Every fall I pick handful of shows and administer the "3 ep test". This is my theory that any new show can be properly loved or dismissed by watching the first 3 episodes, no more and no less. Last season (as seen here) I gave the 3 ep test to 9 new shows. Pushing Daisies, Chuck, and Journeyman passed with flying colors (I'm still bitter that the brilliant Journeyman got canned), Kid Nation, American Band, and Reaper were good enough to stick with for the season (it appears of these that only Reaper will be back and not until January), and Cavemen, Bionic Woman, and Back to You never made it to their 4th episode on the DVR o' Dice (your DVR won't find them anywhere soon either I'm glad to say.) So what about this year? In order from least excited to most, here are the shows I'll be keeping my eye on this fall (and one from next January that I just have to mention).
Life on Mars
Thursday, ABC, 10 (Oct. 9th)
I'm really not confident about this one, but it's just high concept enough to get me interested. A detective gets into a car accident and ends up in the year 1973. You get 3 episodes ABC, convince me.
Tuesday, CBS, 9 (Sept. 23rd)
They might as well have titled this show, "We swear this has nothing to do with that Psych show on USA" since it follows an almost identical premise to the show that has been following "Monk" for a few years now. And by "almost identical" what I actually mean is exactly identical in every way. I guess the supposed difference in this one is that it will be a little more dramatic and the star is supposed to be a House type personality that is cranky, rule breaking, but so good at what he does that no one can put him in his place. House + Psych = The Mentalist, it's about as formulaic as they come, but math has always been my best subject and this is an equation that appears solid to me.
Hole in the Wall
Thursday, FOX, 8 (Sept. 11th)
People trying to fit through moving holes. Just remember, Wipeout isn't exactly highbrow entertainment either, but there's just something beautiful about people falling down.
Friday, NBC, 8 (Oct. 17th)
This one grabbed my attention simply because it's daring to do something different in primetime. This isn't some modern adapation of the Robinson Crusoe story, this is the Crusoe story told in period epic fashion. Taking a cue from Lost (which films almost entirely in Hawaii) Crusoe will be shot in South Africa and is likely to be one of the most gorgeous shows on TV. If the swashbuckling and story can match the beauty it could be a winner.
America's Toughest Jobs
Monday, NBC, 9 (Aug. 25th)
Worth taking a look at because it puts regular peeps in crazy dangerous jobs and then pushes play. It's exactly the kind of Reality TV I love, no celebrities, no dating, plenty of competition, and plenty of drama. It's also worth checking out because it debuts this week and will be the only new thing on for a while.
My Own Worst Enemy
Monday, NBC, 10 (Oct. 13th)
Christian Slater stars as the typical family man, living the "boring" middle class life, who doubles as a secret agent when no one is looking. I think the twist here is that Slater himself may be clueless to his dual personalities. It's another show that is high concept enough to ring my bell, and Slater has always struck me as an engaging personality who just never fulfilled his promise. The danger with this one is that the guy running the show (Jason Smilovich) has had three in a row canceled (Karen Sisco, Kidnapped, and Bionic Woman). This may be frontrunner for show Dice loves that gets cancelled before any closure. (RIP Journeyman).
OK I know this is a cheat, but I had to mention Joss Whedon's new TV project even though we won't see it until January. Whedon has been hit or miss for me, but the fact that he did "Firefly" and (as I recently discovered) co wrote the original Toy Story is enough for me to give anything he does a shot. I can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve this time.
Tuesday, FOX, 9 (Sept. 9th)
By far the show I am most excited for with not much more to go on than the name JJ Abrahms, which seriously may just be all I need. I did see the preview but tried not to pay too close attention (I want to be a blank slate come premiere night) and I know that Joshua Jackson plays a major role which strikes me as an inspired choice. I'm trying desperately to bring my expectation down out of orbit on this one, but the man who brought us Alias and Lost hasn't let me down yet and I don't imagine he will here either.