It's easy to make a decision on whether or not you're going to watch a new series. The premise, the previews, the cast and crew, their reputations, all play a part on viewers choosing to invest their precious time on yet another new show (on top of what they're already watching).
So, leave it to me to save you a half-hour here or an hour there on a handful of comedies and dramas that you're unsure of. (You're welcome.) I'm here to tell you that some shows truly are worth your time -- or, at the very least, your PVR/TiVo minutes -- even though at first glance, you're thinking "meh." They may not seem like must-see fare, but these five shows are worth a gander.
Airs: Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Global/NBC (but moves to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Global beginning Sept. 26)
Matthew Perry's latest comedy actually began last week, so my pleas for you to give it a go may be falling on deaf ears (though, if you do want to play catch-up, you can catch the debut on Global and NBC). While Perry has proven he can be more than just Chandler Bing (ahem, could his turn as Mike Kresteva on "The Good Wife" be any more evil?), I am one of the few who actually doesn't mind seeing Chandler revisit my television (to this day, I can still re-enact any scene from "Friends"). Fortunately for Perry, "Go On" is better than "Mr. Sunshine" and what "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" morphed into. It's charming, it's sweet, and it's got some laugh-out-loud moments, and once the sitcom-ness of it is peeled away, there's also some heart.
"Guys With Kids"
Airs: Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Global/NBC (but moves to 9:30 p.m. ET on Global beginning Sept. 26)
Don't get me wrong, this is by no means Emmy material, but even with the laugh track and all of Anthony Anderson's yelling, I laughed ... a little more than I care to admit. Zach Cregger's Nick might be one of my favourite new characters (the actor's lucky to have scored all the best lines), and with Jimmy Fallon producing and the potential for adorable antics from the kiddies (last week's pilot focused more on the dudes and their respective baby mamas), the guys out there will enjoy it. Oh, and it's fairly safe to watch with your own kids. (It's a much better option than "Bob's Burgers," which, I, er, definitely do, uh, not watch with my six-year-old.)
"666 Park Avenue"
Debuts: Sunday Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. ET on Citytv/ABC
I'm a wimp (though I do religiously watch "The Walking Dead," only because it's more about slow-moving conflict than gore), so "American Horror Story" will never, ever be part of my viewing schedule. I just can't. An asylum, pervy priests and creepy nuns? No, thank you. For the brave, "666" is "AHS"-lite -- but me? I watched a lot of it from behind a cushion. The supernatural aspect (is it the building, is it Terry O'Quinn's Gavin, or something else entirely?) is thrilling, nail-biting stuff, though it could stand to be a little less serious and more campy. Once it figures out its tone, however, ABC couldn't have hand-picked a better show to end its Sunday nights (from "Once Upon a Time" to "Revenge" to "666"). "GCB" who?
Debuts: Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. ET on Global/NBC
I was quite enthralled by "Chicago Fire," which reminded me of an old fave, "Third Watch," and I was also pleasantly surprised that the action-drama was executive-produced by Dick Wolf because it was very un-"Law & Order"-like. It has a huge cast, and throughout the first hour, I was referring to the characters as "that guy from 'House'" (Jesse Spencer), "Lady Gaga's boyfriend" (Taylor Kinney), "the girl I liked from 'Hawaii Five-0'" (Lauren German), "that chick from 'The Good Wife' and 'Lie to Me'" (Monica Raymund, easily "Chicago Fire'"s standout), "the guy from 'Sex and the City'" (David Eigenberg), and "the guy from 'Oz'" (Eamonn Walker) -- but it's definitely worth your time, from the tension-filled blazes to the emotionally charged character-driven scenes. The only problem? Its timeslot, since its competition is "CSI" (which has resurged, thanks to the likes of Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue) and the very-good "Nashville."
"Beauty and the Beast"
Debuts: Thursday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase/The CW
If you love "Nikita" (guilty), you'll like "Beauty and the Beast" (no, I don't love it -- yet -- but I enjoyed the pilot quite a bit). It's a decent update to the original Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman series (of which I was a fan), and I quite like the new version's government experiment/conspiracy-gone-wrong aspect. Despite her small stature, Kristin Kreuk ("Smallville") is convincing as police detective Catherine Chandler, and I loved that two strong women were partners. I'm also thoroughly intrigued by the back story of Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan), whose beastly qualities are more than just a face scratch; we just haven't seen him at his scary core in the poorly lit (on purpose) scenes. Once the update can kick up the romance a notch, then the show will be in business.