Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Fall TV Preview offers readers a complete guide to 86 of the season’s biggest shows – from Hawaii Five-O to Parenthood. This special double issue features a comprehensive look at the shows hitting the small screen in the coming months. This fan- favorite issue includes a day-by-day breakdown with a synopsis of each show, exclusive interviews with the shows’ producers, directors, and the stars, original photography, inside scoops, and descriptions about where we left off from the returning seasons.
Since no one asked Alex O’Loughlin to dust off a script from 1968, do his best impression of Jack Lord, and grouse about the crime wave in downtown Honolulu, the hunky Australian doesn’t see Hawaii Five-O as a remake. While not everything in version 2.0 is completely new – the iconic theme song remains intact (and was even recorded by some of the soundtrack’s original musicians), and you’ll hear “Book ‘em Danno!” before the pilot episode is over – O’Loughlin sees CBS’ updated take on the indelible franchise about Det. Steve McGarrett and his band of tropical cops as its own entity. “In the beginning you hear that so many reboots don’t work,” says O’Loughlin. “But when I read the script, I never thought about it again. This is a completely different take for a completely different time. I never worried.”
Scott Caan plays Det. Danny “Danno” Williams as a beach-hating, street-smart cop from New Jersey who’s transferred to “This pineapple-infested-hellhole” to be closer to his daughter from a failed marriage. Though the actor thinks nothing of lifting his shirt and showing off his abtacular torso to a reporter, he prefers to play Danno for laughs, improvising humorous asides when the mood calls for it. “I try to find the lightness in it, because it is serious,” explains Caan, who reveals he never watched the original series. “I want to try to find the humor, to figure out a way to make fun of each other. Because ultimately, that’s the show I’d wanna watch.”
To cast the role of Det. Chin Ho Kelly, the producers only had to travel to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to recruit Daniel Dae Kim, who was shooting his final episodes of Lost as Jin-Soo Kwon. Eager to stay in Hawaii – he owns a restaurant in Honolulu and his family lives there- Kim agreed, and is still pinching himself over his good fortune. Of course, he hasn’t completely shaken his past as a castaway. “A lot of CBS executives and crew have been coming up to me to ask a lot of questions about the Lost finale,” he admits. “And just yesterday, we were shooting at a location that I shot at least 20 times for Lost, so I was haunted by the ghosts of Lost all day.” (CBS, starts September 20th)
The Event’s Jason Ritter
On Joan of Arcadia and The Class, Jason Ritter, 30, proved himself a compelling ensemble player. Now the son of John Ritter is ready for the spotlight: playing a romantic Everyman hero hunting for answers (and his missing girlfriend) on NBC’s The Event.
So you were drawn to The Event, in part, because you were a Lost fan?
Huge Lost fan. I really miss those characters. What I’m excited about with our show is I am equally intrigued by our characters.
What was the most important lesson your father thought you about the Hollywood life?
That it’s important to only believe about yourself what you know to be true, and not to buy into the good or the bad that’s written about you, because that’s when behavior gets crazy. (NBC, Starts September 20th)
Other shows rounding out Monday include Dancing With the Stars, How I Met Your Mother, House, Chuck, Castle, 90201, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half men, Gossip Girl, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Lone Star, Mike and Molly and Chase.
It’s Chick-fil-A Tuesday on the set of Parenthood, courtesy of Lauren Graham. The costar of the NBC family drama has commissioned the fast food favorite to provide a smorgasbord of spicy chicken sandwiches and sweet tea for her cast and crew to enjoy as a mid morning snack. “Our script supervisor, Diane, used to work on Friends,” Graham explains. “And Courtney Cox used to bring Chick-fil-A for everyone. Diane talked about it, like, one too many times to me. I was like, ‘Listen, Cox is going down! She’s not going to be the only person who brought a Chick-fil-A to a set!’ So it’s Chick-fil-A Tuesday. And I’m telling you right now, it’s going to be a tradition.”
For the cast, NBC’s 22-episode order means a sense of stability. “There’s this settled-in-feeling because you know that you’re in it for the long haul,” says Erika Christensen, who plays type A lawyer / mom Julia. “We’re all discovering when each other’s birthdays are, the transportation guys are talking to us about our cars, we’re making sure we know each other’s names.” And with 15 regular cast members, it’s not easy to remember them all.
Last season gossip websites had a field day riffing on rumors that onscreen siblings Krause and Graham had started an off-screen relationship. “It’s life, you know? You meet people at work,” says Graham. Asked about dating his costar, Krause responds, “You know, Dax and I love each other, and I am so proud to say that.” Then he turns serious: “There’s a reason why they call it a private life.” (NBC, Starts September 14th)
Rachel and Finn are together again! The on-again, off-again pair are finally making a go of it. “It doesn’t mean that their relationship is going to be easy.” says Lea Michele, “but they’re together right now.” Adds Cory Monteith, “They’re figuring out how to work as a couple because they have very different personalities and lifestyles.” (Fox, starts September 21st)
Will Arnett, 40, and Keri Russell, 34, run wild discussing their new comedy.
Will Arnett: Maybe initially it will scratch that Arrested Development itch, but it’s really about the relationship between this man and this woman and her child. Some people might not like us, but to those people I’d say. “You’re really stupid.” No, I wouldn’t say that, of course.
Keri Russell: It’s about their differences and them coming together again, and the antics that follow.
WA: I play Steven Wilde, this irresistible, charming, handsome, debonair, international playboy.
KR: I guess I’ll be getting the rewrites! I’m sure they’re on their way.
WA: Originally, the pilot started with my character about to commit suicide.
KR: Are you serious?
WA: Yea, there’s an awareness in Steven that he’s kind of spiritually bankrupt. But [your character Emmy] is all emotional life; she doesn’t have that practicality. She’s a woman who, almost to the detriment of her own child, has gone all over the world. Not that I want to say, “Yeah, this show’s gonna be so deep and multilayered”.” It’s a stupid comedy. That’s where it is like Arrested Development.
KR: There are miniature horses in the pilot. That’s all I need to say.
(Fox, starts September 21st)
Other shows rounding out Tuesday include The Biggest Loser, Raising Hope, Life Unexpected, The Good Wife, NCIS: Los Angeles, Sons Of Anarchy, Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family, One Tree Hill and NCIS.
It’s only the fourth day back from summer hiatus, and already there’s been a mass murder/suicide on the set of Cougar Town.
One thing that almost changed this season was the title itself. Toward the end of season 1, Jules had to turn in her cougar cred when she began dating Hopkins’s forty something cul-de-sac hottie. So now not only did the title appear to be turning off viewers, it also made no sense. “The title made it seem like dating younger guys was all she was ever going to do,” says Cox. Over the summer, producers mulled possible name changes, including Friends and Neighbors and Neighborhood Jules. “We were never going to change the title to anything with the word friends unless we used the same exact font as Friends,” says Lawrence. What about the double entendre Family Jules? “Yeah, because Cougar Town wasn’t offensive enough to people, now I’ll call the show Nuts?” jokes Lawrence. “The only title we liked was Sunshine Sate, and we thought about changing it to that, but then [Matthew Perry’s ABC midseason comedy] Mr. Sunshine got picked up, so we said, ‘Eh, screw it.’ Now we wear it as a badge of honor. Let’s see if we can keep TV’s worst title on the air!”
No doubt a season premiere featuring Cox’s real-life bestie, Jennifer Aniston, will help the cause. “Jen plays Courteney’s new shrink, because I’m a businessman first and I’m hoping she comes back,” says Lawrence. “The story is about how Jules entrusted herself to a shrink she believes in, and then finds out that the therapist is crazy.” So we shouldn’t hold our breath for a kiss, like the last time Aniston and Cox appeared together, on the latter doomed tabloid drama Dirt? “I don’t think we’re going to kiss this time,” says Cox with a laugh. “But that stupid little kiss still gets hits on the Internet. I was like ‘Wow, our hellos are more intimate that that. We kiss longer in real life!’”
Beyond the Aniston ratings bait, season 2 will also see Jules’ sarcastic son, Travis (Dan Byrd), move away to college, which, as Cox says, “is devastating for a mother who likes to drink his tears and would like to live in his blood.” (ABC, starting September 22nd)
Other shows rounding out Wednesday include The Middle, Lie To Me, America’s Next Top Model, Better With You, Survivor: Nicaragua, Law & order: SVU, Criminal Minds, Hell’s Kitchen, Undercovers, Hellcats, Friday Night Lights, The Whole Truth, Law & Order: Los Angeles, The Defenders and Modern Family.
By 30 Rock standards, last season’s finale featured lots of high drama – Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) fell in love with a pilot named Carol (Matt Damon), while Jack (Alec Baldwin) found out girlfriend Avery (Elizabeth Banks) was pregnant with his child. Banks and Damon will be back for more, though that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of Liz’s love-hate interest Wesley (The Queen’s Michael Sheen). Says Fey “I made him promise that no matter how many – as we put it- fancy f—ing Oscar movies he’s in, he has to come back “ (NBC starting September 23rd)
Other shows rounding out Thursday include The Big Bang Theory, Bones, The Vampire Diaries, My Generation, Community, $#*! My Dad Says, Nikita, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Fringe, Outsourced, The Office, The Apprentice, Private Practice and The Mentalist.
What it’s about: Blue Bloods follows a New York clan full of crime fighters – police commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), his loose-cannon detective son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), moral-center assistant-DA daughter Erin (Six Degrees’ Bridget Moynahan) and Harvard Law student-turned-cop Jamie (Reunion’s Will Estes), who learns that not everyone on the NYPD (including possibly, dear old Dad) is on the right side of the law.
Why Tom Selleck thinks you should watch: “To me, it’s a show about three generations of cops,” says the 65-year-old actor. “Whatever the case is, it’s about the impact it has on the family. In most shows, to personalize the cops isn’t a main element, but it is with us.” That means taking their work home with them, as with the climactic dinner showdown in the pilot between Danny and Erin about the use of excessive force. “People said you can’t have a nine-page dinner scene,” says exec producer Robin Green with a laugh, ‘but we could’ve gone longer. I loved it.”
Can Magnum save Friday night TV? “When we started Magnum, Thursday night was one of the lowest viewing nights of the week, and I got the same question,” says Selleck. “And you know what happened to Thursday night right – it’s the biggest night on TV. I know there aren’t as many TV sets on Friday nights, but I think if you build it, they will come.” (CBS, starting September 24th)
Other shows rounding out Friday include Human Target, Medium, Smallville, School Pride, CSI:NY, The Good Guys, Outlaw and Supernatural.
On his usual journey of self discovery, Dexter will cross paths with the aforementioned Lumen, and while the creative team isn’t spilling much about her, we know that she enters his life by “sheer serendipity”. And that she’s a vulnerable yet resilient woman who has suffered physiological and physical damage. “Dexter’s carrying around a sense of vengeance he can’t really do anything about,” shares Hall. “He can’t bring Rita back to life, but he can, in a symbolic way, bring Lumen back to life. Their relationship is not romantic, but intimate in a way that Dexter’s never experienced – not with anyone.”
Stiles was smitten with the story, but she did have reservations about following Lithgow. “I’m terrified,” she deadpans. “They are definitely big shoes to fill. I have a running joke with the air and makeup people. They are constantly mentioning him, almost like The Brady Bunch – ‘Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! Trinity! Trinity! Trinity!’ But my saving grace is that the story line is very different. And I’m a girl!” (Showtime starting September 26th)
Other shows rounding out Friday include The Simpsons, The Amazing Race, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Boardwalk Empire, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, Undercover Boss, Desperate Housewives, CSI: Miami, Bored to Death, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, The Walking Dead and Eastbound & Down.
Also EW’s Picks for the 5 Best New Shows:
3 More to Keep an Eye On
No Ordinary Family