In looking over the slate of new TV shows for the fall 2012 season, your faithful TV Nerd is forced to make an uncomfortable realization. There just isn’t that much on anymore that interests me. After a couple of seasons of bland, lackluster new shows, most of which were summarily and immediately canceled, this season’s new fare doesn’t seem any more exciting. I can remember not that long ago how I used to have to make sure I had my DVR programmed — or a tape in my VCR ready to record! — because there was so much on I wanted to see, often in simultaneous time slots, that I didn’t want to miss anything. Now? Not so much. So here’s what my rather sparse viewing schedule will look like this fall, day by day, broken down into returning and new programs.
Returning programs: The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Cleveland Show (all Fox) remain on my list, though each is noticeably aging. I think The Simpsons had a bit of a creative resurgence recently, and for a show that’s well past twenty years old now it’s still pretty funny, but yeah, it ain’t what it used to be. I would watch The Mentalist (CBS) on this new night, too, if CBS would pull its head out of its ass and allow the show to stream on Hulu, or anywhere for that matter (I no longer have cable and don’t watch TV programs immediately upon airing anymore). Alas, I may just have to let The Mentalist go. Not a huge loss, but I did enjoy the show. I’ll be tuning in again to The Walking Dead (AMC), too, in the hopes that this season is a little more active, and makes a little more sense, than last season.
New programs: 666 Park Avenue (ABC) might be fun, or it might be ridiculous. I’m willing to watch the first episode and see. I suspect it’s going to be something like Fantasy Island, where some new schmoe makes a deal with Terry O’Quinn’s devil every week and then gets sucked screaming into the apartment building’s walls, only with recurring characters who also live there and eventually attempt to investigate the weirdness around them, all in a glitzy, chic, upscale New York City setting. So, Fantasy Island meets The Devil’s Advocate, I guess.
Returning programs: I’m a new convert to How I Met Your Mother (CBS) and am eagerly awaiting the new season, which might be its last (just tell us how you met her already!). There’s also Bones (Fox), which I can take or leave but Alexa is big into. Me, I don’t understand the characters at all. Especially Booth. He’s such a whiny baby. And of course it’s not Monday night without Castle (ABC)!
New programs: None.
Returning programs: None.
New programs: I caught a sneak preview of The Mindy Project (Fox) and thought it was cute and surprisingly frank about the main character’s self-damaging romantic preconceptions, so I’ll keep watching it until it gets inevitably retooled into a boyfriend-of-the-week rom-com disaster.
Returning programs: Gotta have me some Modern Family (ABC). Can’t wait for big fan Ann Romney to cameo! Until then, there’s also American Horror Story: Asylum (FX). I’m intrigued by the brand new setting for the second season, and by the idea of using many of the same actors from the first season in new roles like some kind of stock troupe, a concept I resisted at first. Now I’m eager to see what they do with it. Plus, Jessica Lange.
New programs: Okay, so call me a fool, but I’ll give Arrow (The CW) a try. I’m not a huge fan of DC’s Green Arrow or anything, but I still have mostly fond memories of Smallville, despite its last couple of seasons, and I suppose that’s translating into interest in Arrow. Part of me is already convinced it won’t be any good, though. We’ll see.
Side note: I saw a sneak preview of Animal Practice (NBC), a new sitcom about doctors at an animal hospital, and barely made it to the first commercial break. It’s one of those comedies that tries so hard to be zany (the main doctor has a precocious pet monkey! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) that all the jokes just feel flat and forced. Avoid.
Returning programs: I’m all confused, because Thursdays used to be about my NBC comedies. But now they’ve moved Community to Fridays for some reason. Also for reasons I don’t understand The Office is still on the air, even though half the cast is leaving — the ones that haven’t left already — and it hasn’t been funny in at least two years. But at least my beloved 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation are still on! Yay! Alas, it’s been announced that this will be 30 Rock‘s final season. Booo! I’m going to need a new prescription from Dr. Spaceman to deal with that.
New programs: Elementary (CBS) is yet another new take on Sherlock Holmes in a field already crowded with them (the Robert Downey, Jr. movies; the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch), and it’s already handicapped in my mind by moving the quintessentially British detective across the pond to New York City, but I’m just intrigued enough to give it a try.
Returning programs: So yeah, this is Community‘s (NBC) new night. It’s like they’re trying to kill the show quietly or something, except they already fired the creator and showrunner in a manner that went public — and viral — very quickly, so maybe the “quietly” thing is wishful thinking. It’s a shame. I’ve really grown to love this show. Inspector Spacetime forever!
New programs: None.
There are 104 new shows premiering this fall, and only 4 of them look appealing to me. That doesn’t bode well at all. I get the feeling that one day soon your faithful TV Nerd will have to change his title to the “Remember When There Was Good TV?” Nerd.
How about you? What, if anything, will you be watching this fall?