AfterElton Fall 2011 TV Guide: We Watch the New Crap So You Don’t Have To!

It’s surprisingly good.

That’s our take on the upcoming fall television season, based on what we’ve seen and
interviews we’ve done about this season’s new programming. There are at least six
shows that look terrific, and at least eight more than have definite potential.

Of course, there are a few stinkers, but that’s to be expected.

And sure, there are a few shows that seem like they’re aping each other: Once
Upon a Time
and Grimm both taking on fairy tales,
and Pan
Am
and The Playboy Club both exploring life in the 1960s. But in each
case, there is one show that is clearly better than the other.

Thankfully, there are only a few remakes – namely, Charlie’s Angels and Prime
Suspect
.

And while the supernatural has long been fodder for TV, this falls continues
the very welcome trend of fantasy becoming more sophisticated, with programming
like A
Gifted Man
and Once Upon a Time aimed squarely at
adult audiences.

The season has one show that everyone’s already talking about: the
time-travel dinosaur show Terra Nova. And there’s one show
that everyone should be talking
about: the brilliant new Sarah Michelle
Gellar
thriller Ringer. Also not to be missed? Claire Danes’ Homeland, the fairy tale retelling Once Upon a Time, and Apartment 23.

So let’s get to it, shall we? Here are our selections for the best – and
worst – of the upcoming fall season:

 

Free Agents (NBC)

What Is It? A remake of the UK workplace comedy about a couple of coworkers who sleep together one drunken night, then try to figure out if they really want to date, all while trying to hide their relationship from everyone at the office. 

When Is It On? The show airs
Wednesdays at 10:30 PM, premiering September 14th.

Should You Watch It? Only if you like bragging about watching shows that were canceled after two episodes. Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, The Bird Cage) is woefully miscast as the show’s love interest and has zero chemistry with co-star Kathryn Hahn. We found the writing to be hackneyed (if you like the above promo pic then you might like the show), and even having out writer/executive producer Todd Holland in charge doesn’t seem to have helped. On the plus side, Holland did tell us that one of the secondary characters might have a gay brother who is as much of a horndog as his straight brother. 

 

Ringer
(The CW)

What Is It? Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s return to television, a dark thriller about a desperate woman who
seeks help from her rich twin sister.

When Is It On? Ringer airs Tuesdays at 9 PM, premiering
September 13th.

Should You Watch It? You’d be
crazy not to. We found this to be the single best new show of the year, a
smart, labyrinthine suspense story unlike anything else on television. It’s
Gellar’s show all the way, and she shines. But a word of warning: ignore all
the other reviews, because the surprises they’ll spoil are exactly what make
this a show worth watching.

And we’ve been told by the show’s out co-creator Eric C. Charmelo to expect a gay
character to emerge later in the season and that not everyone is who or what
they seem.

Hart
of Dixie
(The CW)

What Is It? A soapy drama
starring The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson about a type-A would-be New York
surgeon who is forced to do a year of primary care in a small town in Alabama
whose down-home residents just might teach her a few things about life and love. Friday
Night Light’s
hunky Scott Porter
co-stars.

When Is It On? The show airs
Mondays at 9 PM, premiering September 16th.

Should You Watch It? Only if you
love Seventh
Heaven
and the collected works of Nicholas
Sparks
. Do they grow corn in Alabama?
Either way, they’re sure is plenty of it in this show.

 

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