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

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

Miniseries, movies, and specials

NEW Coma Watch clip
A&E, September 3 & 4 at 9p

Produced by the late Tony Scott along with his brother Ridley, this two-part, four-hour miniseries is based on Robin Cook's medical thriller, previously made into a 1978 film directed by Michael Crichton. Though the story has been transported to the present day, the setting remains a hospital where seemingly routine procedures are going horribly wrong. The cast includes Lauren Ambrose, Geena Davis, Steven Pasquale, James Woods, Ellen Burstyn, and Richard Dreyfuss.

NEW The Girl Watch trailer
HBO, premieres October 20 at 9p

Toby Jones stars as legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in a BBC Two movie (making its U.S. debut on HBO) about his creepily obsessive relationship with leading lady Tippi Hedren (played by Sienna Miller) during the filming of The Birds and Marnie. Based on Donald Spoto's book Spellbound by Beauty, the film also stars Imelda Staunton and is directed by Julian Jarrold (Appropriate Adult). Hitchcock isn't exactly portrayed in a flattering light, but the real-life Hedren, now 82, told the Telegraph that the film accurately depicts what was, to her, a "horrible and frightening experience."

NEW 2012 MTV Video Music Awards MTV, September 6 at 8p
This year's ceremony, hosted by comedian Kevin Hart, will include performances by Green Day, One Direction, Pink, and Alicia Keys.

NEW American Masters: Inventing David Geffen PBS, November 20 at 8p
The entertainment industry leader—whose career has included working as an agent, starting a record label, and co-founding a movie studio, among other things—is profiled in an American Masters documentary.

NEW Browncoats Unite Science, November 11
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canceled-too-soon cult hit Firefly with this new documentary special that will incorporate footage from the Firefly panel at this year's Comic-Con. Preceding the special is a Firefly marathon.

NEW The Crimson Petal and the White Encore, 8p on Sept. 10 and 11
This British miniseries (making its American debut on Encore) is an adaptation of Michel Faber's 2002 best-seller about a Victorian-era prostitute; an early review from Maureen Ryan calls it "avant-garde to the point of feeling overwrought and pretentious."

NEW Crossfire Hurricane HBO, November 15
The rise of the Rolling Stones is traced in a new documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and new interviews with band members.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog The CW, October 9 at 9p
Joss Whedon's online musical sensation starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day will make its network television debut in October, a mere four years after you watched it on the web.

NEW The Dust Bowl PBS, November 18 & 19 at 8p Watch trailer
Ken Burns' latest documentary miniseries examines the brutal drought conditions of the 1930s through interviews with over two dozen survivors and rarely seen film footage from the period.

NEW Frontline: The Choice PBS, October 9 at 9p
As it does every four years, the PBS series provides an in-depth look at the two presidential candidates and the issues facing voters in the upcoming election.

NEW Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States Showtime
Expected to debut in November, this 10-part documentary series—narrated by Stone himself—focuses on events from American history that were under-reported at the time they occurred but have proven important in the years since.

NEW Steel Magnolias Lifetime, October 7 at 9p
Lifetime's new film version of the play (previously adapted for the big screen in 1989) is set in the present day and stars Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott, and Phylicia Rashad.

NEW World Without End Reelz, Starts October 17 at 9p
Set in 14th century England, this eight-hour miniseries is a sequel to The Pillars Of The Earth, again based on a Ken Follett best-seller; Cynthia Nixon and Miranda Richardson head the cast. The first night (October 17) will include a second installment at 10p; subsequent episodes will air Wednesdays at 9p through November 28th..


The following shows will return this fall, but do not yet have time slots or premiere dates:

The Hour BBC America
The second season of the BBC's acclaimed period drama jumps forward one year (to 1957) and adds Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It) and Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners) to a cast that includes returning stars Dominic West and Ben Whishaw.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX
The gang returns for an eighth season in October, with a ninth season already ordered for the following year.

The League FX
Like It's Always Sunny, which it will likely be paired with, fantasy football comedy The League is expected to return in October.

NEW The Nikki & Sara Show MTV
Podcaster-comedians Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer will host a weekly, late-night comedy/talk show expected to bow later this year.

Psych USA
The seventh season of the quirky drama is expected to get started in the fall, though USA has yet to announce a premiere date; the season will include a two-hour musical episode, a take-off on Blair Witch, and Psych's 100th episode, the latter featuring cast members from the movie Clue.

NEW Ripper Street BBC America
Debuting this fall, this eight-part crime drama is set during the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper killings in 1889 London.

NEW The Spies of Warsaw BBC America
David Tennant and Janet Montgomery will star in this four-episode drama based on Alan Furst's espionage novel set just before World War II.

The Thick of It Hulu Watch trailer
The new season of the BBC's acclaimed political satire will debut on Hulu this fall at the same time it premieres in the UK; unlike the BBC America broadcasts of the previous seasons, the Hulu episodes will be uncensored.

NEW Witness HBO
Set to premiere in November, this four-part documentary series about combat photographers—filmed on location in Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and Libya—is produced by Michael Mann.

Continue reading ...

Turn the page for a look at additional shows that will not debut until midseason.

Comments (4)

  • cristane  

    Fantastic guide, thanks for all the hard work.

  • khan2705  

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

  • 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.

  • jerrycurlan  

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

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