We continue our Fall TV Preview with a look at the best shows that Tuesday night has to offer…
90210 (The CW) Airs Tuesdays 8/7c, Premieres September 2nd
“90210” is a revamp of the show that launched the teen soap opera craze. It’s also being born on the heels of sappy pedestrian CW shows like “One Tree Hill” and the far more daring “Gossip Girl.” Essentially, this show is the television equivalent of going back in time and murdering your grandfather. This is its blessing and curse, since fans will be expecting a continuation of more-of-the-same while also hoping the show can push a few envelopes. There may be few envelopes left, though, since we’ve covered a lot of ground since the original incarnation, “Beverly Hills, 90210” went off the air. In order to be shocking, the new zip code will probably need to feature an on-air abortion and have one of the cast members become addicted to eating cigarette ash. Is the same audience going to be impressed by the dramatics surrounding hook ups and eating disorders? Maybe. Shock value aside, the show has some tricks up its sleeve – namely some really attractive no-namers who’ll be making out a lot and wearing beachwear. The biggest curve ball, though, comes in the form of the fanboy triple-threat. Jessica Walters from “Arrested Development” has a main role, as does Shenae Grimes from “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Plus, the biggest player is the one who had to bow out due to running two other shows – Rob Thomas, the creator of “Veronica Mars.” With an AD, Degrassi, and Mars connection, even a few curious fanboys might check in to see what’s happening in Beverly Hills. I have a feeling that people are going to either love or hate this show with passion, and that’s probably just what the producers were going for.
Recommendation: Skip it if you enjoy good television. Dive into the deep end if you love gorgeous, vapid people in various states of drama and undress. – Cole Abaius
Eli Stone, ABC, Airs Tuesdays 10pm ET/PT, Premieres October 14th
Honestly, I’m surprised to see “Eli Stone” returning for a second season. I happen to enjoy the show, but I know very few people who actually watch it aside from myself. (Granted, “JAG” ran for twenty-seven seasons and absolutely no one admitted to watching that one…) The first season ended with Stone (played by likable Brit, Johnny Lee Miller) undergoing surgery to remove a pesky brain aneurysm. This same malady may be causing Stone to experience visions, or it may be his link to a higher calling. Stone follows these visions which usually lead him to people in need of his lawyerly help. The surgery went bad, leaving Stone on the brink of death, and found him face to face with George Michael appearing from a flash of light. “Are you God?” Stone asks. “Some men have said so,” replies Michael. That’s funny shit. The show has a great sense of humor, strong relationships between Stone and his brother, friends, and co-workers, and a sense of wonder missing from most of the primetime lineup.
Recommendation: Watch this show. It has more heart than a box of Lucky Charms. – Rob Hunter
Eureka (SciFi) Airs Tuesdays 9/8c, New Season starts September 9th
America’s smartest little town is back for a third season. Colin Ferguson plays Sheriff Jack Carter, a man of average intelligence trying to keep a town of geniuses in line. Eureka is a small, hidden treasure in the Pacific Northwest where the government has brought together some of the most brilliant minds in the country. However, that brainpower comes with a price. When things go wrong – whether it be overzealous AI, genetic mutations or forgotten weapons gone horribly awry – someone needs to clean up the mess. Season Three began with the introduction of Carter’s latest adversary, Eva Thorne (Francis Fisher), a corporate downsizer intent on making Eureka more profitable. It also saw the re-engagement of Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) to Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn), and in the current season, tragedy ensues upon their relationship. If this isn’t enough for Sheriff Carter to deal with, his free-spirited and pregnant sister Lexi (Ever Carradine) has blown into town, giving his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) a new friend to confide in. As season three continues, we hope to discover the real reason why Eva Thorne came to Eureka, whether Henry Deacon has learned to forgive and what may come between Sheriff Carter and Allison Blake.
Recommendation: Catch this show on Tuesdays for your weekly dose of whimsical sci-fi and technobabble. – Kevin Carr
Fringe (Fox) Airs Tuesdays 9/8c, Premieres September 9th 8/7c
One of several new shows for Fox this year, Fringe is the latest from the evil genius JJ Abrams, examining the relationship between science and the paranormal. When a flight from Germany to Boston lands with a crew and passenger manifest of grizzly bodies, Special FBI agent Olivia Dunham is brought in to investigate the cause. Dunham’s trails lead her to a mad scientist named Dr. Walter Bishop, (John Noble, aka the Steward of Gondor himself!) whose experiments in the area seem tailor made for the situation but the only way to him is through is his estranged son, good ol’ Pacey Witter. Sorry, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). Cue much experimentation on Dunham in a desperate effort to solve the case, experimentation which may have lasting effects. Despite the pilot’s storyline revolving around an airline disaster, the show seems to share more elements with “The X-Files” than “Lost.” Though it has buckets of potential, it remains to be seen whether Fringe will have the popularity of JJ’s other smash.
Recommendation: Unmissable pilot, but will the show deliver week on week? – Michelle Graham
House (Fox) Airs Tuesday 8/7c, Premieres September 16th
Last season was capped off with the death of Amber, Dr. Wilson’s girlfriend. This happened despite the fact that House, after being in a bus accident and suffering a head injury, sensed that someone else on the bus needed his diagnostic help. This turned out to be Amber, but it was already too late. Her death, in addition to being a tragedy, also put a rift into the friendship between House and Wilson. Coming up this season, we’ll have to see how the writers decide to proceed with repairing the hurt relationship between Wilson and House, as this is one of the more important relationships in the show. Without Wilson, House wouldn’t really be able to develop a sense of compassion, as it seems Wilson is the one who can hold him in check, and make him think about what he does. Also, Number 13 will have to deal with learning that she in fact does have the incurable genetic disorder, Huntington’s Disease. Looks like another great season for one that ended on an incredible note.
Recommendation: My DVR is already set… is yours? – Joe Ngo
The Shield (FX) Airs Tuesdays 10/9c, Premieres September 2nd
This was a very tough preview to get done, because it turns out that very few of our staff members are all caught up on “The Shield,” but many of you probably are. So here’s what you need to know: “The Shield” is a television powerhouse, a multiple Emmy award winner and one of the most heralded cable shows of all-time. This year, it enters its seventh and final season, a season that will finally answer the burning question that is on the minds of all of its fans: How will it end for Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis)? All will be revealed by the end of this final season to this extraordinary show.
Recommendation: If you are a “Shield” fan, then you don’t need me to tell you to watch it — your DVR is already set. If you aren’t on this bandwagon yet, then you’ve got 6 seasons to catch up on, so get moving. – Neil Miller
For more, check out our 2008 Fall TV Preview page.