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TELEVISION

What's On TV This Fall

By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com Producer

CBN.com - Personally, one of the hardest things to deal with in the fall isn’t the increase in traffic on the roads or the stress of beginning school.  It is deciding which shows I want to schedule into my television viewing.  It’s relatively easy most of the time because the networks don’t come up with decent new shows.  But this fall season is different.

First off, it’s important I think to point out the network who has done the best job of putting together of list of shows with great potential of becoming hits this year.  So, it is with great honor to bestow the ‘Best Fall Lineup List’ to FOX.  Congratulations on providing us television lovers with a solid group of new shows.

Not only is FOX featuring Prison Break for its second season, the network also is premiering five new shows, two of which are already off to a good start (Vanished and Justice).  Other could-be favorites from the network include a new comedy premiering on September 7th called ‘Til Death starring Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond).  It’s a funny sitcom comparing the marriages of a middle-aged couple and their newlywed neighbors.  All 24 fans will have to wait till January again this year to see what happens next to Jack Bauer.

If you like dramas, you’ll like a few of the newcomers. Here are some of what could become favorites:

  • Vanished – Senator Jeffery Collins (John Allen Nelson – 24) desperately pleads for the safe return of his wife, Sarah, as FBI investigators and a hot-shot reporter search for the truth of the kidnapping and her past. Co-starring Gale Harold (Martha Behind Bars) and Ming-Na (ER).  Premiered on Monday, August 21; airs at 9 p.m. (FOX)  
  • Justice – A team of four stellar defense lawyers work on their firm’s high priority murder cases.  Ron Trott (Victor Garber) leads the group as a cocky, yet successful lawyer who knows how to play the game for his clients.  Co-starring Kerr Smith (E-Ring).  Premiered on Wednesday, August 30; airs at 9 p.m. (FOX)
  • Smith – Bobby Stevens (Ray Liotta – Goodfellas, Field of Dreams) occasionally leaves his family life to scout out potential targets for his team of professional thieves.  Co-starring Virginia Madsen (Sideways) and Amy Smart (Just Friends). Premieres on Monday, September 19 at 10 p.m. (CBS)
  • Six Degrees – From J.J. Abrams, creator of Alias and Lost, comes a new drama following the lives of six New Yorkers who have separate lives until circumstances cause them to connect. Starring Jay Hernandez (Hostel), Erika Christensen (The Perfect Score), and Bridget Moynahan (I, Robot). Premieres on Thursday, September 21 at 10 p.m. (ABC)
  • Runaway – A family is on the run when the father is accused of murder.  New identities in a new town are their only hope of being safe and together. Starring Donnie Wahlberg (Saw 2) and Leslie Hope (24). Premieres on Monday, September 25 at 9 p.m. (CW).
  • Kidnapped – A teenage son is taken from his wealthy parents’ home.  The twist is that even though the kidnappers think they have the upper hand, this teen is smarter than they are. Starring Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under) and Delroy Lindo (The Core). Premieres on Wednesday, September 20 at 10 p.m. (NBC)
  • SharkSebastien Stark (played by James Woods – Casino, John Q.) is a high-powered defense attorney who decides to use his skills as a prosecutor. Co-starring Jeri Ryan (The O.C.).  Premieres on Thursday, September 21 at 10 p.m. (CBS)
  • Standoff – FBI agents Flannery (Ron Livingston – Office Space) and Lehman (Rosemarie DeWitt – Cinderella Man) can negotiate with hostile criminals, even terrorists, but have problems with their own relationship. Premieres on Tuesday, September 5 at 8 p.m. (FOX).

Dramas tend to be the shows at the top of my list, but I’m always up for a good comedy if there is one on.  Networks have allotted time for sitcoms this season, but some of them just don’t look like they are going to be hits.  With the exception of FOX’s new show, Til Death, viewers will be hard pressed to find a new comedy worth their time.  NBC also may have a hit with their new show, Twenty Good Years, which is scheduled to premiere on October 4th.  Jeffery Tambor (Arrested Development) and John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun) star in this show as two aging men who want to spend the rest of their years living to the fullest.

Another one with comedic potential is Ugly Betty, a new show on ABC produced by Selma Hayek.  It is yet another story of an average, young woman trying to gain the approval of an overpowering fashion magazine editor.  But, the star of the show just might save it.  America Ferrara’s (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Real Women Have Curves) talent will appeal to audiences may give Ugly Betty the boost it needs to be a successful new comedy.

You may recognize a few other faces from past television shows as well.  Remember Tim Daly from the ‘90s TV Show, Wings.  He joins the case of The Nine, along with Scott Wolf from Party of Five.  It’s a show about nine strangers who are brought together in a hostage situation.  Each episode focuses on a 10-minute flashback of the ordeal.

With the end of Alias last year, the stars needed new work and some have new roles in the fall lineup.  Victor Garber, who played Sydney Bristow’s father, is in FOX’s Justice. This show takes viewers into a fast-paced criminal courtroom.  Once you’re introduced to the case at trial and verdict, you learn what the lawyers don’t even know – the truth about what really happened.

Ron Rifkin, who played Sloan in ABC’s hit show Alias, moves to ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, along with former Alias co-star Balthazar Getty.  Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal) and Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) also star in this show about five siblings who reconnect in order to run their dead father’s business.  It premieres Sunday, September 24 at 10 p.m.

The Maybe List:

  • Happy Hour (FOX). It’s a show centered on friendship and life’s disappointments.  But alcohol is a big part of the core of this show. 
  • Heroes (NBC). Although this show could be a success, it is reminiscent of other stories about characters with special powers, such as X-Men.  We’ll just have to wait and see how this one fairs.
  • Friday Night Lights (NBC). This new show may fall short of greatness because it's about just another high school football team.
  • The Game (CW). A spin-off of Girlfriends, this new comedy focuses on three women who try to help their men’s losing football team.  Nothing stands out, it may be a favorite for some viewers.
  • 30 Rock (NBC). Veterans from Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Tracy Morgan, along with Alec Baldwin, star in this comedy about a behind the scenes look at what goes on off the TV set. It may get old after a little while.
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC). Also, set in a television studio, this show may have a better chance with its stellar cast, including Matthew Perry (Friends), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Amanda Peet (A Lot Like Love), D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) and more.
  • The Class (CBS). Jason Ritter stars in this show about the reunion of third-grade classmates at a surprise party 20 years later. This may turn out to be a sometimes funny sitcom that doesn’t entertain at the same level as other shows this fall.

During the next few weeks, we’ll post premiere reviews on CBN.com, so remember to check back for more information on the fall television lineup.

Send me your comments.

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