
Wildfire, 9:00, ABC Family
Reaper surprised a few people, myself included, by not getting canceled. So enjoy tonight's episode for what it is: the finale of the first season and not the series. Then jump on over to CBS and watch the last-ever-for-real episode of Shark, which did get the ax. Oh well, at least it's on after CBS's two-hour extravaganza of NCIS, which my 165-year-old great-great-grandfather watches. (Seriously, though, AMC is re-airing Broken Trail from 8 to midnight, so check that out if you want to watch a good Western and miraculously have the entire night to spare.)
NCIS, 8:00, CBS
Reaper, 9:00, CW
Shark, 10:00, CBS
The early hours are wastelands, but at 10:00 the big three burn off more of their "serious" dramas. Well, Boston Legal isn't exactly a serious drama, but James Spader managed an Emmy win over James Gandolfini, so…yeah, I'm still getting over that too. Yeah, I know it was many months ago. Who votes for the Emmys, exactly?
Criminal Minds, 9:00, CBS
Boston Legal, 10:00, ABC
CSI: New York, 10:00, CBS
Law & Order, 10:00, NBC
It's an all-ABC night as Ugly Betty leads in to Grey's Anatomy's two-hour season finale. So Lost fans, it's best just to not turn on the TV tonight. If you must, you can pass the time watching NBC's Last Comic Standing, which was actually an O.K. reality show a few years ago until they tried to put it on way too much, pitted Season 1's contestants against Season 2's instead of finding new people, watched the ratings plummet, took it off the air for a couple years, then tentatively brought it back to lesser but adequate ratings. Not that I care, of course.
Ugly Betty, 8:00, ABC
Grey's Anatomy, 9:00 – 11:00, ABC
Reno 911!, 9:30, Comedy Central
Technically nothing. Everything's reality or in repeats. Although while browsing through the listings, I did discover that they're rerunning Batman: The Animated Series on Toon Disney at 10:30 – which, along with X-Men, was must-see TV when I was a kid. Or, if you get The N, you can watch the umpteenth Degrassi: The Next Generation marathon. It's hopelessly addicting, but if you're a male of drinking age like I am, the nonstop line of advertising targeted directly at 12-year-old girls will make you feel a little bit like a burgeoning massive creep.
Again, nothing on. You can check out CBS's Vinegar Hill, a TV movie from 2005 starring the uber-hot Mary-Louise Parker, or Final Approach, a new TV movie on the Hallmark channel starring Dean Cain and Anthony Michael Hall. Isn't that just the perfect TV movie cast? It gets better – Lea Thompson and Ernie Hudson are also in it. They should form, like, a D-list Brat Pack.
Um…still nothing. Are you seeing a pattern here? I give up. Catch you next week.