What’s the Best New Show on TV This Fall?

October 24, 2007

The Fall TV Season is well under way and November sweeps are just around the corner.  But how did all the new offerings this season fair up?  Here’s my look at the best new shows.

A friend of mine commented that nothing really wowed him this season like Heroes did last year and Lost a few years before.  I disagreed with him.  However, I found that the shows that did wow me were a different kind of show than either Heroes or Lost.  In fact, humor is what impressed me this year. 

Without further ado, here are my Top 5 new shows:

1.  Reaper
In this show, the devil once said, “Life’s too short to drink domestic.”  I say life’s to short not to watch Reaper.  My favorite show of the season, Reaper, has some of the best one liners on TV and they are delivered by none other than the devil himself.  Ray Wise steals every scene he’s in as the boss that won’t let Sam out of his contract, but wants to help him be successful in his role as the devil’s bounty hunter.  While Wise might not be a kinder, gentler devil, he’s definitely a friendlier, funnier devil.

But Wise isn’t the only star of the show.  Sam and his two slacker friends — Socks and Ben — will keep you rolling with their attempts to catch escaped souls using vessels given to them by the devil that include a dirt devil hand vac, a remote control car and a Christmas sweater among other things.  There’s also Sam’s super caring parents — you know the ones that sold his soul to the devil when his dad was dying (or at least that’s what they are telling Sam, but what aren’t they telling him?). 

Of course, there are also girls involved.  Missy Peregrym (Candice from Heroes) stars as Andi, Sam’s dream girl that he can’t quite pair up with.  Valerie Rae Miller (Original Cindy from Dark Angel) rounds out the cast as Socks’ ex and the only one of the friends with real career aspirations.

Maybe this show holds as special place in my heart because Sam’s antics at The Workbench (minus his devil duties) remind me of stories my husband has told me about his days in college working at a home improvement store with his pals. 

Reaper airs on CW on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

2.  Chuck
Brought to us by O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, this comedy is for the geek in all of us and a perfect lead in to the more serious Heroes.  Lowly Nerd Herd employee Chuck is sent an encrypted file containing all the NSA and CSI secrets by his nemesis and former college roommate, Bryce Larkin.  A rogue spy, Bryce destroyed the computer containing the secrets, leaving the information in Chuck’s head the sole source of these government secrets.  Enter Sarah and Casey (Adam Baldwin), CIA and NSA agents respectively sent to keep Chuck, or rather the information in Chuck’s head, safe until a new computer can be brought online.

Hilarity ensues when a particular image triggers the decrypting of a secret and sends Chuck and his handlers on a mission.  For me Adam Baldwin (Jayne from Firefly) steals the show as the gung ho NSA agent sent to eliminate Chuck but is now babysitting the geek while keeping a distrustful eye on his CIA counterpart.  And I’m particularly looking forward to Rachel Bilson guest staring later this season as a potential love interest for Chuck.

Chuck airs on NBC on Mondays at 8 p.m.

3.  Torchwood
Since the airing of this British series is a season behind on the Sci Fi Channel, I know that Torchwood has already been picked up for a second season.  But I couldn’t help but include it on this list for two reasons — 1.  I like this show and 2.  I wanted to include a cable show after all the great hits (Burn Notice, Mad Men and Army Wives) we got from cable this summer.

A spin-off from Doctor Who, Torchwood is even better than its parent.  The adventures of the immortal Captain Jack Hartness and his crew as they chase down aliens and alien technology as part of the secret British agency Torchwood are fun, exciting and captivating.

Torchwood airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 p.m.

4.  Bionic Woman
Will Bionic Woman be the next Battlestar Galactia, a TV remake bigger than its original?  I don’t know, but I think it definitely fills the gap left in BSG’s absence as BSG prepares for its final season.  In fact, I like Katee Sackhoff better as Sarah Corvus than as Starbuck in BSG.   Michelle Ryan impressed me in BBC’s Jekyll this summer so I’m glad to have her show up in another show this fall. 

It’s nice to have an action show on with a strong female lead.  It kind of reminds me of Dark Angel with bionics instead of bar codes.  I’m looking forward to more of Jamie’s adventures and to learning more about just what Will was up to before his demise. 

Bionic Woman airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

5.  The Big Bang Theory
This sitcom about two science geeks with lots of book smarts, but not much street smarts and their hot, blonde (insert joke here) neighbor is worth a second look.  It’s a nice pairing with my other favorite sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.  The one liners alone in this half-hour show keep me in stitches.

The Big Bang Theories airs on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.

While these five top my list as the best new shows of the fall season, there are a few more that I haven’t quite made up my mind about.  I think I’ll need a few more weeks with these shows to find out if they are keepers.

Pushing Daisies
While this new drama as already won critical acclaim and a request for a full season of scripts, the jury is still out for me, who is exactly 35 years, 9 months, 15 days, 10 hours and 2 minutes old at this moment.  I am charmed by the Dr. Seuss-like narration and the Pleasantville scenes.  The vibrant colors are visually stimulating.  But I’m wondering if all this charm and sweetness is going to keep me (and audiences) interested.  Right now I like the quirkiness, but will I be annoyed by it after 10 or so episodes?

Pushing Daisies airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Dirty Sexy Money
Right now the Darlings are intriguing.  Everyone likes to look into the life of the rich and famous.  And finding out that their lives are just as screwed up is not only a relief, its fun to watch.  Just ask the tabloids, they sell millions on those stories.  But how long before I tire of watching the rich and spoiled overindulge?  I have hope, but only time will tell.

Dirty Sexy Money airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Do we really need another cop/detective/crime fighting show?  Probably not.  But the story of Charlie Crews still intrigues me.  A cop wrongly accused of killing his best friend and his family is released from prison after 12 years when the case is overturned.  The Zen-spewing detective with a passion for fruit and ladies goes back to work on the force while secretly working to discover who really killed his friends.  Will the mystery be enough to hold our attention? 

Life airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Quantum Leap this show is not.  But the idea that Dan Vassar just suddenly leaving his current life, really at no will of his own, to travel to the past to set some wrong right is intriguing.  Add the fact that the fiancee he thought dead apparently also travels in time and it’s quite a mystery.  But will the audience stick around to find out why?

Journeyman airs on Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Now that you’ve heard my thoughts, tell me what is your favorite new show of the season and why.