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Fall 2007 Television Preview

Maureen Ryan offers up three takes on the new TV season: a prime-time primer on the new fall shows, a look at few of fall’s TV trends in the form of nerds and rich people, and how to build the perfect TV show.

Check back each day this week for more TV previews…

Untangling the fall TV lineup isn’t as simple as you might think

Twenty-seven new TV shows will debut during the next few months. You can catch them when they premiere on TV or maybe see an early glimpse online. I watched most of them in the course of one exhausting week.

You’d be mistaken if you’re imagining an on-the-clock stint at home, with me wearing pajamas, spooning ice cream straight from the carton, staring at the screen.

Some of the writing here in our Fall TV Preview is produced from home, with a small-but-mighty TV and a computer parked in my lap for enough hours to make the cats jealous. But it’s so much more than watching.

I consider each show’s network, time slot and night it’s on, which shows come before and after and the shows on other networks before, during and after. I check who’s in it, who produced it, who directed it and who stands to make some cash if it’s successful. I consider the grand scheme of what’s new this year, what was new last year and what has survived so far.

Eventually, I remember to laugh, cry, roll my eyes or bang my head against the arm of the couch until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Then, I type.

The early crop of pilots sent to critics, like me, isn’t meant for review. Before the shows hit your TV, some actors will recast; story lines will disappear. Still, we rely on the pilots to give us a sense of where our time will go this fall. Everything in this Fall TV Preview is as up-to-date as possible.

There is no guaranteeing what makes a hit. Often, the best shows fail, the best ideas falter or the worst catch on. Hopefully, this guide will help you.

Give it a read. Grab the ice cream. Get watching.


All the networks have streaming video on their Web sites. And all of them are offering previews of their new shows before the broadcast premieres, along with featurettes, clips of returning shows and programming schedules.

ABC | CBS | The CW | Fox | NBC

Thursday, September 6 2007

Prime-time primer: A highly subjective guide to new fall shows

If the networks' clutch of new shows doesn't appear to contain, at first glance, an instant game-changer such as Lost, be patient. Something great might emerge from this fall's crop. Or not.

Superpowers, nerds and rich people: A few of fall’s TV trends

A few thoughts on trends and trendlets for fall TV.

Building the perfect TV show

What if we put the best of several promising fall shows together? Would it result in the perfect program or a horrible botch?

Wednesday, September 5 2007

Five new shows to see—and five to miss

Thursday & Friday: Week closes with audience favorites

Thursday and Friday are healthy, stable TV nights this year, a dramatic shift from last year's Thursday ratings wars and Friday's former status as a dead zone.

Tuesday, September 4 2007

Wednesday: There’s fantasy, and there’s fantasy

We have reality TV about people younger or more beautiful than ourselves, fantasy TV about people smarter, younger and more beautiful than ourselves, and sitcom TV about people too much like ourselves. What we don't have much of, though, is fantasy TV for pure fancy, for delight.

Tuesday: Think ‘Sopranos’ with a rum chaser

CBS takes a giant leap from its usual crime procedural, solved-in-an-hour lawyer routine with Cane.

Monday, September 3 2007

Monday: You get to choose among a cornucopia of genres

Your Monday night could be anything you want. You're looking for mindless distraction? Flip to ABC. Funny, or at least supposed-to-be funny? CBS.

Sunday’s lineup carries an English accent

Sundays, we celebrate the invasion of British television. Two of the night's new shows existed abroad first.

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