This week, the major TV networks rolled out all their new shows for next season – and as usual, there are a lot of duds coming our way. (Did CBS not know there’s already an awesome “Sherlock” reboot on PBS before greenlighting “Elementary”?) But we still managed to find a few shows that look to be worth at least a one-episode tryout. Here are the nine new shows we’re making room for in our busy viewing schedules.
"The Mindy Project" (Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30 PM)
Mindy Kaling, always one of our favorite Dunder Mifflin worker bees, gets her own Fox comedy this fall – and Fox must like it, too, because they’re putting it in the coveted post-“New Girl” timeslot. Kaling plays a hopelessly romantic OB/GYN who dreams of being swept off her feet in classic rom-com fashion; Chris Messina (“Damages”) plays the doctor she’ll fight being attracted to for a few seasons before inevitably giving in. We’re happy to see Kaling get a much-deserved shot at stardom, and she even got a few big names to make cameos here, including “SNL’s” Bill Hader and her “Office” co-star Ed Helms. So we’re cautiously optimistic. Terrible title, though. Just awful.
[Photos: Check Out All of Fox's New Shows]
"The Following" (Fox, midseason)
Kevin Bacon takes on his first starring TV role in this dark, nail-bitingly tense drama as a former FBI agent who years ago put away a demented serial killer (James Purefoy, last seen as Victoria’s sex buddy on “Revenge”). But now that killer has busted out of prison and is on the rampage again – and may be recruiting disciples to do his gruesome bidding. It’s a grim, “Seven”-esque thriller that looks to pack plenty of jaw-dropping twists, and Bacon’s star power (he commands the screen like Kiefer Sutherland in “24” here) puts this one over the top for us.
"The Carrie Diaries" (The CW, midseason)
We admit it: We’re longtime “Sex and the City” fans. (Shut up; before those awful movies, it was a decent show.) So we’re willing to give this ‘80s-set “SATC” prequel, with AnnaSophia Robb (“Soul Surfer”) as a teen Carrie Bradshaw, a fair shake. Based on Candace Bushnell’s novel, “Diaries” takes us back to Carrie’s formative years (back when neon green leopard-print jackets seemed like a good idea) as she gets her first taste of love and sex while exploring the wonders of Manhattan. The producers of “Gossip Girl” are onboard, and the presence of director Miguel Arteta (“Nurse Jackie,” “Enlightened”) is reassuring. But we can’t help but wonder: Will it be the same without Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda?
(Editors' note: Sadly, The CW didn't release any advance footage of "The Carrie Diaries"; guess they're still working to get that neon green leopard-print jacket just right.)
[Photos: Check Out All of The CW's New Shows]
"Nashville" (ABC, Wednesdays at 10 PM)
Connie Britton! We fell in love with her on “Friday Night Lights” and that love only grew with “American Horror Story,” so her starring role here makes this country-music soap an automatic “yes” for us. Britton plays an aging country star forced to pair up with a vapid young starlet (Hayden Panettiere, coming off like an even-trashier Miley Cyrus) to salvage her career. (Well, we already know Britton can deliver a Southern twang.) Yeah, the young-pup-vs.-old-veteran conflict is a little played out, but the Nashville setting adds some fresh juice to it. And we’ll tune in just on the off-chance that we get to see Connie smack the crap out of Hayden.
"The New Normal" (NBC, Tuesdays at 9:30 PM)
Ryan Murphy took time out of his busy schedule running “Glee” and “American Horror Story” to create this likable comedy about a gay couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) who enlist a daydreaming single mom (Georgia King) to be their surrogate. It has that snappy, fresh new-Ryan-Murphy-show smell (you know, before he loses interest and it all goes to hell), and Ellen Barkin looks poised to resurrect her career by channeling "Horror Story's" Jessica Lange as the single mom’s delightfully bitter grandma. Any show that features NeNe Leakes delivering a verbal beatdown to Ellen Barkin gets a thumbs-up from us.
[Photos: Check Out All of NBC's New Shows]
"Last Resort" (ABC, Thursdays at 8 PM)
Two of our favorites, Andre Braugher (“Homicide”) and Scott Speedman (“Felicity”), headline this compelling, Tom Clancy-ish thriller about the crew of a nuclear submarine that disobeys orders to fire on innocent civilians and ends up getting attacked by its own country. Braugher plays the sub’s righteous captain; Speedman plays his loyal second-in-command. Seeking refuge, they plant their flag on an idyllic tropical island (shades of “Lost”), declaring their independence from the U.S. government. A crazy premise, to be sure, but the sharp writing by “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan helps sell it. And Braugher and Speedman make a great enough duo that we’ll tune in to see where this ship is headed.
[Photos: Check Out All of ABC's New Shows]
"Partners" (CBS, Mondays at 8:30 PM)
Being TV’s #1 network, CBS is in the enviable position of not needing many new shows. But it does have a few fresh offerings for fall, including this gay-straight odd couple sitcom. (Thanks to “Modern Family’s” Mitch and Cam, gay is the new black this fall.) This one comes from gay-TV pioneers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan (who created “Will & Grace”) and mirrors their real-life relationship; “Ugly Betty’s” Michael Urie and “Numb3rs” star David Krumholtz play best friends and business partners: one gay, one straight. We like the two leads (we’ve missed Urie terribly since “Ugly Betty” ended), and the gay-straight dynamic gives this show a modern sheen that CBS is sorely lacking.
[Photos: Check Out All of CBS's New Shows]
"Revolution" (NBC, Mondays at 10 PM)
This new sci-fi drama from J.J. Abrams poses an interesting question: What would our world look like without electricity? (We’d be out of a job, for one thing.) “Revolution” begins with a mysterious worldwide event that results in all electrical devices ceasing to work, and then flashes forward 15 years to the post-apocalyptic world that follows, with people growing food in hollowed-out cars and roving militias jockeying for control. The recent track record for this kind of high-concept drama isn’t great (see: “Terra Nova”), but the premise is intriguing enough to rope us in. Plus, it involves Giancarlo Esposito (aka “Breaking Bad’s” Gus Fring) being a badass on a horse, so needless to say, we’re sold.
"666 Park Avenue" (ABC, Sundays at 10 PM)
ABC is on a development hot streak lately, and it continues this fall with a number of promising new dramas. This one centers on a posh Upper East Side building that happens to be infested with a bad case of paranormal activity. Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) and Vanessa Williams (“Desperate Housewives”) star as the building’s owners, with Rachael Taylor (“Charlie’s Angels”) and Dave Annable (“Brothers and Sisters”) as the new tenants. The camp factor is definitely high with this one, but that’s right in Vanessa Williams’ wheelhouse, and we don’t mind another show taking a crack at “American Horror Story’s” haunted-house vibe.