As leaves start falling and real jobs with full hours on Friday begin to slowly crash down upon us, there is a small upside. Those favorite shows that you're generally too tired too watch, and too pissed off with commercials to sit through, so you TiVo them or download them later or just realize you don't care enough, are returning. Whether or not you watch them, it gives the sense of time moving forward; premieres means summer is over, sweeps mean Christmas time is coming on, mid-season finales mean you're half-way back to summer, and a second batch of sweeps means some crazy guest star crap will happen and then boom, the summer movie deluge of 2010 begins.
Here are a couple upcoming all-new shows that look good. There aren't many, since executives seem to think there's still a desire for four different new medical dramas, but there are a few.
Glee: By far the most hyped, with the pilot having been leaked/released months and months ago, then recut into three different "Director's" versions, and aired three weeks in a row. You'd think it would be overkill, but its actually been some pretty good marketing. The music numbers are emotional and exciting--'Rehab' was amazing, clips that show 'Gold Digger' and 'Somebody to Love' are chilling--and worth watching for. Even the background music is fantastic (that bum-bum-bum noir bridge is hauntingly lovely.) But surprisingly the acting is stellar too. The main guy is sweet, earnest, endearing, the kids are all believable despite being equal opportunity stereotypes, and Jane Lynch is...well, Jane Lynch. I'd watch anything with her in it...and I have. Looking forward to seeing if this show can keep up its steam, or if its just an extended TV movie kind of thing.
Community: Looks like it could have a few good laughs, but I'm getting rather tired of the Office-like situational awkward comedies. Parks & Recreation seems like enough...if Community does well, they should just pick one and look for something more original. Joel McHale was pretty funny on The Soup though, and supposedly Danny Glover is in it. Bonus.
Eastwick: I'm at least going to watch the pilot of this. I know the story, I know the ending, I know what happens in the sequels, and I don't like the story, ending, or sequels. But the cast is a bit alluring---I have a soft spot for Rebecca Romijn (probably cause she was a cool Mystique), and while Lindsay Price has something irritating about her, the third woman was in Veronica Mars' second season, and that's enough for me. Also it's about hot women with magic powers and I'm gay, so we're naturally gonna give each other a chance. (Practical Magic is still one of my favorites.)
Bored to Death: Haven't seen a trailer for this, but c'mon. Jonathan Ames as writer? The guys a genius. Jason Schwartzman as the lead? The guy's a genius...well, he's generally pitch perfect and sure knows how to pick a script. Schwartzman plays a fictional (slightly) version of Jonathan Ames (same name), but all of Ames' best work is entirely about himself, with a huge load of humor. (Wake Up, Sir!) Also Zach Galifinakis is in it, and he can be pretty good (especially in the Fiona Apple music video Not About Love.) If you ever meet Zach, be sure to mention his time on Tru Calling with Ms. Dushku. I'm pretty sure he's most proud of that work.
I'm pretty sure those are the only ones I'm at all interested in, except for whatever Lauren Graham vehicle they've got in the works, but that's probably a midseason deal. Still, other than Glee, it seems like yet another tepid uninspiring lineup of new shows. Granted I am a total amateur, but it doesn't seem all that hard to come up with some completely new engrossing ideas. Maybe they should start finding network executives from completely different places...like actual writers, or just someone who has some balls not to do reality, sitcom, medical drama and cop procedural.
As for returning shows there's Fringe (which redeemed a slow season with a cool finale), Dollhouse (which I hate but still have to watch cause it's Whedon and Jamie Bamber will be in the premiere), House (which also had an interesting finale--nuthouse--and a cool promo-see below), HIMYM (which is always good for a laugh), Castle (which is awesome cause Nathan Fillion is uber-Awesome), The Office (mostly just for Pam and Jim's wedding), Dexter (cause I kinda like freaking myself out, and Julie Benz was on Buffy), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (cause it makes me snort), The Simpsons (cause it's the Simpsons) and maybe Family Guy (if the Rush Limbaugh episode is this year.)
Other possibilities include Heroes (if they get completely new, and good, writers, and the rumor of Claire's lesbian kiss gimmick is a fake), Lie to Me (if Riley from Buffy joins the cast), and 30 Rock (if they stop with the shameless guest stars and get back to writing something funny.) Also might tune into Gossip Girl, if it's true that Chuck Bass makes out with a dude.
Yikes. Seems like it's about time to get a TiVo. Or maybe just more discerning taste.