Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling in "The Mindy Project," which will debut on FOX this fall.


Fall TV: Coming to a living room near you

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN
  • Star Tribune
  • May 16, 2012 - 3:35 PM

All week, TV network executives have been telling us they've discovered new programs that will change civilization as we know it. Well, that's what they said last year and, I'm sorry to report, "Pan Am," "The Playboy Club" and "Free Agents" didn't exactly set the world on fire.

Veteran advertisers who flocked to New York for what's called "the upfronts" to hear such empty promises know that most of the shows being touted as must-see TV have the survival rate of a firefly. Still, hope springs eternal. Somewhere in this batch of rookie shows may be the next "2 Broke Girls."

We won't actually see these pilots for another month or more, but based purely on the premises, we've pointed out what sounds promising -- and what smells putrid.



A brilliant doctor (Jordana Spiro) with money issues uses her skills to help the Chicago mob.

Why we're optimistic: Spiro won our hearts in TBS' underrated sitcom "My Boys."

Why we're not: How many times does a gang plausibly need the services of a surgeon?


A brilliant doctor (Mindy Kaling) with romance issues uses her skills to snag a boyfriend.

Why we're optimistic: Kaling, a writer and star of "The Office," has the wit and charm to be next season's "New Girl."

Why we're not: Kaling already went the lovelorn route on her last sitcom.


"Scream" creator Kevin Williamson is behind this serialized series about an ex-FBI agent (Kevin Bacon) chasing a serial killer (James Purefoy).

Why we're optimistic: Could be the next "24."

Why we're not: Could be the next "Alcatraz."



A family moves into a New Jersey neighborhood and discovers that all the residents are aliens in disguise.

Why we're optimistic: Creator Dan Fogelman wrote "Cars," "Tangled" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love."

Why we're not: The premise is -- literally -- out of this world.


A country-music star (Connie Britton) feels pressure from an up 'n' comer (Hayden Panettiere).

Why we're optimistic: The Nashville music scene is a great setting for a weekly series.

Why we're not: With "Glee" and "Smash" returning next year, audiences may not be up for a third music-driven drama.


A U.S. submarine commander (Andre Braugher) disobeys orders and declares his NATO outpost to be the world's smallest nuclear nation.

Why we're optimistic: Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") is the exec producer.

Why we're not: Already feeling claustrophobic.



A veterinarian (Justin Kirk) cares more for the animals than their owners.

Why we're optimistic: Minnesota native Kirk has a knack for smart comedy.

Why we're not: It's always risky to work with animals, children or Chevy Chase.


A sportscaster (Matthew Perry) tries to find comfort in group-therapy sessions.

Why we're optimistic: "Friends."

Why we're not: "Mr. Sunshine."


"Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf presents this drama about firefighters in the Windy City.

Why we're optimistic: Never bet against Wolf.

Why we're not: Success could lead to "Chicago Fire: The Arson Unit."



A modern-day Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) solves cases in New York City

Why we're optimistic: The offbeat casting of Lucy Liu as Watson.

Why we're not: Sherlock belongs in NYC about as much as Tony Soprano belongs in London.


Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid battle for the soul of Las Vegas in the 1960s.

Why we're optimistic: Chiklis and Quaid in a series from the guy who wrote "Goodfellas"? We are so there.

Why we're not: The '60s? Again?



Carrie Bradshaw starts to discover "Sex and the City" while in high school in the 1980s.

Why we're optimistic: We can't wait to meet the teenage Samantha.

Why we're not: The gals' trip to Abu Dhabi should have killed this franchise once and for all.

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