Primetime gears up for fall season

By James Crowell
September 10, 2011


Dominated by reality shows, this past summer has been an exciting one.  But as programs such as CBS’s “Big Brother 13” and season six of NBC’s “ America’s Got Talent” come to a close this week, the four major broadcast networks are gearing up for fall with a healthy variety of new shows and returning favorites.  Here are just a select sampling of the shows premiering in the coming weeks:


“Prime Suspect” (NBC) (premieres Sept. 22)

Starring Maria Bello, this police procedural drama takes a hard look inside a New York City homicide department.  Detective Jane Timoney (Bello) is an outsider who has just transferred to a new squad where her new colleagues already dislike her. Timoney is confident and focused, yet she is rude, abrupt and occasionally reckless. Timoney has her vices, and rumors of a questionable past follow her everywhere. But at the end of the day, she’s an instinctively brilliant cop who can’t be distracted from the only important thing: the prime suspect.


The X Factor” (FOX) (premieres Sept. 21)

Spearheaded by creator Simon Cowell of “American Idol” fame, this singing competition is open to both solo artists and groups of any age.  Contestants will have to audition in front of the judges to prove their vocal prowess.  The four judges will then act as mentors helping to decide song choices, styling and staging, etc.  The winner stands to receive a $5 million recording contract with Cowell’s record label Syco Music (Sony Music).  In the end, the only thing that judges will look for is an ‘X’ factor from the contestants.


Unforgettable” (CBS) (premieres Sept. 20)

Following a former detective named Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), this police procedural features a main character who suffers from hyperthymesia, a rare medical condition that enables her to have superior autobiographical memory.  Wells joins her former boyfriend’s homicide unit to help solve cases due to her urge to figure out how her sister was murdered.  Actress Marilu Henner, who possesses a superior memory in real life, will serve as a consultant for the series.


Pan Am” (ABC) (premieres Sept. 25)

Centered around the iconic airline Pan American World Airways during the 1960s, this period drama will focus on the pilots and flight attendants working for the world-famous airline.  Writer Jack Orman (“ER”) and director Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”) have an ensemble cast, including Christina Ricci and Kelli Garner, that focuses on the golden age of airlines and the prestige that went along with such a lifestyle.  The show displays the glamorous and prestigious lives of those who make the sky their home.


The Office” (NBC) (Eighth season premieres Sept. 22)

The position of office manager is up for grabs following the departure of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) during last season.  This situation comedy depicts the lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pa., branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company via an ensemble cast.  Watch as this comedic cast comes together for another year and see what kind of mess they can get themselves into this season.


Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) (Eighth season premieres Sept. 22)

The return of this medical drama will pick up where it left off as Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) struggles with a marriage on the rocks, being fired from her job as a surgical resident at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and an adoption in jeopardy due to both.  Will she regain a stable life following last season?  Will Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) keep her unborn child?  Tune in to find out!


Survivor” (CBS) (Season 23 premieres Sept. 14)

This season of the long-running reality show will be set in the south pacific in the vicinity of Upolu, Samoa.  There will be 16 new players as well as two returning players: Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth and Benjamin “Coach” Wade.  Jeff Probst, host since season one in 2000, will return along with the Redemption Island theme from the previous season.


House, M.D.” (FOX) (Eighth season premieres Oct. 3)

Ramming his car into Cuddy’s home was a deed that will not go unpunished for Princeton‑Plainsboro’s misanthropic medical genius.  Serving a prison term for his various misdeeds, Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) will have two new people to use and abuse: Dr. Jessica Adams (Odette Annable) will be a doctor working at the prison and a as-yet unnamed character (Jaleel White) will be House’s cellmate who will show him the ropes as he serves his sentence.  Following Lisa Edelstein’s departure from the series, who will replace Dr. Lisa Cuddy to be the new dean of medicine at Princeton‑Plainsboro Teaching Hospital?  What will House’s team of diagnosticians do while he is incarcerated?  These answers and more will be answered in the coming season.


Fringe” (ABC) (Fourth season premieres Sept. 23)

Shortly after creating a bridge between the two universes on Liberty Island, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) was erased completely from the space-time continuum.  But why do Olivia (Anna Torv), Broyles (Lance Reddick), Walter (John Noble) and others remember him existing?  These perplexing mysteries may be answered in this coming season.

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James Crowell

Senior com major at Cabrini College. Technical Director for LOQation. On-Air personality on WYBF-FM. Past News editor for The Loquitur, 2011-12. Passion for videography, tech news & quantum mechanics. Follow me @JamesCrowellJr

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