So, you had practice for your sports team after school, you've finished all of your homework, you're tired of sitting at the computer and Facebooking and you're ready to just veg out on the couch in front of the TV for a little while before hitting the sheets. What should you watch? Another bleep-fest on "Jersey Shore"? Another reality singing show? Watch people fall down on "Ridiculousness"? Maybe something new? The networks have rolled out their new shows for fall, and NeXt Correspondent Ian Scaduto takes a look at a few of them.
> "Up All Night"
8 p.m. Wednesdays
NBC's newest comedy, "Up All Night," really delivers. "Night" follows a young couple recently introduced to the throes of parenthood. With a baby at home, the two learn that they can't party like they used to, or act on impulse. They argue about everything: "Who changed the diaper last?" or "Who got up earlier?"
Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are convincing as Chris, an immature, kid-at-heart retired hockey player, and Reagan, a workaholic TV producer. Since both have had starring roles in past sitcoms, this series really exposes their honed comic timing. Ava, the Oprah-esque talk show host of Reagan's show, is masterfully played by the always hilarious "SNL" alum Maya Rudolph.
The baby gate blocking this show from greatness is its lack of future direction. Although the first episode was funny, one wonders where the plot lines will go. Forget "16 and Pregnant," "Up All Night" is TV's best reason to not have kids.
Review: 3 pacifiers out of 4
> "Pan Am"
10 p.m. Sundays
"Pan Am," the aeronautic new series launched by ABC, is this season's most promising drama. The first-class acting and the nostalgic re-creation of the time period are what really give the show flight. The pilot episode follows five stewardesses employed by Pan Am.
In homage to another ABC series, "Lost," the characters' backgrounds are told through flashbacks initiated by an object or sound. "Pan Am" shows the rigors associated with being a stewardess during the 1960s. One of the stewardesses, Maggie, played by child star Christina Ricci, is put on probation for not wearing her girdle under her uniform. It also shows the gender inequality of the '60s. Amazingly, this series incorporates several different genres: romance, adventure and even espionage.
"Pan Am" is only occasionally grounded when it taxis into sappy melodrama, but overall this series soars.
Review: 3 baggage checks out 4
9:30 p.m. Thursdays
TV has a long history of stand-up comics playing themselves on sitcoms. Jerry Seinfeld. Classic. Larry David. Brilliant. But Whitney Cummings playing Whitney Cummings on the new NBC show, "Whitney," is boring. As a stand-up comic, Cummings can be witty, but on a sitcom, she is unable to deliver the comic lines. The show's format includes Cummings trying to keep a long-term relationship with her boyfriend fun and fresh, without committing to marriage. Whitney surrounds herself with some very annoying friends who offer her nothing but shallow, unfunny advice. What makes this show even worse is the laughter that is supposedly from a live studio audience. The laughter is constant, not just at the end of punch lines. Please don't keep episodes of "Whitney" coming.
Review: 1 laugh out of 4
> "Prime Suspect"
10 p.m. Thursdays
"Prime Suspect" began as a British police procedural that garnered multiple awards, so naturally producers had to remake it for American audiences. And I'm glad they did. Although it doesn't have the same intensity that the British version had, it's still better than the formulaic police shows that have invaded prime time.
Maria Bello anchors the show, playing Jane Timoney, a no-nonsense, career-driven homicide detective (not a policewoman, she quickly corrects others). The head of the all-male precinct where she works doesn't let her lead any of the cases, even though viewers know she'd be better than any of the male detectives. Once she's finally given a case, she excels at finding the culprit. The series is good at balancing Jane's personal life and work life, giving viewers the perfect blend of drama and action/mystery.
"Prime Suspect" is an example of TV done right.
Review: 3 shots out of 4
10 p.m. Wednesdays
It seems that TV land has always been a playground for the upper class. Debutantes and preppy teens have become commonplace on many teen-themed shows, and ABC's new series, "Revenge," the breakaway hit of the fall season, takes its megarich teens and their parents and provides an intriguing variation. This exhilarating series has no big-name stars attached to it, no fancy producers, but its puzzling story line and finely written characters are what drives it.
"Revenge" follows Emily Thorne, a twentysomething who moves to the Hamptons to seek retribution against the people that caused her father's death and her family's demise. It's interesting because in every episode an intricate plot is devised by Thorne to get back at one person. The show doesn't take itself seriously, and I think that's why it's fun to watch. It plays off its shallowness to almost comic effect.
"Revenge" is a show best served with popcorn on Wednesday nights.
Review: 3 parties out of 4
> "Person of Interest"
9 p.m. Thursdays
"Person of Interest" is an interesting mess of cliches. Executive producer J.J. Abrams, of "Lost" fame, is a brilliant creator but once in a while churns out a show that is mediocre at best. Still, a mediocre Abrams show is better than one created by some producers in their prime.
"Person of Interest" follows the mysterious John Reese, a CIA agent presumed dead who is confronted by the enigmatic Harold Finch, a billionaire computer genius who tells Reese that he created software that knows who in New York City will be associated with murder. It is up to them to stop the murders. "Person of Interest" sets out to be a thriller, with episodes that leave more questions than answers. The characters in this pilot all seemed to have secrets that I'm sure future episodes will delve into, but because of this I couldn't really get into the series. Everybody is so multilayered that it is expected they will have big revealing twists in future episodes.
If you really want to watch a show about a person of interest, watch the History Channel, because there is no sign of one here.
Review: 2 thrills out of 4
> "A Gifted Man"
8 p.m. Fridays
"A Gifted Man" should be more aptly titled "A Re-Gifted Man" because it combines the TV show "House" with the film "The Sixth Sense." Unfortunately, combining two successes does not guarantee a hit.
"Man" follows the self-absorbed but brilliant neurosurgeon Mike, played by Broadway stage actor Patrick Wilson, who sees dead people; more specifically his recently deceased ex-wife, whom he still loves. He tries to make her ghost stop bothering him but when he has the chance to make that happen he declines because he doesn't want to lose her forever. Patrick has the charisma necessary for a successful weekly series, and his personal assistant, played by Emmy winner Margo Martindale, shows off the high-caliber cast. However, the show's executives and writers should have given these actors a better shot at reaching TV stardom because they truly deserve it. I'm sure there are gifted men, but none of them created this series.
Review: 2 MRIs out of 4
> "Harry's Law"
9 p.m. Wednesday
Although this series' first season premiered in the spring, it didn't get the coverage that it deserved, which is unfortunate because it is a great courtroom dramedy.
Harriet Korn, played by the talented Hollywood juggernaut Kathy Bates, is a recently fired patent attorney who opens up a law firm in an old shoe store in a rundown Cincinnati neighborhood. By representing the neighborhood's citizens, she earns "street cred" and is protected and respected by the rough and tough in return. Although Bates owns this series as Korn, she is supported by an impressive cast of eccentric characters that includes hard-nosed judges, stubborn district attorneys and self-centered prosecutors. The courtroom scenes could be boring, but because of Bates treating the viewers like a jury, they are interesting. Her unconventional methods and win-at-all-costs attitude really make this show worthwhile.
I promise that if you give this a chance, you will have no objections!
Review: 3 gavels out of 4
Ian Scaduto is a senior at Clarence High School.