Getting Ready for the 2011-12 TV Season

It kind of creeped up on me this year, but this coming week marks the start of the 2011-12 TV season. The only network that's starting things up this week is The CW, but I've got a couple shows on my schedule from them, so I'll be getting back into the swing of TV reviews soon (I took the summer off, sorry "Futurama").

Before we get to this year, let's take a look at the list of shows from last year that I was watching that didn't survive for another season:
  • The Event
  • The Cape
  • V
  • No Ordinary Family
  • Hellcats
  • Better With You
  • Smallville
  • Running Wilde
  • Shit My Dad Says
If you're keeping track -- and I don't know why you would be -- that's nine shows axed this past season, 10 the season before that and seven the year before that. However, unlike last year, when six of the 10 ended shows were multi-season affairs, this year's list of cancellations is primarily made up of shows that only lasted a single season. Only "V" and "Smallville" were carryovers from previous seasons, and "Smallville" had announced in advance that last year was its final season. What does this mean? Well, basically I sucked at picking new shows to watch last year, and the networks were kind, for the most part, to my carryover shows. Speaking of those, here's the list of shows I watched in 2010-11 that are back for another season:

8 - How I Met Your Mother (returns Sept. 19)
8 - Gossip Girl (returns Sept. 26)
10 - Hawai'i Five-0 (returns Sept. 19)
10 - Castle (returns Sept. 19)

8 - Glee (returns Sept. 20)

9 - Modern Family (returns Sept. 21)

8 - The Vampire Diaries (returns Sept. 15)
8 - The Big Bang Theory (returns Sept. 22)
9 - Bones (returns Nov. 3)

8 - Chuck (returns Oct. 21)
9 - Fringe (returns Sept. 23)

9 - Desperate Housewives (returns Sept. 25)

"30 Rock" isn't coming back until 2012, due to Tina Fey's pregnancy, but that will obviously be on the list too. "Mad Men" gets added to the schedule whenever AMC gets its shit together too. But as of now, there are only 12 returning shows on my schedule, only one of which ("Hawai'i Five-0") premiered last year. That's probably as light as things have been for me in years, and two of these shows -- "Chuck" and "Desperate Housewives" -- have already announced that this is their final season.

So, with that in mind, I've got some room on the DVR. Let's look at the new additions to the schedule in 2011-12. Some of these are actual new shows, while others are shows that I just hadn't been watching, but caught up on over the summer.

10 - The Playboy Club (premieres Sept. 19)

9 - Ringer (premieres Sept. 13)

8 - Community (returns Sept. 22)
8:30 - Parks and Recreation (returns Sept. 22)

10 - Pan Am (premieres Sept. 25)

I caught up on "Community" and "Parks & Rec" over the summer, and was honestly pissed I hadn't been watching them all along. They're brilliant. You'll notice, though, other than that there's a surprising lack of new shows on my schedule. That's not because there aren't any shows that interest me -- far from it -- it's just that given my track record from years past, I'm going to take a wait-and-see approach with some of them (such as "Grimm", "New Girl" and "Alcatraz"). There are a also handful of shows I'm interested in because of specific cast members, but I'm not sure I'm on board with the show as a whole ("Free Agents", "Work It" and "Scandal" come to mind). I'm sure that come November, my grid will look totally different, but here's how it looks for now:

8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
Monday Live How I Met Your Mother, CBS
-- -- Castle, ABC
Monday DVR Gossip Girl, CW --Hawaii Five-O, CBS/
The Playboy Club, NBC
Tuesday Live Glee, FOX Ringer, CW -- --
Tuesday DVR -- -- -- --
Wed. Live -- -- Modern Family, ABC ---- --
Wed. DVR -- -- -- -- --
Thursday Live Community, NBC Parks and Recreation, NBC ---- -- --
Thursday DVR The Big Bang Theory, CBS/The Vampire Diaries, CW Bones, FOX -- --
Friday Live Chuck, NBCFringe, FOX -- --
Friday DVR -- -- -- -- --
Sunday Live -- -- Desperate Housewives, ABC Pan Am, ABC
Sunday DVR -- -- -- -- -- --

As for which shows I'll be reviewing, honestly, I don't want to promise anything. Obviously the shows listed as "Live" take priority over the shows listed as "DVR". I'll do my best to review all the season premieres, like I did last year, but beyond that, the only show I can guarantee I'll be regularly reviewing is "Ringer" (hi SMG!). I do want to start taking on Community and Parks & Rec on a weekly basis, though those may just end up being quick thoughts followed by top one liners, kind of like how I've done for "30 Rock" in the past. I'll keep reviewing "Glee" as long as it doesn't interfere with "Ringer" watching. And I'll let you know now that the reviews for the 10pm shows will be few and far between. I have to wake up early in the morning to get to work. I generally don't have time to watch a show at 10, then review it that same night, particularly on Mondays when that Castle/Hawaii Five-0/Playboy Club stack is just going to wreck my sleep patterns.

Oh, one last note, "Being Erica" is returning for its final season, starting Monday Sept. 26. I've reviewed it pretty regularly in the past, but because it airs in Canada, then takes a few months to hit U.S. TV, I have to jump through hoops to see it within a reasonable timeframe of its original airing. I'm going to do my best to catch it this season, but because of the move to Mondays, I can't guarantee any kind of regular reviewing.