10 network shows with the biggest buzz
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org September 8, 2011 5:42PM
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as twin sisters Siobhan Martin and Bridget Kelly in the new CW drama "Ringer."
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:47AM
Debut: 8 p.m. Tuesday, WGN-Channel 9
Sarah Michelle Gellar does double duty in her much-awaited return to the small screen, playing identical twin sisters who both have plenty to hide. One of the twins, Bridget, is a newly sober former stripper who’s forced into hiding after witnessing a murder. Circumstances allow Bridget to secretly take on the identity of her wealthy sister, Siobhan. But Bridget soon realizes that what looked like a safety net is more like a web of dangerous lies.
“Up All Night”
Debut: 9 p.m. Wednesday, WMAQ-Channel 5
A new baby means bye-bye four-letter words and late-night Jager shots for married couple Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) in this sitcom from “Saturday Night Live” writer Emily Spivey and producer Lorne Michaels. The struggle to balance family and work life is hardly new territory, but Applegate and Arnett make it feel fresh with their appealing chemistry — and a nice assist from “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph, a scene-stealer who plays Reagan’s outlandish boss.
“2 Broke Girls”
Debut: 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19, WBBM-Channel 2
Stand-up comedian Whitney Cummings and “Sex and the City” boss Michael Patrick King have teamed up to create this modern, female-centric take on “The Odd Couple.” A pair of young women from opposite sides of the track strike up an unlikely friendship while waitressing at a greasy spoon. These two broke girls — a former trust fund princess (Beth Behrs) and a street-smart working gal (Kat Dennings) — have one thing in common: They hunger for a better life. And their road to riches is paved with cupcakes.
“The Playboy Club”
Debut: 9 p.m. Sept. 19, WMAQ-Channel 5
Mobsters, politicos and other bigwigs get up to no good with a bevy of bunny-tailed beauties at Hugh Hefner’s infamous Playboy Club. Set in Chicago in 1961, the action unfolds to a swingin’ soundtrack and features plenty of eye candy, from buxom bunnies to Don Draper doppelganger Nick Dalton, a mysterious alpha male with political aspirations played by Eddie Cibrian (“CSI: Miami”).
Debut: 8 p.m. Sept. 20, WFLD-Channel 32
After fleeing her cheating boyfriend, a charmingly goofy, twentysomething dorkess named Jess (Zooey Deschanel) has to start over again in this comedy from Liz Meriwether (the movie “No Strings Attached”). Heart-broken Jess moves into a loft with three single guys who, like their new roomie, are struggling to find their way — and learning how to behave in a way that doesn’t result in fines payable to the apartment’s “douchebag jar.”
“The X Factor”
Debut: 7 p.m., Sept. 21, WFLD-Channel 32
The singing competition that’s dominated the airwaves in the U.K. is kicking off on this side of the ocean, with contestants singing their hearts out for a shot at a $5 million recording contract. Would-be superstars will compete in front of an audience of thousands and four judges. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Nicole Scherzinger will mentor the acts that advance to the finals, when it’s up to America to decide the winner.
Debut: 8 p.m. Sept. 22, WMAQ-Channel 5
A remake of the beloved British police procedural that starred Helen Mirren, the Americanized version features Maria Bello (“ER”) as hard-hitting homicide detective Jane Timoney. Catching bad guys isn’t necessarily the toughest part of life for this scrappy cop, who has to navigate rough waters both at home and at work, where her precinct is dominated by whisky-swigging good ol’ boys who never learned how to play nice with girls.
Debut: 8:30 p.m. Sept. 22, WMAQ-Channel 5
The clearly very busy Whitney Cummings stars in an eponymous sitcom that feels like a raunchier version of “Friends.” Television’s new “It Girl” plays a marriage-phobic photographer who worries that her relationship with her live-in, neck-bearded beau, Alex (Chris D’Elia, “Glory Daze”) is falling into a rut. The ensemble cast includes some winners (Maulik Pancholy, “30 Rock”) and some losers, like the obnoxious cop played by Dan O’Brien (“How I Met Your Mother”).
Debut: 9 p.m., Sept. 25, WLS-Channel 7
Another early ’60s period piece, but in this one the women aren’t wearing rabbit ears; their hourglass figures are poured into powder blue stewardess uniforms. The high-flying drama from writer-producer Jack Orman follows the turbulent lives of Pan Am pilots and flight attendants in the glamorous days before they were called flight attendants.
Debut: 7 p.m. Sept. 26, WFLD-Channel 32
After several delays, this big-budget dinosaur drama from executive producer Steven Spielberg is about to land. The year is 2149 and the planet has become an overpopulated hellhole. Mankind’s only hope is to make things right in the distant past, and the Shannon family is headed there thanks to some crafty scientists who’ve discovered a portal back to prehistoric times. The Shannons join a pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony created in this mysterious land that’s not as idyllic as it looks.