If there is a silver lining to be found in the end of the summertime—besides our soon-to-be declining electric bill!—it’s that we are on the precipice of the fall television season. Thank goodness. In an effort to get you and your DVR prepared, here’s the Observer’s fall TV previews. First up, CBS!
Accidentally On Purpose (Mondays at 8:30 p.m., premieres September 21)
What CBS says: “Accidentally On Purpose is a comedy starring Golden Globe Award winner Jenna Elfman as Billie, a single woman who finds herself “accidentally” pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger guy, and decides to keep the baby and the guy.”
What we say: It’s like Knocked Up … but with cougar jokes! Ouch. Accidentally On Purpose has one of the most enviable time slots of the fall—sandwiched right in between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men—and the added bonus of being the charming Ms. Elfman’s first television series since the long-forgotten Courting Alex in 2006, but we can’t say our hopes are high for this hackneyed sitcom to last very long.
What we’ll say six months from now: “Did you hear CBS is developing a show about a 40-year-old virgin?”
NCIS: Los Angeles (Tuesdays at 9 p.m., premieres September 22)
What CBS says: “NCIS: Los Angeles is a drama about the high stakes world of undercover surveillance at the Office of Special Projects (OSP), a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation’s security.” Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J co-star.
What we say: It will never cease to amaze us that NCIS, a series starring Mark Harmon of all people, is one of the most popular shows in America. Outside of our parents, who is actually watching that show? That aside, this spinoff promises to offer whatever it is that the patriarchal series offers, albeit in a sunnier venue.
What we’ll say six months from now: “NCIS: Los Angeles is a hit? Who is actually watching that show?!”
The Good Wife (Tuesdays at 10 p.m., premieres September 22)
What CBS says: “The Good Wife is a drama starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies as a wife and mother who must assume full responsibility for her family and reenter the workforce after her husband’s very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail.”
What we say: Political scandals never change (see: Sanford, Mark), so The Good Wife feels like it’s on the cusp of immediacy even though it could have been made ten years ago. Ms. Margulies, a year removed from the dud that was Canterbury’s Law (we barely remember it either) has always been a transfixing small screen presence, but we’re more excited about the supporting cast which includes Christine Baranski, Josh Charles and, as the bad husband, guest star Chris Noth.
What we’ll say six months from now: “It’s pretty surprising that Mark Sanford still hasn’t resigned.”
Three Rivers (Sundays at 9 p.m., premieres October 4)
What CBS says: “Three Rivers is a medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country where every moment counts. However, dealing with donor families in their darkest hour and managing the fears and concerns of apprehensive recipients takes much more than just a sharp scalpel.”
What we say: Because what America needs now is yet another doctor show! Three Rivers has already gone through some turmoil—co-star Julia Ormond was replaced after the pilot was picked up—and the premise could not feel more rote. If only Alex O’Loughlin—formerly a vampire on the canceled-but-beloved Moonlight—was be allowed to flash his fangs, Three Rivers might work. Vampires are so hot right now.
What we’ll say six months from now: “Now that Three Rivers is canceled, we’re hearing Alex O’Loughlin is in line for NCIS: Transylvania.”