As I do every summer, recently I sat down and thought exceptionally hard about what I'll be watching this fall. Listen, I know it's only the end of July, but this is one of those things that just won't wait, important questions have to be answered. Do I need a third TiVo (one that would provide the ability to record a fourth and fifth channel at a single time)? Should I be removing old shows from my schedule? What is it that my wife is going to want to watch that I either have to find a way to accept, convince her that she's wrong about, or shunt her off to a smaller screen for (no, really)?
Last year, as dedicated readers may recall, I had a significant problem with Mondays – for whatever reason Monday is apparently the night where networks feel as though they need to program directly for me. Well, except for that two-hour Dancing with the Stars block for which I thank ABC as I can safely cross them off my list from 8:00 to 10:00 with no regrets. Even without ABC in the early mix though, Mondays are problematic. There is no way I'm not watching HIMYM at 8:00, but Chuck and House are also on at that time – all three are definite must watch items. In the past, Chuck has been recorded on the non-HD TiVo with HIMYM and House on the HD one and I feel as though that's what we'll be doing again this time out (that would be one of those "in deference to the wife" things).
At 9:00 things loosen up; the only thing I'm potentially looking at is The Event, but I do run into another problem there, namely, do I feel like going another fall watching an NBC show on Monday nights that I find intriguing but which is isn't going to attract a sizable audience and is going to get canceled by Christmas. To be fair, I have absolutely no evidence that will take place (and the network does hold a special place in my heart which causes me to root for them); I just don't particularly like the network's recent Monday night track record, although their problems tend to be more significant at 10:00.
Speaking of 10:00, there's Castle which is currently on my list and Hawaii 5-O which I'm very much on the fence about. You see, I have a completely inexplicable issue with Alex O'Loughlin. I think that it relates to the fact that this is his third year in a row in a new CBS show and I very much feel as though CBS is shoving him down our collective throats, forcing us to accept him. It's something I bridle at, almost enough to make me not want to tune in. Fighting against that is my liking for the rest of the cast and nonsensical desire to live in Hawaii (I think that has to do with me wanting to go where the weather suits my clothes).
Tuesday evenings are far more easy to discuss, with only three hours of TV (in comparison to Monday's five and a half) on the schedule. Obviously Glee is back on my list as is Parenthood. I feel as though NCIS is going to come off my schedule, but that's only because ABC is putting the Michael Chiklis series No Ordinary Family on at 8 as well and I don't want to run into the same problem at 8:00 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Having quite enjoyed the pilot for No Ordinary Family and being a fan of Chiklis' since he was on The Commish, it's a show I can't pass up this fall (and highly recommend that you don't either… although, to be clear, that's not a review of the series as all I've seen is the pilot and things can change).
Sadly, Wednesdays become slightly difficult again. ABC's 8:00 to 10:00 comedy block is back on the schedule and I'm almost certain to give Law & Order: Los Angeles a try, but what about Undercovers? It comes from J.J. Abrams so that instantly makes it enticing, even if I don't find the promos for the show terribly exciting, and I think that's where my issue comes in. Should I assume that the promos misrepresent the series (it has been known to happen)? Should I figure that the promos perfectly represent the pilot but that the series that follows will be different? Should I just trust that J.J. Abrams will come through again? While what I said above about The Event remains true here as well, I can't see that as a reason for not giving Abrams a chance. Odds are that Abrams should get the benefit of the doubt.
And then there are Thursdays. Ah, Thursdays, what am I going to do with you? 30 Rock? I'm there. The Office? All day long. The Apprentice? At least until it proves completely ludicrous. Outsourced? Ugh. I'd be lying if I said that I'm not completely dying to know how they don't instantly offend every single race, religion, ethnicity, and culture involved. I'm completely intrigued by it. I have no idea if it'll be funny, but it's easy enough to tell my TiVo to start recording NBC at 8:30 and not stop until Trump fires someone which puts Outsourced in the mix. There are other things going on Thursday as well though. I definitely want to see how the new Nikita unfolds, at least for three or four episodes, and that's fine as a secondary 9:00 program. There is also %$#! My Dad Says (it's pronounced "beep"). I like William Shatner being funny and I'm perfectly willing to give him several episodes here to be funny. I'm not sure it'll work, but I don't know that it can't work either and Shatner has absolutely proven that he can be funny. Plus, heck, it's only 30 minutes of my life every week.
Not only that, but Fridays are incredibly light for me. The only thing I'm even thinking about marking down as a Friday regular show is Blue Bloods and that's because I like me some Tom Selleck. How can anyone not want to watch Selleck on a weekly series? It's like not being head over heels completely in love with Salma Hayek. Yes, Human Target is off the list for this season and that's because I watched the entire first season and while it had some moments I really enjoyed, all too often I didn't care about the one-off single episode story.
Lastly we come to Sundays. Maybe you would have that be a firstly, but the grid I'm looking at puts it last. I'm doing nothing different there than in years past – Desperate Housewives, The Amazing Race, and The Simpsons. My theory here – if it ain't broke don't fix it. Okay, Housewives may be broke, but that's another instance where I will acquiesce to the other main viewer of television in my house. Plus, maybe this year's mystery will be interesting.
It is, I like to think, a solid fall network viewing schedule. My quick – and perhaps completely inaccurate – count is that I'm looking at 19 hours over the course of a single week. That includes commercials so it will work out to be significantly less than that, but it's still a decently sized schedule.
Article first published as Looking at the Fall 2010 Television Schedule on Blogcritics.