All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Last week I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall and five that I think are total tossups. Today brings my favorite of the lists: the five shows that I think are most likely to earn a season pass on my TiVo.
5. "Gossip Girl" — Many of you have already gotten a chance to weigh in on "Gossip Girl," which certainly ranks among the fall's most highly anticipated shows. Like "The OC," which made "Gossip Girl" co-creator Josh Schwartz famous, "Gossip Girl" is all about the plight of super-rich kids who drink too much and make bad choices, and if you're not generally a fan of teen shows, "Gossip Girl" probably won't change your mind. But beyond the soapy exterior lurks an appealing (and generally age-appropriate) cast and an immensely popular book series from which any number of tantalizing stories can be drawn. I'm not sure it's the next "OC" quite yet, but the potential is there.
4. "Reaper" — "Reaper," a dude comedy from two women who earned their chops as writers on "Law & Order: SVU," could become one of the CW's first big breakout hits. Kevin Smith's influence can be felt all over the pilot, which showcases leading man Bret Harrison and hilarious sidekick Tyler Labine as a couple of unlikely heroes who work as bounty hunters for the devil. It's an unlikely premise, but it's got smart execution and humor to spare. But maybe the greatest thing about "Reaper" is the casting of Ray Wise as Satan himself; one look at that creepy smile, and I was sold.
For the top three I'll be watching,
3. "Dirty Sexy Money" — Any show starring Peter Krause will always get the benefit of the doubt from me, but "Dirty Sexy Money" didn't need any charity. The pilot episode was one of the strongest I watched. I have faith in the show's creator, former "Six Feet Under" writer Craig Wright, and I suspect that before long, this glitzy story of the high-powered Darling family and the well-meaning lawyer (Krause) who gets caught up in their antics will be must-see TV. In addition to Krause, there are several other standouts among the cast, especially William Baldwin and relative newcomer Seth Gabel.
2. "Chuck" — My words when I finished watching the pilot for "Chuck": "I don't know what that just was, but it was so much fun." It's the second buzzworthy show from Josh Schwartz this fall, and it's certainly the more whimsical of the two. Zachary Levi is instantly magnetic as a slacker who ends up being a key national security operative after the world's spy secrets are downloaded into his brain. The show has a fight scene with a ninja, a car chase involving a Volkswagen Beetle, and — as of last week — Rachel Bilson. If the show can maintain its sense of humor, it will deserve to be a hit.
1. "Pushing Daisies" — What can I say about this "forensic fairytale" that hasn't been said already? "Pushing Daisies," certainly the most-gushed-about pilot this year among critics, is unlike anything else on TV. It feels like a storybook, or a movie, or a particularly vivid dream I had once. Maybe the best word to describe it is "precious" — it's the kind of show that its fans will truly fall in love with. Lead actors Lee Pace and Anna Friel may be little known now, but that won't last for long if people tune into this gem. The immensely quotable script, inventive sets and unique characters should appeal to anyone looking for a little something different on television. It also features numerous shots of delectable pies, and if that doesn't earn it a spot on your viewing schedule, I don't know what will.