Posted on September 15, 2011
Best TV Shows of Fall 2011
Since my Best TV Shows of Summer 2011 post was helpful to both myself and many others I thought that it would be a good idea to share my fall TV picks with you as well. Use it to set up your DVR, Hulu playlist, etc. This is long but I like to do things as comprehensively as possible. I do not have any pull so my opinion of new shows is based primarily on the teaser material available to everyone.
*Clicking the series title will take you to the show’s official site.
*To go check on a specific day or genre (ex. Monday or sitcom) you can do a quick Ctrl F search.
The Cleveland Show-Sundays 7:30PM ET FOX (09/25) *animated*, *sitcom*
The Cleveland Show is the spin off of Seth MacFarlane’s hugely successful Family Guy. If you enjoy the harsh comedy of Family Guy you should definitely check it out. It’s about Cleveland Brown who got back together with an ex from high school and is helping her raise her children. He usually came across as the nicer friend on Family Guy but gets to be a bit meaner on here. His best friends are loser rednecks (including the voice talents of Jason Sudeikis) and a bear. A neat thing about this comedy is that the women are shown as angry and dramatic in a way that is usually steered clear of by other shows.
The Simpsons-Sundays 8PM ET FOX (09/25) *animated*, *sitcom*
I’m sure that you are aware of The Simpsons, which is the longest running animated comedy out there. It’s a personal favorite of mine. I know that it gets criticized in the way that SNL does of “it’s not as funny as it was” but you have to realize that a show will not always be the same. I love the experimental creative leaps they’ve taken in some episodes over the last few years. Of course the show is about the dysfunctional Simpsons family.
Most of the time, excluding the Who Shot Mr. Burns? arc years back, the show doesn’t do cliffhangers. However during the last season finale Ned started seeing Edna. Over the summer Fox did a Pro Nedna Vs. No Nedna poll to see if they should continue dating. I initially was against it but now think that it could liven things up a bit.
Once Upon a Time-Sundays 8PM ET ABC (10/23) *drama*, *fantasy*
Jennifer Morrison (good in Urban Legends: Final Cut , super annoying on How I Met Your Mother) stars in this fantasy about a a town with a fairy tale element. It’s basically about cursed fairy tales characters who live in a small town and now don’t remember who they are. Then Emma Swan (who has a link to them) shows up and starts to unravel the past. Ginnifer Goodwin (looking gorgeous here), Robert Carlyle (always amazing) and Lana Parrilla costar. This show looks really fun. The problem is that ABC never gives their fantasy series a shot. I’ve seen so many promising shows that don’t make it out of the first season. It often takes at least 1.5-2 seasons for any show to really find its footing. The also often move the shows around mid-season (sometimes more than once), which creates even more confusion. I’m a fan of Lana Parrilla but she’s been on so many quickly canceled shows (RIP Swingtown/Windfall) that I’m starting to feel bad for her.
The Good Wife-Sundays 9PM ET CBS (09/25) *drama*, *crime*
I’ve been a huge fan of The Good Wife since the beginning. It stars Julianna Margulies as a very internalized lawyer and the wife of a jackass politician who cheated on her repeatedly prior to the start of the series (Chris Noth, who I enjoy watching play a sleazeball). The show usually features a one of (or sometimes 2 part case) that they have to solve as well as the personal lives of herself and her coworkers/competition. This season she is supposed to be becoming more free and try to worry less about everything.
The cast is freaking amazing and includes Josh Charles (of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead , Sports Night, who I’ve always been a huge fan of), Alan Cumming (who is always so amazing but totally throws you on here because it’s such a different type of character for him), Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi and Matt Czuchry (of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, actually went to law school when he was younger). Oh and then other totally awesome actors like Michael J. Fox and Gary Cole just stop by sometimes. Many of the cast are nominated for Emmys this year and I hope they win every one of them.
The only thing I must mention that may seem slightly negative is that the show is a slow burn payoff type of show. Sometimes you have to wait a while for stuff to happen. CBS has been marketing it an opposite way. And hell market it any way you want if that will get more viewers and keep in on the air, just don’t be disappointed if you don’t get it.
Select episodes, a 20+ minute preview of the 3rd season & Alan Cumming’s vlogs can be viewed on CBS.com.
Go read GQ’s interview with Matt Czuchry and The Baltimore Sun’s interview with Josh Charles’ family.
Family Guy-Sundays 9PM ET FOX (09/25) *animated*, *sitcom*
Family Guy is Seth MacFarlane’s over the top comedy that you either think is undoubtedly, absurdly funny or you already hate it.
The Walking Dead-Sundays 9PM ET AMC (10/16) *drama*, *horror*
It’s about survivors of a zombie apocalypse. There are a lot of Walking Dead superfans out there. I do watch it and will continue because it’s the first and only zombie TV show. However I don’t enjoy the type of Lost format where nothing is ever tied up. Plus I’m no stranger to zombie/horror movies and this show reminds me of a type of cheaply shot foreign zombie movie. It’s not that it doesn’t have its moments but I have a lot of criticisms of the show while watching it that I find annoying. The show was created by Frank Darabont. The cast includes Norman Reedus.
Boardwalk Empire-Sundays 9PM ET HBO (09/25) *crime*, *drama*
So I haven’t actually gotten around to watching any of Boardwalk Empire yet. When you don’t subscribe to a channel you have to always play catch up with the different series that they offer. The series stars my teen crush Steve Buscemi as a politician and gangster in the 1920s. The cast includes Kelly Macdonald, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon and Gretchen Mol. The stills that I’ve seen from this are beautiful.
When I get around to catching up on the series I will be referring to Brienne Walsh’s Boardwalk Empire: A Character Guide Part I.
Pan Am Sundays 10PM ET ABC (09/25) *drama*, *1960s*
Pan Am is one of the many 60s throwback shows that are premiering this fall. Are they due to all of us catching up on Mad Men, running out of decades of other fashion choices or wishing for a simpler time when we weren’t quite as confused about just how we should feel as feminists who like to dress up in cute outfits and be objectified?
I don’t know but the luxury (during our horrible, current depression-that is what it is) and weird simplisticness that is emanating from these shows just screams escapism fun to me. The show stars Christina Ricci and a bunch of guys groomed to look like Ken dolls. I can’t wait.
Hung-Sundays 10PM ET HBO (10/02) *drama*, *sitcom*
Hung is based on a wet dream I had about Thomas Jane as a whore. Wait, it isn’t? Well it is about Thomas Jane being a struggling, middle age gigolo and it’s hella good. This year he competes against a younger model, cat fight! Jane Adams and Anne Heche costar as his pimp and ex wife, respectively.
Dancing with the Stars-Mondays 8PM ET ABC (09/19) *reality*
Dancing with the Stars is the type of show that everyone watches and then acts ashamed about. Luckily I have no shame. Ex stars or in some cases people who are almost stars compete to see who can dance while being personable and flirting with the judges.
Going into the show the celebs that I already like and am rooting for are David Arquette and Ricki Lake. However this is subject to change as the show breaks them (yes, it’s a reality show that is part of the fun!). Lake could be seen as this season’s ringer. The show often features someone with at least some dance experience who claims that they forgot how to dance (see also Jennifer Grey, Drew Lachey, um no, it’s called muscle memory) but like the latter I am a fan of Lake’s so good for her.
This season also includes Nancy Grace so all of us who are awesome are really hoping to see her wipeout. Plus Chaz Bono so that the close minded people can bitch about that. Duh, both of these “celebs” are in the running for the sake of controversy. I just really hope that he can get his mom on here in a few years. You know she’s gonna be in the audience, squee!
How I Met Your Mother-Mondays 8PM ET CBS (09/19) *sitcom*
This used to be my favorite show. I used to turn people onto it all of the time. However the last couple of seasons have went with melodrama (who kills Dauber!?, that is just cruel) for no reason. Please stop this and give us the funny back. Even with that it was sometimes funny though. New promo photos like this are really making me wish that they hadn’t wasted the possibilities of the Barney/Robin romance which could have been funny and wait for it…awesome! Instead we got sad depressing. If this season is really all about a wedding and a pregnancy I’m going to find it very hard to stay awake &/or not throw my drink at the screen. This show features the incredibly talented cast of Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris & Alyson Hannigan.
2 Broke Girls-Mondays 8:30PM ET CBS (09/19) *sitcom*
I am not going to lie, this sitcom about a formerly rich but now poor waitress and another waitress doesn’t look all that hot but I’d watch Kat Dennings read a phone book.
Gossip Girl-Mondays 8PM ET CW (09/26) *drama*
The beautifully styled soap opera about young adults in NYC who sleep with and betray each other. This year they are traveling to LA and Elizabeth Hurley is dropping by. The beautiful cast includes Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle & Taylor Momsen.
Two And A Half Men-Mondays 9PM ET CBS (09/19) *sitcom*
For a show that everyone says that they don’t watch Two and a Half Men has a huge viewership. I became a fan a few seasons in and it’s obvious, frat boy funny. I understand the need for them to replace Charlie Sheen and I like Ashton Kutcher but I kind of wish that they had went with someone a little older, like Hugh Grant. I also thought that they could have just made Ryan Stiles a regular, which would have been awesome. The funny series stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones.
Select episodes can be viewed on CBS.com.
Bored to Death-Mondays 9PM ET HBO (10/10) *sitcom*, *crime*
I haven’t seen much Bored to Death. I only caught a few episodes on Ion & it didn’t click with me. That may be because they were out of order and everything. It does seem like something that I would enjoy though. Hopefully I’ll catch up soon. Plot: “Inspired by detective stories, A well meaning but struggling writer decides to lead a sort of double life by pretending to be a private detective.” (from IMDB.com). It stars yummy Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson.
Enlightened-Mondays 9:30PM ET HBO (10/10) *drama*
There isn’t much out about this show yet but it seems to be about a businesswoman who snaps at work. Then she goes away to rest up but when she returns she can’t stand the way people behave. I’m not sure about this one yet but I’ll definitely check it out for Luke Wilson. The show stars Laura Dern and Diane Ladd.
You can watch the preview on EW.com.
Castle-Mondays 10PM ET ABC (09/19) *crime*, *drama*
Castle is about a detective (Stana Katic) for the NYPD who lets a writer follow her around on cases because he’s adorable. Hey, it’s Nathan Fillion, you would too. I definitely enjoy Castle because of the dynamic between the cast, including Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever. You can’t be a stickler for reality with it though. On basically every episode they arrest & accuse multiple people of murder before nabbing the real killer. There would be so many lawsuits.
Hawaii Five-0-Mondays 10PM ET CBS (09/19) *action*, *crime*, *drama*
I am super behind on this show. It’s a remake. It stars the sexy Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. Plot: “Steve McGarrett returns home to Oahu, in order to find his father’s killer. The governor offers him the chance to run his own task force (Five-O). Steve’s team is joined by Chin Ho Kelly, Danny “Danno” Williams and Kono Kalakaua. ” (from IMDB.com)
You can watch select episodes on CBS.com.
The Playboy Club-Mondays 10PM ET NBC (09/19) *drama*, *1960s*
I love Playboy and its history so I’m really excited about this show. Plus they got Amber Heard who was great in Drive Angry. Eddie Cibrian costars in this drama about the original Playboy Club in Chicago, IL in the 1960s.
Fun Fact: My aunt was a Bunny at the Baltimore, MD Playboy Club in the 1960’s.
Ringer-Tuesdays 9PM ET CW (09/13) *drama* (FULL FIRST SEASON ORDER!)
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as estranged twin sisters, one rich, the other a recently reformed drug addict/prostitute. Through odd circumstances the latter ends up posing as the former. I watched the pilot and enjoyed it. It’s interesting to see how she has to react to all of her friends, acquaintances, etc. while not knowing what’s been going or how her sister would normally react. The scorchingly hot (or is it just me?), Kristoffer Polaha (Mad Men, Valentine, North Shore) costars.
Visit this site for spoilers.
New Girl-Tuesdays 9PM ET FOX (09/20) *sitcom*
“I’ll probably be watching Dirty Dancing 6 or 7 times…a day”
Zooey Deschanel stars as a girl who just got dumped and decides to live with 3 male roommates (1 is Damon Wayans Jr. from Dance Flick, yay!).
New Girl is well, uh, it’s okay. It’s basically a hipster sitcom. The problem with that is that hipsters (as far as I understand them, which isn’t well) are trying to be cool all of the time with a border of ironic. To be extremely funny you have to be willing to look like a complete idiot. If you hold back and then pull out the cutie pie look at the end it diminishes the funny.
I don’t have a problem with Deschanel. I’m pretty much in the middle when it comes to her but many people either love her to pieces or hate her with a firey vengeance (yeah, she seems to elicit a strong response). I feel that she’s basically created a strong image of herself. I’m not saying she’s fake but that her presence is probably an exaggerated version of who she is.
The first episode is about how she’s trying to get over a break up and is probably easy for people to sympathize with. I find the main actor somewhat off putting just because it seems less like he’s trying to get her over a breakup and more like he’s trying to teach her to be a woman, which is insulting. Justin Long will be making an appearance in an upcoming episode.
On Tuesdays they do the results show. As the season goes on it gets more and more drawn out. They basically just rehash all of the dances/drama from the previous night. If you are watching a recording of it and are in a hurry or annoyed it’s often a good idea to just fast forward to the end to see who was eliminated.
Body of Proof-Tuesdays 10PM ET ABC (09/20) *crime*, *drama*
Dana Delaney stars as a former MD who helps solve crimes by examining dead bodies. Delaney is always great. The talented Jeri Ryan costars.
Unforgettable-Tuesdays 10PM ET CBS (09/20) *crime*, *drama*
Poppy Montgomery stars as a woman who recalls every moment. This means that she is really great at helping solve crimes but that it takes a horrible toll on her as well. Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) costars.
America’s Next Top Model-Wednesdays 9PM ET CW (09/14) *reality*
You’re probably already familiar with ANTM. This is Tyra Banks’ reality competition to ostensibly find top models. Despite the show never producing a true top model it’s still one of my favorites. The girls are often subjected to ridiculous challenges and then they let that stress out by, say going batshit on another girl who steals her food. Of course my favorite parts are when they are actually modeling. Sometimes they get some really beautiful shots.
This cycle is different because it’s the All-Stars cycle. They enlisted a bunch of girls who lost at other cycles to compete. Of course they choose some big personalities, as well as some girls who take get great shots to amp up the drama. I chose to use a photo of Lisa because she was very memorable. She was often loudly drunk and doing ridiculous things. To shake things up a bit they are also having more celebrity judges. Plus Nigel Barker has hair now! What?!? Awesome.
Modern Family-Wednesdays 9PM ET ABC (09/21) *sitcom*
Modern Family is about a father (Ed O’Neil) and the lives of he and his adult children and their children. Back before the show came out I didn’t want to give it a chance because it’s about families. However as we all now know it’s freaking hilarious and seems to just get funnier as it progresses. Ty Burrell (love him!), Sofia Vergara (so beautiful people probably can’t look directly at her), Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland and Jesse Tyler Ferguson costar.
I Hate My Teenage Daughter-Wednesdays 9:30PM ET FOX (11/30) *sitcom*
I really love the premise of this, 2 grown women who were unpopular in high school now have bitchy teen daughters to deal with. So much so that I’ll take the leap and ignore the fact that Jaime Pressley has always been freaking gorgeous. I’m not crazy about the canned laugh track in the preview and it seems a little too slapsticky but I bet that it will be tinkered with a bit and improve.
American Horror Story-Wednesdays 10PM ET FX (10/05) *fantasy*, *horror*
American Horror Story is from Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) and stars Dylan McDermott (who I read in an article may be freqently nude, yum) and Connie Britton. The series is about a family who moves into an old creepy house for a fresh start. It feels very Amityville Horror meets a made for TV Stephen King movie. The visuals look really freaky, ala The Cell. Definitely gonna check this one out.
Revenge-Wednesdays 10PM ET ABC (09/21) *drama* (Full First Season Order)
A young woman infiltrates a wealthy community to try to set up a way to enact revenge for her family. I’m not really sure on this one but I want to check it out. It could just be the constant ads brainwashing me though.
Note: I quit watching this after a couple of episodes as it was boring me into a coma.
Charlie’s Angels-Thursdays 8PM ET ABC (09/22) *action*
So it’s about 3 women who “work for Charlie”. This is of course a remake of the original Charlie’s Angels show. It was produced by Drew Barrymore who starred in & put together both of the Charlie’s Angels films. Since the second film there have been rumors of a third film but I guess that she was never able to get that off of the ground so we are getting this instead. The only cast member that I’m familiar with is Minka Kelly who I enjoyed in The Roommate. I’m basically going to pretend that I’m watching She Spies, cool, okay? I’ll be hoping for a lot of costume changes.
The Big Bang Theory-Thursdays 8PM ET CBS (09/22) *sitcom*
It’s a comedy about a bunch of (mostly) PHDs. I thought that the season ending cliffhanger of Penny and Raj (whose social anxiety is so bad that he can only talk to women, at all, while drunk) get drunk and hook up was pretty crazy. Good crazy, bad crazy, I’m unsure. However I just wish that they’d sort of mix this show up a bit. I was really into it in the beginning but them it seemed to become only about everyone getting girlfriends, which is like lots of other shows and not as imaginative as it was.
Watch select episodes on CBS.com.
Parks and Recreation-Thursdays 8:30PM ET NBC (09/22) *sitcom*
This show just seems to get increasingly funnier the long that it goes on and the more that we learn about all of quirky characters. It’s about a bunch of people who work at a town hall in a fictional town in Indiana. The last season ended with Amy Poehler and Adam Scott’s characters finally getting together but now their relationship is in peril because Poehler’s Knope is going to run for office. Ron Swanson FTW!
Rules of Engagement-Thursdays 8:30PM ET CBS (10/20) *sitcom*
(was on Saturday 8PM ET CBS (10/08)-moved to Thursday nights)
Rules of Engagement is always funny. It gives me a way to see David Spade every week, which would be enough but on top of that everyone else on it is also great. The cast includes Patrick Warburton, Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich.
It’s mainly about the differences between men and women.
I’m sort of upset that CBS moved it to Saturday though because that’s where shows go to die. On the plus side though you can watch this and then many, many hours later watch SNL.
HIMYM could take some clues from Rules in the area of players. They routinely diminsh Barney when he’s dealing with relationship issues while Spade’s Russell on Rules is a player but even when he’s seeing someone it’s still funny. In fact, it’s often funnier.
The Office-Thursdays 9PM ET NBC (09/22) *sitcom*
Who will be the new manager of The Office? Um, as long as it stays funny what’s the difference? Seriously though I’m just glad that we don’t have to drag out the schmaltzy Michael’s leaving stuff any longer. A great ensemble sitcom that is basically consistently funny.
Whitney-Thursdays 9:30PM ET NBC (09/22) *sitcom* (FULL FIRST SEASON ORDER!)
Whitney Cummings gets every comedian’s dream with her own sitcom. The problem might be that it’s on network television and she is very filthy so I’m not sure how much she will be able to get in. The preview is uneven but when she’s funny she’s very funny. The loose “plot” (to have something to make jokes around) seems to just be about her dating Chris D’Elia. I totally miss him on Glory Daze and it only ended earlier this year. Hopefully they both get to be outrageous and bounce shit off of each other because if he has to play her straight man that will suck. So yeah, I’m hoping that it will be really funny, not censored too much and last.
Watch Whitney Cummings: Money Shot stand up special on Netflix.
Bones-Thursdays 9PM ET FOX (11/03) *crime*, *drama*
Bones is a procedural crime drama whose sparks comes from the chemistry between David Boreanaz‘s cop character and Emily Deschanel’s forensic anthropologist.
Grey’s Anatomy-Thursdays 9PM ET ABC (09/22) *drama*, *medical*
Grey’s is a soapy medical drama that’s good if you don’t worry too much about the patients. It has a huge ensemble cast that includes the gorgeous Eric Dane.
Person of Interest-Thursdays 9PM ET CBS (09/22) *drama*
Plot: “Centers on ex-CIA hitman and a scientist who team up to prevent crimes before they happen. ” (from IMDB.com). This looks like a pretty cool concept. It stars the talented James Caviezel.
The Secret Circle-Thursdays 9PM ET CW (09/15) *drama*, *fantasy*, *horror* (FULL FIRST SEASON ORDER!)
This is sort of a preppy TV version of The Craft. I will be checking it out to see how they will be using Gale Harold. Ah, using Gale Harold, wait what was I talking about? Seriously though, even if I hate it I will fast forward to the Gale Harold parts. He had a good role on last year’s Hellcats so I guess the CW decided to keep him in their sights due to that.
30 Rock-Thursdays 10PM ET NBC (early 2012) *sitcom*
Truly hilarious sitcom. Everybody on it is great. It’s about a variety show set at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in NYC, ala SNL. They often make inside jokes about the show and the companies that own the show, which is pretty awesome. Stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia-Thursdays 10PM ET FX (09/15) *sitcom*
I pretty much avoided watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia until this summer because I already have to many shows to watch. It’s quite ridiculous and funny. It’s about a group of friends who run a bar in Philadelphia.
You can watch select episodes on Hulu.
Prime Suspect-Thursdays 10PM ET NBC (09/22) *crime*, *drama*
Maria Bello stars as a ballsy NYPD detective. Great actress.
Private Practice-Thursdays 10PM ET ABC (09/29) *medical*, *drama*
Private Practice is the spin off of Grey’s Anatomy starring Kate Walsh and Tim Daly. It would be disingenuous to go further as I haven’t watched it in forever. That’s just due to having to make programming choices though. It’s a decent show.
The Mentalist-Thursdays 10PM ET CBS (09/22) *crime*, *drama*
He solves crimes by being perceptive. I don’t watch The Mentalist anymore but I like knowing that the super hot Simon Baker (Sex and Death 101, Something New) is there should I decide to restart. Robin Tunney costars.
Nikita-Fridays 8PM ET CW (09/23) *crime*, *action*, *drama*
Plot: “Nikita is a trained assassin gone rogue trying to stop a secret U.S. agency known only as Division from recruiting deeply troubled teenagers and training them to be assassins.” (from IMDB.com). Just a great show with a great cast. Maggie Q, Shane West and Lyndsy Fonseca star.
A Gifted Man-Fridays 8PM ET CBS (09/23) *medical*, *drama*, *fantasy*
Patrick Wilson (Barry Munday, Hard Candy) stars as a doctor who starts seeing a ghost. I’m ambivalent about this one thus far. I will check it out to see what Wilson does with the role.
Grimm-Fridays 9PM ET NBC (10/21) *fantasy*, *crime*, *drama*
This one seems to involve fairy tales gone wrong that they need to investigate. So it’s putting me in mind of a serious Special Unit 2. I’m pretty stoked about it even though it seems like the type of show that could easily be canceled as I get very into it.
Saturday Night Live-Saturdays 11:30PM ET NBC (09/24) *variety*
This year SNL is in its 37th season. The current cast includes Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers, Kristen Wiig, Bobby Moynihan, Abby Elliott, Jay Pharoah, Nasim Pedrad, Taran Killam, Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer. So far the hosts/musical guests announced for this season include: Alec Baldwin with Radiohead (09/24), Melissa McCarthy with Lady Antebellum (10/01) and Jimmy Fallon with Michael Buble (12/17). There is no way for me to accurately describe how much I love Saturday Night Live (every cast/season) so I won’t try. Just watch it.
LAST UPDATED: November 2011