"What am I going to watch tonight?" Once Fall TV kicks in next week, that question gets more complicated. New series will duke it out with returning favorites for TiVo space, and some of my beloved shows will go head-to-head. Though there are plenty of ways to watch everything eventually, a gal can still only watch one thing at once, so here are the toughest tradeoffs on my schedule — and how I plan to solve them.
No. 5: Dexter vs. True Blood (Sundays, 9 p.m.) — If you have both HBO and Showtime, you're going to have a tough choice come September. Six Feet Under's Alan Ball makes his return to TV with the vampire-themed True Blood on HBO, while Dexter continues his slashing ways over on Showtime. Should you watch what could be the next big cable series — or the one that's a solid hit right now? Verdict: Established Dexter fans should probably stick with that series, but if you're new to the show, I'd TiVo it and watch True Blood live.
For my top four toughest tradeoffs, just
No. 4: Ugly Betty vs. Kath and Kim (Thursdays, 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) — ABC vs. NBC has been a good battle on Thursdays for a couple of years now (though ratings-wise, CBS usually wins the night). This year's biggest new entry looks to be Kath and Kim, the Selma Blair and Molly Shannon comedy that's overlapping with the second half of Ugly Betty. Both shows feature a hearty helping of ludicrous fashion, and while Ugly Betty was starting to feel a little stale last season, Kath and Kim is something fresh. Verdict: For at least the first couple of weeks, I'd stick with Betty first. Kath is only a half-hour long, so it's probably easier to squeeze in a TiVo replay.
No. 3: Dirty Sexy Money vs. Lipstick Jungle (Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) — Two shows about rich, well-dressed people are going head-to-head on Wednesdays. Both have intriguing new stars (Dirty Sexy Money has Lucy Liu; Lipstick Jungle has Mary Tyler Moore), and both have promised lots of soapy goodness. Do you want to watch the one whose creators have said will be "dirtier," "sexier," and even "monier" this year? Or should you stick with that other show about money and sex (that is occasionally also dirty)? Verdict: Lipstick is only guaranteed seven episodes this season, so I'd make those my priority. Dirty Sexy Money will be around for a while, so if you end up TiVoing a few, they won't be irrelevant.
No. 2: Friday Night Lights vs. legality. (Constantly, starting Oct. 1) — So, FNL won't be back on NBC till the Winter, but it will be on DirecTV in October — and I can't see how NBC is going to be able to keep it offline after that. Not that I'm encouraging digital piracy, but it's going to be tough to know FNL is out there and still stay away. Yet if people watch illegally, the show might not get the ratings needed to keep it going on NBC. What's a fan to do? Verdict: Blame Zach Gilford for this one. At the TCA press tour, the alter ego of QB Matt Saracen said he'd suggest fans watch the online version but pledge to turn on NBC later anyway. Hey, I'm just the messenger.
No. 1: Gossip Girl vs. Chuck (Mondays, 8 p.m.) — So, which Josh Schwartz show do you like better: the one with all the sex and drama, or the one with the goofy spy stuff? Cause they're up against each other on Monday nights now, and you'll have to pick one to watch first. Granted, Chuck had the better ratings last year — but it's Gossip Girl that gets the buzz. Verdict: If your friends will all be talking about Blair and Chuck in the morning, watch GG first. Chuck deserves a TiVo spot for sure, though.