The Fall 2009 TV Lineup – Beej’s Picks

Apple TV Between jumping from part-time adjuncting to full-time teaching/administration and planning a wedding in approximately 3 months (under 6 weeks to go and counting!) there seems to be very little time to actually sit in front of my boobtube and bask in the awesomeness that the Fall ‘09 lineup promises. Fortunately, I have a DVR and a pretty decent setup to watch stuff online even if it doesn’t record, but that unfortunately time is still an issue.

As it stands, I have the following list of shows on my list to keep up with this season (including premier dates):

    • Community (NBC) Sept. 17
    • Fringe (Fox) Sept. 17
    • Big Bang Theory (CBS) Sept. 21
    • Heroes (NBC) Sept. 21
    • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) Sept. 21
    • FlashForward (ABC) Sept. 24
    • Dollhouse (Fox) Sept. 25
    • Stargate Universe (Syfy) Oct. 2
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (CN) Oct. 2
    • South Park (CC) Oct. 7
    • V (ABC) Nov. 3

Time permitting, I’d also like to toss the following into the mix, but they’re not nearly as important (nor as interesting) as the previous set:

    • Glee (Fox) Sept. 9
    • Castle (ABC) Sept. 21
    • Criminal Minds (CBS) Sept. 23
    • Mentalist (CBS) Sept. 24
    • CSI (CBS) Sept. 24
    • Sanctuary (Syfy) Oct. 9

I just don’t know where I will find the time. On top of these, I’m working on catching up on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer with my fiancée (we’re currently on Season 3), plowing through Stargate SG-1 with my dad (we’re on Season 4), and I’m working through Season 2 of Stargate Atlantis by my lonesome (which might be put off soon given the influx of fall programming).

As with any season, there will be shows relegated to the backburner as I find I don’t have time to keep up, but unlike most seasons, I’m not 100% sure about which ones those are yet. So far, I have high hopes for more of the shows than I usually do, specifically Heroes, Stargate Universe, Dollhouse, Fringe, and V.

Fringe Fringe. Oh em gee. What could have been just another X-Files rip-off really found its sea-legs in the second half of the season. J.J. Abrams is rarely off the mark, and Fringe was probably the strongest show to premier last season across all networks. I won’t ramble on and on about what I expect, as I intend to do full write-ups on each episode as they air (yes, I know I’m behind already). My dad caught the season premier and has been going on and on about how I need to see it so we can talk about it. He never does that kind of thing, so suffice it to say that if you’ve never watched Fringe, pick up the DVDs and prepare for a stellar sophomore attempt.

Dollhouse is my other pick for a superb sophomore season. My fiancée and I just finished the DVD-only episode “Epitaph One” a few hours ago, and I can’t say enough good things about it. The first few episodes of S1 were lackluster, but after episode 5, the series took on a whole new feel. “Epitaph One” does the same thing, making the better feel even better. Fox cut Joss Whedon’s production budget for Dollhouse Season 2, so he made “Epitaph One” to prove he could work with anything they gave him. I’ll go on the record and say that it’s the best thing about Season 1. If Season 2 can consistently match it in quality and intensity, Fringe and Stargate Universe will have some very stiff competition for the top SF series currently airing.

Heroes had a fantastic first season, a lackluster second, and a decent enough third. There are things I like about where the show has gone, things I don’t, but more than anything, I have an idea of how good the show can be based on the rollercoaster first season. It might be fanboyish naiveté on my part to think that the show can get back to its roots so completely and wow audiences again, but I expect the upcoming fourth season to really knock my socks off. I think the creators have a handle on what made the second and third seasons not live up to the first, and I expect them to change it. We’ll see.

Stargate Universe Stargate Universe gets my pick as the fall’s underdog megahit. If you’ve read this blog at all, you will know I’ve become a veritable sandwich-board wearer for all things Stargate. One of the main things I love about the franchise is its personality—light and quirky, but able to deal with sensitive issues and still maintain drama. Well, Stargate Universe appears to turn that on its head; it’s gritty, it’s dark, and it possesses the desperation and homesickness that made me love Star Trek: Voyager while utilizing an ensemble cast of Everyman characters. Mark my words: Unless something catastrophic happens, SGU will be SyFy’s next Battlestar Galactica.

And last, but certainly not least is V. V has two things going for it: Elizabeth Mitchell (our beloved LOST’s Juliet) and Morena Baccarin of Firefly fame. I never watched the original series, but from everything I have heard and read, ABC’s remake is right on track to do the classic a great service in adaptation and reimagining. The pilot even has Alan Tudyk in it. I’m not one to generally watch a show based on pure star power, but those three names are three of my favorite in all of SFdom, so count me on. It also doesn’t hurt that V is about aliens and cool science-fictiony stuff like that, and I totally eat that kind of stuff up.

Even though these are the main ones that have grabbed my attention, the other are still no slouches. I don’t generally waste my time with shows I consider lackluster—I’m too busy not to watch quality programming. So if I put it on my list, it’s by far worth watching. How I Met Your Mother started its fifth season strong with its premier Monday night; it was just as funny as I expected, and it’s moving the serial narrative of the sitcom forward quite well. The Clone Wars should be interesting, as the half-hour animated format works well for new Star Wars content. South Park is just South Park; it has too much nostalgia attached for me to stop watching it now. Big Bang Theory surprised me last year by being as good as it is, and I can’t wait to see what Easter Eggs of geekery they toss in this year. I still have no idea what FlashForward is about, but it looks interesting. We’ll see. Community has Joel McHale. And it’s about college faculty. Those two things are near and dear to my heart. If Community is half the show How I Met Your Mother (my all-time favorite sitcom) is, then we’re in for a treat. I just can’t get enough of Joel McHale, either. The title of “funniest man alive” seems to be tied between him and BIll Cosby.

So there’s my list of what new shows might be worth a little attention. Which ones have grabbed your attention so far? Anything not on my list?

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. Castle is fantastic television and along with Fringe and Heros, one of the very few hour long shows I make sure to catch every week.

    Then again <3 Nathan Fillion.

  2. I'll be keeping up with Fringe and Dollhouse – they are part of the Lost Breach, after all, so I'll be following them religiously. I'll be checking out FlashForward and V, but that's about all the television I'll have time for.

  3. Stargate Universe is perhaps the big show I'm looking for to. The others are pretty "meh" to me 🙂

  4. Amazing list, but you should move Glee up there, at least until you check out the first episode!

    And Flash Forward…don't get me started. Read my article and you'll know how I felt lol.

    Can't wait for Dollhouse tomorrow.

  5. Nice (and extensive) list! I find it odd not to see "Dexter" and "Mad Men" on it, but you seem to be more inclined to the action-y things anyway, so that might just be a matter of taste. Other than that I can't think of anything to add from what I know will air this fall.

    As for your catching-up-watching, if you're at season 4 on SG-1 you're finally starting to approach the genuinely good seasons where the great episodes aren't just one out of every five or so. I hesitate to recommend that show to people, as it is rather heavily mired in continuity and I don't really consider the first four seasons to be all that good, but if you're past them anyway, the rest should be worth the ride. "Atlantis" I'm more on the shelf about, but it certainly was always better than the first few seasons of SG-1, so again, if you got through those unblemished, it's probably worth your while as well.

    Finally, Buffy's third season is of course really good, so have fun with that. My favourite is 5, though, so you have something to look forward to…

  6. The reason that Mad Men and Dexter aren't on the list is because I haven't caught up with them yet. I've only seen the first season of both, so watching them as they air is impossible for me. I won't skip two seasons of Dexter and one of Mad Men just to watch new ones. I'm working on them, though. Eventually. 😉

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