With more than 30 new shows and countless returning favorites, the fall 2011 TV season is more loaded than a baked potato. BuddyTV writer Meghan Carlson has looked through all of it and has chosen the three best things about the new season as well as the three worst things.
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Up All Night
Leave it to Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph to break the rule I once thought was unbreakable: That babies ruin comedies. This one kicks off where many a great sitcom has effectively died, and (judging from the pilot, which is even more impressive when you remember it's just that -- a pilot
) is all the more hilarious and heartwarming for the presence of a wee one. Airing Wednesdays at 10, Up All Night
is not part of NBC's Thursday night comedy block, but for all the right reasons, it might as well be: With its smart writing, superb casting and the perfect mix of edginess, irreverence and feel-good-fun, it would be right at home alongside the illustrious likes of Parks and Recreation
, 30 Rock
and The Office.
(Almost) All of the Cast of Buffy Back on TV
Whedonites, lend me your ears! Sure, it's not the same as seeing them all together in Sunnydale, but we ought not take it for granted that this fall, we'll have almost every member of the Scooby gang
back on our television screens. Finally, Alyson Hannigan won't have to hang solo over on How I Met Your Mother
. Most exciting, of course, is Sarah Michelle Gellar's triumphant return on the CW's Ringer
. She's playing beguiling and deceptive twins, doubling up to make up for her long absence, maybe. Anthony Stewart Head will play an inappropriate, exhibitionist boss on NBC's Free Agents
-- the fact that he's basically anti-Giles makes me even more thrilled for that casting. And now, as if Seth Green's continued presence on Family Guy
and Robot Chicken
, Marc Blucas' roles on Necessary Roughness
and ABC's new series Revenge
and Michelle Trachtenberg on Weeds
weren't enough, James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter are coming to Supernatural.
It's not too late, Nicholas Brendon and Emma Caulfield. Call your agents and give us a full house, please.America's Next Top Model: All-Stars
There are plenty of new series I'm looking forward to this fall -- New Girl, American Horror Story, Terra Nova -- but none can compare to the excitement that grips me for Tyra's monstrous trip down Reality Runway Memory Lane, the America's Next Top Model All-Star cycle. Granted, I'm not saying ANTM is high-quality television -- it's almost on another, sublime plane of awfulness, if we're being honest. But it sure is high-quality entertainment, and this cast has compiled some of the show's biggest bitches, adorable underdogs and memorable maniacs of all time, pretty much guaranteeing that even as the nostalgia factor wears away, the ridiculousness and drama will reach new heights.
This CW series attempts to show us that overexposed reality stars are people, too... but ends up making us just hate them more, that they'd willingly participate in an inane and pointless peace treaty facilitated by Mario Lopez. Not that the "haters," with their non-existent sense of perspective, are any better. My number-one pet peeve for a show is having no one to root for, and by its very premise, H8R is the "no one to root for" poster child. At least until they invite me to be on the show as a hater of the show.
Boys Will Be (Stupid, Stupid) Boys
I'd rather not think too hard about the troubling sociological
implications, but the fall "comedy" lineup makes one thing painfully
clear: apparently America wants to watch fumbling, bumbling, foolish,
boorish man-children, and we want to watch them do just about anything as long as it doesn't include growing up or understanding women. Last Man Standing, Man Up!, How to Be a Gentleman -- all
shows about the challenges of being a middle-aged white man-boy in
America, and all shows that would be genuinely insulting to the male sex
if they weren't so blatantly cliched, outdated and stupid. I've just
got to believe that you're -- no, we're -- better than that, boys.
Hart of Dixie
The writing is cheesy and soapy, the Alabaman characters are as hokey and unbelievable as an actual pie cooling on a windowsill, and the premise is staler than if that pie sat on the sill for a month. But the show -- and my biggest problem with it -- belongs to Rachel Bilson, who is preposterously cast as a doctor with the name of a stripper (Dr. Zoe Hart, ha!) and the disposition of a bitchy Barbie. It's that whole "no one to root for" thing again, and thanks to basing its premise on another my TV pet peeves -- shows about how New York City is the best and everywhere else is just a poor, putrid purgatory in comparison -- not even the beautiful Scott Porter could make me watch Hart of Dixie. Sorry to come down on you so hard, the CW. But hey! I'm still giddy like a kid on Christmas Eve about those Top Model All-Stars.
(Images courtesy of NBC/CW)