With the big reveal of CBS’ 2012-2013 primetime schedule, all of the major networks have revealed which of their current shows will be back in the fall and which ones are being sent to the television graveyard as well as which pilots will be premiering this fall.
We have to say, we’re pretty pleased with how things panned out. After a tense, touch-and-go couple of days “Parks and Recreation” and “Happy Endings” got their expected pick-ups, and favorites “Modern Family” and “30 Rock,” albeit for a truncated final season, will also be back when the leaves start to turn.
(We’re not exactly in love with the idea of two cycles of “The Voice” – part of that show’s appeal was that it was neither overextended nor played out and a non-stop, yearlong run puts that in danger – but we’ll deal.)
We’ve also got Louis C.K.’s brilliant “Louie” returning to FX in June, and our high hopes that the summer-long break from the traditional TV season will give us a chance to catch up on “Mad Men” or “Game of Thrones.”
So there’s a lot of good things going on in TV right now, and that includes some of what we’re seeing from the previews of the new shows that are premiering this fall. As the network upfronts continue, we’re getting a first feel for which shows to start getting excited for. Below we’ve lined up the four shows (one from each of the four major networks, to keep things fair) that have us really excited for the hot and sticky summer to fly by (save that week at the beach … that can linger as long as it likes) so we can get back to where we belong – in front of a television with a fan, a glass of red wine and all of old and new (TV) friends.
1. “The Mindy Project,” FOX
Our affection for writer-director-actress Mindy Kaling is well-known. We loved her book, she was wonderful on “The Office” as Kelly Kapoor and is the writer behind some of the series’ most affecting episodes. “Mindy Project” is her baby (she stars, writes and created the series) and its synopsis – “A young Ob/Gyn doctor balances her personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small office” – and the “Bridget Jones” comparisons make the show seem like it falls so squarely into the comedienne’s romantic comedy-meets-smart single girl snark sweet spot that, if her past successes are any indication, is proof positive “Mindy” simply cannot fail.
2. “Animal Practice,” NBC
The quirk factor is pretty high here, which isn’t everybody’s jam, but NBC is arguably better at handing this type of show than any network (see “Parks and Rec,” “30 Rock”). The trailer for the series contains plenty of LOL moments, many of them coming from series lead Justin Kirk as an animal loving veterinarian who despises the pet owners. Kirk is as talented an actor as there is, having anchored HBO’s Emmy titan miniseries “Angels in America” before moving on to lighter fare like Showtime’s dramady “Weeds,” and should be able to strike a balance between being off-the-wall and earnest, two qualities that make Amy Poehler so unstoppable as Leslie Knope on the network’s “Parks.” “Practice” seems smart and well-paced and so long as it doesn’t wear its concept too thin too fast could really catch on.
3. “Nashville,” ABC
As you can probably guess from the shows we’ve talked up so far, we tend to favor quirky half-hour sitcoms to hour-long dramas, but we will line up for anything Connie Britton (see “Friday Night Lights,” “American Horror Story,” “24,” “Spin City” and “The West Wing”) does. It’s truly rare to look at any actor’s list of credits and see next to no missteps, particularly when said actor, like Britton, tends to lean toward higher-brow fare. (Even “Horror Story,” for all its camp craziness was sharply written and well-plotted enough to become a minor zeitgeist show last year.) And while “Nashville” may seem to have a few too many parallels to the storyline of the middling Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle “Country Strong” (minus the boozing and rehab angle) for comfort, there’s a lot more spark here – from Hayden Panettiere’s bound for a reality check country crossover diva to the roots country subplot boiling late in the trailer – and Nashville itself is a music town full of stories to tell. Oh, and the show was created by Callie Khouri, who won an Oscar for her screenplay for “Thelma & Louise” and whose other films (the underrated Julia Roberts vehicle “Something to Talk About” and “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”) make it clear that she has a real understanding of southern women.
4. “Partners,” CBS
While we don’t yet have a trailer for “Partners’s” story and cast (and the fact that it is on CBS and not a more logical home like ABC or NBC) make it one of the more interesting shows of the fall season – none of which is to mention that it is seemingly a reboot of sorts of a same-named FOX show from the mid-90s, though the creators of this “Partners” swear that’s not true. While the two shows share a similar pitch – “two life-long best friends and business partners whose ‘bromance’ is tested when one of them is engaged to be married” – the new show comes with an added twist that one of the “bros” is gay, and, according to CBS, based on the real-life friendship of David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, creators of “Will & Grace.”
(On this show, the characters will be architects and not TV execs.)
We like that this show is going to step up and showcase a straight-gay male friendship, a dynamic rarely seen on television, let alone network TV (save ABC’s “Happy Endings,” where it works like gangbusters and knocks down stereotypes along the way). Sure, this shouldn’t be a big deal in 2012, but it is, even more so because the show is on CBS, which doesn’t have the best history with LGBT characters. We also like that the bros in question are going to be played by the talented David Krumholtz and “Ugly Betty” scene stealer Michael Urie, who deserves to be the star of his own vehicle. Urie’s character even has a stable boyfriend, played by one-time “Superman” Brandon Routh. Based on story alone, we’re sold.
Which new shows are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.