A Second Opinion: Most Promising Fall Shows

By: Aleks Chan

In an effort to fill the news void between May’s season finales and September’s fall premieres comes even more filler post-Upfront analysis courtesy of our very own Ken Tucker in-training Aleks Chan, who shares his take on this fall’s most promising new shows.

Sure, the whole women-of-a-certain-age bit is a bit played-out, but this one, about a recent divorcé getting back into the dating game in her 40s, is helmed by SCRUBS creator Bill Lawrence and stars an especially game Courteney Cox, who is much better served by slapstick than being icy and bitchy on her short-lived FX series DIRT.  

THE SOUP’S Joel McHale plays a smoothly operating lawyer who’s busted for having a fake degree, and is forced to attend a junior college to save his career. McHale looks like he’s breezing through another episode of his E! show, and from the looks of the trailer, the material’s just as funny as him.  

FOX has already aired the pilot last week, and it’s leading the pack right now. Crossing my fingers that it’s not a huge case of pilotitus.  

Patricia Heaton, whom I’ve never been a huge fan of even in her EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND years, is finally in a role that truly suits her: the furrow-browed, frumpy wife and mother who’s begging to know what happened to her life. The trailer seemed to be aiming for a MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE vibe, and it seems like it will mostly work.  

The Alphabet net is so confident about this comedy about three different families that it aired the entire pilot during its presentation last week – it might not have been completely kooky to do so: out of all the previews, it garnered the most audible laughs. It’s like a strange combination of THE OFFICE and ABC’s one-season tanker SONS & DAUGHTERS. The clips make me thing it’s more of the former.  

A remake of the ‘80s miniseries, it could possibly be the most topical conspiracy/invasion drama ever: aliens come to earth, claiming in peace, and effusively spread their notions of change – but they’re up to something. Looks creepy good, unlike the miniseries, which was mostly corny good. Plus: Juliet! 

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  • Gotta agree with you about cougars being played out, but disagree with the fact that Cougartown will be good. It looks awful.

    The Middle also looks like garbage. It’s not Patricia Heaton’s fault that she’s not funny.

    The V, Modern Family and Community seem to be very promising.

  • Ace

    The cast of Community has me pretty excited. I hope they don’t let me down.

    I adored the premiere of Glee. I am so happy that the downloads when over well. I think that’s an interesting new revenue stream.

    V also sounds interesting but I also have a bad feeling it won’t last long.

    And as much as I love Bill Laurence, I have to agree with Quiet Pool that Cougars looks bad. But I’ll give it a shot.

  • Josh Emerson

    These are the shows I wrote down as ones I want to check out:
    Flash Forward (ABC), V (ABC), Cougar Town (ABC), Community (NBC), Accidentally on Purpose (CBS), Human Target (Fox), Glee (Fox)

    I think Cougar Town looks really funny. The Jenna Elfman show I’m mainly checking out since it is paired with HIMYM. Community, I’m not sold on, but Joel McHale is so awesome. I have to see it.

    I thought the trailer for The Middle was surprisingly funny. Neil Flynn has a lot to do with that.

  • I was shocked to watch the previews of several shows and to find myself looking forward to Cougar Town the most, even more than V, Flash Forward, Human Target, etc. It looks really funny. I’m not a sitcom person, but the facts that it’s a single-camera setup and created by Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence are what totally sell me on it. It doesn’t hurt that Courtney Cox is still hot for 44, and Bill Lawrence likes to have people in their underwear a lot on his shows.

    I was struggling to remember another show I thought deserved to be listed in the Least Promising Fall Shows post, and oddly, it’s here. The Middle. The preview looks pretty wretched, and I predict it to be one of the very first shows cancelled. To me, comedians Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller are not funny; they’re thiiiiis close to being funny but not quite there. I’m surprised they aren’t starring in The Middle because that’s exactly how I felt about its preview. There were times I *almost* wanted to laugh but couldn’t quite commit. There’s just something “off” about it.

    I would put Modern Family in the middle of the promising scale, simply because some people may be hungry for classic-style sitcoms. I didn’t see a video preview for it though. Is it a one-camera/edited setup or four-camera/live-audience setup?

    Downloaded the free 1st episode of Glee but haven’t watched it yet. By now, I’ve probably missed the 2nd episode. I still intend to try it, just in case it’s worth the hype.

  • ggny

    V looked cheesy as all hell..i was looking foward to it but after the previews i saw im gonna pass

  • Todd W in NC,
    Having seen MODERN FAMILY, I can assure you that it’s hands down the most promising new comedy of the season.

    And as for GLEE, you haven’t missed anything yet. Episode 2 isn’t airing until the fall, so you’ve got all summer to find 44 minutes to squeeze in episode 1

  • Wow, that’s a weird way they’re doing Glee. Do you think they did it that way to get the hype going for almost half a year before its weekly premiere?

    I wonder if they might adjust the show, based on people’s reaction to the first episode, if there are any problems with it.

    Maybe more shows should try that — premiere a pilot episode or TV movie months before the series proper begins. Hey, come to think of it, that worked for a certain ’90s sci-fi show I’m just “slightly” fond of. 😉

  • Jacob

    It’s so strange FOX isn’t captilizing on GLEE’s momentum. Their song went number 1 on itunes (number 8 currently) and is the number 4 most requested song on the radio in America.

    By the time the fall gets here they’ll have to try to recapture all that. So strange.

  • I can’t lie. I spent nearly all of Memorial Day Weekend singing Don’t Stop Believin’ cause of GLEE. I’m a bit burnt out on tv (I know, I never thought I’d say it either) and with a lot of my faves returning (and some of my huge faves being cancelled – T:SCC), I’m finding it hard to get excited about anything new.

  • Jen

    I don’t know why exactly they decided not to debut Glee until the fall, but no question why they decided to show the pilot early after Idol. They weren’t going to get that chance again — premiere a show about singing after 20 plus million people tuned into a singing competition show.

  • Ferret

    Looking forward to V, CougarTown, and The Middle off of this list.

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