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The TBTS Fall TV Preview: Reasons to be Excited About the New Television Season

August 31, 2010

Labor Day Weekend means many things — the signal that summer is properly over, the weekend your public pool closes, the semi-official gateway into autumn and, if you’re a Real Housewife of some city, a great time to drink enough chardonnay to throw a wastebasket at your friend. It also serves as somewhat of a harbinger into the new fall season of television. Here, while you were just settling into the idea of Wipeout three nights a week and numbed to the point that America’s Got Talent’s bizarre 11,000-round multi-city tournament was beginning to make sense, the networks surprise you with some content which to which someone, somewhere, has actually taken the time to give some foresight and care. Here, then, are a few things which may be reasons to look forward to the new fall season.

-Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow in The Whole Truth. In 2007, Jerry Bruckheimer produced a legal drama for FOX called Justice which took us through several sides of the same story before revealing the truth in the final reel. The Whole Truth looks like Bruckheimer’s retooled it again for ABC, but you can’t really go wrong with Morrow and Tierney, both of whom have solid TV track records. Tierney had to give up her role on Parenthood to Lauren Graham last season as she battled cancer, so she has a lot of people rooting for her on this one. (Also, Parenthood turned out to be a snooooozer.)

-The closest we may ever get to more Arrested Development is perhaps in FOX’s Running Wilde, which reunites Will Arnett, AD creator Mitch Hurwitz and the always-great David Cross. Arnett plays a spoiled rich boy who rekindles a romance with a charitable, do-gooder childhood sweetheart (Keri Russell). On paper, this sounds like another case of lightning in a bottle, but early reports of the pilot (which had already been reshot once) have shown disinterest. This could be a show that grows into itself, though — just like Arrested Development did. At the very least, its pedigree earns it a look.



I'd book that, Dano.


-CBS is putting a lot of faith in Hawaii Five-O, giving it the coveted Monday at ten slot previously occupied by the ridiculous and ridiculously successful CSI:Miami. Starring Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight, The Shield and last year’s flop Three Rivers) as Jack Lord — er, Steve McGarrett. The original was a twelve-season smash in the seventies and the Eye network is hoping they can bring back the trouble-in-paradise theme in the new milennium. Surprisingly, it’s probably going to get a huge boost from supporting actor Scott Caan as “Dano” Williams after Caan has unexpectedly broken out and come very close to single-handedly saving this floundering season of Entourage as douchebag Scott Lavin. Could be at least some fun.

-HBO is back in full effect — With Martin Scorsese directing the debut episode of the Steve Buscemi-headed Atlantic City mob epic Boardwalk Empire, the cable network may have just found their replacement for The Sopranos (they were struggling without it). A very solid season of True Blood has trained HBO’s viewership to start tuning back in on Sunday nights, something they hope to continue through the fall. Also returning is the droll, entertaining Bored to Death, which stars Jason Schwartzman as writer Jonathan Ames, for a second season of funny, intellectual detective fiction.

-I don’t know what The Event is, but I’m at this point it’s kind of like someone telling you how great someone is for so long before you meet them that they can’t possibly live up to the hype. If you’ve tried watching any program on NBC this summer, you’ve been inundated by dramatic teaser lines scrolling the bottom of the screen for this enigmatic drama. Is it about terrorism? Aliens? Alien terrorism? Blair Underwood’s disdainful gaze? Okay, okay NBC — your enthusiasm for this show alone has sold me on it. I’ll be checking it out, and imagine I won’t be the only one. Let’s just hope that once we find out what “the event” is, it’s enough to keep us tuning back in.

-Frank Darabont does graphic novel zombies on the Mad Men network. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold. Advance buzz on this is super-high, and with good reason. The six-episode series is based on a massively cult comic series, Darabont directed the Shawshank Redemption and AMC can totally pick ’em right now. Get in at the beginning of this zombies-for-smart-people show and look very hip.

House is poised in front of a shark. Whether Hugh Laurie and company choose to jump it is up to them, but the Holmesian medical drama — after a few missteps — last season was back on track in a big, big way. Then the season finale (which was fantastic) ended with a Cuddy-House love confession. Will House’s greatest foil lose her bite when they’re canoodling in the janitor’s closet or can House’s writers find an interesting way to spin this potential show-killer?

-Hooray for great returning sitcoms. 30 Rock promises a live show in October, How I Met Your Mother promises a game-changer in the season premiere, Modern Family promises a big gay Cam-Mitchell kiss and The Big Bang Theory promises more of Sunday’s Emmy-winning riot Jim Parsons as Sheldon. Parks and Recreation found hiring Rob Lowe to be inspired and Community hit its stride in the last third. Is the sitcom back from the dead?

-Three words: Kenny Motherfucking Powers. If you know what I’m talking about, i don’t even need to tell you the number one reason I’m glad fall’s here. Bring it on.

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