The Fall TV Season: A Casting Director’s Perspective

The beginning of the Fall TV season is usually a time of anticipation for me, but this year I just can’t get that excited about the new offerings. There are plenty of returning series that I’m thrilled to have back, but so far, the new stuff is leaving me cold.

I’ve nailed down some of the reasons for my lack of enthusiasm: the new shows lack ethnic and racial diversity (for the most part), the comedies (with a few exceptions) aren’t funny, and most of the dramas seem like pale imitations of old shows. In life, I try to focus on the positive: I’m happy to see new shows filming in NYC like 666 Park Avenue, Elementary, and Made in Jersey. I’m also looking forward to the promise of some interesting mid-season fare, particularly Kevin Bacon in The Following. There’s also the chance that a new show could surprise me. Before watching the pilot, I never thought Revenge would suck me in, but I loved every soapy moment of it last season. So here are the new shows that I am looking forward to seeing. Let’s hope network TV still has something to offer!

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Elementary: I love Johnny Lee Miller and Sherlock Holmes so this should be a good fit for me. My only concern is that this show will try to imitate the awesomeness that is Sherlock from the BBC, Elementary needs to go its own way. Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch are very different actors so I guess there is room for two Sherlocks on TV. Also, I like the fact that they mixed it up a little bit by casting Lucy Liu as Watson. Let’s just hope that this doesn’t fall into the all too familiar tough female detective watches quirky, unorthodox male sort of detective solve impossible crimes (making everyone else look stupid in the process style.

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Nashville: I’m a sucker for any show that pits the indestructible cheerleader against principal Tami Taylor. I’ve heard there will be songs too. I’m in, if only to see the sparks (and hair) fly! Who cares if this is just a TV version of Country Strong?

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The Mindy Project: As I said before, I’ve grown tired of comedies that aren’t funny. Is it too much to ask for a few laughs? So many contemporary comedies of the big and small screen are either so juvenile that anyone over 14 finds them offensive to their intelligence or they have the earnest sentimentality of a hallmark card. These shows are not funny! So Mindy Kaling has been funny on her own in previous incarnations so I hope she is able to translate that into her new show. There’s a lot riding on this: a network show written by and starring a woman of color who is vibrant and beautiful but not the traditional cute comedy girl (see Zooey Deschanel, Kaley Cuoco). The Mindy Project also features my fave indy actor Chris Messina. After seeing the pilot of The Mindy Project, I think it shows real promise and I’ll be tuning in on Tuesdays.

So weigh in! Which new fall shows have you liked so far? What are you looking forward to? What stinks? What is worth a few more viewings?

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