Westchester Magazine's Guide to Fall 2011 Events and Activities in Westchester County, NY: TV Shows, Pilots, and Series on Television this Fall
Fairy tales, Sixties period pieces, and lots and lots of dudes dominate the shows premiering on networks this fall.
❯❯❯ Terra Nova
8 pm, FOX
This series is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and bears more than a passing resemblance to one of his biggest hits: Jurassic Park. In it, a futuristic society, having depleted the Earth of all resources, decides to go back to a prehistoric era to try the whole civilization thing again. Except this time, there are dinosaurs.
❯❯❯ 2 Broke Girls
8:30 pm, CBS
It’s like The Odd Couple, if the genders were flipped and the whole thing took place in a Hollywoodized version of the hipster-infested Williamsburg. Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs play the titular broke girls, one a streetwise chick and the other a deposed trust-funder, and they form an unlikely alliance with a goal of saving up enough tips to open up—what else?—a cupcake bakery.
❯❯❯ Hart of Dixie
9 pm, CW
This drama stars The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson and, like Doc Hollywood before it, is about a big-city doctor who, through unforeseen circumstances, gets transplanted to a small town, learning life-lessons while figuring out the Southern way of doing things. Hoop skirts may be involved.
❯❯❯ The Playboy Club
10 pm, NBC
In the wake of Mad Men, period shows are all the rage. The Playboy Club follows suit, taking place in a 1960s Chicago club where bunnies rub elbows with mobsters and politicians. (So much has changed since then, right?)
❯❯❯ Last Man Standing
8 pm, ABC
Home Improvement’s Tim Allen returns to television, and he’s kept his grunting, manly persona intact. Here, he plays a guy’s-guy trying tosurvive in a household of women in an era where machismo is no longer the norm. (The horror.)
❯❯❯ Man Up
8:30 pm, ABC
Continuing in ABC’s testosterone-filled lineup, Man Up follows the lives of three grown men looking to reconnect with their inner tough guys. With all this hand-wringing about what it means to be a manly man, we can officially call the era of the metrosexual over.
❯❯❯ New Girl
9 pm, FOX
Your heart might flutter at Zooey Deschanel’s pixie-like demeanor in films like (500) Days of Summer, you might’ve swooned listening to her retro-sounding band, She & Him, and now Ms. Deschanel gives you another venue for nursing your crush. For her new TV show, she plays a semi-dorky twentysomething who, after getting dumped, moves in with three totally un-pixie-like dudes.
9 pm, CW
Hayley Mills and The Parent Trap didn’t have it this rough: in Ringer, when a woman witnesses a murder, she assumes the identity of her identical twin sister, who disappears under similarly mysterious circumstances. Buffy fans should be psyched to know that Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in a dual role as both sisters.
10 pm, CBS
Like CBS’s The Mentalist, Unforgettable is about a woman who has a knack that can help her solve crimes—except for the crime in her own past. The lead in Unforgettable has an almost pathological photographic memory—a talent we wished we had when we’re trying to find our cars in the parking lot of The Westchester.
❯❯❯ Up All Night
8 pm, NBC
We’re sure some Westchester parents can relate to this comedy, about a couple who, post-baby, still (occasionally) parties too much or drops a casual f-word in front of the precious bundle’s innocent ears. Comedy vets Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?), and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) steer the jokes about alterna-parenting away from the easy clichés—they’re way too weird for that.
❯❯❯ The X Factor
8 pm, FOX
Mega-bazillionaire Simon Cowell could retire to a desert island made out of stacks of his own cash, but instead he chooses to try an import a second TV juggernaut from his native England to the U.S. The competition is very similar to Cowell’s American Idol, with contestants competing against each other based on their musical chops, only this time bands and vocal groups can enter head-to-head with soloists. Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, record exec L.A. Reid, and Idol alum Paula Abdul co-judge with Cowell.
8 pm, CW
It’s pronounced “hater,” for those of you who aren’t so into texting. The reality show brings celebrities face-to-face with regular-joes who hate them. It’s hosted by Mario Lopez, someone that no self-respecting Saved by the Bell fan could hate.
❯❯❯ Free Agents
8:30 pm, NBC
Usually, shows about the struggles of singledom remain in the domain of twentysomethings. This comedy, starring Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, shows what happens when those who are a little bit older are thrown back out onto the market. Ready or not, the dating world is coming for them.
8:30 pm, ABC
This comedy follows a single father who, after declaring New York City an unfit place to raise a teenager, uproots his daughter and forcibly moves her to the cliquey, gossipy, pink-track-suited…northern suburbs? Hey! We take offense.
❯❯❯ I Hate My Teenage Daughter
9:30 pm, FOX
We love our kids—but sometimes we just hate them. I Hate My Teenage Daughter is about two best friends who, outcasts as teens, gave their daughters everything their lives lacked—unwittingly turning them into the kind of popular girls that used to tease them in high school.
10 pm, ABC
Here’s another drama that has it out for a wealthy New York community—but, thankfully, it’s not Westchester this time. The main character in the series was exiled from a tony Hamptons town as a little girl, and returns as a young adult looking for, obviously, revenge on those who had tarnished her family’s rep.
❯❯❯ Charlie’s Angels
8 pm, ABC
This isn’t Farrah’s feathered hair and gold lamé—although we do detect some ’70s influence here. The new take on Charlie’s Angels trades Los Angeles for Miami and gives the angels some little devil horns; instead of virtuous police-academy grads, the ladies in this new reboot include an ex-burglar, a car thief, and a fallen-from-grace police officer.
❯❯❯ How to Be a Gentleman
8:30 pm, CBS
This is yet a third comedy that ruminates on what it means to be a man in this day and age. This time, though, instead of a knuckle-dragger, the series is about a man who’s happy with his fusty, sweater-vest-wearing ways until he meets a gym owner (Entourage’s Kevin Dillon) who wants to teach him how to be a “real” man.
❯❯❯ Person of Interest
9 pm, CBS
A billionaire and a vigilante team up to rid a city of crime while working outside of the law—sounds a little like Batman, doesn’t it? It’s not quite Batman, but the drama—starring The Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel and Lost’s Michael Emerson—is co-executive produced by Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote The Dark Knight.
❯❯❯ The Secret Circle
9 pm, CW
The CW had a massive success with vampires when it launched its Vampire Diaries, so it only makes sense that it would move on to witches next. But the question at hand is whether or not the main character, Cassie, will be a good witch or a bad witch.
9:30 pm, NBC
Fans of Whitney Cummings—the stand-up comic often seen on Chelsea Lately—have many reasons to rejoice this season. Not only is Cummings an executive producer on 2 Broke Girls, but she has her own sitcom about “happily unmarried” life, so there’s no shortage of Cummingsisms on the schedule.
❯❯❯ Prime Suspect
10 pm, NBC
Everyone knows Dame Helen Mirren as a respectable actress, but few remember that she got a big break on this mystery serial when it aired in Britain in 1991. There, she played a tough NYPD detective trying to lead a boys’ club. Hopefully, Maria Bello will have the same luck with the role in this reboot.
❯❯❯ A Gifted Man
8 pm, CBS
Why is it that all of the best TV doctors have some fatal personality flaw? In this case, it’s the ability to see the ghost of an ex-wife (talk about being haunted) who, instead of nagging him to take out the garbage, urges him to be a more caring and giving doctor.
9 pm, NBC
After the box-office success of the recent Alice in Wonderland, fairy tales are taking pop-culture by storm. (Look for big-screen adaptations of Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Peter Pan soon.) This one finds Nick, one of the last surviving Grimms, solving fairy-tale-related mysteries in the real world.
❯❯❯ Once Upon a Time
8 pm, ABC
We weren’t kidding when we said that fairy tales are having a moment. This series, from the creators behind Lost, takes place after the “happily ever after,” when a wicked queen cursed all fairy-tale princes and princesses, casting them into the modern world, where they’ve forgotten who they are. The show flashes between their current selves and their enchanted pasts.
❯❯❯ Allen Gregory
8:30 pm, FOX
The only new animated show debuting this fall, Allen Gregory follows a genius 7-year-old whose precociousness doesn’t go over well with his fellow elementary school classmates. Jonah Hill of Superbad and Get Him to the Greek co-executive produces the show and provides the voice for Allen.
❯❯❯ Pan Am
10 pm, ABC
In yet another wayback-machine trip to the ’60s, Pan Am follows smartly dressed, blue-suited stewardesses working for Pan Am in the Jet Age. But, unlucky for those perfectly-coiffed girls, those skies are not as friendly as they look.