Fall TV Preview

For once, the networks are giving us something new to think about. This fall’s gamut of new offerings is chock full of ideas from far out in left field. Sure, you’ve got your favorites, but give some of these newbies a chance. It’s been a while since such original writing and fresh casting blew in with the changing of the leaves. Embrace it, and get ready for November sweeps. It’s gonna be a good one.


Monday, 10:30 p.m. – Showtime

The new series “Californication” premiered on Showtime, Aug. 13. It stars David Duchovny as Hank, a writer who’s lost his muse. He carelessly moves from woman to woman and bed to bed looking for something to get his hopes up. Most people know Duchovny as serious Detective Mulder on “The X-Files.” Well, erase that image from your mind because he is one witty, sexy man in this show.

At the beginning, we see that he’s just broken up with his long-time girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) with whom he has a 12-year-old daughter. Karen has since moved on and moved in with a new boyfriend who she intends to marry.

Duchovny doesn’t like the man and repeatedly tries to win her back.

Watch as he struggles and sleeps his way out of his writer’s block.

– Megan Rozsa

“Life is Wild”

Sunday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. – The CW

“Life is Wild,” is the story of a broken family’s journey to South Africa for a new beginning. A New York veterinarian and dad moves himself and his two children, Katie (Leah Pipes) and

Chase Clarke, in with his second wife and her two children, Jesse (Andrew St. John) and Mia.

The wife, Judith Hoag is best known for playing April O’Neil in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

For a chance to rediscover themselves, the newly-blended family moves into a game reserve lodge called The Blue Antelope, to help pursue Dr. Danny Clarke’s hopes of making a difference as a veterinarian in South Africa.

This new tear-jerker series was adapted by George Faber, Michael Rauch and Charlie Pattinson from the British drama, “Wild at Heart,” and is guaranteed to travel into the depths of discovery and family togetherness.

– Jenna Gerling

“Aliens in America”

Monday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. – The CW

“Aliens in America” tells the story of how the lives of the Tolchuck family change when a foreign exchange student from Pakistan comes to live in their Wisconsion home.

Dan Byrd (The Hills Have Eyes remake) plays socially awkward 16-year-old Justin Tolchuck. His sister, Clair (Lindsay Shaw, “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide”) is pretty and popular, causing Justin to feel overshadowed at times.

Rounding out the characters in the Tolchuck clan are mom Franny (Amy Pietz, “Caroline in the City”) and dad Gary (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”).

The good-natured foreign exchange student Raja Musharaff is played by Adhir Kalyan (“Fair City”). The Tolchucks are surprised when Raja shows up at the airport, as they expected a Nordic teenager for their exchange student.

Previews for the show looked more dramatic then funny. There will probably be some laughs and interesting experiences for the Tolchucks and Raja. It couldn’t hurt to tune in and watch one episode of this show.

– Kristen Kotz


Tuesday, Sept. 25, 9 p.m. – The CW

Some shows have such an outlandish premise, they’re almost sure to attract a cult following. Unfortunately, viewers don’t really multiply from there (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” anyone?). “Reaper” is one of those shows where the idea is silly sounding,

but with solid writing and characters, it could develop a fan base. When slacker Sam Oliver turns 21, he finds out his parents were hiding something from him since birth: They sold his soul to the devil.

Satan approaches Sam and tells him he needs to go to work for him by rounding up loose souls that escaped hell. Armed with a super-powerful mini-vacuum and joined by his two goofy friends/coworkers, Sam becomes a bounty hunter for the devil without actually being evil in the process. A lot of people may write off the show based on its peculiarity, but one big name didn’t. Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats) helmed the series

premiere because he said he wanted to direct something he didn’t write. Let’s hope it can live up to the hype and not be dead on arrival.

– Joe Shearer

“Pushing Daisies”

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m. – ABC

Easily the fall’s most original idea, “Pushing Daisies” focuses on a man named Ned (Lee Pace) with the ability to bring people back to life with only a touch. The twist is that the second time he touches them, they die again. That’s all well and good, and profitable for Ned, who gets money from the police by asking corpses who killed them, until he falls in love with a woman he has brought back to life.

“Pushing Daisies” was created by Bryan Fuller, who produced “Heroes” last season and created the wonderful “Wonderfalls” and “Dead Like Me.” The pilot was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who is known for directing big screen hits The Addams Family and Men in Black, so expect the show to look great visually.

Whether or not audiences embrace such an offthe-wall concept remains to be seen, but a great cast including Kristen Chenoweth, Chi McBride and Paul Reubens should make for a good ride.

– Robert Taylor

“Gossip Girl”

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 9 p.m. – The CW

From the guy who brought you “The O.C.” comes another show about suspiciously attractive teenage socialites, living it up in New York’s Upper East Side. Based on the best-selling novel by Cecily von Zeigesar, “Gossip Girl” follows the story of Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), best friend Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), love interest Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) and a score of other poor little rich kids, as told by an omniscient narrator (Kristen Bell).

The characters are shallow shells of real human beings, plagued by nights of hard drinking, bulimia, drugs, sex and, most of all, a desire to be popular. It’s high school at its best. And worst.

And will make one hell of a guilty pleasure. After all, superficiality is at its most delicious when it’s paired with designer swag.

– Jinae West

“Private Practice”

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 9 p.m. – ABC

“Grey’s Anatomy” just had way too much going on to contain Kate Walsh’s character Addison Montgomery’s problems and personality.

“Grey’s” fans will remember that last season Addison took a trip from Seattle to Los Angeles to look into starting her life over.

Walsh will not be returning to “Grey’s Anatomy” except for one episode this season. Instead, she will star in “Private Practice,” which picks up where Addison’s story left off. The cast includes Tim Daly and Taye Diggs as new potential love interests, as well as Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald, Paul Adelstein and Chris Lowell.

The show will have a lighter mood and slower pace than “Grey’s Anatomy.” This is probably because there are only six main characters to keep up with instead of 12. Also, “Private Practice” does not take place in the urgency of a hospital but in a small clinic.

“Private Practice” seems like it will continue with the “Grey’s Anatomy” plot formula: doctors falling in and out of love with each other throughout the season, patients coming in and out from episode to episode, and each episode ending with some pseudo-philosophical observation or nonsense life lesson narrated by Addison.

Altogether, the show looks promising. There is much less drama to keep up with and a better sense of humor behind the script. Both fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” and those fortunate enough to have not been captivated, like yours truly, might find “Private Practice” a breath of fresh air compared to its parent series.

– Allan Lamb