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Hercules Looks At What TV Guide Says About The Broadcast Nets' New Autumn Programming!!

I am – Hercules!!

In the current fall preview issue of TV Guide (the one with the new Two and a Half Men on the cover, on sale now), longtime critic Matt Roush appears to dis, or at least dismiss, 17 of 25 new network shows. What Roush says:

1) CHARLIE’S ANGELS (ABC): “noisy misfire”
2) FREE AGENTS (NBC): “toxic”
3) A GIFTED MAN (CBS): “schmaltzy”
4) GRIMM (NBC): “muddled, mopey”
5) H8R (CW): “insipid”
6) HART OF DIXIE (CW): “patronizingly phony”
7) HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN (CBS): “cringeworthy”
9) LAST MAN STANDING (ABC): “hammy retread”
10) MAN UP! (ABC): “charmless”
11) ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC): “convoluted and campy”
12) THE PLAYBOY CLUB (NBC): “dreary pastiche”
13) REVENGE (ABC): “overwritten, contrived”
14) THE SECRET CIRCLE (CW): “the magic is missing”
15) TERRA NOVA (Fox): “clunky writing”
16) UNFORGETTABLE (CBS): “[un]memorable storytelling”
17) WHITNEY: “abrasively kooky”

That leaves eight shows with which Roush seems at least OK:

1) PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)*  “I’m hooked”
2) 2 BROKE GIRLS (CBS)*: “tasty”
3) UP ALL NIGHT (NBC)*: “refreshingly grown-up”
4) NEW GIRL (Fox): “irresistible”
5) PAN AM (ABC): “infectiously glossy”
6) PRIME SUSPECT (NBC): “solid”
7) RINGER (CW): “juicy”
8) SUBURGATORY (ABC): “broadly amusing” 
*also in Entertainment Weekly’s “top five”

Three of those eight also make Entertainment Weekly’s “top five,” so they must be great, right?

My takes on Roush’s eight faves, starting with the three EW liked too:

1) PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS): This was the one I was rooting for. A project from “Dark Knight” screenwriter Jonathan Nolan and “Star Trek”/”Super 8” mastermind J.J. Abrams. It’s better than J.J. Abrams’ “Undercovers” but not as good as Abrams’ midseason ABC sci-fi hourlong “Alcatraz.” So far it’s also not as good as Abrams’ “Alias,” “Lost” or “Fringe.” Michael Emerson brings a lot, and I loved when haunted human weapon Jim Caveziel unpacked his whupass. But the slightly sci-fi-ish premise strikes me as a bit too dopey, and the plotting in the pilot too often feels surprisingly lazy and predictable.

2) 2 BROKE GIRLS (CBS): One of two new fall sitcoms created by new NBC star Whitney Cummings, it’s not as funny as CBS’ Chuck Lorre sitcoms but funnier than CBS’ other laughtrack fare. Kat Dennings, the Infinite Playlist girl who was Catherine Keener’s freaked-out daughter in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” has star power. But dang that laughtrack is distracting.

3) UP ALL NIGHT (NBC): SNL vets continue to leak into NBC’s sitcoms. Following in the footsteps of Greg Daniels and Steve “Ambiguously Gay” Carell at “The Office,” Tina Fey and Tracey Morgan at “30 Rock,” Chevy Chase on “Community” and Mike Schur and Amy Poehler at “Parks and Recreation,” Maya Rudolph and longtime SNL writer Emily Spivey are collaborating on “Up All Night,” which stars Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as the foul-mouthed hard-living fortyish parents of a newborn. Spivey’s depiction of the parenting life feels authentic and the pilot carries an agreeable semi-improvisational feel.

4) NEW GIRL (Fox): This Zooey Deschanel vehicle from the writer of the Portman-Kutcher comedy “No Strings Attached” didn’t make EW’s top five but I believe it’s my favorite fall broadcast pilot this year. It’s funny and full of likeable characters. Why is Zooey doing TV? Aside from Syfy’s “Tin Man,” this may be the first time Emily’s adorably deadpan sister has been the lead in anything.

5) PAN AM (ABC): This was the better of the two new network series set in 1963, but it’s no “Mad Men.” SPOILER: There’s a subplot about the U.S. government using the stewardesses as spies. (This feels a little hacky, as if Matt Weiner turned Don Draper into a part-time James Bond or something.) Nancy Hult Ganis, a Pam Am stew in the late 1960s and early 1970s and one of the show’s producers, insists this sort of thing really went on, but this series needs to put more emphasis on character than low-boil espionage if it wants me to stick around. Jack Orman, who did a great job running “ER” back in the day, is in charge. The fabulous Kelli Garner and Christina Ricci play hot stews. So I’ll give it a few episodes.

6) PRIME SUSPECT (NBC): Far from perfect but much better than the promos let on. Adapted from the acclaimed British series by original creator Lynda La Plante and longtime “Desperate Housewives” writer-producer Alexandra Cunningham, it’s set in New York but its emphasis on cops rather than cases makes it a whole lot better than any of those “Law & Order” shows.

7) RINGER (CW): I think TV Guide was worried that if it didn’t say something nice about one of The CW’s new shows, it would lose the netlet’s advertising or access to its stars. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to TV is no “Buffy,” believe you me. Not even “Lost” boy Nestor Carbonell elevates this enterprise out of the realm of meh.

8) SUBURGATORY (ABC): Created by “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” mastermind Emily Kapnek, this one’s about a Manhattan teen relocated to the boonies after her dad finds a box of rubbers in her dresser drawer. I’ve just retreated to the suburbs after decades in Los Angeles, and my suburb bears no resemblance to this suburb.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 12, 2011, 3:49 p.m. CST

    No word on Awake?

    by Jimbonx

    kinda looked interesting

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 3:54 p.m. CST


    by Hercules

    is the best of the midseason shows I've seen for this season.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Awake is the one with Jason Isaacs, right?

    by BlaGyver

    I kept looking for a review up there from TV Guide and didn't see anything. Got worried that it got pulled last minute or something.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Is it me or are the 1960's getting a bit creepy?

    by lv_426

    I don't know what it is. I really enjoyed Mad Men, but now with the long hiatus and some of the less believable story turns that occurred in season 4, I've kinda lost a lot of interest. These 60's era set shows and their Mad Men rip-off feeling just sours that whole period for me. Maybe its just that I am on a Breaking Bad kick now or something? Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were so damn good that they completely destroyed just about everything on TV from the past couple of years.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST

    I want to know about...

    by emteem

    ...American Horror Story. Everything I read about Once Upon a Time tells me people either really groove on it, or really don't like it. I'm planning to find out where I land. I liked New Girl when I watched it off OnDemand so I'll probably stick with that, and I'm going to give Person of Interest a chance, and with that I think I'm out as far as new shows go. Actually, I'll probably try Ringer, Up All Night, and Free Agents just because they are on this week when most everything else is still in reruns, but they'd have to grab me fast and I'm already kind of anti-Ringer and Free Agents from the promos.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:14 p.m. CST


    by warren bishop

    This is completely off-topic but I just wanted to thank you again for your reading suggestions. I just finished "House of Suns" and I have to admit it was (surprisingly) far and away my favorite of the bunch. The far, far future setting, and political intrigue reminded me of "Dune". It was a fantastic read - too bad that we can see more things like that adapted into film or tv instead of more police prodcedurals etc. Regards.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Up All Night seems like a repetitive one-liner

    by Jack

    So they have a newborn...okay. Now what?

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Charlies Angels

    by Shakes

    I'm sorry, but shouldn't the angels on Charlies Angels actually be hot. I mean Minka Kelly I totally get, but the blonde and the black one, not so much. Probably could have done better there.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    The production design of Pan Am makes checking out the pilot worth it...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    Can't believe such an era existed in America. So surreal. Seems like this country has steadily gone backward since the end of the Kennedy era.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    HitFix List of Worst Pilots

    by Incomplete Gamer

    It's interesting to see how wildly different the reviews have been for Person of Interest. Daniel Fienberg has the show as the 10th worst pilot of the fall. Saying that it is generic and doesn't go anywhere. Yet others praise it and say they're hooked. I'll watch the pilot and see for myself, but it's interesting how different these opinions are.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Where's the Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star review?

    by F-18

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Lynda La Plante knows her stuff.

    by Nerfee

    The original Prime Suspect was excellent.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 5:13 p.m. CST

    why couldnt they move fringe to 8 pm

    by ORIONgods

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 5:19 p.m. CST

    I found nothing to like about "New Girl"

    by Chain

    I love Zoey and Tin Man was great but the pilot for New Girl was lifeless,predictable and cheesy as hell.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Has anyone seen the River pilot?

    by paulrichard

    Is that still going to be on midseason? It was the only network show that looked interesting to me.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 5:51 p.m. CST

    No new stuff interests me, but...


    I am excited for Blue Bloods. I really enjoyed last season. It needs to angst from Sellick though.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    So only Fringe is a must-see then...maybe PoI

    by performingmonkey

    Oh and Big Bang Theory...but titty-fucking hell, what's up with the lack of good shows?? At least we've got Merlin coming in the UK (season 4 with a bigger budget and shot on Super 35!!!).

  • Loved New Girl and Prime Suspect so far, Whitney was alright, Charlie's Angels was terrible as expected. Downloading PoI to the living room now.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST

    "Up All Night"? Yeeeech! Count me out.

    by Cheif Brody

    I can't sit thru my own friend's boring ass stories about "how hard it is with a newborn in the house". All that fine talent and improvisational flair is wasted on me. <p> Sad...cuz I LOVE Arnett, Applegate & Rudolph all so much...but they are simply locked in a GOES NOWHERE premise show. Great cast for such a clunker storyline. <p> Hell, I bailed on "Medium" (which I liked) when the damn kids got old enough to get dialog on that show...let alone start inheriting their Mom's gifts. <p> I'm gonna give "Person of Interest" & "Prime Suspect" 3 episodes to get me hooked or I'm bailing on those two. I got enough problems keeping up with all the multi-universe characters on "Fringe" as it is. <p> I will secretly be watching "Charlie's Angels" and "Playboy Club" simply for costume design purposes only. But...shhhh! Don't tell anybody. <p>

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Sarah Michelle Gellar and Zooey Deschanel on tv every week ?

    by Itchy

    I better start exercising my wrists right now.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Most Promising Shows

    by warren bishop

    The reviews I'd read described "Alcatraz" and "Awake" as two of the most promising shows - yet neither are on any networks' schedule. What happened to them? Did the geniuses in programming say "These shows actually look pretty good - let's get rid of them."?

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:16 p.m. CST


    by Tigger Tales

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Did Craig Kilborn's ABC deal yeild anything?

    by JuanSanchez

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:31 p.m. CST

    what happened to 'Touch' with Kiefer Sutherland?

    by Titus05

    it's not even listed as a mid-season show

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Person Of Interest looks like a show of interest.

    by SID 8.0

    I always thought Kiefer Sutherland would be great in an American version of the BBC mini-series Ultraviolet. That would be awesome. As either the main hero or villain he could do both perfectly.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:51 p.m. CST

    I'm seriously cancelling cable after Baseball season.

    by CatVutt

    Fuck it. I'll download what little decent programming comes around. I mean look at that SHIT.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:54 p.m. CST

    The real question is

    by Truxton Spangler

    how long Fox will stick with Terra Nova if it doesn't draw well. They sunk an enormous amount of money into the pilot, and ordered a complete season sight unseen. I'll check out it, and Playboy Club from the first list (Amber Heard in a bunny costume? please.). And PoI, Pan Am, and Ringer from the second. But I hope the "Siobhan!!!" quotient is toned down; it became annoying just in the preview.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Chuck Lorre's sitcoms are "funny"?

    by Leto III

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    juansanchez...Have to get your Kilborn fix from "Chuck"

    by Cheif Brody

    Think he plays a smarmy bad guy foil to Chuck & Sarah's wedded bliss in a few episode arc this season. <p> Didn't he play a smarmy bad guy in "Old School"? Guy's got range, I tells ya!

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Zooey was the lead in All The Real Girls?

    by elecam

  • Sadly this is not the case. When is USA going to get off their ass and relaunch Up All Night, Saturday Nightmares, and Commander USA's Groovy Movies? Ever since they cancelled those shows they've gone straight into the shitter.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Whitney Cummings has both dead eyes and crazy eyes

    by JorEl214


  • Sept. 12, 2011, 9:52 p.m. CST

    "New Girl" - most annoying show ever?

    by bierce

    Every preview I've seen indicates that Zooey is playing the most annoying girl in the world. I can't imagine watching 30 minutes of that obnoxious, neurotic character every week. I kept thinking, Would somebody please just smack her in the mouth already?

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 10:01 p.m. CST


    by room23storeblogspotcom

    Alcatraz and Awake don't air until midseason/January. I actually saw the pilot episode of Alcatraz at Comic-Con and really liked it.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    kat dennings has a great rack and was in thor

    by john

    but this tv season looks like absolute shite but ya, the early 60s were so much better when we made sure to hide all our minorities and poverty

  • ...God help us all.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 10:54 p.m. CST

    why would any of you give a fuck what any reviewer thinks

    by Daniel

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Who said that we do?

    by Cheif Brody

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 11:51 p.m. CST

    I'll be giving Ringer, Terra Nova and Person Of Interest a shot

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Of last year's new shows, the only ones that survived (and I liked) were Nikita and The Walking Dead. POI I'm only interested in because I need my Bejamin Linus fix, dammit.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 3:16 a.m. CST


    by dukeroberts

    The only show I will end up watching while it's actually broadcast will probably be Whitney, only because it follows The Office. I won't watch 2 Broke Girls, despite the hotness attached, because it's on CBS and I don't watch anything on CBS (except for football games). I may try Charlie's Angels On Demand, even though it looks terrible, because of my great love for Minka Kelly. I will check out Pan Am and The Playboy Club On Demand and will give them a couple of episodes to hook me. Pan Am looks beautiful, in more ways than one. I can't watch any of those three while they're on due to scheduling conflicts. And, to X Factor or not to X Factor? If it weren't for The Middle I might watch ABC on Wednesdays instead of my boy Simon Cowell, but The Middle sucks. If X Factor sucks, hellooooo ABC! I love me some Modern Family and Suburgatory looks pretty funny.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    ...because it's on CBS and I don't watch anything on CBS .

    by KazamaSmokers

    That's the strangest reasoning I've ever read.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 8:21 a.m. CST

    CBS sucks ass. CBS is a conservative fuckfest.

    by Xen11

    It's stands for Conservative Bull Shit.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Where's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 5?

    by Xen11

    And why is there no universal healthcare?

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 8:49 a.m. CST

    I Have Three Words

    by Christopher Bynum

    Cop. Rock. Reboot.

  • You mean the show with Heather Graham that was cancelled after 1 (that's ONE) episode? Mastermind? Really?

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 9:59 a.m. CST

    silentrifleman, all the networks have two words for you

    by jim

    Viva. Laughlin.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    Something odd in 2 Broke Girls promos...

    by mdk

    Kat Dennings in the original promos was, uh, "rocking some cleavage" now, she's wearing a black t-shirt under the waitress uniform. What gives?

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 10:21 a.m. CST

    2 Broke Girls

    by Xen11

    They're broke Just like you HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 2 Broke Girls Followed by 2 And A Half Men HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA They're 2 Girls And they're broke Just like you HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Only on CBS! You're broke too What else do got to do? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 11:02 a.m. CST

    not as funny as Chuck Lorre's other sitcoms

    by TheSeeker7

    2.5 Men is one of the worst things I've ever seen, so where's that leave us?

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST

    suburgatory, ringer, new girl

    by Himbo

    Looks like wants to be successor to Desperate Housewives, crossed with Glee. No interest. To the guy that said his High School Ska Band was called "Suburgatory" I would propose that the best name you could have chosen was "High School Ska Band" which is kinda neat. Suburgatory sounds pretentious as shit. Saw pilot of new girl. It gets a season pass. Ringer debuts tonight. I'm going to check it out to see if it can transcend the 'meh.' I hope it does not pull a "Lone Star". Since it is not on Fox, I think I might survive more than one episode.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Person of Interest attracts my interest, but . . .

    by kabong

    that's a JJ Abrams' production, so I'd have to dump on it even if I enjoy it.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Hollywood hates suburbanites

    by SgtSharki

    Hercules, Of course Suburgatory doesn't resemble the real suburban experience. Hollywood is nothing pinko,hippy, left wingers who think suburbs and the people who live in them are the root of all evil. They don't see suburbanites as real people who just want to get away from it all and live some place nice and quiet. No, to Hollywood, suburbanites are all empty headed WASPs who only care about buying things and keeping minorities out of the neighborhood. It's Hollywood's worst and most blatant prejudice.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST


    by Josh

    That made me laugh all the things they said

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 2:31 p.m. CST

    From the pilots I've seen most of the new shows are disappointing.

    by averagejoe_6

    Charlie's Angels concentrates on style and totally neglects substance. The only thing I thought was entertaining about the show happens in the first 5 minutes where they have a sight gag with a guy who looks remarkably like the original Bosley. Up All Night was groaningly bad, I could not even watch the entire thing. Most of the other sit-coms (especially the new one with Tim Allen in it) were painful to watch as well. The best of the bunch was Suburgatory. "Awake" is by far the best pilot of the bunch. The premise is clever. I found the main character's speech at the end of the episode to be very powerful. It sets a very clear tone for the rest of the series. Paulrichard asked about River. I am a huge Bruce Greenwood fan, but I hate to say that his is the weakest performance of the whole group. If he said "It's magical" (or something like that) one more time I was going to scream. The basic premise is that he plays a Steve Irwin type of character and is his family trying to find him, with some supernatural elements thrown in. Not sure how they are going to sustain that. I enjoyed Alcatraz a lot. All the inmates on the island disappear in the early 60's. They begin to re-appear in the present day looking not a day older. My fear it will slip into an "inmate of the week" story rut. Terra Nova is Jurrasic Park on a tv budget. They never really explain how going back into the prehistoric past doesn't totally screw up the timeline. I fear this won't last long. I've seen quite a few more, but the fact that I can't remember the specifics kind of tells you something right there, doesn't it?

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 2:47 p.m. CST


    by dukeroberts

    CBS only makes garbage. Most of the shows are derivative police procedural drivel. Their sitcoms are all so unfunny that they are loaded with laugh tracks so you will be sure to laugh at the appropriate times. "I laughed several times, therefore it must be funny." The last shows I watched on CBS were season 6 (I think) of Survivor and Love Monkey, which lasted only 3 episodes. Everything since then has lacked any creativity what so ever. Someone that commented after me said CBS stood for "Conservative Bull Shit". I'm a Conservative, and I think he's right. It's all rather safe and boring. They throw in some trashy humor on the sitcoms, but it is not very creative trashy humor. My roommate knows how to get me to go to my room. She puts on How I Met Your Mother and I'm up the stairs in a flash. If CBS had some truly unique, interesting show I might actually watch that show. However, that show does not exist on that network. If they had picked up Pushing Daisies instead of ABC it would have been canceled after 3 episodes. CBS sucks.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Nothing looks good

    by solvseus

    Not one new show I want to watch. I might catch one if it's in between 2 other shows I watch, but less and less of those too. When I first got a DVR, it was hard to balance all the stuff I wanted to watch, not a problem anymore. And some of the shows I do watch are ending, so next year will probably be even worse. New job takes up a lot of time anyway, and there are a bunch of movies I want to see, but this is sad. Having a life is expensive, but I'm going to have to get one again or be stuck watching horrible Youtube videos while not sleeping.

  • Sept. 14, 2011, 4:01 a.m. CST

    new girl

    by palewook

    chuckled a couple of times at the pilot, which aint a bad thing, will give it another chance or two.

  • Sept. 14, 2011, 2 p.m. CST

    Prime Suspect???? i think not

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    Well i don't know what the fuck that trailer was but it certainly wasn't Prime Suspect,Helen Mirran would be spinning in her grave...if she was dead

  • Sept. 14, 2011, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Kat Dennings "star power"

    by SuperXY

    She's not bad or anything, but I'm pretty sure most of her "star power" is on her chest.