5 Network Shows to Check Out This Fall

     July 5, 2012

revolution happy endings elementary

It’s easy to forget, with the bevy of fantastic series that have become critical, popular, zeitgeist-inducing hits in the last few years on cable, that network TV still has plenty to offer in the way of decent programming.  Some of the risks may not be as big, some of the scheduling may be a permanent frustration (see: The Good Wife), and some of the best series may get canceled too quickly while some pretty awful trash sticks around (is that our own faults? A discussion for another day) — but in the end, there’s quality.  Hit the jump for a list of new series and a few overlooked returning shows worth highlighting among the recently-released network schedules.

revolution giancarlo esposito


Executive produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, stars David Lyons (The Cape), Billy Burke (Twilight) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) and has a pilot directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) … what could go wrong?  Plenty of things, probably, but I choose to keep the faith.  The show takes place in a world that has literally been taken back to the dark ages – all forms of energy suddenly cease to exist.  The trailer at first makes the idea seem nearly appealing – getting rid of all of those beeping things that we surround ourselves with and returning to simplicity?  Then I regain my senses.  Still, this is one dystopian future that doesn’t seem, necessarily, so implausible (the large-scale fail of a power grid, anyway, as mid-Atlantic readers will know).  As for the series itself, it has set itself up for greatness straight out of the starting gate, so let’s hope it lives up to the hype.  Revolution is scheduled to air Mondays on NBC at 10pm.


happy endings b in apartment 23

Happy Endings / Don’t Trust the B– In Apt 23

I’m cheating a little here by combining this duo of shows, but since they are paired up together on the schedule, pairing them here seems to make sense.  ABC moved Happy Endings into the Tuesday night 9pm spot vacated by Cougar Town, which itself moved all the way over to TBS.  The network also held back half of the first season of the very well-received Don’t Trust The B– in Apt 23‘s full slot of episodes to help pad out this new Tuesday comedy lineup. Happy Endings has long been an overlooked stepchild living the shadow of ABC’s comedy behemoth Modern Family, and hopefully the schedule move will allow it to be noticed and thrive.  It fully deserves it.  The show has been one of the few to pull off the Friends-formula for its characters successfully while still evolving into its own brand of weirdness.  Damon Wayons, Jr. left FOX’s Zooey Deschanel-helmed New Girl (he appeared as a roommate in the pilot) when Happy Endings was renewed last year, and now he gloriously owns the ABC series as he wouldn’t have been able to against the likes of the all-powerful Schmidt.  As for The B– in Apt 23, the show’s charm and comedy is locked down by the luminous Krysten Ritter as the B, and an unexpectedly hilarious turn by James Van Der Beek, playing a fictional version of himself.  The comedy hour will start with Happy Endings at 9pm on Tuesdays.


elementary lucy liu johnny lee miller


Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) stars as Sherlock Holmes with Lucy Lui (Charlie’s Angels) as Dr. Joan Watson in this modern version of the classic detective duo.  There’s absolutely no way this series can even begin to touch the brilliance of the recent BBC Sherlock series, whose second season just ended to much acclaim, but this “twist” on the tale could be interesting.  A fear most Sherlock fans have is the apprehension that Holmes and Watson might turn into yet another “will they won’t they” love story, a la Bones and Booth or Castle and Beckett, etc, the list could go on and on.  If their relationship stays platonic, there could be hope for this CBS series.  CBS does, as has been proven, know how to do crime shows.  Elementary is set to air at 10pm on Thursdays, and you can check out the trailer here.


the good wife julianna marguiles

The Good Wife

Look at you, CBS!  Your comedies may be questionable, but you do drama well.  The Good Wife is arguably the best drama on network TV, yet its network seems, at times, hell-bent on destroying it.  Moving it to Sundays last year, now unfortunately known as “the only night any good TV can be aired” caused the show to be overshadowed by some of its excellent cable competition.  CBS even put on the show’s website prominently “learn how to DV-R The Good Wife!”  Not that DV-Ring would even help, since The Good Wife often gets bumped back on the schedule by sports.  If you’ve been put off of this series by the title or the preconception it’s some sort of “female show” – it’s not.  It’s a complicated political drama (yes, I said political – there are more politics on this show in and out of the courtroom than legalities) that can sometimes be too grandiosely ambitious in its storytelling for its own good, but it’s always a worthy watch.  Plus it employs half of the cast of The Wire in rotating and guest spots, which is excellent in and of itself.  The Good Wife is set to air Sunday nights at 9pm, though your mileage may vary on that depending, as mentioned, on sports.

There are plenty more fresh series and some old favorites returning in the Fall, so be sure to check out the full schedules: