We’re celebrating the Fall 2011 TV season by breaking down what you need to watch live, what you need to DVR, and what you should save for online viewing this year. We’ll also give you a heads-up on the shows you should be reading recaps for to stay in the know with your friends and relatives. Check out Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Wednesday’s schedules if you haven’t already. Now, on to Thursday!
WHAT TO WATCH LIVE:
Community It’s Community’s third season, but for me, it will be my first season sitting down with Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Alison Brew, and the rest of the cast. I’ve tried in the past to get into the show, but never caught the Community-bug. But this year, I’m hopeful because of the addition of one key cast member: John Goodman. What can I say – I have a soft spot for Dan Connor. (And yes, I’m watching Roseanne’s Nuts too.)
Parks and Recreation If you’ve never seen Parks and Recreation before, now’s probably a good time to start. The show has found it’s footing after a rocky first season and a second and third season with tremendous character growth and styling adjustments. All the cogs seem to be working together – great writing, loveable characters, and consistently hysterical performances – lead by three-time Emmy nominee Amy Poehler. This season, Poehler’s Leslie Knope is hitting the campaign trail in small town Pawnee – while trying to maintain a budding romance with Adam Scott’s Ben Wyatt.
Person of Interest In the crowded jungle of crime-solving shows, you have to have something that lets you stand out. For Person of Interest, that means a premise built around solving crimes using cutting-edge surveillance technology on cell phones, computers, street cameras, etc. The show comes from the mind of executive producers J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Jonathan Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight), and stars Taraji P. Henson, Jim Caviezel, and – HOLY SHIT – MICHAEL EMRSON! That’s right – BEN LINUS IS ON THIS SHOW! Automatic must-see TV!
Prime Suspect The U.S. retelling of the hit 90s UK series puts Maria Bello in the Helen Mirren lead role – this time playing Jane Timoney, a tough NYC homicide detective. Differences from the UK series are plentiful. Whereas Mirren’s Suspect solved one crime over the course of one season, Bello’s Suspect tackles a crime-an-episode. Bello’s character will also fight against all those American issues – like getting respect from her male colleagues, trying to maintain a dating life, and – yes – quitting smoking. I’m a little procedural’ed out personally – but I think that Bello will keep me tuning into this one.
WHAT TO DVR:
Charlie’s Angels Come on – I know you’re a little curious to see what they do with this reboot of the 70s classic. From what I’ve seen so far, they’ve done everything they can to eliminate the camp of the original series, focusing on real, grounded characters and action-packed sequences. It’s a fun hour, all around. But in post-Cover Affairs world, it still feels a little too…USA. Still, I’ll give it a few episodes to find it’s footing. Besides, even I can’t deny that Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, and Rachel Taylor are certainly nice to look at.
The Office Michael Scott is gone. And in his place, comes to the new manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch. Only, we don’t know who that is yet. What we do know, is that James Spader joins the cast this year, playing Robert California, the new CEO of Dunder Mifflin’s parent company, Sabre (Spader replaces Kathy Bates’ Jo Bennett, who moves away from The Office to focus on Harry’s Law). Spader will surely pump some new life into the show, which in its eighth season, has become a little formulaic. But I’m okay with that. I’m still totally enamored by Jim, Pam, Angela, Kelly, Dwight, and the rest of the crew, and don’t plan on letting them go anytime soon.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia It took me a few years to come around to It’s Always Sunny. The show was a bit of an acquired taste. Now that I’ve learned to love it, though, I really love it. And season 7 sounds like it’s going to have a lot of meat to it. As in, Rob McElhenney has gained 50 pounds for an upcoming storyline. That’s dedication, huh? The least you can do is tune in to see why.
Project Runway It’s not the best season Project Runway’s ever had. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding any desires to really root for. Still, it’s Project Runway. The fashion’s fun to watch even when it’s bad (heck, ESPECIALLY when it’s bad). Plus, how can you not love Tim Gunn? The 10pm showing will conflict with what you’ve already got going, so catch a later showing (usually 12am or 1am, depending).
WHAT TO WATCH ONLINE:
Big Bang Theory I’d suggest you watch it live, but I think Community needs your support more.
Grey’s Anatomy I’m not a huge Grey’s fan, but I know this is one of those shows that has diehard viewers. I still think Person of Interest is a better choice for your live slot. And The Office takes up less space on the DVR. But I understand you may want to keep up with the crew at Seattle Grace, so I’d suggest tuning in online.
The Vampire Diaries I totally hate vampires. But I love Ian Somerhalder, so I won’t fault you if you want to watch him brooding about.
WHAT TO READ ABOUT ONLINE THE NEXT DAY:
In November, Thursday’s The X-Factor will become a one-hour results show (to make room for Bones at 9PM. So skip that and check up on who got voted off on the blogs.
WHAT TO IGNORE:
The Secret Circle wasn’t my thing. I’ve also grown tired of the shenanigans over on Jersey Shore. And aren’t two-hours of The X-Factor on Wednesday night enough? Skip Thursday and catch a break. Then there’s Whitney. My god, have you seen those previews? Kill yourself.