America is full of rituals, and sandwiched between the last long weekend of summer and the World Series is one of my favorites - the new Fall TV season. Between Monday, September 20th, and Sunday, the 26th, there are 61 premieres of new and returning shows. That's a lot of TV. It sounds like a home run record. But don't panic. I am the Editor-In-Chief of XfinityTV.com, and along with my editorial team, we are here to help. (Cue the Ghostbusters theme) Who else are you going to call? We are professionals. We watch a lot of TV. And we are going to get you through this.
We do this every day. If you visit XfinityTV.com - and I hope most of you do - you know that we are in the business of marrying great TV to people eager for laughs, addicted to drama, and craving nostalgia, as well as those hapless, hard-working individuals like myself who periodically lose their remote control, forget to program their DVR, or fall asleep midway through their show.
We promote the previous night's biggest shows, serve up the latest TV listings, offer recommendations, and provide industry-changing cross-platform tools - a.k.a. My TV - that let you set your DVR remotely, create a Watch List that alerts you when your favorite shows are available On Demand and online, and use a Facebook app to let you share your favorites with friends.
Insofar as you're looking for water cooler conversation, I spent a plane trip the other day watching screeners of NBC's big new series The Event (I liked it enough to return), the season opener of Fox's sophomore hit Glee (an instantly addictive blast of energy that had me smiling like a kid on a sugar high), and the first three episodes of the newly premiered HBO series Boardwalk Empire (a paradigm of excellence in every way).
As for the experts on my team, Executive Editor Matt is high on CBS' reboot of the classic Hawaii Five-O ("thoroughly enjoyable") and says that "on Monday night, Fox has a compelling, soapy drama on its hands with Lone Star, which is best likened to Dallas meets Big Love." Matt adds, "Both ABC's No Ordinary Family and NBC's Undercovers show great promise in their pilots," and for best new comedy he praises Raising Hope. "Fox's live-action sitcoms tend to break my heart and leave me stranded, so I was hesitant to sample this one, but now I'm glad I did. Its winning cast (including a snarky Martha Plimpton and dimmish Garrett Dillahunt) adds up to a nice blend of sweet and sour."
Senior Editor Tracy Phillips, who put together a list of 25 things you must know about this year's Fall TV (i.e. Favorite Returning Favorite: Tom Selleck), has cast her eye on trends and observes, "The biggest one isn't a trend but the tried and true formula of cop shows. Hawaii Five-O; Law & Order: LA; Blue Bloods; Chase; Detroit 1-8-7... If you want to throw the spies/superhero lifesavers into the mix, you can add Undercovers; Nikita; and No Ordinary Family." She adds, "There's a surge in female action figures again, too: GuGu from Undercovers, Maggie Q from Nikita, Kelli Giddish from Chase, and Grace Park, Hawaii Five-O."
To continue preparing for the new TV season, here are some easy tips:
LAST MINUTE TO-DO LIST:
- Check out the xfinityTV.com editors' annual Fall preview, which includes sneak peeks, news stories, interviews, and a list of the most anticipated new shows.
- View the complete calendar of premiere dates for new and returning shows.
- Visit My TV and begin creating a Watch List and setting your DVR remotely.
FIVE NEW SHOWS YOU WANT TO WATCH:
(Click to watch previews and remember to use My TV to set your DVR and add them to your Watch List.)
- Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
- Lone Star (Fox)
- The Event (NBC)
- Raising Hope (Fox)
- Blue Bloods (CBS)
SIX PREVIEWS OF RETURNING SHOWS:
(Click to watch previews)
- Glee (Fox)
- Modern Familiy (ABC)
- Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
- Dexter (Showtime)
- The Office (NBC)
- The-Good-Wife (CBS)
SEVEN NEW SHOWS THAT HAVE ALREADY PREMIERED:
(Click to watch full episodes)
- Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
- Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS)
- Nikita (CW)
- Terriers (FX)
- Vampire Diaries (CW)
- Hellcats (CW)
- Beast Legends (SyFy)
ONE PROBLEM WE CAN'T SOLVE:
With all this excellent TV available, there's no time to read Oprah's latest Book Club selection, Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom.