What’s really new on the 2008–09 TV schedule? Answering that question isn’t as easy as it sounds. As is always the case, there are iffy remakes (NBC’s Knight Rider, the CW’s 90210), a critically acclaimed network-hopper (Scrubs, jumping from NBC to ABC) and attempts to cash in on the workhorse genre du jour—in this case, eccentric procedurals in the House vein (CBS’s The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker as a fake psychic turned police consultant). Here are five to look forward to.
Premieres Sept 7, HBO
Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) shepherds this Southern-fried horror soap about modern-day Louisiana bloodsuckers who “come out” and live among humans by drinking Japanese-manufactured synthetic blood. It’s adapted from a series of novels by Charlaine Harris.
Premieres Sept 9, Fox
Cocreated by cult producer J.J. Abrams (Lost) and positioned in the coveted post-House time slot, this paranormal drama stars Anna Torv as a young FBI agent who teams up with an ex-con mad scientist (John Noble) and his fast-talking son (Joshua Jackson) to confront the unexplainable.
Premieres Sept 22, CBS
Think How I Met Your Mother by way of the Book of Job: Kyle Bornheimer plays a nice guy with a lovely fiancée (Erin Hayes) and a great job who regularly endures miseries and humiliations that would test a saint’s patience.
The Ex List
Premieres Oct 3, CBS
Based, like so many new series, on a British show, this comedy stars Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy) as a woman thrown into a romantic panic when a psychic informs her that she has just one year to find the ideal mate or else she’ll die alone. In the pilot, Eric Balfour steals scenes as the heroine’s sleazeball ex-boyfriend.
Life on Mars
Premieres Oct 9, ABC
In yet another Americanized version of a popular U.K. series, a contemporary cop (Jason O’Mara) is time-warped to 1973 and has to learn how to do the job with wide-lapelled collars and no help from DNA labs. The overqualified supporting cast includes Harvey Keitel, Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli and Lisa Bonet.