The Best and Worst New Shows of Fall 2009

The Fall 2009 Premiere Season has (almost) come and gone, and this year's crop of new shows definitely made a strong impression. Now, after spending countless hours staring at the small screen, it's time to pass judgment. Which new shows were great? Which were awful? And which may need a little more time to fully ripen? We asked TV.com's writers and editors to weigh in on the new shows they feel most strongly about, and here's their take on this autumn's TV harvest:

New Shows We Love


Glee (Fox)
Glee is essentially Mean Girls plus musical theater. Thankfully, it's a show about music, not a musical show. The actors are talented, the story is fast, and the issues are real. Plus, It's way better than High School Musical 1, 2 or 3!

Modern Family (ABC)
The heir apparent to Arrested Development has fabulously dysfunctional families, snappy writing, a superb cast, and most importantly, laughs galore. In a swirling sea of unfunny network comedies, Modern Family is a life raft full of hilarious, intelligent humor.

New Shows We'll Watch, Wait, and See


Community (NBC)
The pilot was good, and the cast is talented. But the second episode felt stilted, and it's possible that Chevy Chase doesn't remember how to be funny. Joel McHale's smarminess isn't nearly as charming here as it is on The Soup. We hope he eases up as the season goes on.

Cougar Town (ABC)
It's great to see Courteney Cox play the hot mom we know she could be. But will this turn into a half-hour sitcom version of Desperate Housewives?

FlashForward (ABC)
The premise is strong (the world blacks out and has glimpses of the future), and this show may be a good a fix for those who will suffer withdrawal symptoms when Lost ends next year. But we're not ready to commit because of the wooden dialogue and overly dramatic moments.

The Good Wife (CBS)
This drama about the jilted wife of a adulterous politician features great acting, but the premise could get a little tired. Our big fear: The Good Wife could become Just Another Lawyer Show.

The Middle (ABC)
With great actors creating great characters. The Middle is reminiscent of classics like Malcolm in the Middle -- so it may have a hard time standing out from the crowd. Fortunately, it's also hilarious.

Trauma (NBC)
The pilot was exciting -- with cool crashes and big explosions -- and the on-location shooting in San Francisco looks great. But we're still not convinced this show has what it takes to stand out from other medical dramas.

New Shows We Don't Want to Watch Again


Bored To Death (HBO)
In the immortal words of respected thinker Homer Simpson, "BE MORE FUNNY!"

Brothers (Fox)
The cast has some real talent, and the pilot hinted that this comedy will explore serious issues. Too bad the mediocre writing and easy jokes just aren't worth the effort.

Cleveland Show (Fox)
Cleveland Brown leaves behind Quahog, his best friend Peter, and pretty much any chance at being funny in this spinoff of a show that didn't deserve a spinoff in the first place.

The Forgotten (ABC)
Christian Slater and overly earnest script-writing exhausted this murder mystery show before it had the chance. We'd like to forget about it.

Hank (ABC)
As one TV.com commenter put it, “You can take Kelsey out of Frasier, but ya can't take Frasier out of Kelsey.” So true. In Hank, Kelsey is still that same aristocratic, socially awkward guy we know from Cheers and Frasier -- but, uh, this is supposed to be a totally different show. The dialogue is weak and the premise is forced, so a faux-Frasier is all we’ll get right now.

The Jay Leno Show (NBC)
He retired, and we said our farewells. But then he came back! Jay Leno just doesn't know when to say "goodnight." The only new thing about Jay Leno 2.0 is the chinny comic's 10 pm timeslot.

Melrose Place (The CW)
This cynical, money-hungry mess does worse than not pay proper homage to its superior predecessor. It takes the old show down with it.

Mercy (NBC)
At this point, any medical series is pretty much a retread of something else. But Mercy borrows so heavily and so egregiously from shows past and present that we're tempted to call it plagiarism.

Comments (142)
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Mar 24, 2011
Yes, Aside from sticking to House and greys anatomy, and for drama, desperate housewives. ...... GIVE ME MORE GLEE.. when I first heard of it I though this show would be a total fail, and somehow I gave it a chance, and now I'm the happiest gleek, it is underrated still ;) ...... ALSO: THE MIDDLE IS GREAT, underrated as well, and I also agree I was disappointed with the cleveland show, since I'm such a huge fan of FG, AD, and Seth. MODERN FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love love love it, keep it coming!
also cougartown is not bad, at first anyways. now Idk cuz I have not been able to see the season 2 episodes yet.

Other than the shows I mentioned above, the rest on this list, I either couldn't bother wasting my time with, or tried them out and they were miserable FAILS. awful shows. I'll stick to what I love :D GLEE HOUSE, GA, DH, MODERN FAMILY, THEMIDDLE
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Jan 07, 2010
I really like Melrose Place. I know it's kind of 'trashy' but i like that stuff. I think that firing Ashlee and Colin will be a help. Katie Cassidy is great though.
I watched Bored to Death, but i ditched it after a while. It was funny, but i stopped watching it. GLEE IS AMAZING! I'm considering starting Modern Family and maybe Cougar Town.
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Nov 22, 2009
Would've added Stargate Universe to the "New Shows We'll Watch, Wait, and See"-part
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Nov 20, 2009
Well i must say i like Cougar Town, The Cleveland Show and Mercy so far from this list but there are some really good new shows out there like HUNG and EASTBOUND & DOWN.., i really wish someone would pick up a show from a few years back called The Black Donnelly's, i got hooked on it and then it was gone !
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Nov 07, 2009
I totally agree. The only good shows this season, are Glee and Modern Family!
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Nov 03, 2009
The Cleveland Show was a disappointment.
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Oct 24, 2009
Glee , Community, and The good wife, are shows I decided to stick with. Melrose I watched for 2 episodes then I dumped it. I didnt get thru the first episode of Forgotten before deleting it from my DVR.
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Oct 22, 2009
Agreed.
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Oct 15, 2009
None of the new shows have really caught my attention except Cougartown which i found to be hilarious. But I'll stick to The Office, Lost and House. [so sad]. ABC's going to have to find a way to top themselves after Lost, hence Flashforward and V.
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Oct 13, 2009
well i love glee, no doubt :) and cougar town is watchable, funny moments :) i really hope that flashforward is diferent then lost otherwise its another show with a thousand questions per episode and one answear per season :B and i hate to say but the cleveland show is pretty weak :( im a huge fan of family guy and american dad and i love seth mcfarlane but cleveland isnt funny :/
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Oct 13, 2009
Cougar Town is actually quite funny, but I really don't understand the ado about Glee...mediocre singing, mediocre acting, mediocre dialogue...flat-out boring.
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Oct 13, 2009
I love Glee...it is a fun show! Modern Family is funny, but I don't know how long it will continue to hold my interest.
FlashForward is very good...I have never watched LOST so I can not compare the two. I just hope FF doesn't get overly dark, or just plain stupid.
As for Medical dramas...I just returned to GA about a season ago, so its still on may watch list, and House is my favorite show of the genre. With the new ones, I like Three Rivers. Mercy is getting old quickly. I have not seen Trauma yet, it is waiting on the DVR.
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Oct 13, 2009
Clearly, the TV powers-that-be decided, long ago, that anything is better than nothing, which, unfortunately, seems to be backed-up by hypnotized, lethargic, overweight, audiences, who are enamored by faux-ality shows, alleged comedies, ultra-violent shows (fake and otherwise), ersatz news/opinion shows (Nancy Graceless, Rash Limburger, Won't O'Really, Glen Blechh, etc), and cartoons that have long passed their prime (Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, et al.), all of which, if you think about it, are interchangeable, categorically speaking! ;)

I tells ya, it's *almost* enough to make a person wanna go outside and read a good book! ;)
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Oct 12, 2009
Glee is Mean Girls without the sarcastic humor, the teen society behavior parody and the quality writing... so... well there's pop music sang by talentless amateurs, there's that (all apologies to the talented Lea Michele who deserves so much more than this show)
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Oct 12, 2009
I love Melrose Place & Jay Leno but my new total favorites are Modern Family & FlashFwd.
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Oct 12, 2009
I think Melrose Place,the Forgotten and Bored to Death are all great shows.I'd love to see more of them in the future.I don't think it falls in the category 'New Shows We Don't Want to Watch Again' for me..Modern Family and The Community are hilarious. Flashfoward has got a great concept and Trauma is an amazing show and who can forget Cougar Town..
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Oct 11, 2009
Melrose Place has potential, give it a break
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Oct 11, 2009
I am trying to break out of watching just cable shows and get back into the regular networks. I've heard a lot of reviews here and will pick a couple to watch at first just to see if my local stations have anything worth watching.
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Oct 11, 2009
Don't blame Jay Leno. NBC is dying a needs him.
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Oct 11, 2009
Just finished watching Good Wife, it's got potential. Also Vampire Diaries and Three Rivers peaked my interest. Modern Family, didn't care for it.
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Oct 11, 2009
Just got a round to watching Modern Family. Nope didn't care for it. With the exception of The Forgotten,and NCIS:LA which is growing on me now, I am pretty much watching the same shows I have been watching. The new shows out just are not that great. Really Glad CBS picked up Medium this season. Why NBC dropped it is beyond me. Three best shows on TV right now are, NCIS, Criminal Minds and House. Still waiting for some network to one day bring back "The Pretender"
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Oct 09, 2009
I like both the Forgotten and FlashForward. Those two shows have potential. Just give them a chance to develop the action/ story. And if you start comparing one show to another... be careful because a lot of tv-shows that are very popular now are similar to high class shows from the past (eg: X-Files, ER and CSI...are present everywhere). Many tv-shows were very promising and what happened...they lost the flow... So, let's just wait and see.
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Oct 09, 2009
I like "cougar town", it's not an amazing show but it's cool... I also like "flashfoward" but agree with everyone that sais the dialogues are too stiff... I love love love "the good wife" and I've seen plenty of lawyer shows before but I just think this one has something different.. I also think "eastwick" is getting better and better, and I think the best comedy to come out of these new fall shows is "accidentally on purpose", jenna elfman is a great comedy actress.
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Oct 09, 2009
I dislike all the medical shows because I'm sick of being sick of them. The 60's worked with Dr Kildare and others but all the new ones are way to sexual now. Also all the sitcoms are too *cutesy* and disgusting, not even funny in the least. I am running through series that I think are the best out there which was and is Law and Order, CSI Miami (my favorite) along wth CSI NY because I love Sinusi (srry for the spelling) and now have just DVR'd all of the Criminal Minds which I have given a second chance and after I have been able to get over the content which is sometimes so horrific it has turned out to be a great program for me. For fun things I like to watch the celebrity dancing one but my all time favorite show is still and has been Mad Men and Desperate Houswives.
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Oct 09, 2009
I like FlashForward and The Forgotten. I do agree that some of the dialogue in FlashForward has been a bit wooden, though. Still, I'm interested enough in the story to keep watching it.
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Oct 09, 2009
What about Three Rivers???
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Oct 08, 2009
Vampire Diaries is a pleasant surprise. I know its supposed to cater to the young adult audience but I am a 53 year old female and I just love it.
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Oct 08, 2009
I agree with everything, except "bored to death". The pilot was a little weack, but you can still se that it is promesing. The second episode was better. i really like Zach Galifianakis, he make me laugh very hard in "the hangover".
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Oct 08, 2009
what about EASTWICK??? O_O Do you love it, hate it?
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Oct 08, 2009
Flashforward has potential but it hasn't grabbed me the way, say, Fringe did last year. I agree with the comments about The Good Wife, but bet it will stay. I won't be watching though, and all medical shows are off my list, including Three Rivers despite the casting of talented Alex O'Laughlin.
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Oct 08, 2009
The only show I have been able to catch was FlashForward and it was alright, but it does not strike me as something that will last more than a few seasons. Otherwise there was not really anything interesting enough for me to even bother checking it out this fall.
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Oct 08, 2009
Please spare me. Dont Like the Forgoten and Love the family version of the Office (Modern Family)? Who is making these decisions?
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Oct 08, 2009
Ok I enjoy forgotten, Eastwick, Melrose Place, GLEE, Vampire Diaries (even though they went way over with the lead girl who is not blonde) and there are still some older ones I watch heroes, medium, 90210 supernatural, ugly betty, true blood, skins, and would like them to bring back taking the stage. I hope they dont take them off in mid season if they are getting ride of some.
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Oct 08, 2009
I hate all the new shows and stick to watching cable.
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Oct 08, 2009
Cougartown stinks. It is not realistic. I love Jay Leno's show;. He is funny and has great guests. Can't stand that adulterous Letterman. Ghost Whisperer is still so good. Not sure about Flash Forward. Love Medium. The whole family are great actors. I just feel sorry for the Dollhouse woman as she is constantly being abused.



Not interested in Comedy. Like things like Lost annd 24. Like CSI Miami and Desperate Housewives.
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Oct 08, 2009
The only show I see mentioned here that I originally bothered to watch was Cougartown. After one episode, I give it a total "thumbs down". With digital cable, Wednesdays are one of my best nights and I have many "season passes" there as I watch my prime time shows earlier the next day. I'm still catching up with past seasons of Criminal Minds as I only discovered it this year, and the only "reality" I'm interested in is the design of food, clothes or decor! I still have over 100 "season passes" even though some are not showing now, they may come back or influence "suggestions".
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Oct 07, 2009
The only two shows to come out this fall 2009 season that I am even remotely interested in is Trauma and NCIS: LA. All the rest is just garbage. I am so happy that I have a few shows that carried over from previous years like NCIS, CSI-Miami, CSI-NY. I used to really like CSI but since Sara left,and the killing of Warrick, not to mention that Grissom left CSI just isn't the same.
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Oct 07, 2009
What about Vampire Diaries or Eastwick
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Oct 07, 2009
You people are so lame. It's obvious you didn't like Jay Leno before he changed to 10pm. The people who love him STILL love him and are happy to see Jaywallking, Free Photo Booth, Kevin and the band, etc. There are MILLIONS of us who DVR him at 10 and watch him at 11:30pm because that's where he should never have been booted off. The lame-os NEVER got it and cannot BELIEVE Conan hasn't swept him in the ratings. HAH HAH....LONG LIVE LENO!



jojo
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Oct 07, 2009
Many of the new shows are just reworks of prior successes. Mercy is Nurse Jackie/Hawthorne (which is horrible) and is not very well written. Flash Forward has promise; at least it is a new premise. What bothers me is networks dump good shows that are different (but slightly lacking in ratings) to put on new ones that are poor copies of other shows with successful formulas. And please CSI: Miami is so bad. Anyone who doesn't laugh at David Caruso's hideous acting (sunglasses on/close up/clever dialogue) has lost perspective. NBC keeps Law & Order which is the same show week after week and drops shows that are different and well written like Life. It's no wonder people are turning to USA and TNT for entertainment as they are not afraid to give us something new. And enough of the reality shows.
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Oct 07, 2009
How can a person possibly pick worse shows when 3/4 of them are so rotten? TV is nothing but sex in our faces constantly and mostly with that of teens. I call them all trash shows.
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Oct 07, 2009
Flash Forward seems promising...great actors! Glee makes up for my loss of Pushing Daisies...almost. I looked forward to Trauma but it is not nearly as good as Third Watch was. Love NCIS and also NCIS-LA. Linda Hunt is a gem! The Forgotten has a nice altruistic premise. If only there were more people like that and fewer "reality show" types. I try to avoid comedies...to many "angry" comedians. Thanks for the reviews.
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Oct 07, 2009
I LOVE FlashForward - I reckon it should be in the"New shows we love" section
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Oct 07, 2009
Love The Forgotten. Can't stand Glee. A bit too teenagerish for me. Reminds me of the T.V. show "Fame" from back in the 80's. just in a different venue. Flash Forward is just OK so far. Don't care for Good Wife or Couger Town. Trauma has been done before, get's old. Tired of medical dramas. These are the only ones I have seen so far.
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Oct 07, 2009
Glee , it ' s been done , all cliches . Modern Family has potential , especially if they tone the idiot dad married to the cute blond . Cleveland what ' s the point ? Cougartown , how embarrassing .........
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Oct 07, 2009
Love glee. FlashForward is interesting, Eastwick has possibilities and like it so far. Loved Kings, The Philanthropist, and Leverage but 2 of those failed to thrive. My absolute favorite that I watch religiously is Lost---one season to go!!
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Oct 07, 2009
GLEE, FLASHFORWARD and MODERN FAMILY... great shows everyone love. But the same can not be said for MERCY and TRAUMA. Those should be canceled unless NBC will have to find a replacement for ER.
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Oct 07, 2009
add a comment Definitely agree with your" have to goes" but would add Cougar Town & most reality shows ( from other seasons) Also all the rest would be" wait & sees" for me, & I still love Law & Order & L & O SUV with
some of the best writing.
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Oct 07, 2009
Let's start from the top, shall we?
"Glee"-2, maybe 3 openly gay characters...of COURSE Hollywood types would love it (it's just like "Ugly Betty", but with singing!)
"Modern Family"-see above, but without the singing
"Community"-less than not funny, but it has one of everything-AND 'community' has been the hot word since Obambi's been in office, so, again, of course Hollywood types would like it
"Cougar Town"-oooooh...a show about the latest 'trend'. Next.
"FlashForward"-lost me on the second show with all of the exposition. I like my weird show to be weird, not telling me what went on with each character the week before....I watched it, I remember, quit talking to me like I was stupid.
"The Good Wife"-another lawyer show dressed up like a soap opera. Yawn.
"The Middle"-doesn't even look interesting.
"Trauma"-another medical drama. Yawn.

I don't even need to go down the rest of the list. The networks don't get it anymore.
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Oct 07, 2009
the good wife ,,,thumbs down,,, boring lawyer show ncis la ,,, thumbs down,,,,take off doesn't get it
unit ,,, thumbs up,, too bad they replaced it with LA,,unit had everything ,, action ,, drama ,, plot
cleveland show....thumbs down,,,
mercy ,, thumbs down,,, just another hospital show.. house still good..
fringe wearing thin,,,
just my 2 cents
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