The Best and Worst New Shows of Fall 2010

Welcome to Premiere Week 2010! You are about to be drowning in a ton of new shows, and navigating those tricky waters can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we've seen the pilots of the most of the networks' new offerings and can tell you which ones are worth watching. We'll even give you two different opinions of each show to help you figure out what suits you best. (The video previews may take a few moments to load.)

Better With You

Wednesday, September 22 at 8:30pm on ABC
Relationships are put under the microscope in this sitcom, as Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) is perfectly content in her nine-year unmarried coupledom. But when her younger sis Mia (Joanna Garcia) announces she's pregnant and getting hitched, Maddie wonders if her own relationship is up to par.

Didn't Like It:
Did you know that new relationships are different from long-lasting relationships? Because Better With You will drill that
into your head until your nose bleeds.
Just another network romantic comedy with a laugh track.—Tim Surette
Didn't Like It:
ABC struck gold last year with the trifecta of Modern Family, Cougar Town, and
The Middle... but it seems they've extracted all they can out of their once-rich comedy vein. Better with You's bland writing does no justice to the talents of its stars, which in addition to Garcia include Debra Jo Rupp.—Stefanie Lee

Blue Bloods

Friday, September 24 at 10pm on CBS
Multiple generations of New York City cops fight with each other at work and at home in this CBS drama. Dad (Tom Selleck) is the police commissioner, son Danny (Donny Wahlberg) is a detective, daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an ADA, and other son Jamie (Will Estes) is a beat cop. That's a lotta donuts.

Liked it:
This series has the right ingredients to
be a riveting NYC crime-fighting and law drama, especially with its solid casting
of a particularly stoic Selleck and
loose-cannon Wahlberg. Let's hope they continue to explore the family and potential conspiracy plotlines of the pilot rather than appeal to the masses with
the tired procedural angle.
—Ilana Diamond
Liked lt:
This one's got real potential; it kind of feels like a more serious version of Parenthood. The characters all seem interesting right off the bat, and the "twist" in the last few minutes of the pilot already has me looking forward to Episode 2. Ilana's right: As long as the case-of-the-week stuff doesn't get in the way, Blue Bloods could be hit.—Jen Trolio

Boardwalk Empire

Monday, September 19 at 9pm on HBO
Martin Scorsese is behind this latest epic HBO production, and that's a good thing since its subject matter—gangsters—is right in his wheelhouse. Set in Atlantic City during the Prohibition Era, this heavy drama follows the development of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) from politician to dirty crime boss.

Liked It:
The great Scorcese does television. Buscemi plays the lead role, and Omar from The Wire plays a character called Chalky White. 'Nuf said.—Ilana Diamond
Liked It:
As its creators' credits probably foretold, Boardwalk Empire feels like Goodfellas meets The Sopranos... in the Roaring 20s. Buscemi's character promises to be quite the badass, and the pilot is compelling. Plus, the production values of this period piece are sky-high: If you're fan of Mad Men's true-to-their-time sets and costumes, you'll love the show's depiction of Prohibition-era Atlantic City.—Jen Trolio


Monday, September 20 at 10pm on NBC
A female U.S. Marshal (All My Children's Kelli Giddish) hunts down fugitives in South Texas with her crack team of baddie-catchers in this new procedural from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

It's Okay:
I'm impressed with the stunts, and it's pretty awesome that Giddish gets to kick so much ass. But is that enough to compel me to watch every week?
Not really.—Ilana Diamond
It's Okay:
The show is entertaining enough if you've got an hour to kill, and the pilot delivers plenty of the chase scenes alluded to in the title, but it seems a bit too heavy on the "get inside the mind of your target" shtick. Ultimately, it's forgettable.
—Jen Trolio

The Defenders

Wednesday, September 22 at 10pm on CBS
Heeeeeee's baaaaaack! Jim Belushi returns to television, somehow, to lead this light-hearted legal drama. He teams up with Jerry O'Connell as a pair of street-wise lawyers who go all out for the little guys in Las Vegas.

Liked It:
A surprisingly watchable show starring
Jim Belushi? Yep, I was floored too.
But this is Belushi as Belushi should be:
a shifty, crafty defense attorney in Las Vegas. The attitude is right for the
show—not too light, not too dark. And Natalie Zea is always welcome on my television.—Tim Surette
Liked It:
Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell were cast against their types in this new buddy-lawyer show, with Belushi as the curmudgeon and O'Connell as the goofball, and you know what? It totally works. Who knew these two would have such great chemistry?—Stefanie Lee

Detroit 1-8-7

Tuesday, September 21 at 10pm on ABC
This drama started out as a mockumentary that follows homicide investigators as they solve murders in crime-ridden Detroit (that format has since been dropped). The police force has a stunning spectrum of rookies and vets from various backgrounds, which conveniently gives us different perspectives. Expect crime-cracking and old detectives not liking their new partners until they prove themselves in the field.

Liked It:
If you've been a Michael Imperioli fan since his Sopranos days, you'll be pleasantly surprised to see him as Louis Fitch, a very introverted and difficult, but good-hearted, detective on this new cop drama. As long as ABC smoothes out
the Detroit references and decides what
to do about the documentary format, they'll have a hit.—Stefanie Lee
It's Okay:
Didn't ABC already try something like this with the flat-footed The Unusuals? Well, Detroit 1-8-7 might be slightly better than that ill-conceived series. Its attempts at grittiness with bleeped-out street talk is a plus, as are Imperioli and newcomer Jon Michael Hill. But when it comes down to it, it's pretty much just another decent cop show.—Tim Surette

NEXT: The Event, Hawaii Five-0, and Lone Star

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Welcome to Premiere Week 2010! You are about to be drowning in a ton of new shows, and navigating those tricky waters can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we've seen the pilots of the most of the networks' new offerings and can tell you which ones are worth watching. We'll even give you two different opinions of each show to help you figure out what suits you best. (The video previews may take a few moments to load.)

The Event

Monday, September 20 at 9pm on NBC
There's an event going on, but we're not sure what it is in this curious blend of political thriller, action drama, and sci-fi puzzle. What we do know is that there will be a huge government cover-up, an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, and more questions answered than in Lost.

Liked It:
The pilot busts in like a bat out o' hell
and finishes with a supreme WTF moment. After one episode, The Event
is looking like the next must-see mystery thriller on television. It's like 24 meets
Lost meets Damages.—Tim Surette
Liked It:
The pilot contains a dangerous plane situation, a potentially supernatural occurrence, lots of explosions, a tropical island, and a very attractive ensemble cast. Sounds good to me! I never cared much for Lost anyway.—Stefanie Lee

Hawaii Five-0

Monday, September 20 at 10pm on CBS
Yes, the name sounds familiar. But this reboot of the classic series is a new take on the original, starring Alex O'Loughlin as the new Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan as Danno. Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park round out the cast.

Liked It:
O'Loughlin and Kim are hot, Caan and Park are super hot, and Hawaii provides one of the best backdrops a TV series could ask for. Combine them all with the sensibility of The Unit and you have the makings of a compelling action series. The pilot left me wanting more.
—Walter Morbeck
It's Okay:
It's a really fun ride, but one that's riddled with cliches and clunky exposition. Expect slick CBS-style procedural editing (which is a plus as they use Hawaii to the max, dude) and some surprisingly well-placed humor. However, if you're looking for a challenge, look elsewhere.—Tim Surette

Lone Star

Monday, September 20 at 9pm on Fox
Con man Bob (newcomer James Wolk) is working two grifts in Texas, and both of them involve lying to (and loving) two women (Adrianne Palicki and Eloise Mumford). But Bob doesn't want to con anymore, and that doesn't sit well with his dad (David Keith), who's been counting on using the scheme to set up a permanent vacation.

Liked It:
The best pilot I've seen this season.
Wolk is perfectly cast—how can you NOT trust that cherubic face? A drama about trust, deception, and the desire to throw everything away for a chance at a better life. The only problem: It might be too good for network TV.—Tim Surette
Liked It:
For one thing, James Wolk is cute, cute, cute. And he not only plays a convincing con, but a convincing (and not cheesy!) guy-who's-genuinely-in-love-with-two women. Between the great cast and the fresh storyline, there's nothing about the pilot that's not compelling. Bonus: The show's got a really good soundtrack, too.—Jen Trolio

Mike & Molly

Wednesday, September 22 at 8:30pm on ABC
Chuck Lorre's latest is a Chicago-set comedy featuring two Overeaters Anonymous members who fall for each other. Mike (Billy Gardell) is a cop looking to lose weight and Molly (Melissa McCarthy) is a fourth-grade teacher who likes her curves. Expect three times the daily allowance of fat jokes. Think The Biggest Loser eats King of Queens.

Liked it:
Two overweight people looking for that special someone happen upon each
other in an unlikely setting and it's love
at first sight. Not the most revolutionary scenario, but a perfectly charming and funny cast makes this an easily likable comedy. Special shout-out to Mike's cop partner Carl, played by Reno Wilson,
who nearly steals every scene.
—Walter Morbeck
Liked It:
I was surprised by how much I didn't hate this show. The two leads are great together, and the humor is playful instead of insensitive. Plus, I'm a sucker for fat jokes, and they're Good & Plenty. It's not edgy, but should fit well with CBS' other laughers. If you're a fan of Lorre's other shows, you'll want seconds.—Tim Surette

My Generation

Thursday, September 23 at 8:00pm on ABC
This mockumentary-style dramedy follows a group of young adults who were first filmed as high-school archetypes (the Beauty Queen, the Jock, etc.) when they were seniors in the Class of 2000. Now, in 2010, they reunite and everyone finds out that "things don't always go as planned." Think The Breakfast Club meets The Big Chill (minus the funeral).

Liked It:
It's a basic story (a drama about what happened to a group of high-school seniors ten years later), told in a fascinating way (documentary-style,
with flashbacks) by a cast full of
no-names (the most recognizable are
Jaime King and Mehcad Brooks). What can I say? I'm hooked.—Stefanie Lee
It's Okay:
The this-was-your-life-and-where-are-you-now? documentary format is unique and surprisingly compelling. The characters border on cliches, but because there are enough of them—with the potential for at least some of them to be interesting—that I might see this one through.—Ilana Diamond

No Ordinary Family

Tuesday, September 28 at 8:00pm on ABC
A normal family winds up with superpowers after their family vacation to South America ends in a plane crash in the Amazon. Each family member gains a special power (which we won't spoil here) and dad Jim (Michael Chiklis), a police sketch-artist, decides to use his to fight crime. Expect good (and bad) special effects and some documentary-style interviews. Think Modern Family meets Heroes.

Didn't Like It:
Doesn't offer anything you wouldn't expect. The story feels like it was rushed into production and is incredibly simple
for such a potentially mind-blowing premise. There's some promise on the horizon, but that's what we all thought about Heroes, too.—Tim Surette
It's Okay:
Honestly, I'm just happy to see Julie Benz playing a character who is alive, and Michael Chiklis playing a character who has a sense of humor. The kid actors are annoyingly bland, but Benz and Chiklis carry the show with their awesome superpowers. Literally. Plus, Romany Malco and Autumn Reeser!—Stefanie Lee

NEXT: Outsourced, Running Wilde, and Undercovers

----------------------------------- PAGE 3 -----------------------------------

Welcome to Premiere Week 2010! You are about to be drowning in a ton of new shows, and navigating those tricky waters can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we've seen the pilots of the most of the networks' new offerings and can tell you which ones are worth watching. We'll even give you two different opinions of each show to help you figure out what suits you best. (The video previews may take a few moments to load.)


Friday, September 17 at 9:00pm on NBC
A Supreme Court judge (Jimmy Smits) decides he's had enough of the inefficient legal system and quits his job... to start an independent law firm. As good as he is at helping the underdog, he's even better at being a gambling playboy.

Didn't Like It:
Smits plays a cocky lawyer badly and
puts together an unnecessarily goofy
and rag-tag team to help him. This show can't decide what it wants to be, and neither one of the apparent options—a weak law procedural or another drama about a commitment-phobic man—is appealing.—Ilana Diamond
Didn't Like It:
Smits' character is loud, brash, and annoying. How did he get to be a Supreme Court Judge anyway? It's a character drama without a good character and a legal drama without good legal sense. I object to this being on TV!
—Tim Surette


Thursday, September 23 at 9:30pm on NBC
In order to save his job (and pay off the ever-present student loans), 25-year-old Todd heads over to India to run the outsourced call center of an American novelty gifts mail-order company. With all the top-tier Indian phone jockeys assigned to Microsoft, Intel, and other blue-chippers, Todd gets a motley group of Indians who don't understand American values. Expect racist slaps on the wrist and a curry-soaked Police Academy.

Didn't Like It:
I don't think I've ever hated a show as much as I hate Outsourced. The humor
is embarrassingly racist, the characters are stereotypes, and the premise is uncomfortable. And how dare NBC
delay our weekly dosage of Ron Swanson!—Stefanie Lee
Didn't Like It:
Complete and absolute garbage. I'm that much stupider for having seen it.
—Tim Surette

Raising Hope

My Name is Earl creator Greg Garcia returns with more red necks in this goofball family comedy. Jimmy (Lucas Neff) knocks up a fun-loving woman who turns out to be a convict and gets the electric chair just over nine months later. The baby becomes Jimmy's responsibility, but he has no idea how to raise it.

Liked It:
The casting is smart, with two veterans (Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman) alongside refreshing newbie Neff. It's like watching a Coen brothers movie with a good heaping of warm fuzziness and TV-approachability.—Ilana Diamond
Didn't Like It:
I liked My Name is Earl, but this comedy returns to the same setting with less-interesting characters. Checking off names from Earl's karma list was funny; watching a buffoon repeatedly make silly mistakes about raising a baby is not.
—Tim Surette

Running Wilde

Tuesday, September 21 at 9:30pm on Fox
Snooty rich guy Steve (Will Arnett) falls for eco-activist Emmy (Keri Russell) in this oddball comedy. The main play here will be Steve's arrogance and selfishness butting heads with Emmy's genuine concern for all things green. David Cross also stars.

Didn't Like It:
There's lots of potential here, especially with two of the funnier people in the business, but the pilot I saw (which was shot before Cross joined) favored
unfunny kookiness over actual comedy.
I'll give it another shot because of the talent, but it's on a short leash.
—Tim Surette
Didn't Like It:
I want to like this show so badly, since it's got Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz behind the scenes and stars Arnett and Cross in front of the camera. But Running Wilde is an empty, weird shell of a sitcom. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it gets better with time.
—Stefanie Lee

S#!t My Dad Says

Thursday, September 23 at 8:30pm on CBS
Based on the Twitter account of a man who started tweeting the amusing things his cranky old dad said, S#!t follows a young man named Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) who moves in with his cranky old dad, Ed (William Shatner). (Note: These reviews are based on the original pilot, which did not include Sadowski.)

Liked it:
Shatner is funny, the cast is likable (and familiar, say hello to two MADtv alums), and the inspiration couldn't be more up-to-date (Twitter!). The one-liners fly from Shatner's mouth with ease—he is, after all, a seasoned veteran. I'm sure
the cast and writers will find their footing
in the re-shot pilot.—Walter Morbeck
Didn't Like It:
It's what you would expect from a show based on a Twitter feed: half-baked and too reliant on a single joke that's repeated ad nauseam. Yeah, we get it, he's a cranky old man. I'd be surprised (and disappointed in our society) if this made it through its first season.—Tim Surette


Wednesday, September 22 at 8:00pm on NBC
Super-producer J.J. Abrams' latest will remind you of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and it should. A husband (Boris Kodjoe) and wife (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) both work as spies in this light action-drama. Don't expect the typical mind-benders you're used to from Abrams; this is his fun show.

Didn't Like It:
Despite having great components, Undercovers doesn't work as a whole.
It's too light to be taken seriously, and
not fun enough to be casually enjoyed. There's potential for week-to-week adventure, and knowing that Abrams is behind it, the show could develop into something enjoyable. But it isn't
there yet.—Tim Surette
It's Okay:
You'd think with a creator like J.J. Abrams, sexy stars like Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, genuine chemistry between them, and a legitimately funny sidekick (Ben Schwartz), this show would be a guaranteed hit. But there's something off about this great-on-paper couples caper show.—Stefanie Lee

The Whole Truth

Wednesday, September 22 at 10:00pm on ABC
Two lawyers who knew each other in law school go head-to-head in cases as prosecutor and defense attorney in New York City. The draw here is that each case is shown from both sides, so you can be the judge too. Stars Rob Morrow and
Maura Tierney.

Who knows?
We're still waiting for ABC to send us a screener for this one. Stay tuned!

Which new shows are you planning to watch during Premiere Week?

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