So “30 Rock” and “The Office” are leaving the airwaves. A lot of your favorite cable shows are signing off, too (sorry, “Breaking Bad” fans!) You want to check out some new shows this year, but you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, Kate’s done (some of) the work for you! Here’s my comprehensive list for 5 new shows you should check out. Come on! Give them a shot.
NASHVILLE (ABC, Wednesdays at 10 p.m., premieres Oct. 10)
Okay, I’m not just saying this because I’m a proud Nashville native and I’m basically pissing my pants because they film this in my hometown. I’m saying you should watch it because it looks awesome. The plot seems very similar to another Nashville-set country music drama, the 2010 film “Country Strong,” only with more believable actors playing the lead two roles – Connie Britton as the aging superstar and Hayden Panettierre as the young, Swiftian ingénue. (Can you believe anyone tried to pass Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester off as country singers? Blech.) It’s got drama, it’s got songs, it’s got Hayden Panettierre in the superbitch role she was born to play.
Watch it if you liked: Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife, Smash
GO ON (NBC, Tuesdays at 9 p.m., premieres Sept. 11)
Yes, I liked the pilot for “Go On.” Sue me. I, Kate, with a heart of stone, found it to be quite touching. And pretty funny, too. I liked Matthew Perry (Chandler always was my favorite Friend), I really liked Tyler James Williams, and I just loved that old lady taking home her donut box crown and the whole crew chasing the Google cameras at the end. It was a surprisingly sweet show with characters I took to immediately, with the exception of the therapist/group leader lady. The “kooky, diverse misfits” ensemble reminds me somewhat of “Community,” which is a very good thing. I think this show needs to work out some kinks, but it has great potential, and could also bring in some big ratings if NBC times its inevitable sports star guest spots correctly. I mean, the biggest program on television is NBC’s Football Night in America… they’re going to milk that for all it’s worth on a show with a sports motif, right? Also, if you blinked you might have missed him, but John Cho’s in the cast!
Watch it if you liked: Sports Night, Community, How I Met Your Mother
LAST RESORT (ABC, Thursdays at 8 p.m., premieres Sept. 27)
In a somewhat appropriate slip-up, I first typed “Lost Resort” as the show’s title – clearly, ABC is trying to fill the void left by “Lost” with a suspenseful, tropical-set drama, only without the sci-fi elements (I assume?). The story is as follows: a U.S. submarine crew goes rogue after they decide to disobey orders to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age. They are then attacked by their own countrymen, leading the crew to declare their own nation on a remote island. I am interested in this drama (which as readers know would not be my usual cup of tea) for a few reasons: 1.) The plot involves turning against the U.S. government, which is pretty daring for primetime. (IT IS OF COURSE SOMETHING THAT I DO NOT CONDONE, SECRET FBI INTERNET-WATCHERS.) 2.) I’m a little impressed that they cast a black dude, Andre Braugher, in their lead role as the Captain. Of course, they put a white dude on all of the posters… but progress is progress, right? 3.) Dichen Lachman, former “Dollhouse” hottie and thief of my heart, is also in cast. Possibly in a role that would require her to wear a bikini. Hey-oh!
Watch it if you liked: Lost, Dollhouse, Terra Nova
THE MINDY PROJECT (Fox, Tuesdays at 9 p.m., premieres Sept.25)
I truly believe that Mindy Kaling is the spiritual successor to Tina Fey. She has a lot of the same sensibilities, the same ability to be a writer, producer and actor all at the same time, and, like Fey, she’s fucking hilarious. Both women are truly funny, not just “funny, for a girl.” However, those who aren’t familiar with Kaling should not expect her to be anything like Fey in style. Kaling’s strength comes from playing off an essential girlishness that she embraces about herself, a girlishness that Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and others rarely exhibit. In “The Mindy Project,” the Mindy Lahiri character is obsessed with romantic comedies and finding her true love (“I’m Sandy Bullock!” she drunkenly yells in the pilot episode), but she is more than just unlucky in love – there is an inherent loneliness and desperation to her that Kaling is okay with exploring. Mindy, the character, should be a powerful, self-possessed woman – she’s a successful OB/GYN – but because she’s been fooled by society into believing in the lie of movie romance, she feels incomplete. I’m really excited to see where the show takes her character.
Watch it if you liked: New Girl, The Office, 30 Rock
THE NEW NORMAL (NBC, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., premieres Sept. 11)
I’m recommending this show hesitantly. The premise, in my opinion, is delightful – a woman agrees to be a surrogate for a gay couple, and her daughter and wacky mother tag along for the ride. The cast is brilliant – Ellen Barkin is a powerhouse, and I must admit to a huge crush on Andrew Rannells, who shot to fame staring in the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” but who was known before that as a voice actor for cartoon series like “Pokemon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” (thereby sealing his place in my heart forever). However, this show is produced by Ryan Murphy, creator of some of the weirdest shows ever – “Popular,” “Nip/Tuck,” “American Horror Story” – and one of the greatest burnouts of all time, “Glee.” That means this show could be amazing, or it could be so laughably terrible and preachy that we’ll all want to stab our TVs, and our brains. He also cast a former Real Housewife in the show, in a role I have yet to understand the purpose for. So there’s that. But I’m really holding out hope that this show takes off, because as Georgia King’s character so adorably puts it in the pilot episode, love is love – and who doesn’t want to watch a show about love?
Watch it if you liked: Modern Family, Glee, Arrested Development (Barkin gives me a Lucille Bluth vibe)
Wait For It: 1600 PENN, another NBC comedy starring a “Book of Morman” headliner, Josh Gadd, doesn’t premiere until midseason, but the dysfunctional-Presidential family story has me interested already. Also, I’m not sure what CULT, a CW midseason drama, is about – is it about a cult, or about a TV show about a cult? I dunno, but it sounds kind of unique, so I’ll give it a shot.
What shows are you looking forward to? What did I miss?