In a sea of how'd they convince anyone that was a good idea pilots, there are ten newbies that you should not miss, that everyone will be buzzing about because they are so transportingly fun. One comedy, The Mindy Project, is the funniest, sharpest thing I've seen since Happy Endings surprised me a couple years ago, with flawed yet sympathetic people saying things people actually think (and don't always actually say, but that's the entertaining part). Dramas that bring fears to frightening life like Revolution,The Last Resort and, in its own way, 666 Park Avenue. There's a juicy sexy soap, Nashville, and a few crime shows that surpass the genre's norm. The most fun? Arrow on the CW, a deliciously dark take on super-heroism that should be a must-watch for any Avengers or Dark Knight lovers. Update those TiVo Season Passes now!
The Mob Doctor
Take one part organized Chicago crime show and one part Chicago hospital show and you've got The Mob Doctor. If the plucky Southside surgeon who's struggling to balance her oath as a doctor with the debt she owes to one of the town's scariest bosses was played by anyone less talented and likable than Jordana Spiro, it wouldn't work. Her co-stars aren't too shabby either, with dreamy Zach Gilford (Saracen! FNL!) and brilliant Zeljko Ivanek (Damages) as fellow doctors.
Premiere: Monday, September 17, 9pm FOX
The best what if shows tap into the zeitgeist with prescience and precision. Right now in the real world, the sustainability movement is full roar, with hipsters raising their own chickens and families heating their homes with solar panels -- all while being more digitally connected than we ever could have imagined. So a show whose vision of a post-apocalyptic world with no electricity is part agrarian-utopia, part lawless-wasteland seems dead-on for this uneasy moment in time. J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe) and Jon Favreau (Ironman), have come together to bring us Revolution from Eric Kripke (Supernatural), which imagines what the world would be like 15 years after the lights go out. The cast is crazy good: Billy Burke (Sheriff Swan! Twilight!) and Elizabeth Mitchell (V, Lost) are tough and battle-worn, and newcomers Tracy Spiridakos and Graham Rogers are young and brave and gorgeous. This show seems a little less dark than others of its type, presenting the possibility that some things might just get better while acknowledging much might be worse. The first episode totally hooked me, as did the show's creators' assurances that they know exactly where they're going and how to get there. I'm coming with.
Premiere: Monday, September 17, 10pm NBC
The Mindy Project
Whip-smart with a slight mean streak and an affinity for romantic-comedies, Mindy Kaling's alter-ego, Mindy Lahiri, like her new show itself, is beguilingly entertaining. Lahiri is a 31-year-old OB-GYN who kicks off the first episode in jail, after making a vodka- and soda-soaked spectacle of herself at her ex's wedding and is described by a date later on in the episode as "a little crazy." Is that because any female character on TV that's as honest and un-PC as Mindy is always considered nuts? Admitting she'd rather treat patients with insurance than work for free, wishing a prospective mate would be as rich as Bloomberg and have a face -- and penis like Michael Fassbender -- is that allowed? In the vein of the brilliant Girls on HBO, Mindy is hilarious and frustrating and charming all at the same time. If you like comedies that make you laugh and think, tune in Tuesday nights at 9.
Premieres Tuesday September 25, 9pm FOX
I was surprised by how deeply I was drawn into this Dennis Quaid starrer set in the '60s which, according to the opening, is inspired by the true story of Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb. It somehow feels like a Western crossed with an old-school mobster story. The colors are a sort of sepia'd, the pacing is a little bit more careful than typical fare, and the cast is sterling: Jason O'Mara, Michael Chiklis and Carrie-Anne Moss; all of which contribute to the show's enveloping and atmospheric feel.
Premiere: Tuesday, September 25th, 10pm CBS
The Last Resort
This show, from Shield creator Shawn Ryan, feels a bit like Battlestar Galacticacrossed with Lost with a little Hunt for Red October. (High praise!) Andre Braugher (Homicide) plays nuclear submarine captain Marcus Chaplain and Scott (we've missed you, oh, love of Felicity) Speedman is his XO. After getting sketchy nuclear fire orders, which they (perhaps) wisely challenge, they are fired on by our own government. Who then tells everyone Pakistan did it! What? That is what plucky Autumn Reeser, a defense expert back on shore, wants to figure out. But before anyone can, Chaplain, of course, takes over an island and declares his independence from the U.S. Nuts or true patriot? Seems way fun to find out.
Premiere: Thursday, September 27, 8pm ABC
Shows where people spend every episode having to solve things usually seem exhausting to me. But this modern twist on Sherlock Homes, starring Jonny Lee Miller (who will now finally be known as something other than Angelina Jolie's first husband and a season of Dexter) as the famous Scotland Yard detective and Lucy Liu as his companion, Watson, a former surgeon was all fast-paced, mind-twisty merriment. They've got great chemistry and clever quips but I hope Liu gets to show some moves and more personality as the series goes forward. Worth watching for!
Premiere: Thursday, September 27, 8pm
Made in Jersey
Law shows aren't typically my thing, but just like The Good Wife suckered me in from the start, with a rookie lawyer whose big eyes and brunette beauty belied her steely smarts, Made in Jersey is doing the same thing _albeit with a very different brunette. Martina Garretti, played by Janet Montgomery, is no patrician Alicia Florrick. She's a sassy, street smart striver who has Sunday dinners with her boisterous Italian family while savvily winning her cases and surprising everyone. All that could be a little cliche, but it works here! Montgomery is sparkly to watch and the whole thing seems life a fun new spin on a familiar genre.
Premiere: Friday, September 28, 9pm CBS
666 Park Avenue
Do you love American Horror Story? Got more from Rosemary's Baby than just the importance of a good haircut? Enjoy real estate porn? Think Dave Annable and Terry O'Quinn make any TV show better, for different, obvious reasons? Then your new favorite address might be 666 Park Avenue. Annable and Rachael Taylor (Charlie's Angels, but don't hold it against her) play the pretty young couple who get a gig that might-just-be-too-good-to-be-true gig of managing the swank Upper East Side apartment building, The Drake, which is owned by O'Quinn's Gavin Doran and his wife, played by sultry Vanessa Williams. So an elevator attacked a neighbor. And the basement seems really creepy. And someone down the hall seems to made a shady deal to, well, bring his wife back from the dead. But the place can't be all evil, right?
Premiere: Sunday, September 30th, 10pm ABC
Yes, shows about gorgeous people with surprising powers on the WB or CW are a soft-spot of mine. But even if that's not typically your thing, check out this updated take on the DC superhero Green Arrow. Like Batman, Green Arrow doesn't have any actual superpowers, rather, he's a rich guy whom traumatic events turn into an emotionally-charged vigilante. Played by the positively preternaturally handsome Stephen Amell, Oliver Queen makes his way back to civilization five years after being presumed dead in a shipwreck with his father. He finds the family, city and woman he loves in pretty bad shape and decides to use his deserted island honed archery skills to put things right. Katie Cassidy crackles as his estranged ex, Laurel Lance, and the whole thing is dark, sexy and fast-paced fun. Try it!
Premiere: Wednesday, October 10th, 8pm CW
I love country music, soapy stories and Connie Britton, so I've been can't-waiting for Nashville. It does not disappoint. Britton looks amazing and Hayden Panettiere, playing a scheming and sexy singer on the rise looking to unseat Britton's Rayna James as the queen of country, positively dazzles. A strong, sudsy female driven show written by Callie Khouri, of Thelma & Louise fame is just what primetime has been missing! Throw in Rayna's powerful family, her husband's political aspirations and the other man she can't quite let go of and you've got some tasty Southern-fried drama.
Premiere: Wednesday, October 10, 10pm ABC