At Stanford we may be sheltered from the typical signs of a new season – the worsening weather and changing leaves – but the fact remains that autumn is here. And back to school means back to the tube with a host of new TV shows vying for audience ratings and the chance to last a full season and, fingers crossed, a second season renewal. Not all shows make it to sophomore year… A new crop of TV shows means a new crop of characters, worlds and possibility without the security that comes from watching an already well-established show. Intermission has compiled a list of shows not to be missed between frat-part – we mean classes.
“Partners” on CBS
A new comedy by the creators of “Will and Grace,” “Partners” follows the professional and personal relationship of two law partners and longtime best friends: a straight man and a gay man. While we could criticize the creators for tilling similar material for their new show, they are essentially pulling from their own experiences. David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are a straight man and a gay man who have been best friends and professional partners since their teen years. Writing what you know certainly seems to work for these two, and if they can adapt their style to the riskier and raunchier comedic tastes developed by television audiences since their ’90s hit, and avoid some of the overdone stereotypes of gay men on television, the already humorous formula may be just what audiences want.
“The Neighbors” on ABC
Dan Fogelman, the seasoned screenwriter whose repertoire includes “Tangled” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is the creator of this comedy about a human family that moves into Hidden Hills, a suburban neighborhood populated by aliens disguised as Stepford families. The aliens go by the names of professional athletes, bake pies aplenty and occasionally let their green skin out to play. This show looks quirky and different enough to be worth a first watch. And skeptics of the suburban-alien comedy can reference “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “Mork & Mindy” as proof of surprising satisfaction.
“Elementary” on CBS
As in “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Just when you thought the Sherlock revival had run its course, another modern retelling of the Sherlock Holmes saga, with a few changes, peeks over the TV Guide horizon. Set in modern-day New York City, Watson is played by Lucy Liu. Despite criticism for being a rip-off of the excellent BBC miniseries “Sherlock,” (aren’t all remakes rip-offs?), early reviews suggest “Elementary” is a fresh take on both the source material and the procedural format that CBS loves.
This thriller begins with a Navy submarine that refuses to launch a nuclear attack on Pakistan and becomes a target of the U.S. government. Deep, right? The Navy crew forms their own sovereign nation on an island and sets out to discover why America has turned on them and how they can resolve the confusion. In the vein of “Lost,” “Last Resort” is a high-action, high-drama story that, according to early reviews, may be less predictable than most television. Think “Homeland” meets “Lord of the Flies.”
“Revolution” is a post-apocalyptic drama from J.J. Abrams, whose last few shows have been harsh disappointments after “Lost”. Set in an apocalypse-ravaged American landscape where families are separated and technology has stopped working, this show seems like it may be too dark to find a secure American audience in today’s milieu. J.J. Abrams has been successful in the past, though, so maybe his writing will pull through.
A self-aware, awkward comedy created by and starring the hilarious Mindy Kaling, who played Kelly Kapoor in “The Office,” as a romantic comedy-loving, miserably single OB-GYN. “The Mindy Project” is like “New Girl” combined with “Scrubs.” Kaling turns the oft-dry hospital setting into a wealth of hilarity by being highly unprofessional, focused more on her romantic disasters and beauty woes than on things like punctuality and propriety with her patients. Disasters are fun to watch, and it’s about time that Mindy gets to carry her own show.
“Nashville” on ABC
Hayden Panettiere, how we’ve missed you! The “Raising Helen” repeat viewings just weren’t doing it anymore! An aging country music singer and a hot new diva (both blonde) go on tour together, facing off against each other to be the most successful country star. As an exploration of the modern music scene in country music’s capital, this show will have some good music (if you’re into country), and some high drama, between records and musicians and husbands and families. With “Good Christian B*tches” cancelled, “Nashville” will have to quench our thirst for riotous southern ladies. That or “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo!”