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Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Preview: From 'Sleepy Hollow' to 'Ravenswood' to 'Atlantis'

There's 'Mom,' 'Dads,' a 'Trophy Wife,' 'The Birthday Boys,' 'The Capones.' Here are quick looks at new fall TV season shows.

September 13, 2013|By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
  • Disney Channel's new animated comedy-adventure series "Wander Over Yonder," features the voice of Jack McBrayer.
Disney Channel's new animated comedy-adventure series "Wander… (Disney Channel )

The Fall Season is here, people. And though premieres will happen up and down what is still anachronistically called a dial, the season remains mainly the domain of the broadcast networks — which seem bent for the moment not on aping cable TV, as many think they should, but rather distinguishing themselves from it. By getting classic.

Which is not necessarily to say good — though not necessarily to say bad, either.


FOR THE RECORD:
Fall TV preview: A capsule description of the new DirecTV drama "Full Circle" in the Sept. 15 Calendar II section said that the show would debut Oct. 10. It will debut Oct. 9. —

There are, for one thing, a lot of family comedies this year, albeit with a fair bit of dysfunction and kids talking about breasts (and stuff). (Teenage pregnancy is also alive and well in the 2013-14 season.) Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams and Kirstie Alley, stars of 20th century situation comedy, are back. Three-camera comedies continue to hold their own. Warming hearts is the order of the day.

WATCH: Fall 2013 TV trailers

As usual, there are uncanny resonances among the new series — call it spooky entanglement at a distance. (If you want to be quantum about it.) There are two series in which parents move in with their adult children and one in which an adult child (with a child) moves back in with her parent; two series in which young women who like to party marry older men who sort of remember they did, too, once, inheriting three children in the bargain; three shows in which figures from literature are recast as heroes in an ancient struggle between good and evil; two buddy-cop shows with fantastic elements. Elsewhere, the legacy of "The Bad News Bears" continues not to exhaust itself.

If you are sane, or wish to remain so, you will not attempt to watch all or even most of them. Here is your seasonal guide through the thicket. Check out our interactive timeline with videos, or continue below for the text listings.

Already in progress

"Six Little McGhees" (OWN). Sextuplets.

"Last Tango in Halifax" (PBS). Seventysomethings Derek Jacobi and Ann Reid take the road previously not taken and find belated love in picturesque Yorkshire. Facebook did it! Sweet, smart.

"Derek" (Netflix). Ricky Gervais' sometimes vexing, more often moving meditation on usefulness, set in a nursing home. Kerry Godliman, as the woman who runs the place, does the heavy lifting, but Gervais producer-stooge Karl Pilkington also acquits himself well. "It's more important to be kind than clever," says Derek (Gervais), stating a theme.

"Wander Over Yonder" (Disney Channel). Jack McBrayer of "30 Rock" voices the lead, a kind of hillbilly alien, in a new cartoon from Craig McCracken ("The Powerpuff Girls"). Think Kenneth in Space, without the darkness. (The darkness of Kenneth, I mean, not of space.)

Sunday, Sept. 15

"Liv and Maddie" (Disney Channel). Dove Cameron plays teenage twin sisters. This being Disney, one of them is famous.

Monday, Sept. 16

"Sleepy Hollow" (Fox). Washington Irving's tale of country superstition gets a shot of steroids and whatever that juice is they keep around the production office, transforming credulous schoolteacher Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) into a Revolutionary War secret agent, Rip Van Winkled into the 21st century in pursuit of the headless horseman, whose name is now Death and whose horse is now pale. Nicole Beharie is the cop who'll be his buddy.

Tuesday, Sept. 17

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Fox). Andy Samberg is the designated wiseacre super-sleuth ("the only puzzle he hasn't solved is how to grow up") in this motley-crewed, multicultural police comedy. As the new, button-down captain, Andre Braugher classes up the joint, but he can't help that.

"Dads" (Fox). Difficult fathers Martin Mull and Peter Riegert move in with disgruntled sons Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi. The elders' less enlightened laugh lines in this Seth MacFarlane-produced series were the occasion of a critical dog pile at this summer's TCA press tour, which seemed to miss a point. Still, it's as if someone here thought that the problem with "S#*! My Dad Says" was that there wasn't two of everybody.

"The New Atlanta" (Bravo). "Real" young money-seekers of the South, mixed up in fashion, business, music and "event planning." And still they find time to go out at night and drink doubtlessly expensive cocktails. And probably have sex, and sometimes feel sad, and argue.

Friday, Sept. 20

"Great Performances: The Hollow Crown" (PBS). Four Shakespeare history plays, in order of succession: "Richard II," "Henry IV Parts I & II" and "Henry V." With Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Simon Russell Beale, Michelle Dockery, David Suchet, Patrick Stewart, James Purefoy, John Hurt. Someone deserves a thank-you.

Monday, Sept. 23

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