by Deborah Harter Williams
Fall is in the air, at least in my imagination. The advent of Labor Day turns my mind to thoughts of fresh pencils and notebooks, new shoes and the TV Guide fall preview issue. I can almost feel the heft of the glossy pages as I set out to plan my TV life back in the day – a time when there were only three networks, you had to hurry home to watch your favorites, and sometimes faced painful choices when two were on at the same time.
In present day, I have TiVo’d and downloaded my way to freedom, can’t quite remember the names of the different networks and yet have that lingering feeling that there is less to watch. Still I approach the new fall TV season with a sense of hope.
Predictions about what television drama will die, a victim of dwindling audiences and rising costs. As “the sky is falling” headlines threaten, let’s enjoy our drama while we can, particularly those with a dose of mystery. Here’s what you have to look forward to in September.
Returning heroes –
September 19: Castle (ABC) Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)
September 20: NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS); Body of Proof (ABC)
September 21: Law & Order: SVU (NBC) – The 13th season premiere features Franco Nero (bad guy Gen. Esperanza in Die Hard 2 and, for those with longer memories, good guy Lancelot in Camelot with future wife Vanessa Redgrave.) playing a Strauss-Kahn-like foreign dignitary. B.D. Wong and Christopher Meloni have moved on.
Harry’s Law (NBC)adds Mark Valley (Human Target, Boston Legal) and Jean Smart ($h*! My Dad Says, Designing Women).
CSI (CBS) Marg Helgenberger and Laurence Fishburne are exiting and Ted Danson is the new nighttime supervisor. For those who think of Danson in his wisecracking comedy roles, check out this preview of his new character.
September 22: The Mentalist (CBS) Patrick Jane gets a new boss and a visit from an old one (Kelli Williams, Lie to Me).
September 23: Blue Bloods (CBS); Fringe (Fox); Nikita (CW)
September 25: The Good Wife; CSI: Miami; CSI: NY
Onto the New –
September 13: Unforgettable (CBS) Former NYC police detective (Poppy Montgomery Without a Trace) suffers from a rare medical condition that gives her the ability to remember everything.
Ringer (CW) Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Bridget, a young woman wanted by the mob, who goes on the run and takes on the life of her recently departed, wealthy twin sister Siobhan.
September 21: Revenge (ABC) is based on The Count of Monte Cristo with Madeleine Stowe (Blink, Twelve Monkeys) and Emily VanCamp (Rebecca on Brothers and Sisters).
Charlie’s Angels (ABC) A “former Miami police officer, a mysterious street racer, and a well-to-do thief, are recruited by an anonymous millionaire to solve crimes. Minka Kelly (daughter of Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay); Rachel Taylor, (Callie’s obstetrician on Grey’s Anatomy) and Annie Ilonzeh.(General Hospital) will try to leap the retro-hurdle. Who’s Charlie? Robert Wagner bowed out due to scheduling conflicts.
September 22: Person of Interest – According to CBS, this show received the highest test ratings of any drama pilot in 15 years, prompting the network to bump CSI from its long held time slot to make room for this new show from J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe, Super 8). Mysterious billionaire, Mr. Finch, has a computer program that can predict the identity of a person involved in a violent crime at some time in the future. Just can’t predict exactly when, or whether that person will be victim, witness or perpetrator. He hires a presumed dead, former CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) to help stop the crimes.
Prime Suspect (NBC) is described by NBC as a “re-imagining”of the British series with the same name. Maria Bello has the challenge of the Jane Tennison role originated by Helen Mirren.
September 23: A Gifted Man (CBS) A self-absorbed surgeon questions his life when the spirit of his dead ex-wife appears to him. Premiere episode directed by Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia).
Yes fall is in the air and on the air, so plan accordingly. Lay in supplies, dust off the TV tray tables and polish up the remote. Be not daunted by the cheesy or derivative. There are more new shows premiering in October and the winter season starts in November. Check back later for more preview info!
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.