by kellie abrahamson
Fire up your TiVo! With schools starting and temperatures slowly dropping, at least by Florida standards, summer is officially coming to an end. While not great news for kiddies and sun-worshippers, TV fans everywhere are rejoicing because the all important fall season is upon us and that means quality programming will soon hit the airwaves. The 2008-2009 television season is actually shaping up to be an interesting one so fire up your TiVo and read on for a look at what’s coming to your TV in the coming months.
ABC is, for the most part, sticking with last year’s schedule, but they do have a couple of new shows set to unveil. On September 23rd their new game show Opportunity Knocks comes to living rooms both literally and figuratively. Emmy-nominated host JD Roth and his mobile studio will go to a different home each week and quiz the family who lives there about their own lives. The more the family knows about each other, the closer they are to winning a semi-truck full of fabulous prizes. Also on the schedule is Life on Mars, a cop show with a sci-fi twist. In it, an up-and-coming NYPD cop (Jason O’Mara) finds himself transported to 1973 after being hit by a car in 2008. As our hero tries to find a way back to his own time, he’s forced to navigate the new-old world he’s been sucked into and finds New York circa ‘73 to be like a different planet. The series kicks off on October 9th.
Where ABC has just a couple pilots slated this season, CBS has quite a few new shows to share. New half hour comedies Worst Week and Gary Unmarried premiere on September 22nd and 24th respectively. In Worst Week an accident-prone man, nervous about telling his girlfriend’s parents they are getting married and having a baby, makes an endless series of missteps that would make Ben Stiller’s character in Meet the Parents cringe. Gary Unmarried stars Jay Mohr as a recently divorced dad looking to return to the dating world while dealing with his ex’s remarriage. Premiering on September 23rd is The Mentalist, a drama about an FBI agent (Simon Baker) who uses his uncanny powers of perception to track down various criminals and look for clues about the identity of a ruthless serial killer. Things lighten up considerably on October 3rd with the unveiling of The Ex-List, a romantic dramedy about a 30-something (Elizabeth Reaser) who finds herself on a quest for true love after a visit to an eerily accurate psychic. The catch: according to the medium, the man of her dreams is one in a long line of ex-boyfriends. Finally, CBS rounds out its new pilots with Eleventh Hour, a drama with an X-Files feel. In it, Rufus Sewell plays Dr. Jacob Hood, a biophysicist recruited by the FBI to investigate scientific crises and oddities. The show begins on October 9th.
The CW got rid of nearly all the shows they unveiled last year, leaving plenty of room for new series’. The fun begins on September 2nd with the hotly anticipated return of 90210. The soapy teen drama brings new characters to the most famous zip code in the world as well as some familiar faces (Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh, anyone?). On September 9th yet another group of rich white kids comes to the airwaves with the C-Dub’s series Privileged. In it, Joanna Garcia plays a recent college grad who gets a job tutoring a pair of spoiled rotten sisters who would rather party like Paris than get into Harvard. In an interesting new merger, Media Rights Capital, an independent film, television, and digital studio will take over CW’s Sundays and they’ve cooked up some exciting new shows, three of which premiere on September 21st. First up is In Harm’s Way, a one-hour reality series about real people with life-threatening jobs. Then comes Valentine, a dramedy about a family of gods living amongst humans and struggling to keep their true identities secret. Rounding out the shows premiering on the 21st is Easy Money, a series that centers on the life and times of a family of loan sharks. Finally, on October 22nd a real-life version of The Devil Wears Prada makes it to the airwaves. Stylista gives eleven aspiring fashion writers a chance to work at Elle- that is if they can survive working as assistants for Anne Slowey, the magazine’s difficult Fashion News Director.
Fox has three new shows to offer. On September 9th the network unveils its biggest pilot of the season: Fringe. The J.J. Abrams sci-fi drama is similar in concept to CBS’s Eleventh Hour (FBI agents teaming up with a scientist to solve seemingly unexplainable phenomena) but seems to have a lot more buzz. The show will star Joshua “Pacey” Jackson and newcomer Anna Torv. Do Not Disturb, a sitcom premiering on September 10th, shows another unexplainable phenomenon: Jerry O’Connell’s career. In this series he stars as the egotistical office manager of a chic hotel who must contend with celebrity guests and his team of wacky workers. Finally, on September 11th we’re introduced to an American version of the Japanese game show Hole in the Wall. Contestants must contort themselves into awkward positions in order to fit through a hole in a moving wall. Failure to do so means being swept into a pool of water below.
NBC takes a page from the CW’s book by remaking a classic American television series. Knight Rider is reinvented on September 24th with Cold Case’s Justin Bruening behind the wheel. On October 9th Molly Shannon and Selma Blair do a little reinventing themselves in their new comedy Kath & Kim. The series, based on an award-winning Australian program, chronicles the misadventures of a dysfunctional mother and daughter living in the Florida suburbs. The big names continue with My Own Worst Enemy, a new drama starring Christian Slater. In it, Slater plays a man with a unique problem: he has two lives and doesn’t realize it. When the wall between his two identities crumbles, each struggles for control over the body they inhabit. My Own Worst Enemy premieres on October 13th. Last but not least is Crusoe which arrives on October 17th. This 13-part series is an ambitious adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s classic novel.
The Alphabet network is bringing back some of the best shows on television. Boston Legal is first to return on September 22nd followed by the season premieres of Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy on September 25th. Both Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters come back on September 28th. With last year’s writer’s strike, many of 2007’s new series’ were given very little time to find an audience. Thankfully ABC is giving most of those shows a chance to do just that. Pushing Daises, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money all come back on October 1st while Samantha Who? and Eli Stone also return on October 6th and October 14th. In the reality TV realm Dancing with the Stars (9/22), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (9/28), Wife Swap (10/3), Supernanny (10/3) and America’s Funniest Home Videos (10/5) are all coming back.
CBS kicks off the 08-09 season with Survivor on September 18th. Comedy is back on the menu on September 22nd when The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men return (CSI: Miami, a show that’s funny for all the wrong reasons, also comes back on the 22nd). Both NCIS and Without a Trace unveil new seasons on September 23rd and The New Adventures of Old Christine, Criminal Minds and CSI: NY arrive yet again on September 24th. The hits keep coming on the 28th when The Amazing Race, Cold Case and The Unit return. Finally, Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS come back on October 3rd and the original CSI takes to the airwaves on October 9th.
Teens and fans of teen dramas will get the first taste of new TV courtesy of the CW on September 1st when both Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill return. Tyra Banks and her America’s Next Top Model crew will bring fierce looks and plenty of attitude to the tube on September 3rd. The boys of the C-Dub come back on September 18th with all new episodes of Smallville and Supernatural. Comedies Everybody Hates Chris and The Game round out the returning shows on October 3rd.
Fox is also launching the 08-09 season on September 1st with new episodes of Prison Break. Bones returns on September 3rd for its fourth season of procedural goodness. Jeff Foxworthy and his strangely popular game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? come back on September 5th. And speaking of strangely popular, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles starts its new season on the 8th. The sitcom ‘Til Death returns on September 10th, Chef Gordon Ramsey cooks up trouble on Kitchen Nightmares on the 11th, and Don’t Forget the Lyrics! sings its way to living rooms on the 12th. On a brighter note, everyone’s favorite drug addicted doctor House solves medical mysteries once again on September 16th. Last but not least, Fox brings the funny on September 28th with new episodes of The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and American Dad.
The Peacock’s hit reality show The Biggest Loser returns on September 16th. On the 22nd Heroes comes back for another highly anticipated season. Law & Order is restored on September 23rd when SVU comes back and the ladies of Lipstick Jungle rock the small screen on September 24th. “Comedy night done right” returns on September 25th with My Name Is Earl and The Office (30 Rock, another Thursday night sitcom, premieres its 3rd season on October 30th). ER comes back on the 25th as well. Finally, last season’s charmer Chuck and the quirky cop drama Life return on September 29th and October 3rd.
It’s clear the networks are giving us plenty to choose from this season. Be sure to check out next month’s issue of EU for an in-depth look at the new shows gracing TVLand this fall and a glimpse at the mid-season shows that may be hitting the airwaves.
fall 08 television
by kellie abrahamson