Our Picks: The Five Best New Shows of Fall 2009

With dozens of new shows set to air during the 2009 Fall Premiere Season, what's a devoted TV lover to do? With only so many hours in a day, you need to make the most of your TV viewing time. Not to worry -- we've already done the homework. We asked our writers to tell us what shows they plan to follow during the weeks ahead, and here are their picks.

SHOW: Glee
PREMIERE: Wednesday, September 9th, 9 p.m., Fox
WHY WE LOVE IT: Glee, from Popular creator Ryan Murphy, is what High School Musical should have been. The show, a comedy about the strange and wondrous subculture of high school glee club, is cheerful and charming, with a surprising and genuine (if not terribly deep) undercurrent of nostalgic melancholy that mixes perfectly with its sour humor. Glee is wickedly funny in the same gonzo way that Popular was, with strange cutaways and almost-cartoonishly manic characters who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Oh, and it has musical numbers! Big, beautiful, clear-voiced pop numbers sung passionately and without any of that irksome irony that's been laid on too thick in most of the things people deem “smart” these days. The cast, led by Broadway vets Matthew Morrison (South Pacific at Lincoln Center) and Lea Michele (Spring Awakening), is attractive and majorly, earnestly talented. And hey, it's nice to see that it’s so gay-friendly, considering that it’s on Fox. Glee is purely what its name implies. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be grinning like an idiot the entire hour. -- Richard Lawson

SHOW: The Good Wife
PREMIERE: Tuesday, September 22 at 10 p.m., CBS
WHY WE LOVE IT: Alicia Forrick has known better days: Her politician husband was involved in corruption and sex scandals, and now he's on his way to jail. Left to fend for herself, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) goes back to work -- as a criminal defense attorney -- in order to support her children. As she fights to win cases in court, she struggles at home to cope with her husband's infidelity and neglect. Politics and sex seem to go together like strawberries and chocolate. (Hey, power is hot.) But after the deed is done, the good wives of adulterous politicians stand by their husbands at press conferences and silently wipe away tears. What happens after the cameras stop rolling? The Good Wife fills in the blanks. -- Anna Hiatt

SHOW: Modern Family
PREMIERE: Wednesday, September 23, 9:00 p.m., ABC

WHY WE LOVE IT: Modern Family is the next best thing to Arrested Development being brought back from the dead. Packed tightly with smart jokes and timely physical humor, the sitcom follows three dysfunctional families -- a traditional husband, wife, and kids setup, an older man and his younger Latina lover, and a homosexual couple with a newly adopted Vietnamese baby -- in mockumentary style. Phil, played by Back to You's Ty Burrell, is part AD's Gob and Tobias, and is destined to become a fan-favorite. How much do we like this show? I've rewatched the pilot episode five times. -- Tim Surette



SHOW: Cougar Town
PREMIERE: Wednesday, September 23, 9:30 p.m., ABC
WHY WE LOVE IT: Jules ( played by Courteney Cox) has a hot bod and a ragin’ sex drive -- but she’s also 40 years old, newly divorced, and mother to a high school-aged son named Travis (Dan Byrd). Determined to prove to her sleazy single older male neighbor (who beds a new twenty-something girl each night) that she can get a younger guy, Jules goes out on the prowl and gets back in the game. The awkward moments that result are hilarious, and the dialogue is witty, thus putting a new spin on the tired TV premise of suburban life. Cougar Town has lots of potential: Cox is on her way to a triumphant comeback, and Byrd is just coming into his own. -

- Stefanie Lee







SHOW: FlashForward
PREMIERE: Thursday, September 24, 8:00 p.m., ABC

WHY WE LOVE IT: With its ensemble cast, sci-fi storyline, and flashbacks, FlashForward will no doubt be compared to Lost. And with Lost ending next season, FlashForward could very well fill the gaping hole that be created when the show departs for good. Heck, FlashForward even added Lost's Penny (Sonya Walger) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) to the cast. The premise is simple, yet eerie: Everyone on the Earth blacks out for a few minutes, during which time they have visions of the future. One character sees her marriage falling apart, one sees nothing and thinks he's dead, and another sees a huge conspiracy theory. The future looks like crap, but the question is: How will we get there? -- Tim Surette

Comments (62)
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Amazing. Only one of these is on my must watch list -- FlashForward.
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Probably just FlashForward!
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I have only seen Glee but I am looking forward to The Vampire Diaries, Life Unexpected, The Good Wife, Three Rivers, Eastwick, Cougar Town, Modern Family, The Forgotten, Trauma, Mercy, Parenthood, V and Miami Trauma. Wonder how many will let me down. Wonder how many will be canceled and added to my favorite shows that were canceled way too soon.
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looking forward to glee
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add a commenti cannot wait for GLEE in australia i absolutely loved the pilot and cant wait for the rest
mmm flashforward looks ok it seems abit weird
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The only one I'm 100% amped about is GLEE. The more I see on Flashforward, the more I want to watch it, though that's a show that could go either way. I mean it could go the way of LOST and be awesome, but I'm hoping it'll be a solid series in it's own right and lead more creepy than weird. The other shows I have no interest in, though I will be checking out Three Rivers. Initially I had zero interest in another medical show, but once I realized it had Katherine Moennig and Daniel "Agent Zero" Henney, I've decided to give it a shot. Plus Alex O'Loughlin really won me over again on Criminal Minds last season. I didn't care for his work on Moonlight, but I loved him on The Shield so I'm glad he's got a new show. I'm not optimistic about the success of that show, though, which sucks because all three actors deserve to be on great shows. Honestly though, this fall is really weak in comparison to previous years as far as must-see shows goes. Most years, I'm ready to watch just about everything, now if people ask me what I'm watching I have to think for an extended period of time. Madness.
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All five of the shows seem pretty great. I am really excited about The Good Wife. LOVE Ms. Marguiles.
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I'm waiting for Flash Forward. It seems like an interesting show. Courtney B. Vance and Joseph Fiennes.. great cast and intriguing story..
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i find none of the shows appealing or interesting and none of the shows offer anything compelling to begin with so I am quite at a loss how knowledgable TV series people would choose such shows as the most interesting but then again this is exactly the problem we are facing in today's TV culture, viewer numbers decide what is on TV and you can steer people to watch shows with recommendations and viral marketing etc. same as music, no matter how crappy a song is, play it all day on radio for weeks and months and you will sell enough of it.
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I have to wonder if the tv.com staff pick crap like this because it brings in more money to the site than it would if they actually picked some decent shows. The only prospect I see here is Flash Forward which probably won't last simply because of the network it's on.
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FlashForward
 seems to be the only one I care about. The extended trailer looks interesting. Plus, Courtney Vance is it.
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all look crappy.
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Eastwick, Flashfoward, Glee, V, Stargate Universe, Cleveland show, the Forgotten, And sitcoms Hank, the middle, Modern Family, Basically I like ot give every show a chance, But for some reason I don't like Hospital/Doctor, Lawyer/courtroom shows.
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FlashForward and The Good Wife look great.

Also, because I'm a sucker for medical shows (and Michelle Trachentberg), I'm going to check out Mercy.
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Flash forward...And Modern Family.
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I am looking forward to Flash Forward, it is going to be a great show.
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hmmm FlashForward seems like a good one!
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May be Cougar Town. Other ones - no, thank you.
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I forgot to mention the only new seriess I would be willing to see is Three Rivers because of Alex Loughlin. He was excellent in Moonlight! I don't really know why they had to cancel the series? The writers had a great storyline to follow in each episode. I purchased the dvd's for my own personal collection. I will also definitely give a shot to NCIS Las Vegas with L.L. Cool J. I'm really feeling skeptical about this series since I love the original NCIS characters, Agent Gibbs, DiNozo, Kate, Ziba, McGee, Ducky, Abby, and Jenny. I really don't know why they had to kill off Kate, and Jenny in NCIS? Did they want to leave the series? Well these are the only two shows I will give a shot at the other new fall lineups don't catch my attention at all. Yadlender2007
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I would love to know who comes up with the decision of the best fall lineup? This is the reason why many good shows get cancelled in the long run. We listen too much to our young youth, and forget about the baby boomers, and adults who still exist in this world.



It's strange to say that there are better series, and programs than the ones metioned on your list. CSI Los Angeles, Miami, & NY, Numbers, Criminal Minds, NCIS, The Mentalist, Monk, Burn Notice, Psyche, House, Grey's Anatomy, ER, The Unit, Cold Case, NYPD Blue, New York Undercover, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Intervention, just to name a few.



I believe this is the reason why Beauty and The Beast TV Series, Without A Trace, Touched by An Angel, Moonlight, Kindred, Silk Stalkings, etc were cancelled in the past. These were good series that were never given a chance to grow. If you look online you can see a large fan base who still values these programs, and would like to see the return of these programs in the near future as a special movie, or mini-series.



TV has expanded itself by showing too many reality programs for our younger generation. They have forgotten the true value of family.



We need to bring back the integrity of family once again in everyone's life. Yes, we need to attract the youth of tomorrow, but don't forget about the adults who helped them get here in the first place.



This is just my own personal view, I don't mean to insult anyones talent.

Yadlender2007
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strange that shows that include homosexuals are fine and dandy, but set forth a christian atmosphere is just so taboo. Where is the ACL when you need them? You can bet there are two tv shows you recommend that we won't watch - except to find out who the sponcors are.
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add a commentI think I'll have to watch "Cougar Town" and "FlashForward".
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none of the above!!!!! if Three Rivers and Vampire Diaries was in there i would pick those 2!!!!!!!!!! :D
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Flashforward gonna check this show out
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by the way stop talking about glee we get it already you think its gonna be the best show ever. Its gonna suck. so stop talking about it.
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Totaly sgree with Badfluffy the only thing that lokks intresting is flashfoward
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Is FlashForward
 "Lost" replacement? Who else knows? ABC's companion series to Lost, maybe this show will be television event of the year.
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won't be watching Modern Family don't approve of shows that make homosexuality a norm. It isn't. Will watch Vampire Diaries, and Three Rivers two you needed to mention. As for Glee, it sounds like a cliche show and the Good Wife too much like modern day politicians. Prefer a little fantasy like Vampire Shows (but not True Blood it really sucks )
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I'm pretty psyched for Glee (pilot was awesome) and Cougar Town...though I think now I'll be checking out those other picks. Just for fun. :)
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As long as Southland comes back with alot of episodes, I'll be happy.
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I am really excited to see Glee, Flashforward and Life UneXpected! I hope these shows finally stick and grab an audience.
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So far all I see new is more trash!!!! More new trash!!!! No thanks...Thank the good Lord for DVDs and Netflix and block buster...
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FlashForward is going to be great
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Glee and Flash Forward are the only ones on your list I will be watching. I will also be watching Three Rivers and Forgotten because of their male leads Alex O'Laughlin & Christian Slatter. Then there is "V" that I am looking forward to seeing. The rest are returning shows that I love and will watch again and again. NCIS's, CSI's, Heroes, Lie To Me, Mentalist, Dollhouse, Bones, Fringe, G.W., Medium, Numbers, HIMYM, 2 1/2 men, Smallville & Supernatural. That is pretty much my list.
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I'm looking forward to Flash Forward and The Good Wife. Cougar Town I'm not into women thinking they are getting old and their bodies change and its a bad thing. Plus I just don't care for Courtney Cox. Glee well it might appeal to the young crowd and Modern Family I'm glad they are bringing the gay community because they can be funny like the rest of couples but I just don't like sitcoms in general.
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Alright enough already with the Glee plugging! Don't worry, the average tv.com audience wouldn't miss it for... High School Musical IV? Not sure... but still...

Cougar Town... Courtney Cox is trying to pull off a Desperate Housewives of her own... good luck. Don't watch the one, certainly won't watch the other. But there's nothing Plastic Surgery and makeup in this ridiculously superficial age so go for it...

Modern Family... I'll give it a try. Certainly didn't strike me as much potential with the summary, cast and previews but I'll give it a go just to see if it's going to end up as stereotypical as it seems to be. Just a question though... Do we need MORE gay characters in comedies? Wouldn't a gay character out of soap or comedy context refreshing?

The Good Wife... funny it looks like Canterbury without the bite? Am I dreaming or did they just clone the script, the lead, added a minor twist and gutted the character so that the whitebread audiences would find her more palatable... I'll try it on but I'm not really into court dramas and political sex scandals.

Flash Forward... NOW you're talking! Good cast, fantastic novel, exciting previews... I'm waiting to see how they'll be ruining it. If the writing holds AND the audience is there and follows... it could be the show tv has desperately needed for a refreshing course for years!
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Hey I`m a South African and I want to know when these series will be available for us to watch?
Can someone please let me know?
I just love watching series
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Why is Adam Rodrigius leaving CSI-Miami? Did he quit or was he fired?
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Looking forward to Flashforward, great to see a couple of Losties back on our screens.
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I have seen CSI:Miami premiere promo, it looks really interesting. It will be a flashback, I am looking forward to it: Adam leaving and back to the basics is what I want. I don't have anything against Adam Rodriguez but I was starting to hate his character..too much soap opera in what used to be a great drama show!
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Flashforward might be interesting, and Ty Burrell was my favorite character on Back in Practice, but with regard to watching the pilot to Perfect Family five times: The pilot is often better than the actual series, so how much you liked the pilot is meaningless. Also, I didn't see why the one writer liked The Good Wife. Her comments read like she lifted them straight from a press release.
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Cougar Town, Flashforward and The Good Wife would be my picks.
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I loved the first episode of Glee and can't wait to see more. I'm also going to give Flash Forward a shot.
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Definately will be watching Flashforward, might check out The Good Wife, but everything else seems dull.
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I am excited to see Modern Family and FlashForward.
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@wodonnell V is in the top ten, for sure
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Only Flash Foward catches my attention
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FlashForward and Glee
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More excited from the list is Fast Forward seems interesting and other that are not mentioned are Eastwick and Vampire Diaries :)
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I'm not sure about this year's new shows. I might tune in to Eastwick and maybe Three Rivers too. Those are the only new shows that sound interesting to me. I'm not sure about the other new shows yet.
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