Disclaimer: I feel like there should be two lists, one specifically for season premiere interest and one for general anticipation. So many of these shows only have one or the other going for them. In lieu of that, I decided to make two lists in a different way: one for the regular/returning champions, and one for the new folks I'm eyeballing, be they new shows I don't know when I'm watching, shows I will watch on occasion, midseason replacements and/or shows I will not necessarily write about if watched)
Ranking them is probably useless, after saying all that, but I'M DOING IT ANYWAY.
1. The Sarah Jane Adventures
I like to believe that, for its fifth and final year, I will actually watch this on time. Of course, with the late fall start, I will probably be buried by that point. But then again, having finished the last season so recently, I'm still riding high on the feel-good waves of my adorable adventure show. It is, in fact, the only one on this top list I can say with 100% certainty I am ready to see new episodes of.
For once, bringing back players is working in its favor. Ozzy and Coach, you say? Me: there. Bells: on. I was actually all set to leave this show dropped forever, absence having made the heart grow less fond, but the prospect of seeing them brought me right back.
3. The Office
Second Jam baby. No Michael. Unfortunate amount of Robert California and Andy, but it just wouldn't be The Office if I didn't hate at least 55% of the cast at all times. I am focusing on the first two things!
4. Raising Hope
It took me roughly five minutes of looking up clips to remember why I am so head over heels in love with this thing. Though I do worry about the mention of upping Cloris Leachman's role, when she is the only/very weakest thing about it.
This is either going to go very brilliantly (goodbye again, Thirteen!), or very badly. The finale clobbered out a lot of the good will banked by the magnificence that was the rest of season 7. And yet, the promo vids brought a bunch back.
I was all set to knock this down on the list (see original reaction), but the more I read about what's coming up, in terms of guest stars and general storylines, the funnier and more entertaining it seems. Good job, Community! Continue being NBC's most promising comedy. Obviously, the only reason you're lower than The Office is due to your lack of a central ship.
(Original reaction, circa August 20, planned for #10: Swapping start slots with HIMYM, this happened because over the summer, I was thinking about how I love Scrubs because it blends laugh-out-loud funny with seriousness, and I felt like no other comedy achieved that smart blend except maybe Community. And then I realized that even so, Community has never been as warm; I've never quite connected with any of the characters, and I concluded that the lack of a central ship was great for quality and amusement, but also meant it was all brain, no heart.)
On the one hand, most of what I have heard about the new season seems too full of fail for words. On the other hand, I can't wait for new soundtracks to tear apart in search of the choicest bits, and am excited to tackle new episodes head-on and wrestle to the ground until I transform them into complex, splendiferous, oversized posts. It's like a carnival comes to town every week, there's so much to see and do in each installment.
Not super-duper excited, despite the stellar year it just came off, but I'm sure that'll rise. It has the weakest premiere allure of the three (there are no dead wives to exploit), but the strongest general pull. Which is the exact opposite of NY.
9. Law & Order: SVU
Danny Pino has upped the interest level like 49%. Plus they have T.R. Knight to lure me in for the premiere. That's still not a lot, but at least nothing about the upcoming season is specifically disappointing me.
10. How I Met Your Mother
For some reason, everything I have heard about the upcoming Barney/Robin/(Nora?) focus just seems...heavy and depressing and dull. Which isn't fair, because it's so bright and shiny in syndication! I was all poised to nail it high on the list for once! But instead, I am just kind of sighing and wondering what they are going to do without Zoey around to be awesome all the time.
(original reaction, circa August 20, planned for #4: I don't know if it's syndication or what (it's syndication), but once you're not analyzing on an episode-by-episode basis anymore, the overall enjoyment level goes way up. So many of the episodes (especially recent ones) have become so much better in my memory -- I am now completely excited for this show to bring the funny again after seveal Septembers of languishing down near the bottom of the list.)
11. CSI: NY
Although I am sure it will only bite me in the ass, the promo pics I looked at only added to my anticipation for the premiere. WANT IMMEDIATELY. I actually want that episode more than every single thing on this list. But as for the rest: is Jo still around? Then I don't care. Except for my morbid curiosity to know if NY is going to follow the Miami route of staying broken forever, or the Original Flavor route of rocketing upward after a record sucky season.
12. Private Practice
Previously on Private Practice, a bunch of people were horrible, Amelia was straddling the line, Addison was struggling to remain in my favor, but PETE WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK so I need to know what's going on ASAP. Especially after I watched "The Good Student" and increased my Tim Daly interest a thousandfold. I want that episode second-most; could take or leave the rest.
13. CSI: Miami
Noticeably interested for the premiere (third in the anticipation queue). Alana de la Garza is magic! Rest of season, 2% interest.
14. Grey's Anatomy
Previously on Grey's Anatomy, this show stuck its metaphorical head in a noose, hinging everything on one decision: if Cristina keeps the baby, it earns reprieve and I reassess my feelings. If she has an abortion, I kick the support chair aside and send it to hell with Bones. My disgust with the entire storyline has not lessened one little bit since May.
This may be the fastest I've ever picked up and lost interest in a thing. I had other stuff to do, okay! I know I still haven't seen all the original Chuck/Sarah moments, and I dread the thought of the actual show when it is not nipped and tucked to remove all the excess fat, so probably the only reason I will watch it is because it airs in a convenient empty time slot. There is a possibility it technically belongs on the list below, since it starts in late October and I'm pretty sure I'm less interested in this than TAR and feel it is unlikely to up for review, but...I don't know what I'm doing at this point.
Oh, you again. *waves off dismissively* All right, take a seat over there; tell me whenever Gibbs bestows affection on Abby and try not to bother me the rest of the time. Don't make me relegate you to a Youtube shippy-clip sideshow. You know I'll do it.
OTHER, IN ORDER OF INTRIGUE
1. The Middle: I forgot this show existed for most of summer? Yet, like New Adventures of Old Christine (although vastly higher quality), whenever I see it around I jump for joy, so I'm excited it will soon be adding more material to its base. Come to think of it, that's what I used to say about Scrubs. I am looking forward to this premiere like crazy, but after that I will probably drop it, due to timeslot conflict, so that it can surprise and delight me more during what I am convinced is its inevitable syndication.
2. The Amazing Race: my interest in this, which is always very small and was quite gone last spring (I caught maybe 5 passing episodes, Cowboys and barren Sunday nights or no), is back since they are crossing over with Survivor in the form of bringing aboard Ethan and Irrelevant Lady Partner (apparently also on Survivor, but not one of my years). In other words, ETHAN. He's no Stephen, but he's like the second best thing.
3. Pretty Little Liars (midseason): whatever. I already miss its flail-inducing shippy stuff. You know what the regular lineup is missing? Amazing ships. I can count, like, 5. And two of them are on GA.
4. Once Upon a Time: If one new show is going to get me, it's going to be this one. Unless its ratings tank out of the starting gate, Jennifer Morrison spent the entire year on HIMYM getting me to love her enough to override a fantasty theme. A fantasy theme I almost don't mind now that I've realized my beloved "Enchanted" already kinda broke this ground...
5. Terra Nova: And if not that one, this one. (I like how I've got a girly option and a testosterone-laden option) The casting decisions continue to render my red-hot love for the premise lukewarm, but you can't love a thing sight-unseen for over a year without getting attached to the idea. It gets one, possibly two episodes to change my mind, but only because staying on FOX will be convenient.
6. Southland: Season 3 was remarkably disinteresting, but I have a faint glimmer of hope that Lucy Liu or at least the fresh start might make it better.
7. Hart of Dixie: I'm tuning in to the premiere for [Muzzy] --
[edit: and at this point, guess what? LJ decided to eat the rest of the post even before I published it, after I used the button in the RTE to link to her journal name and then switched to HTML to do the cut. BITE ME, LJ. I had earlier rough drafts saved, but there's still some editing to be done]
-- but it has to blow me away to stay on the jam-packed fall schedule, since being on the CW means it is tucked safely out of sight and cannot distract me.
8. Awake: I'm sure by midseason I'll have room to give this a shot too. It is the counterpoint to Terra Nova in that I am iffy on the premise, but the cast is quite a draw.
9. Smash: It gets one episode. ONE. If it still puts me to sleep like the promo does, I am out forever.
TV GRID PORTION
Per usual, shows listed first are what get watched live in times of conflict, sometimes because the shows are more exciting (House, The Office) but sometimes because there's no way I'd sit through them if I had to look them up on my own time. Italicized shows represent the ones that I have a passing interest in and may watch on occasion.
It looks even crazier than usual. Ugh.
[EDIT: Two weeks into the season, I have made more permanent adjustments.]
9:00 + sports delay: CSI: Miami
7:00: Terra Nova vs. How I Met Your Mother/Two Broke Girls
8:00: House vs. Hart of Dixie
7:00: NCIS vs. Glee
8:30: Raising Hope
7:00: Survivor vs. The Middle
9:00: Law & Order: SVU vs. CSI [that is a conflict I did not think I would ever write.]
8:00: The Office
9:00: Private Practice
I can't even remember the last time I had so few shows and zero conflicts on a Thursday.
8:00: CSI: NY
AUGH, SO MANY SHOWS. I can only hope all the newbies fail quickly. Godspeed on your cancellations! It's easier than making decisions myself. And of course, there's always the chance I might follow through on my longstanding desire to only review episodes that inspire a strong emotional reaction, instead of considering everything part of a weekly chore list.
Voice: Aw, RS, you made a funny. *pats shoulder*