Your Virtual Fall TV Preview: Thursdays

Part four of a primetime look at what the major networks will be offering us, with predictions on what will stick and what will flop.

New TV series were hyped at an all time high in 2010, only to see disappointing ratings and early cancellations. As a result, this fall will see more new series debuts than last year. But what will stay and what will get cancelled before Christmas? Looking at a show’s premise and competition, I previously predicted the demises of Running Wilde, Detroit 1-8-7, My Generation, and Outlaw, so let’s see about this year.

(The listings shown are for the Central Standard time zone.)


Despite being co-executive-produced by Drew Barrymore, ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels seems to be more in line with the tone of the original TV series. Described as a drama series, the three female private detectives are former “bad girls”: a thief, a disgraced army lieutenant, and a corrupt cop. Still, the writers promise that the angels will “still like to have fun, wear great clothes, solve crime, and kick some serious ass. Expect a highly rated premiere followed by declining numbers and cancellation. Viewers have proven time and again that they don’t care about remakes, and this show has some serious competition. (Debuts 22 September)



In CBS’ How to Be a Gentleman, David Hornsby stars as a writer whose “How to Be a Gentleman” column is nixed by his new boss for a “man’s man” perspective. As he learns all about “manliness” from a personal trainer (Entourage’s Kevin Dillon), he teaches the brute some manners. Coming off as a retread of The Odd Couple, the show’s actors play their roles well, but its horrid writing might just ruin it. However, airing in this timeslot might just save it. (Debuts 29 September)



Executive-produced by J. J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe) and Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Night, Memento), CBS’ Person of Interest has big names all over it. It stars The Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel as a former CIA operative who fights crime before it happens, using a mysterious billionaire’s (Lost’s Michael Emerson) futuristic technology. Although the concept is similar to the 2002 movie Minority Report, this show is based in more realistic terms. From what I’ve seen, Person of Interest is a sleek, well-done thriller fit for the big-screen. While CBS must have faith in it, putting it in CSI’s former timeslot, we can only hope the show doesn’t get too expensive to stay on the air. (Debuts 22 September)

The CW has adapted yet another supernatural teen book series into The Secret Circle. Life Unexpected’s Britt Robertson stars as a teen who discovers that she is a witch, which puts her in immediate danger. Given the perfect timeslot of following The Vampire Diaries, there’s no reason to doubt that the network will keep this around for a while. (Debuts 15 September)



In what is this year’s simplest premise for a TV series, NBC’s Whitney is all about a woman named Whitney. That’s it. Whitney is happily unmarried to her live-in boyfriend and often comments on life and relationships to her friends (and the audience). Whitney’s biggest problem is its own star, who comes off as a whiny stereotype of a modern woman in the show’s endlessly repeated commercials. Don’t just take my word for it: nearly half of those who watched this preview on YouTube “unliked” it. (Debuts 22 September)



NBC’s Prime Suspect stars Maria Bello (ER) as a New York homicide detective. American audiences might be familiar with the original UK series that inspired this remake, as it aired on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre, but this is more of a conventional crime-procedural. Regardless of who is in it or how well it is done, this show is doomed. It airs opposite one of the highest rated crime-procedurals on TV today: CBS’ The Mentalist. (Debuts 22 September)

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