10 Pressing Questions Prior to the Launch of the Fall 2010 TV Season

By: Vlada Gelman

1. Will THE GOOD WIFE be even better in season two? One of the most successful new dramas of last season isn’t playing it safe. Season two spoilers hint at major shakeups and new characters played by incredible actors like Tammy Blanchard and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ Scott Porter in a storyline that will set him up against the mysterious Kalinda. Add to that guest star Michael J. Fox, Carey working for the other side, Alan Cumming as a regular cast member, and THE GOOD WIFE seems poised to top itself. I can’t wait.

2. Can THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ Nina Dobrev successfully pull off playing two characters in more than just flashbacks? Early buzz seems to suggest, “Yes,” and what we’ve seen so far in previews of season two looks very promising. Plus, after Dobrev’s surprise Emmys performance, I’m not going to bet against the girl.

3. Will the COMMUNITY writers run from Jeff and Annie again? I was lucky enough to visit the Community set recently, where Joel McHale and Alison Brie talked about their characters unexpected chemistry, so I’ll have more about this later. But I’m still concerned that the Community writers are scared of the unexpected, somewhat inappropriate chemistry between Jeff and the much younger Annie.

4. Which version of GLEE will air this fall? Ryan Murphy keeps telling the press that season two will be more intimate and will focus on the regular cast. “We’re scaling it back and concentrating on the stories,” he said at the TCA Press Tour. Then he proceeded to talk about more tribute episodes, the Britney Spears episode, the big Super Bowl episode, Susan Boyle possibly guesting, a book tour, etc.

5. Is LONE STAR on the wrong network? A morally ambiguous and thoughtful character study, I’m worried that my favorite fall pilot might be too sophisticated for Fox. The show would feel more at home on cable, but with direction by Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) and an ambitious conceit — a con man juggles a girlfriend and a wife (also his mark), both of whom he’s in love with — LONE STAR is really more like an indie film than a TV show.

6. Why are there so many new FRIENDS rip-offs? Last season’s breakout comedy pilots were mostly about families (Modern Family, The Middle) and misfist/outcast families (COMMUNITY, GLEE, COUGAR TOWN). So why are there so many friends-in-different-states-of-relationship comedies (PERFECT COUPLES, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, HAPPY ENDINGS, MIXED SIGNALS) coming out next season? It’s like comedy development from the past.

7. How long will we have to wait for OUTSOURCED to get canceled so PARKS AND RECREATION can return early? Way to kill PARKS AND RECREATION’s momentum, NBC, pushing it until midseason. You got Rob Lowe to sign on as a series regular and you’re still forcing us to watch OUTSOURCED?

8. Who cares who takes over for Michael Scott on THE OFFICE? While I understand NBC’s reluctance to let go of one of its most highly rated comedies, THE OFFICE was the least funny and buzzy show on NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup last season. The series should just pack it up with Michael Scott.

9. Can HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER get its mojo back? I think most fans and critics would agree that last season was the show’s weakest. Too many standalone episodes and a lack of direction really hurt the show, making it lose one of its most endearing qualities: Its heart. After talking to creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays at TCA, I’m actually excited for next season. It sounds like the show is back on the right path, with its heart on its sleeve, Robin Sparkles in its back pocket — before you scuff at that casting, she was great in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl! — and the mother in the near distance.

10. How much will I cry during the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS series finale? I’m actually not a crier during TV and movies, but I imagine that saying goodbye to one of the best TV shows ever, which kicks off its fifth and final season Oct. 27 on DirecTV, will break me.

Vlada is a freelance entertainment writer, who resides in Los Angeles, where there are stars in the sky and on the ground. She has written for Entertainment Weekly, the LA Times Showtracker blog, Vulture and TVWeek. She runs the TV blog Staying In and can be found on Twitter: @stayingin.

  • Nick

    Strongly disagree about The Office. At its worst, it’s still funnier than almost every comedy on competing networks. When Steve Carell leaves, the new boss will inject a different dynamic and hopefully allow the supporting cast (each of whom is high-larious) to shine even more.

  • Alison

    I agree with all 10 of these points. That’s pretty much all I have to add.

  • I'm skipping most of the new comedies, except for Running Wilde ('cause of the AD thing), $#*! My Dad Says and Outsourced (because those two will definitely be talked about even if they aren't any good, and they probably won't be)

  • joshemerson

    Am I the only one who thinks Outsourced looks kind of funny? It just has a lot to live up to, airing in Parks & Rec's spot. Although I would remind the court that Parks and Rec had a terrible first season. 😉

    I don't hold much hope for Glee. If being all over the news has told us anything, it's that Glee is going to once again do things like the second half of last season.

    I still liked HIMYM last season. I don't care what anyone says, it had some brilliant episodes (Duel Citizenship, Girls vs. Suits). I would welcome a return to the feel of Season 1 though.

  • Shilo

    I saw an interview with Connie Britton where she pretty much said the last three episodes of the show, in particular, will make you cry your eyes out. I honestly cannot wait to see what happens.

    The reason they pulled Parks was because they've had this amazing lead in that The Office provides and have wasted it propping up 30 Rock for 4 seasons. NBC is in the toilet and they need to focus on using what few decently rated shows they have to grow some new shows. I think Outsourced looks like it could be funny, so I'll definitely be watching.

  • angrodpallanen

    I'm very excited about HIMYM's return to heart, Nina Dobrev's acting skills since she hasn't quit convinced me she makes up for a good Katherine and of course if Glee can focus on a core group when it has more characters and unnecessary story lines than a daytime soap.