One of the things to look forward to every television is the crop of new shows. Unfortunately, that "crop" is usually just a pile of crap. Aside from a couple of lucky ones, most new series won't live to see their first birthday. This season will probably be no different, but we've narrowed down 10 to keep an eye on.
10. Cougar TownABC Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Star power: Courteney Cox as a 40-something single mom
Who to watch for: Dan Byrd (Aliens in America) as her son, Busy Phillips as her hormonally charged friend
Cougar Town comes from the mind of Scrubs' Bill Lawrence, so expect some of the same quick comedy with a familial bent. Cox stars as Jules, a recent divorcee who is on the prowl for a new man. The comedy looks like an ample replacement for the cancelled Samantha Who?, but slightly more crass--which we're all for.
9. ParenthoodNBC, Wednesdays 8 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Star power: Peter Krause as the everyman dad
Who to watch for: Dax Shepard (Idiocracy) as the slacker, Craig T. Nelson as the crazy grandfather
Adapting films for television is never a good idea, but we'll make an exception for Parenthood. Ron Howard's original is a gem, and the with the cast assembled for this hour-long dramedy (Maura Tierney co-stars), Parenthood could be surprisingly tolerable.
8. Past LifeFox Tuesdays, 9 p.m. - 10 p.m. (midseason)
Star power: British actor Nicholas Bishop as the rookie of the team
Who to watch for: Kelli Giddish (All My Children) as the reincarnation-believing hottie
Television producers are running out of ideas to make procedurals around, but Fox got itself an interesting one with Past Life. The team of detectives in this caper taps into people's past lives--spooky!--to fix things in the present.
Star power: Joseph Fiennes, brother of Ralph
Who to watch for: John Cho, a.k.a. Sulu, Harold, and Sonya Walger, a.k.a. Penny from Lost
What the heck is going on in this show? A bunch of people on Earth pass out at the same time and have visions of six months into the future--and things are messed up. If Flash Forward can hook an audience, it can be a big hit. If not, it'll be another The Nine.
6. CommunityNBC Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Star power: Joel McHale (The Soup) as a lawyer who goes to community college to make up some credits
Who to watch for: Chevy Chase as an older pervert, The Daily Show's John Oliver
Joel McHale and Fletch in the same show? Sign us up! McHale winds up going back to school when he discovers he didn't have all the credits he needed to get his law degree, and teams up with a bunch of misfits. In addition to goofy laughs, Community also looks like it has a lot of heart. Could be a sleeper hit.
Star power: Tyler Labine (Reaper) as a conman
Who to watch for: Whoever it is who plays the middle kid
Labine stars as a man who is paid by three kids to act as their dad while their real one is in jail for a white-collar crime. The humor is sharp, and Labine is perfect in the starring role. This should be his breakout role... if the show can stay on the air (and it should).
4. GleeFox Wednesdays, 9 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Star power: None (but that's the point)
Who to watch for: Just about the entire cast
Casting a group of relative unknowns was a conscious decision for Glee's producers. The show is about a group of high-school students that form a glee club, and a famous face would ruin the underdog feel. The show's pilot already aired to much fanfare, and the musical numbers--sung by the actual actors--are currently a hit on iTunes. This one will stick around.
Star power: Ian Somerhalder as the bad vampire
Who to watch for: Paul Wesley as the good vampire
Sure, this is pretty high on the list, but that's only because from a marketing standpoint, it has a chance to be a big hit. Of course, we aren't ruling out that it can be a total dud. But it's got vampires! Hot vampires! And it's on The CW! We're at least expecting a rabid fan base.
2. VNot yet scheduled (midseason) Star power: Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) as an alien butt-kicker (assuming the aliens have butts)
Who to watch for: Scott Wolf (remember him?) and Firefly's Morena Baccarin, the sexiest alien ever!
Memories of the original V are hazy, but it definitely ruled, featured alien women eating rodents, and starred The Beastmaster. This new take on the 1980s mini-series already looks great with its Hollywood-quality special effects and give us our required dose of Lost's Juliet.
Star power: Ummm... does Married With Children's Ed O'Neill count?
Who to watch for: Ty Burrell as the clueless dad Phil
ABC actually showed the entire first episode of Modern Family at its upfront presentation, and it killed... in a good way. Done in mockumentary style, Modern Family follows three very different families that all share one common bond. The humor doesn't pull any punches--it's offensive, crude, but also sharp. The Phil character will be a favorite--mark my word.