6 New Fall TV Shows That Actually Might Be Good
With a new fall TV line-up, comes a new hope for quality shows. Call me an optimist if you like. I did have hope that Obama and McCain would offer a higher level of discourse to our political landscape, and we can all see how that's working out. But here are five shows that could maybe, possibly have an off-chance of being good:
1. Primeval - BBC America, airing now, Saturdays 9 p.m. ET
Sci-fi is enjoying something of a renaissance in the U.K. This latest British import first aired on ITV in the U.K. last year, and debut a few weeks ago on BBC America. Its intro proclaims, "Anomalies are starting to appear—doorways in time to worlds we can hardly imagine." The anomolies are gateways to the past, and at least through the first few episodes, visitors from those worlds are actually quite easy to imagine—or even predict. First episode: a big toothy dinosaur. Then an aquatic toothy dinosaur. Then giant prehistoric bugs. Then a nasty little parasite. Then flying creatures. Episode six finally gets a little imaginative when timelines start getting squirrelly, and as I've got a soft spot for the sci-fi, that's enough to keep me sticking with it a few more episodes at least.
2. True Blood - HBO, Sept. 7, 9 p.m. ET
This adaptation of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries looks like a great way to entertain all those (OK, us) folks eagerly waiting for Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (debuting on Fox in January). Thanks to the Japanese invention of synthetic blood, vampires can finally come out of the crypt and settle in a Louisiana town. But what gets me excited is that the series is the creation of Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, American Beauty).
3. Fringe - Fox, Tuesday, Sept 9, 8 p.m. ET
OK, despite the fact that I've been privately rooting against Joshua Jackson's career solely so I can avoid comments when I hand someone my credit card, I'm excited about this show. Lost creator J.J. Abrams' fourth series looks a bit like a knock-off of the X-files, but with a $10 million dollar budget for the 2-hour premiere and Alex Graves (West Wing) in the director's chair, it should at least be fun.
4. Life on Mars - ABC, Thursday, Oct. 9, 10 p.m. ET
I watched most of the episodes from the original BBC version of this show last year on BBC America, and it was a fun traipse through Manchester in 1973, where a present-day cop somehow traveled to when he entered a coma. The pre-PC era makes for interesting explorations of racism, sexism, and corner-cutting on the force. Sam Tyler ("Am I mad, in a coma or back in time?") uses modern crime-solving techniques while trying to figure out how to get back home. Played by John Simm in the original, Irish actor Jason O'Mara will take over the role for ABC. Let's hope they don't botch a good thing.
5. Kath & Kim - NBC, Thursday, Oct. 9
If you've been watching the Olympics, you've already seen previews for the Scrubs replacement in NBC's Thursday night line-up. Another adaptation, this one from a very offbeat, funny sitcom in Australia. I saw a few episodes when the Sundance Channel aired them a couple of years ago, and judging by the previews it looks Americanized but funny. SNL's Molly Shannon and Selma Blair star as the title characters, and it looks like Blair is trying to portray a young Parker Posey character, not that there's anything wrong with that. It'll be in good company as The Office, My Name Is Earl and 30 Rock return.
6. Crusoe - NBC, Friday Oct. 17
NBC president Ben Silverman is putting a lot of weight on the shoulders of Philip Winchester, who'll be stranded on a deserted isle in this reimagining of the classic Daniel Dafoe novel. The idea for the series came from a brainstorming session where Silverman asked his staff to list the greatest stories ever told. They've got good source material to work with an epic film feel to the cinematography (it was filmed in England, South Africa and The Seychelles). If they can keep it from coming off as cheesy or bland, it could be a runaway hit.