This year I’m going to group shows by common themes, or at least as closely as I can, since they don’t really have common themes. But wouldn’t we like to believe they do?
Shows with Doctors (to fill our House-sized TV viewing void)
Animal Practice (ABC, Wednesdays) – They have a monkey. That’s enough for me!
Emily Owens, M.D. (CW, Tuesdays) – I guess this is the anti-House. She “wears her heart on her sleeve”. Blah.
The Mob Doctor (Fox, Mondays) – A surgeon’s family connections pulls her into close ties with the mob. Sounds cheesy, but with Jordana Spiro and William Forsythe, I think it’s worth a look.
Brooding Do-Gooders (ditto House)
Arrow (CW, Wednesdays) – Sort of like Batman, except with a bow and arrow. Thanks, Katniss/Merida/Hawkeye/Legolas/Duke Boys. Just what we need. Another archer.
Chicago Fire (NBC, Wednesdays) – Okay, I don’t really know if anyone is “brooding” in this one, but since it’s a show about people who pull victims from burning buildings, I doubt it’ll be a laugh riot. With Dick “Law & Order” Wolf as the Exec Producer, I’ll certainly give it a shot.
Elementary (CBS, Tuesdays) – This time it’s not a character a lot like Sherlock Holmes; it’s Sherlock Holmes! Albeit a modern, NYC version. With Johnny Lee Miller in the lead, I’m interested. With Lucy Liu as Watson, I’m there!
Vegas (CBS, Tuesdays) – No James Caan or Robert Urich this time around. It’s Dennis Quaid as a sheriff trying to clean up a 60s era Las Vegas, more often than not in conflict with Michael Chiklis as the local mob guy. Awesome!
The Last Resort (ABC, Thursdays) – Hands down the most interesting show of the new season. Andre Braugher is the captain of a nuclear-capable submarine, and when he fails to carry out a questionable order to attack, he’s forced to retreat to a remote island and declare himself the leader of a new, nuclear nation. Does this have a chance to survive more than a season? Maybe not, but I’ll be glued to the TV until they cancel it, I bet.
Go On (NBC, Tuesdays) – Technically, Matthew Perry’s sportscaster on this show isn’t a “do-gooder”, but there will certainly be brooding, albeit the funny variety, as he attempts to cope with the death of his wife in a group-therapy setup that would rival The Bob Newhart Show for zaniness. (Disclaimer: This is the one new show I’ve actually seen, and I kind of liked it.)
Quirky Family Comedy!
Ben and Kate (Fox, Tuesdays) – A “lovable, goofy” guy moves in with his sister to help her raise her daughter. Oh, family-friendly hijinks are sure to ensue. Though they will likely ensue without the benefit of Russell seeing them.
Guys With Kids (NBC, Wednesdays) – Because it’s funny! You see, men are unknowledgeable about child care, so it will be hilarious to watch them try, won’t it? You bet it will! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!
The New Normal (NBC, Tuesdays) – That guy who was funny in the National Treasure movies gets to be half of a gay couple surrogating a child. Apparently the show has been boycotted because of the gay themes. I think it should be boycotted because it sounds annoying.
Partners (CBS, Mondays) – This take on gay relations in the year 2012 has a couple of guy best friends, one of whom is straight, the other gay. Hopefully the guys who made Will & Grace have some new jokes up their sleeves.
Women, Women and More Women!
Made in Jersey (CBS, Fridays) – A Jersey girl (Jersey could have been one of the themes!) tries to make her way in a tony Manhattan law firm. Raise your hand if you think she’ll confound their expectations before the first 44-minute-long episode is over. (Hint: You should have raised your hand.)
Malibu Country (ABC, Fridays) – Reba McEntire plays a divorcee from Nashville who moves in with her mother in Malibu. I’m amazed I stayed awake long enough to type out that sentence.
The Mindy Project (Fox, Tuesdays) – I know I’m supposed to be supremely jazzed about this new sitcom starring Mindy Kaling, but I’m just not. She was mildly amusing as a minor player on The Office. I don’t know if she can carry a show.
Nashville (ABC, Wednesdays) – Connie Britton is a country singer on the way down from stardom. Hayden Panettiere is the rising star who is eclipsing her. Soapy goings on, and the inevitable country music numbers mean I will be wholeheartedly ignoring this one.
Otherwordly Goings On (since Once Upon a Time and Grimm worked so well last year)
666 Park Avenue (ABC, Sundays) – This story of a (haunted?) apartment complex in NYC could be a huge snore, but I will give anything with Terry O’Quinn a shot. Because of the awesomeness.
Beauty and the Beast (CW, Thursdays) – Sadly, this one doesn’t have Linda Hamilton or Ron Perlman in it. But maybe it’ll have a similar vibe? Hopefully it won’t be too, you know, CW.
Revolution (NBC, Mondays) – J.J. Abrams has to try to reinvent television every year. I doubt he’s going to pull it off this time, but the premise is interesting: something causes all electricity to just stop working. No word on whether S.M. Stirling is getting any royalty checks.
The Neighbors (ABC, Wednesdays) – So, a family in Jersey moves into a subdivision… filled with aliens. Now, I’d say this show is destined for the scrap heap, except, it’s time for this decade’s aliens-among-us show. Every decade gets one, and it’s always a success. (My Favorite Martian, Mork and Mindy, ALF, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Roswell)
Stars Earn Stripes (NBC, Mondays) – A reality show where C-list celebrities engage in faux war games. The winner’s military charity gets a bunch of money. I think the otherworldliness here is the fact that I would have be in another world to care in the slightest about this show.