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fall television preview | the list

Fresh out of the box

September 16, 2007|Robert Lloyd | Times Staff Writer

Welcome, members of the class of Fall TV 2007. Some of you will "make the grade" and go on to long careers enriching both those who have a piece of you and the strangers whose lives you will touch with your thoughtful drama, thrilling action and/or well-observed comedy -- or just by making a lot of cheap commotion. Others will be gone before the term is over, or has barely begun.
But for now, you stand more or less equal. As we look out across your ranks, we see a few superheroic or supernatural beings, many British and Australian actors masquerading as Americans, at least four shows based around same-sex bonding, the usual load of detectives and a surprising lot of rich folk.
Well, privilege is everywhere, and some of you may be here partly because of who you know. But even for the advantaged, it has taken much hard work to arrive at what only looks like the beginning. You have already survived pitch meetings, focus groups, recastings and corporate regime change. We can judge most of you only by your pilots, into which you have naturally put special time and effort, but you are as handsome and varied a group as we have lately seen, and we trust you will apply yourself with equal if not extra vigor to the remainder of your ordered episodes.

Monday

K-Ville

(9 p.m., Fox)

Stands for "Katrinaville." Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser are wary new partners on the New Orleans police force, the former an upright 9th-Warder, the latter a man with a dark secret (but only for the first hour). Its pulse beats a little hard for a story set in a place called the Big Easy, but it's good to see a series that makes time for the poor, especially in a season besotted with the wealthy.

Wednesday

Kid Nation

(8 p.m., CBS)

Forty kids are carted to a desert ghost town to live for 40 days without adults, excepting, of course, all the ones just out of camera range. A little bit "Lord of the Flies," a little bit "Wild in the Streets" and currently the subject of pre-broadcast concern among children's advocates and the acting unions. Will they succeed in building a just world where their parents failed? Or just a world without bedtime?

Back to You

(8 p.m., Fox)

Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton star in this sitcom superstar smackdown as reunited local news co-anchors who have something more than work between them. (Will they get their Tracy and Hepburn on? Or even their Grayson and Keel?) Three-camera comfort food.

Kitchen Nightmares

(9 p.m., Fox)

American franchise of a British reality show in which Gordon Ramsay ("Hell's Kitchen") makes dysfunctional restaurants function. Ramsay is currently in arbitration with a (since-fired) New York restaurant manager over claims that scenes were faked -- as if reality TV could ever be fake! -- but one notes he's already won a libel suit against London's Evening Standard over similar claims. As always, you will believe what you like.

Gossip Girl

(9 p.m., CW)

"Cruel Intentions" makeover (although based on a series of young-adult novels) in which teenage Manhattan socialites preen themselves in the posts of an anonymous blogger (voiced by Kristen Bell). "Dynasty" for the younger set, with Blake Lively and Leighton Meester as the Krystle and Alexis. Josh Schwartz (creator of "The O.C." and also a co-creator of the new "Chuck") and Stephanie Savage turned it into TV.

Next Sunday

CW Now

(7 p.m., CW)

Youth-directed entertainment trendcast lets you know what to buy, where to go and who to care about not to feel like a total loser.

Online Nation

(7:30 p.m., CW)

America's Funniest Viral Videos is the idea and Generation YouTube is declared ready for its close-up as ordinary citizens with Internet access get to parlay 30 seconds of homemade fame into a further 30 seconds. Joy Leslie is the host who has been on real TV; Weblebrities Stevie Ryan (a.k.a. Little Loca), Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal bring the 'net cred. You supply the cheap content.

Monday, Sept. 24

The Big Bang Theory

(8:30 p.m., CBS)

The other new three-camera comedy this season. Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons are polymath brainiacs -- or is that brainiac polymaths -- gamely trying out their limited social skills on a new perky-blond neighbor played by Kaley Cuoco.

Chuck

(8 p.m., NBC)

Nifty sci-fi spy comedy in which a slacker working the tech desk at a big-box store (Zachary Levi) is pulled into a life of danger and intrigue after the contents of the National Security Agency mainframes are downloaded into his brain. (See also: "Reaper," basically the same show, but with demons.) Adam Baldwin (creepy!) and Yvonne Strahovski (nice!) are the intelligence pros who make the action a go-go.

Journeyman

(10 p.m., NBC)

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