I know that not everyone takes their TV viewing as seriously as I do. I do my homework on this stuff. I read up on every new show to determine what it's about, who's in it, who writes it, who produces it, what certain critics I tend to agree with thought about it, and what all of those things mean for my interest in it. Once I know what shows look interesting, I lay out the night-by-night schedule and painstakingly make my own spreadsheet of not only which shows I'll keep watching from last year and which new ones I'll add, but also which of my 2 DVRs I'll program to record each show based on when I will likely watch them. Setting my new fall schedule is serious business and sometimes I still miss things I end up really liking. But this is what I'm starting with this year:
Once Upon A Time - (New) 8:00pm/7:00pm Central, ABC
I'm not even sure I can accurately tell you what this is about. There's a thing with a woman who goes into fairytales and maybe is a character in one herself but doesn't know it. Yeah, it sounds ridiculous. And the early buzz I heard was all kind of "eh, it's dumb." But then they brought in some good consulting producers - Jane Espenson, Liz Tigelar and Damon Lindelof - and the reworked some stuff and then critics were like "ok, I mean, it's not terrible. There might be something here." I like Jennifer Morrison (despite the fact that I have strongly disliked two of her most identifiable characters) and Ginnifer Goodwin and now David Anders is filming episodes. He may have been a son of a bitch on Vampire Diaries, but he earned a lifetime of goodwill as Sark on Alias. If he whips out a British accent on this show, I will watch to the bitter end.
The Good Wife - (Returning) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CBS
The marketing campaign would like me to know that their spicing things up this year. They're working the sexy angle extra hard and I have no complaints about that. Particularly if the sexy angle will involve Alicia and Will having a lot of sex. I'd also like to see Cary get some action this year, as long as we're cranking up the steam. Other things I'm looking forward to: Diane and Will scenes which just make me happy; Kalinda and Alicia mending fences; Cary becoming Kalinda's substitute BFF; Eli.
Homeland - (New) Showtime
Claire Danes working Homeland Security is a thing I did not know I wanted to see. But as it turns out, Claire Danes doing almost anything is something I want to see because the more times I watch My So-Called Life (I'm well into double digits now), the more I wish she were back on my TV every week. I'm glad for the trend that's bringing actors and actresses to the small screen over the big these days. I absolutely believe television is where most of the quality roles and stories are so it just makes good sense for quality actors to be there.
Pan Am - (New) 10:00pm/9:00pm Central, ABC
The part of me that expected to like Mad Men, really wants to love this show. I love the aesthetic and the nostalgic quality of a show set in the '60s. But while Mad Men lost me by focusing a whole lot on a dude sitting in his office smoking and thinking, Pan Am should keep the pace of things moving a bit faster just by virtue of being about the world's busiest and most glamorous airline (at the time). Bolstered by a likable cast that includes Christina Ricci, Kellie Garner, and Mike Vogel, and a Tommy Schlamme directed pilot, and I'm hopeful.
How I Met Your Mother - (Returning) 8:00pm/7:00pm Centeral, CBS
I don't care if I ever meet the mother and I'm now actively hoping that Ted gets hit by a cab, but there could be a return to the fun chemistry of the early Barney/Robin romance and Marshall and Lily will almost certainly be funny and adorable through some of it so I'll keep watching. Unless Jennifer Morrison's show is cancelled and they try to bring Zooey back in which case I'm out.
2 Broke Girls - (New) 8:30pm/7:30pm Central, CBS
Kat Dennings is great but there's no way this would have made my schedule had it not gotten fairly good reviews from so many critics. A few season's ago I'd gotten away from nearly all half hour comedies but they've been creeping back onto my schedule recently. I'm not terribly confident they'll all have staying power but Monday's aren't too crowded so this one may not have to make too big an impression to get a pass.
Hart of Dixie - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CW
The adorable Rachel Bilson reteams with her OC showrunner Josh Schwartz and already I'm in. Add Scott Porter and Cress Williams to bring that touch of Friday Night Lights, and Jaime King who I just think is adorable, and there's really no way this show wasn't going to get an automatic season pass at my house. Whether or not I'll buy Bilson as a doctor is debatable but I never bought Chad Michael Murray as a novelist and I kept watching One Tree Hill so I don't think a silly thing like believability will deter me here either.
Hawaii Five-0 - (Returning) 10:00pm/9:00pm Central, CBS
I like bromances and the one between Danno (Scott Caan) and McGarrett (Alex O'Laughlin) is particularly fun. They argue like my grandparents, you guys. I'd watch an entire show of the two of them driving around arguing in the car. Also, Danno has the shortest fuse and the biggest temper for a guy I could fit in my pocket. I love it.
The Playboy Club - (New) 10:00pm/9:00pm Central, NBC
Like Pan Am, this one has the period setting going for it. It's set in the flagship Playboy club in Chicago in the '60s and will focus mainly on the bunnies, the club manager and one particular key holder whose day job appears to be as a cleaner for the mob. Jeff Hephner was originally supposed to play the key holder but apparently a crossroads demon got involved and now Eddie Cibrean is the key holding enforcer and with that casting change, my interest waned. I'll still tune in for the pilot, but now I'm pretty sure that'll be as far as it goes.
New Girl - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, Fox
You already know I enjoyed this pilot a lot. There's much to recommend it including a pleasant cast, an adorable sense of humor and a premise that doesn't button-hole them into recycling the same jokes for years. I hope it does well because I'd like to see this show make it.
Ringer - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CW
Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to TV where she has always belonged! My excitement and anticipation for this show were insane from the moment it was picked up last spring. But over the past few weeks, as it's premiere has approached and more critics have seen it, I'm starting to worry that I will not enjoy this show. The consensus seems to be that it's a bit of a try-hard which is not something I usually respond to. Also, they are continually casting new roles on the show and so far they seem to all be men. How many love interests does one show need? I'm getting the distinct impression that it's bloated and all over the place and I'm less and less hopeful that SMG has the ability to pull it all together with her own tiny little hands. Even if those hands did used to save the world. A lot.
Up All Night - (New) 8:00pm/7:00pm Central, NBC
This wasn't on my original list but Mike asked me to watch it since he plans to and I'm a good friend (also he let's me make him watch stuff so I owed him). I like Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolf a lot so I want it to be good. I have heard next to nothing about it though so I don't know what to expect. Perhaps I'm in for a pleasant surprise. If not, it's only 30 minutes a week, I can spare that to make my friend happy.
Free Agents - (New) 8:30pm/7:30pm Central, NBC
On the other hand, I've heard quite a lot about this show and none of it is good. If you're wondering why I'd watch it anyway, I can answer that in three words: Anthony Steward Head. I can't let Rupert Giles return to television without at least saying I tried to watch. As further incentive, Katherine Hahn is the female lead. Yes, this show is like the many things that Judy Greer keeps being cast in which are well beneath her talents, but until someone gives them something befitting their brilliance, I've got to do my part to help them earn paychecks.
Suburgatory - (New) 8:30pm/7:30pm Central, ABC
Many critics have touted this as their favorite comedy of the new season and I'm intrigued. When I first read that Jeremy Sisto was playing the father of a teenage girl in this comedy, I was offended on many, many levels. Remember when he was rolling with the homies in Clueless? Or dating Joey Potter? Who said he was old enough to have a teenage daughter? He is TWO YEARS older than I am. I hate everyone. Ahem. But good reviews are good reviews and Jeremy Sisto, while not as old as they'd like us to believe, is still Jeremy Sisto so I'm in.
Modern Family - (Returning) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, ABC
If you need me to tell you why I'm watching this, I guess you haven't been paying attention the past two years. It's a sweet, funny, silly, smart show that the whole family can watch and appreciate. The entire cast is outstanding and I like the way they mix things up by pairing up all different combinations of people for stories each week - as it would be in a real family.
American Horror Story - (New) F/X
Did you notice that Glee isn't on my schedule this year? That's because Ryan Murphy has a way of turning a fun show into something TERRIBLE with little or no effort at all. Yet, I am going to set myself up for another round of disappointment because Connie Britton is awesome. Still, I fully expect to hate this show - if not immediately, then eventually.
Revenge - (New) 10:00pm/9:00pm Central, ABC
I love this show. I told you I loved it last week and I wasn't kidding. The cast is amazing, the story is soapy and intriguing. Kyle Valenti and Amy Abbott are totally going to hook up (power of positive thinking!) and the only thing better than two WB legacies hooking up is...no, there's nothing better than that. This show is the exact right mix of everything I like about TV. Now everyone needs to watch it so that it isn't cancelled. Seriously.
The Big Bang Theory - (Returning) 8:00pm/7:00pm Central, CBS
When the show added Bernadette and Amy last season, I was initially skeptical. But both Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik have been great and fit in beautifully. The same can not be said for the Priya character so I can only hope Leonard gives her her walking papers sooner than later. It's still a fun show and I will never stop loving Sheldon.
Parks and Recreation - (Returning) 8:30pm/7:30pm Central, NBC
I don't know if I've said much about this show but it's delightfully funny. There is endless comedy in reaction shots. Everything in the show seems small but it produces huge laughs. If you haven't seen the show before, you need to seek out the season 2 episode "Hunting Trip" immediately. If Leslie's interview with the park ranger doesn't make you laugh, you might not understand comedy.
The Vampire Diaries - (Returning) 8:00pm/7:00pm Central, CW
Do I really have to tell you why I'll be watching The Vampire Diaries? Are my EXHAUSTIVELY detailed recaps not hint enough that I like this show kind of a lot? You want specifics, fine, here goes: amazing acting, the most intricately woven and meticulously complex plots I can recall ever seeing on television, and the most physically attractive cast anyone ever assembled. If none of that seems like something you'd like to see, we really have nothing left to talk about.
Person of Interest - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CBS
I've taken most of the procedurals off of my schedule because I've got so many serialized shows that I have no time left to worry about the ones I could catch up on during the next holiday weekend marathon on the USA network. But this show seems like something a little more interesting. A former hit man and a scientist trying to prevent crimes before they happen adds just the tiniest touch of Alias and Fringe to the crime procedural genre and I might just be interested in that.
Secret Circle - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CW
I watched the pilot last night (thank you, iTunes!) and I see promise in the show. I'm not sure I love it yet but Brit Robertson and Thomas Dekker have good chemistry and Gale Harold is blowing my MIND with his creepiness. I'm not entirely sure I see how this story goes long-term but I wouldn't have guessed all the places they'd take The Vampire Diaries either and that's worked out very well so I'm giving this a little runway to get off the ground.
Nikita - (Returning) 8:00pm/7:00pm Central, CW
My first impression of this show was less than stellar but I gave it a second chance to win me over last spring and ended up really enjoying it. They seem poised to change things up quite a bit this year with new allies and new enemies. And I'm sure they'll still blow things up and kick people's assess and stuff just for good measure so that should be fun.
Grimm - (New) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, NBC
I have heard some truly bad things about this pilot. I believe one critic said (via Twitter) that it looked like a particularly low-budget Canadian show from the '80s and that certainly paints a grimm picture. (See what I did there?) Still, I have a sense of morbid curiosity for it because David Greenwalt is executive producing and Silas Weir Mitchell is in it and I kinda dig Silas Weir Mitchell. He can really bring "weird" to life.
Fringe - (Returning) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, Fox
Here's where I have to admit that I haven't watched the last 6 episodes of last season yet. I know, I now. But I do really like the show and I have every intention of catching up and keeping it on my schedule. I mean, I heard that they killed Peter which is UNACCEPTABLE, but Josh Jackson remains on the show so I guess I can get over it. Dammit, I really need to get up to speed on this show immediately. Cough, cough...maybe I should go home sick right now. Hmmm...
Supernatural - (Returning) 9:00pm/8:00pm Central, CW
My patience with the brothers Winchester has been wearing ever thinner over the past few seasons because I miss when they adhered to established personalities. Also, I miss when Dean used to be funny. Now they've gone and made Castiel a God who's drunk with power and I remain skeptical that this development will somehow bring back the fun show I used to so enjoy. Still, I keep watching because even a downer Dean and a robo Sammy are better than having no Winchesters to ogle at all. Being shallow is a bitch.