The Fall's Best New TV Shows
Four new network offerings that are worth your time (at least, so far).
Falling in love is always a risk. When you fall in love with a person, you give that person power over you that no one else has. That person can bring you joy beyond anything you have ever experienced. That person can cause you to gush to all of your friends until their eyes roll back in their heads and they begin to wonder if they’ve lost you forever. That person can hurt you more deeply than you ever imagined. Not a prospect to be taken lightly.
Falling in love with a TV show is also a risk. When you become attached to a television show, you open yourself to a new cast of characters—new friends and new adventures. That’s the fun part. But you also risk becoming attached to a show that will inevitably end, whether in 15 episodes or 15 seasons, leaving you to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal and to fill the viewing void. We can’t predict which of this season’s new shows will be proud parents—19 Law and Order spinoffs and counting—and which will be the outcasts on the playground that most of us don’t even notice, but someone counts as a best friend. However, we can offer our thoughts on which of this season’s newcomers are worth the risk. We were going to write a Top 5 list, but it turns out, what we actually found is more appropriately described as "Four Suggestions and a Special Mental Health Warning.)
Suggestion Number 4: Better with You
On the surface, this generational comedy on ABC that follows the romantic relationships of an uptight sister (Jennifer Finnigan), a free-spirited sister (JoAnna Garcia), and their parents (Kurt Fuller and Debra Jo Rupp) seems so … unoriginal that we almost didn’t bother even considering it is a possible candidate for our list. The only problem is: it actually made us laugh, and among sitcoms in the television class of 2010, that is rare. We probably shouldn’t be surprised since producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan is involved. We know her as the producer of an old favorite—Friends—that kept us laughing for a decade. Come to think of it, though, she was also involved in the ill-fated and unnecessary Friends spinoff, Joey. We’ll just have to see what Better with You ends up being.
Suggestion Number 3: Outsourced
It’s not so much that the new arrival to NBC Thursday is a constant source of laughs that makes it a candidate for a list, but Outsourced explores some of our most ridiculous American customs and tendencies from an outsider’s perspective. Outsourced chronicles the literal journey of a Kansas City call center manager, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) who is transferred to India due to corporate outsourcing. It will be interesting to see if useful cultural commentary emerges from the laughter over time, or if Outsourced will simply become Community: Mumbai.
Suggestion Number 2: Running Wilde
Running Wilde on Fox pits wealthy oil company executive Steven Wilde, played by Will Arnett, against minimalist environmental activist Emmy Kadubic, played by Keri Russell. Fireworks ensue between the two on both personal and professional levels. Steven’s journey to be someone who deserves Emmy will inevitably intersect with Emmy’s journey to become someone who can accept Steven. This situation can lead us to think about the pitfalls of these characters’ extremes, whether thoughtless self-indulgence or passionate self-righteousness. Plus, it’s got Arrested Development cred all over the place—Mitchel Hurwitz (AD’s creator) is the showrunner and David Cross (everyone’s favorite Fünke) also co-stars.
Suggestion Number 1: Detroit 1-8-7
ABC’s newest crime drama that follows the homicide detectives of the Detroit Police Department can’t exactly surprise us with plot twists, or can it? Sure, there is always going to be a murder to solve (Warning: Murder is violent. So don’t be surprised to see a TV-14 V notice), but the path to that solution and the style built into the journey grabbed our attention. This show is gritty and messy and not afraid to shoot a main character in the pilot. Look out! It’s a wild (card) of a ride.
Special Mental Health Warning: My Generation
We are not necessarily fans of television dramas coated with a fine layer of soap scum in the first place, but in the case of ABC’s My Generation, we feel a special warning is warranted. If you are in high school or have been in high school within the past 15 years, watch My Generation at your own risk. This is basically a show about the plans and dreams of nine Texas high school kids in the class of 2000 and how 10 years after graduation nothing in their lives is like they planned it. In some cases, this may be a good thing for all of us, but overall, the show depicts the unexpected events of life as draining away our passion and forcing us to settle for the lives we get instead of reaching for the lives we want. It’s just too depressing. In some ways, this may be realistic, but way too depressing to entertain us. If you choose to watch and find it an unpleasant experience, remember: you were warned. This also may be why ABC canceled it this weekend—just remember our warning during the inevitable re-airings next summer.
With that, you have our recommendations of new fall television shows worth watching. We hope you find something to love among them. Don’t forget to let us know what you think of all the new shows debuting this season. We always enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can even gush … to a point. Go ahead … you know you want to.