Your Much-Needed Guide to Fall Television

Your Much-Needed Guide to Fall Television

By: Breanna Shiflett

We knew it was coming. Summer is long gone and school has become a part of our normal schedules once again. After weeks of feeling like something was missing, that empty void is finally being filled. The 2012-2013 fall television season has arrived. With a little under 20 new shows on 5 broadcast networks, deciding what to watch can be a bit of an intimidating task. Don’t be afraid, though—with this handy guide to all the new shows, you can skip time trying to decide what to watch and get right to the viewing.
This season, there are 16 new shows on the major broadcast networks, which include the CW, ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS. For fans of sitcoms, police procedurals, and sci-fi shows alike, there’s a new show for everyone to enjoy.
Elementary (CBS)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… The Mentalist, Sherlock
Synopsis: Elementary is the newest adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes adventures, with a few new twists. Instead of the traditional English setting, Holmes roams the streets of New York City, working with the NYPD as a consultant. Together with Joan Watson (that’s right—the legendary character of Holmes’ sidekick is appearing in a whole new way in this adaptation), his sobriety companion and partner-in-crime, Sherlock strives to solve cases with his mad methods and brilliant genius.
Why You Should Watch: Elementary brings Sherlock Holmes to television as no one has quite done before – while he’s existed in the 21st century in a few other adaptations, no one has taken the risk of adapting him as CBS’s new drama has. Bringing the iconic characters into a whole new setting is smart, but going as far as significantly changing one of those characters is a game changer. The drama definitely pulls the legendary story off, with the amazing acting of Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller, the intelligent writing, and beautiful cinematography. This #1 new drama will keep you in suspense and guessing at every twist and turn.
Revolution (NBC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Fringe, The Hunger Games
Synopsis: Fifteen years prior to the start of the series, all of the electricity in the world mysteriously and suddenly turns off. People are forced to adapt to a world without computers, phones, and even cars. With the sudden decline of electricity came the decline of the government, and soon the public is ruled by groups of militia. In this post-apocalyptic future, one family sets out on a quest to find out what happened fifteen years ago and how to reverse it.
Why You Should Watch: With JJ Abrams, Eric Kripke, and Jon Favreau all working on one show, it’s bound to be good. Revolution does a great job of taking a popular setting and turning it into something new. Fans of The Hunger Games will really enjoy this show, as the plots are extremely similar, with a few new twists and the focus on finding out what happened to the electricity. As he always does, JJ Abrams will keep guessing by making you think one thing and then suddenly tossing in an amazing twist to throw you off.
666 Park Avenue (ABC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries
Synopsis: At the Drake residential hotel at 999 Park Avenue in New York City, life is pretty great. For some reason, the wildest dreams of the residents at the hotel are all coming true, whether it’s wealth, power, or revenge. Little do they know they are actually living in the presence of a supernatural force, and their dreams are only coming true as a part of a deal—with the devil. When a new couple is hired to manage the hotel, they soon discover the scary secrets behind the owner and the evil events that take place in his hotel.
Why You Should Watch: 666 is an intelligent show that perfectly combines just the right amount of the supernatural, drama, and romance. The cast is fantastic, especially with Terry O’Quinn playing the villain role as he is so notoriously known for. This show will keep you on your toes, but it will also keep you coming back for more of this perfect formula of smart writing, great acting, and fantastic visuals.
Partners (CBS)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Will & Grace, How I Met Your Mother
Synopsis: Joe and Louis are lifelong friends and business partners at their own architecture firm. Despite this, theyou cld not be more different. Their relationship soon becomes tested as Joe gets engaged and Louis gets into a new relationship.
Why You Should Watch: The first episode of Partners tests Joe and Louis’s friendship, and this is a theme that is very prominent throughout the show as a whole. Joe and Louis tell each other everything, and even when their friendship takes a turn for the worst, they always end up back together. The cast is fairly unique, and each person brings their own characteristics to the show. The comedy will have you laughing, but the great theme will keep you coming back for more.
The Mob Doctor (FOX)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… House, The Sopranos
Synopsis: Grace Devlin has a difficult life, juggling the responsibilities of two demanding positions. As a surgeon, she must focus on saving lives and helping others at the local hospital, but when she’s not working there, she’s working for the mob. After a run in with her brother, Grace makes a deal with the mob to save him and pay off his debt, doing whatever they need to protect him. She flees to a retired mobster for protection, but when her original blackmailer is killed, her debt is transferred to him.
Why You Should Watch: Unlike a lot of new shows during the fall season, this is a new concept that hasn’t been done a thousand times. The Mob Doctor combines House and The Sopranos, giving viewers a show that crosses genres and appeals to a broader audience. The first episode plays out like a typical episode of House—we find out who the main patient is, then we get a few patients on the side, and a minor storyline that involves character development or comedy. The twist is that the Mafia is now added into the equation, and the drama of being in a hospital doubles as Grace must also cooperate with the mob. This well-worked equation brings the show together, giving you something you’ll want to watch every week.
Vegas (CBS)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Justified, Las Vegas
Synopsis: The story takes place in the 1960s, where the sheriff of Las Vegas has gone missing, and a cattle herder named Ralph Lamb is appointed temporary sheriff in his place to investigate the murder of the governor’s niece. A mobster from Chicago named Vincent Savino moves to Vegas and begins running a huge casino that attracts the city’s biggest highrollers. Their problems often intertwine as a result of the others, and they are forced to work together for their different needs.
Why You Should Watch: The setting of Vegas is quite refreshing, as most shows about Las Vegas tend to be set in more modern times and are simply about the gambling, shows, and other things that take place there. 1960s Las Vegas is very different—there’s a lot of desert, cattle-herding is a big occupation, and segregation still exists. This change of pace is the new twist on an old idea that makes it interesting. Dennis Quaid, who plays Ralph Lamb, does a fantastic job as a roughneck cowboy turned sheriff, and Michael Chiklis, whose character is based on the real life crime boss Marcello Caifano, is the same in his role as a conniving mobster.
Ben and Kate (FOX)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Raising Hope, Modern Family
Synopsis: Ben and Kate are siblings who couldn’t be more different—Ben never grew up, and Kate grew up too fast. Now raising a five year old daughter on her own, Kate is struggling with her love life and wants only to show her daughter what a healthy relationship looks like. Ben stops by sporadically and always messes things up when he does, but decides to stay with his younger sister and help take care of Maddie with her.
Why You Should Watch: Ben and Kate is a cute sitcom that focuses on family, and shows how sibling relationships are unbreakable. Throughout the episode, Ben sacrifices his plans to help his sister out, and in return, Kate sticks up for him when he gets into a sticky situation. The ensemble cast makes for many good laughs, and overall the show is a cute way to spend a half hour.
The Neighbors (ABC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… The Gates, The Watch
Synopsis: Marty Weaver is a guy who just wants what’s best for his family, and one day he leaps to take the initiative and buys a new townhouse in a gated community. Everything seems great, until they meet their new neighbors, who are weird from the start. Then they find out that the neighbors are all aliens, and that they are the first humans the aliens have ever encountered. Despite their differences, the aliens and humans have similar conflicts, and the two help each other live through daily life on Earth.
Why You Should Watch: The Neighbors is, well, a weird show, that makes you sit there after you’ve finished an episode and wonder what the heck you just watched. Nevertheless, it is a funny show with a weirdly charming sense of humor. The characters are extremely unique, and while the show is a bit cheesy as a whole, it will make you laugh even if you don’t know what’s exactly going on.
The Mindy Project (FOX)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… New Girl, The Office
Synopsis: Mindy Lahiri is a successful doctor who is unfortunately less successful at everyday life, especially with romantic situations. She is struggling to break some bad habits in her life and find the right guy, while also balancing the stress of delivering babies every day.
Why You Should Watch: The Mindy Project stars Emmy-nominated writer/producer/actor Mindy Kaling, who is most famous for her role as Kelly on The Office. Her witty writing skills and hilarious acting come together to make a great character that you can’t help but root for. There are plenty of other quirky characters that round out the cast and ensure lots of laughs.
Go On (NBC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Friends, Community
Synopsis: Ryan King is an enthusiastic sports radio talk show host who loves his job. His world is turned upside down when his wife is killed, and he is told that he is not allowed to come back to work until he attends ten group therapy sessions. He doesn’t believe that sharing his feelings will get him anywhere, but goes to the sessions anyway and ends up making a connection with other broken people.
Why You Should Watch: Go On is a great comedy, with just enough seriousness to make it excellent. Matthew Perry is at it again and is able to make a grave topic funny, while also giving the serious parts the attention that they deserve. He pulls both the comedy and the drama off well, making a show that will have you laughing out loud and feeling for the characters at the same time.
The New Normal (NBC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Modern Family, Glee
Synopsis: Bryan and David are a happy couple living in Los Angeles, and the only thing that they feel is missing from their lives is a baby. Goldie is a single mom who has just moved to LA with her daughter to get away from their old lives and start fresh. In order to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer, she decides to be the surrogate mother for Bryan and David, to help their dreams come true as well.
Why You Should Watch: The New Normal is all about accepting differences. When Goldie is asked what kind of example she is setting for her daughter, she replies, “That you can be whatever you want to be no matter how many people tell you that you’re nothing.” With a strong moral and a nice cast, this sitcom is a first of its kind.
Nashville (ABC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Glee, Smash
Synopsis: Rayna Jaymes is a country music singer who has been in the business for 21 years, and because of this, has a bit of an outdated style. Juliette Barnes is a new country idol who is on the rise with a more modern crossover style of country music. When Rayna’s tour is not selling, she is given an ultimatum: join tours with Juliette, or the record label will stop supporting her. Rayna must make a decision to either join forces with someone she hates or stop doing the job that she loves.
Why You Should Watch: Put Glee in a country setting, take most of the high schoolers away and bring in an adult, and you’ve got Nashville. Well, not exactly, but that’s the basic gist. Nashville is a lot more sophisticated than Glee is, and the drama is on a different level. While there’s still a lot, it’s a different kind—it’s the kind of drama that’s more mature, that gets you invested insteadof making you want to change the channel. The cast of Nashville does a great job with their roles and portraying a challenge that is very real in the country music industry.
Guys With Kids (NBC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Two and a Half Men, Modern Family
Synopsis: Three thirty-something men struggle to balance their manhood with their responsibilities as fathers. Chris is a man who desperately wants to be in a relationship but is still having problems with his ex-wife. Gary is a stay-at-home dad with four kids and no TV. Nick is happily married with two children, but sometimes struggles to understand the other duties that come with marriage. All three men must maintain a good social life while also taking care of their little ones.
Why You Should Watch: Guys with Kids is a hilarious family-oriented comedy that many people can relate to. Each guy has a different situation that they are in, whether they’re happily married or painfully divorced, and whether they work in an office or as a stay-at-home dad. The cast will have you rolling with laughter, and honestly, how can you say no to such adorable babies? This comedy is a great balance between good laughs and great themes.
Chicago Fire (NBC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Rescue Me, Hawaii Five-0
Synopsis: Welcome to Chicago Firehouse 51, home of the firefighters, rescue squad, and paramedics. No job is more stressful and exhilarating than theirs, and they put their lives on the line every day to protect the city of Chicago. After the death of one of their own, tension builds between the members of the firehouse, blame starts to fly, and heads butt constantly. Despite this, whenever the alarm goes off and they jump into the fire truck, they put their differences aside and watch each other’s backs.
Why You Should Watch: The action in Chicago Fire starts from the get-go, and within the first few minutes, you already feel for the characters and sit on the edge of your seat, hoping that they will come out uninjured from the first fire. The characters are varied and complex, putting twists on the stereotypical newcomer, comedic relief, and old timer roles. The action will keep you on your toes, and the characters will keep you coming back each week.
Arrow (CW)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Heroes, Smallville
Synopsis: When billionaire Oliver Queens is shipwrecked and stranded on an island for five years with his father, he is presumed dead for quite some time. He is discovered on the island, still alive and healthy, and goes back to his home in Starling City. Before he died, his father told him secrets about their family and their past wrongs, and now Oliver is on a quest to redeem what his father had done to the city. Donning a green hood and a bow and arrow, he becomes the Green Arrow and fights to restore his home back to its former glory.
Why You Should Watch: For a devoted fan of comics or a casual television watcher looking for some good action, Arrow is a great show. Stephen Amell does a fantastic job of playing both roles of the genius playboy by day and the ruthless vigilante by night. The action is extremely satisfying, and there’s a good balance of humor in the show as well. Arrow is a smart and thrilling drama that definitely deserves your time.
Last Resort (ABC)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… LOST, NCIS
Synopsis: Captain Chaplin is the commander of the USS Colorado, a submarine equipped with some of the world’s deadliest nuclear missiles aboard. When he receives an order to fire four missiles at Pakistan from a secondary, unsecure source, he requests confirmation on the order and is immediately relieved from his position as captain. The submarine is then hit by a missile from another American ship and left for dead. The previous captain, the acting captain, and their crew take the ship and bring it up to an island, which they invade and made their base of operations. Now on the run from the entire US Navy, they threaten to direct missiles to DC.
Why You Should Watch: Last Resort very clearly is trying to fill the gap that LOST left on ABC a few years ago, and unfortunately it falls short. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t watch it simply because it doesn’t live up to the expectations of the network’s best show in years. The plot may not be completely original, but the characters and their situations do make it more unique.
Beauty and the Beast (CW)
You Might Enjoy This If You Like… Once Upon A Time, Grimm
Synopsis: Inspired by the 1987 show the same name, Beauty and the Beast follows Catherine Chandler, who is a detective with the NYPD. Her mother was killed in front of her in 2003, and some sort of beast saved her from being killed herself. Now in present day, she finds fingerprints on a case that belong to Vincent Keller, a doctor who was supposedly killed years ago in the war. She quickly begins to discover the history behind this man, what happened to make him into this beast, and why he seems so familiar.
Why You Should Watch: It’s simply the truth—retelling of children’s stories and fairy tales is a popular trend in the media right now. Beauty and the Beast is a prime example of this, bringing the tale into the modern work and reworking it to make it a bit darker, but still extremely enjoyable. Chemistry between characters is very important to any show as well, and Beauty and the Beast does a fine job with Catherine and Vincent’s chemistry even during the first scene that they are shown together.