Families take center stage this fall, in all of their blended, mixed-up, mismatched permutations.
It’s a 2012 twist on The Odd Couple, when the logical, straight-laced Joe (David Krumholtz) goes into business at an architectural firm with his impulsive best friend, Louis (Michael Urie). Only you have to add their significant others, Ali (Sophia Bush) and Wyatt (Brandon Routh), into the mix, so it’s more like an odd quartet.
The Mob Doctor
Heart transplants, lung donations, taking bullets from dead bodies, ditching evidence—it’s all in a day’s work, right? At least that’s the case for Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro), respected surgeon by day, on call to the mob by night. The series just shows that you can take the girl out of the South Side of Chicago, but you can’t make the mob forget about her brother’s gambling debts.
Photo by Bob Mahoney/NBC
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Ben and Kate
A bunch of new series this season examine the different combinations of people that make up a family—so why not have a show about two siblings, the titular Ben (Nat Faxon) and Kate (Dakota Johnson), co-parenting a five-year-old? And it wouldn’t be a sitcom unless their personalities were hilariously mismatched, with Kate being a methodical planner, and Ben being an impulsive whirlwind. The show comes from Executive Producer Jake Kasdan, who had one of the biggest hits of last season with Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl.
Emily Owens, MD
While watching all the doctor dramas out there, did you ever get the feeling that you were really watching a show about high school? At least Emily Owens, MD admits the similarities outright. The show follows Owens (Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep’s daughter), a former high-school-geek-turned-surgeon who runs into her high-school rival as an intern at her new hospital. Turns out that working at the hospital and high school are more similar than either of them realizes.
Sitcom staple Matthew Perry returns to NBC, though, unlike Friends, this time his show has a premise that isn’t quite so carefree. He plays Ryan King, a radio host who’s forced to take time off and deal with the death of his wife. But that doesn’t mean Perry has lost his sarcastic edge; almost immediately, he goes all Randle McMurphy on his support group, so you know he can still wield his smarmy charm.
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling has been racking up the laughs as Kelly Kapoor on The Office and as the author of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, so it was only a matter of time before she starred in her own sitcom. The Mindy Project is her own brand of romantic comedy, and she plays an OB/GYN trying to ditch her twenty-something habits, grow up, and find her perfect man. Judging by how much she makes us laugh, we say any guy would be lucky to have her.
The New Normal
There’s Bryan, there’s David, and the baby makes, well, in this case, five. In this sitcom, a gay couple hire a surrogate to carry their child, prompting her move from the Midwest to LA with her eight-year-old daughter in tow. The show comes from creator Ryan Murphy, who’s already made TV lightning strike twice with hits Glee and American Horror Story, though this show is absent any singing or leather-bound creepies.
Take Las Vegas, Bugsy, Justified, and Mad Men, throw them in a blender, and out comes Vegas—a period-piece, Western-ish, crime drama set in Sin City. Taking place in Las Vegas and its outskirts in the 1960s, the show stars Dennis Quaid as Ralph Lamb, a cowboy-hat-wearing rancher who gets roped into becoming sheriff. He clashes with a mobster tough guy played by The Shield’s Michael Chiklis. It would sound like a mash-up of too many genres—if it weren’t based on a true story.
Think of it as House—a prickly, selfish doctor who has romantic issues with his boss—only the patients are a lot furrier. Weeds’s Justin Kirk plays George Coleman, a brilliant, single vet who doesn’t always have the best of intentions for the owners—or the practice owner, an ex. And, while he may get a lot of laughs, Kirk is in serious danger of being upstaged by one of his costars, Dr. Zaius—a capuchin monkey.
Superheroes and comic book characters are fodder for big hits these days—remember the pile of cash that The Avengers raked in this summer?—and the CW is making sure the big screen doesn’t get all the fun. Based on DC Comic’s Green Arrow character—not to be confused with the Green Lantern or the Green Hornet—Arrow has all of the makings of a classic comic serial: a billionaire, a taste for vigilante justice, a secret identity, a city in need of some cleaning up, and a love interest with an alliterative name (Laurel Lance, played by Katie Cassidy).
Guys with Kids
A single dad, a working dad, and a stay-at-home dad all walk into a bar—all with their kids strapped into pouches on their chests. If that sounds like the setup for a good punchline to you, Guys with Kids has more jokes for you about fatherhood and all its not-quite-glorious glory. Saturday Night Live alum and Hudson Valley native Jimmy Fallon is the show’s creator and executive producer.
Poor Weaver family. They think they’re moving to a nice suburb, but instead they find themselves in a town that’s a thousand times stranger than a Stepford village—their neighbors are all aliens from the planet Zabvron. But, hey, they’re just trying to get by and raise their children in a nice community like the rest of the humans. Will Westchesterites be able to relate to the Zabvronians?
It seems like cops get all the TV glory. Now, firefighters are finally getting their due (with some paramedics thrown in for good measure) with this drama, which follows the action of Chicago Firehouse 51. And, for those of you who do like a good cop drama after all—especially Law & Order fans—you’ll be pleased to know the series comes from legendary L&O creator Dick Wolf.
Country music and melodrama go hand-in-hand, and Nashville gives soapy stories a country twang. The series follows a recently peaked country music star (Connie Britton) as her label forces her to go on tour opening up for a crossover ingénue (Palisades native Hayden Panettiere). The executive producer of the series knows a thing or two about country-strong women—she wrote Thelma & Louise.
If what you miss most about Lost is the island setting, you’re in luck. Last Resort is also about an island of survivors, only, in this case, it’s the remaining crew of the US Colorado, a submarine that, after it refuses to fire a nuclear missile on Pakistan, is attacked by the rest of the US military. The drama finds them taking refuge on an island, still under attack from their own country, figuring out their next move—and did we mention they still have their nukes?
Beauty and the Beast
As evidenced by the two Snow White-related movies that came out this year—not to mention Once Upon a Time, one of the biggest hits of last year—fairy-tale adaptations are in vogue. The CW turns its attention from Snow White to Beauty and the Beast, with a modern-day twist on the classic story. The main character is a detective, Catherine Chandler (Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk), who discovers Vincent (Jay Ryan), a man who turns into a monster when he gets angry—perhaps they should’ve called it Beauty and the Hulk.
We’ve had a run of Sherlock Holmes recently, from Robert Downey, Jr.’s macho version in Guy Richie’s movies to Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern-day take on PBS’s Sherlock. Now Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) is throwing his hat into the ring as well. His Sherlock is another update, with the master detective finding himself post-rehab and bringing his elementary skills to present-day New York City. Lucy Liu steps into the role as his right-hand woman (and sober companion), Joan Watson.
No, it’s not quite The Beverly Hillbillies, but it is about a country girl from Nashville going off to live in Los Angeles. Reba Gallagher (Reba McEntire) is a country singer who finds out her husband is cheating on her—and, not being one of those stand-by-your-man singers, she packs up her family and moves to sunnier climes. And, while Reba has had small-screen success before, we were most excited to find out that Lily Tomlin co-stars on the show as Reba’s mother.
Made in Jersey
From Boardwalk Empire to Jersey Shore, our neighbor to the southwest is having a pop-cultural moment. This show follows Martina Garretti, a newly minted lawyer who, like fellow Jersey heroine Stephanie Plum, uses her blue-collar street smarts to get to the bottom of her cases. Star Janet Montgomery has her work cut out for her, though—not only is she not a Jersey native, she’s not even from the United States, and she has to use a thick Jersey accent to cover up her natural British one.
666 Park Avenue
Admit it: You envied Rosemary (Mia Farrow) in Rosemary’s Baby, even for a second, for her swanky pad in the Bramford (which was actually the Dakota). If so, you might be interested in the goings-on at 666 Park Avenue. Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable) are idealistic Midwesterners who are called in to manage the enviable Manhattan apartment building—but it means entering into a pact with the sinister owner (Terry O’Quinn) and his creepy wife—who, bonus, is played by Chappaqua neighbor Vanessa Williams.