The Fall TV Schedule
September 5, 2009

It’s Labor Day weekend, which means summer is officially drawing to a close. And that means the new fall network TV season is right around the corner.

It seems like an outdated concept these days, waiting to get new TV. Some of my favorite new shows run on cable networks in the summer, and the most exciting, talked-about shows are often on subscription channels. But I still have a fondness for the idea, so here’s what I’m planning to watch, starting this month:


CBS comedies all the way! How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory bookend the other shows: Two and a Half Men (aging out as the kid does) and the new Accidentally on Purpose. Shame that it looks both offensive — a “thirtysomething” woman is considered old? young guys do nothing but smoke pot? — and badly done.



On ABC, I’m looking forward to the return of Castle, because Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have great chemistry. I’m a sucker for romantic mystery shows. I used to watch Dancing With the Stars, but I’m so uninterested in the cast this season that I’m not sure I’ll bother.

Gossip Girl is the only thing I watch on The CW, but I’m not sure that can keep up its soapy seduction week after week. Plus, I’m past the age limit. But it’s still attractive popcorn TV.

On NBC, does anyone still watch Heroes? And I’m not at all interested in The Jay Leno Show. I didn’t watch him late night, so I don’t see a need to watch him now, with his lowest common denominator humor. But I do find it a little unpleasant seeing everyone rooting for him to fail. The networks are in trouble, with business models based on delivering the attention of mass audiences no longer keeping up with technology, so they need to try something different. Maybe this isn’t different enough, but at least it’s something. Sometimes the most interesting work comes from desperation.

The week starts strong, but it’s all downhill from there, with fewer choices to come.


The Good Wife (CBS) looks like it risks being turgid, but with Josh Charles and Christine Baranski in the cast, I have to give it a try. And it’s such a nothing night otherwise, with reality programming and the return of Melrose Place. Really? You can’t come up with sexy singles from this time period, you have to reach back a decade for inspiration?


Glee! Just watched the pilot rerun, and while it still seems just a little off in places, Ryan Murphy has a twisted take on teendom I appreciate. (See also: Popular.) Plus, the music is awesome, diverse and surprising.

ABC’s Cougar Town makes my skin crawl. But Josh Hopkins (Swingtown) is on it, as are Christa Miller and Busy Philipps, and I believe in following actors. Yet good cast isn’t enough to overcome bad material. And this seems pretty cringe-worthy, just based on title.




FlashForward has an intriguing premise and a great cast, but do I have faith that they will provide reasonable answers to their mystery soon enough to be satisfying? Reports that the pilot is “grim” are not encouraging. And it’s up against Bones, still a favorite.

Community, on the other hand, there’s no question about. This is the only new show I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to, because it’s got a funny premise — loser lawyer goes to community college — and an amusing group of characters in his other students.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Looks like movie nights! Unless I decide to give Friday’s Dollhouse yet more chances to pull itself together.


Hmm, my TV watching will be down this year, which is fine by me — gives me more chance to catch up on the DVDs I’ve been accumulating. There seems to be a distinct lack of creativity in most nightly lineups, with more generic family sitcoms, hospital shows, and based on/inspired by spinoffs and remakes. Times are tough — networks, now is your opportunity to do something different, instead of just settling for the same-old! But that’s scary, and no one wants to lose their jobs taking too many risks.

What are you interested in watching?

12 Responses  
James Schee writes:  

Monday nights are such torture for me as there are SO many shows on that one night. I mean really can they not space some of these out over a rather lackluster rest of the week?

I dislike that they moved Big Bang Theory to such a later time, it made such a great lead in to How I Met Your Mother. With it being about really young geeky people trying to find their place. Then on HIMYM it was a little older set doing the same thing, but it seemed like a good progression.

When Chuck starts back up about midseason I’ll have to choose what to watch, what to Tivo and what to catch a week later online between on the 7 PM.(8 EST)

Since HIMYM Chuck and House all air at the same time. I still like House, but wish they’d put the focus back on medical mystery of the week and less on what makes characters tick. I was fine with House just being a mean SOB who was such a genius at his job that he had to keep it. I don’t need exploration into why he is that way, since if they ever fixed him it’d ruin the show.

Dollhouse I’m hopeful for, especially with Summer Glau joining the cast, hopefully she can take some of the load off of Eliza who seemed over matched at times as full time lead. Community, I don’t know the commercials looked lame, seems like an early fav. for first canceled series to me.

Add in you liking it, and its doomed!!! lol joking!:)

Kelson writes:  

Definitely looking forward to more Castle. Curious about Glee. The show I’m most interested in, though, is Flash Forward. I know they’re going in a different direction than the book (which I really liked), but based on their panel at Comic-Con, where they showed the first 20 minutes of the pilot, it looks really good. And it sounds like they do plan on giving people answers over the course of the season.

I hadn’t really thought of what we saw at the con as “grim,” though it does depict the major disaster that sets the whole concept in motion.

Johanna writes:  

Thanks for sharing more info about FlashForward, Kelson. Your link is a good writeup, so I encourage anyone interested to check that out.

James, I hadn’t thought of Big Bang and HIMYM that way, but you’re right, that previous schedule had some flow to it. I quit watching House a while back because it was the same show every week, and I got tired of watching so many patients almost die.

I think adding Summer Glau to Dollhouse is a bad idea, because it makes it even more an insular Whedon world, constantly using the same actors. It’ll please the hardcore fans, but it does nothing to reach out to more new viewers.

Chris G. writes:  

After seeing the DVD-set-only episode of “Dollhouse” I’m curious about the second season in a way that I wasn’t before. I still don’t think the show can really survive the fact that it’s only interesting when its star is not on screen, but I’m curious to see what happens next.

Johanna writes:  

I’m very curious to see if/how reaction to season 2 differs depending on whether the viewer has seen the DVD-only episode. I haven’t.

caleb writes:  

But…but…Tom DeLay’s on Dancing this season!

This season’s cast doesn’t strike me–I’m still waiting for a comics celebrity like Stan Lee or Neil Gaiman or Rob Liefeld–but I usually get addicted to it whether I hate the cast or not.

Do you know when does Castle’s new season start, by the way?

Alan Coil writes:  

I don’t watch much Nitwork Television. (Misspelling on purpose, btw.) The only show you mentioned that I was at all interested in is Castle. I’ll watch Fillion in anything. As I see in the comments that Summer Glau is joining Dollhouse, perhaps I’ll watch that a few times.

Johanna writes:  

Caleb, Castle starts on September 21.

James Schee writes:  

I don’t know that adding Summer makes it more insular to non-Whedon fans anyway. I think most non-Whedon fans probably know her more for Terminator (which ran two seasons) than for Firefly.

So I’m betting they are hoping fans of her from Terminator go “Oh cool, she’s moving to another sci-fi show, on the same channel and even day. That’s handy.”

Yeah CBS had such a nice progression in their Monday lineup. BBT was about young people just entering adulthood. Then HIMYM was about the next step, trying to find what you want to do and who you want to be with for your life. Even 2 1/2 Men could have fit in with adults too old for some things, not old enough for other things trying to settle themselves.

Hsifeng writes:  

Johanna Says:

“…It seems like an outdated concept these days, waiting to get new TV…”

? I thought the outdated concept was less “waiting to get new TV” than “waiting for likely audiences to return from wherever they spent summer vacation to wherever they watch most of their TV” (as if all the advertisers only want to reach viewers who can afford taking weeks off from work or sending their children to camp or whatever).

James Schee Says:

“Monday nights are such torture for me as there are SO many shows on that one night. I mean really can they not space some of these out over a rather lackluster rest of the week?…”

It’s not just TV neither! Ever had too many appointments/classes/extracurriculars/mandatory overtime/office hours/shifts/team meetings/tutorials/etc. all pile up on the same day?

Thom writes:  

I am with you for Community. I like Joel McHale and the early buzz has been pretty positive.

Which means it will be cancelled after one season.

Johanna writes:  

My, someone’s jaded! (Not without reason.)


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