The Geek Guide to New Fall TV

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Maybe it’s due to the success of shows like Heroes, but there seems to be a lot of science fiction in this year’s new television line-up. No complaints here!  This past week was a big one for debuts, and most of the rest of these shows will be premiering in October.  So here’s a few words about some of the new geek-friendly shows that are showing up on a television near you.

Eleventh Hour

(Premieres Thursday, Oct. 9 at 10pm on CBS). 

A biophysicist is brought in by the FBI to investigate science-based crimes and to keep scientific advances out of the hands of evil-doers.  More science than science fiction, to be sure, and let’s hope it’s heavy on the science.  It sounds good on paper, but one thing that worries me is that CBS has chosen to air an episode other than the pilot first.  Don’t even get me started on how that move screwed over The Dresden Files.  Also, this show is based on a British miniseries that originally starred Patrick Stewart–a coolness factor that cannot be replicated.



(Already premiered, Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX).

An FBI agent stumbles upon the world of “fringe science” and a series of unexplainable events known collectively as “the pattern.”  I’ve already been watching this one, and so far I like it a lot.  It reminds me of the ill-fated Threshold. But it’s a little more procedural, so maybe… X-Files meets House?  Of course, J.J. Abrams already had the audience coming into this one, thanks to Alias and Lost.  Though word is that he’s trying to make it more “accessible.”  Forget that, I say!  Complex mythology is what gets the real geeks hooked.


Knight Rider

(Already premiered, Wednesdays at 8pm on NBC).

I’m reluctant to even list this one since I’m trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, but here you are.  From the reviews I’ve read: (1) If you liked the original, you probably won’t like this one because it’s lost its charm, and (2) If you didn’t like the original, you probably won’t like this one either because it’s cheesy in the same ways (plus new ones).  According to Slated: “a show so bad it makes one long for David Hasselhoff.”


Life On Mars

(Premieres Thursday, 10/9 at 10pm on ABC).

A present-day detective is hit by a car, and when he wakes up, it’s 1973. Is it time travel? Is he insane? Or is he just in a coma? That’s the basic premise, and if it sounds familiar it may be because you’ve heard about the BBC series of the same name. It ran for two seasons and was brilliant. The problem is that brilliant British shows don’t always translate into brilliant American shows. According to the new producer, they’ve “changed the mythology,” which could either be a very good thing or a very bad thing. Cross your fingers that this one goes the way of The Office and not Coupling. Of course, as an added bonus, the cast includes Lisa Bonet, who I’ve always thought was way too hot not to be working.


My Own Worst Enemy

(Premieres Monday, Oct. 13 at 10pm on NBC).

A boring suburban man and an assassin share the same body.  Shenanigans ensue!  Starring Christian Slater, this show seems to be the basket where NBC is putting its eggs this season.  It sounds promising–sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  Apparently GM has signed on as a sponsor, so expect many distracting car product placements, ala Heroes.



(Premieres Friday, Oct. 3 on SCI-FI).

Follows the adventures of a 157-year old physician who studies monsters, in a world that feels like ours but isn’t-quite.  Monster-fighting and unlocking the secrets of evolution.  This series originally ran on the web before being picked up by the Sci Fi Channel.  I’m hoping that the move to mainstream will simply help it pick up a bigger audience without stifling it.  One of the neat things about the production was that it encouraged fan interaction, making the episodes downloadable so that they could be remixed.  Also, big points for starring Amanda Tapping from Stargate.


True Blood

(Already premiered, Sundays at 9pm on HBO).

Residents of the Louisiana back country coexist uneasily with vampires that survive by drinking synthetic blood. I don’t have HBO so I haven’t had the opportunity to see the three episodes of this show that have already aired, but the buzz I’ve heard has been overwhelmingly positive. It does have a lot of things going for it: (1) a bestselling series of novels as a base, Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires, (2) Producer Alan Ball, of Six Feet Under fame, (3) a big demographic wanting their post-Twilight fix, and (4) Anna Paquin (X-Men).

And for those of you who may be waiting (impatiently) for Joss Whedon’s new show Dollhouse starring Eliza Dushku, it’s been pushed back to a 2009 debut. I admit, reading about the problems it’s been having make me a little nervous; it’s not as if FOX has a great track record for science fiction shows lasting more than a single season. So keep your fingers crossed.

So which of the shows that have already premiered are you guys digging?

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