Sure, you really don’t need another television show to add to your weekly schedule. But since the last few network pilot seasons having been pretty lackluster, why not make some room for a few gems looking to break the streak of truly uninspired, often misguided shows the networks have been handing us lately? (“The Playboy Club,” I’m looking at you.) Admittedly, it’s hard to tell from a two-minute trailer if it will truly be a quality program, and since I’m not a fancy TV critic for Entertainment Weekly or something, I won’t see the full pilot episodes until they air this fall. Still, I feel pretty confident in recommending these three new shows based not just on their trailers but — perhaps more importantly — on the talent involved.
“Elementary” | CBS
Starring Jonny Lee Miller — whom I completely fell in love with as Mr. Knightley on the BBC miniseries “Emma” — as the inimitable Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu, who needs no introduction, as his partner Watson, “Elementary” will be a modern take on the cases of the private eye set in New York City. Let me first say that I had some reservations about this: In many ways, “Elementary” will be the American version of the outstanding BBC program “Sherlock,” and I really don’t think you can do any better — quality-wise, acting-wise, anything-wise — than that show. Further, I couldn’t really wrap my head around the idea of Liu as Watson. But after seeing the trailer, I was impressed with Liu, and I think her presence as Watson may be just the fresh take that this adaptation needs in order to stand out. Miller seems to have Holmes’ characteristic eccentricities down, and as long as things don’t get too shtick-y, I think this show could work. I know I’ll be tuning in to find out if it does.
“The Mindy Project” | Fox
It’s Mindy Kaling, people. Between her work as an actress and writer on “The Office,” her super funny memoir and her laugh-out-loud Twitter feed, this lady is just awesome. Also, remember that time she played Natalie Portman’s scene-stealing BFF in No Strings Attached? Yeah, Mindy Kaling is just the funniest. On her new comedy, she’ll play an OB/GYN trying to “navigate both her personal and professional lives,” according to the logline. But you know it’s going to be way better than that suggests. Kaling’s trademark quirkiness is sure to be front and center, making this must-see viewing for when you really need a mental break and a laugh this fall.
“Nashville” | ABC
You guys, Tami Taylor — I mean, Connie Britton will be back on your TV this fall! Yes, I really think this situation calls for an exclamation point. After a weird but cool stint on “American Horror Story” last year, the “Friday Night Lights” vet is returning to television as a country music star at her peak, while Hayden Panettiere will play her star-on-the-rise rival. Confession: I am not at all a country music fan. Still, I’m super excited to watch this show, and not just because Britton is involved. The country music scene is actually pretty unexplored on television, and it seems clear from the trailer that this nighttime soap will cover fresh ground and also might be truly good, not devolving into catfight territory in the conflict between its two stars.
Mark your schedules! Or not, because, let’s be honest, do any of us watch TV shows when they are actually on anymore? Still, be sure to keep your eye out for these new shows — they all definitely have obsession potential.
Bridget Mullen is a sophomore in the College. SMALL-SCREEN OBSESSIONS appears every other Friday in the guide.