Top 15 TV Shows to Watch for Fall 2011

Sep 2, 2011 6:41am

As Hollywood makes fewer films, the migration of top talent from movies to television continues.

This fall, look for a number of A-list stars on the small screen, including first-timers Patrick Wilson, Zooey Deschanel, Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern and Christina Ricci.

Fall 2011 also marks the return of several stars who made their mark in television before jumping to Hollywood big screens. Claire Danes, Sarah Michelle Geller and Tim Allen are all back with new series.

Then, of course, there are all the returning shows, some of which will be missing our favorite cast members. What will the job be like for Detective Benson without her longtime partner Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU?”

With so many choices and so little time to watch, we thought we’d sort through and give you the Top 15 shows you won’t want to miss this fall.

Pan Am (ABC)

If you don’t remember when flying was actually fun and people got dressed up to board an airplane, then you’ll want to watch this new ABC series set in the 1960s and starring Christina Ricci as a rebellious bohemian who becomes a Pan Am stewardess in order to see the world. Rounding out the crew are Karine Vanasse, Kelli Garner, Margot Robbie and Jonah Lotan as a cocky and charismatic new pilot. Premieres Sept. 25.

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Goodbye Charlie Sheen, hello Ashton Kutcher. After much ado, Kutcher will make his debut this Fall as Walden Schmidt, an Internet billionaire with a broken heart. How he’s related to Sheen’s character Charlie Harper and what’s become of Charlie is unknown. If rumors are true, creator Chuck Lorre, no fan of Sheen anymore, will kill off the character. Premieres Sept. 19.

The X Factor (FOX)

Simon Cowell is back and hopefully badder than ever in the show he left “American Idol” to bring to America. He’s got his (sometimes) favorite sidekick, Paula Abdul, with him along with Nicole Scherzinger and LA Reid. Premieres Sept. 21.

 

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Ringer (CW)

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who broke out with “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” is back on the small screen. In CW’s new mystery thriller “Ringer,” Gellar plays twin sisters trying to escape their dangerous and complicated lives. Premieres Sept. 13.

Playboy Club (NBC)

Not surprisingly, this show about Hugh Hefner’s original club, set in 1960s Chicago, has already drawn protests from anti-porn groups. It stars Eddie Cibrian and Amber Heard, who have colorful personal lives of their own. Premieres Sept. 25.

Dexter (Showtime)

That gritty cable drama with Michael C. Hall as a moonlighting serial killer is back for another season. This time, Hall is grappling with his faith. Enter Edward James Olmos as a theology professor. Premieres Oct. 2.

New Girl (FOX)

With “New Girl,” Zooey Deschanel makes it a family affair at Fox, joining big sister Emily Deschanel (“Bones”) to play Jess, a socially awkward gal who moves in with three bachelors after her boyfriend dumps her. The guys try to help her re-enter the dating scene while getting close to her model BFF, played by Hannah Simone. Premieres Sept. 20.

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

Call it a modern day “Laverne and Shirley.” Kat Dennings, who displayed her dry wit in “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist,” stars as a smart-mouthed Brooklyn waitress who moonlights as a nanny and ends up moving in with her new co-worker (played by Beth Behrs), an heiress who has to make her own living after her Bernie Madoff-like dad is locked up. Premieres Sept. 19.

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

The award-winning HBO drama led by Steve Buscemi is back and will no doubt get a boost at this year’s Emmy Awards. This season, Buscemi’s Nucky is fighting to hold to his Atlantic City turf from rival Jimmy, played by Michael Pitt, but he may be distracted by the appearance of his dead — or is she? — wife. Premieres Sept. 25.

The Office (NBC)

Who will fill Steve Carell’s shoes now that Michael Scott has left Dunder Mifflin? James Spader has been hired, but he will replace Kathy Bates as CEO of Sabre. Meanwhile, Jim and Pam are expecting their second baby. Premieres Sept. 22.

Charlie’s Angels (ABC)

Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh may be hoping this Miami-based reboot does the same for their careers as it did for Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. The series is set to premiere on the anniversary of the day the original show debuted 35 years ago. Premieres Sept. 22.

A Gifted Man (CBS)

This new CBS drama starring Patrick Wilson as a hot-shot surgeon whose recently deceased ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) begins appearing to teach him lessons from the hereafter has some serious Hollywood muscle behind it. Besides Wilson, the show’s creator is Oscar-nominated screenwriter Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”). Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme helmed the pilot. Premieres Sept. 23.

Glee (FOX)

It’s graduation year for three of the show’s biggest stars — Lea Michele,Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer. Executive producer Ryan Murphy said the full roster of who’s graduating and who’s staying will be revealed in the Sept. 20 season premiere.

Last Man Standing (ABC)

Coming off his latest box office success in “Toy Story 3,” Tim Allen returns to TV. In ”Home Improvement,” it was Allen and the boys against mom. In his new series “Last Man Standing,” Allen is outnumbered by his wife (Nancy Travis) and three girls and finds his masculinity tested when he has to stay home while his wife rejoins the workforce. Premieres Oct. 11.

Terra Nova (FOX)

This new series long in the making also has a Hollywood heavyweight behind it. Steven Spielberg is the producer of this dinosaur drama about the Shannon family, who must travel back to prehistoric Earth to save the human race. Yes, there will be plenty of dinosaurs. Premieres Sept. 26.

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