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The 10 Most Promising Network Shows For Fall 2013

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist May 16, 2013 at 1:01PM

This week concluded the yearly "up-fronts," where advertisers and affiliates convene in New York City so that the various networks can trot out their exciting new fall products. It brings an end to "pilot season," in which initial episodes are furiously produced and then handily judged, and kicks off the excitement for the following fall. (Even though, as we're becoming increasingly aware, the traditional notions of when shows are supposed to air and how long they're supposed to be are blurring considerably.) Out of all of the new shows – dozens and dozens of hours of freshly scripted content – we have chosen the ten shows that we find the most promising; five hour-long dramas and five sitcoms. Don't change that dial.


"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Fox)

It's a half-hour sitcom about a detective (Andy Samberg) who must grow up and "respect the badge," by being partnered with a new, stern superior (Andre Braugher from "Homicide") – do you need to know more? Oh, you do? Well it was co-created by Michael Schur and Dan Goor, both of whom previously worked on "Parks and Recreation" (Goor is responsible for the "Lil' Sebastian" episode, Schur co-created the show). Yes, this will be very, very funny and seems to have a weekly "Other Guys"-type feel.

"The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC)

Maybe the sitcom with the single strongest sizzle reel, this new show starring Michael J. Fox (as the title would suggest) deals with his Parkinson's disease in a real and seemingly hilarious way. Fox plays a New York news anchor who leaves the business because his disease is getting in the way, but is coached back into work by his supportive family (his wife is played by Betsy Brandt from "Breaking Bad"). It seems unsentimental and there are a couple of gags (like the chair thing) that had us rolling. (The show was co-created by "Easy A" director Will Gluck, who also directed the pilot.) Plus, the cast includes Wendell Pierce, and where Wendell goes, we shall follow.

"Mom" (CBS)

Never in a million years would we imagine getting excited about a Chuck Lorre CBS comedy, but this is a Chuck Lorre CBS comedy that stars Anna Faris, who plays a recovering alcoholic who is dealing with her similarly flawed mother (Allison Janney), and her errant teenage daughter. Yep, Anna Faris is now deemed old enough by Hollywood to play the mother of a sexually active teenage girl. The rest of the cast includes French Stewart and Nate Corddry and, while a few of the laugh track-y gags don't hit, it's hard to argue with this cast and it's nice to see a show centered around a woman whose life isn't exclusively looking for a dude to marry. File under "cautiously optimistic."

"Super Fun Night" (ABC)

Maybe the sitcom, besides "The Michael J. Fox" show, that we're most looking forward to – this is a new series co-created and produced by Conan O'Brien, built around the presence of Rebel Wilson, the outstanding comedic performer from "Bridesmaids" and "Pitch Perfect." The show was originally set up at CBS for this past season, but when they passed, Wilson and O'Brien took it to ABC, where it was fast-tracked. Gone are original cast members Jenny Slate and Edi Patterson (replaced by Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash), while the central concept remains: three best girl friends spend every Friday as "Friday Fun Night," mostly in their apartment drinking tea and playing board games. But Wilson decides to amp it up and actually go out, which leads to the titular nocturnal adventure. It's going to be a gas.

"Us & Them" (Fox)

This looks like another bright spot in Fox's upcoming comedy line-up. The show stars the incredibly likable Jason Ritter (who also voices one of the best shows on television, "Gravity Falls") and Alexis Bledel (coming off a wonderful guest performance on "Mad Men" last season) as twenty-somethings falling in love in these overly-complicated modern times. The show was based on "Gavin & Stacy" a BBC series that garnered much critical and commercial acclaim, although the across-the-pond translation success rate is pretty low (for every "Office" there are ten "Couplings"). Still, this has a wonderful teaser and the cast is full of "Stella"/"Upright Citizens Brigade" alums (including Michael Ian Black) so we're in.

Other potential gut-busters include the Robin Williams/Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle "Crazy Ones" (CBS); "The Goldbergs" which is like "The Wonder Years" but in the eighties (and way more Jewish) (ABC); the ambitious but potentially abhorrent "Mixology" (ABC); and "The Millers," which stars Will Arnett and Margo Martindale.

This article is related to: Television, J. J. Abrams, James Spader, Andy Samberg, Toni Collette , Anna Faris, Rebel Wilson, Features