Tube Talk: Some promising new shows debut this fall

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

The new season is finally here. Some new shows may have more buzz than others, but here are a few I’ve been looking forward to:

UndercoversFirst of all, this is J.J. Abrams’ latest TV venture. He’s the genius behind some amazing series including Alias, Lost, Fringe and Felicity. Second, it’s a stylish spy drama that promises to pick up where Alias left off, with a pair of married former spies being lured back into action. As Stephen and Samantha Bloom, the leads—Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe—are gorgeous, but talented, too. One place you might recognize British-born Mbatha-Raw from is Doctor Who (she played Martha’s sister, Tish, in several episodes). Kodjoe, who was born in Austria and raised in Germany, has appeared in several U.S. shows and films, including Soul Food and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Vacation. Gerald McRaney (Major Dad, Jericho, Deadwood) returns to TV as their boss.

Undercovers premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. on NBC.

No Ordinary Family—Whether this show will catch on or not, I can’t say. But it’s a fun concept: After surviving a plane crash in the Amazon, the entire Powell family suddenly develops superpowers. It’s kind of like a live-action take on The Incredibles. It will be interesting to see how Michael Chiklis, an Emmy-winner for playing The Shield’s dark anti-hero Vic Mackey, adjusts to such a different type of role as the super-powered family’s patriarch. Julie Benz, as his wife, should be more at home. She may be best known as Rita on Dexter, but her big break was playing another super-powered character: vampire Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

No Ordinary Family premieres Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Detroit 1-8-7—I’m not usually big on cop shows, but Detroit 1-8-7 seems to be following in the hallowed footsteps of the classic Homicide: Life on the Street. It shares Homicide’s raw, documentary-type look, and like its predecessor (which was shot on location in Baltimore), Detroit 1-8-7 is filmed entirely in and around Detroit. Having Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) in a lead role doesn’t hurt, either. The cast also includes new faces, like our fellow Illinoisan, Jon Michael Hill, who plays Imperioli’s new partner. Hill, originally from Waukegan, Ill., recently told me he loves how the show takes viewers to parts of Detroit that are very different from what we might expect, offering glimpses of architectural gems built back when the city’s auto industry made it one of the wealthiest cities in the nation.

Detroit 1-8-7 premieres Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Hawaii Five-0—Almost everyone I know is looking forward to the reboot of this classic series, if only for the lush scenery and the super cool theme song. Add in a strong cast—Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight) as McGarrett; Scott Caan (Ocean’s 11, Entourage) as Danno; Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) as Chin Ho; and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactca) as the female version of Kono—and who wouldn’t want to watch? I’ve spoken to people ranging in age from their 20s to 80s who are excited about Hawaii Five-0. I hope it will live up to the hype. If nothing else, my cousin Dano’s 20-something peers will finally understand why her license plates say “book ’em.”

Hawaii Five-0 premieres Monday, Sept. 20, at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

From the Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue

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