FOX's "Human Target" - Wednesdays
Cast: Mark Valley ("Fringe" and "Keen Eddie"), Chi McBride ("Pushing Daisies"), and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen and Little Children).
Why watch: After I saw the preview, I was immediately sold because of three factors:
1) Mark Valley, whose 2003 cop series "Keen Eddie" was criminally cancelled.
2) The action, which I always appreciate more of in my life.
3) The premise: a con artist who takes on new identities in order to help his wealthy clients evade assassins. Sure, it wreaks of "Burn Notice" and even "White Collar," but the difference is that he's not doing it against his will, so it's even more lighthearted.
Lasting Power: I think USA should pick it up and replace "White Collar" with it. Unless an action drama/comedy is as high-intensity and politically-driven as "24" or has a mysterious and mythological background like "Fringe," it'll have a hard time keeping viewers on the hook. Just ask the makers of "Chuck" and "Heroes."
The CW's "Life Unexpected" - Mondays
Cast: Shiri Appleby ("Roswell"), Kristoffer Polaha ("Miss Guided"), Kerr Smith ("Dawson's Creek), and Brittany Robertson ("Swingtown" and the hilariously over-dramatic daughter in Dan in Real Life)
Why watch: Because you miss shows like "Gilmore Girls" and "Everwood" that were as wholesome as they were scandalous, and you're tired of all the glitz and glam that the network shines on the rich and vapid in "Gossip Girl," "Melrose Place," and "90210." I, personally, will be watching just because I'm curious as to how this is all going to play out. Straight-A student Cate (Shiri Appleby) and football jock Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) had a one-night stand, and Cate secretly gives up their baby girl Lux for adoption. Sixteen years later she shows up looking to be emancipated. What will they do? What would YOU do? You have a second chance to make it right. You might even have a second chance to get the girl or guy of your adolescent dreams back. You might actually have a chance at a family. Of course, none of this is instantaneous, which is half the fun. First off, "mom and dad" hate each other. Then there's the fact that Cate is in a serious relationship with Ryan (Kerr Smith), a very good and deserving guy. Meanwhile, dad lives a carefree life of boozing and enabling at his bar. These are not adults that are prepared to put their differences aside and care for an opinionated and emotinal teenager. This series is bubbling over with drama. Can you imagine if this were "One Tree Hill," and instead of raising Jamie, Haley and Nathan gave him up and he just magically showed up on the footsteps of Nathan's obnoxiously large bachelor pad and interrupted Haley's music career, forcing them to get back to who they were in high school and rediscover the feelings they had for each other? Now THAT would be a reason to watch that series. *sigh*
Lasting power: We'll have to be really convinced that these two high school sweethearts are meant to be and then we'll have to be convinced that they'll be not only good for each other, but good for their daughter...all within 60 minutes.
ABC's "The Deep End" - Thursdays at 8pm
Cast: Matt Long ("Jack & Bobby"), Tina Majorino ("Veronica Mars"), Leah Pipes ("Life is Wild" and Sorority Row), Ben Lawson (Australian series "Neighbours"), Mehcad Brooks ("True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives"), Billy Zane
Why watch: I don't normally watch legal shows, but ABC made a safe bet that they can grab a wider audience if a majority of the cast were in their 20s. Instead of meeting the legal eagles when they're in their prime, like on "Drop Dead Gorgeous," or after a mid-life crisis, like in "Eli Stone," or simply in their midlife, like "The Good Wife," they decided to show the first years of a law career.
Lasting Power: It's basically "Grey's Anatomy" at a law firm, so if you like a steady mix of good drama and goofy comedy, then you might like this.
FOX's " Past Life" - Feb. 11th - Thursdays at 8pm
Cast: Kelli Giddish ("The Burg" and "All My Children"), Nicholas Bishop ("Home and Away"), Richard Schiff, Ravi Patel ("Static" and "Easy Money")
Why watch: An expert in reincarnation (Giddish) works with her team to help people who are possessed by dead spirits or haunted by memories of a past life. So it's like "The Ghost Whisperer," but less creepy.
Lasting Power: If you don't care about a well-known cast and you just like police procedurals, supernatural in particular, they you might like this. As long as they can keep the cases fresh, they might gain a fanbase. Might.
NBC's "Parenthood" - March 2nd - Tuesdays at 10pm
Cast: Lauren Graham ("Gilmore Girls"), Erika Christensen ("Six Degrees" and Swimfan), Peter Krause ("Dirty Sexy Money"), Monica Potter ("Trust Me"), Dax Sheppard (Employee of the Month), Craig T. Nelson ("The District"), Sam Jaeger ("Eli Stone"), Marguerite Moreau (Queen of the Damned), Bonnie Bedelia ("The Division")
Why watch: Ron Howard and Brian Grazer created this family series to vent their parental frustrations. Joel (Jaeger) is a married stay-at-home dad, who's starved for adult interaction. Julia (Christensen) is his workaholic lawyer wife, who feels like she's missing out on raising her daughter. Adam (Krause) is the big brother of the family, who everyone goes to for advice. While he's working to maintain a perfect family facade and stay innocent in the cut-throat corporation he works for, he must be patient while raising his teenage daughter and his 8-year-old who has Asperger's syndrome. He's married to Kristina (Potter), his college sweetheart, who's incredibly supportive, but dying to go back to work. Their oldest daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos from "Runaway" and "American Dreams") is tired of being a perfect little girl and is about to start her slutty drug phase. Sarah (Graham) is the oldest sister, who has a deadbeat rocker ex-husand and two teenage kids. Her daughter Amber (Mae Whitman from "Arrested Development") is eager to get her GED and move in with her wannabe rockstar boyfriend, while her son Drew (Miles Heizer from Rails & Ties) falls into depression because of his father's abandonment. Sarah's mission in life is to help them get the life she threw away and try to salvage her own, so she moves back in with her mom (Bedelia) and dad (Nelson). Last but not least, Crosby (Shepard) is an immature slacker, who spends most of his time trying to avoid his girlfriend Katie's (Moreau) attempts at starting a family.
Lasting Power: It's like a half-hour version of "Brothers & Sisters," so if you like the formula, you might like this.
FOX's "Sons of Tucson" - March 14th - Sundays 8:30pm
Cast: Tyler Labine ("Reaper"), Frank Dolce, Matthew Levy, Benjamin Stockham
Why watch: Three little boys are on the verge of being shipped off to an orphanage after their dad gets sent to prison. In an attempt to stay together, they decide to choose their new guardian themselves, in the form of a homeless schemer who works at a sporting goods store. It seems their father's immoral influence has led them to decide that the only person they can trust is someone as devious as they are. But can he trust them? "Gary (Dolce), 11, is the bright and driven leader of the pack who is every bit the con man that his father is; Brandon (Levy), 13, is a committed optimist with a unique world view; and Robby (Stockham), 8, is a loose cannon who doesn't respond well to authority." Will all of Ron's life-training as an opportunistic slacker help him raise three juvy-bound kids?
Lasting Power: I don't know. Those kids are going to have to top the kids from both "Modern Family" and "The Middle" and tip the cute/mischievous-factor scale in order to win families over.
CBS's "Miami Trauma" - April 2nd - Fridays at 10pm
Cast: Jeremy Northam ("The Tudors"), Lana Parrilla ("Swingtown" and "Windfall"), Elisabeth Harnois ("Point Pleasant" and "One Tree Hill"), Omar Gooding ("Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" and "Smart Guy"), Mike Vogel (Cloverfield)
Why watch: "It's about a team of expert surgeons who work at one of the premiere trauma facilities in the country, where only patients with life threatening injuries are treated. Dr. Matthew Proctor (Northam) is new to the trauma team, after a tour of duty in a MASH unit during the Gulf war. Dr. Eva Zambrano (Parrilla) is a workaholic surgeon who is more comfortable in her scrubs than she is out in the real world. Dr. Christopher Deleo, "Dr. C.," is a playboy who thrives on the high-stakes of trauma medicine and is, by his own description, a genius redneck. Dr. Serena Warren (Harnois) is fresh out of medical school, and head nurse Tuck Brody (Gooding) keeps the doctors on track and the patients' families updated in this chaotic corner of the medical profession. Together, this team of doctors excels in the "golden hour," the 60 minutes after being critically injured, when a patient's life hangs in the balance.
Lasting Power: It's literally NBC's "Trauma" inside an OR.