2012 Fall TV Preview: Our Night-by-Night Guide

  • Publish Date: August 28, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments


Tuesday Primetime Schedule (All times ET/PT)
  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
ABC Dancing with the Stars [Results]* Happy Endings* Don't Trust the B---- In Apt. 23* Private Practice
CBS NCIS NCIS: Los Angeles Vegas
CW Hart of Dixie* Emily Owens, M.D. [Local programming]
Fox Raising Hope* Ben & Kate New Girl The Mindy Project [Local programming]
NBC The Voice Go On The New Normal Parenthood
Key cable shows:
  30 for 30 (ESPN)   Bomb Girls (Reelz)
The Brokaw Files (Military)
Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Underemployed (MTV)

New shows are highlighted in bold above.
* New time slot this fall

Key shows

NEW Ben and Kate Watch trailer Watch premiere episode (8/27-9/9)
Fox, Tuesdays at 8:30p starting September 25

What they said about the pilot:

"Ben & Kate has the goods to be a very pleasant half-hour."

—Mitch Salem, Showbuzz Daily

"It's not laugh-out-loud funny -- at all -- but this family comedy has heart and some potential."

—Maggie Furlong, Huffington Post

Nat Faxon (part of the Oscar-winning writing team behind The Descendants) stars as an aimless man who moves in with his uptight sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter. The Odd Couple-style comedy comes from screenwriter Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas, Couples Retreat), and also stars Dakota Johnson and Lucy Punch, while Rob Corddry will guest on an early episode. Some critics were pleasantly surprised by the quirky comedy's decent (though imperfect) pilot episode—citing Punch as a potential breakout star—and subsequent episodes will be produced under the guidance of Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan (both from Community). If anything, it should be a compatible fit with its Raising Hope lead-in.

NEW Go On Watch first episode on Hulu
NBC, Tuesdays at 9p starting September 11

Matthew Perry's post-Friends television career already includes one failed sitcom (Mr. Sunshine for ABC) as well as a failed drama (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for NBC), but perhaps the third time's the charm. Here, he plays a cocky radio sportscaster who enters group therapy after his wife is killed in a car accident (did we mention that it's a comedy?). The series reunites Perry with Friends writer Scott Silveri, while Todd Holland also produces and directs. Over 16 million people watched the pilot episode when it previewed during the Olympics, and reviews for that single episode were fairly good, though some critics expressed uncertainty about the show's long-term prospects. (Improving those prospects, however, is the recent addition of John Cho to the full-time cast as Perry's boss.)

NEW The Mindy Project Watch premiere episode (8/27-9/9)
Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30p starting September 25

What they said about the pilot:

"Charming and quirky, this is hands-down the most accomplished comedy pilot of the season, though it could do with a little fine-tuning."

—Jace Lacob, The Daily Beast

Though it would seem a natural fit for NBC, that network passed on this comedy project written by and starring Mindy Kaling (The Office), which means that it will probably be a major hit for Fox. Kaling plays a rom-com-obsessed, politically incorrect OB/GYN searching for the perfect life but always sabotaging her best-laid plans. Chris Messina (Damages), Anna Camp (The Good Wife), Stephen Tobolowsky (everything), Amanda Setton (Gossip Girl), and British comedian Ed Weeks also star, while Kaling's former co-worker Ed Helms will guest (along with Bill Hader and Richard Schiff) in the first episode. Given that some of the best Office episodes were written by Kaling, there should be potential here, and based on the pilots sampled by critics, this appears to be the new comedy to beat this fall, with reviewers almost universally praising the first episode.

NEW The New Normal Watch trailers and interviews Watch first episode
NBC, Tuesdays at 9:30p starting September 11

What they said about the pilot:

"There are a few acerbic insights into the world of high-income modern baby-seeking, but also a high miss-to-hit ratio in the jokes. And the Glee-isms abound."

—James Poniewozik, Time

After conquering the musical (Glee) and horror (American Horror Story) genres in recent years, Ryan Murphy attempts to break into the sitcom business with this half-hour comedy about a very modern family consisting of a gay couple, the surrogate helping the couple to have a baby, and the surrogate's own daughter and grandmother. (NBC even makes the Modern Family connection in their promotional materials, so don't blame us.) The New Normal is co-created by Ali Adler (No Ordinary Family, Chuck) and stars Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Georgia King, and Ellen Barkin; the latter will play the conservative grandmother who is a member of One Million Moms, the very same anti-gay group that is calling for a boycott of The New Normal. (Viewers in Utah may not have to boycott; the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City has announced that it won't be showing the series.) While critics weren't outraged by the show, they did take offense to the lack of laughs in the pilot, which is a bad sign considering that Ryan Murphy shows tend to get worse as they go on.

Sons of Anarchy Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2 Watch trailer #3 Watch trailer #4
FX, Tuesdays at 10p starting September 11

The most successful show in FX history returns for a fifth season, with plenty more to come; the network has already renewed the series for a sixth season (to follow in 2013), and series creator Kurt Sutter has suggested that he has enough story left for SoA to run for seven seasons, if not longer (though he does have the ending already in mind). Plenty of new faces will stop by this fall, including Jimmy Smits, Harold Perrineau (Lost), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), and Joel McHale (Community); each will appear in multiple episodes. The major storyline for the season, however, will focus on Jax (Charlie Hunnam) in his new position as leader of SAMCRO.

NEW Vegas Watch trailer
CBS, Tuesdays at 10p starting September 25

What they said about the pilot:

"Well-written and well performed, this was one of my favorite [drama pilots] and could be a solid hit for CBS."

—Maria Elena Fernandez, The Daily Beast

Possibly the most promising new show in the top-rated network's 2012-13 lineup, this 1960s-era drama is based on the true story of rodeo cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb, played by Dennis Quaid in his series television debut. Michael Chiklis co-stars as a mobster who clashes with the lawman, while the cast also includes Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Jason O'Mara (Terra Nova), and Sarah Jones (Alcatraz). There's some major talent behind the cameras as well; Vegas was created by screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas, Casino) and Greg Walker (Without a Trace), and the pilot was directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). That pilot didn't blow anyone away, but many critics feel the show has potential to develop into something interesting, and it certainly seems stronger out of the gate that last year's two period pieces (Pan Am and Playboy Club).

Also on Tuesday

30 for 30 ESPN, 8p starting October 2nd
Though the name no longer fits (the series has exceeded 30 films, and it is no longer the network's 30th anniversary), ESPN's acclaimed sports documentary series continues with new films about Bo Jackson, professional athletes who go broke, integration at Ole Miss, and more.

NEW Bomb Girls Reelz, 10p starting September 11 Watch trailer
Meg Tilly and Peter Outerbridge star in a World War II-era drama about women who work in a munitions factory.

NEW Brickleberry Comedy Central, 10:30p starting September 25 Watch trailer
Daniel Tosh is the executive producer of this new animated comedy about a dysfunctional group of park rangers; the vocal cast is led by Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Show), Kaitlin Olson (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Tosh himself.

NEW The Brokaw Files Military, 10p starting October 16
NBC news anchor emeritus Tom Brokaw revisits some of the major moments of his career—from Vietnam to Watergate to Iraq—as he adds new interviews and gives his personal insights about each one.

Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 ABC, 9:30p starting October 23
When it returns for its second season in October, a comedy that already features James Van Der Beek playing James Van Der Beek will be graced by actors Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Frankie Muniz playing themselves; Busy Philipps will also be on hand for a story that revolves around a Dawson's Creek reunion. Ray Ford, who plays Van Der Beek's assistant, will be elevated to series regular for the upcoming season.

NEW Emily Owens, M.D. The CW, 9p starting October 16 Watch trailer
Are other TV hospital dramas too adult for you? Then try Emily Owens, M.D., which centers on a first-year intern at a Denver hospital who finds that life as a grown-up at her new job isn't all that different from high school (where, as a nerd, she didn't quite fit in). Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer (Off the Map) stars as Emily, while Justin Hartley (Smallville) co-stars as her med-school crush-turned-co-worker. Critics didn't really care for the pilot, but most of them are older than 17.

Happy Endings ABC, 9p starting October 23
Now successful enough to anchor a new Tuesday night comedy block, the well reviewed sitcom will welcome guests Rob Corddry and Brian Austin Green (returning from last year) in its third season.

Hart of Dixie The CW, 8p starting October 2
If you haven't noticed yet, each of The CW's nights this fall has a theme, and Tuesday's night of lighthearted medical dramas kicks off with the second season of Hart of Dixie. Expect last season's love triangle to continue, while Rachel Bilson's Zoe will have a new friend in Golden Brooks (Girlfriends), whose grandfather—played by Night Court veteran Charlie Robinson—will also appear as a new character.

NCIS CBS, 8p starting September 25
Longtime recurring co-star Brian Dietzen (who plays Assistant Medical Examiner Jimmy Palmer) has been promoted to series regular for the 10th season of the hit series. The premiere will continue the story of last season's cliffhanger finale, with guest star Richard Schiff returning as terrorist bomber Harper Dearing.

NCIS: Los Angeles CBS, 9p starting September 25
Though Linda Hunt's Hetty resigned as NCIS: LA boss at the end of season 3, don't think that she'll be gone from the upcoming fourth season; the season opener will show her attempting to enjoy retirement. (Whether she stays retired, however, is an open question.)

New Girl Fox, 9p starting September 25
Guests in the comedy's second season will include Parker Posey, Josh Gad (The Book of Mormon), Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), and Raymond Barry (Justified), while this year's Thanksgiving episode will introduce Jess' parents for the first time (though the roles have not yet been cast). David Walton (Bent) will also appear in multiple episodes early in the season as a potential new love interest for Zooey Deschanel's Jess. Note that two new episodes will air on the 25th, including one at a special 8p time.

Parenthood NBC, 10p starting September 11 Watch trailer
Though it doesn't get quite as much attention as some of NBC's other critically acclaimed but low-rated programs, Parenthood will begin its fourth season this fall. (The season will be somewhat shorter than normal, however, at just 15 episodes.) Ray Romano will appear in multiple episodes as a new friend for Lauren Graham's Sarah, while Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights) will also have a recurring guest role this season.

Private Practice ABC, 10p starting September 25
The medical drama's upcoming sixth season will likely be its last, and it'll be a short one at that (with just 13 episodes ordered). Tim Daly, who played Pete Wilder for five seasons, will not return, and if the series somehow gets picked up for a seventh season, it will be without star Kate Walsh; her character will be written out of the show at season's end.

Raising Hope Fox, 8p starting October 2
The comedy returns to the 8p time slot for its third season, which will include appearances by Wilmer Valderrama (in at least three episodes), Chris Klein, Melanie Griffith, and Jenny Slate.

NEW Underemployed MTV, 10p starting October 16
Five recent college graduates struggle through adult life in a new dramedy from Craig Wright (Dirty Sexy Money).

Comments (4)

  • jerrycurlan  

    I LOVE this! Thanks for putting this together. (All your preview articles are so thorough...) I can't freakin' wait for Fringe!

  • LamontRaymond  

    Brilliant preview - thanks for the great work! Revolution and Last Resort appear to be the best new shows - so nice to see the networks avoided the Pan Am, Playboy Club nonsense of last season.

  • khan2705  

    thank you so much for this! now i know what to watch and what to not ....

  • cristane  

    Fantastic guide, thanks for all the hard work.

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