Premieres: Saturday, October 1 @9pm
Plot: Terra Nova follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in jeopardy, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past. When scientists at the FERMI Particle Accelerator unexpectedly discovered a fracture in time that made it possible to construct a portal into primeval history, the bold notion was born to resettle humanity in the past – a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time. The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. JIM SHANNON (Jason O’Mara, “Life on Mars”), a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new world of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Jim’s wife, ELISABETH (Shelley Conn, Mistresses), is a trauma surgeon and the newest addition to Terra Nova’s medical team. JOSH (Landon Liboiron, Degrassi: The Next Generation) is their 17-year-old son who is angry to leave life as he knows it behind; upon arriving at the settlement, he finds himself instantly drawn to the beautiful and rule-breaking SKYE (Allison Miller, Kings). MADDY (Naomi Scott, Life Bites), Josh’s endearingly awkward 15-year-old sister, hopes Terra Nova will give her a chance to reinvent herself. Although Elisabeth’s medical training secured the family a spot on the pilgrimage, a secret involving their five-year-old daughter, ZOE (newcomer Alana Mansour), soon endangers their place in this utopia. Upon the Shannons’ arrival, they are introduced to COMMANDER NATHANIEL TAYLOR (Stephen Lang, Avatar), the charismatic and heroic first pioneer and leader of the settlement. Taylor warns the travelers that while Terra Nova is a place of new opportunities and fresh beginnings, all is not as idyllic as it initially appears. Along with blue skies, towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, the surrounding terrain is teeming with danger – and not just of the man-eating dinosaur variety. There is also a splinter colony of renegades led by the battle-hardened MIRA (Christine Adams, TRON: Legacy), who is vehemently opposed to Taylor and his leadership. Even more threatening than what lies outside the protective walls of the colony is the chilling possibility that something sinister is happening inside Terra Nova. The Shannons will come to suspect that not everyone on this mission has the same idea of how to best save mankind; in fact, there may be forces intent on destroying this new world before it even begins.
Mini Review: Not only is Terra Nova one of the most beautiful television series to ever grace the screen, but it’s also driven by a compelling story with enough intrigue to keep viewers tuning in week after week.
Premieres: Tuesday, September 20 @9pm
Plot: A new single-camera comedy from Liz Meriwether (No Strings Attached) that features a young ensemble cast and takes a fresh and outrageous look at modern male/female relationships. JESS DAY (Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer) is an offbeat and adorable girl in her late 20s who, after a bad breakup, moves in with three single guys. Goofy, positive, vulnerable and honest to a fault, Jess has faith in people, even when she shouldn’t. Although she’s dorky and awkward, she’s comfortable in her own skin. More prone to friendships with women, she’s not used to hanging with the boys – especially at home. Of the three male roommates, NICK (Jake Johnson, No Strings Attached) is the most grounded. He had big plans for life, but somewhere along the way, he stopped caring and became a bartender. Usually the smartest guy in the room, he has an uncanny knack for reading people and uses humor to deflect everyone and everything. SCHMIDT (Max Greenfield, Ugly Betty) is a hustling young professional who fancies himself a modern-day Casanova. Though his heart is usually in the right place, he’s always scheming ways to climb the social ladder and is driven by an immature and almost obsessive urge to be on “the scene.” Viewing Jess as a gateway into the elusive female mind, as well as a personal project, Schmidt encourages the guys to bring Jess into the apartment. The third roommate, COACH (Damon Wayans Jr., The Underground), is a former high school athlete who currently makes his living as a personal trainer. Set in his ways and with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude to dating, Coach is most comfortable when he’s in the gym. Though he’ll never admit it, Coach’s macho athletic exterior is actually a cover for his shyness around women, and he struggles to translate his personal confidence into conversation, preferring to speak in sports metaphors – or not at all. Rounding out this group is Jess’ childhood best friend, CECE (Hannah Simone, Beautiful People), a deadpan, somewhat cynical model who blossomed after outgrowing her promiscuous adolescent years. She has the street smarts Jess lacks and spends a lot of time doling out no-nonsense relationship advice that only a professional model could give. She and Jess balance each other well and accept each other despite their faults, making Cece the perfect complement to Jess. As their relationships progress, the five friends come to realize they need each other more than they ever thought they would and end up forming a charmingly dysfunctional family.
Mini Review: Like Mary Poppins, New Girl is practicably perfect in every way. Presenting a wonderful mixture of hilarious references and endearing moments, it’s fair to say that this is the best new fall television series of 2011.
I Hate my Teenage Daughter
Premieres: Wednesday, November 30 @9:30pm
Plot: A new family comedy starring Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as single moms, best friends – and former nerds – who fear their privileged and overly indulged daughters are turning out just like the mean girls who picked on them in high school. Annie (Pressly), who was raised in an ultra-strict, uber-religious household where she had little-to-no freedom, pretty much allows her daughter, SOPHIE (Kristi Lauren), to do whatever she wants. Annie’s best friend Nikki (Finneran), once an unpopular, overweight social pariah, is now a pretty Southern belle who also allows her daughter, MACKENZIE (Aisha Dee), to do as she pleases. The moms have given the girls everything they asked for and everything they never had: clothes, money and self-esteem. The unintended consequence is they have created two mean girls just like the ones who tortured them years ago. The series also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens as Annie’s ex-husband MATT who wants to be a good parent, but doesn’t know what that even means; Kevin Rahm as Matt’s brother JACK, a father figure to Sophie who’s meddling would annoy Annie more if she didn’t have such a crush on him; and Chad L. Coleman as GARY, Nikki’s ex-husband who also tries to help raise his challenging daughter but the couple’s complicated relationship often makes his involvement more difficult.
Mini Review: A misleading title and a horrible portrayal of mothers attempting to be funny while being verbally abused by their children, I Hate My Teenage Daughter is poorly conceived, poorly written, and poorly acted. If this show was my teenage daughter, I’d hate her, too.
Hopefully now you’ll have a better idea about what’s coming up in the new fall television line-up. Which ones will you be tuning in for?
Keep an eye on Screen Rant, as we’ll have complete reviews for the majority of these new series.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio