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15 TV Things to Look Forward To This Month
September 4, 2009  | By David Bianculli
FLASH-FORWARD-disaster.jpgThis TV season hasn't generated a lot of buzz, but there are plenty of reasons to come back to the TV set. This month alone, without breaking a sweat or making an exhaustive list,or including AMC's ongoing "Mad Men," I counted 15. Here they are, in order of telecast. Mark your calendars, and plan accordingly...

Sept. 9 -- Glee premieres. This Fox series just repeated its sneak-preview pilot, and next week launches for real as a regular Fox series. It's a dance-filled, music-filled, smile-filled story about a high school performing arts troupe, and it's edgier and funnier than that might sound.


Sept. 13 -- True Blood season finale. I can't wait. This HBO series has provided me as much viewing joy as any TV series this summer. Make that this year.

Sept. 14 -- The Jay Leno Show. His first night on NBC in prime time. You HAVE to watch, just to see whether he pulls it off. At least I do.

Sept. 17 -- Fringe season premiere. Last season, this Fox series ended with a history-warping alternate timeline setting, a world in which, among other things, the Twin Towers remain standing. What's next? No idea -- which is why you need to tune in.


Sept. 17 -- Community premieres. This NBC ensemble comedy, featuring Chevy Chase as one of many people looking for new directions at a community college, has a way to go, but it's good enough, at the start, to sample and support.

Sept. 18 -- Dollhouse returns. This Fox series by Joss Whedon got better as its freshman season progressed, so a new year should begin on a high note. Here's hoping.

Sept. 20 -- Curb Your Enthusiasm season premiere. The much-promoted Seinfeld story line doesn't kick in for a few episodes, but no matter: This HBO Larry David series is TV comedy at its highest watermark. Welcome back, Larry. I've never missed an episode, and don't intend to start now.

Sept. 21 -- House returns. And he's still in that mental institution, playing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to the clinic's staff. Great premise -- and a great starting point for another fine year with Hugh Laurie and company.

Sept. 21 - Heroes returns. Last season, this NBC drama was very dissatisfying, but maybe there will be an instant course correction this season. I'll tune in to see... but my patience is wearing thin.


Sept. 22 -- The Good Wife premieres. Julianna Margulies stars as the wife of a politician (Chris Noth) who is imprisoned for various nefarious misdeeds, and the opening hour of this new CBS series has you empathizing strongly with her, and eager to see more. Not many new dramas this season achieve that successfully.

Sept. 23 -- Modern Family premieres. This ABC series may be the one new broadcast TV comedy that breaks out quickly, and with good reason. Three very different families, each with its own characters, problems and lovable quirks. Stars include Ed O'Neill.

Sept. 24 -- Flash Forward premieres. Is this ABC series, pictured at the top of this column, the next Lost? No one knows yet. But if it is, you'd better be around from the beginning. It's hard to jump on these TV trains once they've left the station.

Sept. 26 -- Saturday Night Live returns. It's not an election year, but still...

Sept. 27 -- Ken Burns' The National Parks premieres. The most beautiful, inspiring documentary series since Planet Earth. And it's not just about the parks and its creatures, but also about the people responsible for setting aside these lovely lands for public use.


Sept. 27 -- Dexter returns. It's about time -- and, like HBO's True Blood, this Showtime series is all about diving into a weekly dose of TV wow.






Namath Days said:

As eager as I am to watch more of Glee (that was quite a debut episode), I am on tenterhooks awaiting Flash Forward. It really has an excellent idea for the starting point of a TV series. And Dexter's return feels like its been delayed for years. But thanks for the list, David. I always count on you to give me a heads up in the midst of this information (and TV) overload.
PS You can bet The National Parks is going into my DVD collection along with the rest of my Ken Burns. I'm gratful there is still Public Television.

[You're welcome. I'm grateful for PBS, too -- and grateful for, to paraphrase public television's most gratifying underwriting credit, readers like you. -- David B.]

Comment posted on September 4, 2009 10:15 AM

Giada said:

I wrote down all of your recommendations. :o)

[Thanks. When the month's up, let me know my batting average as it compares with your own. -- David B.]

Comment posted on September 4, 2009 5:43 PM

Rich said:

I'm going to be honest here. I am highly skeptical of any "sure things" this coming Fall season. TV really stepped up last year and I'm hoping it keeps up but I already have major doubts. Other than "Fringe", "Dollhouse", "Dexter" & "House" I'm not excited about anything.

"Heroes"- loved the Vol. 3 "Villians"- it was dark, tight, and full of diverse new characters mixed with cool & twisted re-imagined future versions of established ones. "Fugitives" (Vol. 4) really dropped the ball and from what I've seen "Redemption" (Vol.5) is going to be able 'fixing things' from the last 4 volumes...What? I sense the writers don't have am established goal or vision from arc to arc. I'll still watch but it's no longer "must see TV" as more a watch it on Hulu when I'm bored.

"Flash Forward"...could work as a Fall version of "Lost"- but my gut screams "Invasion"- I personally need more than just the premise. So what, 6 Months in the future...And?...I know, I've got to watch but I need more- it's a Hulu afterthought for me.

"Saturday Night Live"- I think it's funny the show still airs, has a million plus weekly budget, has abysmal ratings, and hasn't made me laugh since 2004. I remember the last time. Rachel Dratch did "Debbie Downer" and mentioned 'Feline AIDS'- even the cast couldn't stop laughing during the sketch.

All the others I either agree with, or have no opinion.

"House" - looks amazing. Nothing goes down as smooth and as satisfying as a well scripted and actor enriched "House" to unclog your TV senses and arteries. That and Thirteen - Remy Hadley (Olivia Wilde) always helps.


Comment posted on September 5, 2009 1:53 AM

Sally W. said:

Definitely looking forward to seeing "Glee" and "Community," which looked rather promising and funny. Of the returning shows, getting a little nervous about "Fringe" and how they'll pull off the next season, and definitely looking forward to "How I Met Your Mother."

Comment posted on September 6, 2009 6:23 PM

Ryan Ditmars said:

don't forget Peep Show Season 6 starts Sep 18.

Comment posted on September 6, 2009 11:06 PM

Gregory Kibitz said:

Awesome list David! 11/15 TVWW for me for sure!

Only a few on there FOR ME that are NOT (or will not be) TV Worth Watching.

As in:

1) Heroes - to me very bad acting, really just for kids (or adult children and lame Star Trek Comic-Con types) and thus just stupid super natural comic book drivel not worth my time that can be better spent watching PBS or Old Classic Movies on TCM, AMC, Fox Movie and MGM.

2) Dollhouse - I would like to watch this, as it looks really cool, and I love the idea of it. And I really love Eliza Dushku. She is smokin'! But I've never been a big Joss Whedon Fan. I hated and nearly never watched Buffy nor any of the spinoffs. Plus, it was usually up against much better Friday night TVWW and so I just can't find time for it or any extra DVR real estate. As such, I have yet to see even one episode, even though I so wanted to, but once I miss season one, I kinda never commit to season 2.

3) Flash Forward - I hate things that rely too much on supernatural stuff, especially time travel. I do love Lost, from day one, when I had no idea it would be so big or so cool. But I love Lost more for the frustration of ever more questions than answers than any of the stupid space-time-continuum BS at the center of it all. But I kinda love that too because it is always fun to ponder all the implications of the space-time-travel-paradox! (especially when properly "suited-up" for such ponderings)

4) House - Same problem as Dollhouse. Just no time for it plus it is (or at least has been) up against my other favorite bit of TVWW, the CBS primetime sitcom line-up on monday nights. And I don't ever miss my oh so favorite Big Bang Theory. To me, being the engineer, nerd, total science and math geek and Asperger's-ite that I am, that show is even better than Seinfeld. And I just can't wait to read another extra subversive Chuck Lorre closing credit rant. Everthing he does so rocks! And back to House - House is again a show I wish I had caught from day one as I am sure I would be a devotee, but somehow I overlooked it early on, and now I just can't make myself jump on the bandwagon (and I so hate to watch serials out of order or miss any episodes - I am so OCD about my "stories").

Normally I would have Glee on my do not watch list, but I saw a preview of it long ago on one of the late night talk shows, and I loved its satirical take, sardonic wit, irreverence plus the eye candy and the music, so I gave the pilot re-air a go, and I kinda liked it. Surely not my normal cup of tea, so more a guilty pleasure (like when I watched Desperate Housewives and Grey's the first season or two. until I grew my cahones back that is). Not sure how it will go, but I do like when nerds and losers overcome the jocks, preppies and the in-crowd (much like my own past). But I would really prefer that it were a new version of Apatow's Freaks and Geeks (stoners, losers and bookworms, instead of drama queens & kings and band geeks - I was one of those once too!). I so loved Freaks and Geeks (but then again, I lived Freaks and Geeks back in the late 70's early 80's in rural and suburban CT and I even was a super geek loser and band geek turned stoner-freak, party hearty, super-cool-dude and I even overcame the jocks and preppies (or at least got to sort of be one of them too and party them into the ground and then I still went on to get my BSME with honors at RPI and work on Nuclear Propulsion Systems for the US Navy and even hold a high level security clearance - so it ain't all bad).

One other note:

So sad to hear that SNL has dumped some of its best sexy! The two "featured" actresses just fired were alone well worth the viewing. I've been so hot for them both! And nothing is better than some variety in the female characters in a skit, as opposed to just the same one or two actresses trying to be every woman! Not sure I will be able to continue to enjoy the show as much as I have the last few years (and since 1975's very first episode!)

Illigitimi non carborundum

[Wow -- Thanks for the guest column, slipped in as a comment. Loved it. Glad your body parts grew back without incident... -- David B.]

Comment posted on September 9, 2009 5:41 AM
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