It’s time to take another look at a week ahead of Appointment Viewing, your guide to the shows that will be fighting for space on your DVR. There are plenty of new shows debuting this week including Happy Endings, Desperate Housewives, Pan Am and Terra Nova.
The new fall season finally comes to Friday, bringing another line-up that will leave you scratching your head wondering how the night got a reputation for being a TV wasteland. That includes a new season of Supernatural on The CW.
Plenty of shows offer a cliffhanger at the end of the season, but few shows can offer one that delivers more than a suggestion of change, or a shock that gets quickly undone when the show returns. Supernatural has bravely taken itself a step forward every year. Not every season has been great (I never expected to be underwhelmed by the Apocalypse) but Supernatural hasn’t been afraid of creating a new status quo.
Last season, we saw a lot less of Castiel as he fought the war in heaven. In the season finale, that war ended with him victorious and taking the role of God. That wasn’t a development that looked good for Sam and Dean, especially since they weren’t working to help Castiel ascend into power.
Friday also brings the second-season premiere of Nikita, which also saw some big changes in the last finale. Michael is now on the run with Nikita, Amanda is now in charge of The Division, and Alex no longer trusts anyone. As the new season picks up, Nikita and the Division are still seeking the black boxes, a battle that gives Alex some leverage over the Division.
Is it just me or does Michael and Nikita look like they’re roleplaying Steve Trevor and Diana Prince?
Since Nikita needs a little more beefcake to keep up with Supernatural, the drama has Dillon Casey (who you last saw as Captain Jack’s one-night stand) joining the show in a recurring role as a man sent to make sure Amanda doesn’t forget who is really in charge of the Division.
The CW doesn’t have all of Friday’s genre shows as Fox will start a new season of Fringe. As a frustrated Lost viewer, I skipped this show when it debuted, but according to our Fall TV Interest Meter, a good number of you are fans. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find the time to catch up, but what I’ve heard about where Fringe has ended certainly has me considering it.
CBS is also debuting its new line-up, and that includes the debut of A Gifted Man. The drama stars Patrick Wilson as a materialistic, work-obsessed doctor who starts getting visits from the ghost of his ex-wife, and follows her requests that she help out a the free clinic she used to run. The experience helps him rediscover his ideals as he’s reminded how being a doctor allows him to improve his patients’ lives.
Honestly, it all sounds pretty saccharine, but Brent says it avoids that problem and manages to be a solid drama. Between Wilson and recent Emmy winner Margo Martindale, it makes A Gifted Man sound like it’s worth sampling.
There’s one more series debuting Friday as the Hub offers its version of the singing contest with Majors & Minors. The reality series follows 12 kids who dream of music careers and who will get the chance to be mentored by successful recording artists, including Adam Lambert. It doesn’t sound like my kind of show, but it’s pretty groundbreaking to have an out gay man have a prominent role on a children’s network show.
Next Saturday, BBC America’s The Ministry of Laughs will take the week off, but first the channel will offer a new special, The Nerdist. Hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick, the special will include a roundtable discussion between Hardwick, Matt Smith and Craig Ferguson about nerdy pop culture obsessions, technology and of course, Doctor Who.
If you’re a fan of Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast, you’ll be happy to hear that his podcast collaborators Jonah Ray and Matt Mira will offer commentary while Hardwick’s comedy partner Mike Phirman (together they’re Hard ’n Phirm) will perform a song. It could be a great half-hour for Hardwick’s fans and a sampler platter for people who know him only from Web Soup or his Ministry of Laughs segments. Following The Nerdist is the second part of Funny as Hell.
BBC America also has a new Doctor Who on Saturday. It’s the last episode before the season finale which means we’ll probably see things inch closer to revealing how The Doctor ends up dying in the southwestern United States. However, first, The Doctor has to face The Cybermen again.
Syfy also brings its latest original movie Saturday. Morlocks follows a scientist who creates a device that allows people to travel into the future where society has been overtaken by the feral Morlocks … and things start to go really wrong when the Morlocks figure out how to use the time traveling device to travel back to the present. The film stars David Hewlett (who you might recognize from various Stargate shows or from the cult horror film Cube) as well as Robert Picardo.
Saturday also brings the season premiere of Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin breaking the record for the most appearances as SNL host, as well as a new episode of Supah Ninjas with George Takei.
Sunday is the beginning of the end on Wisteria Lane as the final season of Desperate Housewives begins. I have to admit, this dramedy wore out its welcome with me last season. It started out promisingly, with characters from the first season returning and Vanessa Williams adding some much-needed energy. Unfortunately, Paul Young’s plan for revenge became increasingly ridiculous and the writers never came up with a story worthy of Williams. The only character getting a worthwhile story was Gaby.
At the least, the season ended on a strong note, bringing Gaby’s various story arcs over the season full circle, leading to the cliffhanger where the ladies conspired to cover-up the death of Gaby’s stepfather. Moreover, as terrible as their relationship has been over the past several seasons, Lynette and Tom finally separated. This season is starting with a lot of potential, but with this show potential doesn’t always get used.
ABC is also debuting one of this fall’s more interesting dramas with Pan Am. Set in the 60s, when jet travel is becoming available to more people and the United States’ role in the world was rising, this drama follows four women who see the world thanks to their jobs as stewardesses at the iconic airline, each one having their own reasons for working for Pan Am. I’ve been pretty excited about this look at the era, I hope it lives up to the potential.
CBS will start its Sunday line up starting with a profile of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on 60 Minutes followed by the season premiere of The Amazing Race. This season will add a new challenge, “The Hazard” and include a team with two flight attendant/partners as well as a team made of Survivor winners Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca. Then comes the beginning of the third season of The Good Wife, probably one of the most interesting dramas on CBS, a show that gives us complicated, nuanced characters brought to life by subtle performances.
Fox has a new night of its animated comedies, starting with a new episode of The Simpsons that has Keifer Sutherland voicing the new security guard at Homer’s power plant, a man dealing with nightmares from his past as a CIA agent, Marge dreaming of competing on Top Chef (and meeting Tom Colicchio) as well as the results of last season’s Nedna cliffhanger. That’s followed by a crossover event between The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad that sees the characters from all three shows deal with their town facing a hurricane.
Sunday brings a new reality series to E! with Dirty Soap, a reality show that follows a bunch of soap actors. I like the idea, though I don’t have a lot of interest in the soap stars being followed. Then again, Dirty Soap’s cast includes JP Lavoisier and Farah Fath (One Life to Live’s unbearable Rex and Gigi), so if the show follows them as they deal with the cancellation of OLTL and its transition from TV to web. It could be very interesting.
There’s one last Sunday debut as a new season of Watch What Happens Live airs on Bravo. Patti Stanger is set to be Andy’s first guest of the season. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Finally, Lifetime has the season finale of Drop Dead Diva and a new Breaking Bad on AMC.
Monday finally sees one long-delayed series with Terra Nova. From producer Steven Spielberg, this sci-fi drama sees humanity fleeing an overpopulated earth into the past, focusing on one family that goes back into prehistoric times with a group of hopeful colonists. Terra Nova promises plenty of impressive effects, and the series was supposed to debut last season but had to be pushed back so that the effects could be finished.
I’ll probably check this one out, especially since my partner likes dinosaurs, but I don’t have high hopes. Spielberg also produced this summer’s Falling Skies, another show that mixed science-fiction with family drama and frequently struggled with consistency and logic.
The CW airs its new Monday line-up this week starting with the new season of Gossip Girl. I thought Gossip Girl ran out of ideas last season (save for finally putting Dan and Blair together) and got bored with this once-great drama, so I’ll just let Executive Producer Joshua Safran explain where the series is headed in the new season:
That’s followed by Heart of Dixie, a drama that stars Rachel Bilson as a New York doctor who accepts work in a small town in Alabama. Honestly, I don’t have high hopes for this drama but it also stars Scott Porter and I know Friday Night Lights fans still feel goodwill towards Porter.
CBS has new episodes How I Met Your Mother, the promising 2 Broke Girls (you’ll probably be happy to hear that Noah Mills is back as Robbie, hopefully he’ll be losing his shirt again) while a new Hawaii Five-O sees the task force gaining a new member — a profiler who is primarily there to make sure they stick to the rules set by the Lieutenant Governor.
2 Broke Girls’&n Noah Mills
Monday also brings new episodes of The Lying Game on ABC Family, The A-List: New York on Logo, The Playboy Club on NBC, Death Valley on MTV, Hair Battle Spectacular on Oxygen while Showtime has the season finale of The Big C.
Last week, when I asked you which of Monday’s new shows you wanted to see you overwhelmingly voted for Hawaii Five-O, which received 42% of your votes. The return of How I Met Your Mother came in second with 24% while The Playboy Club took the bronze with 16%.
MTV has the hour-long season finale of Awkward. Tuesday as the winter formal leaves Jenna waiting to see if Matty asks her to be his date and Sadie scheming against Jenna once again.
Awkward. was a show that took me by surprise. I didn’t hear about it until I saw an ad during Teen Wolf, but that ad convinced me to find out more. From there, I was quickly impressed by it. It mixes absurdity, silliness and earnest teen drama with the kind of sharpness that made Popular so compelling in its day.
Nope, not even a Cleopatra homage can grab my interest.
The CW has a new episode of 90210. I’m afraid there’s no mention of Teddy again but at least Naomi is throwing another party decorated with hired beefcake. There’s also a new Ringer that sees Bridget continue to investigate Siobhan’s killer.
Tuesday also brings a new episode of Glee that sees Idina Menzel return, an appearance that reminds Quinn about the baby she gave up. That also brings a new roommate on a new episode of The New Girl as well as a new Raising Hope with Stephen Root and Eddie Steeples.
Finally, the Food Network has the final round on Chopped Champions while Comedy Central has new episodes of Tosh.0 and Workaholics.
It was no surprise which show you picked as the one you anticipated most on Tuesday, you picked out Glee with an overwhelming 71% of your votes. The rest of the Fox lineup came next with Raising Hope getting 13% and The New Girl drawing 9%.
Wednesday sees ABC fill out its comedy night with the return of Happy Endings. At first glance, Happy Endings looked like it would be yet another relationship sitcom, especially since the ads focused on Alex leaving Dave at the altar but it turned out to be so much more. The cast of Happy Endings had an incredible chemistry and avoided the jokes about gender roles that dominated all the other relationship sitcoms.
More importantly, Happy Endings gave gay TV fans an amazing character with Adam Paly’s Max. A schlubby slacker, Max was a different kind of gay character. Max wasn’t defined by his fashion sense, love of pop divas or mastery of the local gossip. More importantly, he wasn’t defined by lacking those traits. Like many gay men, Max had a mix of qualities that fit; and defied stereotypes about gay men.
Another great part of Happy Endings was Dave, who enjoys taking a bath with fancy soaps, is emotionally vulnerable and has an inability to deal with a malfunctioning shower, traits that make him more effeminate than Max. It’s a great contrast, especially since it didn’t come with jokes about Dave being emasculated.
The season begins with Penny buying an “amah-zing” (so that’s how you spell it) condo, a move that leaves her hoping this will be “The Year of Penny” and holding what I’m guessing is a costume housewarming party.
Wednesday also brings the debut of ABC’s newest comedy Suburgatory, a show about a divorced father who moves from New York City to the suburbs after finding a pack of condoms in his room. However, he quickly finds out that the suburbs isn’t the wholesome place he presumed it would be. I’m not sold on the idea of another comedy about dysfunctional lives in the suburbs, but with Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines and Alan Tudyk, I’ll probably give it a chance.
If you missed him on the season premiere of Glee, Wednesday also brings a new episode of The Middle with Chord Overstreet as Brick’s new fourth-grade teacher, who ends up prompting a fight between Frankie and Mike. Wednesday also brings new episodes of Modern Family and Revenge.
MTV kicks of a new season of The Real World Wednesday. The long-running franchise returns to San Diego and includes bisexual roommate Frank. I don’t think I’m ready to watch another Real World cast work to create drama and hook-ups for camera time.
Finally, Wednesday also brings new episodes of Top Chef: Just Desserts, Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, Blue Mountain State and The X-Factor.
Your responses for Wednesday’s survey were also overwhelming as you picked Modern Family as Wednesday’s most exciting debut with 51% of your votes. The soapy Revenge came in second with 15% while The X-Factor got 12%.
Thursday is another busy night of television starting with a new episode of The Big Bang Theory followed by the debut of How to Be a Gentleman. The odd-couple comedy was created by and stars David Hornsby, who you may recognize as Cricket from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Hornsby plays Andrew, an etiquette columnist who finds he has to catch up with cruder, modern times and hires his former high school bully to teach him about being a little less genteel.
The reviews haven’t been very good for this comedy, but the cast also includes Dave Foley, Between him and Hornsby, I figure some of you will be interested in checking it out. With luck, it’ll become a show that lives up to its cast’s talent.
FX has a new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia that’s followed by the conclusion of the three-part story of Archer trying to leave his old spying life behind.
NBC also has a new comedy night with new episodes of Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office and Whitney. If you were hoping to see more of Whitney’s supporting cast, this week should deliver as Whitney realizes that she and Alex never had a first date and try to make up for it. She takes things to a ridiculous extreme again, insisting that they finish the night in separate apartments and spend time with their friends to discuss the date.
Thursday also brings new episodes of Charlie’s Angels, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, Prime Suspect, Project Runway as well as NTSF:SD:SUV::.
As for Thursday’s new shows, you were pretty excited to see The Big Bang Theory which you gave 45% of your votes. Your next choice was a close call between Community and Parks and Recreation, as both got about 17%.
Now I’d like to know what you’re anticipating in the week ahead:
The debuts aren’t quite done as Bedlam, Hung and Homeland all check in while Ken Burns