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Opinion

Fall 2011: Well, It Could Have Been Worse

The new fall schedule is not as light on scifi/fantasy as was once feared


The 2010-11 Fall television season is history. The numbers have been tallied up, added up, written up, fussed, cussed and discussed.

The winners are working on their next seasons, the canceled shows’ producers are licking their wounds, working on new ideas, and the viewing public is asking the question, “What’s next?”

The 2011-12 season has been announced and, despite the disastrous past season, there are offerings for the science-fiction/fantasy fan. So, while the summer shows start cranking up, let’s take a look at the coming attractions.

While Monday nights this fall will be dominated, at least for a time, with the ongoing real life saga of “Two and a Half Men,” there is an hour for sci-fi fans in the form of Fox’s much heralded “Terra Nova.” The show deals with mankind’s attempt to escape extinction in the year 2149 by traveling back to the prehistoric times.

Running the show is Brannon Barga (various Star Trek series and “24”). While it is not sci-fi, viewers will also have “Hawaii Five-0” returning with its cast heavy in scifi alumni.

Tuesdays offers two shows of interest for fans. The first, of course, is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to television in The CW’s new show, “Ringer.” However, there is another show that, while not out and out sci-fi/fantasy, it does have things that would be possibly interesting to fans of the genre. Imagine a person who has total and complete recall of anything and everything she see or hear. CBS’ new show, “Unforgettable” deals with such a person, working to help solve crimes. The previews for the show look very interesting.

Thursdays will see The CW attempt a supernatural one-two punch with its new show “The Secret Circle” following the returning “The Vampire Diaries.” We’ll have to see if lightning can strike twice and the new show do for magic what “Diaries” has for vampires.

While Syfy continues to be very light on sci-fi on Fridays, the networks will be making up for it this fall. The 9 p.m. timeslot will have three different shows competing for audience share at the same time. Along with the returning “Fringe” and “Supernatural,” NBC will attempt to compete with them by fielding a new show “Grimm” in the same time slot. This new show, from executive producers David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf and Sean Hayes, follows the exploits of a police detective who is the last of the line of hunters gifted to be able to see creatures as they really are instead of their human guises. The premise of the show is that the fairy tales weren’t harmless stories, but warnings.

Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays will be sci-fi/fantasy wildernesses, but after the previous season and the beating the genre took, we all have to be thankful for what bones have been thrown to us. There will be, however, more shows coming in 2012, but we’ll save those for another day and another column.

Of the new shows starting this fall, the two that show me real potential are “Terra Nova” and “Grimm,” although it is way too early to make a solid prediction, as all we have seen are upfront trailers which just don’t tell you much. In the case of these two shows, however, they are showing some very distinct possibilities. “The Secret Circle” may be successful due to its appeal to the younger audience.

As far as “Ringer” goes, this will be a true test of Gellar to see if she can recapture the appeal she once wielded as Buffy, but as a totally new character in a new genre. Frankly, if I was a network executive, I’d be very nervous on this one.

We’ll all have to watch together and see what the fall brings in success stories and which shows fall to an early strike by the Grim Reaper. What are your thoughts on the new season? Let me hear from you!

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