Your Virtual Fall TV Preview: Wednesdays

This is the time of year when all the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW) put out those cheap, cheesy “preview” specials. They often put them on at odd times, and mostly focus on what seems to be the worst of what they have to offer. Consider this as an improved version of that.

The following are previews of the new shows that will be airing on Wednesday nights, along with a little background information and some speculation on how long they might last.

At 8 pm, NBC starts things off with Undercovers, which differs from your usual spy drama. Co-created by TV mastermind J.J. Abrams, it’s about a married couple who “spice up” their love life by going back to work for the CIA.

This show has potential, if it stays away from married couple cliches. What was funny in Mr. & Mrs. Smith for two hours could get irritating after a couple of hour-long episodes.

ABC has had success with their Wednesday comedy night, so they’re adding Better With You to the mix at 8:30. Similar to the plots of CBS’ Rules of Engagement and FOX’s failed Til’ Death, it follows couples at different stages of their relationships.

TV doesn’t need another stale romantic comedy. However, Better With You has a spectacular cast that’s familiar with comedy. Reba’s Joanna Garcia, Supernatural’s Kurt Fuller, and That 70’s Show’s Debra Jo Rupp all play major roles.

The CW only has two new series this season. One of them is the teen-oriented Hellcats, which airs at 9 pm.

Hellcats won’t be a ratings smash, but with The CW, it doesn’t need to be. If you liked any of the Bring It On movies, then this is probably for you. A word of warning to parents: this is not a “family show”, despite the fact that two of the show’s lead actors are Disney Channel favorites (Phil of the Future’s Alyson Michalka and High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale).

At the 10 pm hour, three major networks are turning to shows about lawyers and our judicial law system. ABC’s The Whole Truth puts a spin on the tired concept by showing cases through the eyes of the defense and the prosecution before telling you what really happened.

The Whole Truth seems to be the best of its competition, but only time will tell if it has what it takes to make it.

CBS is on the less serious side of the law, giving us The Defenders. Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell star as two attorneys trying to run their own Las Vegas law firm.

Another show set in Las Vegas? Dr. Vegas and Viva Laughlin didn’t last long, but maybe CBS sees something different in The Defenders.

NBC canceled the original Law & Order to bring us Law & Order: Los Angeles. The network hasn’t revealed much about the show, other than the fact that stars Terrence Howard, Skeet Ulrich, and Alfred Molina play major parts.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to remake the beloved L.A. Law? Still, it’s rare for anything that carries the Law & Order stamp to be anything less than a success.

Coming soon, a look at Thursday nights.