This begins my Fall 2005 TV Preview. Last year I predicted the success of Lost, Desperate Housewives and House though erred in selecting Jack & Bobby and Joey as potential draws. Thanks to Lost, there is a strong supernatural thread this year. Surely I cannot tell the difference between Threshold and Surface, which I think was once named Fathom or is that still another show? Shaun (American Gothic) Cassidy's Invasion, about a race of body snatchers that transform people in the wake of a hurricane may be in trouble because of Hurricane Katrina. Also on the spooky side though more in the vein of procedurals like CSI are Bones, The Night Stalker, Killer Instinct and Ghost Whisperer. There are lots of people seeing dead people this year apparently.
One genre that is not dead, contrary to many reports, is Comedies. Arrested Development, The Office, FX's new comedies and Curb Your Enthusiasm show how smart, edgy and un-formulaic laughers can work for modern audiences. NBC takes their cue with My Name is Earl, while many of the other new comedies seem like relics of another age. Including the Friends-with-high-concept attempt How I Met Your Mother.
For the new season, here is the hot/not-hot list. Since I have not been privy to any previews, the picks are based on buzz, instinct and personal preference. Like, it's not hard to tell a sitcom starring Freddie Prinze Jr. will suck.
My Name is Earl
Everybody Hates Chris
Wild Cards:May/May Not Suck
Commander in Chief
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
Several new shows are launching this week, which is just in time for the major networks who have seen the cable universe swallow viewers all summer with Monk, The Closer, Entourage and Rescue Me. HBO's Rome premiered last week and in late September Curb Your Enthusiasm is back along with Ricky Gervais' (BBC's The Office) Extras. To get an early start on hooking viewers, Fox begins before the baseball playoffs. Over the next two weeks most of the major premieres belong to them.Last Monday Prison Break was unleashed and this week will bring Reunion, which follows the kickoff to The O.C.'s new season. The Simpsons will return next Sunday instead of their usual November start to begin a week of premieres including Bones, Head Cases and returning favorite House.