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Home » TV

Fall 2011 TV Preview

Submitted by on May 15, 2011 – 10:04 pm 23 Comments

The TV upfronts officially start this Monday, with the networks rolling out their fall and midseason schedules, but news have already leaked over the last few days about shows that have been picked up and canceled. Following are the ones that look most interesting to me.


I am really curious about the American adaptation of Prime Suspect. How does someone replace Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison? It’s hard to tell from this short clip how good the show is, but I think Maria Bello is a very interesting choice so I’m willing to give it a chance.

The other two new NBC shows that look good won’t premiere until midseason but I’m willing to wait if the network uses the time to make sure they’re done right. First up is Smash, from an idea by Steven Spielberg about a group of people trying to stage a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe. It features Anjelica Huston (what a coup!), Debra Messing, and American Idol season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee.

The other intriguing NBC pilot is Awake, which looks Inception-like from this clip. Starring Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy!), Cherry Jones, and B.D. Wong, it’s about a detective who awakes after a family car accident to find his wife dead and his son alive. But he wakes up another day in a parallel universe to discover that his son perished in the accident while his wife survives. He tries to keep both alive by moving back and forth between the two worlds and solving crimes in both realities.

In other NBC news, David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot was rejected, 30 Rock is being held until midseason due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy, Chuck is coming back for its final season, and The Event and Law & Order: Los Angeles have been canceled.


ABC hasn’t offered any preview clips so I’m judging only by the descriptions, which all sound ho-hum. I’ll check out the Charlie’s Angels reboot for nostalgic reasons (I had trading cards growing up) and maybe Apartment 23, a sitcom about a Midwestern girl dealing with roommates from hell in New York City. James Van Der Beek is supposedly very funny in it and though I’ve never been a Dawson’s Creek fan, that nugget of info has me curious.


The eye network has been pretty quiet about pilot pickups, but there’s one that looks very promising. Person of Interest stars Jim Caviezel as a CIA agent who’s supposed to be dead but is instead fighting crime in New York City. This has amazing talent attached, from Taraji P. Henson and Michael Emerson on camera, to Jonathan Nolan (Christopher’s brother and co-writer of The Dark Knight) and J.J. Abrams behind it. In other news, The Defenders and S#*! My Dad Says both got the ax, which I’m sure you’re heartbroken to hear.


I’ll probably sample The New Girl, with Zooey Deschanel as a quirky (what else?) teacher living with three men. If the show can be half as much fun as my own experience living with two male roommates in my twenties, it’ll be a blast. I also think I Hate My Teenage Daughter sounds funny. Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran play two women whose daughters turn out to be mean girls like the ones who picked on them in high school.

On the drama side, J. J. Abrams landed another pilot with Alcatraz, starring Lost‘s Jorge Garcia. There’s lots of secrecy surrounding this show but it’s supposedly about something mysterious that happened on the island prison 50 years ago, and a group of FBI agents investigating why prisoners who went missing are reappearing in present day. This sounds like it could be amazing, but if it gets too dense like Lost did towards the end, I’ll tune out. UPDATE: Below is the first look.


The only interesting news about its fall schedule so far has been the pickup of the thriller Ringer, which was intentioned for its sister network CBS. The show stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as twins who both have prices on their heads. I really don’t care what else it’s about. I’ll be there for Buffy’s return to TV, with my fingers crossed and hoping it won’t suck.

Are you excited about any of these, or are you yawning already?



  • AWAKE and ALCATRAZ look like they have potential me, and SMASH might be interesting, but little else has me saying “oooh, I better set my DVR to record that!” We’ll see, though. My opinions have been known to change over the summer. Still, I think the best stuff is now being done on cable networks like AMC, USA and TNT.

    On a completely tangental new show note: I remember growing up that the networks would air a show on a Friday night in August or September (probably Sept.) highlighting their new Saturday morning line-ups. I LIVED for that show every year! Ah, memories.

    • Eddy says:

      Brett, I too looked forward to the Saturday preview. Do you also remember that a lot of the Saturday shows were aired on the Friday after Thanksgiving? I still remember the song sung by an animated turkey to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw” that ended with the lyric, “The day after Turkey Day on ABC!”

      (This isn’t the exact one that I remember, but you get the idea)
      Turkey Day Cartoons

      • Awesome link. That was hilarious! I have to say I don’t remember that, but I was probably right there at the TV on that Friday watching.

        My clearest memory of the preview show (though clear is very relative) is one that was hosted by Sigmund the Sea Monster…I think it was the year that show debuted…hell, that might have been the only year that show was on for all I can recall.

        • Pop Culture Nerd says:

          I have no memory of that because I’ve never been a morning person. The only thing I ever got up for was SUPERFRIENDS on Saturdays at 8 a.m. and then I’d go back to bed.

    • Christine says:

      That’s so funny, Brett! How had I forgotten about that…I never missed it! The thing I remember most about Saturday mornings was Schoolhouse Rock.

  • Jann says:

    I think I’ll stick with my books.

  • Awake looks intriguing. You’d have to beat me to make me watch Smash, and as for Prime Suspect — Hollywood’s treatment of shows that are, to me, inherently British, rarely succeeds. Everytime I think of what they did to Cracker, I want to hit somebody.

  • Christine says:

    It looks like some big names and talents coming to the small screen. I’m with you about Ringer, Elyse. Hope it’s a success! The only show we currently watch with any regularity is House; and even that, we DVR. Other than that, I wait until DVDs come out for shows that I’m interested in and then have marathon viewings. Between books to read and soccer games to watch that we’ve DVR’d, we just don’t watch that much TV anymore.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I’m two weeks behind on HOUSE and several other shows. But this is a good thing because most shows will go on hiatus after this week and I’ll still have original scripted programming to watch. I can’t deal with all the reality trash the networks put on over the summer.

  • le0pard13 says:

    I’m most intrigued with Prime Suspect because of Maria Bello and Awake because of Jason Issacs [all due to being a fan of both actors]. Tell me, do we really need another J.J. Abrams series involving an island? If it’s more riddle wrapped up in an enigma programming I’ll likely pass. If favorites like JUSTIFIED, THE GOOD WIFE, and IN PLAIN SIGHT can perform so well show for show without the confusing density you speak of, why does Abrams pigeon-hole himself in producing these?

    “If the show can be half as much fun as my own experience living with two male roommates in my twenties, it’ll be a blast.”

    This sounds like the best chapter in that PCN autobiography. I can’t wait for it’s release… and Mr. PCN’s reaction when he’s ambushed by TMZ’s staff!

    Thanks, Elyse.

  • Poncho says:

    I still haven’t decided about most shows. I’ll definitely give a chance to PRIME SUSPECT & AWAKE. Perhaps CHARLIE’S ANGELS has a chance, depending on how is it.

    Hadn’t realised yet how many “new” shows we would be having, so I guess I shall be making a list and search for the previews online, since I can’t watch ’em on the networks’ site (sadly).

    Anyway, thanks, PCN.

  • I persevered with LOST to the end {partly due to my stubborn streak!} and though the flight over water to an island in that trailer gave me some deja vu, I won’t be able to stop myself watching Alcatraz. The first few episodes, at least. I’m curious. I’ll also be keen to check out Person of Interest, Awake, Smash and Prime Suspect. That should more than keep my DVR full! Thanks for the insights, PCN.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I thought I was stubborn, too, but I finally had to cry uncle either after Lost‘s fourth season or beginning of the fifth. I also gave up on The Event and FlashForward. You’re one tough cookie, Shell.

      • I stayed with LOST to the end, also, and honestly, loved the whole series (though there was a season that kind of got off track in there somewhere.) I’ve also watched every episode of THE EVENT. It was never as good as I wanted it to be, but I will have to say that after it finally came back on air late winter, it was better…not perfect or even great, but good. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that. FLASH FORWARD I had huge hopes for, but after 2 or 3 episodes I gave up. It felt like a soap opera complete with crappy dialogue and overacting. And the logistics of the story drove me nuts…no consideration for the real time it takes to fly from LA to say Utah or Europe and what that would mean for equivalent time back in LA. Viewers are smart, don’t treat them like they’re not. FLASH FORWARD felt like a show with the seed of a great idea, but with no idea where it was going. Maybe the writers and producers did know, but that didn’t come across at all. Hell, what it felt like was a first draft of a novel-full of problems and inconsistencies, and characters not fully fleshed out. Sorry, FLASH FORWARD annoys the hell out of me. I LOVED the idea, and to see it wasted like it was seems like such a lost opportunity.

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