2011 Fall Geek TV Preview
Question 1: Do geeks even care about TV seasons? After all, we can just watch a Star Trek episode for the hundredth time, and there’s always anime we haven’t seen.
Answer 1: Yes. We like novelty. We’ll wait in line for a week to be the first person to see something. We’ll crowd into a convention ballroom to get a sneak peek at something that might not even get made.
Question 2: Is Fall still the big season for TV?
Answer 2: That’s a bit trickier. Just as geek movies often rule the summer box office, geek TV gets good when all those mainstream folks indulge in all that solar radiation…you know, running around, camping…yuck. 😉 This summer, we got Alphas, Death Valley, Doctor Who on BBC America, the surprisingly good Teen Wolf, Paranormal Challenge, the new Thundercats, new episodes of True Blood and Game of Thrones…it goes on. Fall is when everybody comes back inside and watches TV…do we care when everybody else cares? The answer is…yes. Doctor Who once said that everything is important, and we always care. There is still a certain cachet to being a fall series on a major network.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some of the shows debuting this fall.
Ringer (the CW, 9pm)
This one stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, a definite geek hero (and not just for Buffy). She plays twins. Geeks will give it a shot, and it will probably debut pretty well. I’m just not sure how well the idea is going to sustain over time.
The return of the Vampire Diaries (the CW, 8pm)
Angels Among Us (CMT, 8pm)
Elizabeth Hasselback hosts a show that presents reports of angelic activity.
The Secret Circle (the CW, 9pm)
From the folks who bring you The Vampire Diaries, it’s a “discovered destiny” series with a teenaged witch
Start of a three-week run of new episodes of Archer, arguably the best show on television (FX, 10:30 PM)
The return of Castle (ABC, 8pm)
Unforgettable (CBS, 10pm)
This is arguably a superhero show, with Poppy Montgomery as a crime solver with “Superior Autobiographical Memory”…a real thing. She can “re-see” anything she’s experienced before…correctly. The idea is likely to be that she sees things that have no significance to her at the time, but that she can recall again later when it is important. I’m reasonably sure that there will be a “Hulk-out” type rule…Bill Bixby had to become the Hulk in every episode, and I think we’ll see a stylized version of her going back in her memory every episode. This is just going to depend on how well it is done, but I think we can all relate to the significance of information being hard to find in overwhelming amounts of data. This character’s life is like what the rest of us experience on the internet. 😉
The return of The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8pm)
Charlie’s Angels (ABC, 8pm)
Good luck with this one. Drew Barrymore made it work on the big screen, and is an executive producer on this version. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar of Smallville are writing. Still, it’s going to depend to some extent on the charisma of the stars…and they are going to have to be truly distinct stars from what else we see on TV. That’s going to be the challenge.
Person of Interest (CBS, 9pm)
This one can’t avoid being a cult favorite. Michael Emerson of Lost is a tech genius and Jim Caviezel is the action guy. Emerson predicts trouble…Caviezel stops it. Maybe sort like Minority Report, but it sounds more like Early Edition…with guns. I think this could be quite good…
The return of The Mentalist (CBS 10pm)
A Gifted Man (CBS, 8pm)
Topper in a hospital, apparently. I’m always willing to give a show a shot, but I have my doubts about this one.
The return of Nikita (the CW, 8pm)
The return of Fringe (Fox, 9pm)
The return of Supernatural (the CW, 9pm)
The Dead Files (The Travel Channel, 10pm)
Paranormal reality show
The Nerdist (BBC America, 10pm)
Chris Hardwick brings his popular blog to TV as a chat show
The return of The Simpsons (Fox, 8pm)
The return of Family Guy (Fox 9pm)
The return of American Dad (Fox, 9:30pm)
Long Island Medium (The Learning Channel, 10pm): reality show with medium Theresa Caputo
Terra Nova (Fox, 8pm)
The big (read expensive) time travel/dinosaurs series from Steven Spielberg. I think Spielberg has made some of the greatest movies ever, but the fact that he’s involved with a TV show isn’t a plus for me. That doesn’t mean I won’t watch it, of course, but nobody’s clamoring to make a movie out of Earth 2, Amazing Stories, or SeaQuest 2032. However, he may be getting better at it (Falling Skies was okay), and cartoons are a different story (Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, for example). I just don’t think this one is going to really engage the general public and last multiple seasons. I could always be wrong, though.
Bedlam (BBC America, 10pm)
A haunted apartment complex…and we do like those British fantasy shows.
The return of Dexter (Showtime, 9pm)
American Horror Story (Fox, 10pm)
This may get the most geek love this season. Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) and Brad Falchuk (Nip/Tuck) produce. Actors include Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek), Jessica Lange, Jamie Harris (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and a host of others. The publicity has been distinctive and quirky. This one won’t be able to avoid fanfic and fan clubs…whether or not it hits with the mainstream.
Penn & Teller Tell a Lie (Discovery, 10pm)
The magicians present true weird facts and a faked demonstration…and the home audience tries to pick which is which.
The return of Sanctuary (Syfy, 10pm)
The return of Psych (USA, 10pm): this season’s guest stars include William Shatner!
The return of The Walking Dead (AMC, 9pm) 2nd season, new show runner
The return of Chuck (NBC, 8pm)
Grimm (NBC, 8pm)
Sounds sort of like Men in Black with fairy tale characters. That whole “fairy tale trend” hasn’t really made it to the ball, yet (see Beastly and Red Riding Hood…hey, the odds are you haven’t seen them yet). It’s possible that this is just too soon, and that the two Snow White movies will ramp it up…but that could be too late for this one.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8pm)
This is another fairy tale show, but has the advantage of being on Disney-owned ABC. It also sounds like a clever premise. I think it will outlast Grimm, but I wouldn’t count on a happily ever after (read: renewal).
The return of Beavis and Butt-Head (MTV, 10pm)…hey, it worked for Futurama.
The return of Bones (Fox, 9pm)
This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.