New Fall TV Shows: 5 We Like, 5 We Don’t

The Fall of 2008 represents a moment where America will wrestle with how to replace one of the most polarizing leaders of our country. No, I’m not talking about whether Obama or McCain will replace Bush, I, of course, am wondering what the CW will do to replace “The Pussycat Dolls: Girlicious,” a show at least 3 high-schoolers labeled “must-see TV.” Many new television shows will offer you empty promises, but the fine young patriots at FSR have forged ahead to bring you the 5 new TV candidates you must see, along with the 5 that would rather have us watch John McCain on a remake of “Temptation Island.”

5 New Shows We Like

If there is one thing J.J. Abrams does well, it’s generate excitement for an upcoming project. The “LOST” creator, along with co-creators Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, spared no expense in using $10 million on the 2 hour season premiere about FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham’s (Anna Torv) attempt to uncover the details behind Flight 627, a plane that landed with no signs of life. Her journey pairs her with Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), our generation’s Einstein, an expert in fringe science (telepathy, mind control, invisibility) before being locked up for 17 years, and the scientist’s son (Joshua Jackson). Equal parts “The Twilight Zone” and “The X-Files,” “Fringe” promises an arcing mythology and answers the burning question: What has Pacey been doing since “Dawson’s Creek?” Airs Tuesday nights at 9pm on Fox

True Blood
“Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball’s latest HBO project centers around a fictional town in Louisiana where humans and vampires have agreed to a truce after TruBlood, a Japanese-made synthetic blood, is created to quench the thirst of bloodsuckers. The show stars one of our favorite young actresses, Anna Paquin, as Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress who has telepathic powers and falls for a vampire, Bill Compton. While some critics may think True Blood is an attempt to jump on the bandwagon after the Twilight craze, we’re hoping the show can offer an outside-of-the-box look at racial tensions that exist in the modern world. At worst, it gives us a chance to yell “Aww, Sookie Sookie now!” or “Straight Outta’ Compton!” every time there’s a sex scene. Airs Sundays at 10pm on HBO

Sons of Anarchy
Nearly every show on FX brings the heat – Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn style – and this drama about a “notorious outlaw motorcycle club” intent on protecting their town from overzealous officers, drug dealers, and ruthless corporations looks to add to that list. Think “Touched by a Hell’s Angel.” Jackson “Jax” Teller’s a gang member who’s growing tired of the gang’s lawlessness, while the always solid Ron Perlman (Hellboy) teams with Katey Segal, at her best on “Futurama”, her worst on “Married with Children,” as a couple intent on taking the biker gang to darker extremes. Airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX

The Life & Times of Tim
Last year HBO brought “Flight of the Conchords,” a hilarious look at a marginally popular New Zealand folk duo. This season we get the cartoon story of Tim, a self-conscious New Yorker who seems to live in a world of awkwardness. Whether it’s arguing with a homeless man about whether a handout of a tuna sandwich is offensive or pretending he doesn’t know what a BJ is when his parents walk in on him with a hooker, “The Life & Times of Tim” seems to be ready to touch on humor that other cartoons like “Dr. Katz” never could. Airs Sundays at 11pm on HBO

Chalk this one up to being a guilty pleasure. CW has ditched the Beverly Hills tag (even show titles are obsessed with thinning down in Hollywood) and are letting a new school of heartthrobs take over. But they were smart enough to bring back back Shannon Doherty, Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, who we LOVED in her workout video, and even Joe E. Tata, as Nate, the Peach Pit cafe owner. Now that’s dedication. For better or worse, the fact is that television loves a show like this, fodder for water cooler talk the way shows like “Melrose Place” and “Desperate Housewives” were before it. If they can bring back Luke Perry in a season finale, the heart rates of 30+ year old women will go through the roof. Sigh, Dylan. Airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on The CW

5 New Shows We Don’t

Knight Rider
Yes, the souped up version of Knight Rider looks cool. I love Mustangs to begin with. But there’s one key ingredient missing from this NBC remake: The Hoff. David Hasselhoff is one of the most ridiculously compelling TV stars of all-time, and not to get him in on the action kills any chance of this show making it into the 2nd season. Plus, you didn’t get the original voice of K.I.T.T., William Daniels, who kicked ass as Mr. Feeney from “Boy Meets World.” Allow me to go Johnny Cochran on NBC. If it don’t got the Hoff, I’m turning it off! You bombed with “Bionic Woman,” now you’ll fail with this 80s retread. Call up Erik Estrada, I’m sure he’d pay YOU to be on a remake of “C.H.I.P.S.” Airs Wednesday nights at 8pm on NBC

Gary Unmarried

How we loathe thee, Jay Mohr, let me count the ways. You’re the poor man’s Frank Caliendo, you’ve tanked in “Camp Wilder,” which had a young Hilary Swank on it, Fox’s bomb “Action,” had a failed stint on SNL that made Chris Elliot look creative, and you even made us sympathetic to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Plus, you’re apparently a brilliant magician, as proven by how you tricked “Las Vegas” hottie Nikki Cox to marry you. Now you’re in a show about a divorced couple who somehow are “forced” to live with each other and raise a family. CBS is really selling us on this show. “He’s the fun parent and she’s the strict one,” they explain. Hilarious! Jay, you could do a half-hour of Christopher Walken impersonations, and it wouldn’t save this show. Airs Wednesday Nights at 8:30pm EST on CBS

My Own Worst Enemy
Question: What is worse than having to watch Christian Slater in a TV show? Answer: Having to watch Christian Slater play two roles in the same TV show. “My Own Worst Enemy” sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy centered on Slater, (who a critic in 1988, clearly fresh off an 8-ball of cocaine, said was the next Jack Nicholson) playing both a middle-class efficiency expert and trained killer who exist in the same body and yet somehow don’t know of each other. Huh? The show also stars “Yes, Dear” star, and we use the term loosely, Mike O’Malley, and Saffron Burrows, who was oh-so-badass in Deep Blue Sea. Christian, I don’t know what to say. Was “Celebrity Fit Club” booked? Could you not have talked VH1 into making a reality rehab/romance show called “Clean Slater?” Airs Monday nights at 10pm EST on NBC

Do Not Disturb
This is turning into a Jerry Maguire reunion, as Jerry O’Connell makes an appearance in this, I guess you could call it, comedy about one of the hottest hotels in New York. The upside is that Arrested Development star Jason Bateman directed the pilot, and you have a writer from “Arrested Development”, Abraham Higginbotham, and producers from “Reno 911!” attached. The bad news is you’re placing all your expectations on the star of Joe’s Apartment, Kangaroo Jack, Mission to Mars, Tomcats, Buying the… to hell with it. This show is doomed. When your landmark role as an actor is the fat kid in Stand By Me, there’s just not much hope. Airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm EST on Fox

The Ex List
When Bella Bloom (what an unrealistic name, almost as unbelievable as the fact I dated a girl named Larkin Cummings. True story.), a 30-something business owner, finds out that she has already dated her future husband, she’s in for a shock. Even worse, she is surprised to hear that if she doesn’t find him in the next year, she’ll remain alone forever. What the hell? This plot makes less sense than Donnie Darko the first time I watched it. Even more insulting is the fact that it caters to the insecurities of women in their thirties. Ladies, put the Haagen Dazs down for a second and say this with me: It’s okay to be single, Oprah is not my salvation, and I am beautiful, no matter what size, skinny or big, I am. Now flip the channel to “90210.” Jennie Garth’s nipple just popped out. Airs Friday nights at 9pm EST on CBS

Adam Sweeney has a background in journalism, having spent 4 years on the Lone Star Lutheran as an Opinions and Arts & Entertainment columnist. He graduated in May 2008 from Texas Lutheran University with a Dramatic Media degree and hopes to become a filmmaker/journalist/radio host/actor extraordinaire. He also writes film and play scripts and figures if Good Luck Chuck can make it to the big screen then why can't he? He can also be read at TalkHoops.net as a feature writer on all things basketball, and his personal blog covers everything from politics to why Keira Knightley is looking more like Jack Skellington every day. (www.myspace.com/theadamlee)

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