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Fall TV Preview: Five Total Toss-ups

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. Yesterday, I told you about five shows I'll be skipping this fall, and on Monday, I'll be revealing my top five picks for the season. But today, I'm focusing on the shows that could go either way, just as likely to become megahits as they are to sink like stones.

5. "Bionic Woman" — "Bionic" has seen quite a bit of upheaval since the pilot I saw was filmed. One supporting part (the bionic woman's younger sister) has been recast and reconceived, and — just within the past couple of weeks — one of the executive producers left the show. In the version of the pilot I saw, lead actress Michelle Ryan didn't seem to have the sort of fearless toughness you'd want in an action star, and the whole thing seemed surprisingly low-energy. But now, "Friday Night Lights" producer Jason Katims will be consulting on the show, and NBC has ensured a steady stream of publicity by hiring Isaiah Washington for a guest spot. I'm still not confident about this remake, but I think it has an equal chance of being a breakout hit and a flop.

4. "Carpoolers" — I'm really of two minds about "Carpoolers." On the one hand, the whole idea of inane car banter is why I try not to catch rides with casual acquaintances. On the other hand, this pilot made me laugh surprisingly hard, and I'm finding myself rooting for it. The writing may not be completely there yet, but the comic timing from funny guys like Jerry O'Connell, Jerry Minor, Fred Goss, and potential breakout star TJ Miller gives me hope — as does that Phil Collins video. I'm not sure if I see it getting more than a "Knights of Prosperity"-sized following, but if enough people give it a chance, maybe it will be a small hit.

Three more tossups — plus a brand-new clip of the first few minutes of one of them — so

3. "Moonlight" — "Moonlight" is a toss-up in the truest sense of the word because it's gone through so many changes. Virtually everyone except lead actor Alex O'Loughlin has been recast since the spring, and I haven't seen either the old or the new versions of the pilot. I generally suspect this will be a cheesy mix of vampire myth and cop drama, and its Friday night timeslot tells me CBS doesn't have a ton of confidence in it either. On the other hand, CBS has had a good sense of humor in promoting the show — witness this "Interview with a Vampire" clip and the creepy vs. sexy video — and I think there are legions of "Angel" and "Buffy" fans who might latch on to this show.

2. "Aliens in America" — Of all the pilots I watched for the fall, this one about a friendship between a small-town Wisconsin kid and his family's Pakistani exchange student, left me the most conflicted by far. On the one hand, it made me laugh harder than any other comedy pilot, and the two young actors in the lead roles are charming and perfectly cast. On the other hand, many parts of the pilot made me squirm because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be offended or amused. I have no idea where the show will go from here, and — more than that — I have no idea how people will react. Will they think it's sweetly hilarious or blatantly over the line?

1. "Private Practice" — So far, this show is nothing but a giant question mark. It's the only pilot the general public has seen, and so we've all had almost four months to rip the very special episode apart — and nobody's been shy about doing that.
Some critics who have seen the proper first episode of the series say the show has gotten itself together, while others say it's even more inane than we feared. For me, the whole point of Kate Walsh's Addison on "Grey's" was to be sassy, complicated, and tough-as-nails; on the snippets of "Private Practice" I've seen, she seems gigglier and girlier, without the backbone that made her such a gem. Creator Shonda Rhimes has said this show won't be "Grey's 2.0" — but it's too early to tell whether "Private Practice" will be able to capture any of the magic that made that show a hit. Just for good measure, here's the newest preview clip:

"Private Practice" and "Carpoolers" photos copyright 2007 ABC, Inc..
"Moonlight" picture courtesy of CBS
"Aliens in America" photo courtesy of The CW
"Bionic Woman" photo Source
"Moonlight" photo courtesy of CBS

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yyam084 yyam084 9 years
private practice is head to head with gossip girl so i guess i'm gonna tune in with the younger ones...
mellie_608 mellie_608 9 years
OK... that clip was cheesy! But I'll give Private Practice a chance, at least a few episodes.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i hope i like private practice, aliens in america and bionic woman of those 5.
dmblauren dmblauren 9 years
i'm going to skip all of them except for moonlight. that show wasn't even on my radar until i saw a preview for the show and i saw jason dohring (logan from veronica mars). so i'll definitely check it out. plus, ghost whisperer is a good show, so i think these two will work well together boo to private practice for getting rid of merrin dungey!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 9 years
I don' t think I'll watch any of them.
jenintx jenintx 9 years
i was all for private practice but have read numerous bad reviews of it. so i won't be tuning in. wednesday's the day my tivo will blow up anyway, so no major loss. on the other hand, i've read really, really good things about aliens in america. like it's surprisingly good, witty dialogue, etc. still not sure i'll tune in...i still have a week or so to decide.
jerries jerries 9 years
Nice...looks like I've found my own e-Fall TV guide!!?! I heard something about those change-ups re: Moonlight. Definitely want to see the premiere, now...and see how things turned out. Alex O'Yummy!!!
blondie829 blondie829 9 years
I'm excited about new comedies since there aren't many left on TV! I'll be tuning in for aliens in america and carpoolers.
Home Home 9 years
I'm interested to see how "Carpoolers" works. Does anyone remember the episode of "Murphy Brown" that took place entirely during the gang's carpool to work? It was hilarious.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
Hey Sweetnlow, here's my take on "Journeyman." I didn't totally love it, but I thought it was a solid show, and I'll check it out a few more times at least.
ayanaphil ayanaphil 9 years
I'm only interested in watching Private Practice. I'm not too sure the others would hold my attention, so I'm don't think I'm going to chance it.
crazychica crazychica 9 years
I saw the first episode of Private Practice and I mut say it was a major improvement over the spin off epi that aired in May, Addison is back to being pretty much the same as she was on Grey's with a few minor changes in the goofy department, which add a lot of humour to the show, the new Naomi is better, and Dell has been toned down a lot. I can already see Cooper and Violet becoming fast favourites. Yes there may have been one soapy storyline which I thought was pointless, and it was also way more dramatic than I thought it was going to be, but that surprised me in a good way. I have also heard that the second episode is way better than the first.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
i might watch that goofy vampire show solely because that dude is so ridiculously hot. nothin like an undead hunk when you're bored at home on friday night...
Kazagirl Kazagirl 9 years
I was totally NOT for Private Practice becoming it's own show but over the summer I really thought about it and I am going to give it a chance. I love Addison, and I am going to miss her on Grey's so I hope her show is a good one. I loved the clip above, it's nice to see her be free and act wild, but like you said I also love how strong she is. I hope they can find a balance between wild Addison and tough as nails Addison. I also love the supporting cast of Private practice so I am rooting for the show to succeed.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Aliens in America really appeals to me, but I have the same concerns about the show. I love the first part of the clip for Private Practice, but the second part with its focus on the "new" Addison has me a bit worried. Loved Richard's "You want to throw your hat way up in the air" line though. Here's hoping the show is good.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 9 years
Oh. My. God. This latest preview clip is horrrrible. I'll give it a chance because I love love love Amy (who has better chemistry with Tim Daly than Kate) and Paul... but I'm not holding out hope.
SweetnLow SweetnLow 9 years
Have you previewed Journeyman yet? I can't wait to hear your take on that one. (So says the fan of Rome-hottie Kevin McKidd.)
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