Last week was TV's infamous “Up Front” week. That is the moment when networks announce their big fall lineups in hopes of attracting lots of shiny new advertisers. So what do we have to look forward to (or not) this fall?
ABC: “Commander-in-Chief” cast Geena Davis as president. “Invasion” has space aliens doing what they do best. “The Night Stalker” is a hip updating of the old supernatural series from the producers of “The X-Files.” “Freddie” is a sitcom starring colorless Freddie Prince as a guy named Freddie. “Hot Properties” is a sitcom about real estate set to air after “Hope & Faith”--so who cares? “Emily's Reasons Why,” a sitcom starring Heather Graham, and “What About Brian,” the third ABC series produced by J.J. Abrams (“Alias,” “Lost”), will both show up after “Monday Night Football” dies down.
CBS: “How I Met Your Mother” is a romantic sitcom narrated by Bob Sagat. “Close to Home” is a female-centric legal drama. “Out of Practice” has Henry Winkler playing doctor. “Criminal Minds” has FBI agents tracking dangerous criminals. In “Threshold,” Carla Gugino and Brent Spiner investigate a UFO that has crashed in the ocean. In “Ghost Whisperer,” Jennifer Love Hewitt is a newlywed who sees dead people--not that it's a rip-off of “Medium” or anything.
NBC: “E-Ring,” starring Dennis Hopper and Benjamin Bratt, takes us inside the Pentagon. “Fathom” has a bunch of oceanographers discovering a weird new lifeform hiding in the briney deep. “Inconceivable” is an ensemble drama set at a fertility clinic. “My Name is Earl” stars Jason Lee as a good-for-nothing who decides to make amends in his life. “Four Kings,” from the creators of “Will & Grace,” is a sitcom about four lifelong friends. “Thick & Thin” is a “comedy” about a former fat women who's now not. “Three Wishes” is NBC's attempt to replicate “Extreme Makeover,” a weepy show in which poor sad chumps get free stuff. “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” needs no explanation.
FOX: FOX's dramas run the gamut, from forensic investigators (“Bones”) to cops (“The Gate”) to lawyers (“Head Cases”). The vaguely fresh concepts are “Prison Break,” an action series in which a guy goes to prison to help his unjustly accused brother break out, and “Reunion,” a soapy mystery centering on a group of high school friends reunited by an old pal's funeral. “The War at Home” has Michael Rapaport dad-ing it over a typical suburban brood. “Kitchen Confidential” is a very loose adaptation of Anthony Bourdain's hit culinary tell-all from the creators of “Sex and the City.”
WB: “Just Legal” is a lawyer drama starring Don Johnson. “Supernatural” is a drama about two brothers who travel around the country fighting paranormal forces. “Related” finds a group of sisters living in New York. The only new sitcom is “Twins,” starring Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”) as one half of some mismatched twins.
UPN: How about the twentysomething soaper “Sex, Lies & Secrets” and the twentysomething soaper “South Beach”? Comedy-wise, we have the amusingly titled “Everybody Hates Chris,” based the childhood tribulations of comedian Chris Rock. Finally, Shannen Doherty plays a sexy female matchmaker in UPN's answer to “Miss Match,” titled “Love, Inc.”