Now that I've run down the returning TV shows I'm looking forward to, it's time to take a look at the season's most intriguing new series.
Suburgatory (comedy) - Wednesdays 8:30pm, premieres 9/28: This one hasn't exactly gotten a lot of buzz or received any pre-season promotion, but it caught my eye mainly because it stars Jeremy Sisto and Cheryl Hines, both of whom were featured in the great movie, Waitress. I thought Sisto's performance in that film warranted award consideration, but it went shamefully overlooked. He was also superb in the short-lived TV series, Kidnapped. This new production revolves around a father (Sisto) and his teenage daughter who move from the city to the suburbs. I assume hilarity is supposed to ensue. Doesn't sound like an Earth-shattering premise, but I'm curious enough because of the talent involved. I have a feeling this one won't be around long unless it's REALLY good.
Up All Night (comedy) - Wednesdays 8:00pm, premieres 9/14: This show, starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as a married couple who become first time parents around age 40, didn't initially strike me as one in which I'd be interested. The teaser promos, however, looked pretty funny, so I think I'm going to give this one a swing. With Applegate, Arnett, and SNL alum, Maya Rudolph on board (as well as SNL creator, Lorne Michaels exec producing), there's enough star power here that this one might actually stand a chance of being a breakout hit (hope I don't put my classic jinx on it). But for good measure, it also made Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 5 best new shows.
Prime Suspect (drama) - Thursdays 10:00pm, premieres 9/22: I typically don't like these detective procedurals. Never watched any of the Law & Orders. Never watched any of the CSI's. Without a Trace, Cold Case...the list goes on. Just not really my type of show. I didn't watch the original British version of Suspect, starring Helen Mirren. And I don't dislike, but don't have any specific love for the current incarnation's lead actress, Maria Bello. So why am I going to watch this one. Dunno. Maybe I just like the idea of latching onto a show for once that doesn't get canceled after one season.
Terra Nova (drama) - Mondays 8:00pm, premieres 9/26: This is, without a doubt, the most widely anticipated new series of the '11-'12 season. They've broken the bank on budget. They couldn't get the special effects done in time to debut in May like they had intended. And, although the program carries cred by having Steven Spielberg's and 24 exec producer Jon Cassar's names attached (and both closely involved), there are virtually no name stars to back that up. Stephen Lang, who did a great job as a villain in Avatar, will be the most familiar face here, and that's not saying much. So, the spotlight is definitely on this sci-fi adventure series, which starts out in a bleak future, and follows a Chicago family, along with others, who are selected to travel back in time to the prehistoric era to have a chance to start life fresh. Should be an interesting ride. Could this be the new Lost?
A Gifted Man - Fridays 8:00pm, premieres 9/23: Starting out your TV run on Fridays never bodes well. Very few series survive here, and it's not exactly seen as a big vote of confidence from the network. But, this is CBS, and last year's freshman entry, Blue Bloods, did OK on Fridays, so maybe they can pull it off again. This one stars Patrick Wilson as a neurosurgeon who suddenly starts receiving visits from his dead ex-wife. It's supposed to be some kind of emotional and spiritual journey story, which is not really the type I usually flock to. But, once again, it's the lead actor bringing me to the table here. After a masterful performance as a creepy pedophile-type in the deeply disturbing but riveting film, Hard Candy, Wilson has strong acting bona fides in my book. He also gave great performances in the vastly underrated Passengers, the serviceable Lakeview Terrace, and the boring (in my opinion) Insidious. So I'm definitely curious to see how that film resume translates to the small screen.
Person of Interest - Thursdays 9:00pm, premieres 9/22: Another entry on EW's Top 5 best new shows list, this one stars Ben Linus...er...I mean Michael Emerson, and Jesus Christ...er...I mean Jim Caviezel, and was created by J.J. Abrams, who continues to rack up the hits (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Cloverfield, Star Trek). Academy Award nominee, Taraji P. Henson rounds out the cast, so there is massive star power here. The premise - Caviezel is a supposed-to-be-dead CIA operative who is recruited by a billionaire (Emerson), who developed a technology that allows him to predict when crimes are going to happen. He enlists Caviezel's character to stop those crimes from taking place. It does borrow a page from the Tom Cruise film, Minority Report, but hopefully Person of Interest will sport the same originality as previous Abrams projects.
2 Broke Girls - Mondays 9:30pm, premieres 9/19: Two words...Kat Dennings.
So that's it. My take on the upcoming television season. All I can say is, thank God for DVR.