Weekends This Fall: Your 2013 TV Preview

The major TV networks have mostly given up on the concept of original television during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Fridays have gotten a lot more interesting this year, however. Three new shows will make their debuts on the night, with several old favorites moving right next to them. Its one of the most unique nights of the week, with a wide variety of different reality shows, sitcoms, and dramas.

A hit show hasn’t aired regularly on Saturday nights in decades. That won’t change this year, as NBC and CBS have set the night aside for repeats, ABC and FOX broadcast sporting events, and a movie occasionally airs on The CW.

Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that many of cable TV’s biggest hits air on Sundays, the five major networks assume that football is the only thing that audiences want to watch on that night. A notable exception to this is ABC, who is unfortunately sticking its weakest new show in the time slot that made Desperate Housewives a hit.



FOX’s MasterChef Junior

Vs. CBS’ Undercover Boss, NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Last Man Standing and The Neighbors, and The CW’s The Carrie Diaries

In this MasterChef spin-off, talented kids ranging in age from eight- to 13-years-old prepare meals that are judged (not as harshly as the adtuls in MasterChef) by Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich.

If you’re a fan of the original or cooking shows in general, you’ll probably enjoy this. The challenges are a little more basic (creating the thickest whipped cream, for example), and emphasis is placed on the future aspirations of the contestants rather than arguments and egos. The ratings are decent, so a second season is likely.

Watch it if you liked: Top Chef or American Juniors

9:30PM EST

FOX’s Enlisted

Vs. ABC’s Shark Tank, CBS’ Hawaii 5-O, NBC’s Grimm, and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model

In this half-hour sitcom, a Sergeant (Geoff Stults) is unhappy to learn that his new assignment is leading a troop of underachieving recruits that includes his two brothers (Chris Lowell, Parker Young). Expect quirky personalities and typical workplace comedy in a rather unique place.

FOX had originally scheduled this to premiere this fall, but recently announced that it will debut 10 January, instead. Critics have taken this as a sign that the series will be short-lived, but this fresh take on a vintage concept has a chance of making it if it’s promoted properly. Don’t be surprised if this is moved to Tuesdays to replace the failing Dads.

Watch it if you liked: Gomer Pyle, USMC or Go On.


NBC’s Dracula

Vs. CBS’ Blue Bloods, ABC’s 20/20, and local news affiliates.

In this drama loosely based on the infamous Bram Stoker tale (airing 25 October), Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) feasts on the wealthy wicked by posing as an American inventor in 1800’s England. Out for revenge against those who turned him into a monster, he finds an unlikely ally in vampire-hunter Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann).

Don’t expect moments of comedy (like its lead-in Grimm has) or Twilight-inspired romance, because this count is literally a lady-killer. Extremely violent and brimming with “adult situations”, its preview is one of the most-watched on YouTube. Critics have accused it of being ridiculous and dull, so viewer interest might eventually recede.

Watch it if you liked: The Borgias or Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


ABC’s Betrayal

Vs. CBS’ The Mentalist, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and local news affiliates.

A defense lawyer (Stuart Townsend) and a photographer (Hannah Ware) strike up an affair. Soon afterwards, he faces off against her prosecutor husband in court during a high-profile murder trial.

Critics have deemed it stupid and boring. Viewers have responded to its icky concept with poor ratings; leaving speculation that ABC will quickly cancel and replace it. The remaining episodes will probably be burned off this summer.

Watch it if you liked: Mistresses or The Good Wife.